Category Archives: Food & Drink

Food & Drink

Spicy Carrot Tomato Gazpacho

February 24, 2017

I’ve been trying really hard to eat healthy since the beginning of this year. I finished a Whole 30 and I’m trying really hard to continue healthy. But, with a trip to NYC, that involved a lot of carbs, and family visiting, I’ve struggled. Life is like that I think, ups and downs and a lot of playing catch up.

Right now (after finishing a bowl of captain crunch), I’m back to eating clean and healthy. And this Spicy Carrot Tomato Gazpacho is far from boring. Food is so much more then just fuel for me, it has to taste good and be interesting. As the days get warmer, this easy cold soup will be a great lunch for me.

I photographed these as little individual appetizers. Now I need to host a party and serve this refreshing starter. Who wants to come?

Spicy Carrot Tomato Gazpacho

A couple months ago I shared a post about how my job is so much more then just Oleander + Palm. And one of the things I do is create, style and photograph recipes. This is one of those recipes. I created this easy soup with Natalie’s Orchid Island Juice Co (it’s really the best juice you guys). This is a really fun part of my job. It stretches my creatively and I really have grown to love food photography.

You can get the recipe HERE! Oh and there are a lot of great drink recipes over there as well, be sure to spend a little time checking out some of the yummy cocktails and mocktails.

Spicy Carrot Tomato Gazpacho Spicy Carrot Tomato Gazpacho

Have a great weekend friends. I’m excited to be home for a change. It sounds good to have a couple days to catch up around here.


Food & Drink / Travel

What to Eat in New York City – (Vacation like a Blogger)

February 17, 2017

The Best NYC Eats

You guys I LOVE New York City! If you follow me on Instagram, you know that my husband and I got away last week for a few days and had the BEST time in NYC. And as any good blogger would, I shared lots of food and coffee pictures on instagram.

One of the most important parts of vacation is what I eat. I spend many hours each week shopping for and preparing meals for my family. So, when I’m exploring a new place, I want to eat interesting, delicious, new things (that I don’t have to cook). So, I’ve put together an Oleander + Palm What to eat in New York City guide. I’m sure there are a ton of “Best NYC Restaurant” lists and posts out there. But, when I searched, all that came up were either 1) way out of my budget or 2) just too predictable or touristy. So, my husband and I made it our J-O-B to find the yummiest, not-so-pricey, food in New York City. Now, we are not New York City experts (I’ve only been a total of 5 times) and have never lived there, but I think our list will definitely not disappoint you. Oh and I should mention that we walked or rode the subway everywhere, so these we are easy places to get to.

As Californians, Mexican food was definitely not on our radar (we’ve got the good stuff here). We were looking for fun eats that can’t be found in Bakersfield. We also are pretty thrifty and love to live big without spending a lot of coins. So, most of our meals and treats were easy on the wallet.

Vanessa’s Dumplings

We found this place by accident, but totally lucked out. And we both ate for under $11 total!!! That’s a huge win in NYC. You have to order the Honey Ginger Hot Tea, it has big chunks of spicy ginger in it. All of the dumplings were super fresh, but the spicy fried dumplings were our favorites.

Pastrami Queen

If there is a deli sandwich to be had, I always go for the pastrami or a reuben. So, I’ve had quite a few in my lifetime. I’m telling you that this was the best pastrami I have ever had. So ya, order the pastrami for sure, but the matze ball soup was really good on a cold day.

Cafe Henrie

Hip and totally trendy with some slightly inappropriate art (that’s the hip mom in me talking). Not sure if I’d want my teenagers to see the neon light near the bathrooms. I know, now you want to go see it. But, the food – I’m pretty sure everything here is good. I went for the instagram happy food like the Mr. Pink Bowl (which has beets and I LOVE beets) and the acai bowl. I also had a cardamom coffee with cream, and it was really yummy. If you are there for the instagram images, be sure to wait for a table near the windows. The back of the restaurant got a little dark. But, those pink tables by the window were perfection.

