Pumpkin Carving Party

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October is my favorite month of the year. The crisp, cool air…the colorful leaves on the trees…oh wait, that doesn’t happen in Florida! Every year, I make a desperate attempt to celebrate autumn despite the 80° temperatures. I invited a few friends over to carve pumpkins but ending up spending most of our time hovered over the food table. I mean who wouldn’t be impressed with a Jack-O-Lantern shaped veggie platter and bloody knife cupcakes? The rest of our night included sipping on cider, enjoying the beautiful weather and everyone cramming onto the couch to watch Halloweentown.

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¡Olé, Olé!

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Just because Labor Day is the “official” end of summer, it doesn’t mean you have to put away the grill. These recipes were inspired by one of my favorite NYC taco spots Tacombi, which you last saw in this post. I was craving their tacos and decided to whip up my own version along with their famous Corn in a Cup.

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Corn in a Cup

  • 4 ears of corn
  • Queso Fresco
  • 2 limes
  • 1 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/2 cup sour cream

Throw the corn on the grill following this recipe. Cut the corn off the cobs, add the mayo and sour cream, and mix together in a bowl. Add some lime juice and scoop into the cups. Add a dollop of the sour cream/mayo mixture on top, squeeze some more lime juice, and sprinkle with chili powder. Crumble the Queso Fresco to top it off.

*If you want to make the Mexican Street Corn version, leave the corn on the cob when you’re done grilling. Mix the mayo with chili powder (eliminate the sour cream for this version) and spread onto the cob with a brush. Throw back on the grill for a few minutes. Add a bit more chili powder and roll in Queso Fresco before serving.

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Pineapple Pork Tacos

  • 1 lb pork tenderloin
  • 1 pineapple
  • 1 bag of cole slaw mix
  • 2 limes
  • Corn tortillas
  • Queso Fresco
  • Handful of cilantro
  • Teriyaki sauce

Marinate the pork in teriyaki sauce for a few hours before you cook. Saute the pork on the stove or throw on the grill. Slice up the pineapple and grill. I love cabbage on tacos but instead of buying a full head of cabbage, I use a bag of cole slaw mix that has a combination of white and red cabbage. To build the tacos, add the pork, grilled pineapple, cabbage, crumbled Queso Fresco, a few pieces of cilantro, and squeeze a lime over the top. Drizzle with the sour cream sauce (recipe below).

Cilantro Sour Cream Sauce

I don’t like to measure a whole lot when making a sauce. I think it’s more fun to taste as you go. For this sauce, I throw everything in the food processor. Small container of sour cream, fresh garlic, cilantro, green onions, a dash of milk (to thin the sauce), and salt & pepper.

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Sunshine State Summer

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Summertime in Florida can be brutal. You have to occupy yourself with things that involve AC otherwise the sweltering heat can ruin your summer days. There’s only so much time you can spend at the beach so I’ve been discovering new local spots for brunch and dessert (the two most important meals of the day). With a stop in Palm Beach, night strolls along the beach at sunset, gelato at the Italian market, rooftop pool parties, and even more vacations to look forward to..I’d say it’s been a pretty successful summer.

IMG_3479^^The colorful ride at Mazzaro’s Italian Market. The most incredible spot…gelato bar, pastries, homemade pasta, and a wine & cheese room.

IMG_3753^^Indulging in a Nutella-filled eclair after our French-inspired brunch at Piquant.

IMG_2717^^A weekend trip to a Palm Beach palace.

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset^^Macarons galore at Chocolate Pi inside the new Epicurean Hotel in Tampa.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset^^Orange creamsicle beers on a sunny day at 7venth Sun Brewery.IMG_2718

IMG_2456^^Old fashioned cocktails served on an antique door at Mandarin Hide.

IMG_2947^^Incredibly delicious spicy Asian tacos at Oxford Exchange.

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Chai Latte

I first tried chai tea in a little cafe in Mexico. Maybe that wasn’t the best place for my first taste because I was not overly thrilled with the flavor. While living in NYC, I had a friend reintroduce me to the drink, guaranteeing I would like it. Although I was sure I would hate it once again, I ended up loving it. It even become a weekly ritual to stop by my local coffee shop for a chai latte.

