Category Archives: Drinks

Sips and Sweets for your Sweetheart

ParkerValentine

Well of course I’ve got a big ‘ol grin on my face– I’m surrounded by the most decadent of decadent Valentine’s Day treats!  Alon’s has become an iconic bakery in the Atlanta area, and every year, they sell thousands of individual desserts.  I love this concept because you can pick and choose, mix and match whatever your taste buds tell you to!  Among my favorites— chocolate covered caramels with maldon salt, the chocolate and raspberry mini macaroon tower, the flourless chocolate cake heart with raspberry cream, hand rolled truffles (including a scrumptious Single Malted Scotch truffle that will sweeten the day of any Valentine’s Day suitor!  (Dudes, I’m talking to YOU guys.)

Alon’s has so much to choose from if you want to build a gift basket as well– from their signature 9 piece Chocolate Boxes to wine, champagne and accessories!  This year, they’re offering a 7 course Romantic Dinner for 2 available for pickup at both of Alon’s Locations!  Here’s a sneak peek at the menu:

  • Amuse Bouche
    Salmon and Tuna Tartare with Avocado Glaze on Brioche Toast
  • Soup
    She-crab soup with lump crab meat
  • Choice of Entrée
    Seared Bay of Fundy Salmon in Carrot Harissa Broth with caramelized root vegetables
    (or)
    Grilled Tenderloin with fingerling potatoes and brussel sprouts served with a balsamic reduction and blue cheese compound butter
  • Salad
    Kale with granny smith apples, celery and a lemon agave vinaigrette
  • Cheese
    Green Hill (Thomasville GA), Perorino with Chamomile, Marcona Almonds and Orange cranberry Marmalade
  • Dessert
    Flourless Chocolate Cake with hazelnut cream and raspberry coulis
  • Chocolate
    Assorted Chocolate Bon Bons and Cookies           
Seared Bay of Fundy Salmon in Carrot Harissa Broth with caramelized root vegetables

Seared Bay of Fundy Salmon in Carrot Harissa Broth with caramelized root vegetables

Grilled Tenderloin with fingerling potatoes and brussel sprouts served with a balsamic reduction and blue cheese compound butter

Grilled Tenderloin with fingerling potatoes and brussel sprouts served with a balsamic reduction and blue cheese compound butter

If you tag “Alon’s Romantic Dinner for 2” photo on Facebook, you have a chance to win a $100 gift card!  Check out their locations: 

ALON’S DUNWOODY – PERIMETER 

4505 Ashford Dunwoody Road

Mon-Fri: 7a-9p

Sat: 8a-9p Sun:9a-7p

ALON’S INTOWN – MORNINGSIDE

1394 North Highland Avenue

Mon-Fri: 7a-8p

Sat: 8a-8p Sun: 9a-4p

alonstable

Moving on to cocktails….You can make a romantic toast this Valentine’s Day with some of my favorite brands…

VdayBooze

Amarula Cream is the second largest cream liqueur in the world.  It has such a luxurious finish with exotic tangy notes of citrus and nuts with a rich, velvety texture.  It comes from the fruit of the wild marula tree, indigenous to South Africa– more commonly known as the “marriage tree!”  How romantic is that?  Enjoy it neat or over ice…

My man likes to call himself a Rum Connoisseur– and Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva is now our GO-TO Rum.  You don’t even need a cocktail mixer– this is an award winning sipping rum from Venezuela, crafted from the purest of sugar cane honeys. The aromatics are amazing– you can smell (and taste) the distinctive notes of maple syrup, orange peel, brown sugar and licorice.  The finish is a toffee fudge– the perfect rum to pair with a decadent dessert— from chocolate to cheesecake!

Prosecco is the most famous Italian sparkling wine in the world– but believe it or not, similar to how champagne can only be produced in the Champagne region of France, true Prosecco can only be produced in a very small area of Italy’s Veneto and Fruili-Venezia Giulia regions.  Bisol is a family owned company– they’ve been managing all phases of the winemaking process since 1542.

The grapes used to make Prosecco DOC are mainly Glera, which has been around since Roman times.  The result is a stunning yellow wine with fine, consistent perlage and aromas of white flowers, apple and pear.  It’s perfect for a Valentine’s Day brunch!

Click here for the video on Atlanta & Company!

 

Healthy New Year's Eve

New Year’s Eve Entertaining with a Healthy Twist

Healthy New Year's Eve

On set at Let’s Talk Live in Washington, DC.

It’s officially 2 days till the New Year and I’ve seen the countdown all over social media….”2 more days till my detox starts!”  “48 more hours till the Big Diet!”  Time’s ticking down to D-Day. Diet Day, that is.  So why go cold turkey and suffer through an unsustainable juice cleanse when you can incorporate healthy, in season elements that keep you on track?  Give up dessert?  NO WAY! Cut out all the cocktails?  Uh, NOT SO MUCH.  These recipes are not only perfect for your New Year’s Eve party, they can help inspire some realistic goals for getting back to goodferya meals in 2016.  And, lemme be the first to tell you, they cut the calories without skimping on flavor.

Mandarin Cider

Spicy Merry Mandarin Cider

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups Wonderful Halos mandarins juiced

1 1/2 cups apple juice

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup sugar

1 stick cinnamon

1 star anise

1 tsp whole allspice

Thinly sliced mandarins

Directions:

Juice Wonderful Halos mandarins and lemons. Strain out pulp and set aside.

