This seasons, spiced soda.

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All of you I’m sure, might be questioning yourselves after your first glance of this picture… “it just looks like soda with orange in it, Bri?” Yes, thats half right, but it’s more than that! Flavoring & infusing drinks is a hot trend right now, and it is everywhere! Infusing water with delicious herbs and citrus’s in restaurants, hotels, and spas is the most popular thing to do right now, and you will for sure see it anywhere you turn! I love to infuse water mostly in the spring and summer because the produce has hit it’s peak, leaving you super refreshed and hydrated during the warm weather. When the cold months arrive, and snow starts to fall, you usually find yourself craving hot drinks to take the chill out you.  While there are some people who may be getting sick of hot cocoa, or craving something cold to sip on when the weather isn’t super “wintery” , I’ve got something fun for you to sink your taste buds into! 😉 

     Now, don’t get me wrong.. I love my coffee and hot chocolate, or even a cold weather cocktail if I’m feeling like getting a little crazy, BUT sometimes you just want a glass filled with a bubbly cold beverage, and thats perfectly fine! Some people are strictly a regular soda person, and I totally am not. I, for some reason cannot stand the aftertaste, so even though my drink is diet, you can absolutely use regular soda for your own enjoyment!

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     You might think that oranges remind you of summer, but they’re actually more of a  winter fruit. Blood orange, and other oranges including naval which is what I chose to use, and I really think it is the best choice. When naval oranges are ripe, they are deliciously sweet and so so juicy! They are my most favorite orange of all time. 

I remembered when I was really young, and lemon & lime flavored soda’s came out! That was what everyone wanted to get their hands on for so long, years ago. Now.. especially at restaurants, we’re all just so used to throwing lemons, or limes into our drinks ourselves! In this case.. were throwing oranges! 😉

We are not just infusing soda with oranges.. we are mixing flavors, people! I am all about mixing flavors with food, so there is no difference at all when it comes to what I drink! I have been extremely into cherry soda recently, and I wanted to change it up the other afternoon when I was craving something a little bit different; during these winter days. I looked at my fruit bowl on my counter top, and a light bulb went off.. “AHH, the perfect seasonal soda!” 

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Not only was it filled with a cherry burst, and a flavor blast of orange, but the mixture of the two made it something completely different from anything I have ever sipped before! Honest to goodness, diamonds, you’ll need to experience it yourself. The orange combined with the cherry made it almost taste like there was also a bit of berry in there, while leaving a winter spice in your mouth! I know it sounds a tad insane, but it would even be a great Christmas cocktail if you added some cinnamon whiskey into the mix for next year. It would be a holiday hack for a cold drink option! It sounds skeptical that you would want to add cinnamon whiskey with cherry, but it will compliment everything so well with the orange. Mark my word! Without spiking it though, it is pure deliciousness every time the infused bubbles hit your tongue when you take a sip. 

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So simple, and so refreshing for any day you deicide to spice up your soda this season! 

 

Stay hydrated, diamonds 😉                                xoxo

 

Mimosa mornings

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 Every Christmas morning my family has a huge breakfast with all different kinds of meats, eggs, and breads. The most wonderful brunch drink combination you could create is mixing champagne & orange juice. It just tastes like a slow.. amazingly happy holiday meal, as soon as I put the first sip into my mouth. It definitely wouldn’t be Christmas without it. Now, of course, yes; Christmas Day is over, unfortunately! Fortunately though, mimosa mornings travel into every morning for my mom and I up until New Years day! I celebrate the holiday season until the new year ..considering every happens so fast, and life gets super busy around this time of year that it gets hard to let yourself really actually enjoy every aspect of it. 

 

     Since the hustle and bustle has slowed down a pinch.. grab your most festive holiday champagne glass, and enjoy the holiday season! Whether you’re indulging in brunch, or an early dinner.. a fruity mimosa will go with absolutely perfect with anything paired. Normally in the winter time I am not into fruity beverages being that I’m very very seasonal and I constantly have to go with whats in the seasons, BUT to me, a mimosa tastes exactly like Christmas. 

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     Even if you’re not putting a ton of different flavors of fruit out to pop into your champagne, you can still make it look super cute and decorative for you and your guests! Always remember.. you don’t have to go over the top.. spending a lot of money in order to something something look nice, while also tasting good, and leaving loved ones with memories you’ll never forget. 

  • Being that it’s the season of reason and green I wanted to only do berries to give the cocktail the bright holiday red color that we all love and desire! 

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                        Fill the champagne glass up almost half way with the berries. 

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     After you drop some gems of fruit into the glasses for however many drinks you’re making.. fill it up half way with orange juice. 

                                Pour, pour, pour your favorite bottle of bubbly! 

