How to Cook with Rum

How to Cook with Rum, a comprehensive guide //

Earlier this month, I wrote about what you need to know about mixing drinks with rum. Rum is another spirit that makes an appearance in the kitchen from time to time. It’s a great for Caribbean recipes. You can also make your own vanilla extract with it, as well as delicious glazes, marinades and boozy sweets. It’s a fun one to learn how to cook with, as it can offer a big flavor boost. Keep reading to learn how to cook with rum and see some awesome food recipes you can make with it.

Hint: Next time Johnny Depp is in your kitchen wondering why the rum is gone, you can tell him it’s in the dessert.


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Mojito Jell-O Shots

Mojito Jell-O Shots // Feast + West

It has been way too long since I posted a Jell-O shot recipe. Ever since making Champagne Jell-O Shots and Baby Guinness Jell-O Shots, I’ve become weirdly enamored with Jell-O shots. They’re way more fun when you make them from scratch, without the weird bright-colored brand name gelatins you find at the grocery store.

I made these Mojito Jell-O Shots for my friend’s bachelorette party earlier this month. My friend, the bride, loves all things rum and mojitos. In her honor, I created these alcoholic treats for us to enjoy together and they were a big hit. Minty and slightly sour with a bit of alcohol, these puppies are a delightful party treat.

Mojito Jell-O Shots // Feast + West

To make these, you’ll need lime juice, mint, sugar, rum and gelatin. You’ll need a stove and a bit of patience. The hardest part is shelling the limes so you can pour the lime juice into them. Or, you can skip the lime shell part entirely and just make these in regular ol’ plastic shot glasses.

For the record, you can totally make Jell-O shots without the alcohol. Not a bad idea if you’ll have kids around when you make these. I think I might make them again for July 4… // susannah

Click below to see the Mojito Jell-O Shots recipe!

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Hidden Gems: Madison, Wisconsin Travel Guide

Hidden Gems: Madison, Wisconsin Travel Guide // Feast + West

Here today with an excellent Madison, Wisconsin travel guide is Abbigail Kriebs from Inkwells & Images!

Madison, Wis., population 240,000, isn’t the largest city in Wisconsin and certainly not the most-visited in the Midwest. But it is the home of the University of Wisconsin and the UW Badgers teams, a world-renowned teaching hospital and half a dozen lakes that make the city’s landscape as picturesque as any. Fun fact: It’s the only city in the United States to be built on an isthmus.

I’ve called Madison home for nine years now: two years commuting in from the suburbs, three as a student at the University and four since graduating. Needless to say I’ve been a Madison gal through varying levels of income, proximity to key restaurants and driving abilities, and living here has been an adventure through all of them.

Hidden Gems: Madison, Wisconsin Travel Guide // Feast + West

Madison has a remarkable résumé, bursting with great restaurants, unique shopping and more cultural destinations than a town its size can usually sustain. While visiting in late spring, summer or fall will give you the most opportunity to get out and about on foot or bicycle. Madison is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the country. Visiting during winter shows off the state’s personality too, with cross-country trails, comfort food and enough activities to keep your mind off the frigid temps of our long, cold winters.

Click through to see more of Abbigail’s Madison, Wisconsin travel guide.

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Lemon Goat-Butter Tea Cakes

Lemon Goat-Butter Tea Cakes // Feast + West

Find me a food blogger a human being who doesn’t love cookies. Yeah, I thought so. Does not exist.

When the new cookbook Cookie Love: More Than 60 Recipes and Techniques for Turning the Ordinary into the Extraordinary came across my desk, I knew I would love it. This book is filled with recipes you might find at a hipster cookie bakery on vacation in a big city.

Authors Mindy Segal and Kate Leahy created all kinds of cookies for this book. With gorgeous photos and recipe titles like Smoky Bacon Candy Bar Cookies, Peanut Butter Peanut Brittle Cookies and The Black Sabbath, everything single recipe is drool-worthy. There’s even a recipe for homemade Milanos. I have my eye on the Best Friends Cookies, which are this amazing swirl of fluffy meringue and chocolate. Also: Blondie Butterscotch S’mores. Need I say more?