Combine all ingredients in medium sauce pan or crock pot.

Heat over medium-low heat until sugar has dissolved and juices are hot.

Serve garnished with sliced mandarins.

Grapefruit Brulee

Grapefruit Brulee with Whipped ricotta and caramelized grapefruit is a healthy dessert option!

Ingredients:

For Ricotta cream:1 cup Ricotta, 1 cup Mascarpone Cheese, 3 tbsp Confectioners sugar (powdered) 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tbsp of Lemon (a bit of zest) Pinch of sea salt

For Grapefruit Brulee: A few grapefruit wedges, 1/2 cup Brown Sugar, ½ cup crushed Pistachios

Directions:

Combine Ricotta cream ingredients in a small bowl and chill for 30 minutes.

Using a food processor, pulverize peeled pistachios.

Sprinkle brown sugar across peeled grapefruit wedge.  Using a culinary torch or oven broiler, melt the brown sugar.

Garnish with crushed pistachios.

Pistachio and Cranberry Popcorn Balls.

Healthy Pistachio and Cranberry Popcorn Balls.

Ingredients:

12 cups popcorn

1 cup shelled pistachios, lightly chopped

1 cup dried cherries or cranberries

½ cup light corn syrup

¾ cup dark brown sugar

¼ cup unsalted butter

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla extract

½ tsp. baking soda

Directions:

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large roasting pan combine popcorn, dried cherries and pistachios, mixing thoroughly.

In a medium saucepan, combine syrup, sugar, butter and salt. Over medium heat bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Continue stirring and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and baking soda. Be careful as mixture will bubble up.

Pour syrup mixture over popcorn and stir to coat well. Popcorn will still be warm from the syrup. To keep your hands clean, slip them into two plastic bags and coat bags with cooking spray or butter. Working quickly, form popcorn mixture into balls about 3-inch (6.5 cm.) in diameter. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet to cool.

Pomtini

Pomtini Royale

Ingredients

1 oz. freshly squeezed pomegranate juice* or POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice
3/4 oz. vodka
1/2 oz. liqueur (like Chambord)
1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
3/4 oz. simple syrup
Champagne

Directions

Assemble the first five ingredients in a mixing glass and shake well with ice. Strain into a flute and top with champagne. Serve and enjoy!

*I was compensated by The Wonderful Company for this post and segment, but all opinions are my own.

Here’s the segment on Let’s Talk Live!  

 

 

SkinnyPop dessert balls

Bourbon Pecan Pie SkinnyPop Balls and Fall Entertaining Ideas

SkinnyPop dessert balls

Bourbon Pecan Pie balls made with SkinnyPop and drizzled with dark chocolate.

Popcorn creates a visceral reaction for most people….the drizzled butter kind of reaction that transports you to a movie theater from your childhood, or a fidgety first date when salty fingers innocently tangle in the popcorn box, going in for another handful of delicious.  But let’s admit, it’s a guilty pleasure because that kind of popcorn is, well…..not exactly helping with the waistline, right?

Let me introduce you to my newest snack obsession….SkinnyPop.  It is pure, popped perfection!

Here’s the Skinny… (see what I did there??)

SkinnyPop Popcorn starts with three simple ingredients: Popcorn, sunflower oil, and just the right amount of salt.  It’s a great tasting snack you can feel good about eating everyday– translation: all of the flavor, none of the guilt!

SkinnyPop contains no artificial ingredients, colors, flavors or preservatives and are free of all major allergens including peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, and soy.  SkinnyPop is Non-GMO, Gluten Free, Kosher, Vegan, and Whole Grain certified.

It’s available at a number of popular stores– you can find a location near you by going to SkinnyPop.com

It wouldn’t be my style if I didn’t “Parkerize” SkinnyPop in some creative way….even though there is no need to add a THING to this popcorn, it’s so dang delish!  In the spirit of my grandma Ronnie’s pecan pie, and my favorite dark chocolate dipped pecan pie balls, this is the love child of pecan pie and SkinnyPop!  

Bourbon Popcorn Balls

Bourbon Pecan Pie Popcorn Balls dipped in Dark Chocolate. Oh yeah!

I used Original SkinnyPop, but you could also use the Naturally Sweet SkinnyPop.  (Black Pepper and White Cheddar are scrumptious on their own!)

This is also the perfect excuse to invite a bunch of friends over for movie night and make a Popcorn Bar.  Just fill canisters with your favorite movie snacks (like gummy bears, sour worms and Milk Duds) to serve along with your SkinnyPop.  I found these canisters at At Home and love the the little chalkboard labels!

popcorn bar

Make a Popcorn Bar for movie night!

These are perfect for date night in!  

Bourbon Pecan Pie Popcorn Balls
The love child of popcorn and pecan pie
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Ingredients
  1. 15 cups of popcorn (I love Original SkinnyPop)
  2. 2 cups roasted pecan pieces
  3. 1 cup dark corn syrup
  4. 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  5. 3 Tb butter
  6. 1 Tb bourbon (I used Bulleit bourbon)
  7. 1 Tb vanilla
  8. 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  9. 10 oz marshmallows
  10. melting chocolate wafers
Instructions
  1. Melt butter in a large saucepan on medium heat and add corn syrup, brown sugar, vanilla, bourbon and salt.
  2. Add marshmallows and stir until they melt. Fold in popcorn and pecans and stir to combine.
  3. Let cool slightly.
  4. Ball into small balls and put on a sheet lined with parchment paper.
  5. Melt chocolate and drizzle over popcorn balls.
What's on Parker's Plate? http://whatsonparkersplate.com/
Keurig KOLD

Keurig’s new cold beverage system makes still and sparkling drinks.

