Say hello to Linda from Brunch with Joy! She has an awesome cocktail for us today.
Hello Feast + West readers! Thanks to Susannah for having me here today. I just love pomegranate season. The beautiful colors of this sweet and tangy fruit make me feel so festive. When I went to the farmer’s market last year, one of the sellers gave me a quick lesson on pomegranate. Do you know there are two kinds of pomegranate? Red and white. Red is tangier and white is sweeter, so always aim for white when possible.
Last December, a friend of mine served us pomegranate cocktail on one of the Christmas celebrations. It’s red, festive, but not too strong like regular cocktail. It was love at first sight for me.
So today, I am sharing with you this Pomegranate Wine Cocktail. You can adjust the wine to your liking. I’m using sweet white wine to balance the level of pomegranate juice and also since I’m a sweet tooth, this pomegranate wine cocktail is perfect. Not too sweet and not too strong compared to other liquors.
Surprisingly, pomegranate works well with sweet wine so I teamed these two ingredients to make the ultimate princess treat. Cheers!
Linda is the blogger behind Brunch with Joy. In her spare time, you would constantly find her talking about food, drawing doodles (mainly food), and daydreaming about restaurants that she would love to visit. Being a foodie herself, she always drools each time she reads other foodie stories from food bloggers, and those stories have motivated her to share her own.
Click below to see Linda’s recipe for a Pomegranate Wine Cocktail!
I never, in a million years that I would be living in Los Angeles. Or Los Angeles – adjacent because I mean, if you’re going to live by the beach you might as well live by the beach. Am I right? I’ve been in Redondo Beach for about a year and a half now since moving up from San Diego county. I’m about 14 miles from downtown L.A. which is like 45 minutes because, hello, traffic! So I rarely leave this little beachy area. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. Compared to downtown L.A. or really anywhere else close by, it’s so quiet and calm and every little beach city along the coast has it’s own special feel.
Manhattan Beach is full of athletes, celebrities and tourists. It’s teeming with brunchers, surfers and people watchers (that’s me!). There’s fantastic shopping, amazing restaurants and, of course, the beach.
Hermosa Beach is what I refer to as the ‘frat house’ of the beach cities. In the summer, walking down the strand means people hanging out of balconies blasting music, drinking beer and smoking pot. Everyone’s out playing volleyball at the beach or riding bikes or grilling on the patio. In one word: fun.
Redondo Beach is where I live and it’s the best of both worlds. It’s quiet and family-friendly with amazing food and so many parks. Plus the pier and the beach. It’s really a wonderful place to be.
Click below to see Bri’s California Beach Cities travel guide!
Let’s welcome Meghan Bassett from Cake ‘n Knife here to bring you something sweet!
Now that it’s officially springtime, and with Easter right around the corner, I think a bright and light dessert is in order. Don’t you? Perhaps it’s just because I am a Colorado gal and around this time of year, I’m so over the snow and cold and ice, I automatically gravitate towards anything acidic and citrus.
The reason these parfaits are called dream parfaits is all because of the soft and luxurious, oh-so-dreamy lemon whipped cream. It’s like eating a lemon cloud! Mix in some fresh berries and my favorite cookie, the Nilla wafer, and you’ve got a simple dessert that is going to make anyone who eats it fall in love with you. Immediately.
I know you might think chocolate is always the way to someone’s heart, but sometimes a lemon cloud will get you there faster.
The best part is this lemon whipped cream recipe can be used with so many other things! You can use it in ice cream sundaes with white chocolate chips, or even try using it with your strawberry shortcake to add a little extra zing of brightness. My favorite is just eating it straight out of the bowl…
What can I say? I love enjoying the simple things in life!
Click through to see Meghan’s recipe for Raspberry + Lemon Dream Parfaits!
Meghan is a food addict turned writer, recipe developer and food photographer based in Denver, Colorado. Her recipes have been featured on sites such as BuzzFeed and Honest Cooking. Her blog, Cake ‘n Knife, is dedicated to uncomplicated gourmet recipes that will make you look like a star chef without spending hours in the kitchen. Besides her life revolving around food and her blog, she spends nights cuddling with an adorable, crazy puppy and a husband who puts up with both of their antics for some terribly strange reason.
My sister is an artist, an incredibly talented painter. I’ve always admired her eye for beauty and color and detail. (And yes, I do come from a very creative family. We’re all creative in our own ways and I love it.) My sister is also a very wise person. Or maybe she’s just a big sister? Either way, we often have deep conversations that give me lots to think about.
On my last visit to South Africa, my sister imparted a little piece of wisdom on me that I have thought about a lot. She said, “Every time you travel, you should buy a piece of art. That’s the best travel souvenir.”
