Browsing Tag



Summer Cocktail Inspiration

June 7, 2013

After hibernating all winter I get excited for summer and opening my home to friends. I always find entertaining in warmer weather is so much easier. I can keep food simple and light. Decorating is as simple as putting out some flowers and pulling back the curtains. And I always have so much fun mixing drinks for my guests – chilling some beer and wine and setting out a festive cocktail in a vintage pitcher. This summer I plan on getting fancy with ingredients and have really been inspired by three elements – gin, flowers, and fruit. (Yes, I’ve been on Pinterest. Don’t judge.)

I’m not usually one for hard-liquor but I love ordering a gin cocktail when a glass of wine is uncool. It’s so old-fashioned and kind of classy, and there are really exciting new ways to spruce up some gin. Its juniper flavor blends well with a variety of fruits and botanicals.

Without question, my favorite drink on a sunny summer afternoon is a Pimm’s Cup stuffed with cucumbers, oranges, and mint leaves. A classic Pimm’s Cup recipe calls for gin, and this Smitten Kitchen recipe is speaking my language.

It’s easy to combine fruit and herbs in a gin cocktail. It might sounds strange, but trust me – delish! You can even get a little crazy and use kumquats like in this recipe for a Citrus Rosemary cocktail on Ruffled.

Still in the mood for a plain old gin & tonic? There’s nothing boring about this boozy sorbet recipe by Peter Georgakopoulos on The Boys Club.

Heck, the DIYer in me might even take to making my own gin this summer!

Flowers. In your drink. On your table, in your hair, and yes, in your drink. Floral flavors are becoming increasingly popular as French macarons make their rounds and it was only a matter of time until they were mulled and infused in simple syrups and mixed into our drinks.

This Raspberry Rose Fizz by Joy the Baker is almost too pretty to drink. Almost.

This video of Bree from Design.Love.Fest makes me want to run out and get a bottle of crème de violette to recreate this lemon violet drink.

This one is a no-brainer. Summer is ripe with citrus, berries, and melons and any drink would be remiss without one. But think beyond the garnish and incorporate fruit within your drinks for a refreshing treat.

Sangria is always popular, and my personal favorite is a white blend with tart Granny Smith apple chunks and citrus. But my girl Martha (we’re old friends) makes hers with summer peaches. Perfection.

Just like Picasso went through a Blue Period, I am at the height of my St Germain’s Period. It’s great in margaritas, martinis, or simply mixed with Prosecco and cucumber in this recipe from Zested.

And would it be summer without some sweet tea? This Mango and Sweet Tea cocktail by Emma of A Beautiful Mess is only missing one thing – a porch swing.

Head on over to our Wine, Beer, and Spirits Pinterest board for more bartending ideas. What are some of your favorite summer cocktails?

Gift Guides

Gift Lab: How to Make Fruit-flavored H2O

April 18, 2013

A glass water bottle with a built in fruit infuser. What a brilliant idea! is the first thought that came across my mind. I’ve never heard about this product and finding out about it would make a change in my lifestyle. All of my life I’ve grown accustomed to drinking soda and juice, neglecting water which is necessary to keep our bodies properly hydrated. Breaking this bad habit by using the Flavor Infuser Water Bottle would help me transition from my lack of water intake.

Infusing fruits into water on a daily basis will lead to a healthier lifestyle and water being an essential part of my life.

With a variety of fruits I will mix and match them and properly infuse them into water creating a couple of different types of fruitful H2O. Below was my favorite concoction.

Watermelon Lemon Basil Water
Step 1: Finely slice lemons into 6-8 pieces
Step 2: Cut watermelons into small cubes (10-12 cubes)
Step 3: Chop 8 basil leaves in half
Step 4: Take the center piece of the infuser and add lemons, watermelons, and basil leaves together.
Step 5: Place the top onto the center piece.
Step 6: Fill the glass water bottle with water.
Step 7: Place the center piece inside of the glass bottle and place the main top on to seal the bottle.
Step 8: Let the infusion begin! Wait 30 minutes until you drink the water. Enjoy!

This infuser is definitely a hit. After experimenting with different fruits my outlook on drinking water has changed. Using this product created a fun experience. Researching the different fundamentals of fruits and water helped me in having a want to drink water. It’s simple, it’s easy and I am becoming a water-loving person.

The Uncommon Life

Summer Salsa with Roasted Corn by Bonnie of Going Home To Roost

February 25, 2013


Hello everyone, it’s so nice to meet you! I’m Bonnie and I love to roost, which to me means nesting in my home and doing the things that I love. I strive to lead a simpler way of life, full of simple beauties, creative projects and inspirations, all of which you can find me sharing about on Going Home to Roost. I’m also so happy to have recently launched the Roost Tribe, a community for creatives where members receive exclusive premium content each week that includes recipes, creative tutorials, printables, tips on blogging, designing and more. When I’m not blogging or sketching, you can find me in the kitchen, traveling with my husband or playing with our sweet pup, Toaster.

