My (Imaginary) Christmas 2013


Seriously, don’t even worry about bringing anything because I’ve got it all covered! Longtime readers might remember last year’s dream Christmas dinner as the start of this extravagant/gluttonous series I create for most major holidays. And let me tell you, I should really throw make believe parties more often because they’re so much fun! This Christmas I decided to go with plenty of color and whimsy with a dash of nature and DIY thrown in to keep it real. Hope you can make it! (Links and sources at the end.)













Felt Ball Garland – The Fickle Felt Tree
DIY Himmeli Garland – The House That Lars Built
Paint Dipped Ornaments – Bomisch
Pine Cone Wreath – West Twin Creations
Plated Glass Votives – Serena & Lily
Still Life Taper Candles – Anthropologie
Town Square Sculptures – Anthropologie
Wire Sprinkle Line Lights – CB2
Wood Chain Kit – Sideshow Press

Cider Pomegranate Smash – Clara Persis
The Bourbon Épice – coco + kelley
Hot Buttered Hazelnut Whisky – Adventure in Cooking

Brie and Cranberry Bites –  Crumb
Sweet Potato Tahini Crostini – Love and Lemons
Whipped Ricotta with Lemon and Olive Oil – Joy the Baker

Blush Champagne Coupes – Monique Lhuillier
Colonnes Stemware – Anthropologie
DIY Pie Crust Place Markers – You Are My Fave
Gold Napkin Ring Set – West Elm
Gold-Dipped Flatware – Anthropologie
Nomades Table Linen – Anthropologie
DIY Reversible Tree Flatware Mat – Confetti Pop
Silver Manzanita Candelabra – West Elm
Verge Dinnerware – Crate and Barrel

Apple Herb Stuffing – Smitten Kitchen
Balsamic Brussels Sprouts with Red Grapes – Nutrition Stripped
Cheddar Herb Baked Apples – JJ Begonia
Creamy Chive Potatoes – Annie’s Eats
Drunken Cranberry Sauce – The Speckled Palate
Hot Butter Bean Salad with Lemon – BBC Good Food
Kale Salad with Lemon, Almonds, and Pecorino – Heather Christo
Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Caramelized Onion, Brie, and Sage – Recipe Girl
Roasted Cauliflower with Lemon Parsley Dressing – Epicurious

Caramel Apple Cake – Pinch of Yum
Gingerbread Coffee Cake with Ginger Cream – Dine & Dish
Pumpkin Bread Pudding with Dulce de Leche – Martha Stewart


Homemade Sweet Treats, Savory Bites + Spirits

Every year I plan on making some sort of homemade goodies for friends and family who aren’t quite of full-on gift giving caliber, just a little something to say I appreciate you. And every year  December goes by way too quickly and my good intentions are dashed. As of now I still have a few weeks to make it happen this holiday and my fingers are crossed! I’ve narrowed it down to these sweet treats, savory bites, and spirits that can be packaged up all nice like and handed out.



ROW 1: Candied Grapefruit Zest – Blogging Over Thyme // Chocolate Caramel Truffles – Donna Hay // Chocolate Truffles – Maldon Sea Salt Company    ROW 2: Cinnamon Pecan Brittle – Elana’s Pantry // Honey Chai Roasted Almonds – Joy the Baker // Hot Cocoa Popcorn – Shutterbean    ROW 3: Peanut Butter Fudge – Donna Hay // Peanut Butter Pretzel Candy – Martha Stewart Living    ROW 4: Pumpkin Spice Glazed Almonds – delicious by dre // Salted Maple Honeycomb Candy – Food52 // S’mores Mini Dippers – Kevin & Amandas Recipes    ROW 5: Spiced Chai Honey Roasted Cashews – Leaf Parade // Spiced Holiday Pralines – The New York Times // Torrone – Food52



ROW 1: Apple Cider & Cheddar Soft Pretzels – Wallflower Girl // Black Tea Mini Crackers – Gourmet Persuasian // Cheddar and Asiago Poppyseed Crackers – PDXfoodlove    ROW 2: Chex Party Mix – raisin&fig // Crispy Parmesan Wasabi Soybeans – Brooklyn Farm Girl // Curry-Lime Roasted Peanuts – So hungry i could blog    ROW 3: Five Spice Maple Pumpkin Seeds – GI 365 // Fried Herbed Almonds – Cook Like a Champion    ROW 4: Herb Roasted Almonds – a house in the hills // Oven Dried Cranberry and Orange Peel Salt – The Chef’s Wife // Roasted Potato Chips – Mia Loves Pretty    ROW 5: Rosemary Garlic Popcorn – My Food Diary // Salt and Pepper Bagel Chips – plentytude // Salt Roasted Chestnuts – my blue&white kitchen



