Yule Mule

Yule Mule, a festive holiday cocktail // Feast + West

If you’ve been following the Friday Night Delights column, in which I post a cocktail recipe every Friday, you may have noticed I really like ginger beer. Like, really. I have been exploring lots of cocktails with ginger beer as a primary ingredient, and I have been looking forward to making the Yule Mule all year long. And it’s finally here.

This cocktail is a variation on the Moscow Mule — vodka, lime and ginger beer — with the added element of tart cranberries and their juice. I find this cocktail to be so light and refreshing and filled with holiday spirit. Yule Mules would be a cinch to whip up en masse for a holiday party, but they are just as perfect to sip on with a smaller crowd. This cocktail is festive and bright, and your holiday celebrations need it. Promise.

Yule Mule, a festive holiday cocktail // Feast + West

Pick up some limes, cranberries, cranberry juice, vodka and a spicy, non-alcoholic ginger beer. For that, I like to use Reed’sBundaberg or Fever-Tree. If you need a mocktail version for any non-drinkers, kids or pregnant guests, you can cut the vodka and have a drink that’s non-alcoholic but still delicious.

I’m so excited for this weekend. My sister got into town last night (I haven’t seen her in a year and a half! How crazy is that?) and my brother arrives tomorrow. I might just make us a batch of Yule Mules to kick off our holidays! Hope your weekend is grand, my friends. // susannah

Click below to see the Yule Mule recipe! 

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Denver Travel Guide

Today is a good day. My good friend Meghan from Cake ‘n’ Knife is here to give you a little tour of Denver! I’m so delighted that she is guest posting today, because it means that we’re even closer to seeing each other again this spring. Until then, this photographic guide to the hidden gems of the Mile-High City is going to have me itching for snowier weather and some skis all winter long… Take it away, Meghan!

Denver Travel Guide from Cake 'n' Knife // feastandwest.com

Hi there! Meghan from Cake ‘n’ Knife here and boy am I excited to be on Feast + West today! You might remember Susannah mentioning me when we hosted Blogsgiving last month (wasn’t that fun?!). I have to tell you, I am SO thrilled to be sharing a post about my hometown of Denver with you all!

I may not be a native of Denver, but I have lived here for the majority of my life. I really just can’t seem to find a reason to leave! The city is full of amazing restaurants, more craft breweries than I could visit in a year, and trails and parks that are filled with people no matter what the season is. The 300+ days of sunshine and being able to get into the mountains in under an hour doesn’t hurt either!

Denver Travel Guide from Cake 'n' Knife // feastandwest.com

It’s utterly impossible for me to share all Denver has to offer in one post, but I’ve narrowed down the list to some of my favorites.

Denver’s food and craft beer scene is bursting at the seams. I swear, a new restaurant or brewery opens every single day here and most of them are quite amazing. It’s truly hard to keep up!

Denver Travel Guide from Cake 'n' Knife // feastandwest.comDenver Travel Guide from Cake 'n' Knife // feastandwest.com

Here are some of my favorite restaurants and bars in town:

  • Terminal Bar — Innovative cocktails at the newly renovated Union Station which is simply stunning!
  • Old Major — The best steak of your life. Hands down.
  • La Loma — Mexican food with giant margaritas.
  • Linger — Small bites and a rooftop that is to die for.
    The Market at Larimer Square — Located in historic Larimer Square, this is one of my favorite downtown spots. You can grab coffee, hot chocolate, treats, snacks and even a quick meal.
  • Trompeau Bakery — The best bakery in the city.
  • The original Chipotle — A must-see for any Chipotle lover. Plus they really are the best!
  • Bonnie Brae Ice Cream — It’s been around for years and always has a line out the door.
  • Sweet Action Ice Cream — New, hip, and the most original ice cream flavors I’ve ever seen.
  • North Italia — Awesome happy hour and Italian food.
  • The Blue Cow — Technically outside Denver in Morrison, but their breakfast really is the best!

Denver Travel Guide from Cake 'n' Knife // feastandwest.com

Of course, what’s great food and drinks without a little craft beer, right?! Here are a few that I highly recommend checking out when you are in town. Make a beer tasting day out of this list!

Denver Travel Guide from Cake 'n' Knife // feastandwest.com

Now that I have overwhelmed you with food, drink, and beer, you need some way to work it all off, don’t you? There are so many fun things to do around Denver, from parks and museums to festivals and concerts. If you want the true Denver/Colorado experience, here are some activities you should try!

