Two Years

Two. Two wonderful, chaotic, lovely years.

Technically the blog turned two yesterday but I wanted to share whiskey with you. You get it.

So many things have changed in two years. Gone from mama of a 8 month old to mama of a two and a half year old. Gone from stay at home mama, to blogger, to freelancer, to volunteer coordinator at a non-profit, to now founder of a start up (more to come on that).

What a way to cap it off than by drinking all month and partying hard on Saturday. May 31st (THIS SATURDAY) we will party hard from 3-5. Cosmos, lavender cupcakes, and much much more.

Oh and I broke my camera lens. The one I shoot everything with. So to replace it I am raffling off either dinner for four delivered to your house (you better be local) or a cake of your choosing. Tickets are $5. Let me know if you want a ticket or ten!

Love you much. Thank you for your readership. Come on over and I will make you a drink.

From my little family to yours.


Whiskey Sour

Ahhhh whiskey.


My first exposure to whiskey was a shot I took one night in a bar in Barcelona. I remember thinking “huh… that wasn’t so bad.”

My next encounter with whiskey was also a shot. I was traveling for work and, as I often did, I was having dinner alone at the bar of a restaurant. Some nice guys started chatting with me and eventually we wound up with shot of Jameson. Delicious.

Then one of my friends started ordering Marker’s Mark on the rocks when we went out. That was when I was truly converted to being a whiskey drinker (although Maker’s is technically a bourbon). It took a couple of tries to really get used to sipping it straight but I was hooked from the get go. So carmely. So good.

Whiskey Sour

Both Nathan and I are now regular whiskey drinkers. Pendleton doesn’t last long at our house. It is mostly drank on the rocks, sometimes we drink it neat. Occasionally it winds up mixed in to something. It’s just so darn good.

Bull Rum makes a delicious whiskey that we have been sipping on lately. Finally I made it in to whiskey sours a couple of night ago.

Whiskey Sour

Please please please listen to me when I tell you to not buy sour mix. A whiskey sour is just lemon juice, simple syrup, and whiskey. Separating the components like that makes it a breeze to adjust the flavor. Like it sweeter? Add more syrup. Like is sourer? Add more lemon juice.

I am only sharing one whiskey drink with you today. Either of the drinks I have already shared with you when we talked bourbon are great with just plain whiskey.Whiskey

So make a drink with your whiskey but take time to sip it on the rocks. If you have listened to me and purchased good spirits you wont be disappointed.

One year ago today: Homemade pasta and One year

Whiskey Sour

Whiskey Sour (makes 1 drink)

1/2 ounce lemon juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
2 ounces whiskey
Cherry for garnish

Pour all the ingredients except the cherry into a shaker filled with ice. Shake till well chilled. Pour over ice into a glass. Garnish with a cherry or two. Drink in garden in the sunshine.


Martinis and Gimlets

Gin gets a bad rap.

I think when people think of gin they think of gnawing on a pine tree. While some gin does have a heavy juniper flavor there are so many other varieties and flavors out there. Dismissing gin because you don’t like juniper means you haven’t tried enough gin.

So drink more gin.


I happen to love craft gin. Pretty much all of it. We have Brokers in our cabinet as a basic level dry gin for mixing. Also we have been lucky enough to have three of the very best gins on the market in our cabinet as well. And all three of those are from Oregon.

Aria from Bull Run and Bankers Gin from Vivacity Spirits are both so London dry style gins and are SO different from each other. Bankers is crisp, dry, and citrusy. Aria is a bit softer with a pronounced forward juniper flavor and a lingering finish. Both are stunning.


But then there is the Native Gin from Vivacity as well. I had the privilege of meeting and chatting with Caitlin who is the distiller at Vivacity. She lovingly called Native her gateway gin. And a gateway it is indeed.

See I didn’t drink gin till I tried Native. Last winter at a holiday market was the first time I really tasted gin at all. Yes. You did just read that right. I have been drinking gin for less than six months. Trust me when I say I’m making up for lost time.

