Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice

When I was a tiny little girl, full of precociousness and wonderment, my favorite snack was cinnamon sugar toast.

Unfortunately, this saccharine snack was usually reserved for very special occasions….or when Grandma was around for spoiling and sneaky giggles. The warm crunchy sugary toast melted away all of the stress of a toddlers life, bringing about a huge grin and a little heart bursting with joy.  As an adult, I look back and find myself missing the simple power of toast points to comfort, warm, and make the world right again.

So, in honor of cinnamon toast in all of it’s comfort and joy, I’ve concocted a little adult beverage to warm your soul and make you the star of upcoming holiday soirees.

 

 

Dust off your martini shaker and dig out your cocktail glasses. For rimming the glasses, pour a little granulated white sugar onto a plate and mix in a bit of ground cinnamon; wet the rim of a glass and dip it in the cinnamon sugar and wiggle it around a bit.

 Now, get your shaker and pour in 1 ounce of good-quality bourbon, followed by 2 ounces of orange juice. Sprinkle in ½ teaspoon of sugar and a good douse of cinnamon. Add a handful of ice and shake shake shake it like a Polaroid picture. Now just pour into a glass rimmed with cinnamon and spice, and sip away!

 

 

 

 

I hope all of you on the East Coast are safely hunkered down and out of Hurricane Sandy’s way. You’re in my thoughts. xo

 

 

 

Wedding Bells

Ahhh vacation. There’s nothing like the feeling.

The man and I were invited to a wedding last weekend in Dana Point, and we jumped at the chance to celebrate with the happy couple in a quaint sea-side town.

M and I drove down Friday night, and spent the evening nestled in the corner of a local Italian trattoria, gorging ourselves on mussels and pasta by candle-light while a lone saxophonist played Moon River in the background. We finally teetered out hours later, and were more than delighted to collapse into an enormous fluffy bed when we reached the hotel.

 

 

 

 

After a long luxurious morning of puttering around the suite, gulping in salty sea air from the balcony, and indulging in an extended bubble bath complete with champagne on ice (and tiaras made of foam), it was just about time to get dressed for the nuptials.

 

 

 

 

I wore a new dress (which thrillingly looks a bit like the one on my wish-list) paired with opaque tights and black velvet booties.

 

 

 

 

 I had dug out my grandmother’s vintage golden satchel a few days before, which just barely fit my camera and a lipstick. Phew!

 

 

 

 

M wore a Ben Sherman suit and my favorite Too Boot New York shoes (sold out, similar style here). I wonder who’s his stylist? 😉

 

 

 

 

The ceremony was held on an intimate terrace overlooking the coast. The sun was setting as we arrived, and just as it cast its last golden hues and melted into the horizon, we took our seats. The bride was gorgeous, just radiating joy, and as they met beneath an arbor laden with crimson roses, the electric ache of deep passionate love was palpable.

 

 

 

 

Cocktail hour followed, and just as guests took their first sips and nibbles, the heavens opened up. Looking a bit like drowned rats, we all hastily ensured the bride and groom that it was a sign of good luck! The good-sport attitude was infectious though, and despite the rain the night was filled with laughter and the terrace was filled with dancing bodies.

 

 

 

 

Merriment carried on well into the night, and I barely remember falling fast asleep in M’s arms hours later.

 

 

 

 

Lemon Chicken Pizza with Arugula

In Trader Joe’s I trust.

I can walk out of this market a mere $15 poorer and have ingredients for a heavily-laden dinner table. One of my particular favorites (besides their well-stocked aisles and aisles of wine) is the ready-made pizza dough. They carry plain, whole wheat, and garlic chive flavors – quite the bargain for just about 3 dollars. All you have to do then is decide what scrumptious toppers to load it up with!

On a floured and stretched TJ’s pizza dough, I recently crafted a pie of all my favorites: roasted chicken, peppery arugula, a buttery sexy version of béchamel, soft velvety mozzarella, and bright hints of lemon throughout. The crust gave a perfect toothsome crunch, while remaining soft and chewy inside. I highly recommend it.

 

 

LEMON CHICKEN PIZZA WITH ARUGULA

For the Sauce:

–          5 cloves garlic

–          1 shallot

–          1 c. white wine

–          AP flour

–          2 tbsp. butter

–          Juice from ½ lemon

 

For the rest:

–          Pizza dough (Trader Joe’s, plain)

–          Wild baby arugula

–          Juice from ½ lemon, zest

–          Shredded chicken

–          Mozzarella

–          Olive Oil

 

 

Start with your “béchamel” sauce: finely mince up your shallot and garlic and simmer away in a tiny bit of butter until just golden. Now pour in the white wine and simmer until the liquid has reduced by about half. Lastly, squeeze in some lemon juice, add about 1 tbsp of flour, and the remaining butter – stir or whisk until smooth.

Now go on and stretch out your pizza dough on a floured board. Drizzled with half of the sauce, and brush all the edges with olive oil. Next, sprinkle the shredded chicken and mozzarella evenly over the whole thing. Drizzle the rest of the sauce over the top.

Slide the prepped pizza onto a greased baking sheet or pizza stone, if you have one. Pop it in the oven at 400 degrees F, and cook for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.  Once you’ve taken your gorgeous pie out of the oven and set it to rest for a moment, get a mixing bowl and toss a few handfuls of arugula with a drizzle of olive oil, the last wee squeeze of lemon juice, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Pile this zesty salad high on the pizza, slice it up, and enjoy!

 

 

 

If you are not fortunate enough to know the awesome bounty of Trader Joe’s, I do recommend Rose’s recipe for a perfect home-made pizza dough.

Bitten

Bold, cherry-red lips. All-American.

 

 

No matter how many different types of lip-coloring utensils I try, none of them really seem to work as well as I initially may hope. Balms labeled “Outlast” can’t quite outlast an hour or two, colored glosses are never a deep enough hue, and traditional lipstick only ends up sticking to my teeth.

Eventually I found myself standing, frustrated, under the bright fluorescent lights of the cosmetics aisle in Target. It was there that I made the happiest discovery…

Revlon’s line of Just Bitten lip crayons have become my absolute hands-down favorite. The gel based lip stain leaves the perfect pigment and lasts for hours, while the nourishing moisture stick leaves your lips feeling soft as a baby’s behind.

 

 

I’ve had my deep berry colored Just Bitten for nearly a year now, so I thought it might be time to shake things up a little. Enter: Gothic red. It turns out a very pretty cherry-crimson, darkening even more with a heavy-handed application.

They come in an array of gorgeous colors and are a steal at just $7.99!

 

Two-Toned Denim Shirt: Forever21

Leggings: Nordstrom

Lipcolor: Revlon Just Bitten, “Gothic”

Sunglasses: Thrifted