Starbucks Copycat! This vegan-friendly spicy Chile Mocha is made with freshly brewed espresso, steamed milk (or coconut milk), and spicy hot cocoa. champagne-tastes.com

Chile Mocha

Starbucks Copycat! This vegan-friendly spicy Chile Mocha is made with freshly brewed espresso, steamed milk (or coconut milk), and spicy hot cocoa. champagne-tastes.com

Chile Mocha

This vegan-friendly spicy Chile Mocha is made with freshly brewed espresso, steamed milk (or coconut milk), and spicy hot cocoa.  This post is sponsored by De’Longhi.

Hello, friends!  Are the skies a little grey where you are right now?  They are here.  The cooler weather has rolled into Central Appalachia, and we’ve entered the awkward ‘in-between’ season.  Let’s call it ‘fwinter.’  The bright, multi-color leaves have fallen, and the trees are (gasp!) unclothed.  Will we have gorgeous, snowy blankets on the ground soon?  Most likely.  For now, to help transition through the grey, chilly mornings– we need coffee.  More specifically, we need espresso.  And chocolate.  While we’re at it– let’s add some spice!  This spicy Chile Mocha is a vegan-friendly, decadent, caffeinated, fantabulous way to jump-start your day.

Continue reading

This vegan-friendly Pumpkin Spice Latte with REAL Pumpkin is a healthier alternative to the coffee-shop version. Do yourself (and your wallet) a favor, and make this tea latte at home! No artificial dye, no artificial flavoring, and REAL pumpkin. Champagne Tastes - http://champagne-tastes.com

Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte

This vegan-friendly Pumpkin Spice Latte with REAL Pumpkin is a healthier alternative to the coffee-shop version. Do yourself (and your wallet) a favor, and make this tea latte at home! No artificial dye, no artificial flavoring, and REAL pumpkin. Champagne Tastes - http://champagne-tastes.com

Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte

This vegan-friendly Pumpkin Spice Latte is a healthier alternative to the coffee-shop version. Do yourself (and your wallet) a favor, and make this tea latte at home!  No artificial dye, no artificial flavoring, and REAL pumpkin. 

How many cups of coffee do you drink a day?  One?  None?  Seven?  As a former coffee-addicted, jittery madwoman, I now limit myself to one cup of the dark, caffeinated, liquid gold per day.  What do I drink the rest of the day?  Tea, of course!  Sometimes, I even skip the coffee altogether, and swap it out for tea– because I’m a little wild like that.  When Starbucks started flaunting their notorious Pumpkin Spice Latte back in the middle of summer (it was early, right?!), I immediately started craving pumpkin EVERYTHING.  Of course, I made my own PSL (with REAL pumpkin), but what about when I wanted a refill?  What then???  How can I get my fill of pumpkiny deliciousness without drinking coffee all day long?  Well, my friends– meet the Pumpkin Spice Chai Latte.

Continue reading

This decadent, vegan-friendly Salted French Hot Chocolate (Chocolat Chaud) is made with crushed chocolate, whole milk and cream (or coconut milk and coconut cream), and topped with flavorful gourmet salt. The salt for this recipe was provided by J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works.

Salted French Hot Chocolate

This decadent, vegan-friendly Salted French Hot Chocolate (Chocolat Chaud) is made with crushed chocolate, whole milk and cream (or coconut milk and coconut cream), and topped with flavorful gourmet salt. The salt for this recipe was provided by J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works.

Salted French Hot Chocolate

This decadent, vegan-friendly Salted French Hot Chocolate (Chocolat Chaud) is made with chocolate, whole milk and cream (or coconut milk and coconut cream), and topped with flavorful gourmet salt.  The salt for this recipe was provided by J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works.

It’s been “officially” fall for a few weeks now, but summer has been holding on for dear life, doing its best to make sure I stay warm for just a little while longer.  I’m taking this as further proof that the universe really does revolve around me.  (I’ll pause here so that you can wonder if I’m joking.)  At any rate, at this point– fall has definitely arrived here in Central Appalachia.  The days are still warm, but the nights are cooling down, and the leaves have started to turn.  This, of course, means it’s time for cozy warm drinks– like this Salted French Hot Chocolate.  This cocoa is rich– richer than your normal hot cocoa– and is made with whole milk and cream (or coconut milk and coconut cream), and lots of crushed chocolate.  Top it off with some extra delicious gourmet salt, and you’re all set for those chilly fall evenings.