What to eat in NYC

Yemen Cafe

This is a must for us when we are in NYC and yes, we ate there twice in the 4 days that we were there. So, we did live in Yemen for two years, so this place feels familiar and brings back lots of memories. But, really, if you like unusual food, then you need to try Yemeni food, because it’s really yummy and super unique. Be sure to order salta or fahsa, it comes to the table bubbling in a stone dish. These are meat and veggie stews that you eat with warm, fresh flat bread. And definitely order the hot tea with milk, it’s bottomless and so delicious.

The best New York City food.


If you are in need of a late night sweet treat, a lot of their locations are open till 11 pm. Oh ya, we were making an ice cream and cookie run around 10:30 pm one night. Try any soft serve they have on tap. We’ve had the cream cheese sage (at Momofukus) and the cereal milk soft serve with the crunchy cereal topping was so good.

What to eat while in New York City


Everything you eat here will be fantastic. But, we do have a few favorites. The Nutella Cafe is a must. They have crepes, pastries, gelato, and fancy coffees topped with mounds of molten Nutella. We also love the roasted meat sandwiches that are served in the back of the store. There is a rotisserie that roasts a couple different kinds of meat everyday. It’s sliced right in front of you and piled on a fresh crunchy roll and topped with a drizzle of olive oil, sea salt and pepper. My son, who is 13, had the sandwich about 4 years ago and still refers to it as the best thing he’s ever had to eat.

New York City's best food

Shake Shack

There is usually a very long line. But, if you are just in need of a sweet treat, there is a separate shorter line for ordering frozen custard and shakes. I always just stick with a scoop of the chocolate frozen custard, but I know their shakes are pretty much off-the-hook.

Brooklyn Bagel or Milk + Honey

When in NYC, bagels and cream cheese are a must. Milk + Honey was right around the corner from our hotel, so it was a super convenient breakfast on the go. We also stopped in at Brooklyn Bagel one morning. They had a huge selection of bagel and cream cheese flavors. I’m sure any bagel you have in NYC will be better than most, but these were two spots we really enjoyed.


I kind of feel like I’m a donut expert and these are the best donuts I’ve ever had. You guys, I’ve had Blue Star, Randy’s, Tim Hortons, Voodoo, you name it. Besides my mom’s homemade donuts, these are #1. The Passionfruit Cocoa Nib and the Lemon Poppy Seed are my faves and usually I’m a chocolate or coconut girl. They have a location in Manhattan, but the trip to their Brooklyn shop is worth it, that’s where they are made. So, get there early and be ready for a carb experience like no other.

What to eat in New York City


I’m not a cheesecake expert, but you should have a slice or two. We had cheesecake after seeing a broadway show at Juniors. It’s probably a bit of a tourist trap, but it’s right in the theater district and the cheesecake was pretty awesome.

Martha Stewart Cafe

If you walk The High Line, which I totally recommend, be sure to walk an extra block to Martha’s Cafe. I had to! I’ve seriously been a fan of all things Martha since 1996, so I had to go. And in 100% honesty, it was the best latte I had the whole trip.

What to eat in New York City


I think this was our most expensive meal of the entire trip (around $50) and I’m pretty sure it was worth every penny. And actually it counted for two meals because we ate Sunday brunch at Buvette. The pastries are to die for, perfect little croissants, almond brioche and madeleines. We ordered a Croque Monsieur with gruyere, ham and herb d’provence – it’s really just the fanciest grilled cheese you’ve ever had.

Now, it’s your turn. What do you recommend folks eat while in NYC? A recommendation from a real person is always the best so I’d like to know what awesome things you’ve eaten there.


Food & Drink

Chocolate Chipotle Shortbread Cookies

February 7, 2017

Chocolate Chipotle Shortbread Cookies

I’m such a fan of sweet and spicy and shortbread cookies are my go to. Chocolate and chipotle are a match made in heaven for me, so this recipe is on a regular rotation in my kitchen. I served these at last week’s workshop, and I’m pretty sure they were a hit. A good cup of coffee and a couple of these Chocolate Chipotle Shortbread Cookies, and I’m a happy girl.

I haven’t given Valentine’s day too much thought yet, but at least I’ve made some cute heart shaped cookies. To give these a pretty Valentine’s day vibe, I dipped them in pink royal icing. Check out this post for easy smooth royal icing tips and tricks.

