Cheesy Quinoa with Roasted Broccoli

Hey guys! First off, I’d like to thank everyone that participated in the giveaway. It’s great to find so many people who are as enthusiastic about bitters as I am, as well as those who are equally excited to learn more about them. Giveaways are always a bit tough for me — I love reading everyone’s comments, and restraining myself from replying (to avoid counting confusion) proves extremely difficult. But once the contest ends I find myself a bit distraught, because it’s time to divide participants up into winners and non-winners, and I always wish I could give something to everyone! So once again, thank you for all of the great comments. The fates have spoken, and the randomly chosen winners are:

eve: I’m relatively new to bitters, but love how they bring depth to a sugary drink, even if it’s just juice & seltzer. Recent fave is the Ruby Jack from Stanton Social in NYC – Jack Daniels, pomegranate juice, lemon simple syrup and peach bitters.

Lavender Pepper: Oh wow… yeah. I did college in Albany NY as well. I remember all that.. and Fountain Day. Those were… days.
But my fave bitters are: 1) I will second your Bitter Truth Celery Bitters, but for my Bloody Marys. 2) BT Orange Bitters in my vesperesque Lillet+Gin cocktails.

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Homemade Bitters Giveaway!

Hey, guess what — this is my 100th post! Shall we celebrate with free things? Yeah!

Bitters and cocktails are a relatively new interest of mine. While my parents didn’t care much for alcohol outside of social events, a few random bottles of beer could always be found in the basement fridge, along with the occasional half-empty, forgotten bottle of wine. Liquor, however, rarely (if ever) made an appearance. Long, twisty spoons, shiny shakers and their accompanying gadgets, pretty glasses of various shapes and sizes — all of these things were unknown to me.

Without a scotch-sipping grandfather or a cabinet filled with old, mysterious bottles to instill charm and intrigue during my childhood, my first impression of liquor/mixed drinks came from college. (College students in Albany, NY do not drink “cocktails,” they mix swill with more swill, and then they guzzle it. Lots of it.) In case you can’t already tell, my first impression was not a good one. Liquor was bleached-blonde, spray-tanned girls sucking down appletinis or cosmos in between attempts to out-screech each other. It was guys sporting double polos with popped collars, a pound of hair gel, and a suffocating amount of Acqua Di Gio elbowing me out of the way at the bar to order a round of panty droppers for the appletini girls and Captain ’n’ Cokes for the bros. It was drinking to get wasted. It was drinking to get so wasted that you just puke directly onto the floor of a bar, then nonchalantly stumble away while a girl screams about the vomit on her feet. (Yeah, I saw that happen. I bet that girl never wore open-toed shoes to a bar again.)

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French 75 Popsicles

Boy, could I go for one of these things right about now.

I’ve finally returned to VT after my house-sitting stint at my parents’ place in cool, woodsy upstate NY, and the northeast has decided to welcome me back with yet another heat wave. I feel like a bit of a weenie complaining about 90°+ days as I realize it’s plenty hotter in other places (and I’m lucky to have power to run the AC), but I suppose everyone’s tolerance for heat varies depending on where they were born/raised or the climate they’ve grown accustomed to. (I still remember my college friend Nishi, who grew up in South America, raving about the “perfect weather” on a particularly hot and humid day while I sat wilting in a chair in our stuffy dorm room, wondering if crying tears of misery would cool me down a little, or just feel like hot, boiling liquid running down my face.) So for someone who’s a product of shady, middle-of-the woods living, 95° = major grossness. Even my mother greeted me on the phone today with, “man, it’s [bleeping] hot.” (Mom!)

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Mom’s Chocolate Chunk Brownies

Hi everyone! I’m very excited about today’s post, for two reasons.

First: I’m sharing a recipe that I grew up on. I’ve done a number of posts that were inspired by things my mother would make when I was young, but this is the first followed-to-a-T-because-anything-less-would-be-blasphemous recipe. My mother is a bit of a wiz in the kitchen, especially when it comes to baked goods. Weekends were always devoted to baking several kinds of treats, and I can’t really recall a time when our cookie jar was ever empty. The near-endless supply of top-notch goodies also made me one of the power players in the underground lunch trade (which suited me well on occasions when I had a weird craving for bad pizza, but mostly just annoyed me because I wanted to be left alone so I could stuff a brownie in my face). Needless to say, my mother’s recipes are near and dear to my heart. And I’ve been keeping most of them in my pocket for special occasions, which brings me to my . . .

. . . second reason: My good friend Nicole is doing an amazing giveaway over at her blog! Nicole is a style consultant based out of NYC, and she’s giving away a gorgeous Alexis Bittar bracelet to one lucky person. (Picture after the jump!)

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Zucchini & Sweet Corn Pizza

Yesterday, I shared a simple pizza sauce recipe and a few house-sitting pictures with you. Today, I’d like to follow that up with the resulting pizza and a house-sitting anecdote.

What follows is a prime example of what it’s like to be me. See, I seem to be a magnet for “oops” situations. We’re talking a rapid series of events that will cause my brain to completely freeze, and my I-work-8-hours-a-day-on-a-computer fingers on my left hand to start involuntarily making ctrl+Z keystrokes. Sometimes, it’s my own fault. But most of the time, it feels like mischievous cosmic forces are at work, putting me in ridiculous situations for their own amusement. (See also this post.) It’s cool though, because apparently the universe and I have similar senses of humor. (I am also well aware that this cosmic torment might actually be better defined as “karma,” since I have a bit of a penchant for mischief myself.)

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