Pomegranate + Orange Margaritas

You guys.

These margaritas are perfect. I am 100% here for them.

I typically prefer my margs to be as straight forward as possible without any extra twists to them. House margarita on the rocks with salt is my go-to order, but I'm willing to spice it up a bit for the holidays.

These Pomegranate + Orange Margaritas check all the boxes. They're sweet, tangy and perfectly balanced. Perfect for your New Year's Eve celebration!

I honestly haven't had the best luck with making my own margaritas in the past. For my birthday celebration a few years ago, I decided to make blackberry lemonade margaritas that I'd never made before. I added a...bit too much tequila and they ended up being incredibly strong. They have since been known as "red tequila," since you could only taste tequila.

But I promise these are perfectly balanced. Swear.

They're super simple to make too! I made mine in a cocktail shaker, but you can stir yours together if you don't have a shaker.

I also just squeezed the orange juice with my hands, but if you have a juicer feel free to use that!

Add the pomegranate juice, juice of 1/2 an orange, tequila and triple sec into the cocktail shaker over ice and shake for 20-30 seconds to aerate the margarita. Take an orange slice and run it along the rim of the glass, and dip the glass in salt (or sugar if you prefer).

Pour the shaken margarita into the salted glass, garnish with an orange slice and enjoy!

Now, let's make 2018 a friggin great year. 🙌

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Pomegranate + Orange Margaritas
A perfectly balanced sweet and tangy margarita. Perfect for any celebration!
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate juice (I used Pom Wonderful)
  • Juice of 1/2 an orange
  • 1.5 ounces silver tequila (I like Milagro Silver)
  • 1 ounce triple sec
  • Ice
  • Salt for garnishing
1. Add pomegranate juice, juice of 1/2 an orange, and ice to a cocktail shaker. Shake for 20-30 seconds.2. Run an orange slice along the rim of a glass and dip the rim in salt or sugar to garnish.3. Pour shaken margarita into the garnished glass.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 1 Margarita

What's your go-to margarita flavor?

Homemade Salted Caramel Marshmallows

First thing's first -- MERRY CHRISTMAS!

I hope that, no matter what your day holds, it's a great one. May your heart be filled with cheer and your mugs be full of hot chocolate.

And marshmallows. Specifically, these Salted Caramel Marshmallows.

If you've never tried to make marshmallows from scratch, let me tell you, it's worth it. I wouldn't say they're "fool-proof," but they're pretty close. And they open up a world of possibilities! A few years ago, I made a peppermint batch that was so fluffy and delicious. This year, salted caramel was calling my name. The flavor combos are pretty much endless.

Before you set off on your marshmallow journey, let me offer you a few words of encouragement. These marshmallows aren't tricky to make at all, and you can totally do it. They're really quite simple as long as you do these two things: 1. Allow the sugar mixture to completely heat to 240 degrees, and 2. Let the sugar and gelatin whip for 12-15 minutes. As long as you do those two things, you should be golden.

Now, I'll be straight with you. Transferring the marshmallow mixture to the pan is a bit tricky. And sticky. If you grease your spatula or spoon it makes the process a lot easier.

Once the marshmallows are in the pan it's time to add the caramel! I melted half a bag of Kraft Caramels (about 20) with a little water to achieve the right consistency. Drizzle the top of the marshmallows with the melted caramel and then drag a butter knife through the mixture to create the swirl effect.

Sprinkle the top of the marshmallows with powdered sugar and let them rest overnight, uncovered.

After you cut into the marshmallows, you'll need to dip the sides in a powdered sugar and salt mixture to prevent the cut marshmallows from sticking to each other. If you prefer your caramel without salt, then you can use just powdered sugar for this part.

When the marshmallows are ready, get a couple into a mug of hot chocolate as fast as you can. And then have a couple on the side, because...it's Christmas and you can.

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Homemade Salted Caramel Marshmallows
Fluffy and delicious homemade marshmallows swirled with caramel and sprinkled with salt.
  • 3 envelopes unflavored gelatin
  • 1 cup cold water, divided
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (or kosher salt)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • Confectioner's sugar, for dusting
  • 1/2 bag Kraft caramels (about 20)
  • Sea salt, for dusting
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fit with the whisk attachment, combine gelatin and 1/2 cup cold water. Let sit while you prepare sugar mixture.2. In a medium saucepan, combine granulated sugar, corn syrup, salt and remaining 1/2 cup cold water. Cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves, stirring frequently. Raise to high heat and cook until the mixture reaches 240 degrees on a candy thermometer. Once the mixture starts to boil, stirring is no longer necessary.3. Remove sugar syrup from heat. Turn the mixer on low and slowly pour the sugar syrup into the gelatin. Once all sugar syrup has been added, turn the mixer to high and whip for about 12-15 until very thick. Add vanilla and whip for another minute.4. Line a glass pan with plastic wrap. Spray pan with non-stick spray and dust with powdered sugar. Transfer marshmallow mixture into pan and smooth top. 5. Heat caramels until smooth, adding a few teaspoons of water if necessary. Drizzle top of marshmallows with caramel. Drag a butter knife throughout the marshmallows to create a swirl effect.6. Dust top of marshmallows with powdered sugar and let sit overnight, uncovered.7. Once marshmallows have completely cooled, turn out onto a cutting board. Using a greased, sharp knife, cut marshmallows into 1 inch squares. Roll cut sides into a combination of powdered sugar and sea salt. 8. Store in airtight container at room temperature. If marshmallows become sticky, remove container top to allow them to dry out again.
Yield: 1 9x13" pan
Prep time: 
What's your favorite thing to add to hot chocolate?

