My Love For All Things Coconut

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With summer winding down, I thought I’d share one of my favorite flavors: coconut. I absolutely LOVE coconut pie (my granny’s was the best); I love pina coladas (virgin ones, too. I don’t even care); I love coconut milk pudding, and I love coconut cappuccinos. So much so that it’s become a running joke between a friend of mine and me. He and I met ironically at the coffee shop, and that first time, he ordered a coconut latte. It was the last of the coconut the shop had. Being the Southern gentleman that he is, he offered me his drink. Being the Southern lady that I am, I declined. However, every time I run into him at the coffee shop, he always makes sure to note that he left some coconut for me.

Now, as you can likely tell, I went to this shop often. Daily, in fact. It was my personal splurge on myself that I always tried to justify. It was, though, an expensive habit. So, for Christmas my husband bought me a Nespresso A+C40-US-TI-NE Inissia Espresso Maker with Aeroccino Plus Milk Frother, Titan (Discontinued Model). (Note: This one is the discontinued model, but I couldn’t quickly find the one he bought…this one is a bit cheaper, though, in price, and is of great quality! The pods work for this model, just like the new model!)

I use Torani Syrup, Coconut, 25.4 Ounce (Pack of 4)

Typically, I use one tablespoon of syrup, as I don’t like my coffe overly sweetened. It’s still perfectly sweet this way, and the milk is perfectly frothed! I always use skim milk for making cappuccinos, as the fat in whole milk can weigh down the foam, causing it to deflate. For cappuccinos, the foam is vital.

What is your favorite coffee drink? I’d love to hear! Thank you for reading!

Dinnerware Essentials

Hi, everyone! I’ve received a few emails asking about china vs. everyday dishes, extra pieces, etc. So, I thought I’d give you MY suggestions. Please remember to do what’s best for your family, your budget and your entertaining preferences.

I strongly encourage china. It doesn’t have to be fancy. It doesn’t have to be new. I’ve found complete sets at antique stores for $100. (Note: I’m kicking myself for not getting them, BUT I hope it made its way to a home of someone who appreciates it). I just enjoy and appreciate the added “specialness” it brings to an ordinary occasion. As a child, I remember using it and feeling so grown up. As an adult, I love a pretty table. It’s your preference, though. I encourage 12 place settings of the dinnerware you will use at Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc. If this is everyday dinnerware, that’s great. If it’s china, that’s great, too. For argument’s sake, let’s go with china. So, in short, 12 placesettings of china. What makes a place setting? At absolute minimum, a dinner plate and a dessert plate (can double as a salad plate). I prefer to also have a bread plate, coffee cup and saucer. It’s not mandatory, but for my personal collection, I have bowls, as well. We actually use these more than I ever expected to, particularly at the holidays. Aside from 12 place settings, I strongly encourage a large serving platter and a serving bowl. I have a lot of serving pieces for my wedding china (Lenox Vintage Jewel). However, for my “fun china” (shown in picture above – Lenox Autumn), I just have 8 place settings. No serving pieces. I found a good buy on ebay and just went with it! For that pattern, I’m comfortable mixing in glass bowls, crystal and white platters, etc. Do what makes the most sense for you.

I don’t find a need in completing a set all at once. For my everyday dinnerware (Pfaltzgraff  Yorktowne), I have collected pieces over the years after receiving our initial plates and bowls as wedding gifts. Pfaltzgraff (like many companies) keep patterns pretty much the same and just add and take away particular pieces each year. So, certain candlesticks I’ve found are from certain years, and the same goes for most of my additional pieces.

As you can tell from the photo above, our casual dinnerware is just that. Casual. This fits our lifestyle for most days.

I hope this post helped you if you had questions on what to get, how many pieces, etc. Thank you for asking the question! As always, thank you for reading. 🙂

Classic Cocktails

Throwback Thursday!

In honor of it being Throwback Thursday, we’re talking about classic cocktails today! My all-time favorite drink is a sidecar. It’s reminiscent of Prohibition era days, which I’m particularly fond of. I think I was born in the wrong decade.

In fact, when my husband, parents and I bought an older building in our town, there were stories of it being a speakeasy during the Prohibition. And y’all know how much I love stories. J

So, to make my favorite classic cocktail, the Sidecar, you would use a martini glass. Then, mix together:

  • 2 oz. Cognac
  • ¾ oz. lemon (I sometimes do just ½ an ounce)
  • ¾ oz. triple sec.

Shake well with ice. Strain into martini glass. Super simple and clean.