Lemon Goat-Butter Tea Cakes // Feast + West

At the end of the book, Segal and Leahy included sections for the ingredients they keep in their pantries, the tools of the trade and the basic recipes they refer to all the time. The basics include recipes for hot fudge, butterscotch sauce and caramel sauce, as well as jams, toffee, marshmallows and sprinkles. (Yes, sprinkles!) I could see myself referring to the basics section an awful lot.

Lemon Goat-Butter Tea Cakes // Feast + WestMy biggest complaint about Cookie Love, though, is that the cookie recipes are, well,  complicated. I don’t mind a complex recipe once in a while — that is part of the fun of baking! But so many of these require strange ingredients (like goat butter) or a lot of ingredients and almost all of them have a lot of steps. If you’re a novice baker looking for an easy cookie recipe, this book is not for you.

However, you might like this book if you don’t mind cookie dough that gets refrigerated overnight, recipes that take up more than two pages or cookies that have multiple layers of texture and flavor (and labor). If you’re the kind of person who likes cooking their way through cookbooks, you might like exploring one section at a time. Each chapter is categorized into types of cookies, such as drop cookies, bar cookies, rugelach and shortbread.

Lemon Goat-Butter Tea Cakes // Feast + West

I thought I’d take a stab at one of the recipes in the Cookie Love cookbook. I chose the Lemon Goat-Butter Tea Cakes because it was one of the recipes on the simpler side. And boy, are these delicious. A little labor-intensive, but if cookies are a labor of love, I can’t wait to taste some of the other recipes in this book. I bet they’re amazing. (Fleur de Sel Shortbread with Vanilla Halvah, anyone?)

Full disclosure: I did not use goat butter in these. I could not find it, and the goat cheese lady at my local farmers market told me that it takes too much goat milk to produce goat butter, so her farm doesn’t produce it. I decided that was too much trouble, so I would just use regular unsalted butter. The Lemon Goat-Butter Tea Cakes still turned out beautifully and deliciously. With a gentle lemon flavor and a soft, chewy texture, these cookies might be one of my new favorites. // susannah 

Blogging for BooksFull disclosure: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this honest review. This post contains affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking one of them, at no additional cost to you. All opinions are purely my own. Thank you in advance for supporting Feast + West!

Click below to see the Lemon Goat-Butter Tea Cakes recipe! 

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Dream Jobs: Q&A with Nicole Bogas of NC Made

Dream Jobs: A Q&A with Nicole Bogas of NC MADE // Feast + West

Last summer, an amazing account swept across my Instagram feed — gorgeous gift boxes filled with a curation of handmade, artisan foods made in North Carolina. What an amazing idea! Over the last year, I have become friends with Nicole Bogas, the founder of NC MADE, and I am so inspired by her career story and creativity. Based in Durham, N.C., Nicole and I share a love for our Land of the Long Leaf Pine. I’m so excited to have her here today to discuss how she got started, how she runs her business and her goals for her work. // susannah

Dream Jobs: A Q&A with Nicole Bogas of NC MADE // Feast + West

1. How would you describe NC MADE?

We create handsomely packaged gift boxes featuring handcrafted North Carolina foods. To accomplish this, we curate the tastiest small-batch artisan goods from around our state with a focus on good product design. Our goal is for our gift boxes to bring attention to NC food artisans and to represent North Carolina as part of the New South.

2. What were you doing before NC MADE? What inspired you to change paths?

I worked for a digital advertising company in downtown Durham and had a lot of clients at national brands. It was unusual that our company was based in North Carolina, and at the holidays, I always wanted to send a gift showing our NYC and LA clients how cool the food scene in North Carolina is. But the existing options were mass-produced and kind of hokey. So I figured it couldn’t be that hard to make what I wanted myself… and now here I am!

Click through to read the whole Q&A with Nicole Bogas!