Gingerbread French Toast

I've gone FULL Christmas, everyone.

My tree and decorations are up, all gifts have been bought and (mostly) wrapped, and I've been listening and singing to Christmas music non-stop. I'm crossing my fingers that my neighbors don't mind me shout-singing "All I Want For Christmas Is You" non-stop...because that has definitely been happening.

The best part is it's finally cold in Texas. Last Monday it was 80 degrees and I was begrudgingly wearing a t-shirt and flip-flops. Naturally, after all of my complaining about the "summer weather" we were having, it started pouring that night and the temperature dropped about 30 degrees (as I was wearing said t-shirt and flip-flips).

I was a little annoyed at first, but now I'm embracing it. Gimme all the sweaters, boots and leather jackets. But also gimme this Gingerbread French Toast.

The light and fluffy brioche mingle perfectly with the warm gingerbread spices. Topped with a light drizzle of maple syrup and dusted with powdered sugar and you're good to go, girl.

Honestly, the brioche is a must. You can make it yourself, or pick up a loaf from your grocery store's bakery section like I did. Just don't skimp on the bread. It's completely necessary.

Round one of this recipe did not turn out the way I hoped it would. I cut the bread way too thin and soaked it in the batter way too long. Fresh brioche will soak up your batter super quick, so just a quick dip on either side of the slice is really all you need.

I originally let my bread SOAK in the batter for about 5 minutes. Just really let it hang out in there. That was my first mistake. I also thought the pan needed butter, and it did not. The result was slices of soggy, raw, but burnt toast. It also completely filled my apartment with smoke. 🙃

Round two was MUCH better. The Gingerbread French Toast was flavorful and golden brown. And so easy once I knew what I was doing. This recipe is perfect for one or two, or for a larger crowd!

So go on! Make Gingerbread French Toast, and be merry.

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Gingerbread French Toast
Light and fluffy brioche bread dipped in a gingerbread spiced batter that is pan fried to perfection. Perfect for one, or for a crowd!
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (regular milk can be substituted)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 loaf brioche bread
1. Mix almond milk, beaten eggs, ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon into a shallow bowl or pan (I used a 9x13" pan).2. Slice bread in 1 to 1 1/2 inch slices, taking care to make sure slices are not too thin.3. Heat skillet pan over med/low heat and spray with non-stick spray.4. Dip sliced bread in egg mixture, evenly coating both sides. Let excess drain off before placing it on the hot pan. Cook both sides until golden brown.5. Top with maple syrup and powdered sugar. Serve hot.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: Up to 8 slices

What's your favorite way to relax during the busy holiday season?

Chewy Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Happy December!!

I can't believe how fast the year has gone by, or that it's already time for Christmas recipes! Since Brandon is finishing up classes, writing too many papers (#englishlitprobs) and studying for finals, I wanted to make him a little treat.

Mint chocolate chip is his favorite ice cream, so I made it for him in cookie form!

These cookies are perfect for a finals care package. They're chewy, not overly sweet and perfect for snacking. Brings me back to my days staying up all night sewing...

My favorite part about these cookies is that they're made with Young Living Peppermint Vitality Essential Oil! I'm a peppermint purist and I can't stand the taste of regular mint extract. Peppermint extract sometimes does the trick, but this peppermint essential oil has me throwing up ALL the praise hands. 🙌

I love using Young Living oils because each of their oils is 100% pure. The orange oil? Made 100% of oranges. The lavender oil? Harvested directly from the plant itself. Young Living ensures that no filler product goes into their oils, which makes me feel good about using them in my daily routines! Getting my own starter kit was the best decision and I use my own oils almost every day.

If you don't have Young Living peppermint essential oil, using 3/4 teaspoon of peppermint extract will work just fine!

The Junior Mint lover in me was dying over these. They're the perfect balance of mint and dark chocolate, without all of the food coloring and fillers! I was supposed to be saving them all for Brandon, but I may have eaten four in the 24 hours I had them at my apartment...

They're easy to whip up, they're delicious, and you're gonna love 'em. Just trust me.

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Chewy Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies
Like mint chocolate chip ice cream in cookie form! Chewy, minty, chocolatey and delicious.
1. Preheat over to 350 degrees. Cover baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.2. Cream butter and sugar together in mixing bowl.3. Add the egg and peppermint essential oil, beat to combine.4. Add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cream of tartar and salt until fully combined. The mixture may look dry, but no additional liquid is needed.5. Fold in dark chocolate chips. Roll dough into small balls and place on prepared baking sheets. Set pans in freezer for 5-10 minutes. 6. Place pans directly from freezer to oven. Bake the cookies for 10 minutes. Dough may still look soft, but don't overbake. Let the cookies cool for 2 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 2 dozen

What are some of your favorite holiday flavors?