Category Archives: Happy Hour

Baby / Happy Hour / Personal

Happiest Hour

May 5, 2016

The weekend before last KC and I decided on a whim to hit up a happy hour at a local restaurant (after doing some very important shopping at Old Navy when dresses were 50% off. Hallelujah!) img_8176

We haven’t been to a legit happy hour I think since before Prim was born (and I of course couldn’t drink for the 9 months before that since, pregnancy, y’know.) Now that Prim is older (and is down to nursing only three times in 24 hours! Whoop whoop!) she’s getting a little easier to take to restaurants. She’s always been pretty good about coming along for errands to the grocery store or Target — mostly because these are quick trips and there’s lots of movement and people and things to look at. But now we can occasionally take her to “highchair places” to have a quick bite or a drink without having her lose her mind or needing one of us to keep her entertained every second. (And I know that iPhones are amazing distraction devices that we may very well give into someday to keep Prim occupied, for now we try to keep her away from digital screens as much as we can, which can make the whole “sitting still” a little challenging.) img_8186I realize that going out for a quick drink in the evening might not seem like a very big deal to a lot of people, but it’s something that KC and I used to do together pretty regularly before we had Prim, and I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t miss it after almost two years. It’s also something I’ve dreamed about doing in Europe — going out for a quick afternoon coffee or glass of wine and watching the world go by. (I’m sure it will be much less relaxing than I’m envisioning, but who cares! It’s my daydream, so lay off.)

Going out with Prim in tow is certainly not the same as the long, leisurely evenings we used to have together, but I think this new setup might just be even better. (Y’know, at least when she’s not screaming and throwing silverware. 😉 )

Cocktails / Dairy-Free / Drinks / Gluten-Free / Happy Hour / Sweet / Vegan / Vegetarian

Bourbon Blackberry Smash Cocktail

August 6, 2014

Bourbon Blackberry Smash Cocktail

Given that it’s the middle of the week, I thought a cocktail post might be in order.  Sometimes a Wednesday night calls for this sort of thing, y’know?

This cocktail is a summery twist on the classic whiskey-ginger, and is perfect for mid-week drinking (given that it takes almost zero effort and brain cells in order to make.)  The recipe is also highly adaptable, so feel free to sub in a different berry and/or herb if you feel like it.

Bourbon Blackberry Smash

makes one cocktail

  • Bourbon
  • 2 large, ripe blackberries
  • 4 mint leaves, torn
  • Ginger beer
  • Ice
  1. In a rocks or double old-fashioned glass, muddle together the blackberries and mint leaves.
  2. Add 1.5 ounces bourbon.
  3. Fill glass with ice and top with ginger beer.

Notes and Modifications:

  1. I used Woodford Reserve, but feel free to use any whiskey or bourbon you like here.
  2. Cherries or blueberries would be a nice alternative to the blackberries, if you’ve got them on hand.  If your berries are more on the tart side, add a little sugar during the muddling step.
  3. Feel free to try basil in place of the mint.
  4. I used Cock & Bull ginger beer.  If you find the cocktail too sweet (as different types of ginger beer will add different amounts of sweetness) add a squeeze of lime.

I mean, it’s pretty much rocket science, right?  Maybe I’ll recreate this around the holidays with cooked cranberries and rosemary.  I think that might be quite a treat!

Appetizer / Dairy-Free / Happy Hour / Savory / Snack / Vegetarian

Homemade Soft Pretzels

July 8, 2014

How was your 4th of July?  Ours was fun.  We had a BBQ which ended up going long into the evening and involved a lot of debauchery and a record consumption of Fireball shots (Not by me.  Ew.)  If I had to gauge the amount of fun our party was by how sticky our dining room floor was the next day, I’d say it was suuuuper fun.

At the BBQ we served grilled sausages with sautéed peppers and onions, the world’s largest watermelon, and my go-to Caesar salad.  The night before I also whipped up two batches of homemade soft pretzels (because sausages + soft pretzels — so American, right?  Yah.)  The pretzels were such a hit that I figured I should share the recipe with y’all, so you too can be the talk of the town at your next party.

Soft pretzels aren’t particularly difficult to make, just kind of time consuming.  And if you cheat a little and use a bread maker to make the dough (like me), it’s even easier.


Soft Pretzels

makes 16 pretzels

  • 1 1/4 cups warm water (80-90°F)
  • 1 tbsp. salt (plus additional for sprinkling)
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 2 1/4 tsp (1 packet) active dry yeast
  • Alkaline solution: 5 cups water + 1/3 cup baking soda
  • Egg wash: 1 egg beaten with a splash of water or milk
  1. Using a bread maker: To make the dough, place all ingredients (omitting the alkaline solution and egg wash) into your bread maker in the order listed above and use the dough setting.
  2. Not using a bread maker: Combine water, sugar and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment and let sit for 5 minutes until the mixture begins to foam.  In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and salt.  With the mixer on low speed, slowly add in flour mixture until well combined and the dough comes together.  Increase the mixer speed to medium and knead the dough for 4-5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  Oil a clean bowl with vegetable or olive oil and place dough in it.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm place for 50-55 min, or until the dough has doubled in size.
  3. Once your dough is ready, cut the dough into 16 equal pieces (cut into fourths, then cut each fourth into fourths again).  Quickly roll each piece into a long rope and twist it into a pretzel shape.  *Try to handle the dough as little as possible — the longer you mess with it, the tougher your pretzels will be.
  4. Once you have 16 pretzels formed, place them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silpat, cover them with plastic wrap, and let them rest for 20-30 minutes.
  5. Preheat oven to 425°.
  6. Make your alkaline solution by combining 5 cups of water with 1/3 cup baking soda in a wide saucepan, then bring to a boil (I used my Le Creuset braiser for this).  Once boiling, boil each pretzel for 3 minutes, flipping halfway through (you can do this in batches rather than going one at a time).  Place onto a wire rack to drain.
  7. Once drained, return pretzels to a baking sheet lined with a silpat or parchment paper.  Brush each pretzel with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse salt (I recommend using pretzel salt or sea salt for this — I used Maldon flake salt).
  8. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.
  9. To revive pretzels the next day, brush with melted butter, sprinkle with a tad more salt, and reheat in the oven for 3-5 minutes.