A piece of art is a lot more than a souvenir — it’s a keepsake. It gives you a piece of culture to keep always, especially if it is an important or momentous trip. It’s something to make you smile. Something with a story. Something to treasure.
Before you say something like, “Well, I don’t really have room for a painting,” you should know that art isn’t limited to paintings. Your keepsake piece of art can be anything. It could be a ceramic sculpture, a blown-glass vase, a carved wooden bowl. It could be a pair of beaded earrings, a knit scarf or a leather wallet. It could be a small screenprint, a colorful weaving or a photograph. Your piece of art can be decorative or functional. But above all, it should be something you will put in your home and see or use everyday, reminding you of your special holiday.
You can keep your souvenir for yourself, but these kinds of handmade souvenirs also make really lovely gifts. Just a thought.
Buying art also supports the local, independent artists and designers where you are visiting. Spend some time perusing Etsy and Instagram before you go. Find out if there are any awesome artists whose work you want to check out. Research local galleries and boutiques. You’re certain to find an artist you admire or at least a shop to visit.
What doesn’t count? Stuff from touristy vendors. Skip the crowded markets filled with foreign tourists. Don’t go to the souvenir shops just outside of big attractions. Those places are likely to have lots of items made in China or elsewhere — anywhere but where you are, really. Make your way into the city or countryside.
Some of the best things, though, are the ones you’re not looking for. But you’ll know it when you see it. And you’ll love it forever, always remembering the special moments from that trip. // susannah
I’m excited to introduce you to Beverly! We share a mutual love for tea and she’s going to tell you all about it in this ‘tour de tea.’
Tea is the greatest beverage in the history of ever. It’s a rare occasion for me not to have at least one cup during the day. It’s comforting, delicious, easy to make and has many healthful qualities. Tea originated in China and is the most popular beverage in the world. Rightly so! Whether you’re drinking black, white, green, herbal or another one of the million-and-one variations, there is a tea for everyone.
I stick to herbal teas, with my favorites being peppermint, chamomile and rooibos! I love having peppermint tea when I’m feeling a little under the weather. It’s refreshing and delicious to have with some honey and milk. Chamomile is perfect for any evening when you want something calming. Again, add some honey and milk and you’ll have the perfect cup! Rooibos is my favorite tea of all. I can’t get enough of this African red bush! I love having rooibos plain and pairing it with a chocolate treat.
So how do you make the perfect cup of tea? All you really need is hot water to steep your tea of choice to perfection. For herbal teas, you should steep the tea bag for about 5 to 7 minutes. Other teas usually only need about 3 minutes. If you leave it steeping much longer, the tea can start to taste bitter. A lot of times I can stretch a single tea bag for to 2 or 3 cups!
Adding milk and a sweetener are all bells and whistles for your tea. You don’t need them, but sometimes you want that sweet and creamy cup. My favorite additions are almond milk and honey or regular white sugar. You can’t go wrong with putting more love into your tea.
After all this tea talk it’s high time I make some and snuggle in with a book. Remember, it’s always tea time!
What are you favorite teas? Do you add anything special to make the perfect cup? Share in the comments!
Bev is the writer and dreamer behind BeverlyBean.com. When not at her day job, she enjoys reading, traveling, shopping, watching YouTube, and all things J.R.R Tolkien. Bev currently lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her husband and encourages everyone to visit the Midwest! She is a firm believer that hands are made for holding delicious beverages and can always be found with a cup of tea. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram where she posts all things books, tea, and lifestyle!
Happy first day of spring! In honor of this month’s Kindred Spirit — champagne and its sparkling wine sisters — I thought I’d share a champagne cocktail perfect for the season, the Rosemary Sparkler.
Let’s have a refresher on champagne cocktails. The most classic recipe starts with brandy. Top it with a dry champagne and drop in a sugar cube soaked in Angostura bitters. I’ve shared a few variations on champagne cocktails, including lavender, rose and lemon and thought an herbal variation would be welcome this spring.
Rosemary, though often used in cooking, makes for a great addition to cocktails. It’s bright, fragrant and pungent and adds a unique, woodsy flavor to dry champagne. For this recipe, I made a rosemary simple syrup to use in lieu of a sugar cube. I also subbed vodka for the brandy to achieve a lighter flavor. Garnish the Rosemary Sparkler with what else? A sprig of fresh rosemary.
You can sip on this cocktail as you ring in spring this weekend. It would be perfect for celebrating anything awesome this season, too, and I hope you have lots of reasons to do just that! Cheers! // susannah
My family has been going to the Outer Banks for 27 years to soak up the sun and the salty breeze. We go every summer, and sometimes sprinkle in a fall, winter or spring trip here and there. We always stay in Duck, N.C. which is a quaint little town (it went from tiny village to big booming town in 2002) in the northern Outer Banks. We’ve been evacuated for hurricanes, become expert boogie boarders, studied for the bar exam (well that was just me, but the bar exam was not going to get in the way of our annual beach trip), and we’ve played more holes of mini golf and eaten more blue crabs than I can count.