Stir a martini don't shake it

After tasting the Vivacity gins I braved buying Native later on that week. I say braved because I was still a tad scared of gin. Buy oh my the gin and tonics we drank…. That bottle disappeared quickly. Then Nathan was gifted Vivacity’s Bankers Gin for Christmas and that was dispatched just as quickly.

Somewhere along this journey of mixing gin and tonics and gimlets I realized I really like gin. One night out with girlfriends I just up and ordered a martini. Holy deliciousness. Seriously. Who knew olive soaked in gin were that good too!?


If you love gin you know what I am talking about. Come over and I will make you are martini. If you don’t like gin, please come over and I will make you a gimlet and let you sip on some Native Gin and you will realize gin wasn’t what you thought it was.


One year ago today: One year anniversary party


Gimlet (makes 1 drink)

Gimlets are traditionally made with Rose’s lime juice but I just can’t (or won’t). I am offering you options here to either use fresh lime or Rose’s.

2 ounces gin (London dry is best)
3/4 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
OR 1 ounce Rose’s lime juice

Pour the ingredients into a shaker filled with ice cubes. Shake till well chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.


Martini (makes 1 drink)

3 ounces gin (splurge for a great gin)
1/2 ounce dry vermouth (or to taste)
Olives for garnish

Pour the gin and vermouth into a tall glass filled with ice. Stir gently with a spoon till well chilled (we don’t shake martinis because it clouds the gin). Strain into a martini glass and garnish with olives.

Mint Juleps and Old Fashioneds

When I wrote the initial post about how to stock your liquor cabinet I lumped whiskey and bourbon together. While I don’t think it is imperative that you have both I highly encourage it.

Because more liquor is just that- more liquor. And that is rarely a bad thing. Unless it is. Then please don’t.

Both mint juleps and old fashioneds I think are standouts for bourbon. You can make these with whiskey and no one will mind one bit. But buy bourbon and keep it on hand. If you can.

Mint Julep

Mint juleps are a traditional southern drink and the signature drink of the Kentucky Derby. Crushing the ice to smithereens is an extra step but one I seriously think you should take. Just wrap the ice in a towel and whack it with your rolling pin. Or do as I did and just whir it in your food processor. Either way you want tiny crushed ice bits. It is way cool when the outside of your glass freezes (ha ha ha).

Mint Julep

Besides if you have been making drinks along with me so far you will already have the mint in your fridge. Or just grow a big patch outside your front door.

Mint Julep

Old fashioneds are a new to me drink. Clearly they are not new new seeing as they are old fashioned (man I am on a roll). When I first started making these I was using real maraschino cherries. Oh my yuck. Thankfully I complained to a friend and he suggested using dark morello cherries from Trader Joe’s. What an easy swap and what a win.

Old Fashioned

Granted the morellos wont last for years on end in your fridge the same way but they are a great treat to appease a toddler while you are whipping up your drinks for the evening. Not that that has ever happened to me. Nor did I make him a virgin tequila sunrise because he wanted a drink like mommy’s.

Old Fashioned

The other ingredient you need to hunt down for old fashioneds are bitters. Bitters are a “liquor that is flavored with the sharp pungent taste of plant extracts and is used as an additive in cocktails.” In this case we are using Angostura bitters. One bottle is relatively cheap and will last maybe forever. Just do it. Being able to make old fashioneds is worth it. 

One year ago today: Earl grey cake with rhubarb cream cheese glaze and Spanish tortilla

Mint Julep

Mint Julep (makes 1 drink)

Leaves from 4-5 mint sprigs
1/2 ounce simple syrup
2 1/2 ounces bourbon whiskey
Mint sprig for garnish

Place the mint and simple syrup into a old-fashioned glass. Muddle well to dissolve the sugar and to release the oil and aroma of the mint. Fill with crushed ice, pour the bourbon on top, and stir well until the glass becomes frosty. Garnish with the mint sprig.