IMG_3122IMG_3123IMG_3124IMG_3119Pair these with mustard and a cold beer and you’re in business.


Cocktails / Dairy-Free / Date Night at Home / Drinks / Favorite Things / Gluten-Free / Happy Hour / Vegan / Vegetarian

Monk's Garden Copycat Cocktail

January 29, 2014

I have a ridiculously delicious, pink (!) cocktail for you today.  And don’t worry, this isn’t one of those grossly sweet, girly pink cocktails — it’s a well-balanced, citrusy-bitter type of cocktail.

I mean, KC was even singing the praises of this cocktail, so don’t rule it out just because you’re manly.

This cocktail came A. from my quest to use a pomelo which had shown up in our most recent CSA box, and B. from my desire to recreate the cocktail I’m obsessed with at one of my favorite eateries — Boot and Shoe Service.  The cocktail is called the Monk’s Garden (I have no idea why), and it’s bright, refreshing, a tad bitter, and, of course, pink (hello).  The traditional cocktail uses grapefruit and yellow chartreuse, but I didn’t have either of those (and yellow chartreuse is sort of absurdly expensive), so this copycat was born.

And y’know what?  It tasted spot-on to me.  Dead ringer for one of my favorite $10 beverages.

So next time you’re having a date night at home, or a fancy girls-night-in, whip up a couple of these (maybe even top it off with champagne..? OMG WHAT.)

Monks Garden Copycat Cocktail

Monk’s Garden Copycat Cocktail

makes 2 cocktails (feel free to cut in half to make just one — but why would you want to?)



  • 3 oz gin*
  • 1.5 oz St. Germaine
  • 3 oz fresh-squeezed pomelo** or grapefruit juice
  • 1.5 – 2 oz fresh-squeezed lime juice (depending on how tart/bitter you want your cocktail)
  • scant 1/2 oz simple syrup*** (optional — you won’t need this if your grapefruit is really ripe)
  • 7 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
  • ice
  1. Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for 60 seconds.
  2. Strain into two chilled cocktail glasses and enjoy!


*Gin: I used Hendricks Gin in these.  I wouldn’t recommend Tanqueray for this cocktail (too piney for these, I think).

**If you use pomelo rather than grapefruit, you may need to add a little more simple syrup to balance out the bitterness.

***For the simple syrup, I prefer to start without it and then add a little if I feel like it needs it (remember: you can always add, but you can’t subtract!)

Cocktails / Dairy-Free / Drinks / Gluten-Free / Happy Hour / Vegetarian

Cocktail Post: Pisco Sour

January 7, 2014

Pisco Sour 1 Pisco sours are my current go-to, favorite cocktail.  I had one at Camino a couple years ago and have been hooked ever since.

Pisco sours are one of those drinks that seems pretty fancy to serve at home, but it’s actually really easy to make.  Also, it has a raw egg white in it so, A. it’s healthy (right?  Egg white = protein, so it’s basically a health food.) B. please make sure to use quality eggs (none of those 4 dozen for $1, ok?) and C. if you’re serving this to guests, make sure they’re cool with the raw factor.

Here’s what you’ll need, equipment-wise:

Pisco Sour 2

Pisco Sour

makes one cocktail (but feel free to double, triple…)

  • 1 egg white (separated from 1 large egg)
  • 1 oz freshly squeezed lime juice (regular or key limes are fine)
  • 3/4 – 1 oz simple syrup*
  • 1 1/2 oz pisco
  • ice
  • bitters (Angostura is traditional, but I prefer Peychauds for these)
  1. Optional first step: add egg white to cocktail shaker and shake vigorously for 15 seconds.**
  2. Add lime juice, simple syrup, pisco, and ice to cocktail shaker.  Seal and shake vigorously for about 60 seconds.
  3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass, and add a few drops of bitters to the top to garnish.

*Simple Syrup notes:

– Recipe: add 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water to a saucepan.  Heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is fully dissolved.  Store in airtight container (I keep mine in a mason jar) in the fridge.

– Measurements: the traditional recipe calls for 1 oz simple syrup.  I like my cocktail a little less sweet, so I add about 3/4 oz.  You can play around with yours until you get yours to your own desired sweetness.

**On the optional first step: I’ve made the cocktail with this step and without it (just adding everything to the shaker together and then shaking the heck out of it).  I’ve noticed that it adds a bit more foam to shake the egg white first, but it isn’t strictly necessary.

Pisco Sour 3