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     I think that the bubbles look insanely cool after the champagne gets poured, and the bubbles start to slowly fade away!

Cheers! To celebrating the holidays all throughout the new year. Enjoy your loved ones, have fun, feel blessed, and take time for yourself diamonds. xoxo 

I’ll see you next with with a winterized hot hot chocolate! 

Picking Pretty, petite-ly.

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Christmas time is in full swing, and the holiday season is all around us. This is the time of year where every party you attend you’re going to find beautiful charcuterie boards and platters. Most of the time though they are HUGE.. which I mean how could that be a bad thing right; when it’s all the cheese and meat you could ever want, laid out tremendously on a platter for your picking desires? Although, what if in this case you are not having a partying, or your not appearing at one? What if you’re finishing putting up the star on the tree, or hanging the last string of lights outside, and you want a gorgeous, but petite pick try for you and the family?! This is absolutely positively, what you have been dreaming about creating. It’s the perfect size, even if you choose to have a few loved ones over, watching Christmas movies in front of the tree, with some hot cocoa.

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Charcuterie is to have cuts of meats and cheeses spread all over on some time of board, or platter, but lately it has BLOWN UP since that meaning first arrived. It is so much more than just that; it is an art. No matter what size, no matter what goodies you fill around it, it’s delectable, and eye-warming, especially during this wondering season we’ve arrived in.

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When I was arranging this adorned platter, I thought about what I was in the mood for. That’s what you always want to start out with, a few cheeses, and things to build your board off of. I started with plain goat cheese, and sliced fresh mozzarella, along with rich butter crackers, and cheddar olive crackers that are in this cute little pin-ball shape. Since, the crackers were olive flavored, I knew I wanted to pair green olives with them. Now.. just for a little snacking tip; if you take the cheese ball, spread some goat cheese on, and finish it by laying down on olive right at the very top, just as you would finish putting the last ornament on the tip of the tree, it will take your taste buds someone they’re never been before. The salty goodness paired with the creaminess and crunchiness is off the chain, good!

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You could even see the chunks, and bits of flavor inside those cheese crackers, and thats exactly what you want when you’re picking.. flavor!

Now for the meats arrival. I picked two cheeses, so I’m going to pick two meats. Instead of pairing prosciutto, and sopressata… which I would normal do, but with this flavor combination I wanted to have some fun with it, being that my family and I were just watching some movies, and Christmas shopping online! I took salami, and put just enough cream cheese in the middle that when we roll it up.. it is going to be filled just enough, but not too much to that point that it would be spilling out everywhere.

  • FYI DIAMONDS- if you have never tried this combination, you must! It is sensational, and will still be popular 100 years down the road! Also, this combination is a dream onto of a toasted bagel. It could possibly show up on the blog a little later down road!!

Just roll those babies up, and assemble!

For the second meat of my choice, I took a good bologna, and rolled it up just as I did with the salami, except without the cream cheese!

  • Fun fact – a bologna sandwich was my all time favorite sandwich to eat when I was a little girl and well… it still is.. shhh 😉

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After piling on the meats along with the cheese, and the first few things we added on, just fill in the spaces with different types of crackers, and fruits of any kind! I even love to decorate the platter with strings of green onion, especially around Christmas time since it gives it that beautiful color we need for holiday nibbling.

Normally I think fresh herbs, or even more so rosemary for this season would look super incredible to the eye, BUT the reason I chose the scallion is simply because it went so well with the goat cheese, salami, and crackers that I picked. Thats the thing you have to keep in mind as well.. just because you see all of us chefs, and foodies doing something specific, don’t feel obligated to incorporate it into your platter if you feel another piece of food, or garnish would fit the bill!

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A suggestion for showing off meats.. either rolling them as I did, or folding them back and fourth… almost creating a fan like texture is the way to go! IF the meat isn’t filled with anything, of course.

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Regardless of the size, how you arrange, and present all the food is definitely key to building a charcuterie board. It looks inviting, delicious, and so so colorful, decorative for the holidays! 

This was the perfect thing to munch on while walking around the house looking at decor, online shopping for the perfect gifts, and enjoying Christmas films by the tree.

Picking pretty, for sure! Enjoy diamonds, and I’ll be back next week with some sweet sweet knowledge ( ;

xoxo

 

Happy Birthday, in Hershey.

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Brunch.

Brunch at it’s absolute finest. I’ve had brunch at many places in my life, and still, there are many more to try, but the Sunday brunch buffet in the circular at The Hotel Hershey hits home. It might be because I joke around while walking the hotel hallways saying .. “this would be the dream to live in this place like Eloise lived at the plaza.” It’s a dream, and while you are visiting, the staff does everything possible to make you feel like you are in fact in a living dream. The month of October is birthday month for both my parents, so we killed two birds with one stone, and celebrated in the best way we knew how. Along with Hershey being one of my favorite places on this earth, it is also my moms, and my father loves everything about brunch buffets. Of course it was a total win, win!