Spanning almost the entire coast of North Carolina, the 200-mile string of narrow barrier islands are more than just vacation rentals, expansive beachfront and Atlantic Ocean views. (Trust me, the beaches and ocean views are definitely worth the visit.) The Outer Banks (also known as the OBX) are home to Cape Hatteras National Seashore, wild horses, a multitude of aquatic plant and animal life, The Roanoke Colony (also known as The Lost Colony, one of America’s first settlements and most intriguing, unsolved mysteries), aviation (the Wright Brothers took the first flight in Kill Devil Hills on December 17, 1903), and pirates, including Blackbeard (Ocracoke Inlet was the famed pirate’s favorite anchorage).
I’m so excited that we’re beach-bound this week; the Outer Banks is one of my favorite places to visit and I’m looking forward to sharing our favorite spots with you! Don’t you already feel the sand between your toes and smell the salt air?
Click below for Chrissie’s stunning Outer Banks travel guide!
Calling all lovers of the corner brownie! And calling all those who crave the crispy cookie! And calling all those sweet tooths who love crunchy snacks!
You! I have a recipe for you. Brownies are the best ever, right? Even my most loveable chocolate-hating friend likes brownies. But this recipe isn’t about brownies. It’s about brownie brittle. Dark chocolate brownie brittle, in fact.
It’s a crunchy, crumbly, chocolatey treat with all the appeal of brownies. It’s like one big crispy corner brownie, baked flat and broken into bite-size pieces.
My mom brought home a bag of brownie brittle a while back, but I thought we could make it a lot better. All you need is a box of brownie mix of favorite brownie recipe. You’ll make it according to the instructions, then spread the batter really thin over a Silpat. Sprinkle toppings over top — nuts, chocolate chips, cacao nibs, pretzels, whatever floats your boat — and bake it. (I chose dark chocolate chips and cacao nibs.) Let it cool and harden, and then smash it to smithereens! Or gently snap it into bite-size pieces. Your call!
You can reserve most of the batter and make regular brownies, too, or you can make one huge batch of brownie brittle. Something for everyone, right? The corner brownie lovers in your live will thank you. // susannah
I’m excited to introduce Alexandria from A Modern Girl’s Travels to the blog today with some awesome tips for international travel!
Food, It’s what fuels us. I have been a food lover from the beginning — as a child there was nothing I wouldn’t eat. Vegetables: I was obsessed. Beets are still my favorite. Collard greens? They’re delicious. There was nothing I wouldn’t try… until I traveled out of my comfort zone and had no idea what I was eating.
You see, my palate had been created by American food. Food that is very different from that around the world.
I have now visited 18 countries and I’ve tried many different cuisines, so I’ve picked up a few tips and advice over time. Here’s what to expect when dining abroad:
Be respectful. It is okay to ask questions about what you are eating but don’t ask in a judgmental way. While in Italy, I chose to do a food tour around Rome and there was a very rude family that was part of our tour. They refused to try just about everything. They didn’t like garlic, the consistency wasn’t what they wanted, or the flavor they wanted was gone. These two made a huge deal out of everything and offended a lot of people along the way. You still have the right not to eat things that you do not want to experience. Just learn to politely decline.
Leave expectations behind. You can imagine that my first meal abroad was a bit of a shock for me. Where was all the starch? These are not fries, these are chips!
Just know that whatever you anticipate might be wrong. For example, spaghetti in America is be completely different from how they do spaghetti in Italy. In fact, the Italians did not even invent spaghetti. Garlic bread is not a thing there. Don’t expect it. Some experiences may not be what you hoped for, and others may shock you.
Your best bet is to throw aside all your assumptions about what you’ll find to eat. The second that you let go of your expectations is the second that you can start immersing yourself in a new experience, and start finding food that you do enjoy.
Be adventurous. You have to get out of your comfort zone. There are various ways to do this. On every trip I like to take a cooking course and shop in the local markets.
Cooking classes help you immerse yourself in their culture and tastes. It teaches you how they prepare their food and give you a great recipe to bring home later.
Go to the local grocery store or market and pick up ingredients to throw things together for yourself. I personally love to go and find their off-brand cookies. They’re always delicious!
While you’re at it, follow your sweet tooth, and you never know what you’ll find. You won’t regret it! Plus you’ll be able to try so many different types of sweets that you won’t easily find at home.
