Fall Soup Party

 

Fall is the time of year, here in New England, that we thrive. But we also start to get ready for our winter hibernation. My girlfriends and I started a tradition a few years ago during the cold winter months. We get together and each make a new soup. Its really just an excuse to all get together and spend the day relaxing.

One year we did it on Valentines Day so we decorated Galentines themed and make vision boards out of mason jars. Last year we did our soup party as my housewarming for my new at the time apartment. This year we opted for a fall theme. We sat around on a Sunday, ate all day and watched football.

Since our trip to Banff last year, I have been trying to find a spicy curry ramen as similar to Block Kitchen + Bar as possible. Sunday I made the Defined Dish’s Thai Red Curry Chicken Zoodle Soup but since we have some vegetarians in the group, I took our all the meat. I also used vermicelli instead of zoodles because…. Well #carbs.

For beverages I saw Lauren McBride made a Caramel Apple Cider Sangria last weekend for a Halloween party and decided I needed to try it. YUM. I am not a white wine or vodka girl… or even apple cider, but the three together are amazing.

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice

Chrissy Teigen’s Thai Carrot and Coconut Soup

Cheddar Beer Soup

Zuppa Toscana

Favorite Chick Flicks

Is there anything better than a movie night? Now a days we get so caught up binge watching the most recent Netflix or Amazon series that we don’t always sit down and watch a movie. Last weekend I dedicated my Sunday to sitting on my couch with some popcorn, in my sweats, with a cup of tea (which turned to a glass of wine as the night went on). It was good to get lost in some of my favorite movies. Bring on the couple that falls in love that you would never expect (but you always knew), the strong woman who is stronger than she knew herself, and the girl gang who you wish you were a part of. I ended up putting together a list of my favorite chick flicks for any occasion. So grab a glass of wine and enjoy. Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

My 3 Favorite Holiday Drinks

I love the change of seasons. Mind you I understand I am saying this at the beginning of the winter, and it so far as only lightly snowed twice. I guess we can revisit this in a few months when I am two feet under snow, can’t leave my house, and haven’t seen the sun in months. But for right now: I love the change of seasons.

One of my favorite parts of the beginning of each season is reintroducing myself to the season flavors that I haven’t had in the past nine months. Fresh fruits and veggies have always been a big part of the way I eat, cook, and drink thanks to my super all-natural mother who loves herself a farmers market. This year I have a lot of get togethers that I am hosting and attending and the Italian in me needs to bring something new to each one.

Today I put together my three favorite winter drinks that I am sure you will love. A Blackberry Whiskey Ginger, a Christmas Cran-Vodka, and a Hot Toddy for those snow days that you need a little pick me up.

Blackberry Whiskey Ginger


Last summer I became obsessed with Irish Mules. I love me some whiskey and ginger, but I just can’t do ginger beer anymore. Most of them are just too sweet for me and that means instant head ache. Here I made homemade rosemary simple syrup, used ginger ale and fresh blackberries and the drink is just so much fresher and lighter.

Rosemary Simple Syrup
½ cup sugar
½ cup water
5 springs of fresh rosemary

Place everything in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Let boil for one minute while constantly whisking to ensure all of the sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes. Remove rosemary and strain into a glass container. Allow to cool to room temperature and chill.

6 blackberries to muddle, 4 blackberries for garnish
ice
1 ½ oz Paddy Irish Whiskey
1 oz rosemary simple syrup
½ lime, juiced
6 oz Seagram’s ginger ale

1. Muddle six blackberries into the bottom of a copper cup or glass.
2. Fill cup halfway with ice.
3. Add Paddy’s Irish Whiskey, rosemary simple syrup.
4. Squeeze in juice from half of a lime.
5. Fill Seagram’s ginger ale to the top of cup.
6. Lightly stir with cocktail spoon, top with blackberry garnish.

Christmas Cran-Vodka


I’m not going to lie, I don’t enjoy cranberry or vodka too much but when you are hosting a dinner or a party, you got to have what the people want and for most people, you can’t really go wrong with a cran-vodka. This is just a little twist on a college cran-vodka.

Ice
1 ½ oz vodka
2 oz cranberry juice
Seagram’s ginger ale
½ lime, juiced
Cranberries for garnish

1. Fill 6 oz glass with a few ice cubes.
2. Add vodka and cranberry juice over ice.
3. Fill cup with ginger ale.
4. Mix lightly with cocktail spoon and top with juice from half a lime.
5. Top with cranberries and a lime sphere.

