These vegan friendly truffles are made with heavy cream (or coconut cream), rich semi-sweet chocolate, coffee liqueur, and cayenne.

Chile Mocha Truffles

These vegan friendly truffles are made with heavy cream (or coconut cream), rich semi-sweet chocolate, coffee liqueur, and cayenne.

Chile Mocha Truffles

These vegan friendly truffles are made with heavy cream (or coconut cream), rich semi-sweet chocolate, coffee liqueur, and cayenne pepper.  

Attention all chocolate lovers!  If you, like me, like a little ‘oomph’ in your chocolate, listen up!  Recently, while gleefully sipping a Chile Mocha coffee drink, it occurred to me that this spiced, earthy cocoa would be fabulous as a truffle (the chocolate, not the mushroom).  Suddenly, my chocolate obsessed brain was on a mission– a truffle mission.  If you, like me, prefer your cocoa rich, dark, and a little bit spicy– this chocolate is for you!  It’s delicious, it melts in your mouth, and is perfect for parties, date nights, or even groggy midnight snacks.  I present to you– the Chile Mocha Truffle.  These truffles are made from a spicy and decadent chocolate ganache, rolled into perfect little balls of happiness, and lightly dusted with spiced sugar, sweetened cocoa powder,  or sesame seeds.

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These Smoked Gouda Sweet Potato Fries are baked until crispy, and topped with flavorful smoky gouda and pecans. This flavor-filled side is ready start-to-finish in about 25 minutes.

Smoked Gouda Sweet Potato Fries

These Smoked Gouda Sweet Potato Fries are baked until crispy, and topped with flavorful smoky gouda and pecans. This flavor-filled side is ready start-to-finish in about 25 minutes.

Smoked Gouda Sweet Potato Fries

These Smoked Gouda Sweet Potato Fries are baked until crispy, and topped with flavorful, smoky gouda and pecans.  This flavor-filled side is ready start-to-finish in about 25 minutes.

What’s your favorite way to use sweet potatoes?  I’m honestly not sure what my favorite sweet potato recipe is, because whenever and however I devour those gorgeous orange spuds, I love them a little bit more!  A few weeks ago, I was at a café, sharing sweet potato fries with friends, and I fell even harder in love with the starchy vegetable.  These fries were smothered in smoked gouda, and as soon as I got home, I started dreaming about piles and piles of orange, cheesy fries.  Faster than you can say ‘sweet potato,’ I was chopping potatoes, shredding cheese, and dicing pecans.  These Smoked Gouda Sweet Potato Fries are baked to perfection, covered in goopy, smoky, flavorful cheese, and topped with crunchy nuts.

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Starbucks Copycat! This Eggnog Latte is a delicious, custardy latte that's easy to make at home with REAL ingredients. Plus, it's a perfect way to use up leftover eggnog! Champagne-Tastes.com

Eggnog Latte

Starbucks Copycat! This Eggnog Latte is a delicious, custardy latte that's easy to make at home with REAL ingredients. Plus, it's a perfect way to use up leftover eggnog! Champagne-Tastes.com

Eggnog Latte

This Eggnog Latte is a delicious, custardy latte that’s easy to make at home with REAL ingredients.  Plus, it’s a perfect way to use up leftover eggnog! 

A few days ago, I saw snowflakes.  They didn’t stick, they didn’t last, but as they fell they whispered, “Winter is coming.”  It’s time to find the blankets, dig out your sweaters, and break out the eggnog!  If you, along with the rest of America, have been chugging Pumpkin Spiced Lattes since October, it’s time to try winterizing your latte with some ‘nog.  Skip the coffee shop lines and prices, and make this rich and creamy latte at home!

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This Kentucky Bourbon Coffee is a Southern take on an Irish coffee, and is the perfect drink to keep you warm this winter. This caffeinated cocktail is made with freshly brewed coffee, coffee liqueur, bourbon, and cream.

Kentucky Bourbon Coffee

This Kentucky Bourbon Coffee is a Southern take on an Irish coffee, and is the perfect drink to keep you warm this winter. This caffeinated cocktail is made with freshly brewed coffee, coffee liqueur, bourbon, and cream.