Overall, just enjoy yourself. Treasure the meals that you get to experience. You may find new foods that you love, and once you get home they’ll be almost impossible to find. Even if you do find your new favorite dish, chances are it won’t taste the same. That’s because American ingredients taste different — even our water tastes different — and all of those factors make a difference.
Drink up! You should start out knowing that alcohol and soda will more than likely be cheaper than water. On top of that news, don’t expect anything to taste similar to how you have it at home. Water is filtered and purified differently and comes from other sources. (It’s also a good idea to look up whether it’s safe to drink tap water. Sometimes bottled water is recommended.) Soda is made with more or less sugar, along with different flavors of syrups. On top of all of this, you should know that every country has a different drink of choice, like sparkling water or a particular beer or wine.
Do research. Every country is different, so it’s worth doing some research beforehand. It’s important to know that every country has different rules for tipping — you can find information on that here. Another example would be that in France there is a difference between a cafe and a restaurant. A restaurant is a nicer and far more expensive establishment!)
Alexandria is a blogger, reader, collector of animals, and wife to Edward. Her life revolves around non-profit work, dreaming of her next vacations, and planning her move abroad. You can vacation with her by following her on Instagram, or stop by her blog A Modern Girl’s Travels.
Join me in welcoming Katie from Twin Stripe to the blog with some resources for gluten-free cooking!
Since beginning a gluten-free diet nine months ago, I have learned there is a strong stigma attached to the term “gluten-free.” When people hear it, they automatically assume that you can’t eat anything because most people do not have a complete sense of what gluten is. Gluten is a protein composite that derives from wheat based products, including rye and barley. Foods such as bread, pasta and beer contain gluten, but even salad dressing and soy sauce can have it too. Of course I can’t eat everything, but with the right resources and knowledge, eating gluten-free can be a breeze!
While Susannah is exploring South Africa and visiting her family, I am excited to share a few of my favorite gluten-free cooking resources with you. It was a challenge, but I was able to narrow it down to my three favorite cookbooks, blogs and Instagrammers for you to read and follow.
While I am a huge fan of finding recipes on blogs (like Feast + West!) and Pinterest, there is something very satisfying about selecting a recipe from a cookbook. Since switching to a gluten-free diet, I’ve picked up a few new cookbooks. Against All Grain is my go to. It features delicious recipes (that my husband enjoys too), weekly meal plans and shopping lists. As a bonus, Danielle Walker also writes at Against All Grain blog where she shares even more tasty recipes. I recently fell in love with Clean Slateand it’s simple approach to healthy, balanced eating. It is filled with beautiful photos and tasty meals. I love to bake, but gluten-free baking can be tricky. I am a big fan of Cara Reed’s book, Decadent Gluten-Free Vegan Baking: Delicious, Gluten-, Egg- and Dairy-Free Treats and Sweets, which makes gluten-free baking much less intimidating. Cara also had a blog, Fork and Beans, where she shares her recipes.
There are so many great blogs that feature gluten-free recipes, so I decided to select a few of my favorite recipes from some of my favorite blogs. Chad and I love to make breakfast together, so I knew I needed a good pancake recipe. Minimalist Baker has a delicious gluten-free pancake mix that I highly recommend. It makes a great gift or the perfect breakfast! Half Baked Harvest’s chicken tamale burrito bowl just might be one of mine and Chad’s favorite recipes. Who could say no to cheesy polenta, spiced quinoa, black beans and chicken plus a heaping spoonful of guacamole? You must try it ASAP! If you are looking for something a bit lighter, A House in the Hills has some delicious recipes for goodness bowls filled with veggies, grains and more. It is the perfect light and healthy meal. I could keep going about my favorite bloggers and recipes, but you should just check out my gluten-free recipe pin board for more.
I’m a huge fan of Instagram, so it should come as no surprise that I follow gluten-free Instagrammers. Lemons and Leisure and Widely Raw happen to be sisters that share the most beautiful gluten-free, plant-based recipes on their feeds. I feel like every day I’m drooling over their breakfast, lunch, dinner or sweet treat. Amazon Ashley is another favorite. She shares many Whole30 recipes, like this sweet potato pizza crust. Be sure to follow these great accounts for gluten-free inspiration.
Do you have any favorite gluten-free cooking resources? Please be sure to share them in the comments so I can check them out. A big thanks to Susannah for letting me share with all of you! Be sure to stop by Twin Stripe for more recipes, DIYs and entertaining ideas.
Meet Katie, the voice behind lifestyle blog, Twin Stripe, a blog that creates a bright and modern lifestyle. She lives in Greensboro, North Carolina with her fabulous husband, Chad, and adorable pup, Hobbes. She spends her spare time decorating her home and throwing festive parties. She believes you can never have too much glassware or glitter!