4th of July Recipe Round Up

Hi Everyone! I’m Nicole, Annette’s web manager and friend, and today, I’m bringing you a 4th of July recipe round up. I’ll say it once, and I’ll say it again, the fourth of July is one of my favorite holidays. For the past eight years, we’ve spent the holiday at the beach with my husband’s family, and we’re here again having a great time. It’s always so much fun.

Since we’re at the beach to celebrate, we’re always looking for easy recipes that we can recreate without much effort. We’re on vacation after all! Thank goodness for the power of Pinterest. I don’t know about you, but I always find some of the best ideas there, and 9 times out of 10, they’re easy to execute.

Here are some of my favorite 4th of July recipes that I found this year. On our menu? Patriotic ice cream sandwiches. And of course, we wouldn’t skip the sparkling sangria!

Photo by Pizzazzerie.

Photo by Pizzazzerie.

Kick off your holiday with an appetizer for a crowd. This cheese and onion dip with festive accruements had me at hello. It’s such a clever idea to cut tortillas into star shapes with cookie cutters. Then all you need to do is add stripes of red pepper for dipping, too and voila!

Photo by Gimme Some Oven

Photo by Gimme Some Oven

Don’t put away the cookie cutters just yet. Instead, use them again to make festive star shapes out of fruit for a sparkling sangria. This recipe sounds yummy and fresh. Add some red, white, and blue straws or cocktail napkins to really celebrate.

Photo by Just a Taste

Photo by Just a Taste

Photo by Freutcake

Photo by Freutcake

Of course, no celebration is complete without an easy dessert. We’ve got our eyes on these patriotic ice cream sandwiches, but this easy ice cream cake looks amazing, too! And if you decided to make both, I’d be okay with that too. It is a celebration after all!

Have a wonderful 4th of July!

xo, Nicole

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Spring Cocktails, A Day at the Races, & More: It’s the Top 4

Here's a quick glimpse at some of my favorite (and our most viewed) blogs. It's our top 4 for April. Stay tuned for May!

Here’s a quick glimpse at some of my favorite (and our most viewed) blogs. It’s our top 4 for April.  Writing blog content is something I love to do, and it’s always neat hearing and seeing what you like, too. Let me know what you’d like to see more of in the future. Stay tuned for May; I can’t wait to show you what’s up my sleeve.

Top 4 for April:

The Fortress: A Renovation Update from Italy 

It’s Coming Up Cocktails: My Favorite Spring Sips

A Day at the Races

Ikea’s Jassa Collection

xx Annette

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A Day at the Races:: Kentucky Derby Party

Annette's tips for hosting a Kentucky Derby party cannot be beat, and a Kentucky Derby party wouldn't be complete without a classic cocktail, a Mint Julep. Annette's tips for hosting a Kentucky Derby party cannot be beat, and a Kentucky Derby party wouldn't be complete without a classic cocktail, a Mint Julep.

Hi Everyone! It’s Nicole, Annette’s web-manager here. I don’t know about you, but the Kentucky Derby is my unofficial start to summer. One of my very best college girlfriends is from Lexington, Kentucky, and she instilled a love for the race in us while we were in school.

Even though I’ve only gotten to have one trip to Churchill Downs for the run for the roses, there’s something about the Kentucky Derby that keeps me intrigued year after year. Maybe it’s the beautiful horses or the fabulous fashion…or maybe it’s the the Mint Juleps. Either way, it’s such a quintessential, classic event.

This year, I’m planning to watch the races with friends. Who knows? Maybe we’ll don fun hats and chic sundresses for the occasion, too. I’ve already started thinking about decor, food, and beverages for the day, and of course, I’ve turned to Annette for all of the details.

Annette's tips for hosting a Kentucky Derby party cannot be beat, and a Kentucky Derby party wouldn't be complete without a classic cocktail, a Mint Julep.

Annette’s tips for hosting a Kentucky Derby party cannot be beat. I love her ideas for decor like including vintage horse trophies and ribbons, sprinkling in plastic horses here and there, and making sure roses make an appearance. To plan a party of your own, you can find her full list of tips here.

And a Kentucky Derby party wouldn’t be complete without a classic cocktail, and what’s more appropriate than a Mint Julep? A splash of simple syrup and a whole lot of Bourbon makes for one sinfully sweet sip.