Since the end of the year is right around the corner and the “cooler” weather has joined, I want to spend most of my time with a warm drink, bundled up in flannels watching movie marathons all afternoon. But considering it’s still 80° and I’m currently in shorts, I figured I could at least pretend it’s chilly out if only for a bit. This Chai Latte has a bit of a kick to it. The creaminess of the condensed milk combined with the cinnamon makes it the perfect morning treat.

A Day in the Life {Halloween Edition}

1. All of my favorite things about autumn- scarves, lattes, sweaters, and shopping (which I love doing in any season). // 2. The cutest jack-o-lantern cookies. // 3. Homemade Chai Lattes on Halloween morning. The recipe will be posted soon! // 4. I’m a sucker for candy corn but only the mix with the little pumpkins in it. // 5. Autumn-inspired flowers and plaid table runners at my brother’s wedding rehearsal dinner. // 6. My favorite part about Halloween…pumpkins! // 7. I can never visit enough pumpkin patches during the month of October. // 8. There’s something so magical about twinkling lights on a cool night. // 9. The spookiest desserts on set at HSN.

Halloween Compost Cookies

Since I consider Halloween to be the season of sugar, I felt it only necessary to do a little baking. I first found this recipe for Halloween Compost Cookies on Glitter Guide last October and it has quickly become a yearly tradition to whip up these salty + sweet cookies inspired by Momofuku Milk Bar in NYC. Who knew potato chips, M&M’s, and caramel rice cakes could make for the most amazing cookies?

A Day in the Life

1. Beautiful glass stars overhead at Red Mesa Cantina. // 2. Celebrating the start of “autumn” with rooftop drinks at the Hyatt Regency Clearwater Beach. // 3. First cool morning so I took full advantage of reading + morning coffee on the porch. // 4. Spontaneous afternoon at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino for a little blackjack. // 5. The best orange margaritas at Casa Tina’s in Dunedin. // 6. My favorite Ladurée macarons shipped straight from NYC. // 7. Fancy dessert night at the Bern’s Dessert Room. // 8. Giuliana Rancic celebrating her one year anniversary at HSN. // 9. The most perfect Florida sunset. The sky looked like it was on fire.

A Day in the Life

1. Pumpkin spice coffee and a raspberry cronut from Piquant on a stormy morning. // 2. My first professional photography project for Luxxe Bands live on Fab.com. // 3. Mimosas at one of my favorite brunch spots in town. // 4. Chocolate cannoli from Lucky Dill Deli. Almost as good as the ones at Ferrara in NYC. // 5. Beautiful chandeliers inside the newly renovated Ritz Ybor. Fun night with Icona Pop! // 6. My first attempt at royal icing. Engagement ring cookies in honor of my future sister-in-law’s bridal shower. // 7. The most amazing dry ice martini at Ocean Prime. // 8. Spent two days with Giuliana Rancic on set at HSN for her fall launch of G by Giuliana Rancic. // 9. Strawberry donut and my new photo book by Elsie + Emma of A Beautiful Mess.

A Day in the Life

1. Spent the day by the pool with cold drinks + homemade guacamole. // 2. The wall of Pantone colors at Lowe’s. One of these days I’m going to paint stripes on my walls. // 3. My first cronut + cold brew coffee from Dough. // 4. Betsey Johnson at the HSN studios kicking off her new collection. // 5. A frosted mug filled with root beer at Woody’s Root Beer Stand in Ohio. // 6. Lena Dunham made the front page of the Tampa Bay Times for her comment about how all of the artsy people are leaving NYC for Tampa. // 7. The most amazing spinach salad + caprese sandwich at Alesia in St. Pete. // 8. My new autumn scent: Trish McEvoy’s Sexy No. 9 // 9. A massive raspberry mousse-filled macaron from Dough to celebrate Pretty Little Liars night.

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Baked Doughnuts

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While I was living in New York City, I loved swinging by the Doughnut Plant for some type of fancy doughnut. My favorite was a PB+J flavor, topped with a creamy peanut butter frosting and filled with grape jam. I decided to try my hand at making homemade doughnuts. Instead of the typical fried doughnut, I went with the baked version for my first attempt. The cake was light and fluffy with a hint of cinnamon.

I created a pink marshmallow glaze (which looked pretty in pictures but hardened a bit too much in the fridge) and a Nutella frosting topped with crushed graham crackers. These were the perfect partner to a cup of coffee in the morning. Thanks to Glitter Guide for all the best baking ideas!

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