Thursday, October 29, 2015

Pinterest: Halloween Cocktails and Appetizers

I know I just did a Halloween themed post, but I just can't help myself. I love Halloween! I love carving pumpkins, dressing up, watching all of the classic scary movies, making festive food, and eating the candy of course. I'm a little behind in the festivities this year due to our recent vacation. I'm not even sure what my costume is going to be this weekend. Actually, the last minute planning is what inspired this post. So, for all of you procrastinators out there, that are entertaining this weekend or attending parties, I've rounded up some pinterest favorites that I think you might like. Below are some Halloween cocktails and appetizers that are sure to please a crowd. Head over to my Pinterest page for more Halloween inspiration. 

Cocktails
Photo By: Rennai Hoefer ©ten22 studio | Rennai Hoefer 2014

 4 oz. pina colada mix
1 oz. coconut rum 
1-1/2 cups ice

Mix all ingredients in blender until smooth.

Photo By: Rennai Hoefer ©ten22 studio


2 oz. vodka
 1 oz. orange liqueur
 1 oz. apple liqueur
 1 apple slice
 ice

 Pour ingredients into a cocktail shaker, fill with ice. Shake and pour over ice into double old fashioned glasses. Add an apple slice garnish.

Photo by Steve Murello

2 oz. vodka
1 oz. vanilla simple syrup
1 oz. cream
2 oz. soda

Mix vanilla simple syrup, cream, vodka and soda together in a cocktail shaker, then serve in a chilled martini glass.

By Liz Gray

2 honeycrisp apples
2 pears
1 orange
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar, or more to taste
1 cup bourbon
3 cups apple cider
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 bottles pinot grigio, chilled
1 pumpkin, for serving (optional)

Thinly slice apples, pears and oranges lengthwise, then place in a large bowl. Coat with lemon juice to prevent browning. Add honey, brown sugar, bourbon, apple cider and pumpkin pie spice, stirring gently to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours, or overnight. Top with chilled pinot grigio and serve.

Appetizers

Tiffany- Creme de la Crumb

1½ cups gingersnap cookie crumbs
¼ cup canned pumpkin purée
⅓ cup graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
⅛ teaspoon salt
3 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ cup white chocolate chips
white chocolate chips or white dipping chocolate (like CandiQuik)
red food coloring

In a large bowl combine gingersnap crumbs, pumpkin puree, graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar, cinnamon, salt, and cream cheese. Mix until smooth. Melt ½ cup white chocolate chips and mix into truffle mixture.
Cover and chill until dough is solid enough to roll into balls - about 1 hour in the fridge or 30 minutes in the freezer. When cold enough, roll mixture into 12-14 balls. Place a toothpick in each ball.
Melt remaining white chocolate chips or white dipping chocolate in a small bowl. Use toothpicks to dip each truffle ball into the white chocolate, being sure to coat all sides. Gently shake off excess chocolate. Place chocolate-covered truffle balls on a baking sheet or plate lined with wax paper, parchment paper, or foil. Chill for 3-5 minutes until chocolate hardens.
Drizzle more white chocolate over the truffles. Soak the end of a Q-tip in red food cloring. Dap 2 dots of food coloring to make the mummy eyes. Handle carefully so you don't wipe off the eyes. Store chilled in airtight container.

Erika Monroe-Williams - “The Hopeless Housewife”

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
8 ounces jack cheese, shredded
1 scallion (green onion), finely chopped
½ teaspoon salt
1 package refrigerated crescent rolls (I use Pillsbury)
2 eggs, beaten
Candy eyeballs (can be purchased at Michael's or on Amazon or you can always use a little cream cheese and piece of a black olive for the eyes)

Preheat oven 400° F. In a small bowl, mix the cream cheese, jack cheese, scallion and salt until well blended.
Roll out the crescent rolls and separate into 4 rectangles (not triangles) with a perforation in the middle of each. Press your fingers into the perforations to seal them. Using a pizza cutter, cut each rectangle into 10 long pieces lengthwise.
Fill each jalepeño half with the cheese mixture. Wrap each jalapeño half with the dough, leaving a space for the eyes. Use two pieces of dough if necessary. Brush with egg mixture and place on baking sheet.
Bake in oven for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and press the eyes into the cheese where the opening is. Remove eyes before eating. You may also use a little cream cheese and a piece of black olive for the eyes. Serve immediately.

Corey: Corey Valley

container of donut holes
plastic spiders
spider egg sign

Place donuts on platter and put plastic spiders over donuts. Add spider egg sign.