Chocolate Chipotle Shortbread Cookies

Chocolate Chipotle Shortbread Cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2-3 tsp. chipotle powder
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg

With an electric mixer, beat the sugar and butter until smooth.  Add the egg and vanilla and beat well. In a bowl, combine all the dry ingredients – flour, cocoa, salt, cinnamon, chipotle powder. Mix the dry ingredients with a whisk to combine and remove any lumps. Add the dry ingredients to the sugar and butter mixture and mix until all ingredients are well incorporated.

Place the cookie dough in an airtight container and refrigerate for at least one hour. Roll out the dough to 1/4″ on a well floured surface or between two pieces of parchment paper. Cut into shapes and place on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake at 350 F for about 10 mins.

This recipe is modified from Martha Stewart’s Halloween Cookies.

Chocolate Chipotle Shortbread Cookies Chocolate Chipotle Shortbread Cookies Chocolate Chipotle Shortbread Cookies Chocolate Chipotle Shortbread Cookies Chocolate Chipotle Shortbread Cookies

Food & Drink

Pink Peppercorn Lemonade Mocktail

January 30, 2017

Pink Peppercorn Lemonade MocktailPink Peppercorn Lemonade Mocktail

The best way to chase away those Monday blues is with a Mocktail!  And I’ve got a really fun one for you. It’s not only the prettiest shade of pink, but it’s a very unique flavor that I’m sure you will love. Don’t worry, it’s not overly spicy.  It has just a tiny bit of heat, just enough for make it interesting.

Pink Peppercorn Lemonade

Start by making the pink peppercorn simple syrup.

Pink Peppercorn Simple Syrup

  • 1 cups sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp. pink peppercorns

In a small pot, combine the sugar, water and pink peppercorns. Bring to a boil and boil 2 minutes on high. Remove from the heat and allow the syrup to cool completely. Pour the syrup through a fine metal sieve to remove the peppercorns. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

Pink Lemonade

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup grenadine syrup

In a large pitcher combine all the ingredients. Mix well until all the sugar is dissolved.

  • club soda or sparkling water
  • lemon slices for garnish

In a glass filled with ice, add 3-4 tbsp. of pink peppercorn simple syrup. Add equal parts lemonade and club soda. Stir and garnish with a slice of lemon and a few whole peppercorns.

Pink Peppercorn Lemonade Mocktail

I served this with as a grown up cocktail this weekend at my latest workshop. A little gin is a fun way to spike this tasty drink.

Pink Peppercorn Lemonade Mocktail

Food & Drink

Milk Mocktails and Appetizers

December 19, 2016

AdvertisementMilk Mocktails and Appetizers Milk Mocktails and Appetizers

I’ve partnered with got milk? to share two new fun mocktail recipes with you today. It’s the season for entertaining, so why not try something new – Milk Mocktails are where it’s at. These really are fun for the whole family. For your next get together, I suggest skipping dinner and serve mocktails and appetizers. These recipes are jam packed with flavor.

Milk Mocktails and AppetizersMilk Mocktails and Appetizers


On the menu:

  • Earl Grey and Lavender Milk Steamers
  • Iced Gingerbread Milk
  • Mini Cranberry Baked Brie
  • Sage Shortbread Cookies and Wensleydale with Cranberries

Earl Grey Lavender Milk SteamersEarl Grey + Lavender Milk Steamers

Earl Grey and Lavender Milk Steamers

  • 2 earl grey tea bags
  • 1 tbsp dried lavender
  • 1tsp. vanilla
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • steamed whole milk

Bring the water to a boil. Add the tea bags and lavender, allow the it to steep for an hour. Strain the tea and lavender. In a small pot, bring steeped water and sugar to a boil. Boil for one minute. Remove from heat and cool completely.

In a mug combine 2 tbsp. of the syrup with a cup of steamed milk. If you don’t have a milk steam or frother, milk can simple be heated in pot to the point just before it boils.

Top each milk steamer with a sprinkling of dried lavender.