Gotta have a cold beverage with your popcorn!  Keurig has been a pioneer in the coffee industry.  Now they’ve just introduced a revolutionary system with on-demand, cold beverages you can make at home— both still and sparkling beverages are served chilled with the push of a button.

Keurig KOLD the first cold beverage system that offers a wide variety of our favorite drinks, like Dr. Pepper and Coca-Cola plus new discoveries with the push of a button.  Beverages are perfectly carbonated WITHOUT using a CO2 canister.

Drinks are chilled to an ideal temperature of around 39 degrees.  And they’re perfectly portioned– 8oz most of which are 100 calories or less.

Similar to the K-cup Pods we’re all familiar with when it comes to coffee, Keurig KOLD has KOLD PODS that have exclusive brands, including new brands of craft colas and coming soon….wait for it…COCKTAIL MIXERS.

 It’s also a huge space saver because you store the KOLD pods in your pantry– not your fridge.

This is absolutely going to be the perfect holiday gift for people who love to entertain!

So, let’s talk fashion….As you guys know, it’s not my strong suit, as in, major fashion challenged!  But this is my favorite time of year, so I’m using this as an excuse to discover some new pieces and I enlisted the help of my friend Shannon Kotze, who owns the coolest boutique in town, The Bilt-House.  Shannon says, “This is a great time of year to have fun with your wardrobe, layer pieces all while looking FABULOUS!”  I’m sold already!

Fashion Girls

With Shannon Kotze, owner of The Bilt-House and Christine Pullara, host of Atlanta & Company.

For our segment, Shannon outfitted me in a yummy faux shearling Dylan vest, Hudson jeans, and EXCLUSIVE to The Bilt-House, these awesome Bone Mayra Old Gringo boots.

Old Gringo Boots

LOVE this whole ensemble, especially the Old Gringo boots!

I’m crazy about these boots– and they’re so comfortable!  Shannon only has a few pairs left in stock, but there’s enough time to put in your special order in time for them to arrive before the Holidays.  They take about 6 weeks to ship.

Christine is wearing a Bailey 44 dress, which is an easy transition from work to dinner! 

The Mannequin is wearing an awesome seller for The Bilt-House this season— Luii Leopard Print Coat with a Bailey 44 dress.  Jewelry is by Bittersweet.

Luii Leopard Print Coat

This is such a cool, 60’s inspired look: Luii Leopard Print Coat with Bailey 44 dress.

Shannon is wearing gorgeous and comfortable ultra suede leggings with a blouse from Fifteen Twenty , and vegan fringe jacket from SW3.  

The Bilt-House store hours are Mon-Sat., 10a-6p, with special Holiday Sunday Hours 12-5p, the months of Nov./Dec. in BUCKHEAD:  3201 Paces Ferry Place, Atlanta, GA  30305  & ROSWELL: 1035 Canton Street, Roswell, GA  30075.

 

 

*This is a sponsored post but all opinions are my own.

Mexican Chocolate Cookies

Cookie and Coffee Must-Haves this Holiday Season

Mexican Chocolate Cookies

Chewy, Gooey, Chocolate Cookies with a hint of cinnamon and chili.

I admit it–  I really don’t have a sweet tooth.  I know, I know– please don’t hate me.  I used to, though.  Now, if I had to choose between french fries and chocolate for my last meal, I’d go french fries every time.  (Dipped in tartar sauce.  Weird, right?)  But every so often, a recipe drives me back to the chocolatey, sugary cravings of my childhood.  These Mexican Hot Chocolate cookies did just that.  When I think about “Mexican chocolate”- it gives me visions of cocoa mixed with cinnamon and a hint of spice.  The secret ingredients here are crushed up Cocoa Pebbles, cinnamon and chili powder.  HOLY DELISH.  Adding yummy to the delicious is the fact that once you make the batter, you roll these morsels of scrumptious in another dipping of cocoa pebble crumbs, sugar, cinnamon and chili powder.  Then, hit them with a sprinkle of coarse kosher salt.  Ohhhhhheeeeeeemmmmmggggggg.  Like, seriously, y’all.  Drop the mic.  You’ll never be partial to an ordinary chocolate chip cookie again.  If you’re really averse to anything spicy, you can omit the chili powder, but I really, really recommend you keep it in.  It adds that “Je ne sais quoi” element.  The “what is that flavor that I can taste but can’t quite figure out what it is that makes it so awesome??”  Make these.  You’ll thank me!

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

You can’t have just one!

Now let’s have some coffee talk.  It is the FIRST thing I think about when I wake up in the morning.  I actually wake up in the middle of the night sometimes, just wishing it was time to get up and brew my coffee.  As a present for my 40th birthday, JP’s mom gave me the Keurig 2.0 K250.  This is the Cadillace of Coffeemakers.  Not only does it brew whatever signature flavor you want, (there are hundreds of flavors that are compatible with Keurig’s system) but it also has a 4 carafe option that makes entertaining super easy.  You don’t have to wait for an entire pot of coffee to brew, just push the button and then 4 cups are brewed instantly. It’s that easy!  In addition to the delicious coffee bonus, Keurig offers this particular machine in 6 gorgeous colors.  I’m partial to “Orange Zest.”  How many times do you try to hide the appliances on your countertop?  This is counter Eye Candy!  