ROW 1: Cranberry Vanilla Vodka – Baking Bites // Bloody Mary Gift Set – almost makes perfect // Ginger Citrus Infused Rum – Vegetarian Ventures    ROW 2: Ginger Beer – Beantown Baker // Cocktail Bitters – How Sweet It Is // Sweet and Sour Mix – She Knows    ROW 3: Irish Cream – Design*Sponge // Kahlua – Liv Life    ROW 4: Limoncello – Desserts With Benefits // Amaretto – cooking ala mel // Peppermint Schnapps – The Boys Club    ROW 5: Pomegranate Tequila – Family Spice // Spiced Rum – One Martini at a Time // Spiced Pear Vodka – One Martini at a Time


Alcoholidays 2013

Happy Alcoholidays! Whether it’s for hostess duties, a little stress relief, or a Wednesday night in front o the fire we’ve got you covered this holiday season. Fruity, creamy, warm, fizzy? Yup, yup, yup, and yup. Forty-eight concoctions for you to test, tweak, and savor. (Two a day December 21st through the 24th if you’re the goal-oriented type.)



Creamy Peppermint Punch – Celebrate // Apple Cider Sangria – Glitter Guide // Fig Thyme – Honestly Yum // Valencia Orange Bourbon Apple Cider – Daily Squeeze // Honey Beer Winter Warmer – Smart Cookie // Vanilla, Pear, and Vodka Cocktail – two tarts // Mulled Wine – Life Tastes Like Food // Cardamom Rose Cocktail – Design*Sponge



Pumpkin Pie Sparkling Sgroppino – Glitter Guide // St Germain and Gin Euphoria – yumsugar // Toasted Almond – freutcake // Cranberry Old Fashioned – The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen // Apple Pie Cocktail with Cinnamon Meringue – Design*Sponge // Scotchsicle – yumsugar // Cranberry Tangerine Negroni – Healthy Seasonal Recipes // Mulled Pineapple Cocktail – Kitchenette



Fresh Cranberry Ginger Vanilla Margaritas – How Sweet It Is // Spiced Pumpkin Shrub – Swooned // Creme Brulee Cocktail – Lara Ferroni // Cranberry Mint Cocktail – Pink Patisserie // Rosemary Ginger Orange Holiday Punch – One Kings Lane  // Bourbon Cashmere – Good Eats // Warm Egg Nog – Food52 // Apple and Pear White Sangria – love grows wild



The Cozy Friar – Daydream Desserts // Salted Caramel Pear Cocktail – Swooned // The Normandy – yumsugar // Black Currant Cosmopolitan – The SoHo // Cranberry Margarita – Channeling Contessa // Pomegranate Ginger Fizz – Will Cook For Friends // Autumn Punch – SCOUT blog // Pear and Ginger-Sage Cocktail – A Cozy Kitchen



Pumpkin Mojito – Hostess With the Mostess // Cherry Bounce – Anthro Blog // Pisco Punch – Oh So Beautiful Paper // Sage Ginger Prosecco Cocktails – Front & Main // Cranberry Sangria – What’s Gaby Cooking // Spiced Persimmon Old Fashioned – Aida Mollenkamp // Salty Maple Buttered Cider – Serious Eats // Champagne Holiday Punch – Food & Wine



Cider Rum Punch – Emmadime // Clementine Bourbon Spritzer – The Boys Club // Honeycrisp Apple Daiquiri – Daydreamer Desserts // Rosemary Infused Holiday Cocktail – The Flair Exchange // The Earl Grey Whiskey Cider – With Food + Love // Persimmon Ginger Fizz – Unruly Things // The Classic Whiskey Smash – The Vivant // Maple Cranberry Bourbon Martini – Family Fresh Cooking


My (Imaginary) Thanksgiving 2013

Thanksgiving 13-Header-Design Crush


I’m a planner by nature. As a 10 year old I drew floor plans for fun and throughout school rewrote notes to relax. NERD ALERT! Now I love that planning is a part of running Design Crush, and there’s not much I love more than planning a good dinner party – real or imagined! (You can see Thanksgiving 2012 right here.)