Milk Mocktails and Appetizers - Earl Grey Lavender Steamers and Mini Baked BriesMini Cranberry Baked Bries


I’ve never met a guest that didn’t love baked brie, and how can you resist then adorable mini versions. Warm Earl Grey and Lavender Milk Steamers served with a piping hot baked brie is the perfect combination to warm you from the inside out on a chilly winter evening.

Mini Cranberry Baked Brie

  • pre-made puff pastry
  • mini brie or a large brie cut into 2 inch cubes
  • cranberry sauce (or any other fruit preserve)
  • 1 egg

Cut the brie in half and spoon 1 tsp. cranberry sauce into the middle on the brie. Cut 5 inch. circles of puff pastry. Place the brie in the center of the pastry and wrap the pastry around the cheese. Beat the egg with a fork, using a pastry brush, brush a generous amount on the pastry to glue to edges together. Cut a small star shaped pieces of the the pastry and top each brie with a star. Brush the entire pastry wrapped brie with the egg wash. Bake at 400 F for about 18 mins. or until golden brown.

Mini Cranberry Baked BriesSavory Sage Shortbread Cookies


A savory sage shortbread is a surprising treat. Paired with Wensleydale Cheese with Cranberries, this pile of cookies and block of cheese was gone in no time. It’s a rich bite, so icy cold, spicy Gingerbread Milk is a perfect match.

Sage Shortbread Cookies

  • 1 cup butter (room temperature)
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh sage
  • a pinch of salt

With an electric mixer, beat the butter on high for a minute. Add the powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Add the flour and salt and beat again until smooth. Add the sage a mix until it is incorporated evenly.

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour. Roll out the dough to 1/4″ thickness on a well floured surface. Cut out 2 inch circles. Place the cookies on parchment lined baking sheet. Place the cookies in the freezer for at least 30 mins. Preheat the oven to 350 F, bake the cookies until just golden brown on the edges, about 12 mins.

Savory Sage Shortbread CookiesIced Gingerbread Milk Mocktails

Iced Gingerbread Milk

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2tsp. ginger
  • 1tsp. cinnamon
  • 2-3 tbsp. molasses
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. allspice
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves
  • whole milk
  • ice

In a pot, combine the first 8 ingredients, bring to a boil and cook for 4 mins on high.  Cool and store in an sealed jar or bottle. Keeps up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

In a glass filled with ice and cold milk, stir in 1-2 tbsp. gingerbread syrup.

Iced Gingerbread Milk MocktailIced Gingerbread Milk MocktailsMilk Mocktails and Appetizers

This post is sponsored by got milk? (Food Loves Milk!) Thanks for supporting the companies that help make this blog possible. 

Milk Mocktails and Appetizers

Food & Drink

Pineapple Kumquat Cardamom Marmalade in Pineapple Jars

December 6, 2016

pineapple kumquat cardamom marmalade

With the Holiday season here, I’m looking for some great hostess gifts to take to all the parties and events that there are to attend. I love taking something homemade, so this year, I’m making this Pineapple Kumquat Cardamom Marmalade. It might be the best preserves I’ve ever made. Or Kumquat tree is loaded with sweet, juicy fruit so I wanted to use them in a jam of some sort. This marmalade is definitely a twist on the traditional, with the taste of the tropics with sweet pineapple and a little spice with a healthy dose of freshly ground cardamom (my FAVORITE flavor!!!!!).

And to sweeten this gift a little more, I cut out cute little vinyl pineapples from Damask Love’s designs for the Cricut Gold Explore Machine for JoAnn Fabrics. This adorable modern pineapple is the perfect finishing touch for this homemade gift. Really, there’s no other label needed for these preserves. Whoever receives this marmalade is sure to remember the gift giver.

pineapple kumquat cardamom marmalade

You know I’m a huge fan of Cricut. It’s really the best crafting tool I own. I can give gifts a custom look with very little time or effort.

I cut this pineapple shape in both white and gold vinyl and using transfer tape, adhered them to the outside of the filled jars.

pineapple kumquat cardamom marmalade

Pineapple Kumquat Cardamom Marmalade

  • 20 oz. can of crushed pineapple
  • 2 cups of thinly sliced kumquats ( I used my mandolin slicer and then cut those slices in half)
  • 4 cups sugar
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1tbsp. freshly ground cardamom
  • 1 envelope liquid pectin

In a large heavy sauce pan, combine all the ingredients except the pectin. Stir to combine. Heat over high heat until the marmalade come to a rolling boil. Boil one minute and then add the liquid pectin. Bring back up to a rolling boil and boil for one more minute. Remove from the heat.

