Christmas Sangria...

I love a good cocktail recipe, especially a sangria. So when I saw this Christmas Sangria recipe by the young and talented Chef, Tieghan Girard of Half Baked Harvest, I realized it would be hard to find anything better. It's festive and beautiful, meant to be shared and savored. Perfect. 

To make this tasty, slightly sweet sangria for friends and family, just click here. As Tieghan shares, it's a "little white wine, a little ginger beer, a little apple cider, some brandy, a few pears, a few oranges and bunch of pomegranate arils." Original and delicious, try it at your next gathering. And happy holidays y'all...

Images: halfbakedharvest.com     Content: Sweet Peach 

Brandy Alexander

Whenever I spend more than a few hours with my family, I start to think of cocktails. So in preparation for Thanksgiving, I found a recipe for a classic, comfort cocktail that all can enjoy- from my nieces in college to their grandpa in his mid 70's. The Brandy Alexander, for me, wins the day...

The nice thing is this after dinner cocktail has just three ingredients, all meant to warm and satisfy and remind you to say 'thank you.' Find the recipe over at the beautiful site, Honestly Yum, here. And Happy Thanksgiving y'all...

 

Images: Honestly Yum    Content: Sweet Peach 

 

Bannerproof Your Coffee...

If you're an avid coffee drinker, you may have heard of bulletproofing your coffee by now. It was designed by Dave Asprey and the basic idea is by adding healthy fats to your coffee in the morning, (via unsalted, grass fed butter and coconut oil) you will have more energy, boost your brainpower and curb hunger. So, since I live in Atlanta, which is also home to the incredibly delectable Banner Butter, I figured some taste testing was in order...

The recipe to Bannerproof Your Coffee is quite simple: Take a tablespoon of unsalted Banner Butter, a tablespoon of coconut oil and place in a blender along with your cup of hot coffee. Blend for a few seconds until frothy, then pour into a mug. Top with a sprinkling of cinnamon if you so desire and enjoy...

My niece and I also tried Banner Butter's Cinnamon, Cardamom and Ginger, which goes great with regular coffee as well as Pumpkin Spice coffee- perfect for a chilly, fall day. A sucker for flavored anything, I loved this creamy, spiced version the best. 

Thirdly, we tried a mocha version using locally made Atlanta chocolate, Xocolatl. We melted a couple tablespoons in a double broiler, added that into the blender along with the coffee, butter and coconut oil, then drizzled some extra melted chocolate atop our finished cup. Ultimately, I'm not sure if I had any more energy or brainpower than a normal cup would provide, but I did feel satiated and I did love the taste...especially when there was melted chocolate on top. 

If you're in Atlanta and wish to buy a cup rather than make your own, stop by Caveman Coffee, on the BeltLine, which is offering two versions right now: Butter Coffee (with unsalted Banner Butter) and Autumn Spice Butter Coffee (with Cinnamon, Cardamom, Ginger Banner Butter, maple syrup, vanilla and almond milk)  Yum. 

And no matter where you live, have Banner Butter delivered to your front door, here. Via Scoutmob...

 

Images: Sweet Peach, Whitney Ott    Content: Sweet Peach

 

Mimi's Peach Gazpacho

Mimi Maumus is a chef after my own heart. When I take a seat in her lovely, inviting restaurant home.made in Athens, I know I'm in for a delicious meal. So I was thrilled when she decided to share her Peach Gazpacho recipe with us. We all need to make this tasty dish before peach season ends. Thank you Mimi... 

 

 

Image: Kristen Bach    Content: Sweet Peach     Recipe: Mimi Maumus

 

Bulletproof your coffee...

I have yet to try bulletproofing my coffee but I'm intrigued. This trend has taken off on the west coast and NY and involves combining coffee with two tablespoons of grass fed butter. Tech entrepreneur, Dave Asprey came up with the idea while hiking in Tibet (he found a similar creation there, made with yak butter). Supposedly, the combination of coffee with butter high in Omega 3's and vitamins, is good for you and your brain. Those who partake report a suppression of hunger and a renewed mental clarity. Gotta try... 

