This Stinky French Grilled Cheese with Avocado is for the food adventurer! This tasty grilled cheese uses a washed rind "stinky cheese," avocado, and tomato in dark pumpernickel bread for a flavor explosion!

Stinky French Grilled Cheese with Avocado

This Stinky French Grilled Cheese with Avocado is for the food adventurer! This tasty grilled cheese uses a washed rind "stinky cheese," avocado, and tomato in dark pumpernickel bread for a flavor explosion!

Stinky French Grilled Cheese with Avocado

This Stinky French Grilled Cheese with Avocado is for the food adventurer!  This tasty grilled cheese uses a washed rind “stinky cheese,” avocado, and tomato in dark pumpernickel bread for a flavor explosion!

The husband has a theory.  He’s convinced that there are two types of people in this world– those who like blue cheese, and those who don’t.  The blue cheese lovers– these people like strong flavors, and have adventurous palates.  Blue cheese haters– well, they don’t.  He is so convinced of this that when we started dating, it was one of his first questions.  “How do you feel about blue cheese?!”  (It’s a good thing I like it, right!?!)  Is he right?   I’m not sure, but I am sure that there are people who are willing to try any new food handed their way.  People who think, “that looks weird– give me a bite!”  If you are an adventurous eater, and love strong flavors– then this Stinky French Grilled Cheese Sandwich with Avocado is for you!  Dig into pumpernickel bread filled with flavorful, and yet pungent, washed rind cheese, along with layers of tomato and avocado.

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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.

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Pesto Spinach Macaroni and Cheese- Easy, Gourmet Mac + Cheese, Ready in 20 Minutes Start to Finish! - champagne-tastes.com

Pesto Spinach Macaroni and Cheese

This Pesto Spinach Macaroni and Cheese is an easy, gourmet mac and cheese that's ready in twenty minutes start to finish!

Pesto Spinach Macaroni and Cheese

This Pesto Spinach Macaroni and Cheese is an easy, gourmet mac and cheese that’s ready in twenty minutes start to finish! 

Guys, I have a confession.  Some days, I just don’t care how easy a 15 minute meal is– my brain hurts, and I don’t want to cook.  Does this happen to you too?  On those nights, my first instinct is to have the husband cook dinner.  (The cat, of course, still refuses to help either of us cook.)  If that doesn’t work– there’s Indian take-out.  If take-out falls through– I reach back into the deep, dark recesses of my kitchen pantry– and pull out a box of mac and cheese.  Not just any mac and cheese, mind you– I like the fancy stuff.  The organic, ‘let’s pretend this powdered cheese came from a cow’ stuff.

However, even the fanciest boxed mac and cheese always leaves me full of doubt.  I’m left wondering, ‘What exactly did I just eat?’ and ‘Would homemade mac and cheese really have been harder to make??’  The answer, of course, is NO– homemade mac and cheese is NOT difficult to make, and doesn’t take much longer to prepare than the boxed kind.  Plus, with homemade mac and cheese– there’s no suspicious powdered cheese packet!  This Pesto Spinach Macaroni and Cheese takes about 20 minutes, start to finish, and is bursting with cheesy goodness.

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This Eggnog French Toast is soaked in a thick, creamy eggnog and served with cranberry syrup. Make eggnog specifically for french toast, or use leftover eggnog for a seasonally delicious breakfast!

Eggnog French Toast with Cranberry Sauce

This Eggnog French Toast is soaked in a thick, creamy eggnog and served with cranberry syrup. Make eggnog specifically for french toast, or use leftover eggnog for a seasonally delicious breakfast!

Eggnog French Toast

This Eggnog French Toast is soaked in a thick, creamy eggnog and served with cranberry syrup. Make eggnog specifically for French toast, or use leftover eggnog for a seasonally delicious breakfast!

