Happy Alcoholidays! Whether it’s for hostess duties, a little stress relief, or a Wednesday night in front o the fire we’ve got you covered this holiday season. Fruity, creamy, warm, fizzy? Yup, yup, yup, and yup. Forty-eight concoctions for you to test, tweak, and savor. (Two a day December 21st through the 24th if you’re the goal-oriented type.)
Creamy Peppermint Punch – Celebrate // Apple Cider Sangria – Glitter Guide // Fig Thyme – Honestly Yum // Valencia Orange Bourbon Apple Cider – Daily Squeeze // Honey Beer Winter Warmer – Smart Cookie // Vanilla, Pear, and Vodka Cocktail – two tarts // Mulled Wine – Life Tastes Like Food // Cardamom Rose Cocktail – Design*Sponge
Pumpkin Pie Sparkling Sgroppino – Glitter Guide // St Germain and Gin Euphoria – yumsugar // Toasted Almond – freutcake // Cranberry Old Fashioned – The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen // Apple Pie Cocktail with Cinnamon Meringue – Design*Sponge // Scotchsicle – yumsugar // Cranberry Tangerine Negroni – Healthy Seasonal Recipes // Mulled Pineapple Cocktail – Kitchenette
Fresh Cranberry Ginger Vanilla Margaritas – How Sweet It Is // Spiced Pumpkin Shrub – Swooned // Creme Brulee Cocktail – Lara Ferroni // Cranberry Mint Cocktail – Pink Patisserie // Rosemary Ginger Orange Holiday Punch – One Kings Lane // Bourbon Cashmere – Good Eats // Warm Egg Nog – Food52 // Apple and Pear White Sangria – love grows wild
The Cozy Friar – Daydream Desserts // Salted Caramel Pear Cocktail – Swooned // The Normandy – yumsugar // Black Currant Cosmopolitan – The SoHo // Cranberry Margarita – Channeling Contessa // Pomegranate Ginger Fizz – Will Cook For Friends // Autumn Punch – SCOUT blog // Pear and Ginger-Sage Cocktail – A Cozy Kitchen
Pumpkin Mojito – Hostess With the Mostess // Cherry Bounce – Anthro Blog // Pisco Punch – Oh So Beautiful Paper // Sage Ginger Prosecco Cocktails – Front & Main // Cranberry Sangria – What’s Gaby Cooking // Spiced Persimmon Old Fashioned – Aida Mollenkamp // Salty Maple Buttered Cider – Serious Eats // Champagne Holiday Punch – Food & Wine
Cider Rum Punch – Emmadime // Clementine Bourbon Spritzer – The Boys Club // Honeycrisp Apple Daiquiri – Daydreamer Desserts // Rosemary Infused Holiday Cocktail – The Flair Exchange // The Earl Grey Whiskey Cider – With Food + Love // Persimmon Ginger Fizz – Unruly Things // The Classic Whiskey Smash – The Vivant // Maple Cranberry Bourbon Martini – Family Fresh Cooking
I was really excited when Bing asked me to partner with them to share the new Smart Search for Windows 8.1. I’ve always been a really visual person, which probably helps to explain why I’ve always worked in creative fields among other (more nerdy) things. It’s also why I love my job as an art and design blogger, but sometimes the internet doesn’t translate well for my type of folk. Smart Search is an entirely visual search that shows you a clean, graphic view of information from across the web – right up my alley. You can use it to check out the weather, get directions, or like me… find the perfect Christmas cookies!
One of my pet peeves about recipes in general is when no photo is attached. How do I know what the end result is supposed to look like?! Is this chocolatey blob accurate? Well, Smart Search eliminates that problem completely. I can now find the cookies that I’ll make to take home with me to my Grandma’s for the holidays by what looks most delicious. (All of them, obviously.)
It was no easy task, but after a major search I narrowed down the results to these eight. And I still need to take that down further, because my 89-year-old Grandma and I have an agreement that we’ll each make two kinds. (Though she’s such a cheater.) Which two get your votes?
Clockwise from top: Almond Chocolate Thumbprint Cookies by Running to the Kitchen // Amaretti by gnom gnom // Caramel Apple Cookies by Bakers Royale // Lemon Sugar Cookie Sandwiches by I Am Baker // Meringues with Rhubarb Curd and Rosehip by The Vanilla Bean Blog // Orange and Ricotta Crackle Cookies by Cook Republic // Pumpkin Shortbread by Cookies & Cups // Sweet Potato Ginger Cookies by Quick & Easy Recipes
This post was created in partnership with Bing. With a type or a swipe you can search the web, the cloud, apps, and your PC or tablet, all in one place using Bing Smart Search on Windows 8.1.
Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Design Crush going!
I’m a planner by nature. As a 10 year old I drew floor plans for fun and throughout school rewrote notes to relax. NERD ALERT! Now I love that planning is a part of running Design Crush, and there’s not much I love more than planning a good dinner party – real or imagined! (You can see Thanksgiving 2012 right here.)