Old Fashioned

Old Fashioned (makes 1 drink)

2 1/2 oz bourbon whiskey
1-2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 tsp sugar
1-2 morello cherries
1 lemon peel twist

Place the sugar in a glass and drop in the cherries. Muddle into a paste using a muddler or the back end of a spoon. Pour in bourbon, add a dash or two of bitters, fill with ice cubes, and stir.

Margaritas and Tequila Sunrises

Ok so I already told you the first bottle of alcohol I bought was a peppermint schnapps to add to my hot cocoa. While I cannot say this with 100% certainty I am pretty confident the second bottle I bought was tequila.

Many a night in college was spent at the late night half off appetizer and cheap margaritas happy hour at Applebees (I feel like I just outed myself for saying that). Love me a margarita.


At first I only wanted them blended and with strawberry. Over time I moved on to just lime and blended then finally lime on the rocks. Oh the salt. That was my favorite part.

And once there was this one night with a bottle of tequila and another of orange juice. There may have only been three of us that night but we drank the.whole.bottle. One of the three who were there that night refuses to drink tequila sunrises to this day. Hint- it isn’t me.

Tequila Sunrise

A few years ago I traveled to Mexico for work and had the pleasure of learning to sip tequila. Goodness gracious that stuff is delicious. And artisan tequila can be as unique and tasty as craft bourbon. Yes I said it. That is how much I like it.

So picking which tequila drinks to make you was SO easy. These are my go to. Margaritas more so than tequila sunrises because a) they aren’t as sweet and b) I tend to have all the ingredients on hand.


If you have been following along making drinks you will already have all the things you need to make margaritas. Tequila sunrises you simply need orange juice and grenadine. Grenadine last forever by the way. I can’t even tell you how long we have had the bottle that we own.

Tequila Sunrise

So bottoms up. These are two of my faves.

One year ago today: Vanilla poppyseed thumbprint cookies with strawberry jam


Margarita (makes 1 drink)

1 ounce lime juice
3/4 ounce triple sec
1 1/2 ounces tequila
Salt for rim

Place salt in a shallow dish. Moisten the rim of a rocks glass with a lime, then dip in salt. Add ice to the glass. Fill your shaker 3/4 full of ice. Add the tequila, lime juice, and triple sec. Shake for 30 seconds or till well chilled. Pour over ice into the prepared glass.


Tequila Sunrise (makes 1 drink)

4 ounces orange juice
2 ounces tequila
1/2 ounce grenadine

Pour the tequila and the orange juice into a highball glass with ice cubes. Stir. Slowly pour the grenadine around the inside edge of the glass, it will sink and slowly rise to mix with the other ingredients naturally.

Mojitos and Daiquiri

Lets talk rum.

For the sake of this post today we are just going to be chatting about light rum. It is really all I have on hand at the moment too.

I reserve dark rum mainly for cooking (remember the peaches foster?) or for sipping. The difference between light and dark rum is that dark rum is aged longer in a charred barrel. Tastiness. Spiced rum is rum that has had spices or flavorings added to it. Also delicious.


But for mixing I recommend, and use a light rum. Like the Pacific Rum from Bull Run. It is wonderfully coconutty (is that a word?) with hints of vanilla and citrus. Incredible to just sip but oh so good in on my current favorite drinks- mojitos.

Mint MojitoTalk about a drink that makes alcohol shine. A little mint, a little simple syrup, a little lime, a little club soda, and a good dose of rum. The flavor meld so beautifully but you can still taste the full flavor of the rum.

We have a mint patch out in front of our house. I feel a little like it is cheating but I LOVE having mint on hand 24/7 for mojitos (and mint juleps).Mint Mojito

But today isn’t just about mojitos. If you scale things back and don’t add club soda and skip muddling the mint you get a daiquiri. Hang in with me on this one. I am guessing that to you a daiquiri is a slushie type drink that is overly sweet and usually involving strawberries or other fruits. Yes it can be that but the original daiquiri is just simple syrup, lime juice, and rum.



So with one shopping trip and only buying three ingredients (other than rum) you can make both of these tasty drink (if you already went shopping for the things you needed  for vodka collins and cosmopolitans you will have everything expect mint!).