Keurig 2.0 K250

Keurig 2.0 K250 in “Orange Zest” color. It’s countertop eye candy!

A super cute idea to do when you’re entertaining with these Mexican Hot Chocolate cookies and the Keurig 2.0 is to set up a hot chocolate bar.  You can fill canisters with yummy treats to stir into your hot chocolate (or coffee!)  These jars with the chalkboard labels are from At Home, the home decor superstore, my current obsession!  

At Home Canisters

You can find these canisters at At Home. I love the chalkboard labels!

Fall Entertaining on the Studio 62 set.

Fall Entertaining on the Studio 62 set.

This is another opportunity to dress up your dinner/entertaining table with fun accessories.  I took a turquoise bird cage and stuffed it with apples that brought out the orange tone of the Keurig and some of the hues of the glass pumpkins, also found at At Home.  I love this particular combination of colors– the chocolates, turquoises and oranges!

Sometimes just a few key items can really set the tone for your whole party!

*This is a sponsored post but all opinions are my own.

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies
Yields 52
Delicious Chocolate cookies with a cinnamon and chili twist.
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Ingredients
  1. ½ cup ground Cocoa Pebbles, divided
  2. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  3. 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  4. 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
  5. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  7. 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  8. 1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
  9. 2 large eggs
  10. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  11. 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  12. 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, crush cereal. (About 1 cup of Cocoa Pebbles will yield ½ cup of ground cereal.)
  2. In a medium bowl, combine flour, ground cereal, cocoa powder, cream of tartar, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and 1 1/2 cups sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down side of bowl. Add eggs and vanilla and beat to combine. With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture and beat until combined.
  3. Chill dough for 1 -2 hours.
  4. In a small bowl, combine remaining ¼ cup ground cereal, remaining 1/4 cup sugar, cinnamon, and chili powder (if using). Using a tablespoon to measure, form balls of dough and roll in cinnamon-sugar cereal mixture.
  5. Place, about 2 inches apart, on parchment-lined baking sheets. Press down lightly with a glass. Bake until cookies are set about 8-10 minutes.
  6. Transfer cookies to racks to cool completely. Store in airtight container, up to 1 week. Makes about 52 cookies.
What's on Parker's Plate? http://whatsonparkersplate.com/
The Champion

“The Champion” Cocktail with Bulleit Bourbon

The Champion

On set with Sam and his signature cocktail on his last AMHQ show.

I’ve been coming on as a guest on Sam Champion’s AMHQ show on The Weather Channel for over a year.  If you know me, you know that one of my greatest pleasures is feeding people, especially people who give me a lot of verbal affirmation that they love what I’ve prepared.  Verbal affirmation as in, “OHMYGODPARKERTHISISSOAMAZINGOHMYGODPARKER!!!”  Sam Champion has been, well, a CHAMPION for me and for my cooking.  He has done so much for my on-camera culinary career by his support, his encouragement, his positive energy and his repeated invitations to come back on his show.  To say it’s bittersweet that Sam is moving on from the AMHQ morning show he launched a year and a half ago, is an understatement.

AMHQ

A look back at my segments with Sam and the AMHQ crew!

As a thank you and as a tribute to Sam, I teamed up with my friends from Bulleit Bourbon to create a signature cocktail for his last show.  I appropriately named it, “The Champion.”  Sam is a Kentucky boy and this Kentucky Straight Bourbon is as good as it gets!  What sets Bulleit apart is its high rye content (approximately 2/3 corn, 1/3 rye) – making for a spicy bourbon perfect for cocktails.  Combining the flavors of orange and lemon with ginger takes this cocktail to a whole different level of delish!  What I love about this drink is that it goes well with savory dishes and sweet ones.  I served it with butternut squash pie that tastes just like pumpkin pie– OMG yum.  Recipe coming later this week for the pie!

The Champion

“The Champion” with Bulleit Bourbon.

The Champion

“The Champion” is the perfect fall cocktail.

Bulleit founder, Tom Bulleit, had a special bottle engraved for Sam!

Bourbon Gift

A gift to Sam from Bulleit founder, Tom Bulleit.

I had the honor of presenting the bottle (and the cocktail) to him on live TV!

Engraved Bottle

Presenting Sam with his engraved bottle alongside Anaridis Rodriguez and Jennifer Delgado.

Bulleit is smooth enough to drink neat or on the rocks (my preference!) but the addition of the honey and ginger with the fresh citrus is just sublime.  It’s my new favorite fall drink for my all-time favorite meteorologist.  Cheers!

 

*This is a sponsored post but all opinions and recipes are my own.

"The Champion" Cocktail with Bulleit Bourbon
A honey ginger bourbon cocktail that is like sipping the best flavors of fall.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 slice of orange
  2. 2 slices of lemon
  3. 1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
  4. 1 Tb honey
  5. 2 parts Bulleit
  6. 1 part sweet vermouth
  7. 1 part dry vermouth
  8. 2 dashes orange bitters
  9. candied ginger for garnish
Instructions
  1. Muddle one orange slice with 2 lemon slices, freshly grated ginger and 1 Tb of honey.
  2. Add Bulleit, sweet and dry vermouth.
  3. Shake over ice and strain.
  4. Garnish with candied ginger.
What's on Parker's Plate? http://whatsonparkersplate.com/
Gator Eggs

Chompin’ at the Bit Bloody Mary and Gator Eggs

Chompin at the Bit

Fans will be “chompin’ at the bit” when they taste this delicious Bloody Mary!