They dec the buffet out with everything you could imagine. It’s a food fantasy, and it’s unbelievable! The quality and freshness of the ingredients could never be topped. The room while you walk in is filled with a site of stations. Theres an omelet station to my left, an avocado toast station to my right, and you could never miss the seafood bar standing tall in the middle of both stations; created of raw oysters, mussels, clams, and a smoked salmon bar with toast points, and all the fixings needed!

Thats just the beginning…

They have two buffet lines on both sides as well, right behind the action stations. One line accompanied with breakfast beauties, and the other, decked with lunch/ dinner comfort foods. In between those two buffet lines, right in front of the luxurious bar in the center of it all, there sits an extraordinary cold food station and salad bar. This has to be.. by far my first choice food of life. I always loved how creative, delicious, and experimental you could be with raw flavors.

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I filled my plate like an artist fills their canvas..

Pilling and placing food in such a way that it looks super pretty because …lets be real, thats who I am lol but also, not leaving any texture, or food category out of site.

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The three of us had such a nice time enjoying and indulging, in down right amazing food!! Being together is so special as you grow, and life becomes more crazy… leaving less time for family. Hershey is the greatest place to make that time, to create memories for important occasions, and to leave feeling full of content and love.

        xoxoxo

 

Farms in the Fall

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Farmers markets in the fall, make me the happiest girl on earth. Fall in general makes me super happy! I’m obsessed with everything about it. The weather, food, activities, the colors of leaves changing, the fashion; its incredible. Autumn is me, and it’s when I am totally in my element. Honestly, I think this season has a special place in my heart because it reminds me on my childhood, being young and just having fun. It brings back memories with my family and I going to the farmers market to get fresh apple cider, and picking our pumpkins to carve at the pumpkin patch. I was also very into picking out my halloween costume. Every single year without question my parents would take me to party city to pick out the perfect costume for myself. I took it super seriously! lol I think as being a kid, since dressing up was something we looked forward to all year long, everyone tried to out do each other.. in a fun way, of course!

As the years went on and I grew into a young adult, dressing up doesn’t happen as often, but I still love prancing around the stores looking at the costumes, deciding what I would be if I were to dress up again. It’s fun to reminisce at times, especially when you feel like you’re getting older, and life goes by faster and faster! As that happens though, I make it a point to indulge myself in everything I love, and doing all that makes me happy. In the fall time shopping for produce, and things to create beautiful autumn dishes/ table scapes is what brings me peace and gratifies my life.

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Not only do I love decor in the kitchen, I also obsess over interior design as well. It’s something I have a passion for, so I think that this little corn bundles are the cutest accessory to put around your home. You can find them at any famers market during the fall season, and even at some local grocery stores! They’re on the inexpensive side too which is always a plus. While I was at the farm eying these beauties up, I noticed those beautiful beautiful bright red cherry tomatoes sitting right underneath!

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Tomatoes are known to be a summer staple. I do not disagree with that because for some reason when I think of summer produce.. thats one of the first things that comes to my mind along with watermelon, but these little babies are actually in full effect until the end of October.

 

There were many root vegetables and “nightshades” to pick from. ( tomatoes, hot and sweet peppers, and potatoes) The carrots and potatoes looked absolutely gorgeous, along with the onions. I’ve truly never seen onions look so beautiful as they did when I made my trip to the farm.

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AHHH! honestly, just take a couple seconds to appreciate this beauty!

Farm days are one of my favorite days because I take all of my goodies home, wash them, and plan out my farm fresh menu! That makes me extremely excited. As I said in the summer about shopping farm fresh, that statement also stands in fall!! This season is the most important for shopping. If you have a root cellar thats where you’d want to stalk up for the winter. If not, which thats quite alright because I myself do not, so you want to shop smart for canning. Pickling, and preserving is what you want to do with your vegetables for the cold months to come!

  • cucumbers to turn to pickles
  • tomatoes to turn to salsa, stewed or jarred sauce.
  • Green beans that don’t get eaten can be turned into pickles garlic beans, or spicy beans.
  • cauliflower, carrots, peppers, and celery can be turned into chow chow
  • onions can be turned into onion jam
  • Lastly, baby pearl onions can be turned into pickled pearl onions.

Truthfully, you could pickle ANY vegetable.. turning it into something so different, yet incredible!

