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PP- CHAMPS AND DRINK

With 2014 coming to a close and holiday parties at their peak (oh hello, Christmas in ONE WEEK), our to-do lists seem to be snowballing out of control! If you’re knee deep in online shopping, writing New Years resolutions, and getting those presents perfectly packaged, it may be a tad daunting to ponder just what potent potable you’ll be serving at your holiday soirée this weekend.

Pomegranate PoinsettiaDon’t fret, we have got you covered! The Poinsettia is your saving grace for holiday gatherings! Not those red flowers you see eveeerywhere during Christmas time (they are actually poisonous to animals, so they are not Noodle- or Georgette-friendly decor.) We’re talkin’ about the tasty crimson cocktail. It’s a traditional sipper that fits into the season’s festivities perfectly — spirited and red!

Pomegranate PoinsettiaThe Poinsettia is a holiday classic for a reason — it’s super simple and a real crowd pleaser! There is no vigorous shaking involved and the proportions can be tweaked to your party guests tastes! Spirited folks? Add just a splash of the cranberry & pomegranate juice. Sweet-toothed crowd on you hands? Add a touch more juice and champagne. You can even make a sinless-sipper for the DD. Just omit the vodka and champagne and replace with ginger ale or club soda for fizziness.

Pomegranate PoinsettiaTraditionally, the cocktail calls for plain ol’ cranberry juice, but we couldn’t resist adding cranberry’s sweet-tart cousin, the pomegranate, into the mix. They are so plentiful this time of year and their beautiful seeds are like jewels. We always say fresh is best, but in a pinch, a bottled pomegranate juice will do just fine in this recipe (we won’t tell!)
Pomegranate Poinsettia
The Pomegranate Poinsettia
Ingredients

  • 1 oz cranberry
  • 1oz Pomegranate juice
  • 4 oz champagne
  • 1 oz vodka
  • 2 berry & rosemary ice cubes (recipe below)

Pour vodka into glass. Add the cranberry and pomegranate juices. Stir with bar spoon. Add the champagne. Place two ice cubes in the drink for garnish.

Berry & Rosemary Ice Cubes

Ingredients

  • 1 handful small berries
  • 4  stalks rosemary

Remove stems from berries. Remove rosemary leaves from stalks. Full ice cube trades with water. Add berries and rosemary to the cubes. Freeze until completely frozen.

Pomegranate PoinsettiaWe also jazzed the drink up with rosemary and winter berry ice cubes! The rosemary mimics the fresh evergreens of the season and the berries add another vibrant punch of color. It’s almost like having a wreath in your glass! Gold rimmed coups add a beautiful shimmer to the crimson cocktail. Red and gold are a match made in holiday heaven!

Pomegranate PoinsettiaYou may already have all these ingredients in your fridge which a makes party planning a real breeze. The trickiest part may be finding berries for the ice cubes. Currants & peppercorn berries make for perfect additions to the festive ice and will add a sweet or spicy touch as the ice begins to melt. We found our berries at a local flower shop, but a natural grocers will have a great selection of winter berries.

Pomegranate PoinsettiaReady for refills? Preparation is easy so you won’t be tending bar all night long. You’ll be back cheers-ing to good times in no time!

Happy imbibing!

p.s. get more cocktail recipes here!
recipe by Ashley Rose for Jojotastic. photography by Jojotastic.

December Donut of the Month_WTG

Though my ideal temperature is that of a desert, there is a big part of me that likes winter. I don’t admit this too frequently, mostly because I would be making that declaration through chattering teeth and purple lips, but it’s true. The major stipulation is this: I like winter when I am just sort of cozily watching snow fall from my third-floor window view. I like winter when the only reason to face the brutal winds is to run around the park like a crazy person with my dog (a big perk of having a dog). I like winter when I’m buried deep under blankets, a candle is flickering, and I’m burning my way through a Netflix series. Thus, not wanting to leave home in the winter is a huge motivator for home cooking and baking.

December Donut of the MonthThe more delicious foods and drinks I am able to prepare at home, the less I need to 1) leave home 2) spend extra money and 3) eat less wholesome ingredients. Thanks to Joanna’s love of donuts, I was inspired to develop this donut-o-the-month series. So content am I with these homemade versions, I no longer need to brave the cold and the lines for the Pittsburgh brunch place that serves the beignets I used to crave. I am one step closer to a complete hermitage this winter, so three cheers for that!

Dec Donuts 02December’s donut was inspired by fluffy snow, gingerbread men and hikes in the park with my four-legged snow lover. I hope these donuts enable you to stay some place warm, sip something hot and dive into the series of your choice.

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cookie decorating like a pro

Unless you’re a pastry chef, making elegant holiday cookies can be tough. Luckily, I’ve got a few tricks up my sleeve to take the stress out of holiday cookie decorating while still resulting in picture-perfect cookies.

cookie decorating like a pro I wanted my cookies to feel modern and sophisticated, so I opted for white frosting with opalescent and metallic glitter. Your local craft supply store is a great place to get creative and discover all kinds of amazing edible glitters.