The mojitos do require a tid bit of effort as you need to muddle the mint. Simply that means put it in the shaker, add some sugar, and mush it. The more you mush it the more you get the tasty mint flavor.

And daiquiris? The bulk of the effort is juicing some limes and crushing some ice. A total breeze.

What is your favorite way to drink rum?

One year ago today: Beef with Broccoli (my most popular post) and Lamb Burgers

Mint Mojito

Mojito (makes 1 drink)

6-8 mint leaves
2-3 tsp sugar
Juice from 1 lime
2 ounces rum
4-5 ounces club soda

Place the sugar lime juice and mints in your cocktail shaker. Muddle well. Add ice filling it half full and pour in the rum. Shake for 30 second or until well chilled. Pour over ice into a 14 ounce collins glass. Top with club soda to taste.

This drink is very forgiving so play with proportions till you hit on your perfect combination.


Daiquiri (makes 1 drink)

2 ounces light rum
1 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
Lime wedge for garnish

Pour the light rum, lime juice and sugar syrup into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Shake well.
Strain into a chilled cocktail glass or pour over crushed ice in a rocks glass.

Cosmopolitan and Vodka Collins

Vodka is not particularly high on my list of favorite alcohols. Not that I don’t like it I just have never appreciated it.


Till now. I tasted all three of the vodkas I currently have on hand side by side. What.a.difference. The pretty white bottle with red writing is Medoyeff from Bull Run. I have spent quite a bit of time enjoying other craft alcohol but had never ventured down the path of fine vodka. So worth it. A bit spicy and subtly sweet.

And the things you can do with vodka. I also missed the boat on this. I’ve had my tryst with the other delicious spirits but not much of a relationship with vodka.


The two best things I have found to make vodka are a cosmopolitan and a vodka collins. One is the quintessential girl drink and the other a great summer thirst quencher. I’m completely won over to the I love vodka camp.

Cosmos are oh so sweet and beautifully pink. You can barely tell there is liquor in them.

Vodka Collins are a new drink to me. With just a bit of lemon juice, some simple syrup, and a big splash of club soda you have a ridiculously good light grown up version of lemonade. Try just drinking one.

Vodka Collins

Also today we embark on the mixers journey. I think it is safe to say that as far as I am concerned triple sec needs to be in your liquor cabinet. And club soda and cranberry juice. And limes and lemons on your counter. Just do it. You can make these two drinks (plus so many others) with just these few mixers.

(And I am so loving writing about cocktails)

One year ago today: Planked salmon


Cosmopolitan (makes 1 drink)
(I read many many recipes and settled on the easiest. It is amazing)

1 ounce vodka
1 ounce triple sec
1 ounce fresh lime juice
1 ounce cranberry juice

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice then add vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice and lime juice. Shake the cocktail shaker for about 30 seconds until well chilled. Then, strain into a martini glass.

Vodka Collins

Vodka Collins (makes 1 drink)

2 ounces vodka
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup (recipe below)
5-6 ounces club soda
Lime for garnish

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the vodka, fresh lime and simple syrup. Shake for 30 seconds or till well chilled. Pour over ice into a tall glass. Top off with club soda and garnish with a lime.

Simple Syrup (makes 1 cup)

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water

In a small saucepan combine the sugar and water. Turn the heat to medium and stir till warm and all the sugar is dissolved. Cool and use in cocktails. Store in the fridge.


How to Stock Your Liquor Cabinet

I want to remind you to please save the date for May 31tst! This sweet blog turns two and we will party. Bakeshop style. 

Something that has not been discussed much on this blog is my affinity for a good drink. Sure there has been a mention here or there about a lovely wine I enjoyed or how much I needed a beer at the end of my day. Cocktails, though, have been completely overlooked.

I am setting out to remedy that.

Anyone who has been to my house knows I love a good drink be it wine, beer, or spirits. Slowly over the past year I have been teaching myself to make delicious drinks with the tastiness that resides in my liquor cabinet.