Pour the hot marmalade into prepared canning jars. Seal and process for at least 10 mins. in boiling water.

pineapple kumquat cardamom marmalade pineapple kumquat cardamom marmalade

Food & Drink

14 Mocktail Recipes for the Holidays

December 1, 2016

14 Mocktail Recipes for the Holidays

It’s the season for hosting parties and get-togethers. So, fancy drinks are a must. I’m a huge fan of the mocktail. It’s a fun way to play with flavors and make pretty drinks that the whole family can enjoy. Forget the 2-liter soda bottles, and upgrade your party beverages this year. I’ve got 14 fun mocktails for the holiday season.


Grapefruit + Tonic Mocktail // Cranberry Shirley Temple


Sparkling Vanilla Cider // Sparkling Nectarine Mint Lemonade


Kiwi Mojitos // Hot Almond-Citrus Punch


Candy Cane Italian Soda // Family Friendly Swedish Glogg


Pineapple Rosemerry Spritzer // Blackberry Ginger Cooler


Grapefruit Thyme Spritzer // Blueberry Bourbon Vanilla


Sparkling Apple Ginger Mocktail // Grapefruit Jalapeno Lime Mock Margarita

Cocktail drinkers don’t have to have all the fun. You can still play with a little mixology and create special drinks the whole family can enjoy. Or these recipes can be spiked for a more grown up version. Cheers friends!

14 Mocktail Recipes - fun drinks the whole family can enjoy.

Food & Drink

Host Friendsgiving with Easy, No-Fuss Recipes

November 9, 2016

I love Friendsgiving, it’s all the fun of Thanksgiving with a lot less pressure (and a lot less family dynamics – tee hee). It doesn’t have to be perfect or fancy, it’s a fun relaxed way to celebrate the friendships we are thankful for. This week, I threw a little Friendsgiving at the studio. I put together an easy-to-make menu that is a twist on traditional Thanksgiving. It gave me a chance to try some non-traditional and a lot more casual takes on the usual staples you find at Thanksgiving.

Host an easy Friendsgivings with Target. Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake MousseHost a Friendsgiving Meal. A full menu of easy-to-make recipes.

Who wants to be driving all over town for the ingredients and supplies when you are throwing a party? From prep to plate, Target is my one-stop shop for affordable, simple and unique Thanksgiving solutions. I really do most of my grocery shopping at Target Grocery. Well, actually, I just do a lot of every kind of shopping at Target. All the ingredients and decor for this Friendsgiving get-together were all purchased at my local Target – now how easy is that?

Host a Friendsgiving Meal. A full menu of easy-to-make recipes. Give ThanksSparkling Vanilla Cider MocktailHost a Friendsgiving Meal. A full menu of easy-to-make recipes. Chipotle Mashed Potatoes

Friendsgiving Menu

Get ready for a whole bunch of recipes!  This post is jam packed with no-fuss, totally yummy food.

Sparkling Vanilla Cider Mocktail

I’m a huge fan of a Mocktail, they are fun drinks the whole family can enjoy, especially when you are celebrating in the middle of the day. This is the flavors of fall in one glass.

Sparkling Vanilla Cider Mocktail

In a glass with ice, pour 2 ounces Drink Mix with about 1/2 cup Spiced Cider.  Top off the rest of the glass with Dry Vanilla Bean Soda. Stir and garnish with a cinnamon stick and a slice of green apple. (For a spiked version, add a shot of Apple Whiskey.)

Friendsgiving MocktailCheese and Meat Board

Any great party starts with a great Charcuterie and Cheese Board. It’s always a crowd favorite. While you put the finishing touches on the meal, guests can snack on bites of cheese, olives, and salami.