Gator Eggs

Nothing like a creamy, melt-in-your-mouth Gator Egg washed down with a delish Bloody Mary!

It’s one of the most famous college rivalries EVER.  Florida vs. Georgia.  Georgia vs. Florida.  The game was first played in 1915 and has been played every season since 1926 with the exception of a war interruption in 1943.  Pretty cool history, eh?  The match up attracts huge crowds to Jacksonville, Florida (because the Dawgs and the Gators need to play on neutral ground!) which happens to be where I am spending a couple days showcasing some scrumptious “rival team inspired” drinks and dishes!

I actually got accepted to the University of Florida back in 1993, but I didn’t get assigned on-campus housing and my parents weren’t about to let my 18 year old self live off campus (and out of state) so young!  So, I never became a Gator– and by default, after living in Atlanta for almost a decade, I’m this close to being considered a Georgia fan!  (Just don’t call me a DAWG, y’all!!)

I teamed up with my friends at Johnsonville to make a Bloody Mary spread that will have you cheering with capital TEAM SPIRIT!  You know I have called myself the Bacon Babe from time to time…well, I have a new title.  Sausage Siren.  Oh yeah, baby!  Bacon Bloody Mary’s are soooooo last tailgate season.  Adding some smoky sausage as a garnish adds so much flavor to the drink, combined with a bit of Gatorade (emphasis on the GATOR!) makes it a smoky, citrus concoction that will have you and all your friends “chompin’ at the bit!”  What’s great about these Johnsonville sausages are that they’re already cooked, so it makes prepping so simple– you can just slice and go!  Garnishes are what make Bloody Mary’s so unique and such a stand out cocktail….the sausages look so good skewered on the top of the glass, don’t they?

Bloody Mary and Gator Eggs

Garnishes make a Bloody Mary a signature cocktail – I love the skewered Johnsonville sausage with cocktail onions.

Deviled eggs are one of my favorite things on the planet— if I’m at a restaurant and they have deviled eggs, I always have to order them and sample a new version, a different flavor.  When I make them at home, I add in a secret ingredient: Soft, salted butter.  It makes the yolk filling super velvety and rich!  Give these gator eggs a try– I loved them so much I scarfed down a few in my car on the way to my cooking segment at The Chat!  See video below and stay tuned for the Barking Bloody Mary tomorrow— I’m not playing favorites, y’all!

*This is a sponsored post but all opinions are my own.

Chompin' at the Bit Bloody Mary and Gator Eggs
Serves 4
Florida fans will be chompin' at the bit with this smoky, citrus infused Bloody Mary and melt-in-your-mouth deviled eggs.
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Total Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
For the Bloody Mary
  1. 1 cup Vodka
  2. 3 cups Bloody Mary Mix or tomato juice
  3. 3/4 cup lemon lime Gatorade
  4. 2 teaspoons hot sauce
  5. 4 JOHNSONVILLE Beddar with Cheddar Smoked Sausage Links, grilled and sliced in one inch pieces
  6. 1 lime, sliced into wedges
  7. 1 orange, sliced into wedges
  8. 8 gimlet onions
  9. 4 skewers
For the Gator Eggs
  1. 12 eggs
  2. 2 Tb softened, salted butter
  3. 1/4 cup mayo
  4. 1 Tb dijon mustard
  5. pinch kosher salt
  6. 2 Tb sweet red pepper relish
  7. black olives for garnish
  8. smoked paprika for garnish
For the Bloody Mary
  1. In a shaker or pitcher, mix vodka, Bloody Mary mix or tomato juice, Gatorade and hot sauce.
  2. Pour into 4 glasses with ice.
  3. For the garnish, assemble each of the four skewers with pieces of Johnsonville Beddar with Cheddar Smoked Sausage and gimlet onions on a skewer. Place a lime and orange slice on rim of the glass.
For the Gator Eggs
  1. Put eggs in a large sauce pan and cover with water.
  2. Bring to a boil and then turn heat off.
  3. Let sit in simmering water for 12 minutes.
  4. Take shells off and slice hard boiled eggs in half.
  5. Scoop yolks into a bowl and mix with butter, mayo, mustard, salt and red pepper relish.
  6. (I like to use an electric hand beater to really whip it all together for a nice texture.)
  7. Put filling in a plastic bag and pipe into hard boiled egg whites.
  8. Garnish with black olives and a sprinkle of smoked paprika.
What's on Parker's Plate? http://whatsonparkersplate.com/
 

Team Tailgate Trees

Light up Your Tailgate Like a Christmas Tree

Team Tailgate Trees

Turn your tailgate ON with gorgeous team themed trees and decorations from At Home!

Christmas in October?  Nope!  It’s Tailgate Season, y’all!  This is the hottest trend since bacon stuffed burgers!  At Home is selling these 4′ trees in multiple colors for only $24.99 that you can decorate in licensed decorations in both NFL and SEC team colors and logos.  Score!

Dallas Cowboys Tree

At Home Tree decorated in Dallas Cowboys licensed decorations.

Texas Longhorns Tree

At Home tree decorated in Texas Longhorns licensed decorations.