I’ve gushed a lot about French toast– and if you think YOU have heard a lot about it, imagine the poor husband.  Plus, he has to EAT it all the time too!  (You no longer feel sorry for him, I know).  At any rate– I think about French toast a lot.  Way more than is healthy.  Recently, while mixing up a batch of eggnog, I thought– “Soaking bread in this would make the best French toast EVER!  It’s thick, it’s creamy, and it would make my favorite breakfast even more ridiculously amazing.”  And, for the record– I was right.  Use your leftover eggnog (or whip up a fresh batch!) and make this Eggnog French Toast with Cranberry Sauce for a decadently rich winter breakfast.

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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.

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This easy Pumpkin Eggnog is fall take on the classic winter cocktail, and is ready start-to-finish in about 10 minutes.

Pumpkin Eggnog

This easy Pumpkin Eggnog is fall take on the classic winter cocktail, and is ready start-to-finish in about 10 minutes.

Pumpkin Eggnog

This easy Pumpkin Eggnog is an autumn take on the classic winter cocktail, and is ready start-to-finish in about 10 minutes.  This post is sponsored by Drizly.

Do you love eggnog?  The thick, creamy drink is one of the husband’s favorites.  When he sees the cartons of eggnog start to magically appear in the dairy aisle in late fall, his eyes light up, and I know the eggnog guzzling is about to begin.  However, not all store-bought eggnog tastes as dairy-licious as one might hope, and these can also have an undeliciously long list of strange ingredients.  If you too wait all year for a drink of eggy luxury, but find yourself wrinkling your forehead in concern over the ingredients, or crinkling your nose because you thought it would taste better– listen up!  Eggnog is EASY to make at home.  I promise.  And this Pumpkin Eggnog isn’t just easy– it’s even BETTER than regular old eggnog because, well– because it has pumpkin!

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Savory Rosemary Apple Crêpes- A quick and easy lunch

Rosemary Apple Crêpes

Savory Rosemary Apple Crêpes- A quick and easy lunch

Rosemary Apple Crêpes

These Rosemary Apple Crêpes are light, delicious, and perfect for lunch.  Simply stuff one French Crêpe with apple slices, cheddar cheese, and fresh rosemary, and then lightly grill.

It’s no secret that I love crêpes– I crave them for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and even for snacks in between!  If you’ve kept up with Champagne Tastes over the last few months, you know that I’ve been on a crêpe-binge– a crêpe-stravaganza— and have filled your phone screens and work computers with all things crêpe.  You’re welcome.  Let’s do this again, shall we?  Today– Rosemary Apple Crêpes– another simple and delicious way to fill your French Crêpes.

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This vegetarian Savory Apple Pizza is gourmet pizza at its most delicious. It's made with sauteed apples over mozzarella and gorgonzola cheeses, and is topped with fig syrup and pecans.

Savory Apple Pizza

This vegetarian Savory Apple Pizza is gourmet pizza at its most delicious. It's made with sauteed apples over mozzarella and gorgonzola cheeses, and is topped with fig syrup and pecans.

Savory Apple Pizza

This vegetarian Savory Apple Pizza is gourmet pizza at its most delicious.  It’s made with sautéed apples over mozzarella and gorgonzola cheeses, and is topped with a fig jam sauce and pecans. 

This recipe has a story– a long, twisted tale of pizza goodness.  It all started a few years back, when I was just out of college, and shockingly, shockingly, couldn’t find a well-paying job for my studio art degree.  You’re all shocked too, right?  At any rate, I ended up (briefly) with the slightly mind-numbing job of entering health insurance data while sitting in a dark cubicle.  To pass the time, I flipped through the waiting-room magazines.  Whenever I’d find a recipe I liked, I’d have a little cubicle happy-dance.  Well, friends, that’s when I found a recipe for a Savory Apple Pizza.  Quite honestly, I have absolutely no idea what magazine it was in, and over the years this recipe has morphed into an entirely different pizza, but that’s where it began.  This Savory Apple Pizza has become a dinner and pizza party favorite.  It’s topped with gorgonzola, mozzarella, sautéed apples, pecans, and finished off with a delicious drizzle of fig jam sauce.

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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.

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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.

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