Posted on June 27, 2016

Infused Workshop Recap

PHOTOS BY JUSNA NINAH

Infused was such a blast and I had such a great time sharing my tips and tricks. Infused spirits are one of my go-to party tricks while entertaining. My philosophy for homemaking is that it should be simple but well done. As you will see from the recipes, you can pull together a great cocktail with minimal effort and ingredients that are easy to find. The possibilities are endless, but my two favorite flavors are ginger gin and hibiscus gin. During the workshop I shared my tips for beginner infusers, we made the hibiscus and ginger gin and then cocktails! Everyone had such great questions, which I captured below in the tips section.

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Infusion Tips

  • I prefer dried ingredients over fresh, because it’s so much easier to deal with. If you want to use fresh make sure that it is pesticide free,organic, and you wash it really well.
  • Don’t use flavored spirits and stick with a mid level quality spirit. Don’t use the high quality stuff that you can sip on, personally I think it would be a waste.
  • Make sure everything is super clean. Wash all utensils and container in the dishwasher or hand wash and sterilize in boiling water.
  • Amazon, Joann’s Fabrics, and Michaels are great places to source mason jars of all sizes. If you are going to display them in your home like I do, IKEA has beautiful glass containers that are a step up.
  • Have fun! Beginner infusions don’t have to be a perfect science. The ingredients you add are like salt, you can always add more if you aren’t achieving the level of flavor potency that you want.

Now on to the drinks!

Ginger Gin and Tonic Recipe

  • 2 shots of ginger gin
  • 1 shot of lime juice
  • 1 shot sage simple syrup
  • Tonic

Hibiscus Gin and Soda

  • 2 shots of hibiscus gin
  • 1 shot of lime juice
  • 1 shot of sage simple syrup
  • Soda water

Pour the gin, juice, and simple mixture over ice half way up your glass and top it off tonic. Enjoy.

So delicious and refreshing! Make sure that you do not miss out on upcoming events by signing up for the newsletter.

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Posted on June 15, 2016

How to Naturally Whiten Your Teeth

Having good teeth was always something that my mother stressed when we were young. It’s one of those things that she did not have until she was an adult and as kids she wanted us to have. I refused braces, because I didn’t think I needed them, but white teeth?! Sign me up. Back in the day we simply used to dunk our tooth brushes into a box of baking soda and call it a day. Now there are so many options, but with my sensitive gums I keep going back to old faithful. In addition to baking soda I’ve added activated charcoal to the mix. If you want, you can use them separately but I’ve found that the mix works wonders on my teeth and is a bit less harsh than using baking soda alone.

Activated charcoal helps whiten teeth while promoting good oral health by changing the pH balance in the mouth, helping prevent cavities, bad breath and gum disease. Baking soda has a mild abrasive action that helps to remove plaque and polish, clean, and deodorize your teeth.

I keep my mixture in a round shallow tin can, because it’s easy to use. First I wet my toothbrush, place my toothpaste on the brush, and then dip the brush into the mixture. You do not need a ton.

Here are a few tips for using this mixture:

  • Only use 3-4 times per week, especially if you have sensitive teeth or gums
  • Protect your bathroom surfaces, activated charcoal can be a pain to clean up so be careful
  • Floss! The activated charcoal will highlight all the nasty build up on and between your teeth

 

Posted on June 6, 2016

Grilled Summer Salad

 

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Most salads are pretty lame. Lettuce, cucumber, tomato, blah, blah…😴. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind a simple salad but Summer is the perfect time to spice them up with grilled veggies. Grilling makes everything better. If you don’t have an outside grill, get yourself a cast iron stovetop grill pan for similar results! You can also roast the veggies.

What you’ll need

  • 1 green squash
  • 1 yellow squash
  • 1 onion
  • 1 each red, yellow, orange pepper
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Sunflower or flax seeds
  • Arugula
  • Vinaigrette

Cut the squash in thick slices lengthwise, the onions in fat rings, and the pepper in large quarters. Everything should be fairly large so the pieces do not fall in the grill.

Cover all the veggies liberally with olive oil, season with salt, and pepper and get grillin’.

Let the veggies cool down a bit and cut them into bite size pieces.

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In a bowl toss the grilled veggies, fresh arugula, beans, and seeds. For a salad like this you want a very simple dressing. The grilled veggies  are the star of the show. I used nostrum cocktail shrub, olive oil, salt, pepper to make vinaigrette. You can use olive oil, balsamic or red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper. And voilà you have a magical summer salad.

Posted on May 19, 2016

HOSPITALITY BY BROWNBELLE: INFUSED

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Using infused spirits is one of my favorite ways to enhance a cocktail. During the workshop we will make two of my favorite flavors, hibiscus and ginger gin. In addition learn how to make a tasty drink with your infused liquor.

All supplies will be provided with RSVP. Choose one of the two flavors to make and take home. Join me for a fun night of cocktails and infusions!

Posted on April 20, 2016

How to Make Onion Jam – The Condiment You Never Knew You Needed

“Does that say onion and oxtail marmalade?!!!” Yes bitch. Onion and oxtail marmalade!