 

image: Maya Visnyei


 

Hot Toddy for the Holidays...

It's cold and it's the holiday season, therefore hot toddies are in order. When trying to decide on a recipe to share on Sweet Peach, I headed over to my neighborhood pub, H. Harper Station to see which was their go-to favorite. Sommelier, Krista Mason whipped up this warm and tasty toddy using housemade tea and syrup. Delicious and worth the extra effort... Thank you Krista! 

If you're in the mood for a hot buttered rum toddy, may I suggest making one with Banner Butter. Their Cinnamon, Cardamom and Ginger cultured butter is ridiculously good via a spoon, let alone combined with rum, sugar and allspice. I highly suggest you settle in on a cold winter's night with one (or two) in hand...

 

Photos: Sweet Peach. Banner Butter pic: Whitney Ott     Content: Sweet Peach


DIY Holiday Gift: Organic Body Butter

I tend to be a DIY gifter for the holidays. Not all my gifts, but some...because it's fun and original. My friend, Tiffany, who lives up in Asheville, made me some organic body butter earlier this year and it's honestly my favorite gift. I love it. So we got together last month to make some more for the blog. This recipe makes enough for 3-4 mason jars or over a half dozen half and quarter jars. Perfect for the holidays...

To start, you'll need 3 cups organic raw shea butter (solid) 1 1/2 cups organic coconut oil (solid) and 1 1/2 cups organic almond oil (liquid). 

Then lastly, your favorite essential oils. Choose ones depending on your needs. Like lavender to calm and soothe, bergamot for a mood lifter, eucalyptus for an immune boost and then there are all those combinations you can create. It's a bit endless, just make sure the oils you choose are skin friendly.

First, melt the shea butter and coconut oil in the top of a double broiler. Remove from heat and let cool for 30 minutes. Next, stir in almond oil and your favorite essential oils. (start with about 20-30 drops and increase as needed)

Tiffany and I favored Tranquility by Aura Cacia. It's a combination of lavender, balsam fir needle, patchouli, palmarosa, geranium and Roman chamomile. It smells divine and is designed to relax the body and quiet the mind. 

After you add the essential oil, place the entire oil mixture in freezer or outside to chill. Wait until the oil starts to partially solidify, then whip until it's a butter-like consistency. Be sure not to overmix- just keep checking for that right consistency, as seen here in bottom right. 

Lastly pour into clean jars, label and decorate as you desire. Easy peasy. It's important to care about what you put on your skin and when you make this concoction by hand, with simple, high quality ingredients, you can't help but feel like you've done a really good thing. It's the perfect gift to give...

 

Photos: Sweet Peach; Aura Cacia     Content: Sweet Peach


Eternal Sunshine

It's Friday and time for a cocktail. I'm currently in Mexico City with friends and have sunshine on my mind so I thought I'd share this tasty drink I shot earlier in the year, named Eternal Sunshine. Made with Cathead Vodka, it was expertly crafted by Aron Faubel of Sweet Auburn BBQ. This drink will make a nice addition to any happy hour today. Plus, it'll warm you up. Enjoy...

 

 

The Alchemist

In search of the perfect holiday cocktail, I recently headed over to my favorite neighborhood bar, H. Harper Station. Upon hearing my request for a festive cocktail that embodied warmth and joy, owner Jerry Slater mixed up The Alchemist. His impressive creation is a treasure trove of fantastic, nostalgic flavors. Every sip offers a bit of allspice, nutmeg, apple, cinnamon and overall herbacious goodness. This is a cocktail with depth and character that'll warm you up and have you asking for another. And another... Cheers! 