I keep a liquor cabinet that is stocked better than most. It’s just a fact. I am not trying to sound pretentious. The very first bottle of liquor I bought I believe was a creme de menthe to add to my hot cocoa. Since then my palette has evolved and expanded. Now I can honestly say that there is not a quality liquor out there I don’t like (I hate bottom shelf).

How to stock your liquor cabinet

What I want to do this month is encourage you to build your own liquor cabinet (or expand it is you already have one) and get to mixing some drinks! It is so incredibly easy. The hurdle is knowing recipes and I will give you plenty of my faves.

So for the next month we are going to talk liquor. All my favorites in fact. Living here in Oregon we are blessed with incredible distillers. Bull Run Distillery is one of the standouts and you will see many of their spirits over the coming weeks. Whatever you do please buy and enjoy your local spirits. You will not be disappointed.

Seriously. You heard me right? Please please please support your local distillers. Not only because it is good for your town/state but because, chances are, the spirits will knock your socks off. All my top picks are Oregon made. Just do it (yes I went there).

Besides bottom shelf sucks. Don’t do that to yourself. You deserve better.

Today I want to talk about the five (or seven depending on how you read the list) spirits I think are the basics. From these you will be able to mix a host of drinks. Sure you will need mixers and some additional spirits but by in large here is what I think you need to have:

How to stock your liquor cabinet

1. Vodka- Usually distilled from grain or potatoes (at the least the kind you should be buying will be). High quality vodkas are delicious simply chilled and sipped. It doesn’t have a strong flavor compared to some of these other alcohols so it makes a standout mixer.


2. Rum- A pirates drink. But no really it is distilled from sugarcane by products and is aged in a barrel. The longer it is aged the darker it is. Most rum comes from the Caribbean but Bull Run does make a wicked one right here in Oregon. If not buying local I particularly love Puerto Rican rum. Bacardi was a cop out last time I went shopping. Don’t judge.

How to stock your liquor cabinet

3. Tequila- With or without the worm I love tequila. A lot. This is the one you get to fudge on when it comes to buying local. Tequila can only be made in Mexico and is distilled from agave. I urge you to branch out beyond Jose Cuervo and Patron. Craft tequila can be incredibly unique and delicious. We love Zircon Azul as our standby mixer as it is relatively inexpensive yet still quite tasty.

How to stock your liquor cabinet

4. Whiskey (and a Bourbon)- Whiskey is made from fermented grain mash and aged in charred barrels. It is very strictly regulated and delicious. Bourbon is a type of whiskey that is made from at least 51% corn. They taste very different and I keep both on hand when I can afford it. If not we generally just keep one GOOD whiskey. And scotch. We usually have a scotch on hand too.

How to stock your liquor cabinet

5. Gin (dry and western)- Oh gin. I didn’t know I loved it till just this past fall when Vivacity won me over with their Native Gin. It has 17 botanicals of which many of them are native to Oregon. It is considered a western style gin as the flavor profile is so incredibly unique. The main component and flavor in gin is juniper and with a london dry gin it is much more pronounced. More so than any of the other spirits, I highly recommend you just keep tasting different gins. You will most likely eventually land on one you like.

How to stock your liquor cabinet

As far as equipment does you can fake most of it but I do recommend:

  • A good shaker. I have tw0- a cobbler shaker (the one with the metal top) and a boston shaker (the metal cup and pint glass).  The boston can easily make more than one drink, the cobbler is best for single servings.
  • Shot glasses or a jigger.
  • Muddler. You need one to mush up all the delicious stuff.
  • Strainer of some sort. I use my small metal strainer when I juice citrus into my shaker and use a hawthorne strainer when pouring drinks
  • Glassware. This is the biggest one you can fudge because honestly if it is you at home alone who cares what glass you are drinking from.
  • Citrus reamer. They are cheap and you will thank me when you have to juice four limes for margaritas.
  • Mixers. We will talk more as I share drinks with you. I always keep lemons, limes, club soda, and some other random stuff on hand.