Continue reading

This Apple Cider Kentucky Sunrise is made with bourbon, apple cider, and pomegranate simple syrup. This southern twist on the classic Tequila Sunrise is the perfect fall cocktail.

Apple Cider Kentucky Sunrise

This Apple Cider Kentucky Sunrise is made with bourbon, apple cider, and pomegranate simple syrup. This southern twist on the classic Tequila Sunrise is the perfect fall cocktail.

Apple Cider Kentucky Sunrise

This Apple Cider Kentucky Sunrise is made with bourbon, apple cider, and pomegranate simple syrup.  This southern twist on the classic Tequila Sunrise is the perfect fall cocktail.  This post is sponsored by Drizly.

I have exciting news– it’s apple cider season!  I started seeing apple cider in the grocery store about a week ago, and did a giddy little jig– I clapped my hands and everything.  People can stare if they want to– it’s cider season and I don’t care.  Apple cider is probably my favorite fruit drink on the planet– it’s so earthy, so fruity, and such a great way to celebrate fall.  I buy apple cider obsessively from mid-September until it tragically begins to vanish from the market shelves in late November.  You can, of course, drink cider cold, poured straight from the bottle into your juice glass.  And I do.  Don’t stop there, though– heat it up, mull it, or turn it into a cocktail!  This Apple Cider Kentucky Sunrise is a festively fall twist on the classic Tequila Sunrise, and is made with apple cider, bourbon, and pomegranate simple syrup.

Continue reading

Blueberry Basil Julep - Muddle basil leaves with blueberry simple syrup, add crushed ice, add bourbon, and drink up!

Blueberry Basil Julep

Blueberry Basil Julep - Muddle basil leaves with blueberry simple syrup, add crushed ice, add bourbon, and drink up

Blueberry Basil Julep

This Blueberry Basil Julep is made with blueberry simple syrup, fresh basil leaves, and bourbon.  Enjoy it on Derby Day, at a cocktail party, or whenever your herb garden is overflowing.

A few weeks ago, the husband and I made another weekend road trip to the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.  While we wandered around distillery gift shops and waited for our tours, I had lots of time to read the cocktail recipes that were plastered all over the gift shops.  In particular, a recipe for a pineapple basil julep at Jim Beam caught my eye.  It was a little more complicated than I wanted my cocktail process to be, but I liked the idea of adding a fruity simple syrup to a julep.  When we got home, I started playing bartender.  (Except, I don’t know how to do any fancy bartender bottle-spinning moves, and I’m not very good at listening without interrupting, so maybe I’m NOT an awesome bartender.)  At any rate, I tried a few cocktail concoctions, and this one was the bomb dot com.

Continue reading

Navigating the Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Navigating the Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Navigating the Kentucky Bourbon Trail is easy, and with a little planning, can be a fantastic getaway both for bourbon lovers and those who simply want to sight-see

Navigating the Kentucky Bourbon Trail

Navigating the Kentucky Bourbon Trail is easy, and with a little planning, can be a fantastic getaway both for bourbon lovers and those who simply want to sight-see!

Fellow foodies, if you, like me, enjoy tours of vineyards, distilleries, and breweries– listen up!  I’m sure you’ve heard of famous wine-tasting regions, such as California’s wine country, Italy’s Tuscan vineyards, and France’s Loire Valley.  Those areas are special because, while there are other fantastic vineyards scattered across the world, these are in clusters, and make for spectacular vineyard-hopping getaways.  You may or may not have realized, however, that several major bourbon distilleries in Kentucky are also clustered together, and make up the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.  Kentucky’s native limestone rock makes bourbon production easier, and 95% off all bourbon is made in Kentucky.  The Bourbon Trail runs from Lexington to Louisville, and as of September 2016 has nine official stops.

Continue reading

Pumpkin Spice Latte with REAL Pumpkin. Ready in 15 minutes, or Prep the pumpkin puree the night before, and it's ready in 5 minutes!

Pumpkin Spice Latte with Real Pumpkin

Pumpkin Spice Latte with REAL Pumpkin. Ready in 15 minutes, or Prep the pumpkin puree the night before, and it's ready in 5 minutes!