This gem is on the dinner menu at Mulebone. Not alone of course, but on the Mulebone burger. The only thing that I love more than sweet, is sweet and savory together. That day at Mulebone we also ordered the smoked beet salad. Smokey, sweet, salty, crunchy, smooth…all in play with this meal. While I wish the salad had more candied nuts (I have a thing about having a bit of everything in each bite), both were spectacular. You need to try this. Why? Because it makes everything better! My favorite way to eat it so far is on my now next level avocado toast. So damn good.

  
What You’ll Need 

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (or whatever oil/butter you have in the house)
  • 6 large white onions sliced
  • 2 teaspoons mustard seed
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 sprig of rosemary, thyme, sage, and oregano

This recipe made about 6 8oz mason jars, feel free to cut it down. 

Add the coconut oil to a sturdy deep pot and heat to medium/hot.

Wrap the herbs in a bundle with kitchen twine. If you don’t have the twine no worries you’ll just have to fish it out later.

Add the onions, mustard seed, brown sugar, and vinegar. Stir to combine, then cover the pot, lower the heat and allow the mixture to cook undisturbed for 15 or 20 minutes.

Remove the top, stir again and then partly cover the pot. Allow the mixture to cook until most of the liquid is gone and the onions have achieved a dark brown jamminess, approximately 60 to 70 minutes.

Taste the jam, and add salt and pepper and sugar if you’d like it to be sweeter. It’s done when the onions no longer have a hard crunch.

Remove mixture from heat, and allow to cool slightly. Spoon the jam into jar(s) or bowl, then allow to cool completely. Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Put it on everything. Thank me later.

Posted on April 12, 2016

6 Steps To Help Turn Around a Shitty Day

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It happens to all of us. You wake up and you feel like 💩. I used to roll my eyes when I saw all the self help memes about happiness being a choice… like stfu. But I truly believe that it is barring extraneous circumstances. There are times when you need to be present in your whatever it is that you are feeling. And there is a lot of pressure the get over things and count your blessings, blah blah blah. While this is very true sometimes it’s not easy to simply decide and that’s OK. Now, if this in not one of those situations then here are my tips for turning your day around.

Snap Story:

Step 1: Eat

Have a healthy snack. Emphasis on healthy, do not stress eat because that will make you feel worse.

Step 2: Hydrate

Drink lots of water, NOT coffee or another caffeinated beverage.

Step 3: Get Moving

Go outside and take a brief walk if you can to get the blood flowing. If not walk about the office or go in the bathroom and do some jumping jacks and power pose.

Step 4: Smile

You might look crazy but it’ll make you feel way better.

Step 5: Dance Party

I have several amazing playlist on my person at all times. Play some fun and maybe nostalgic music to a makes you feel happy. Music always transcends for me.

Step 6: Give Thanks

Get out of your own head and show some gratitude. Send someone who you are thankful for a nice text, FB message or call if you have time. It’ll make them happy and that will most definitely rub off on you.

Bonus: Make step six part of your bedtime or wake up routine. It is the fastest way to turn things around for me. If you journal write it down. If not start journaling, its good for you!

What do you do to cheer yourself up?

Posted on March 31, 2016

The Black Love Experience Curators Dinner Party @ Nubian Hueman

In my recent Simone Digital article I talked about challenging myself (read: more like doing the most). And this dinner was no different. It was really a pleasure to work with Anika, the owner of Nubian Hueman, and build the concept and menu for this event!

The Concept

Vibrant, elegant, and communal. The dinner was held in honor of all the artists and curators who helped to bring together the Black Love Experience at the Anacostia Art Center. Not only to thank them, but to bring them together. In my mind a family style dinner was the way to go. I wanted it to be dimly lit, bright in color, and sexy. Deciding how you want your guest to feel during and after your dinner is a great place to start. That will help you narrow down lighting options and color palette. Read more

Posted on November 28, 2015

Holiday & Dinner Wine Guide

Ian has ruined me! Feeding me all types of wine and champ that I can’t afford and now my bougie taste buds can’t enjoy the cheap stuff like I used to. Just for you I went through the ruling process of tasting all these delicious wines and discussing flavor profiles, food pairings, wine tips and much more with Ian.

Read more

Posted on November 5, 2015

Chocolate Bourbon Hot Chocolate

I tried. I really did. I do not buy any junk food to keep in my house, because I will EAT IT ALL, most likely in one sitting. I know I’m a freak of nature. A few nights ago I had a very strong craving for something sweet. Me being who I am, I destroyed my cabinets searching for something to munch on. I had a half bag of semi sweet chocolate chips. Das it! I decided against eating them out the bag and this recipe was born!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 12 ounces goats milk 
  • 4 ounces half and half or heavy cream 
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder 
  • 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips 
  • 1 shot of chocolate bourbon 
  • Marshmallows 

Heat the milk and cream, don’t boil it! Add the cocoa powder and mix until combined. Add half the chocolate chips and stir until fully melted and incorporated. Taste for sweetness/chocolatetiness and add the rest of the chocolate chips. Stir until everything is combined. At this point add sugar if you want it to be sweeter. Pour it up, pour it up and you’re done!

OR you can add a shot of bourbon or marshmallow rum. And of course you have to add marshmallows on top! So good.

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