Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween - Pumpkin Spice Latte Nutella Muffins

Happy Halloween!  I got back in the kitchen last night and baked up some muffins for my office this morning.  All I can say is that within 30 minutes, these were GONE!  For those non-gluten-free folks out there you won't even miss all that gluten; not with the warming pumpkin spice, hint of espresso, and rivers of Nutella, make these this weekend!!

Pumpkin Spice Latte Muffins with Nutella
(Grain-free, almost dairy-free)
*Recipe adapted from Texanerin

1/2 cup coconut flour
3/4 cup almond flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder (I used instant coffee)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
7 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup Nutella, (I used chocolate/almond spread from TJ's, can make your own for DF version)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, line cupcake pan with paper liners.  Mix together dry ingredients (coconut flour through salt) and use a whisk to break up any lumps in flours.

In a separate bowl combine wet ingredients (eggs through vanilla).  Mix well, then combine wet ingredients into dry.  Stir together until just combined.

Pour batter 3/4 full into muffin cups.  Drop a teaspoon or so of Nutella on top and swirl with toothpick or knife.

Pop into the over and bake for 13-16 minutes (mine took a little bit closer to 20 but my oven doesn't get very hot!).

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wine Wednesdays - Halloween for Adults!

So I'm not the biggest Halloween fan.....but any excuse to drink wine and eat candy I can definitely get behind!

Inspired by the recent articles I've come across detailing wine and candy pairings, I decided to put together my own perfect pairings.  Here's what I'll be indulging in on Friday night; meanwhile any suggestions for a last minute costume??

The creamy, vanilla flavors of the candy corn will pair perfectly with this Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc/Viognier blend!

Can't beat plain old dark chocolate but enhanced with flecks of sea salt, this Lindt is a winner.  The Sherwin Family Vineyards Dry Creek Syrah would be a delicious pairing with its bright, fruity taste and hint of chocolate on the finish.  

Monday, October 27, 2014

Weekend Things

I spent the weekend in Chicago celebrating my college roommate and mom-to-be, Katie.  Bonus that I got to spend time with my former NYC roommate Emily and several other dear college friends that it's been way too long since we were all together!

Gorgeous chandeliers at Boarding House dinner Friday night -would love to have these in a tasting room one day!

Can't even believe this is real life - never would thought Katie would be the first to have kids but could not be more excited, and how gorgeous does she look??

Impressive bloody marys considering we were at a baby shower!  Sorry Katie, we'll drink one for you!

So great having all my loves in one place at one time!
Epic charcuterie platter at Quartino 
Sunday morning visit to the Bean and Millennium Park

More gorgeous decor at Sunday brunch at Nellcote
Nothing like a little chorizo-stuffed, bacon-wrapped dates to kill a hangover on Sunday evening.  Dinner at Avec.
 Chicago sure put on a show with perfect fall weather; if only it was like that year round and I just might consider a move with all of the great food, wine, fun neighborhood shops and sheer amount of friends new and old in close proximity!  

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Wine Wednesdays - Virginia Tasting

A dear friend got married recently in Charlottesville, VA, giving me a good excuse to visit a wine region I keep hearing more and more about.  

I spent two days driving through the surrounding areas of Charlottesville and managed to visit 4 wineries.   

A favorite of the bride & groom, I started my touring at King Family Vineyards.  I tasted through their classic tasting, starting with the Viognier.  I later came to find that Viognier is the state grape of Virginia, and prevalent throughout all of the wineries I visited.  A varietal I tend to dismiss, these were actually exceptionally good.  Balanced fruit, medium bodied with a backbone of acidity that led to a smooth finish, I will definitely be keeping my eye out for VA Viognier from now on.

Great bonus at King Family - their wonderful selection of meats, cheeses, and treats in their help-yourself fridge, all to be paired with warm baguettes!  Perfect place for a picnic.

My thought overall on VA wines was that the whites were generally better than the reds, but I truly enjoyed the Cab Franc at King Family.  Again the other prevalent grape in the region, it's unusual to find 100% Cab Franc, and when you do, they tend to be rather expensive and on the greener side with herbaceous, mineral notes.  These were reasonably priced, much riper, with juicy red fruit and bright acidity, though the tannins were still there on the finish.  

Next stop, White Hall Vineyards where the lovely Kathy tasted me through their flight as well as shared some great insight into the backroads of Charlottesville so that I could enjoy my tasting and still make it to the airport on time to pick up Aislinn!

Post-brunch on Saturday we continued exploring and made our way to Pollak Winery.  Our group unanimously preferred the whites here vs. the red.  Read more about our visit and favorite wines over on my friend Nick's blog at Best Coast Wines.   

Our group decided to split, half returning to Charlottesville to visit Monticello while Aislinn and I decided to check out one more winery.  I prefer to get my culture out of a glass ;-)

We ended up at Pippin Hill Winery.  What I was afraid would be a gigantic marketing machine/wedding venue with not so great wines was thoroughly impressive.  Absolutely beautiful setting, and great wines indeed!

We tasted through their white selection, with a Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, and two Chardonnays, one oaked and one unoaked.  My favorites were the Viognier and unoaked Chardonnay.    

Sadly the wait for food was too long so we didn't get to enjoy lunch at Pippin Hill, but if you're in the area I highly suggest making an afternoon out of your visit as the setting was just breathtaking (even in the freezing cold!).

We had a wedding to get back to!  The bride got her wish; the drizzle stopped just in time for an outdoor ceremony.  Every detail of the wedding was exceptional, pinterest worthy, and a DIY dream!

Cheers to the happy couple!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Weekend Things

Welp, I think it's officially fall, the weather has changed and I finally changed over my closet (every NYers favorite biannual activity).  

I also crossed off two activities on my fall bucket list!  Friday night we visited the Whitney for the Jeff Koons exhibit followed by a yummy dinner at The East Pole.  

Saturday I joined the Cyclones for a bike ride through Brooklyn, Long Island City, and ended up in Astoria at the Astoria Bowl!  It was a great way to get a new perspective on NY outside of Manhattan as I usually just end up in Brooklyn from various subway stations and never have any idea how they relate to one another on a map.  We rode along the water through Williamsburg, Greenpoint, into LIC with a stop at the Socrates Sculpture park before continuing into Queens.  All in all a great weekend!

Image via 
Image via

Image via

Bike Parking

Astoria Bowl had no idea what it was in for when 100+ cyclists descended upon its lanes!
Old school Queens at its finest!

design + development by kelly christine studio