Not only does At Home have all the licensed team decorations (check out the adorable Tailgate Trailer in the above pic!) but they have lots of tailgating accessories like this 18″ football grill.  

Football Grill

18″ Football grill from At Home.

Aaaaaaaand, just consider At Home your one-stop-shop for plates, platters, beer mugs, and table accessories. I mean, football shag rug, anyone?  Hello Man Cave! 

Check out the video here from Daytime @ 9 in San Antonio….

*This is a sponsored post but all opinions are my own.

 

Fall entertaining

Fall Entertaining on San Antonio Living

Fall entertaining

Fall is Here! Let’s decorate!

 

While most people are groaning about summer being over and the days growing colder and shorter, I’m loving every minute of the foray into fall!  It’s absolutely my favorite season– the smoky smells of fireplaces crackling to life after a year of slumber, the crunch of amber and golden hued leaves under my boots (yay boot weather!) and well, all the things I can cook with pumpkin.  This is the first year I have spent as much time thinking about decorating as I have about cooking.  Part of that inspiration is a new partnership with At Home, the Home Décor Superstore!  They are expanding all over the country– -which is really good news if you’re like me and need a little inspiration to get the design ball rolling.  

In preparation for a fall entertaining segment in San Antonio on San Antonio Living, I dragged my friend shopping with me, promising it would be a quick in and out.  OMG!  I felt like a little kid in a candy store….FEAST for the eyes!  Everywhere we looked, there was more to choose from!  I wanted to put together a sophisticated spread, but I didn’t want it to feel to “decorator-y.”  You guys KNOW what I mean.  Have you ever been to someone’s house and everything is SO well put together, it feels more like a museum and you don’t want to touch anything??  Instead, I wanted the visual element to be gorgeous, but with the “I could put that together too” vibe.  

I like choosing one inspirational item when I’m entertaining and build my aesthetic around it.  At Home’s glass pumpkins are beautiful conversation pieces, and I immediately knew I could create a table scene around them.  

Glass Pumpkin

At Home’s signature Glass Pumpkin comes in several sizes and colors.

Little secret here….I have never put together my own floral arrangement aside from the ones you pick out and pre-order from a florist.  The floral section was loaded with stunning fall colors and I had to start picking out my centerpieces because I still had grocery shopping to do!

Centerpiece

Don’t be afraid of big, bold colors to accent your table.

I put together 2 floral centerpieces– this was my favorite.  One of the things I’ve learned from my man, JP, who is a genius with color– he’s an artist, after all, is to not be afraid of bold color.  The entire spread doesn’t have to be wild, but integrating some big pops of color adds a really cool vibe that brings your party to life!

Working with the hues of that gorgeous mosaic pumpkin (in the foreground of the pic) I chose bright yellow accented with a rich plum.  

To add some depth and contour to the flowers, I filled a large At Home cylinder with an assortment of pine cones and crab apples.  I love how the colors play off each other and it creates such a terrific focal point on the table.  To accent the purple hued reeds, I used chargers of the same color.

Don’t be afraid to make more than one “centerpiece”– or create different “scenes” on one table, if you’re setting up appetizers on one side and desserts on the other, buffet style.

I didn’t have a cake stand, so I got creative and took another cylinder container and filled it with mini gourds and pumpkins, then put my No Bake Double Layered Pumpkin Cheesecake on top.  (That recipe is coming tomorrow!)

Cheesecake Stand

You don’t need a traditional cake stand! Get creative and place your (No Bake Double Layer Cheesecake!) on a cylinder filled with mini pumpkins!

When you’re setting up a table, think of multi-layers, alternating the heights of what you’re presenting.  I took some cool looking candelabras that I found at At Home and used one for a candle, and topped the other 2 with pumpkins.

Instead of using a boring old basket lined with a napkin for silverware, I took a mosaic container and filled it with forks, knives and spoons.  

The tablecloth I kept simple– a solid chocolate, since I was going to be working with so much color, but I accented it with gold leaf placemats which were subtle, but accentuated the other elements of the table.  

I knew what I wanted to accomplish in my mind’s eye, but it was so gratifying when it all came together on the set of San Antonio Living!  Here’s the segment so you can get some close ups of the gorg- and also check out some fall recipe ideas.  Stay tuned for No Bake Double Layer Cheesecake, Curried Butternut Squash Soup!  

Making a signature drink is always something that impresses guests…This is sort of the best combo of signature drink AND dessert!  Pumpkin Beer float, anyone?  DEEEEE-LISH!

*This is a sponsored post, but all recipes, ideas and opinions are my own.

Beer Floats

At Home has these adorable mason jar mugs that you can personalize for your guests with name tags! Cheers!

Pumpkin Beer Floats
The yummiest combo of a signature drink and dessert all in one!
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Ingredients
  1. Vanilla Ice cream (Caramel would be really delicious too!)
  2. Pumpkin Ale or Pumpkin Hard Cider
Instructions
  1. Scoop ice cream into mugs.
  2. Pour Pumpkin ale or cider on top.
  3. Serve immediately!
What's on Parker's Plate? http://whatsonparkersplate.com/
Beer Skewers

Oktoberfest Entertaining

Beer Skewers

Skewer your Oktoberfest favorite eats like brats and bread to dip in a rich, beer and cheese fondue

Oktoberfest runs through this weekend, so PROST!  (That’s German for Cheers, y’all!)  One beer style reigns King at Oktoberfest– the Oktoberfest Marzen.  It’s a beautiful copper colored lager brewed by 6 select breweries in Munich– aged for 3-4 months and traditionally served in 1 Liter mugs.