Castle Peak Dinnerware
Arrow & Adobe Linen Napkins
Aueux Carving Set
Enchanted Ikat Table Runner
Industrial Inspired Metal Candle Holders
Mercury Glass Taper Holders
Metallic Print Glassware Set
Rose Gold Flatware
Rose Gold Salad Set
DIY Rosemary Wreath Place Cards
Acorn Squash and Pancetta Soup
Autumn Arugula Salad
Caramelized Coconut Butter Apples
Caramelized Sweet Potatoes
Citrus and Herb Roasted Turkey
Herbed Bread and Cherry Cranberry Stuffing
Honey Maple Beer Bread
Honey Mustard Brussels Sprouts Slaw
Pumpkin Sage Polenta
Almost every one of my favorite recipes has a story, so when West Elm asked me to share one of my favorite holiday traditions I knew just the one. When I was in elementary school my grandparents looked after me once school was out every day. My Grandpa picked me up at the bus stop and drove me the fifteen minutes to their house in the next town where my mom would scoop me up after work. Most days when I got into his car there would be a snack waiting for me – an orange we would share or a coconut macaroon cookie. But on really special fall days there was nothing until we got back to their house and I walked in the door to the sight of my Grandma’s apple dumplings, perfectly golden and smelling like heaven. Those apple dumplings meant that the holidays (as well as winter vacation) were right around the corner!
Now that I make my own I cut a corner or two, but the end result still gives me that same feeling of being cozy and loved. I picked up a Scape Oval Baking Dish (the perfect size for four apple dumplings) and a set of Universal Expert Wooden Utensils from West Elm Market to make the recipe all the more fun to pull together and share with you. I can already tell that these pieces are going to get a major workout over the next few months between casseroles and baked goods!
• 4 medium-large apples (I used Fuji)
• 1/4 C quick cooking oats
• 1/4 C brown sugar
• 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
• 4 pie crusts (I use pre-made)
• 4 tsp butter
• 1 egg
• 1 tsp vanilla
• granulated sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and spray a large baking dish with cooking spray in preparation. Make or (or open) your go-to pie crust recipe (each apple will use one crust). In a small bowl mix together the oats, brown sugar, and cinnamon then set aside. Peel and core the apples. Roll out (or lay out) one pie crust and set an apple in the center. Fill the hollowed out core with the oat-brown sugar-cinnamon mixture all the way to the top, then place a teaspoon of butter on top. Fold up the edges of the crust, making sure to pinch the seams as you go along. Repeat the process with the other three apples and set each one in the baking dish. Beat the egg and vanilla together and brush all over each dumpling, then dust with sugar. Bake for 50 minutes or until golden brown. These are delicious served with Brown Sugar Sauce (recipe below) or served with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. One dumpling could easily be split between two people.
Brown Sugar Sauce
• 1/4 C brown sugar
• 1/4 C water
Combine brown sugar and water in a small saucepan. Simmer until reduced and thickened.
The instant I threw this pizza together I knew it would be going into my late summer/early fall repertoire for years to come. Its birth is the result of being faced with leaving town unexpectedly for a few days, badly in need of a trip to the grocery store, and with a refrigerator full of produce that would be past its prime when I returned. Holy moly, just try it.
Peach and Chèvre Pizza with Balsamic Onions and Arugula
• your favorite pizza dough recipe (or my favorite cheat, ready-to-go from the refrigerated section)
• 2 peaches
• 1 red onion
• 4 oz chèvre (goat cheese)
• 3 C loosely packed arugula
• 1/3 C balsamic vinegar
• 1 Tbsp olive oil
• 1/2 tsp sea salt
Slice the onion up into thin strips. Place in a medium bowl and toss to coat in the balsamic vinegar, let sit for 10 minutes. Skin, slice, and pit the peaches and add to onion/balsamic bowl. Place and stretch your (homemade or store bought) pizza dough into a large cookie sheet, it will be fairly thin. Removed onions and peaches from the bowl and scatter across dough, saving the balsamic. Dot the pizza evenly with pieces of chèvre. Bake according to dough instructions. In the meantime, toss arugula in the leftover balsamic, olive oil, and sea salt. Once pizza is finished baking, cover evenly with the arugula mixture and let sit for 5 minutes. Some wilting will occur, which is totally fine. Enjoy!
Last weekend was the first it truly felt like fall, with plenty of cool temps and even a little rain to top it off. I know almost everyone seems to say it, but fall has truly been my favorite season for my entire life. So of course I had to do a little celebrating by dragging out my crockpot and cooking up some super simple, but very flavorful vegetable stew. (I served it up over a small bed of brown rice, but it’s just as good without.)