Denver Travel Guide from Cake 'n' Knife // feastandwest.comDenver Travel Guide from Cake 'n' Knife // feastandwest.com

I hope you enjoyed this little sneak peek of Denver and Colorado! It’s an incredible place to visit (and live!) and hopefully each and every one of you will make your way out of here soon. Thanks for having me and happy holidays! // meghan

Denver Travel Guide from Cake 'n' Knife // feastandwest.com

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Dark Chocolate Pistachio Butter Cookies

Dark Chocolate Pistachio Butter Cookies // Feast + West

Are you tired of holiday cookies yet? No?  Well, good. Because you probably shouldn’t be reading this blog. Or any food blog, for that matter. This week anyway. Last week I participated in The Speckled Palate’s annual Christmas Cookie Week with a batch of my amazing (if I do say so myself) No-Bake Avalanche Cookies. And this week I’ve got two more recipes for you.

Great Food Blogger Cookie SwapEarlier this year, I stumbled across the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, a large-scale, Secret Santa-style exchange of cookies among food bloggers. Each participant makes a batch of 3 dozen cookies to divide among and ship to three food bloggers. In turn, each blogger gets a dozen cookies from three other food bloggers in the post.

Dark Chocolate Pistachio Butter Cookies // Feast + West

It’s such a neat idea. One of the worst things about being a food blogger is not living close to a lot of my food blogging friends, making it impossible to taste their treats unless I either travel to their home or make their recipes myself. This cookie swap meant that I not only got to try some amazing recipes, but I also got introduced to six awesome food bloggers. It only cost the price of a cup of coffee to join in, but all the proceeds went to Cookies for Kids’ Cancer by the Childhood Cancer Foundation. Such an amazing cause.

Every day during the swap, I eagerly checked the front porch for boxes of homemade cookies. I got amazing Southern Cornflake Cookies from Phillip of Southern Fatty that I could eat for days. (And have.) Julie of Yours Julie sent incredibly luscious Lemon Cardamom Wedding Cookies. And I seriously loved the soft, spicy chocolate cookies from Gerrie of Foodness Gracious. I cannot wait to see their recipes this week so I can try them for myself! Because a dozen simply wasn’t enough.

Dark Chocolate Pistachio Butter Cookies // Feast + West

I made three dozen of these Dark Chocolate Pistachio Butter Cookies. I wanted to create a cookie that wouldn’t crumble in the mail. There’s nothing worse than opening a box of crumbs! These are awesome because they are sturdy yet they melt in your mouth when you eat them. They are dipped in a dark chocolate glaze, then dusted with pistachio crumbles. My cookies were shipped off to Meme of Living Well Kitchen, Heather of Shards of Lavender and Amanda of Old House to New Home. I can’t wait to see what these ladies sent their Cookie Swap matches!

All of the recipes will be posted this week, and you should take a gander at the #fbcookieswap hashtag on Instagram. If you’re a holiday cookie monster, you’ll want to peruse these awesome recipes! // susannah

P.S. My computer crashed last week, and it is sadly going to be in the shop for the next few days. It’s a super stressful time of year for me with pre-holiday freelance deadlines and family coming into town, so please bear with me with any change in my posting schedule and a limited presence on social media this week. Many thanks to the awesome people loaning me computers and support in the meantime!  

Click below for the Dark Chocolate Pistachio Butter Cookies recipe! 

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Oat-chata + A Cookbook Giveaway

Oat-chata (horchata made with oats) from 'OATrageous Oatmeals' by Kathy Hester // Feast + West

I am a relatively recent oatmeal convert. I wouldn’t touch the stuff for most of my life unless it was baked into a cookie. But back in college I tried eating oatmeal for breakfast and it slowly started growing on me. Since then, I have enjoyed trying oats in all kinds of dishes. There’s still cookies, of course. For breakfast, this Girl Scout Oatmeal is definitely a favorite. But oats aren’t just for breakfast and dessert anymore.

Oats are an incredibly versatile ingredient and I love that about them. You can use them in so many recipes. After reading OATrageous Oatmeals by Kathy Hester, I am even more convinced that oats are magic. Kathy finds very creative, out-of-the-box ways to use oats in familiar recipes — even drinks! I am really excited to introduce you to this awesome new book and to give you a chance to win it for yourself.