Head over to Ziploc to see more!
cookie decorating like a procookie decorating like a prophotography by Nathan Michael

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Ziploc. All opinions are my own and I would never endorse something I didn’t completely love. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Jojotastic going.

RECIPE // easy tiramisu for two #festivefinds

When the holidays roll around, I like to hit ‘pause’ and really take the time to spend with the people I love. Usually for me, this means one-on-one time, as opposed to throwing a raging party. I simply prefer maintaining connections with my loved ones over a cup of coffee… and something sweet and delicious, like tiramisu. This recipe not only makes this classic recipe simple, but is super fast to throw together at the last minute.

RECIPE // easy tiramisu for two #festivefindsIngredients:

  • tiny cookies
  • 1 shot of espresso — I used the Voltesso capsule
  • 1 cup mascarpone
  • 1 cup whipping cream (in place of raw eggs as traditionally used)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • a splash of rum (~1 teaspoon)
  • cocoa and cocoa nibs for topping

Shop the post:

RECIPE // easy tiramisu for two #festivefinds RECIPE // easy tiramisu for two #festivefindsTo start, make your cookies according to the package (to make life wayyy easier, I used this natural sugar cookie kit). Roll the dough onto a clean, floured countertop and cut out shapes (I used the tiniest, cutest cookie cutter set ever). Bake and, when finished, allow to cool.

RECIPE // easy tiramisu for two #festivefinds RECIPE // easy tiramisu for two #festivefindsRecently, Nespresso sent over their new VertuoLine system, aka the easiest cup of espresso I’ve ever made at home. In a matter of (what felt like) seconds, I had a fresh shot of espresso waiting to pour over my sugar cookies. I added a splash of rum, but you can also skip this step.

RECIPE // easy tiramisu for two #festivefindsWhisk together mascarpone, whipping cream, sugar, and vanilla extract for about 5 minutes or until peaks start to form.

Now is the fun part: assembling the layers! Because I’m so fancy, I used these gold-rimmed coupe glasses, but you can use any small glass you have on hand. First add a layer of cookies, then pour over the espresso and rum. Top with a layer of the whipped mixture. Dust with cocoa powder and cocoa nibs.RECIPE // easy tiramisu for two #festivefinds RECIPE // easy tiramisu for two #festivefindsRECIPE // easy tiramisu for two #festivefindsFor as fancy as this looks, it’s kind of silly how easy it is to make this recipe!

RECIPE // easy tiramisu for two #festivefindsart direction, styling, and photography by Jojotastic

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Nespresso. All opinions are my own and I would never endorse something I didn’t completely love. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Jojotastic going.

November Donut o the Month

As one who thrives on the adrenaline rush of working until the very last minute, I prefer the role of hostess in the production of Thanksgiving. This year, however, I feel like more of an understudy to an understudy. I’m not sure which part I’ll be playing, where I’ll be performing or what I’ll be eating. I’ve been in such a frenzy of projects, Thanksgiving had been hiding in the shadows of deadlines and it very quickly snuck up on me. Despite my lack of plans, I couldn’t let the Donut o’ the Month series pass November without a nod to the month’s star holiday.

Cranberry Donuts 01

In brainstorming a November donut, my imagination painted an ideal portrait of me as a Thanksgiving hostess. Imaginary Quelcy had already planned and purchased the groceries, safely avoiding the point when riots erupt over the last bag of rolls. On Thanksgiving Eve, she set the table, fussing over each detail until it was just right. She had dough rising and desserts lining the kitchen table. She stocked the refrigerator with prepped dishes, so everything was ready for the oven on Thanksgiving day.

Cranberry Donuts 05

Come Thanksgiving morning, calm, cool, collected Quelcy would wake up, walk little Julep, and bask in the lingering fall colors. Returning to her fragrant kitchen, she would brew plenty of coffee, eat a donut and have a moment — a delicious, tranquil, Thanksgiving moment.

Cranberry Donuts 02

This ideal Quelcy is a long shot indeed. However, I am aiming to have a few calm mornings with delicious moments — this November donut to the rescue! This recipe draws inspiration from Thanksgiving’s cranberry sauce tradition, fall herb accents, mugs of hot cider, and the shot of whiskey you need when dad digresses into politics at the dinner table.