Pomegranate + Blackberry Lemondrop
Spiced Amaretto Apple Cider Kiss
Satsuma and Pomegranate Campari

Oven Baked Camembert with Honey Roasted Figs
Zucchini Chips
Sweet Onion Crack Dip

Colossal Golden Wishbone
DIY Laurel Wreath
Mini Brass Square Candle Houses
Gold Glitter Garland
Solid Brass Coasters
Thanksgiving Banner

Castle Peak Dinnerware
Arrow & Adobe Linen Napkins
Aueux Carving Set
Enchanted Ikat Table Runner
French Paddle
Graphic Pitcher
Industrial Inspired Metal Candle Holders
Mercury Glass Taper Holders
Metallic Print Glassware Set
Rose Gold Flatware
Rose Gold Salad Set
DIY Rosemary Wreath Place Cards

Acorn Squash and Pancetta Soup
Autumn Arugula Salad
Caramelized Coconut Butter Apples
Caramelized Sweet Potatoes
Citrus and Herb Roasted Turkey
Herbed Bread and Cherry Cranberry Stuffing
Honey Maple Beer Bread
Honey Mustard Brussels Sprouts Slaw
Pumpkin Sage Polenta

Greek Style Pumpkin Pie
Honey & Whiskey Apple Tarts
Maple Pudding Cakes


Fruity Balsamic Vodka Cocktails

When I was visiting Olive & Co. last week and sampling way too many balsamics (hello, heartburn!), one of the brilliant employees mentioned that she likes to put a little of their strawberry balsamic vinegar into her son’s water to make him drink more. Which obviously led to us talking about cocktails and how wouldn’t it be equally amazing to add a little to our vodka. Which got me thinking and concocting. (If these are slightly too tart for you, consider adding half an ounce of simple syrup.)


Balsamic Cocktails-4Balsamic Cocktails-3

Strawberry Balsamic Vodka Cocktail

• 1 oz. vodka
• 1 oz. quality strawberry balsamic vinegar
• 2 oz. soda water or ginger ale
• ice
• strawberries

Combine vodka, strawberry balsamic, soda water or ginger ale, and ice in cocktail shaker. Shake it up good. Pour into tumbler and garnish with strawberries, whole or sliced. (Or make it a virgin by eliminating the vodka!)


Balsamic Cocktails-2

Balsamic Cocktails-1

Grapefruit Balsamic Vodka Cocktail

• 1 oz. vodka
• 1 oz. quality grapefruit white balsamic vinegar
• 2 oz. soda water or tonic
• ice
• grapefruit

Combine vodka, grapefruit white balsamic, soda water or tonic, and ice in cocktail shaker. Shake it up good. Pour into tumbler and garnish with a slice or wedge of ruby red grapefruit. (Or make it a virgin by eliminating the vodka!)


Popsicles + Poptails ’13

Our summer popsicle and poptail roundup is sort of legendary. Each year without fail it ends up being one of the highest viewed posts, and we love that because who doesn’t love popsicles?!? This year we’ve rounded up 54 of the tastiest frozen treats on a stick you’ve ever seen. Some are simple, some are definitely culinary experiences, and others are adults only. Hope you enjoy! (Psst… you can check out past years pops here, here, and here.)


Apple Cider and Rosemary Ice Pops – The Bitten Word // Banana and Cashew Cream Ice Pops – Souvlaki For the Soul // Bittersweet Chocolate Popsicles – The Conscious Kitchen // Blackberry Lime Cheesecake Popsicles – Simple Bites // Blackberry Peach Colada Popsicles – My Invisible Crown // Blackberry Tie-Dye Pops – Martha Stewart Food // Blood Orange Margarita Ice Blocks with Lime Salt – the food dept. // Blueberry + Granola Breakfast Popsicles – The Frosted Vegan



Boozy Lime, Honey & Lemongrass Popsicles – Adventures in Cooking // Champagne & Raspberry Popsicles – Princess Misia // Cherry-Limeade Popsicles – Parade // Chocolate + Vanilla Swirled Pudding Pops – Spiced // Chocolate Cheesecake Popsicles – Twigg studios // Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Popsicles – All Day I Dream About Food // Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cheesecake Popsicles – Food Doodles // Chocolate Stout Cheesecake Fudgesicle – The Beeroness



