Cozy Morning + a Hobbit

“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”

J. R. R. Tolkien

“The Hobbit”

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Holiday Cocktail: Maple Bourbon Twist

You have no idea how excited I am about this drink.  My friends and family know me by now as a crazy cocktail dabbler.  I can’t help it.  I just love mixing flavors and following trends of my own changing taste in food and drink.  When I pick a flavor, I pretty much stick to it for a while and it will appear EVERYWHERE!

Grapefruit:

I made a cocktail, cookies, and soap.

Honey:

replacing every sugar product I can with it.

Ginger:

I made many different cocktails (some with grapefruit), cookies, and also just ate it candied.

Five spice:

It went in chicken, soup, and cookies.

The next one is definitely bourbon.  I have had this trend in the past, but I am definitely using bourbon whenever I can at this point.

I love it so.

This cocktail is very special to me because I really love it.  If you asked my husband if I am happy with the food and drink I create, he would say no way!  I can’t help but want to improve upon things and make them better.  This drink, however, I just really love as it is.  The maple syrup really holds down the bourbon, making it nice and smooth.  I love the sweet finish of apple brandy and our homegrown apple slice on top.

Introducing my Holiday 2012 cocktail:

Maple Bourbon Twist

(thanks to Brianne and Kristin for helping me name it)

1 oz. Bourbon (I prefer Knob Creek or a small batch bourbon)

3/4 oz. maple syrup

3/4 oz. lemon juice, fresh squeezed

2 small splashes of apple brandy

Combine all ingredients in a shaker and shake for 1 minute.  Serve in a martini glass with an apple slice.  This can easily be made into large batches. Add a little club soda if it’s too strong for you!

C H E E R S !

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Can you put a smile on my husband’s face?

(photo by Kristin Rogers)

Some of you might not know this, but I’m married to an amazing man.  Not only is he a fabulous husband and father, but he’s an incredibly gifted writer.  Up until a few years ago, he was a F-18 pilot in the USMC.  He decided to pursue a new career so that he could spend more time with us, his family.  Such a kind and gracious gesture.  Since then, he has dabbled here and there and landed in some pretty successful ventures.  Most recently, he became an Amazon best selling author for his book, “How To Turn Clicks Into Clients”.  He works so hard for our family and has really found such a lovely balance between his life in business and at home.

I’m so thankful for him.

This week is a big week.

This week, he is putting up his new book, “Warrior”, on Amazon.  He feels that God is sending him in a new business direction and this book is the beginning of that.  Here is how he describes his book:

“As Christians we are called to fight because God has given us something to fight for. We have been given the true Kingdom. We are seated with Christ at God’s right hand in glory, and we rule and reign with him. Thus, the God of ages and the kingdom of heaven wait for us to crush evil and claim a final victory. The future of the entire world rests in your answer to this one question: Will you fight? If you run, you’ll live (for a while). But if you fight, you will win. This book is about what it takes to win.”

He would really love to have this book be #1 on the best seller list but we need your help!  Please GO BUY IT!  After you buy it, please share with everyone you can and together we will put the biggest smile on my man’s face!

Can we do it?

Click the picture below to buy and then be sure to share!

“Warrior” by Ed Rush

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Room Made Lovely: My Kitchen

So excited to be finally sharing my kitchen over on Heather‘s “Room Made Lovely“!

I’ve had so many requests so I was glad when Heather asked me to give a tour for her series because it made me set a deadline. :)

Share some love over on her adorable space Life Made Lovely.

You will find great inspiration there!

*update* I added the full post below but don’t let that keep you from checking out Heather’s lovely space.

We have lived in our house for 4 years and have been gradually changing it from not cool 1975 colors, to a fresh and clean look.  We remodeled our kitchen a few years ago and I feel so blessed to be able to design it the way I wanted it.  We definitely splurged on a few things but I do cook almost every meal we eat in this space so it’s a little more justified, right?  That’s what I tell myself, anyway.  I wanted open shelving for easy access to my most used items and to give the space a more open feel.  I also chose most of my lower cupboards to be mostly deep drawers instead of doors.  I love being able to find things better than reaching back into the dark corners of a cupboard.  I also was able to get the oven of my dreams: the double WOLF oven.  So thankful for this piece.  I use both ovens almost every day.  The top of the range also has a french top which is perfect for canning things like strawberry jam in my HUGE pressure cooker.  I highly recommend this range!