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12 Summer Mocktails, Part II

Mocktail Recipes, Part II // Feast + West

A good host tries to accommodate everyone, yes? Whenever I throw a party, I try to remember that there are people who don’t drink alcohol, for whatever reason. In case I have a designated driver or a soon-to-be mother coming over, I always try to have a few cocktail alternatives up my sleeve just in case. Parties are for celebrating! And I would really hate for someone to be stuck toasting with a glass of water.

These 12 summer mocktails are Feast + West originals, and today I’m telling you how to take out the alcohol and still have a tasty beverage. And if 12 is not enough, there’s 12 more in Part 1 from last summer. // susannah

Click below to see the recipes for these 12 summer mocktails!

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Dark Chocolate + Stormy

Dark Chocolate + Stormy // Feast + West

Earlier this year I won a giveaway from another blog (Yes, bloggers win giveaways too!) and my prize was a big bottle of Selvarey Cacao rum. This rum tastes warm and sweet, just like molten chocolate. It gets its flavor from a five-year infusion with cacao.

I am a big fan of candied ginger pieces that have been dipped in dark chocolate, so I thought I’d see if this rum would work in my favorite ginger-based Dark + Stormy. That cocktail normally calls for dark rum, but this chocolate rum is dark enough to work. And for a heightened ginger flavor, you’ll need a strong ginger beer like Bundaberg.

Dark Chocolate + Stormy // Feast + West

The result is a sweet and spicy cocktail with hints of chocolate, ginger and lime. It’s totally refreshing for a hot day. And we’ve sure been having a lot of those lately! Happy weekend. // susannah

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Hidden Gems: Louisville Travel Guide

Hidden Gems: Louisville Travel Guide // Feast + West

A big welcome to Melissa from Glisten & Grace Design! She’s got an amazing, in-depth Louisville travel guide for us.

Having grown up in Louisville for 20 years, exploring my hometown is still a favorite pastime. Whether it is the lush green parks, running trails, nights of live music, or grabbing a drink at a local brewery, this city always has something to do. It caters to an incredible cross-section of people. Since moving to California, I am always amazed at the responses I get from others when they find out I’m from this great city. Usually comments consist of baseball bats, bourbon, basketball and horse racing come through in conversation. While that is part of what this city and what Southern hospitality has to offer, it is just the beginning.

Hidden Gems: Louisville Travel Guide // Feast + West
Whiskey Row

I’m always excited to return and eat at my favorite spots. With local restaurants, breweries and revitalized neighborhoods. Louisville has been named “The Next Portland” and voted “The Best Culinary Scene” in the South by Bon Appetit magazine. This city features load of culture, live music and a European vibe you wouldn’t expect. Get ready, because Louisville is full of surprises.

Click below to see Melissa’s full Louisville travel guide!

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Strawberry Shortcake Macarons


It was love at first macaron. I’ve been dying to make these ever since I first tried one, but I dragged my feet. French pastry should automatically mean difficult, yes?

Well, I was in for a  treat of both the literal and figurative sort. Macarons are not only easy to make, but you can improvise at home to make them any time. You can have all kinds of flavors, and my mom and I dreamed up these Strawberry Shortcake Macarons.

Strawberry Shortcake Macarons // Feast + West

Make them for Dad, make them for yourself. Strawberry Shortcake Macarons are a sweet, vanilla-flavored and strawberry jam-filled treat you will love. // susannah

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Instagram 101: How to Use Instagram as a Travel Guide

Instagram 101: How to use Instagram as a travel guide // Feast + West

Whenever I travel, I’d rather get recommendations for things to do, see and eat from real human beings than from travel books. Social media makes it a lot easier to ask people for help with anything, and Instagram has become my go-to source for crowd-sourcing excellent travel tips from friends and strangers alike. Plus, you can use Instagram to make it a great travel resource for others.

This is how I find the best doughnut shops and the prettiest vistas to photograph. Last summer I shared some of my tips for using Instagram as a travel guide on The Collaboreat, and I thought it would be fun to revisit that list. Today, I’m telling you how to use Instagram as a travel guide for your next trip.

Click through to learn how to use Instagram as a travel guide!

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