Oktoberfest

With Jamarcus from Studio 62 and traditional 1 Liter mugs of beer.

German Weissbier, or wheat beer is really popular as well– it has hints of cloves and a little spice– it just tastes like fall and the hops are mild, so it really lets whatever you serve with it be the star.  If you don’t have access to some of the more authentic German Beers, you can pick up the American versions we all know and love, like Stella and Beck’s.  

Stell and Beck's

Look for American favorites like Stella Artois and Beck’s!

For a really fun display, cut the top off a pumpkin, scoop it out, fill it with ice and fill with your favorite beers!  Let’s Grab a Beer has awesome advice and info about all things beer and Oktoberfest!

Bernhard’s Bread Bakery has all the yummy fixings for your Oktoberfest spread…

Bernhard's Bread Bakery

Stunning assortment of bread and pretzels from Bernhard’s Bread Bakery

Some of my earliest and fondest memories growing up were in my German grandmother’s kitchen– well, I walked into Bernhard’s Bread Bakery and I was immediately transported to Grandma Ronnie’s kitchen.  Bernhard Bleeken, the owner and exquisitely talented baker is one of those people you meet and you are immediately drawn in by his sheer passion for what he does– you can taste the LOVE factor- baked into every single bite.  This is a guy who was doing the corporate thing in Germany– but was spending every single weekend baking– he’d make his dough on Friday, bake all day Saturday and then his friends and family would be lining up to taste the goods every Sunday.  Well, he took a chance– moved his entire family here in 99 and launched his passion project….16 years later, he has a fantastic location in Marietta and he’s been wowing the community with his bread and baked goods. THIS is the place to go to order for your Oktoberfest party.  Forget the cooking– let Bernhard do it for you!

His bread has no sugar– it’s also bromate free– and certified organic.  It simply doesn’t get better than that.  His most popular bread is called Harvest Festival– filled with pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, which have such beautiful texture.  And– you want brats and authentic German meats?  He has it all.  Imported groceries and the best German delicacies you can imagine.

Try his classic Bavarian Breakfast- Weissworst— or white sausage with Pretzels (breitzels) dipped in sweet mustard.  Or double dip in his Bavarian cheese dip and homemade mustard.   Fleischkaese which is like German Bologna, is delicious with sauteed onions on a kaiser roll….And of course you have to have your brats.

So turn your Oktoberfest into Oktoberfabulous– if you go to Bernhard’s and order your Oktoberfest spread– you’ll get 10% off your order of $50 or more, just mention Atlanta & Company!

Oktoberfest Bounty!

Oktoberfest Bounty on the set of Atlanta & Company

Looking for fun stuff to do with the kiddos?  

Atlantic Station always throws a fantastic Oktoberfest Party– but the fun doesn’t end when Oktoberfest does.  They have 3 family friendly festivals going on this month. 

  • Annual Fall Festival – Celebrate fall at Atlantic Station on Oct. 30 from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. with this family-friendly festival. Purchase festival activity tickets in Central Park for face painting and mask and necklace decorating hosted by Midtown Bridge Church to benefit City of Refuge. Activity tickets range from $1 – $5. Retailers are also getting in on the fall fun: decorate cookies with Great American Cookie Company and enjoy a rice krispy treat from Kilwin’s. Afterwards, settle in for Hocus Pocus on the big screen in Central Park as part of the Spooky Film Festival.
  • Spooky Film Festival – Every Friday evening starting on Oct. 9 at dusk, a spooky movie will lure guests into Atlantic  Station’s Central Park, where they’ll find fall family fun, giveaways and much more. Bring a blanket and snacks to enjoy a night under the stars with a variety of family-friendly spooky flicks.

The movie schedule is as follows:

  1. Oct. 9: Edward Scissorhands
  2. Oct. 16: The Goonies
  3. Oct. 23: Addam’s Family
  4. Oct. 30: Hocus Pocus
  • Trick or Treat with Atlantic Station –  On Halloween night from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., guests are invited to don their best costumes and trick or treat around Atlantic Station, visiting participating retailers for treats and goodies. Look for the Trick or Treat decal on the retailer’s door!

Here is my Beer and Cheese fondue recipe– it only has a few ingredients and it’s scrumptious!

Beer and Cheese Fondue
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Ingredients
  1. 2 garlic cloves minced
  2. 1 tsp butter
  3. 1 10 oz bag or 2 1/2 cups, shredded sharp Cheddar
  4. 1/4 to 1/3 pound, 4 to 6 ounces, Gruyere, grated
  5. 1 rounded tablespoon all-purpose flour
  6. 1 cup German lager beer
  7. 2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
  8. 1/2 tsp hot sauce
  9. 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
For skewers
  1. Mini sweet Gherkins
  2. Bratwurst cooked and chopped into bite size pieces
  3. Cocktail onions
  4. Your favorite bread diced
Instructions
  1. Saute garlic in butter until golden in large saucepan.
  2. Mix flour in with cheese in a bowl.
  3. Pour beer into saucepan and bring to a simmer.
  4. Stir in cheese/flour mix.
  5. Keep stirring until cheese starts melting.
  6. Add rest of ingredients.
To serve
  1. Alternate meat, gherkins, brats, bread and onions on skewers.
  2. Serve with fondue for dipping!
Notes
  1. Don't omit the flour-- it helps prevent the oils from separating from the cheese when it melts.
What's on Parker's Plate? http://whatsonparkersplate.com/

 

Labor Day Entertaining

Labor Day Weekend Entertaining

Labor Day Entertaining

Things to do, drink and eat on Labor Day Weekend!