As we approach the coming weeks and these drinks please don’t feel like I am preachy or trying to convert you to a particular spirit. Bottom line is drink what you like but every once in a while taste a martini just to make sure you still don’t like it.


One year ago today: Quinoa, tomato, avocado salad and sausage potato and spinach soup

Lavender Scones


It’s scones again.

I feel like I need duck every time I hand you another scone recipe lest you throw it back at me.

But I just love them. So.much.

I have made lavender cupcakes for you before and they were divine. When I had a request for scones from a friend a few days ago I couldn’t help but pounce on this recipe.

Lavender scones

I was skeptical to put the lemon zest in as well as the vanilla AND lavender. I really wanted a strong lavender flavor and though the other two might overpower it. Not the case. Seriously trust this recipes. Make it as it is written and you wont be disappointed.

Have you ever made something that is lavender flavored? You should do it. It isn’t like just munching on flowers. I promise. It is delicate and light.

These scones are so perfect. Usually I am good after just one scone or sweet treat. I found myself eating three in a row. It was so totally worth it.

They are on the make again soon list. Join me?

Lavender scones

One year ago today: Homemade butter

Lavender Scones (makes 16 small ones)
From Bon Appetit

3 cups all-purpose flour plus more for surface
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon dried lavender buds
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sanding or granulated sugar

Arrange racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to 425°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk 3 cups flour and next 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Add butter; rub in with your fingers until mixture resembles coarse meal. Whisk 1 cup buttermilk, zest, and vanilla in a small bowl. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir until shaggy dough forms. Transfer to a lightly floured surface; knead until dough forms, about 5 turns. Pat into a 10×6″ rectangle. Halve dough lengthwise. Cut each half crosswise into 4 squares. Cut each square diagonally in half into 2 triangles. Divide between baking sheets. Brush with 2 Tbsp. buttermilk. Sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake until scones are golden and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 13–15 minutes. Transfer to wire racks; let cool.

Lavender scones

Blueberry Oatmeal Pancakes


So I can’t believe I haven’t shared these with you yet.

Blueberry oatmeal pancakes

They hit our breakfast rotation a few months ago and have been a frequent visitor ever since. I often have all these ingredients on hand (yogurt around here is hit of miss) and this makes a fairly big batch.

When I say it makes a big batch I mean it is way more than Nathan, Little, and I can eat for breakfast. The first time I made them I was a little worried about all the extras. Then I did something I have never done before. I froze the leftovers.

Blueberry oatmeal pancakes


I simply put a piece of wax paper between each pancake, threw them in a zip lock, and popped them in the freezer. A few days later I tossed one in the toaster hoping it would be a great breakfast treat for Little. It was an instant win.

Since that day I make these every time we run out of pancakes in the freezer. As with any toddler food they are starting to loose their favorite food status but I persist. Served with some scrambled eggs I feel pretty ok calling this a complete breakfast. If I sneak some green juice in there I win mom of the day before 8 am.

Blueberry oatmeal pancakes

Breakfast (or really any meal) with a 2.5 year old is less than tidy. While these pancakes can, and do, make a spectacular mess I continue to serve them. Some days Little seems to think of them more as paint… as was the case the morning I opted to make and photograph these.

I clean up a lot of messes around here these days. Mine and not mine. But I do get a lot of kisses. I guess it is worthwhile in the long run.

Blueberry oatmeal pancakes

One year ago today: Fudge Date Balls and Shepherds’s Pie

Blueberry Oatmeal Pancakes (makes 12-15)
From Damn Delicious

1 2/3 cups whole wheat flour
2/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 cup (or more) blueberries

In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whisk together yogurt, milk, butter and eggs. Pour mixture over dry ingredients and stir using a rubber spatula just until moist. Add blueberries and gently stir to combine.

Lightly coat a griddle or nonstick skillet with butter. Scoop 1/3 cup batter for each pancake and cook until bubbles appear on top and underside is nicely browned, about 3-4 minutes. Flip and cook pancakes on the other side, about 1-2 minutes longer. Serve immediately with maple syrup.

Blueberry oatmeal pancakes