Oat-chata (horchata made with oats) from 'OATrageous Oatmeals' by Kathy Hester // Feast + West

Inside OATrageous Oatmeals you’ll find ways to use this grain in everyday dishes. Every single one is vegan, and many of the recipes are soy-free, lactose-free and gluten-free. Kathy’s book has so many delicious-sounding recipes I want to try, both savory and sweet. I’m stoked about the Chickpea Veggie Soup and Veggie Oat Taco Mince. Who would have thought you could put oats in tacos?! I’m also intrigued by the Blackberry Mojito Overnight Oats. I love recipes that you can make ahead and eat on the go.

OATrageous Oatmeals by Kathy Hester

To me, though, the best surprises in this book are the liquid recipes. There are several for homemade coffee creamers, like Coconut Vanilla Nut Creamer. How cool is it that you can sweeten your coffee with water infused with oatmeal? Definitely going to try that.

And then there’s this Oat-Chata. Kathy’s spin on Mexican horchata — made with cinnamon, rice, oats and almonds — is so beautifully delicious. I am lactose intolerant, and as much as I love dairy, I really shouldn’t consume it. Many recipes for horchata infuse rice with cow’s milk, but this version omits the dairy altogether. This lactose-free version of horchata is absolutely perfect for someone with dietary restrictions like me.

Oat-chata (horchata made with oats) from 'OATrageous Oatmeals' by Kathy Hester // Feast + West

And because I always share cocktails on Fridays, you should know that I definitely spiked a glass of my Oat-chata just to see. And yes, it totally works. In an 8-ounce glass, pour the oat-chata over 1 ounce of rum, tequila or your favorite liquor. I bet vodka, bourbon and whiskey (Fireball, anyone?) would go swell in this drink. Enjoy and good luck! // susannah 

P.S. This drink definitely has me humming that Vampire Weekend song. So good. And so fitting! In December, drinking oat-chata…


Here’s how to enter the OATrageous Oatmeals giveaway:

  1. Enter the giveaway through the Rafflecopter widget below. Everyone gets a free entry! You can enter multiple times, through up to seven additional entries by following Feast + West on social media. (If you’ve followed in the past, that counts! Just enter the info as prompted.)
  2. The giveaway is open until Monday, Dec. 22, 2014 at 10 a.m. EST. One winner will be chosen at random within 48 hours. Winner must claim prize within 48 hours of initial contact. The retail value of the prize is $19.99. Prize includes one copy of the cookbook.
  3. Open to U.S. residents only. Must be 18 years of age as of Dec. 12, 2014.

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I was provided with an advance copy of the cookbook and the recipe has been printed with permission of Page St. Publishing Co. This post contains affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking one of them. All opinions are purely my own. Thank you in advance for supporting Feast + West!

Click below to see the recipe!

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Kitchen Road Trip: West Virginia

Kitchen Road Trip: A Made in West Virginia gift guide // Feast + West

For the second Kitchen Road Trip of the week, we’re going to West Virginia. Nestled in the heart of Appalachia, 75 percent of the Mountain State is covered by forests. It’s no surprise, then, that I stumbled across lots of wood and paper items for this West Virginia gift guide. It’s also the home of Fiestaware, I learned, and lots of small-batch foods and gorgeous handmade goods.

I know I’ve driven through WV before, but I don’t remember much about it. I’d sure love to spend a luxurious weekend at the historic Greenbrier resort someday, just for fun. And of course I’d have to take a nature walk through some of those forests. // susannah

The Kitchen Road Trip series is a virtual ‘trip’ to a different state. Posted weekly on Mondays, each post is a gift guide to items from a different state, in alphabetical order, and features food & drinks, books, home goods and travel items.

Kitchen Road Trip: A Made in West Virginia gift guide // Feast + West

1. Allegheny Treenware 11-inch Sweet Pea Spoon* ($12) // 2. Fiestaware Turquoise 18-Ounce Jumbo Cup* ($18) // 3.  Holl’s Dark Chocolate Dessert Sauce* ($9) // 4. Printed Appalachia Linocut Greeting Cards* ($25 for five) // 5. Uncle Bunk’s Rustic Pepper Sauce* ($6) // 6. Cider Beans, Wild Greens, and Dandelion Jelly: Recipes from Southern Appalachiaby Joan E. Aller ($27.99) // 7. Richwood Creations Tablet Holder* ($65) // 8. Digital Sweets Monogrammed Print* ($5) // 9. Smooth Ambler Greenbrier Gin* ($38) // 10. Blenko Glass Vase* ($89)

*Made or designed in West Virginia

(Photo of West Virginia // Doug Kerr)

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No-Bake Avalanche Cookies

Christmas cookies are ubiquitous, but the holidays always sneak up on me somehow. I’m always so busy, and you never do know when you’re going to be asked to bring dessert to a party. It’s always a good idea to have some great cookie recipes in your back pocket.