Mindy Starr

Philadelphia cream cheese
  Tobasco pepper jelly
 Ritz crackers 

Take the 8 oz cream cheese block out of the package and place it directly onto wax or parchment paper. its ideal to have the cream cheese on its way to room temperature so that its easy to work with and mold. use your hands to mold the cream cheese into a bone shape. if that grosses you out, you can use surgical gloves to protect your hands, or place a piece of plastic wrap over it to act as a barrier. start by squeezing the middle so it is thinner and working your way outward leaving the ends more bulbous. round them out and put a dent on each end to make it look like a femur bone.
To transfer the bone it gets a bit tricky. i recommend popping this into the refrigerator for a few minutes to firm up again before transferring it to your serving platter. once it is firm, you will want to flip it into your hand and then flip it again onto your platter to keep the top side up – as if you were removing a cake from a cake pan if that makes sense. next, pour the pepper jelly around the bone or on a portion of it to represent the ‘guts’ and then arrange the crackers around it.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Halloween Appetizer: Pumpkin Cheese Ball

With Halloween just a few days away, many of you may be scrambling to find some last minute treats to take to those ghoulish parties you've committed to attending. Last year we had an office pot luck, and my contribution was this festive pumpkin cheese ball. It's quick, easy and screams Halloween!


Halloween Ham & Cheese Ball

(Adapted from Flying on Jess Fuel)
INGREDIENTS
2 (8oz) packages of cream cheese
2 cups of shredded sharp cheddar cheese
5 Slices of deli ham or bacon (any kind will work)
1 (3 3/8oz) bag of nacho cheese Doritos
1 stem of a green bell pepper
Garlic Powder to taste
Flatbread crisps (or cracker of choice)
INSTRUCTIONS
1. Place both packages of cream cheese into a microwave safe bowl. Warm for just a few seconds, just enough to soften, making it easier to manage. (do not over heat)
2. Add the softened cream cheese in a food processor along with the shredded cheese.
3. Dice the ham into small chunks and add to the food processor, adjusting the amount of ham to your preference. 
4. Add a teaspoon or so of garlic powder to the mixture and blend until mixed well.
5. Scrape the mixture out of the processor onto a cutting board and form a round ball. Wrap up the ball well in saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
6. Remove the cheese ball from the refrigerator just before serving.  Leaving the Doritos in the bag, crush them up into tiny pieces. Pour them onto a plate and roll the cheese ball around coating the entire ball.
7. Cut the stem off of the bell pepper and place it on top of the cheese ball.


Monday, October 26, 2015

Fall Boots

Happy Monday!  It's nice to be back in the US, but it's also tough getting back into my regular routine after a long vacation. I can't wait to share a recap of our trip to Thailand, so stay tuned for a future post. After enjoying the beautiful beaches and tropical temperatures, I now feel ready to put on Fall attire and enjoy the season. Today I've rounded up some of my favorite booties, perfect to take you through Fall and right into winter. 


Monday, October 19, 2015

2 Year Wedding Anniversary

On this day, two years ago, I married the love of my life, my partner in crime, and my best friend! I am so thankful to have met my husband. Life is so much better with him by my side and I can’t wait to see what future adventures we have in store as husband and wife.  Sorry to be so sappy, but it’s the truth.  

Whit and I are celebrating today on the beautiful island of Koh Yao Yai in Thailand! We couldn’t be more thrilled to be spending our anniversary in such an amazing place! I look forward to sharing stories and photos from our trip when we get back. Until then, I will leave you with a video clip and some photos reminiscent of the day we said “I do.”

For a full recap of our special day, check out our feature on A Lowcountry Wedding blog and our wedding trailer here







Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Vacation...


I'm apologizing in advance for my absence. My husband and I are on vacation, enjoying the beautiful country of Thailand. 

Follow along with us on our adventure on Instagram.


Monday, October 12, 2015

1 Year Blogging Anniversary


Today I'm celebrating one year since the debut of A Polished Palate! I'm proud to say that I made it through the first year and I look forward to continuing on this journey. I wanted to start a blog for quite some time, but it took a while for me to gain the courage to actually do it. Putting your thoughts out there for the world to judge is a bit nerve racking, however, I'm so glad that I decided to do it. Honestly, my biggest regret is not doing it sooner. Today I want to reflect and share with you a few things that I've learned through my blogging journey this past year.