Classic Mint Julep by Becky Stayner
serves 1

You will need:
– Crushed ice
– 2 oz. good Bourbon
– 1 oz. simple syrup
– 6 leaves of fresh mint + fresh mint for garnish

To prepare:

Make the simple syrup by bringing one cup of water to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and stir in one cup of sugar till it dissolves. Once it’s chilled, stir in mint leaves to steep overnight (a trick from Annette’s friend, Becky). Put crushed ice, bourbon, and mint leaf simple syrup in a julep cup. Garnish with fresh mint leaves. Don’t crush the leaves! Be gentle…after all, this is a Southern drink.

xo, Nicole

photos by Leslie Graham

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It’s Coming Up Cocktails:: My Favorite Spring Sips

What better way to usher in a new season than to welcome it with cocktails?! Since I am still busy wrapping up my second book, Cocktail Italiano, I have cocktails on my mind all the time. These two spring sips are two of my favorites. They’re oldies but goodies.

The first, the Rare Fellow, is like taking a sip of spring harvest especially with its jalapeno garnish. The second, a Blood Orange Margarita, will be your go-to for the season I am sure of it. Who doesn’t love a great margarita? Enjoy and happy spring!

xx Annette

These two spring sips are two of my favorites. The first is like taking a sip of spring harvest, and the second will be your go-to for the season.

The Rare Fellow
serves 1

You will need:
– 2 slices of jalapeno pepper ( + 1 slice for garnish)
– 1/2 inch slice of ginger peeled and grated on a microplane
– 2 oz. of fresh orange juice
– 1/2 ounce Triple Sec
– 1 oz. Martin Millers Gin
– 2 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice ( or lemonade)

To prepare:
In a cocktail shaker, muddle the ginger, orange juice and jalapeno slices. Add Triple Sec, Gin and lemon juice, along with ice, and shake until combined. Strain into an ice-filled highball glass and garnish with a jalapeno slice. *Option – For a sweeter version, lemonade can be substituted for the lemon juice.

Photo: by Moi

These two spring sips are two of my favorites. The first is like taking a sip of spring harvest, and the second will be your go-to for the season.

Blood Orange Margaritas
serves 4
You will need:

– 1 cup (8 oz.) freshly squeezed blood orange juice (about 7-8 oranges)
– ½ cup (4 oz.) freshly squeezed lime juice
– ¾ cup (6 oz.) tequila
– ½ cup (4 oz.) orange liqueur
– ¼ cup (2 oz.) simple syrup
– Blood orange slices, for garnish

To prepare:

Combine all ingredients in a pitcher and stir well to combine.  Pour into chilled glasses over ice. Garnish with a slice of blood orange, if desired.  Serve.

Photo by:  Annie Eats

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Book two is full speed ahead….Join me for Aperitivo on the Italian Riviera

My next book, Cocktail Italiano, will literally be a guide book to my favorite pastime in Italy, "Aperitivo," here's the first glimpse!

As most of you know I have 2 big projects going on at the same time: our Italian house renovation and my second book, Cocktail Italiano, a book about Aperitivo, the cocktail culture of the Italian Riviera.

My next book will literally be a guide book to my favorite pastime in Italy, “Aperitivo”. The book will be a perfect Apero primer to toss into your suitcase and accompany you on your cocktail infused travels along the coastline of Italy. The book will be chock-full of beautiful destinations along the Ligurian coastline. Cocktail Italiano includes all my favorite little bars, seaside joints, and swanky hotels to pass the night away sipping spirits and partaking in scrumptious nibbles. The book will also be filled with the most popular Italian cocktails and nibbles recipes for you to enjoy Aperitivo in your own home Italian style. It’s the ultimate insiders’ guide to some of the authentic Italian Aperitivo destinations.

A little about the title “Cocktail Italiano”: it is a riff on my all time favorite Italian song “Mambo Italiano.”  I am super jazzed to share my book with you as it captures the Italian Riviera Lifestyle and showcases the cocktail culture of my favorite Italian region, Liguria, where we have lived for the past 13 years every summer.

You will be transported to this gorgeous vital region of Italy. I have spent the last 2 years photographing the book myself with a little help for my friends. It’s been a passion project and tons of fun. So look for little snippets on my instagram feed, along with the release next Spring 2018.

Let the cocktails begin, cin cin xx

 

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