Citrus Juice Popsicles – The View From Great Island // Cocktail Freezer Pops – Brit + Co. // Coconut Cream Ice Pops – Marriage and Laughter // Coconut Lime Thai Chili Popsicles – Pickles & Honey // Cookies and Cream Popsicles – Just Baked // Creamy Lemonade Pops – Dine & Dish // Cucumber, Apple, Mint & Lime Pop with Pimm’s – The Design Files // Dulce de Leche Lemon Popsicles – Fit, Fun & Delish



Fig, Vanilla, and Sour Cream Popsicles – Bay Area Bites // Ginger Beer Popsicles – University Foodie // Homemade Creamsicles – A Beautiful Mess // Hot Chocolate On a Stick – More Design Please // Hot Cocoa Popsicles – Pastry Affair // Lemon Blueberry Popsicles – chocolate & carrots // Mango & Salted Coconut Popsicles with Crushed Peanuts – The Design Files // Mango Lassi Popsicle – Cooking Stoned



Mango Lime Pops – Love and Lemons // Maple Brown Derby Cocktail Pops – Hungry Girl or Vida // Mint Chocolate Cheesecake Popsicles – Good Life Eats // Orange Ginger Popsicles – Jowlicious // Peanut Butter Banana Pops – Pass the Sushi // Pimm’s Cup Popsicles (Pimmsicles) – The Tiffin Box // Raspberry and Kumquat Caipirinha Popsicle – Endless Simmer // Raspberry and Mascarpone Cheesecake Popsicles – Blueberry Kitchen



Raspberry Prosecco Popsicles – freutcake // Rice Pudding Ice Pops – Saveur // Riesling-Pear Pops – Food & Wine // Roasted Balsamic Strawberries with Mascarpone Cream Pop – The Design Files // Roasted Strawberry, Coconut & Lime Ice Pops – Two Loves Studio // Strawberry Lime Yogurt Popsicles – Elephantine // Strawberry Shortcake Greek Yogurt Popsicles – The Kitchen Paper // Strawberry-Lime Popsicles with Herbs (Mint + Basil) – chattavore



Strawberry, Mascarpone and Vodka Popsicles – Blueberry Kitchen // Sweet and Salty Celery Popsicles – Cooking Stoned // Thai Iced Tea Popsicles – The View From Great Island // Vietnamese Coffee Popsicles – A Spicy Perspective // Watermelon Creamsicle – Hippo Flambé // Watermelon Mojito Pops – Roost // White and Black Russian Poptails – Endless Simmer // White Peach, Nectarine and Rose Water Creamsicles – Pink Patisserie

All photos copyright of their respective sites unless otherwise noted.


24 Summer Sippers



Blackberry Rum Shrub – Saveur // Blood Orange and Thyme Paloma – Aida Mollenkamp // Grapefruit Moon – Fake Food Free // Lavender Collins – YumSugar // Whiskey Lemonade with Honey – A Beautiful Mess // Muddled Blackberry Mint Julep – Turntable Kitchen



Pimm’s Cup with Ginger Ale – Martha Stewart // Rainier Cherry Muddler – Sprouted Kitchen // Rhubarb Sour – The Boys Club // Strawberry Fizzy – Mighty Girl // The Spring Fling – The View From Great Island // Spring Thyme – The Boys Club



Watermelon Margaritas – Martha Stewart // Blackberry Moscow Mule – Pixelated Crumb // Fresh Strawberry & Lime Tom Collins – Cookin’ Canuck // Lemon, Thyme & Gin Spritzer – Sweetsonian // Orange basil Mojitos – Dine and Dish // Honeydew and Pear Sangria – Bakers Royale



Pineapple Mint Prosecco Cocktail – Food Fashion and Fun // Rhubarb Vanilla Fizz – Limn & Lovely // Spiked Cherry Lemonade – Sweet Paul // Tequila Mint Limeade – New South Food Co. // Vanilla Pomegranate Mojito – Noshing with the Nolands // Strawberry Grapefruit Smash – Sprouted Kitchen

All photos copyright of their respective sites.