Slow-Cooked Vegetable Stew
(loosely adapted from Real Simple)
• 1 can vegetable broth
• 2 cans diced tomatoes, including juice
• 1 can corn, drained
• 2 cloves garlic
• 1 large sweet potato, diced
• 1/2 tsp cumin
• 1/2 tsp sea salt
• 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
• 4 small zucchinis
• 1 can chickpeas, drained
• brown rice
Combine vegetable broth, tomatoes and juice, corn, garlic, sweet potato, cumin, sea salt, and crushed red pepper in a crockpot. Give it all a good stir and set on low heat for 6 hours or high for 3 hours. Add in zucchini and chickpeas, cooking for one hour longer on low. Serve over brown rice or with some crusty bread. Completely easy, yes?
01/ 100 handmade shark fins float in a lagoon in New Zealand.
02/ Clever wallpaper that shows the skeletons of animals.
03/ This paperless artist uses her thigh as a canvas.
04/ This old-fashioned homemade soda party looks delicious!
05/ Beautiful bird flipbook machines.
06/ Delft wallpaper, who woulda thunk it?
07/ A typeface made of carefully shaped fried eggs.
08/ A beautiful state flower print.
09/ Aerial and fashion photography mashups.
10/ Simple timelines put today in perspective versus the rest of history.
I cobbled together this cake last Sunday for a dinner and it was a hit. The pears weren’t over-baked or the slightest bit mushy and the cake was the perfect density and texture. I’ll definitely be putting this recipe in my back pocket to mix up with different fruits throughout the year. (Blackberries! Fresh cherries! Plums!)
Spiced Pear Upside-Down Cake
Makes 2 cakes, serves 6 each
• 1/2 C butter (half a stick)
• 1 1/2 C packed brown sugar
• 4 pears, peeled and sliced (6 if you like a higher ratio of fruit, like me)
• 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, and 1/4 tsp clove)
• 3/4 C unsalted butter, softened
• 1 1/2 C sugar
• 2 tsp baking powder
• 2 tsp vanilla
• 4 large eggs
• 2 1/4 C all-purpose flour
• 1 C milk
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt 1/2 cup butter and pour equal parts into two 9″ round glass cake pans. Divide and sprinkle brown sugar evenly over melted butter. Peel and half pears, remove cores, and slice into quarter-inch sections. Place slices into large bowl and toss with pumpkin pie spice until coated. Arrange pear slices in concentric circles over butter and brown sugar mixture on bottoms of pans and set aside. Beat softened unsalted butter, sugar, baking powder, and vanilla with mixer on high until fluffy (about 3 minutes). Add eggs, one at a time, until well incorporated. On low, beat in flour and milk alternately. Gently pour half of batter into each pan to cover pears. Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack for 10 minutes, then run a butter knife around the outer edge of each and invert on serving dish. Gently lift cake pan. Serve warm, with vanilla bean ice cream for bonus points.
01/ I know that guacamole is extra. It always is.
02/ Clever slouching book bookends.
03/ Not one. Not two. But thirteen ways to make hummus.
04/ We’re giving away three tickets to Alt For Everyone!
05/ Just some paintings of bodies hidden under rugs.
06/ Catastrophic disasters recreated as layered sculptures.
07/ Ten photos that look like hyper-realistic paintings. But aren’t.
08/ Your Last Shot asks what photo you’d want displayed at your funeral if you died tomorrow.
09/ Towering metallic men sculptures in Taiwan.
10/ Massive, beautiful stick sculptures.
This week on Design Crush:
Mix #28: All the Hands In Your Pocket
Taste Tour: POPS
UPPERCASE: Work/Life 3
52 Weeks of Dogs
Skin & Bones
Alt For Everyone (Ticket Giveaway)
Design Crush + Dodge Dart
The last thing I’ve wanted to do all summer is turn on the stove. It hasn’t even been especially scorching, only a few triple digit days here and there, but I just can’t even stand the idea of it. Everything I want to eat has been coming out of the refrigerator, dishes that are cool on the palate and light on the stomach. This Tangy + Sweet Lentil Orzo Salad is my latest go-to creation. It has everything you need for a good meal – plenty of color, fresh produce, and protein. It also makes a great side or main dish and can be prepared ahead of time, definite bonus points.
Tangy + Sweet Lentil Orzo Salad
• 1 box orzo
• 1 C black beluga lentils
• 8 Tbsp olive oil, divided
• 1/3 C red wine vinegar
• 4 cloves minced garlic
• 1 cucumber
• 1 pint grape tomatoes
• 1 nectarine (or peach)
• 1 red onion
• 1 C feta
Prepare orzo according to box. Once finished mix in 2 Tbsp olive oil and place in refrigerator to cool. While that’s happening get the lentils ready, I really like the kind that can be steamed in the microwave. Place these in the refrigerator until cool. In the meantime, prep your produce. Half the grape tomatoes. Quarter the cucumber lengthwise, then remove the seeds and slice into small pieces. Julienne the nectarine. Chop the onion up small. Once everything is nice and chilly prep the dressing by whisking together the remaining 6 Tbsp olive oil, red wine vinegar, and minced garlic in a small bowl. In a large bowl combine orzo, lentils, tomatoes, cucumber, nectarine, and onion. Toss to combine with dressing then top with feta.