When Erin from The Speckled Palate invited me to participate in Christmas Cookie Week (which is now — and there are tons of great recipes being shared all week long), I wasn’t sure I’d have any time to bake. But then I remembered these Avalanche Cookies require just five ingredients and not one second of baking.

Avalanche Cookies // Feast + West

These No-Bake Avalanche Cookies are a melts-in-your-mouth recipe that you can whip up in absolutely no time at all. You’ll need white chocolate chips, peanut butter, crispy rice cereal, baby marshmallows and a pinch of salt. I’m willing to bet you have at least two, maybe even three, of those things in your pantry right now! Seriously, that’s all you need to make these gooey yet crunchy treats. Well that, and about 20 minutes. They’ll need time to set up, but you can pop them in the fridge for half an hour and they’ll be ready to go.

And before you ask, I’m not sure where they get their name. I assume because of their pale color and their semblance to snowballs? It doesn’t really matter though. They’re delicious and that is all you need to know. Oh, and they’re gluten-free. You should know that too.

The Speckled Palate Christmas Cookie Week

Don’t forget to stop by The Speckled Palate to check out a ton of amazing cookie recipes you can make for the holidays. Because the holidays are all about spreading the love and sharing some baked goods. And because everybody loves a good cookie recipe. And who doesn’t love finding awesome new blogs to follow? // susannah

Avalanche Cookies // Feast + West

P.S. If you like simple no-bake cookies but prefer chocolate, you might give these No-Bake Nutella Oatmeal Cookies a try. They’re so, so good. And you can make them gluten-free, too!

Click below for the No-Bake Avalanche Cookies recipe!

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White Bean + Chicken Winter Stew

Chicken White Bean Winter Stew // Feast + West

This time of year, one of my favorite things to do is spend time in the kitchen with family. I’m extra excited for the holidays because my siblings are coming to visit from faraway lands like D.C. and South Africa. I cannot wait. It will be so wonderful to spend time with them both, and my parents too. I’m already working on my playlist. (Because what is cooking without a little dancing?)

My mom and I started a little early over Thanksgiving with a kitchen dance test run when we made this White Bean + Chicken Winter Stew together. I’ve made it again since and it is just the most divine meal for a cold day. This stew is first cousin to a white bean chili, served over rice and topped with fresh parsley.

Chicken White Bean Winter Stew // Feast + West

What I love about this stew is that it’s so easy to put together. You’ll start by making some rice (which you can do while you make the rest). Then, you’ll cook chicken breasts in chicken broth to give it flavor. If you’re a vegetarian, you can skip the chicken altogether and use vegetable broth instead. Then, you’ll sauté some vegetables like celery and onions and combine them with the chicken broth, chicken, frozen corn and white cannellini beans. Serve over rice and top with a little parsley, maybe some shredded mozzarella cheese. Voilà! A simple winter stew.

You will want to eat this White Bean + Chicken Winter Stew on every cold night this winter. And, if you wind up with leftovers, you should know they will taste even more flavorful the next day. That’s something to dance about. What are you looking forward to most this holiday? // susannah

Click below to see the recipe for White Bean + Chicken Winter Stew!

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Kitchen Road Trip: Washington

Kitchen Road Trip: A Made in Washington gift guide // Feast + West

Food memories are important ones. So many of my memories surround food. That’s why I plan meet-ups with friends around meals and trips around awesome restaurants.

My visits to Seattle have involved a few of those memories, even if they may be a bit on the touristy side. Walks through the fish-fragrant Pike Place Market. Amazing hot coffee at the original Starbucks. Chocolate-covered local cherries I couldn’t get enough of. I’ll never forget these moments. Seattle is a magical place. I don’t even care if it’s rainy. This Washington gift guide has a little bit of all of that, making it easy to bring the Evergreen State home. (Well, except for the seafood. You definitely should go to Seattle for that. Trust me.) // susannah

P.S. Apologies if you were looking for one of these posts last week! I had a lot going on and didn’t get a second to wrap this one up. To make up for it, there’s going to be two of them this week!

The Kitchen Road Trip series is a virtual ‘trip’ to a different state. Posted weekly, each post is a gift guide to items from a different state, in alphabetical order, and features food & drinks, books, home goods and travel items.