An Easter Lunch













Grilled Corn Crema Mexicana Cilantro Crostini – Epicurious
Raspberry Canapes with Basil and Balsamic Vinegar – Cook the Story
Salt + Vinegar Sweet Potato Chips – Undressed Skeleton


Sgroppino – Saveur
Pear Rum Blush – Eat Boutique
Meyer Lemon Sour – Honestly YUM


Tinted Base Tumbler Set – Anthropologie
DIY Ombre Napkins – Once Wed
Vermelho Dinnerware – Anthropologie
DIY Washi Tablecloth – Style Unveiled
DIY Tissue Decal Candles – A Subtle Revelry
DIY Bird Nests – Home Made Simple
Tulips – Blossom Boutique Flowers
Bitty Black Bunny Treat Bags – Mer Mag
DIY Origami Bunnies – How About Orange


Kale and Fig Salad – Pure and Simple
Risoni Tomato and Bean Salad – At Down Under
Roasted Polenta-Crusted Potatoes – Simple Bites
Zucchini Ribbon Salad – Proud Italian Cook
Wild Rice Mushroom Pilaf – Real Simple
Broiled Spicy Brown Sugar Salmon – How Sweet It Is


Speckled Egg Cake Bites – The Cake Girls
Easter Bunny Sugar Cookies – Indulgy
Speckled Egg Cake – The Cake Blog


Vanilla Rum Custard – Saveur
Brown Sugar Banana Parfaits – Bon Appetit
Raspberry, Pistachio + Rose Cake – The Wild Flour Bakery


All photos copyright of their respective sites unless otherwise noted.


Gone Green


ROW 1: Leprechaun Mojito // Baileys Irish Cream Cookies // Cucumber Margarita    ROW 2: Homemade Irish Cream Liqueur // Boozy Shamrock Shakes // Chocolate Guinness Cake with Whiskey Caramel    ROW 3: 3D Shamrocks // DIY Shamrock Honeycombs    ROW 4: Drunken Grasshopper Fudge // Easy Corned Beef and Cabbage // Green Sangria    ROW 5: Irish Soda Bread // Garden Path Wrap // Printable DIY Rainbow Boxes    ROW 6: DIY Shamrock Streamers // St. Patrick’s Day Cups // Shamrock Wreath


You Should Totally: Get a Bar Cart + Make a Grapefruit Gin Sour



A bar cart is something that I’ve wanted for a really long time. I’ve always had dreams of playing the hostess, guests walking in my front door and me smoothly offering them a signature drink. The Leon Iron and Mirror Bar Cart from Arteriors Home is a nice match for the mid-century decor I already have in my home. It’s also nice and narrow, really good for small spaces. And do you spy those antiqued mirror shelves? So good mixed with the industrial iron frame.




So, what goes into putting together a great bar cart? Start with the basic liquors – vodka, whisky, rum, gin – as well as any you use regularly. For me those are tequila, Pimm’s, amaretto, and Cointreau. The middle shelf of this particular bar cart is extra tall and nice for bottles of unusual sizes. But since I don’t have any of those at the moment I had a piece of lumber cut to size, then stained and sealed it to make extra space for the hammered metal bowl I use for an ice bowl by laying it across the end bars. Now it’s easy to leverage the extra vertical space and easy to remove when needed!




Next comes the essential pieces of barware. Most importantly a cocktail shaker, jigger, and some varied glassware. The types I use most are tumblers, collins glasses, and shot glasses. Again, it’s all about making the pieces you find yourself using most easy to access. I also like to keep some disposable coasters around for when there are more than four people and my every day ones are maxed out.

Now yes, I’m aware that not everyone drinks alcohol which is why I also like to add some sparkling waters to the mix. Add a few slices of citrus and it still feels special. Fun accessories like these short stubby paper straws and the (hidden) colored glass stirrers are also great to keep on hand.




You all know there’s absolutely no way I could talk all about bar carts and not give you a new cocktail to try! We’re heading into the last month of super cold weather, which means beating the winter blues and taking full advantage of the bounty of citrus are both of the utmost importance. This Grapefruit Gin Sour takes both things into account, which means you should make room in your weekend to try it out firsthand.




Grapefruit Gin Sour
serves 1

• 1 oz gin
• 2 oz fresh grapefruit juice (or go the easy route with bottled ruby red)
• .5 oz fresh lime juice
• .5 oz simple syrup

Fill a cocktail shaker about halfway with ice, then add the rest of the ingredients. Shake away for about 30 seconds, then strain into glass. Garnish with a slice of grapefruit or lime and enjoy! Sour, sweet, and full of vitamins which means it’s basically a health drink.


Disclaimer: My Leon Iron and Mirror Bar Cart from Arteriors Home was provided by Euro Style Lighting. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Design Crush going!