In the Spirit of Grass Courts…

So, I know I promised everything Napa, and I will get to it. This week I will get to it. Promise. But in the meantime and in the spirit of Wimbledon, enjoy this flip book creatively recreating the 2008 final game between Nadal and Federer. Tennis has been a hige part of my life since I was in fourth grade and I love this clever recreation of the final game between these two champion tennis players.

Derby Drink.

In honor of today, a Mint Julep, a cocktail for the races. Happy Kentucky Derby!

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 oz Bourbon Whiskey
  • 1 tsp Powdered Sugar
  • 2 tsp Water
  • 4 Fresh Mint Sprigs
Directions
Muddle the mint leaves, powdered sugar and water in a collins glass. Fill the glass with shaved or crushed ice and add bourbon. Top it off with more ice and garnish with a mint sprig.

Sprinkled, not Shaken.

 *This Christmas spice up the table a little bit and try something new *

By adding these stylish Lotus Leaf Salt & Pepper Cellars by Roost, the table scape and seasoning will look a little different this year. Don’t limit these cellars to just salt and pepper. Fill them with any seasoning, or parmesan cheese perhaps. The petite spoons will allow the right amount of seasoning as you sprinkle it on your food. Forget about the shakers this year — sprinkle away!

Salt & Pepper Cellars by Roost — $20 each. 

P to the Umpkin.

 { This cake is sure to spice things up }

With whole wheat flower, vanilla extract, 4 different spices, pumpkin, cranberrries and orange zest, this cake will satisfy your taste buds with a burst of flavor and do your waist line a favor (by keeping it the same size). Thank you Denver Post for sharing this Healthy Spice Cake. Bake away!

Start to finish: 1 hour 10 minutes (20 minutes active)

Servings: 16

Ingredients
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 
1  cup white whole-wheat flour 
1  tablespoon cinnamon 
2  teaspoons ground ginger 
1  teaspoon allspice 
1  teaspoon nutmeg 
2  teaspoons baking powder (scant at high altitude)Food Healthy Cake
1  teaspoon baking soda (scant at high altitude)
1  teaspoon salt 
1 1/2 cups sugar 
1/3 cup canola oil 
3  large eggs 
2  teaspoons vanilla extract 
1 15-ounce can pumpkin 
2  teaspoons grated orange zest 
2  tablespoons orange juice 
2  tablespoons water 
1  cup dried cranberries 
 Powdered sugar, for dusting

Directions
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a large bundt pan with cooking spray or brush with oil. Add a small amount of granulated sugar and turn the pan to coat the inside, discarding any excess.

In a medium bowl, stir together both flours, the cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl, combine the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla.

Beat with an electric mixer on high until the mixture is thick and pale, about 3 minutes. Add the pumpkin, orange zest and juice and water.

Beat on low until smooth.

Sift the dry ingredients on top of the pumpkin mixture and stir just until combined. Stir in the cranberries.

Using a rubber spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted at the center comes out clean. Turn the cake out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Per serving: 205 calories; 54 calories from fat; 6 g fat (1 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 48 mg cholesterol; 37 g carbohydrate; 4 g protein; 3 g fiber; 311 mg sodium.

 

Dial H for Hitchcock.

I love Alfred Hitchcock. Vanity Fair re-vamped scenes from Hitchcock’s movies bringing them back to life with present actors/actresses. I thought maybe they would try to put a new spin on the photos and create something less Hitchcocky, but I believe Hitchcock would approve, right down to the shadows.  You will not see Grace Kelly, Cary Grant or James Stewart, but check out the amazing stills Vanity Fair created. 

Rear Window

cusl05_hitchcock0803

To Catch a Thief

Psycho

North by Northwest

Dial M for Murder

The Birds

Hitchcock

Tea for Two.

Sometimes it is necessary to indulge; necessary to indulge into something luxurious. Sometimes I want to big_12dress in my best outfit, spend more money than I should and be surrounded by luxurious materials. And once a year, I do just that.

The Brown Palace Hotel, located downtown Denver, is Denver’s luxury hotel. The Brown opened its doors to Denver in 1892 and has remained true since. With its luxury rooms, restaurants, spa, lobby tea and service, The Brown is an escape into a luxurious world.

With that said, my indulgence is in their Traditional Afternoon Tea. Going through the revolving doors and stepping into the lobby, you will find families, friends and even the Hat Club sitting around marble tables enjoying their tier of food and sipping on their tea of choice — all accompanied by a piano player.

The seating is comfortable, intricate china is set for each person and the service is dressed in a black dress and white apron (resembling a maid). Once you have made yourself comfortable, open the menu and choose from a countlessbig_22 amount of teas and three different options for your tier of food. 

First comes the tea (each person gets their own teapot). Then comes the tier which is set in the center of the table. The bottom plate is filled with scones, accompanied by the best Devonshire cream shipped directly from England, the middle plate is filled with different tea sandwiches and the top plate is full of tea pastries. Seconds are even available for scones and sandwiches.

Yes, this is an expensive treat — around $30 per person. But like I said, this is my indulgence once a year. 

So this year, indulge in something luxurious and unique. The Brown Palace will not disappoint, but rather transport you into a classic world of luxury.

Tip: The Brown is best during the holidays. With extravagant decorations and lights, it will put you in a cheery mood. Reservations are hard to get during the holiday season. Book WAY in advance.

There’s a chill in the air.

FallMy favorite time of the year is beginning to blow in…Fall.

There’s a crisp chill in the air, the leaves turn golden, orange and red and there is a bountiful harvest of delicious food.

With that said,  my favorite cooking store, Williams-Sonoma, is bringing out their autumn line, with some returning items and some new.

What is fall without the aromas of pumpkin, cinnamon apple, turkey and my favorite, butternut squash. Try WS new Pumpkin Parmesan Pasta Sauce. And if that doesn’t do it for you, definitely try the Butternut Squash Puree and make an out-of-this-world soup. It’s by far my favorite!

Throwing a party but don’t feel like baking? Well WS can help you out there. Order foods from Giant personalized cookiesHalloween Cookies to Checkerboard Cake to Pumpkin Whoopie Pies. Check out all their new fall foods here.

Ah, baking. Always makes the house smell so festive. Bundt cakes always feed a crowd. To be a little more festive, try WS new Autumn Leaf Bundt Pan. And now (drum roll please) for my new favorite baking mold: Pocket Pie Molds. Buy them in pumpkin or apple shapes, fill with your favorite harvest fruits and viola! Your very own personal, hand-held pie. 

Of course, these are only some of the new fall items being offered. Stop by their Web site where you will find img86mexclusive Web site items, or better yet, stop inside a store — classical music is playing, new items are on display and samples are always given out.

*Stop by closer to Thanksgiving and their Holiday items will be available — such as their Mulling Spices, which makes the best apple cider.