My husband, on the other hand, is a whiskey guy. Apparently yesterday was National Bourbon Day (I had no idea). His classic cocktail is an Old Fashioned. To make you need:

  • 2 oz. bourbon
  • 3 dashes bitters
  • ½ to 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • Water or Club Soda
  • Fruit garnish (usually a slice of orange and a cherry)

Muddle the sugar and bitters together with a sprinkling of water or club soda until the sugar is dissolved. Fill lowball glass with ice. Add the bourbon. Garnish with choice of fruit.

What I love is that we typically have these liquors on hand, and most don’t require anything super difficult.

Another classic cocktail is a simple mimosa. This is the perfect brunch drink, but it’s also just nice and refreshing in the summer. Simply add your desired amount of champagne or prosecco (the latter is not super classic….but it’s still delicious) to a champagne coupe or flute. Then, top with orange juice. For an added *extra*, add two drops of orange bitters.

I think it’s nice to have a signature drink for entertaining, and I hope these have given you a few ideas!

Want to get a start on the perfect glass? Check out these reduced-price glasses. Regularly $34.

 

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Entertaining Made Easy

THANK YOU to everyone who sent an email recently asking about easy entertaining recipes. I’m going to try to encompass the three different occasions mentioned. Also, if you ever have a topic request or a question you would like answered, please feel free to email etiquettebyemily@gmail.com. I do my very best to answer each one!

So, for starters, if you are taking a side to a potluck dinner, these garlic-cheese biscuits are amazing. Amazing. They couldn’t be any easier, but I will admit it – I cheat and use biscuit mix (Bisquick).

Mix 2 c. of bisquick with 2/3 c. of milk and 3/4 c. of cheddar cheese until just combined. I mix by hand so as to not make the dough hard. Then, I drop 8 huge spoonfuls on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for 6-8 minutes. Mix 1 stick of melted butter with 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder. Brush on top (don’t be shy) of the warm biscuits as soon as they come out of the oven. Again, amazing. These are excellent warm, but they’re still just as good at room temp. They’re very transportable, and they’re the perfect gift for someone who is new to the neighborhood.

Now, Banana Muffins. Yay! If you are hosting a brunch, these are it.

Mix 3 overly ripe bananas with 1/4 c. of honey. Add in 1/2 c. of greek yogurt, 1 egg, 1 tablespoon (yes, it sounds like a lot) of vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. After all of that is very well mixed, add in 1 1/2 c. of unbleached flour, 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Mix until just wet. Then, toss in 1/2 c. of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Mine usually take about 23 minutes. It makes one dozen. *Note* Make sure to line your muffin tin. These are very low fat, and that causes them to stick more than normal.

Finally, the easiest side in the world. Roasted asparagus. I simply cut or break the woody ends off of the asparagus, lined them out on a cookie sheet, toss on a little olive oil and salt. That’s it. Roast at 425 degrees for about 12-15 minutes. My kids eat them up every time.Thank you for reading!

 

Traditions and Recipes

(Birthday girls get birthday pie in the South)

Last night I made some pies for a rehearsal dinner. Every time I make pies now, it reminds me of my granny. She was the pie queen. Every single crust of hers was perfectly thin and flaky. Just enough of the filling would soak in to make it delicious and worth every calorie. Like most Southern cooks, she never measured; she just felt the give the mixture gave to let her know if more milk, sugar, etc. might be needed. It never mattered. They came out just right each time.I wish I had that talent. I, on the other hand, have scoured over a dozen recipes my granny had written down (just for chocolate meringue pie) to try to find one that remotely tastes like my granny’s did. Before she passed away, I had her try some, and she gave me pointers for improving it – let the crust bake for about 90 seconds longer, increase the temperature about 15 degrees. Suggestions like these. About six months before she passed away, she gave me the approval. But, truthfully, I think she said it to be nice. No pie could ever touch hers.

My mother-in-law has always joked that if someone asks for her recipe, she gives it to them with a minor alteration. Maybe a slight measurement change or missing an ingredient that isn’t vital to the dish. She said that way people think, “Hmmm, it just isn’t quite as good as when Jane Smith made it.” However, I truly believe that it never is the same anyway. Recipes keep memories alive. Sometimes that right bite takes us back to our granny’s house, with a window AC unit, open windows in the kitchen that had simple white curtains blowing in the summer breeze, our bare feet on the laminate flooring and the perfect creamy bite of chocolate meringue pie in our month. No earthly mansion could compare to the paradise we experienced in that moment. No need for keeping up with the Joneses, as we had something they never would – a pie made with love from arthritic hands and a beautiful heart.

Although I’m missing my granny a lot lately, I’m so thankful for every memory I had with her and the recipes I get to share with Katherine and Grant. I hope you have plenty of memories like these, as well. If so, I’d love to hear about them in the comment section. Let’s keep the memories alive.

As always, thank you for reading!