I have been collecting fun vintage things for as long as I can remember.  My mom taught me a lot about finding good deals.  Whenever my husband is out-of-town, we still love to go estate sale shopping together on a Friday or Saturday.  I like a mix of handcrafted things and old-time-y, sweet things that carry stories and reflect upon a time that is no more.  My most favorite items have memories or family attached to them somehow.  I use my grandpa’s old clay pot for my utensil storage.  The owl seen in my school area pictures below is one of his creations, along with his brother, for their company, Twin Winton.  I was never able to meet him so these items are very special to me.

A few things and where they came from:

  • If you are a fan of Liberty of London, you probably notice that it’s all over my kitchen.  I went a little crazy when they finally released their prints through Target.  It was a line to remember, for sure!
  • My sink is another favorite.  I was so excited to get the deep sink so it can hide hold many dishes.  (Shaws Sink)
  • My pot rack came from Ebay.  I bought it from a sweet older couple who took salvaged barn pieces and made them into lovely things like pot racks (couldn’t find it online).
  • Block prints from Pike’s Place Market and Victory Garden of Tomorrow
  • My favorite soap product, Caldrea, is always found next to my sink.
  • My most used pans are Le Creuset and All Clad Copper Core
  • Most used olive oil and balsamic vinegar come from St Helena Olive Oil Company
  • old spool for kitchen twine
  • kids drink area marked with washi tape.  They keep their cup on their color :).
  • I re-finished an old door for my pantry door.  I kinda love it a lot, especially the handle.

 When I think of my home, I think of comfortable.  I have always wanted my home to be a place where many gathered.  I like people to feel comfortable, loved, and for their hunger to be satisfied.  Some favorite foods of my guests have been Shepherd’s Pie with GuinnessOatmeal with Browned Butter, Cheese-its, and the always popular, Monkey Bread!  Food definitely brings people together and I am so happy this happens on a regular basis in my home.  I know cooking can be intimidating, but don’t let it stop you from inviting people over!

You won’t regret that time, even with all of the hours of cleaning it may bring.

Now, for the school area across from the dining room.

We have this random space that has become our school area.  The room isn’t its own distinct space, but more of a walk-through area between our dining room and side patio area. It was too far to walk from the kitchen to put the table there so it sat empty for a while.  Last fall, I started homeschooling and became thankful for this random space.  We have filled it with our nature hike finds, our maps, and our favorite vintage encyclopedia set that we use ALL the time.  The banner serves as our history timeline which has worked out really well.  I’m not a fan of plastering my wall with random papers.

I’d love to keep this party going!  Come find me on my blog, A Golden Afternoon or Instagram:

I’m @agoldenafternoon.

Grand Marnier Cranberry Sauce

Aren’t you guys just loving fall?!

spice

chill

snuggling

baking

leaves

cider

friends

The weather stays pretty mild here, but we try to soak fall in whenever we can.  Sometimes we just pretend it’s cold and bake something anyway.

For the holidays, I would be lying if I said I like to keep it easy.  I do however like to find ways to make the process easier.  I’m learning.  One way to keep things simple is to make the cranberry sauce ahead of time.  I usually make 2 kinds, this one and a canned remake you can find here…tin can mold and all!

The orange zest and Grand Marnier in this cranberry sauce are a bright and fresh addition to any holiday table.  This recipe makes plenty to share.  If you are just a few this year, cut the recipe in half, share with a random neighbor down the street, or follow the instructions for canning it!

Fresh Cranberry Sauce with Grand Marnier

2 12 oz. packages of cranberries

2 cups of sugar, add more if desired really sweet

zest from 1 orange

juice from 2 oranges

4 Tablespoons Grand Marnier

few dashes of cinnamon

Boil a large pot of water, 3/4 full (only if canning the sauce).  In a second large pot, combine all ingredients.  Over medium heat, simmer the mixture until the cranberries have burst or until it has thickened.  If not canning, refrigerate up to 3 days before you would like to serve it.  If canning, sterilize the jars and lids, then immediately add the hot cranberry sauce to the jars, leaving 1/4 of headspace/room on top.  Wipe the rims with a clean cloth to prevent the lids from sticking and to encourage a proper seal  Process/boil with 1 inch of water covering them for 5 minutes, remove, and cool for 24 hours before moving.

If you can this sauce, you can easily travel with it to parties or give as hostess gifts.  I did this last year and it saved me a lot of time.  You could even check it in your luggage as a way to bring some homemade to wherever you are traveling this holiday season!

Either way, it’s a wonderful handmade gift!

Add a lovely label from Heather’s new Paperie Shop for a perfect finishing touch!

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