 

 

Halloween with Libbie Summers

If you ever get a chance to spend some time with Libbie Summers, you'll be in a really good mood. Based in Savannah, Georgia, Libbie cooks and bakes the prettiest and tastiest food. With every dish, she exudes joy and fun and I really do just adore her. When I was thinking of what to post for Halloween, I had to send her an email to see what she was up to. Turns out it's a very spooky (and adorable) Skull Cake...

I love making anything that involves construction paper and scissors. This easy recipe can translate into whatever spooky image or saying you'd like to share...

Libbie has a knack for taking everyday items and incorporating them into her baked goods- like bubble tape and gumballs to create a Bubble Tape Mummy Cake. It's another easy recipe that's fun and playful, just like her. She likes to present her mummy cake in a nun's costume but this is an optional component. See, just like that, I'm in another really good mood. Happy Halloween everyone...

 

Photos: Chia Chong/ libbiesummers.com     Content: Sweet Peach

 

Bloody Band-Aid Cookies....for Halloween

When my friend Sarah Neuburger of The Small Object posted this pic on instagram the other day, I was impressed but not surprised of her creative baking skills. She's the mastermind behind the cutest stamps on the planet- plus the illustrator of Sweet Peach Sweet Spots. These cookies are a really fun Halloween treat... 

Sarah suggests following your favorite sugar cookie recipe. Then take gel food coloring and follow the instructions for achieving the light brown Band-Aid color. (Sarah notes the dough looked more purple before baking but turned out perfect once baked.) Refrigerate dough. 

Next, roll out dough on floured surface. Use your preferred kitchen tools to achieve a rectangular cut for each cookie (Sarah used a pizza cutter and a ruler). Try an angel food cake cutter to add rows of holes for each Band-Aid. Bake cookies, cool. 

Make your favorite icing recipe. Place the icing in a piping bag or plastic bag with a cut hole in corner. Dab white icing into shape of a square in the cookie center, then add red spot either with an icing writer or another piping bag with red dye (after white icing has dried). Let the cookies sit out a bit and harden, making them stackable for your serving plate. So cute...and scary. Thank you Miss Sarah.

 

Photos: Sarah Neuburger; yourhomebasedmom.com; onesweettooth.com; vintagerevivals.com    Content: Sweet Peach 


Grady's Cold Brew

 

Although I'm not one of those people that need a cup of coffee everyday, I do enjoy a tasty cold brewed coffee from time to time...

What I like about Grady's Cold Brew is how they get their inspiration from New Orleans. Their special ingredient is chicory, whose origins begin in Egypt but the root has been mixed with coffee in France since the early 19th century. When French colonists established New Orleans in 1718, coffee crops were one of their big exports and contributions to the city. It quickly became an integral part of the local culture.

During the American Civil War, naval blockades cut off the port to New Orleans, hence the locals access to coffee. To stretch their supplies, New Orleanians began mixing their coffee with acorns, beets... or chicory. Chicory coffee was cheap and used in times of coffee shortage or an economic downturn. This surprising combination of flavors in coffee has become a New Orleans tradition as well as chicory in a 'cafe au lait' or hot milk. 

All of this colorful history makes Grady's Cold Brew so much more of a good idea. It can be mixed with water or milk, served over ice or steaming hot. Chicory has a nutty, mellow flavor and when added with milk, tastes like hazelnut. Learn more about Grady's through their site, plus find their recipe for a New Orleans Iced Coffee (and other tasty coffee concoctions), here.

 

Photos:Grady's Cold Brew; Food 52     Content: Sweet Peach


Low Country Boil

I love a good southern party, specifically a Low Country Boil on a nearby front porch. My uber talented friend, nearby neighbor and colleague, Monica Martino drew this lovely illustration and hosted this shindig last month- along with her husband, Chris. It was a no brainer to add this to the calendar. Yes, please!

Monica and Chris make a great team. They used to throw large get togethers when they lived in Los Angeles and have the perfect party formula dialed in. Having just moved here from LA, (Chris is originally from Atlanta) the couple decided to invite the neighborhood so they could get to know everyone. That's the southern spirit...