Kentucky Bourbon Coffee

This Kentucky Bourbon Coffee is a Southern take on an Irish coffee, and is the perfect drink to keep you warm on chilly days.  This caffeinated cocktail is made with freshly-brewed coffee, coffee liqueur, bourbon, and cream.  This post is sponsored by Drizly.

Last fall, on one of our Bourbon Trail escapades, the husband and I found ourselves dashing through a Lexington parking lot on a blustery, stormy day.  We hurried inside the Alltech distillery, toured the brewery and distillery, and relied on their bourbon tastings to keep us warm as we made our way to the different buildings in the tour.  The tour ended with their delicious, warming, smile-inducing Bluegrass Sundown– a bourbon-ized version of the classic Irish Coffee.  When I came home, I was convinced that I could make my own bourbon-licious coffee!  This Kentucky Bourbon Coffee is the perfect winter cocktail– an easy-to-make, Southern version of the classic Irish coffee.

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This Kentucky Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole is made with sweet potatoes mashed with bourbon, maple syrup, and butter, and topped with a bourbon pecan crumble.

Kentucky Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole

This Kentucky Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole is made with sweet potatoes mashed with bourbon, maple syrup, and butter, and topped with a bourbon pecan crumble.

Kentucky Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole

This Kentucky Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole is made with sweet potatoes mashed with bourbon, maple syrup, and butter, and topped with a bourbon pecan crumble.

Each fall, there is one vegetable that reigns supreme.  One spud that shines above them all– the earthy, nutritious, delicious– sweet potato.  Growing up, my mom would, on occasion, miraculously convert those orangey-brown potatoes into a fluffy, buttery, and nutty casserole.  Each time it popped out of the oven, I would shamelessly devour as much as humanly possible, while silently wondering if sweet potato casserole was the best food on the planet.  The answer, of course, is obviously yes!  This Kentucky Bourbon Sweet Potato Casserole is even better– full of buttery sweet potatoes whipped with cream and bourbon, and topped with a bourbon-pecan streusel.

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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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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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Gourmet Recipes on a Budget

18 Gourmet Recipes on a Budget

Gourmet Recipes on a Budget - champagne-tastes.com

Gourmet Recipes on a Budget

These 18 Gourmet Recipes on a Budget feature gourmet-style recipes that are full of flavor and flair, but won’t hurt your wallet!  

Does your bank account start sobbing as soon as your car pulls into the grocery store parking lot?  Does your credit card start to hide deeper and deeper in your wallet as you approach the checkout?  If buying your usual groceries stretches your budget, buying “fancy food” for a party or date night might send you into a panicked frenzy!  Never fear– fellow budget-conscious foodies!  If you too, have ‘champagne tastes, but a beer budget,’ these 18 Gourmet Recipes on a Budget will help you serve flavorful, gorgeous food– without stripping your savings account dry.

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Beluga Lentils Caviar

Beluga Lentil Caviar Appetizer

This vegan-friendly Beluga Lentil Caviar recipe features black beluga lentil salad served on top of crackers with cream cheese, and is the perfect cold weather appetizer for your dinner party! champagne-tastes.com

Beluga Lentil Caviar

This vegan-friendly Beluga Lentil Caviar recipe features black beluga lentil salad served on top of crackers with cream cheese, and is the perfect cold weather appetizer for your dinner party! 

Each year, as the air gets cooler and the leaves change color, the food in my pantry also shifts.  The lighter, summery meals switch over to heartier ones, and with that comes lentils.  My lentil obsession is probably obvious at this point– if you open my pantry you’ll find red lentils, french green lentils, brown lentils, split peas, (which are almost lentils) and of course, the black Beluga lentil.  Beluga lentils get their name from their resemblance to– you guessed it– the Beluga whale Beluga caviar!  (You guessed the whale first too, right?!)

Normally, I make Beluga Lentil Salad with these flavorful little gems, but they can also be turned into a deliciously tricky faux-caviar appetizer.  Pile some lentils onto a cracker and cream cheese (or vegan cream cheese), top it with dill, and you’ll be fancy enough to go to a party at the Ritz.  (Imagine how impressed everyone would be if you served these on Ritz crackers AT the Ritz? … And I wrote that joke for free, boys and girls!  This post is not sponsored by Ritz– cracker or Hotel).  These Beluga Lentil Caviar bites are vegan-friendly, simple to prepare, and make a perfect hors d’oeuvre.

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