Happy November!
-Quelcy

Whole Wheat Cranberry Cake Donuts with Whiskey Cider Glaze

Ingredients
makes about 12-15 standard sized donuts

  • 4 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2/3 cup raw cane sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon zest (~2 lemons)
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1 cup organic whole milk
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten (organic/cage-free)
  • 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup (8 Tbs) organic, unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 cups fresh cranberries
  • Organic Non-GMO Safflower Oil for frying (about 1 quart)

Cider Whiskey Glaze

Directions
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, spices, salt, lemon zest and sage, whisking to combine. In another bowl, combine egg, milk and vanilla extract, mixing together. Add melted butter to the dry ingredients, quickly stirring to disperse the butter and form small crumbs. Stir in milk and egg mixture, bring the dough together with a spoon. Before the dough comes completely together, add in cranberries, mashing some as you stir, and bring dough together with your hands. Form dough into a large ball, then roll it out on a floured surface to about 1/2 inch thickness. Cut donuts using a biscuit cutter. Use a smaller cutter to create the donut hole. Repeat with dough scraps until all the dough is used. Heat oil in a large pot or deep fryer, bringing it to 375 degrees. Fry donuts 1-2 at a time, frying for about 1 1/2-2 minutes per side. After your first donut, check it by cutting into the center and making sure the dough is cooked through. Finish remaining donuts, transferring to a cooling rack as you work. Once all the donuts are made, make the glaze.

For the Glaze
Whisk ingredients together until a smooth glaze forms. If the glaze is too thin, add sugar a few tablespoons at a time, while whisking. if the glaze is too thick, add more water by one very small drop at a time, whisking constantly. Dip donuts in the glaze and set aside for the glaze to harden slightly. Note: You may need to make a second batch depending on the size of your donuts and your glaze preferences.

Serve tranquilly with a mug of coffee and enjoy thoroughly!

photography & recipe by With The Grains for Jojotastic

portrait of a cocktail // Spiced Apple Old Fashioned recipe

The cocktail itself is a very American thing, we invented the tasty libation after all! And what could be more American than cocktails? Apples, of course! Apple pie, apple crisp, apple cider… just to name a few of our favorite apple-laden treats. We decided to jazz up the classic Old Fashioned with the addition of Fall’s bountiful fruit.

Whiskey is gaining popularity in the past few years with both men and women (you go, ladies) and for good reason! No longer is whiskey a thing your dad sipped in the lounge in his smoking jacket. Anyone? Ok, your dad may not have done this, but whiskey has always been something that has been viewed as a “guys” drink. Most only ever experience whiskey ordering a whiskey sour at the bar, no wonder people swear off the brown booze! Luckily women have been catching on to what has been kept a secret for some time now: whiskey is totally versatile and it’s damn tasty. Put down that sickly sweet-n-sour mix and start taking notes!

portrait of a cocktail // Spiced Apple Old Fashioned recipe

Spiced Apple Old Fashioned

Ingredients (serves 1):

  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 1 oz apple syrup (recipe below)
  • few dashes cinnamon bitters
  • 1 squeeze lemon
  • apple chip

Directions:

Pour apple syrup in bottom of an Old Fashioned Glass. Add a few dashes of bitters and mix with the syrup. Pour in 2 oz bourbon. Add a squeeze of lemon juice. Garnish the glass with an apple chip.

Apple Spiced Syrup
Ingredients:

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup fresh apple juice

2 cinnamon sticks

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

a few dashes of clove

Directions:

Bring brown sugar and water to a boil in a saucepan. Take the pan off the heat and add remaining ingredients to the pan. Let the syrup cool. Keep cool in the refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

portrait of a cocktail // Spiced Apple Old Fashioned recipeThe Old Fashioned as the name hints is, well, old-fashioned. In fact, it’s the oldest drink in the book. The precursor to the fancy cocktail, its recipe is simple: sugar, whiskey, bitters. Done. There are many variations, however, for this traditional drink and is left up to one’s preference. Personally, I like mine with a muddled orange and orange peel rubbed around the edge to release the fragrant oils. No cherry, unless it’s a brandied cherry, then we’re talking!

The Old Fashioned can be made with Bourbon or Rye whiskey. Bourbon is sweeter while Rye has a more intense flavor. We are using Bourbon here to meld with the sweet and tart juices of the crisp apple. Speaking of crisp, switch out a citrus peel with a crunchy apple chip for a garnish. You’ll have a snack after sipping on what is sure to be the perfect Fall drink!

portrait of a cocktail // Spiced Apple Old Fashioned recipeportrait of a cocktail // Spiced Apple Old Fashioned recipeHappy imbibing!

Photography by Ashley Batz

 

In wintertime, with my busy schedule, I need a hearty “stick to your ribs” breakfast. As a kid, my grandma would make batches and batches of her signature oatmeal every time I visited her. She kept her recipe simple and magical, always with a dusting of cinnamon on the top. To add a twist to this traditional treat, I like to make fancy oatmeal with just a few special toppings.

spiced apple oatmeal recipe - a great 'stick to your ribs' kind of breakfastThere are 3 recipes to check out: spiced apple oatmeal, pumpkin pie oatmeal, and baked berry oatmeal.

Head over to Ziploc to see more!

pumpkin pie oatmeal recipe - a great 'stick to your ribs' kind of breakfastphotography by Nathan Michael

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Ziploc. All opinions are my own and I would never endorse something I didn’t completely love. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Jojotastic going.