Charuterie and Cheese Board

I say anything goes with a Charcuterie Board, if you like it, put it on the board. A good mix of cheeses, meats, fruit, olives and bread or crackers and you are set. Arrange the ingredients on a pretty marble or wood cutting board. Olives can be placed in a small bowl. Cheese does not have to be sliced, just provide little cheese knives and guests can cut off what they want.

Cheese and Meat BoardHost a Friendsgiving Meal. A full menu of easy-to-make recipes.

In place of traditional stuffing, I decided to make mini corn muffins with all the flavors of Thanksgiving in packed in them. Fresh sage, dried cranberries and orange zest give these muffins a little kick. And since it’s the holidays, I say, “Give Me All Carbs!”, so I served two types of bread. Pumpkin Spice Dinner Rolls and Cranberry Sage Mini Corn Muffins are both fun, unique twists on the classic dinner roll. 

Cranberry Sage Mini Corn Muffins

In a large bowl mix all the ingredients. Spray a mini muffin pan generously with non-stick cooking spray. Fill each cup 2/3 full. Top each muffin with a leaf of fresh sage. Bake at 400 F for about 12 minutes, or until just golden brown.

Cranberry Sage Mini Corn Muffins and Pumpkin Spice Dinner Rolls

They holidays are all about indulging, but a healthy green salad with fruit, cheese and nuts, is still always a hit.

Spinach and Pomegranate Salad

In a small jar combine the oil, vinegar, juice, poppy seeds, honey and salt and pepper.  Seal the jar and shake to combine.

Place the spinach, pomegranate seeds, feta and salad topping in a large bowl. Drizzle with the balsamic dressing just before serving and toss.

Spinach and Pomegranate Salad

A lot of the pressure of cooking a whole Thanksgiving dinner comes from having to tackle a whole huge bird. This Citrus Brined Turkey Breast is quick to cook and a lot less stressful. I was nervous that a boneless, skinless breast had the potential to be dry and flavorless. But, brining this turkey breast made all the difference. This might be the juiciest, tastiest bird I’ve ever made. Really, I mean it!

Citrus Brined Turkey Breast

Since this recipe is just for cooking a turkey breast, a 1/2 recipe of the Cider Brine is more then enough. Combine all the ingredients for the brine in a large stock pot. Remove the turkey breast from the bag and place in the brine.  Then place the pot into the fridge.  I brined my turkey breast for about 36 hours and it was delicious!  When you are ready to cook the turkey, remove it from the brine and pat it dry with paper towels.  Spread the butter over the turkey breast and place in a small roasting bag. Prick a hole in the bag and seal it with the tie.  Place on a baking tray and roast in a 375 F oven for about 1 hour or till meat thermometer reads 165 F at the center of the breast (cook time really depends on how big your turkey breast is).

Cider Brined Turkey Breast

Move over marshmallow topped sweet potatoes, these maple glazed, golden sweet potatoes are one of new favorite sides.

Roasted Maple Sweet Potatoes with Feta and Cranberries

On a parchment line baking sheet, toss the sweet potatoes with the olive oil, maple syrup, parsley and salt and pepper. Roast in a 375 F over for about 30-40 mins or until the edges of the sweet potatoes are just barely charred and dark brown.  Place the sweet potatoes in a serving bowl or platter and top with the cranberries and feta.

Roasted Maple Sweet Potatoes with Feta and CranberriesPumpkin Pie Cheesecake Mousse

No-bake Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Mousse

This recipe can be made in a 9 inch. pie pan or in 10 individual mini versions like I did.

Prepare the ginger snap crust by placing the 20 ginger snap cookies in a food processor. Process until the cookies are fine crumbs. Melt the butter and add it to the cookie crumbs. Pulse to combine. With the back of a spoon, press the crumbs into the pie pan or glass jars.

Whip the heaving whipping cream to stiff peaks, set aside.  With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and powered sugar until smooth, add the pumpkin pie mix and beat again until smooth. In a small microwave safe bowl, combine the water and gelatin. Microwave on high for 10 seconds or until the gelatin is dissolved. With the mixer running, pour the gelatin into the cream cheese mixture. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Spoon the filling into the pie pan, or place in a large piping bag and pipe in the jars.  Chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Top with Pumpkin Spice Glazed Pepitas.