1. You don't have to post everyday.

When I first began my blog, I felt the need to post content every single day. I began to realize that it's more about quality over quantity. It's okay if I don't have a post everyday, and quite honestly, it's normal. Life is busy and I want my blog to remain enjoyable, and for that reason I decided to stop putting so much pressure on myself to create content five days a week.

2. Writer's block can and will happen.

There are times when I've found myself staring at my computer screen, searching for the right words to express my thoughts. I've actually spent hours scouring the internet in hopes of sparking an idea for an interesting topic to discuss. I've realized that sometimes I just need to step away and clear my mind. On multiple occasions,  I've come up with great post ideas while laying in bed at night or while I'm in the shower. It's when I have a clear mind and I'm not focusing so hard, that I come up with some of my favorite posts.

3. Supporting other bloggers through commenting is an appreciated gesture.

When I first started this blog, I often wondered if anyone was even reading. I then thought back to the times when I had come across great blog posts but never left a comment, or shared my thoughts with the blogger. I really enjoy receiving comments on my blog. It reminds me that there are people out there reading and that I'm not just talking to myself. So the next time you come across a good post, share a little positive feedback. :)

4. Patience is important.

Patience, it's definitely not my middle name. I try very hard to remind myself that "good things come to those who wait." After just a few months of blogging, several people would ask me if I had any companies reaching our for collaborations yet. I would get frustrated when my answer was no, and often had to remind myself that it doesn't happen overnight. Blogging takes time and effort. Companies want to see that your are putting your best content out there and that you aren't going to disappear overnight. It took me a while to realize this, but I finally did. I by no means have a ton of collaboration experience, however I've recently started receiving a few inquiries here and there. It takes time for people to realize you exist and it took time for me to understand that. Patience is key.

5. You will make some great friends along the way. 

From attending blogger events to getting to know someone via the web, blogging has opened a door to new friendships for me. I've made friends with people that I haven't ever actually met in person. I've also met a lot of new friends through blogger socials and local events. For me, blogging has filled a void. From being on the cheerleading squad in high school, joining a sorority in college to being a part of other various groups, I've always been a social person. I realized that I needed some sort of social activity in my life after moving to Charleston and starting my job, which is one reason I decided to start blogging. I'm so thankful for the new friends I've made, and I look forward to meeting more!


Thank you to everyone out there for your support and following along! 



Thursday, October 8, 2015

Southern Charm: A Closer Look at the Gates of Charleston


Have you ever been strolling around downtown Charleston and noticed the pretty iron gates outside the historic homes? This detailed iron work can be seen on railings and fences leading to private lush gardens in the downtown area. These beautiful little symbols have become quite popular when it comes to jewelry. Today, I'm sharing with you the classical gate pendant paired with a Charleston rice bead necklace from Gold Creations, a fabulous jewelry store celebrating forty years of business in the Charleston City Market. 

I love the look of modern elegance created when the gate pendant and rice bead necklace are paired together. I'm really into layering necklaces these days, and this was the perfect piece to layer with a long simple chain. I wanted to showcase this necklace with two different looks. One is a simple southern look for early fall (in the south, since it's still hot) and the other is more of a city chic look that can be worn into the evening as the cooler weather slowly approaches. 


Look 1
First up is more of daytime look, perfect for a Sunday afternoon around Charleston. I bought this off the shoulder dress and it needed a little something in the accessory department. I decided to layer my gate pendant and rice bead necklace with a simple silver chain, adding another dimension to the ruffled neckline, and creating a casual look with a southern flair. 






Look 2
Oftentimes I get frustrated when I'm digging through my closet and  I "have nothing to wear." Typically when that happens, I turn to something black. It's chic, it's classic, it's sexy, and there is no struggle with what to pair with it. However, I do like to add some sort of pop when wearing all black, either with big earrings or a statement necklace. In this case, the classical gate necklace with the rice bead necklace was the perfect pop of silver to break up the all black look. Throw on a blazer with this for a professional work look, and then lose the jacket and put on some booties and dramatic lips for a little happy hour afterwards.






The classical gate pendant that I'm wearing is one of the most iconic styles of wrought iron gate features. It's made of sterling silver with a high shine finish and is available in three sizes at Gold Creations. The rice bead necklace that I've paired it with is one of their top-selling necklaces, and is available in three widths. 

Next time you're in the City Market area, stop in Gold Creations and experience a little southern charm, and maybe even leave with a little piece of Charleston around your neck. 



*The Gates of Charleston pendant and rice bead necklace were given to me by Gold Creations, however all opinions are my own.*