Kitchen Road Trip: A Made in Washington gift guide // Feast + West

1. Hot Cakes Rye Whiskey Caramel* ($18) // 2. Chukar Maraschino Cherries* ($9.75) // 3. Caffe Umbria Gusto Crema Espresso Blend* ($14) // 4. Dry Fly Distilling Washington Wheat Whiskey* ($47) // 5. Turnco Wood Goods American Cherry Rolling Pin* ($55) // 6. Year Round Co. Market Weave Coin Purse* ($18) // 7. Whole-Grain Mornings: New Breakfast Recipes to Span the Seasons by Megan Gordon ($22) // 8. Utile Mud Bowl in Matte Purple and Bright Orange* ($23) // 9. Constellation Co. ‘You Are Home to Me’ Print* ($15) // 10. Fruitsuper Design Brass Lift Coasters* ($68 for four)

*Made or designed in Washington

(Photo of Seattle’s skyline // Maëlick

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Champagne Cocktail Bar

With a party theme like ‘making spirits bright,’ there was a little pressure to design an awesome cocktail that would suit lots of tastes. Katie and I deliberated for weeks about whether we should have punch or cocktails at the Bright Blog Bash and then it hit me. How do you make spirits bright? You add color and flavor to your drinks and make it super fun for your guests.

I remember the first time I ordered a champagne cocktail. I was with a group of friends at Bida Manda in Raleigh (to-die-for Laotian cuisine you must try if you’re ever in the area), and we each ordered a champagne cocktail. The server came by our table with glasses partly filled with brandy, a bottle of champagne and an array of colored sugar cubes in all kinds of flavors. The server filled our glasses with champagne and dropped our choice of sugar cube into each drink. (I think between everyone in our group we tried them all!) We marveled at the glasses as we watched the sugar cubes dance, bubble and fizz. I remember thinking how beautiful they were.

Champagne Cocktail Bar with flavored sugar cubes // Feast + West

I’d kind of forgotten all about that experience but it came flooding back during my cocktail brainstorming. Most champagne cocktails are made with sugar cubes soaked in Angostura cocktail bitters, brandy and champagne, but a while ago I took a stab at making homemade sugar cubes for lavender champagne cocktails. I have been dying to try some other flavors to create a cocktail experience like the one I’d had at that restaurant. The Bright Blog Bash seemed like a perfect opportunity.

I decided to make sugar cubes in four flavors: Angostura bitters (slightly orange-flavored), lemon, rose and lavender. I colored, flavored and molded the sugar cubes myself. I used mini fondant cutters to get the star shapes. I also chose to use vodka instead of brandy to let the flavors come through more strongly.

Bright Blog Bash with Feast + West and Twin StripeChampagne Cocktail Bar with flavored sugar cubes // Feast + West

Our guests really had fun dressing up their champagne! If you’re hosting a holiday or New Year’s Eve party, these would be really fun cocktails to let your guests have fun with. Your guests can select their own flavor, combine flavors or just drink plain champagne.

In lieu of champagne, you can use prosecco or sparkling wine, or even non-alcoholic sparkling cider for any non-drinkers in your crowd. This is a very versatile drink, and you will enjoy coming up with fun flavors to make! You can use any leftover sugar cubes in hot or iced tea for something a little different! The recipe is after the jump.

Champagne Cocktail Bar with flavored sugar cubes // Feast + WestChampagne Cocktail Bar with flavored sugar cubes // Feast + West

Thanks for following along with all the Bright Blog Bash fun this week! I hope you spent some time over on Twin Stripe to see Katie’s perspective of the party. Many thanks to our sponsors for their contributions and to Sara Logan Photography for all the gorgeous photos this week! Have a great weekend. // susannah

Click below to learn how to design your own Champagne Cocktail Bar! 

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{Giveaway} $175 to Target

‘Tis the season of giving and thinking about the new year, my friends. In January, I will start contributing to My Cooking Spot as a contributing writer. I’m excited to join them a little early to host an awesome holiday giveaway.

I’ve teamed up with the 12 contributors of My Cooking Spot and My Crafty Spot to bring all 12 of our sets of readers the chance to win $175 to Target! Right in time for the holidays to get all of your shopping done, or to snag something for yourself!

175-target-giveaway

My Cooking Spot // My Crafty Spot
My Creative Days // The Crumby Cupcake // 3 Little Greenwoods
Oh Simple Joys // Feast + West // The Blue Eyed Dove // Wetherills Say I Do
An Alli Event // Marcella Roses // Just Mom Matters

Giveaway runs through 12/14 at 11:59pm EST. All entires will be verified, no purchase necessary to win! Good luck!

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