Pumpkin Spice Latte with Real Pumpkin

This vegan-friendly Pumpkin Spice Latte is made with spiced, lightly sweetened REAL pumpkin, steamed milk (or coconut milk), and espresso.

Does anything scream “Fall!” more than the Pumpkin Spice Latte?  Well yes, probably.  The mornings get chillier, the leaves start to turn, and we all start scrambling to remember where we stored warmer clothes (or is that just me?)  Pumpkins and other squash begin proudly flaunting their brightly colored skins, daring us to take them home and devour them.  And of course, I do.

The other, albeit unofficial, start to delicious autumn goodness is when Starbucks begins selling its Pumpkin Spice Latte.  At $5-$6 a cup, however, it’s a pricey habit to maintain.  Even if you have the cash to guzzle down one of these spiced coffee drinks daily, the chemical flavoring and excessive sweetness mean that this drink isn’t exactly the healthiest option.  Instead, try this recipe for a Pumpkin Spiced Latte with REAL pumpkin.  Making this latte is quick– the most time-consuming, 10 minute part of the recipe can be completed ahead of time, meaning you don’t need to wake up any earlier to enjoy pumpkin deliciousness at home before starting your day.

Continue reading

Vegan Strawberry Lavender Lemonade- All you need is strawberries, lavender petals, sugar, and lemons. Add gin or vodka for a Hard Strawberry Lavender Lemonade!

Strawberry Lavender Lemonade

Vegan Strawberry Lavender Lemonade- All you need is strawberries, lavender petals, sugar, and lemons. Add gin or vodka for a Hard Strawberry Lavender Lemonade!

Strawberry Lavender Lemonade

This Strawberry Lavender Lemonade uses strawberries, lavender simple syrup, and lemons to make the perfect summer drink.  For a delicious summer cocktail, add gin or vodka.

It’s strawberry season!  The strawberries are juicy, flavorful, and incredibly inexpensive right now, so it’s time to eat them.  Normally, when I buy strawberries, I end up devouring them all long before I remember to put them in a pie, ice cream, smoothie, or lemonade.  A few weeks ago, however, I saw strawberries on sale for about $1 a quart, and I bought… well, I bought a LOT.  When I got them home, I started cleaning, hulling, and freezing those lovely little bright red berries.  After freezing batches and batches of strawberries, I noticed a few jugs of a pre-made strawberry lemonade in our pantry, and thought, “Game on! I make better lemonade than that!”  This Strawberry Lavender Lemonade is better than pre-made lemonade, is refreshing, delicious, and best of all– it’s easy!

Continue reading

Lavender Lemonade- Quick, Easy, and Perfect for Parties. Only ingredients needed- lavender petals, sugar, + lemons. Optional: Add gin or vodka for Hard Lavender Lemonade!

Lavender Lemonade

Lavender Lemonade- Quick, Easy, and Perfect for Parties. Only ingredients needed- lavender petals, sugar, + lemons. Optional: Add gin or vodka for Hard Lavender Lemonade!

This spring, I went a little crazy with my herb garden.  What started out as 2 herbs, grew to four, and then I added a few more, and then a few more, and then before I knew it, there were 13 colorful little metal pots filled with perky green herbs.  Among the herbs were two lavender plants, happily growing and making everything on my tiny deck smell better.  Seeing those lavender plants reminded me that a little while back, a I’d been gifted a bag of dried culinary lavender petals.  (Thank you, lavender-gifting friend!)  I wanted to use the dried petals up before I (hopefully) had a plant full of new lavender flowers to dry out, and that is how my obsession with Lavender Lemonade began.  This lemonade is not only delicious, it’s incredibly easy.

Continue reading

Chocolate Mint Julep

Chocolate Mint Julep

Chocolate Mint Julep- the Perfect Derby Day Drink!

Do you know what Saturday is?  Why, it’s Kentucky Derby Day, of course!  It’s time for the fellas to put on their linen suits and pastel shirts, and ladies, get out your sun-dresses and big hats.  If you’re one of the select few lazing away your day at Churchill Downs while you wait for the horses to whiz by, you’ll probably be paying someone else for your mint juleps and Derby pie.  If, however, you’ll be watching the race from home, or at a Derby party, you might need to make that julep yourself!  This recipe for Chocolate Mint Julep will be the perfect addition to your Derby Day.
Continue reading