Friendsgiving with Target. A whole menu of easy-to-make recipes.Host a Friendsgiving Meal. A full menu of easy-to-make recipes. Host a Friendsgiving Meal. A full menu of easy-to-make recipes. Target FriendsgivingFriendsgivingHost a Friendsgiving Meal. A full menu of easy-to-make recipes. Host a Friendsgiving Meal. A full menu of easy-to-make recipes.

Here’s some of the pretty things I used to decorate the table with:

Host a Friendsgiving Meal. A full menu of easy-to-make recipes. Host a Friendsgiving Meal. A full menu of easy-to-make recipes.

This post is sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the companies that help make this blog possible. 

Food & Drink

Pumpkin Spice Caramel Corn

October 25, 2016

This is a recipe from the archives of O + P and it’s one that I grew up eating.  My mom made this caramel corn recipe every Fall. It’s buttery and crunchy and just so, so yummy. You think you’ll eat just a handful and then before you know it you’ve had 15 handfuls, it’s just that good.

Pumpkin Spice Caramel Corn wih PecansPumpkin Spice Caramel Corn wih Pecans

I found these little wax paper bags in the dollar section at Target. They are perfectly spooky just in time for Halloween. I really don’t like “evil” halloween, but I do like creepy, crawly. So, there will be lots of spiders and bats around our house.

We are planning a big Halloween party for Oct. 31st. Denali’s 15th birthday is the next day, so we are throwing her a fun Halloween/Birthday Party. This is actually the first time we’ve ever combined her birthday with Halloween. I’ve always tried to make her birthday feel special and set apart, but now that she is a full-on teenager, a Halloween party felt like a great idea.

This Pumpkin Spice Caramel Corn is sure to be a hit at the party! This recipe can definitely be made without the pumpkin spice and the pecans (but, pecans do make everything better, right?).  With the pecans as part of the mix, I like to call it Cockroach Nests, just to be a little gross this time of year.


Pumpkin Spice Caramel Corn

  • 6 quarts popped popcorn
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tbsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 cup pecans (optional)
Melt butter, stir in sugar, syrup and salt.  Boil 5 minutes without stirring.  Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla, then stir in baking soda and pumpkin pie spice.  Then stir in the pecans.  Pour over popcorn and mix well to all kernels are coated.  Spread onto two cookie sheets and bake 1 hour at 250 F.  Stir every 15 minutes.
Cool completely.  Store in airtight containers.

Pumpkin Spice Caramel Corn wih Pecans

Food & Drink

Hot Almond-Citrus Punch

October 14, 2016

Hot Almond-Citrus Punch

I’m really excited to share this fun Fall/Winter mocktail with you. It’s perfect for a chilly evening get-together. If citrus is involved, I’m sure to be fan. This Hot Almond-Citrus Punch is just one of the super yummy Scandinavian recipes from my friend, Melissa Bahen’s (aka Lulu the Baker) new book, Scandinavian Gatherings.

If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know that I’m a sucker for everything Scandinavian. My grandpa was Swedish and I love connecting with this part of my heritage as often as possible. A couple years ago, we got to go to Sweden and visit my extended family. I fell even more in love with the culture and the food (oh the food is so good). I’m so excited to work my way through this gorgeous book. With gorgeous images and whimsical illustrations,  this book is filled with 70 recipes and crafts for everyday celebrations.

Scandinavian Gatherings Hot Almond-Citrus Punch

I’m excited to share one of the delicious recipes from Scandinavian Gatherings here with you.

This recipe makes a nice big batch for lots and guests. I chose to just make a 1/2 recipe for my little family and it was more then enough for everyone to have seconds, which we all definitely wanted.

Tante Kari’s Hot Almond- Citrus Punch

  • 15 cups water
  • 6 cups bottle orange juice (not from concentrate)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 3 medium lemons)
  • 4 teaspoons almond extract
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Orange slices, for garnish

In a large pot over medium heat, mix all the ingredients except the orange slices. Heat th punch until steaming. Serve hot, and garnish with orange slices.

For a spiked version, add 1/2 shot of dark spiced rum to 1 cup of hot punch.

Hot Almond-Citrus Punch

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Hot Almond-Citrus Punch