Hard to believe the summer is already over…feels like just yesterday, we were talking about Memorial Day Delish!  Now that the kiddos are back in school and it’s almost time to put the cover on the pool, let’s get the party started with some Labor Day weekend entertaining ideas and enjoy these last breaths of summer lovin’!

If you want to take the “Labor” out of Labor Day, forget the cooking and order from my favorite BBQ restaurant in town, 521 Kitchen & Que, helmed by the talented Drew Kirkland.  Here are a few of his speciality BBQ dishes (and while I don’t have a pic, his kale coleslaw is so freaking good, I was literally eating it with my hands in the studio! OMG.  Scrumptious!)  Check out the perfect beer pairings as suggested by my friends at Let’s Grab a Beer!

Pair Chicken with a Lager

Smoked Chicken from 521 Kitchen & Que

If you’re serving grilled or smoked chicken this Labor Day, consider pairing with an American Lager, the most versatile of all beers.  Lagers have a malty sweetness, which will accentuate the juicy tenderness of chicken.  Bud Light has some subtle fruit notes and a crisp finish which pairs perfectly with this dish.

521 Kitchen & Que Wings

Can you smell the delicious wafting up from this hot tray of wings?

Who doesn’t love wings at a Labor Day party?  By the way, if you’re making your own, try this insanely good version I came up with recently with a Vietnamese flair!  If you’re serving hot wings, try pairing them with an English style IPA which has a crisp, zesty hoppiness.  Goose IPA is a hop lovers’ dream!  It has a fruity aroma, a dry malt middle and a long hop finish.

Pork Sliders from 521 Kitchen & Que

BBQ Pork Sliders from 521 Kitchen & Que

Pulled Pork would rank right up there on the, “if I had to pick a last meal” list.  Drizzled (not drenched) in reallllllly good BBQ sauce….The pic above is food-gasmic.  I just wish y’all could have tasted it!  Serve this sammy with a Farmhouse Saison, which has spicy notes and a fruity tartness.  It brings together the smoky and spicy seasoning of the sliders.  Atalanta, from local Orpheous Brewing has acidity and fruitiness to make it an ideal compliment.

Brisket

Melt-in-your-mouth Brisket at 521 Kitchen & Que

Everyone on set yesterday was freaking out over the brisket from 521 Kitchen and Que!  Recently, when I’ve sampled brisket from other joints, it’s been way salty and not super tender.  This brisket was smoked perfection.  It’s rich and tender and melt-in-your-mouth, just the way brisket is meant to be!  Pair this with a Bock style dark lager which has a balance of hoppiness and roasted caramel sweetness.  This bring out that deliciously smoked meat.  Michelob Amber Bock is a perfect compliment because of the dark, roasted malts.

Myrtle Beach

photo courtesy www.visitmyrtlebeach.com

If you’re looking for a last minute beach getaway for Labor Day weekend, look no further than Myrtle Beach, South Carolina!  TravelChannel.com recently named Myrtle Beach as one of the Best East Coast Beaches.  There are 60 miles of sandy beaches, an assortment of great live entertainment and family friendly attractions, world-class golf and delicious Carolina Coastal cuisine and fresh seafood.

Plus, the bonus is, it’s only about a five and half hour drive from Atlanta or a 45-minute plane ride and boom— you’re right at the beach.  This weekend, there are 2 fabulous events going on– especially enticing for foodies!

The Beach Boogie and Barbeque Festival is the Official BBQ Festival of South Carolina and is a free event that runs on Friday and Saturday. A $10 wristband gets you unlimited barbeque samples. They will also have a wing competition, a car show, corn hole tournament and other kids activities and games for the whole family.

Myrtle Beach’s annual food and wine festival Coastal Uncorked is also taking place Friday through Sunday. There will be a moonshine mixology and dessert event with a competition of local bartenders, a craft beer festival and a large wine tasting with food and local music.

If you can’t make it this weekend, Myrtle Beach just kicked off a “Relax and Unwind” initiative for the fall meant to combat stats revealed by the U.S. Travel Association showing that 40% of Americans don’t use all of their paid time off (PTO). To help encourage people to take their time off, Myrtle Beach has created some incentives for those traveling to the area this fall. Things like budget friendly lodging and attraction deals, perks for vacationers willing to temporarily disconnect from their phones at restaurants and other ideas for relaxing and unwinding in the area. There are ideas for every kind of traveler – from girlfriend getaways to family vacations, cultural enthusiasts to romantics – make sure to visit www.visitmyrtlebeach.com for all of the details!

The Great Plate

The Great Plate– and the ONLY plate you’ll ever need.

I already introduced you guys to The Great Plate last week, but it’s such an incredible product, I have to share again.  The past 2 times I’ve done TV segments with the plates, people keep coming up to me on set asking to take one (or 3!) home with them!  It really is that cool.  And, you can now order an assortment of colors and in packages of 4.  It’s shareable, it’s portable, it flies and it floats!  Check out all of The Great Plate’s incredible (and unlimited) uses here.

Watch Labor Day Entertaining on Atlanta & Company below!

 

*This is a sponsored post, but all opinions are my own!