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Don’t worry.. because I deep down knew all of you were thinking… oh my gosh isn’t she going to mention apples? Yes, yes I am. I did not and could not forget about the apples! Apples of all kind swarm the farms in autumn. They are everywhere! We can’t escape them… and seriously I mean, who would want to? They are juicy, delicious little balls of fall goodness. The amount of how many different kind mind be over whelming to some. Why are there so many when they’re just apples? Shouldn’t they taste the same?

Absolutely not! All of the apples are very different. Some are sweeter, juicier, crisper and harder. It all depends on the type and of what location they were grown in.

Baking Apples:

  • Pink lady apples are best for breads, bars and cakes. Anything thick and floury!
  • Granny Smith apples are the number one baking apple, in my eye. It is THE apple to use when baking pies. You can also use to bake in pastries as well.
  •  Honey-crisp apples are best for apple dumplings which so so many Americans have such a soft heart for. They’re probably a top five fair food, for sure! 

To Eat !  You an choose to eat any apple, it will not hurt you, obviously! There are certain ones I feel like you should eat on it’s one just to munch on or dip into peanut butter/caramel sauce.

  • Red delicious! My top apple to eat whole without the skin! (I choose not eat the the skin on red delicious apples. I feel that the skin sometimes is too hard and I end up chewing on it, wanting to spit it out.)
  • Golden delicious– My second choice to just sit down and take a big bite out of!
  • Gala apples – Although you can certainly bake with this apple, or even all of them (thats up to you) this one is also great for eating due to the fact that it is so sweet. I love choosing the extra sweet ones for enjoying, for obvious reasons of course.

These three apples are also delicious to make into “fried apples” or cooked into a sauce to finish a plate off to make a perfect fall touch!

There are countless apples to choose from at your local farm, you just have to know how to pick them wisely, and to what they are being used for! There are so many kinds, that even I have never worked with before, or tried, so if it’s up to you.. spread your wings and test out some you never heard of before! You might be pleasantly surprised.

Happy fall & farm pickings, diamonds! 

 

Home away from Home

     The Hotel Hershey. 

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I can’t even try to say those three words together without smiling. As soon as the car pulls up in plain sight I feel instantly as though I entered a whole new world. This place never fails to amaze me; from the service, to how nice every single person treats you thats employed there, the presentation and taste of the high quality food. There’s so many different things that you could see, and do at the hotel. The list could go on, and the day could never end…until you finally fall asleep, of course.

There’s countless places that you go, and when you arrive you just pause, look up infront of you, take a step back, and breath in the joyfulness of how happy & at peace you are. I felt that was when I took this picture. My mom, sister-in-law, and I woke up at the crack of dawn, last Sunday morning, got ready with sleepers still in our eyes, and packed our bags for the day. One of the things I usually do in the morning before leaving the house, especially on a weekend, is enjoying a cup of coffee in front of the candles, and jotting down some blog post plans, BUT on a Hershey day, I save my cup of coffee for lounging in my rob on the balcony of the quiet room. It’s really one of the most tranquil experiences I’ve ever had. The reason for the trip was to have a nice spa day, and catch up on some relaxation. I definitely think thats something that we all don’t get enough of, which we should because just like water & food..it is essential to life!

Just as you suspected, our spa experience was nothing less of perfection, as always. Afterwards, we headed out onto the balcony to enjoy morning beverages, and views, while we waited for our lunch reservations in the Oasis. Now, picture an oasis, and thats exactly what this restaurant, lounge is; an Oasis! It’s an escape from reality before leaving the spa. Its another joy to the eye filled with a yummy fresh buffet, along with desserts made with fresh Hershey chocolate and candy bars. the selection of food is so unique that if you’re not a foodie or chef, you might not recognize, but all very delicious!

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The Oasis buffet in all its glory!

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Salad bar toppings!

  • cucumbers
  • cauliflower
  • parmesan cheese
  • bean shoots
  • banana peppers
  • cherry tomatoes
  • cooked hulled barley – so so delicious on a salad if you’ve never had it! It gives it a kind of cool chewy texture from the crunchy & leafy contrast.
  • Black beans
  • shredded carrots
  • watermelon radish – it was my first time actually trying after so long of wanting to, and it was yummy! I wasn’t disappointed. It made my salad very very special. When I go there I always like to experience something that I hadn’t in my life, yet.
  • raisins
  • chopped cashews
  • olive medley

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Some mouthwatering cold salads and carbs!

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My plate after creating and concocting up at the buffet line; in my robe of course, and thats the best part of it all! Relaxing, eating, and enjoying conversations about when our next time up all together will be, in our robes. I mean come on.. when do you ever get the chance to lounge so much at home that you’re having a meal in your robe, on top of getting waited on? It’s simply the best, and if you have never been, do not hesitate! You will leave more than happy, after being at the sweetest place on earth.