I've been making my own body scrubs for years now. Its such an important part of my skincare routine and I knew it would be a really fun workshop at our Holiday Jam because they make great gifts for friends and family or for yourself. One thing that I noticed during this workshop is that folks wanted to know what my exact recipe is. The thing is I don't have one. I have the basics down but each time I make it a little bit different.Read More
Next week I’m revealing some of the tasty things that I’ve been working on. I’m developing a line of products centered on entertaining at home and I’d love for you to try everything. This event will have the same vibrant vibes, delicious boozy cocktails, and tasty food as my other events.Read More
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.
- 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
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.
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!
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.
When I began concepting, I became obsessed with matte black plates for the table. I’m pretty obsessed with the matte black plate set that we ended up using from Ikea. They are super elegant and a deviation from most of the table decor that I’ve seen on the interwebs. They also felt like the right mix of formality and familiarity for this particular event. From there I brought in woven place mats also from Ikea to bring in a natural element to the table. Like layering flavor in food, it’s important to layer when it comes to table decor. I focused mostly on texture and color for this design.
For the table instead of flowers I used fresh fruit in vibrant colors to add an additional layer of color and texture. This is a great option if you do not have budget for fresh flowers. And I have to have some foliage on the table. Eucalyptus around the center of the table added the greenery that I needed and also hid the battery pack for the lights. I added the lights to bring a little more drama and add literal and figurative brightness.
I borrowed the serving dishes from a friend (thanks Avis!) who procured them from all over the world. Added a few tea lights, because everything looks better candle lit.
I had lots of ideas, but function was definitely something that I considered because I knew that what I cooked in my home needed to be transported to the venue, heated up there (without overcooking), and was going to be passed around the table family style. I went very rustic, herby, comforting, and bright. (Per the usual)
- Herb Roasted Lemon Chicken
- Slow Roasted Almond & Herb Crusted Salmon - recipe soon come
- Creamy Sweet Potato Rice
- Roasted Root Veggies w/ Balsamic Kale
- Hazelnut Pear Winter Salad
Bourbon Pears & Vanilla Ice Cream - recipe soon come
The Drank! & Cocktail Hour Snacks
Recently I had a drink with gin that was infused with earl grey tea and it felt like it was good for me. It felt like I should be drinking more than one. That is the feeling that I was going for with this drink. Since the food was herby I wanted to carry that into the drink. You can always count on me for a number of things. At the top of the list is getting folk drunk! We also had red and white wine.
I pulled together fruit (apple, pear, grapes), nuts, almonds and cheese (brie and champagne cheddar) for the cocktail hour. Cocktail hour is a good look because it gives the host time to finish things up and gives late guests time arrive before dinner. I find that brie, some kind of cheddar, and goat or blue cheese are the best options for a larger group where you are unsure of everyones taste.
Signature Cocktail: Winter Love - Recipe Soon Come
- Cranberry Purée
- Thyme Simple Syrup
- Fresh Ginger Juice
So it’s your first time hosting Thanksgiving at your place. Maybe it’s just friends, your significant other or even your family coming to town, either way, it doesn’t have to be stressful. Check out these five simple steps to killin’ it this turkey day.
1. Plan ahead
Write everything down, I mean everything! Make a detailed list of the ingredients you will need and then do some digging to see what you may already have at home. Don’t forget about cookware, do you have the right pots and pans? What about serving dishes, folks and knives? Also don’t forget about the aftermath, do you have foil and plastic wrap?
2. Don’t try to do everything yourself
Thanksgiving is all about the potluck! Let people know what you are making and ask them to fill in any gaps. What you should do is, make the staples. Shoot for the main meat dish (turkey, lamb, etc.), stuffing, and one or two big sides, think macaroni and cheese or green beans. Along with place settings, cleaning your place and other prep, you’ll have your hands full.
3. Ask an expert
If there was ever a time to go to specialty and artisan shops and get those fancy things you’ve always had your eye on, this is it! You’re having company, treat them to all of your favorite things and really enhance your meal and leave a lasting impression. Get the right cut of meat, better quality cheese and an excellent wine that will enhance a simple dish.
4. Skip dessert
Buy dessert. Baking is a whole other beast to tame. Find a great bakery or a baking inclined guest and have them take the lead on dessert, a pie or two should do the trick.
Go the extra mile to impress your guests and buy extra Tupperware for them to take leftovers home. No one wants collard greens juice all over their car seat, so stop by the dollar store and pick up extra Tupperware its cheap, easy and makes you look pretty brilliant.
If you have questions about what you should cook for any occasion let me know! Leave a comment below or shoot me an email.
Brownbelle’s Thanksgiving Menu
- Turkey Roulade
- Cast Iron Cornbread
- Holiday Spiced Sangria
- Sage Sweet Mashed Potatoes