Now any good Low Country Boil includes crawfish. The trick is you gotta keep 'em alive until right before you boil them. It's a process for sure. As Monica shared, "I'd eaten my share of crays while working on a tv show about shrimpers in Louisiana, but this was my first time buying and cooking them. We bought our crawfish in the morning from the Crawfish Shack and kept them cool until it was time to cook." 

Monica, "While the water was boiling, we 'purged' the crawfish in the cooler with running cool water and rock salt. This makes them release all their impurities. We rinsed them until the water ran clean, then they were ready to cook." 

They bought a 40 quart pot with a steamer basket and a big wooden paddle to mix. Besides the crawfish, the boil included spicy andouille sausage, sweet corn, red potatoes and shrimp- plus a lot of seasoning, lemons, garlic and a bay leaf or two. 

And seasoning is paramount in any Low Country Boil. Zatarain's concentrated Shrimp and Crab Boil has been a New Orleans staple since 1889. It adds a lot of spice. As Monica wisely shared, "Don't be afraid to go a little spicy- that's why there is cold beer available." 

It was fun watching these two work their magic so seamlessly. Monica, "Everything must be fresh and the order you add to the pot is important. Start with the seasonings, onions, garlic, lemons, pepper and sausage. Then add corn and potatoes. Then comes the shellfish. Other than that, you really can't screw it up!" 

Chris and Monica essentially followed this recipe, just adding a few tweaks like using shrimp and eliminating mushrooms. Picture perfect...

So if you're going to do this right, get a big long table and cover it in paper, adding hot sauce, fresh bread, paper towels, cold beer and small garbage pails for the shellfish remnants. Then, let the fun begin...

This has to be the very best part. I'm getting hungry just looking at this whole scene again as everything was so ridiculously tasty. Monica, "It's such a dramatic way to serve up the food and it's so fun to eat straight off the table. It's also a great way to get to know people because there's nothing like sharing a meal with strangers to turn them into friends." 

Chris and Monica hope this becomes a tradition every year. Um, yeah...it better be. 

You may remember Monica from our Christmas post where she made Mercy Gumbo with fresh Louisiana Gulf Shrimp- another dish to remember for a lifetime. Good Lord, I miss that gumbo...

 

Photos and Content: Sweet Peach

 

Sweet Peach Summer Cocktail

Living in Georgia, I must admit peach season is my favorite fruit season of all. To help celebrate their arrival this year, I've concocted a refreshing, fruity cocktail I'm calling the Sweet Peach Summer Cocktail. This recipe is meant for two. Enjoy...

 

Photos: Whitney Ott Photography     Content: Sweet Peach


Sweet Peach Layer Cake

With peach season upon us, I wanted to make something sweet, scrumptious and pretty. After a bit of research, my friend Monica and I created the Sweet Peach Layer Cake with peach ombre icing. 

This is a three layer cake. You can pick your favorite sponge or white cake recipe. We liked this one and this one but ultimately gave it a go with this version. It's a butter cake recipe, tripled. 

I let the cakes cool overnight, then Monica came over to make our vanilla buttercream frosting, via Martha Stewart. Monica trimmed the top of each cake to even out each layer. (I'm a fan of this amazing video by Libbie Summers, How to frost a layer cake, both informative and adorable) 

Between the layers, Monica applied a coat of icing, then topped it with a mix of one chopped sweet peach and a couple tablespoons of peach jam (we used Emily G's Peach Marmalade). Experiment with your favorite sweet peach concoction. 

Next, she applied a crumb coat of icing around the entire cake. 

I wanted a peach ombre icing for this sweet treat. Monica found this tutorial and it worked perfectly, no matter which ombre colors you desire. 

All you need is a bit of patience and this type of icing is easy and fun to do. For the final touch, we added a sweet peach on top. But of course...

Instagram your own Sweet Peach dessert with the hashtag #sweetpeachsweetspots

 

Photos and Content: Sweet Peach    First and last pic: Whitney Ott Photography