Thursday, December 30, 2010

Champagne Wishes

Are you ready to ring in the new year???  I hope you toast to the year that was and the year that will be!
Here is a quick recipe for one of my favorite champagne cocktails...

Champagne Limoncello Cocktails
Yield: 8 servings (serving size: about 1/2 cup)


  • 8  (3 x 1/2-inch) lemon rind strips
  • 8  tablespoons  Limoncello (lemon-flavored liqueur)
  • 4  teaspoons  fresh lemon juice
  • 1  (750-milliliter) bottle brut Champagne, chilled


1. Roll up each strip of lemon rind; place 1 into each of 8 Champagne flutes. Add 1 tablespoon liqueur and 1/2 teaspoon juice to each glass. Divide Champagne evenly among glasses. Serve immediately.

How are you planning to celebrate 2011?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Tasty Tuesdays: Hearty Sausage and Rice Casserole

I hope you all enjoyed your holiday weekend!  We had a wonderful time celebrating our first Christmas with both Mark's family and my family.  The week was full of tasty treats - breakfast at Cafe du Monde, dinners at Domenica and Flaming Torch, tea at the Windsor Court, and brunch at Commanders.  Then, of course, there were the meals shared in our new home.  We hosted Christmas Eve with my dad's side of the family.  It was a casual affair where we served chicken and andouille gumbo and several dips.  We also hosted a more formal sit down Christmas night dinner for fourteen.  

I posted our menu HERE last Tuesday, but I decided to change things just a bit.  Rather than the sweet potatoes, I made this Hearty Sausage and Rice Casserole.    It was absolutely scrumptious!!!!!  I doubled the recipe and we went through almost all of it in one night!  The dish was incredibly flavorful and super easy to make.  


  • 1 pound bulk pork sausage
  • 1 package (8 ounces) sliced mushrooms
  • 2 stalks celery, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large red pepper, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves, crushed
  • 1 box (6 ounces) seasoned long-grain and wild rice mix
  • 1 3/4 cups Swanson® Chicken Stock
  • 1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup (Regular or 98% Fat Free)
  • 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (about 4 ounces)


Cook the sausage in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until it's well browned, stirring often to separate meat. Pour off any fat.
Add the mushrooms, celery, pepper, onion, thyme, marjoram and seasoning packet from the rice blend to the skillet and cook until the vegetables are tender-crisp.
Stir the sausage mixture, stock, soup, rice blend and 1/2 cup cheese in a 3-quart shallow baking dish. Cover the baking dish.
Bake at 375 degrees F for 1 hour or until the sausage is cooked through and the rice is tender. Stir the sausage mixture before serving. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
Tip: For an extra-special touch, substitute 1 package (8 ounces) baby portobello mushrooms, sliced, for the sliced mushrooms.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Christmas in Paris

Mark and I were lucky enough to spend a week in Paris this summer (click HERE for more about our Parisian adventures).  What an absolutely beautiful city!!!  And at Christmas, it could not be any more magical...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Six Years of Wedded Bliss

Six years ago, I became the luckiest girl in the world when Mark chose to spend his life with me.  We had no idea where our journey would take us, only that we wanted to take this journey together.  I treasure every moment we have spent together as husband and wife, and I look forward to a million memories yet to be made...

Our photographer, Jeff Pounds, was an absolute pleasure to work with.  I am so grateful that he captured this magical night!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Trendy Wednesday - Christmas List Lovelies

I've been working on my Christmas list so that Santa and his elves can get busy!  Here's a few of the items I'd love to find under the tree...

Kate Spade Tuxedo Pearl Ring and Earrings

What's on your list?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tasty Tuesdays: Christmas Dinner Menu

Can you believe that we are less than two weeks away from Christmas?  Where has 2010 gone?  

This year, we are lucky enough to have my husband's entire family celebrating Christmas with us here in New Orleans.  All in all, we'll be making a meal for 14 guests.  In order to make sure there is enough for everyone, I have decided on an overly big Christmas ham paired with two starches and two vegetables.  I wanted one starch and one vegetable dish to be more traditional, and thus I chose the roasted new potatoes and green beans.  I also wanted to try some fun twists on dishes common to the holiday table.  I thought the smoky hint of spice from pureed chipotle peppers would work nicely in combination with the jalepeno flavor in the glaze for the ham.  And I have come to truly appreciate how tasty spring peas are when sauteed with shallots and a few red chili flakes.  Add some pancetta, and I think we'll be golden.

Here's a look at what we'll be having...

What are you serving this Christmas?

Monday, December 13, 2010

In Good Company

I had the pleasure of spending this weekend with my fellow blogger and dear friend Julie.  You may know her from her adorable blog Brown Eyed Belle.

She took some great pictures that I'm sure she'll be posting shortly!  I'll give you a sneak peak into our weekend.