Hot Toddy


For as long as I can remember, as soon as anyone in my house started feeling sick, my mom would make you a hot toddy. It didn’t matter how old you were, you were having some tea with a shot of whiskey in it. Most cultures have some of this. While I was living in Los Angeles a lot of my friends would say their parents would give them a shot a tequilla when they started not feeling well. It’s a very old school way of self-medicating, (wow that sounds terrible) but I still make myself a hot toddy as soon as I feel a cold coming on.

English breakfast tea
1 oz whiskey or scotch
1 tsp local honey
Lemon wedge
Cinnamon stick

1. Steep English breakfast tea 5 minutes.
2. Add one ounce whiskey or scotch and 1-2 tsp of local honey.
3. Squeeze in one lemon wedge.
4. Top with cinnamon or add in a cinnamon stick.

 

Holiday Tablescape

Through out most of the year I am pretty minimalistic in my home décor. I like whites, and greys, and pretty much anything neutral just like my clothing. If you’re lucky, I may throw some gold in there, but that’s the closest to a color you’re going to get out of me. (Okay, last spring I threw in peach, call me crazy.) My sister says I’m sterile. She’s a nurse and white reminders her of a hospital, and for me, color is complete chaos. But for me, mid-September through January 1 I want the holidays to be plastered throughout my home.

Give me reds, golds, sparkles, ribbons, bows and all of the holiday goodness.

This year my sister and I are hosting our family of 45 cousins, aunts, uncles, and kiddos on Christmas Eve so I feel like I’ve been on Christmas prep since early October. While our table for 45 is going to be a little simpler than this, I set up this table for a much more intimate dinner last week.

Layers and fabrics

Different textures is the easiest way to add dimension and holiday spirit to your table. I started with a gold table cloth and layered on these placemats that have a little sparkle. I have a small addiction to napkins – Beverage napkins are my favorite but they’re more for cocktail hour. These cotton napkins from Home Goods are super cute and casual which is perfect for a small group of close friends or everyday dinner.

Add a little sparkle

The placemats already had a little sparkle but I love me some gold during the holidays. And these Nicole Miller gold bow napkin rings from Home Goods jumped out at me. (Once a cheerleader, always a cheerleader.) Also these can be used all year round for girls nights or other casual dinner parties. Change up the napkin and you have a new, cute piece to use for the rest of the year.

Bring the outdoors inside

While most of the plants are heading into hibernation here in New England, my mom’s holly bush is #goals right now. So I snuck over to her house and pulled off a few branches. While I was there I grabbed a few pine cones and added them to the table top. The easiest way to make your table feel super seasonal. In the summer, go outside, clip some flowers and stick them in a vase. Centerpiece done!

Keep it low

One thing I hate while at dinner is having to lean over to talk to the person sitting across from you. Especially in an intimate setting, keep your center piece low so all of your guests can talk across the table from each other. When you are at someone’s home, especially for a smaller, more intimate meal, the lower centerpiece the better. It encourages conversation. Wine helps also.

Gift Guide: Hostess

I have to admit, this year I am taking full advantage of barely thinking about the holidays but this year my sister and I are hosting our entire family for Christmas Eve dinner and over 40 Italians in our basement is going to be a little intense. So to not stress out about it I am going to get myself some of these little hostess gifts to make myself feel better.

My go to gift, for any party or event is always wine and this is my favorite winery in Temecula, CA. I have had my eye on these champagne flutes and are perfect for the holiday season. How festive! For your non-drinker this cute mug and cookie tray are amazing to leave out for Santa on Christmas Eve full of this William Sonoma hot cocoa. For your home decor loving hostess, these coasters from Anthropologie are too cute or a beautiful coffee table book never fails.

A party is never complete without a charcuterie board so this holiday cheese plate is perfect. My sister bought this candle from Target and I am pretty sure each and every hostess on my list will be getting one. This scent, Friendsgiving, is fitting from October through the New Year.

If you need some more holiday gift giving ideas check out my gift guides for your jet setting friends or stocking stuffers that were posted earlier this week. I am still working on next week’s gift guides for him and her. Have a great weekend! xoxo