Julie arrived on Friday and I took on a drive through Uptown so that she could see all of the beautiful and historic homes decorated in their holiday splendor.  We stopped by St. James Cheese Company and were treated to a lovely lesson on variety of cheeses.  We took a few samples home and enjoyed a glass of wine and some cheese and crackers before heading to dinner at Le Petite Grocery.

Saturday, Julie and I took the streetcar down to the French Quarter where we met my sister for beignets at Cafe du Monde.  We strolled around and shopped a bit before meeting up with a few other bloggers for lunch at Stanley.  There were so many magical moments of our French Quarter day, but I'll let Julie fill you in on those.  It was quite special!  Here's a hint...

After a little more shopping down on Magazine Street, Julie, Mark, and I put on our fanciest party attire and attended a fundraiser benefitting the Al Copeland Foundation.  It was quite an amazing party including performances by Rockin' Doopsie with a guest appearance by former Saints great Mike McKenzie.  Julie and I got to meet Mike and talk to him about his best performance as a Saint in last year's win versus the Patriots, our opinions about who is the best dancer on the team (my vote was for Anthony Waters while Mike's was for Marvin Mitchell), our love of New Orleans, and most importantly his foundation, the 34 Ways Foundation.  

Speaking of the Saints, guess what Julie got to see yesterday after brunch at Muriel's?!?!  Her very first Saints game.  What a treat!!!  And with so many scores, we got to dance to Halftime more than a few times!!!!

It was such a wonderful weekend.  I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to meet Julie in the blogosphere, and now even more lucky to have met her for real!  

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Tasty Tuesdays: Chocolate Peppermint Cookies

I don't know about you, but who doesn't love collecting Christmas cookie recipes.  I think one of the most fun holiday party ideas is to have a cookie exchange.  You can get a few friends together and ask each to bring a dozen cookies along with enough copies of their recipes to pass along to each guest.  Then you can taste an assortment of yummy baked goods and add to your recipe collection.  

I love these since they are one of my favorite dessert combinations - chocolate and mint.  Mmmm...  York peppermint patties, mint chocolate chip ice cream, and thin mint cookies, oh my!  Plus, just look how festive they are!  

Chocolate Peppermint Cookies
Makes 6 dozen
1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 ounces (5 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
3/4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
8 large candy canes or 30 peppermint candies, crushed
2 pounds white chocolate, coarsely chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. Beat butter and sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed for 1 minute. Reduce speed to medium-low, and add egg, then yolk, beating well after each addition. Beat in peppermint extract. Slowly add flour mixture, and beat until just incorporated. Shape dough into 2 disks, wrap each in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour (or up to 2 days).

Roll out 1 disk of dough on a lightly floured surface to 1/8-inch thickness. Freeze until firm, about 15 minutes. Using a 2-inch round cutter, cut out circles, and place 1 inch apart on parchment-lined baking sheets. Roll and cut scraps once. Freeze cookies until firm, about 15 minutes. Repeat with remaining disk.

Bake until cookies are dry to the touch, about 12 minutes. Transfer parchment, with cookies, to wire racks, and let cool. (Undecorated cookies will keep, covered, for up to 3 days.)

Sift crushed candy, and separate larger pieces from dust, reserving both. Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water. Remove from heat. Dunk cookies into melted chocolate. Using a fork, turn to coat, let excess drip off, and gently scrape bottom against edge of bowl. Place on parchment-lined baking sheets, and sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon of either candy pieces or dust on top. Repeat, sprinkling half the cookies with pieces and the rest with dust. Refrigerate until set, up to 3 hours. Decorated cookies are best served the same day.

Home for the Holidays

I have always loved this time of year.  There seems to be magic all around you.  This will be the sixth Christmas Mark and I spend together, but for some reason I keep feeling like this is our first Christmas.  I guess it's because our very first Christmas was spent getting settled in after just returning from our honeymoon, and the one after that was spent trying to navigate through life in post-Katrina New Orleans.  For the last four, we have been in Beaufort for most of the holiday season and scrambling to get everything ready to come down here for the holiday itself.  

But this year, we are truly home for the holidays.  We are beyond excited to see lights go up on all of our neighbors houses and the green wreaths with bright red bows decorate the St. Charles Ave. streetcar. 

 We will have tea at the Windsor Court and watch snow fall on Fulton Street.  We'll go caroling in Jackson Square and walk through the wintery wonderland at the Roosevelt Hotel.  

Yes, there is just something so magical about this place at Christmas.  

And what makes it ever better, is that we'll be able to share this magic with our dear friends Matt and Trish.  When Trish shared the news that not only was it official that they would be coming home, but that it would be before the holidays, I was overjoyed.  We had the most wonderful times with them last week celebrating all of our good fortunes, and I cannot wait to share many more memories in the city we both love so much.  I borrowed this gorgeous photo Trish posted yesterday when she described their journey home HERE.

Welcome home, yall!


Related Posts with Thumbnails