We love eating fresh, simple, plant based foods and this salsa is all that and more! Full of fresh garden veggies and healthy ingredients, it tastes light and refreshing and is full of flavor. We used organic ingredients and heirloom tomatoes which really brought out all the flavors. As a huge fan of anything-avocado, we of course added some here which makes the recipe slightly reminiscent of guacamole. Feel free to play with the recipe, substituting what you have on hand and changing up the spices. With salsa, just about anything goes!

Summer Salsa with Roasted Corn

2 cups corn
1 Tbs Olive Oil
2 Large Heirloom Tomatoes
1 Medium Onion
2 Bell Peppers
1 15oz can of Black Beans, Rinsed
2 Cloves of Minced Garlic
1 Tbs Vinegar
1 Tbs Cumin
1 Tbs Chili Powder
1 Tbs Sugar
1 Tbs Lime Juice
1 Tsp Salt
1 Avocado

Preheat oven to 450°F. Toss the corn with olive oil and roast until slightly blackened, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, finely chop the tomatoes, onion and bell peppers and place them in a bowl. Add the black beans, minced garlic, vinegar and all the spices. Toss to combine. Add sliced avocado just before serving.

To vote for Bonnie’s salsa recipe, visit our Facebook page.

The Uncommon Life

Mango Ginger Salsa by Colleen of Inspired to Share

February 25, 2013


Hi there! I’m Colleen, a blogger, stylist, photographer, and all around creative. I write about food, DIY, lifestyle, and I love to find joy and creativity in each day. I’ve worked in marketing, event planning, design, and photography, but I’m now a freelance blogger sharing my journey on my blog, Inspired to Share. I live in the Midwest with my husband, where we enjoy flavorful home-cooked meals and simple living.

Now I love a good salsa…so this was a fun challenge for me. I’ve been enjoying fresh fruits so much this winter that I thought it would be fun to create a delicious fruit salsa. This recipe is incredibly fresh and has an unexpected twist with grated ginger. It works especially well with the mango, tomato, lime, and sweet peppers. Adding some cilantro, onion, and jalapeno gives it a kick, while the creamy diced avocado brings a nice balance! The key to this recipe is the freshest, perfectly ripe ingredients and while there is a good amount of prep required, it is worth every sweet and tangy bite!

Mango Ginger Salsa
(serves 4; 45 minutes)

4 sweet peppers, diced
1 jalapeño, finely diced, seeds excluded
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated
4 roma tomatoes, diced, seeds excluded
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup red onion, finely diced
1/2 lime, freshly squeezed, plus a few extra wedges
1 avocado*, pitted and diced
1 mango*, pitted and diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp. sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

*for ripeness, the mango should be soft (but not mushy) and the avocado should be slightly soft to touch

Combine all prepared ingredients (see above), excluding the avocado. Toss the mixture thoroughly. Add diced avocado and toss a couple times, gently. Serve salsa immediately with lime wedges, corn chips, tacos, or really any Mexican dish. Enjoy! 🙂

To vote for Colleen’s salsa recipe, visit our Facebook page.

Gift Guides

Gift Lab: Pizza Cones Kit

October 23, 2012

I have lived in Brooklyn my whole life, so I know myself a good slice of pizza when I see one. With what seems like another pizzeria on every other corner, I have also tried many types and styles of the delicious and cheesy treat. Slices, squares, thin crust, deep dish, on a bagel, on an english muffin, with toppings or plain. I thought I had seen and eaten it all.

I was wrong. I must eat what few pizza-lovers have ever eaten before – the pizza cone.

Pizza is already awesome. I predict that mixing things up with a new shape will only make pizza more awesome.

The Experiment
I started by assembling everything necessary to make my pizza cone:

  • the Pizza Cone Kit
  • Dough – The set comes with instructions to make you’re own. I bought mine from a local pizzeria for $4.
  • Cheese
  • Sauce
  • Optional toppings
  • Flour for working with the dough
  • A rolling pin

The pizza cone set comes with the tools necessary to cut and shape the dough so that you can roll it into a cone. This is my first time working with fresh dough and it feels so right. I think I was born to play a part in this evolution of the pizza. Just look at my hands go:

Next, I had the need to knead. As per the included instructions, I wanted a flat piece of dough measuring about an 1/8 of an inch all around. The dough should be wide enough to cut out two bell-shaped molds that would form two pizza cones.

Once you have the initial pieces cut, you fold them over in half and crimp the edges sealed. You leave the bottoms unsealed so that you can later place them over the pizza cone form. I used the included crimper tool to finish the job.

My expectations were rising as I prepared the dough to go into the oven for the first time. I carefully placed my creation onto the pizza cone form (which is made of no-stick materials).

After 6-7 minutes of baking, the dough was starting to brown. I removed them from the oven and let them cool before removing them from the pizza cone forms and placing them upright in the pizza cone stands. I brought over the rest of the ingredients and got to work filling the cones with sauce, cheese, and other toppings (sliced pepperoni in the pictures). Like an artist finishing his masterpiece, I used my spoon to splash sauce along the inner walls of the cone. I sprinkled cheese throughout until it filled up completely. I cleverly hid pepperonis in any unused pockets of air.

After a few more minutes in the oven, right up until the insides start bubbling, I was able to meet my creation.

I was wary at first. However, I have confirmed that the deliciousness of pizza has no bounds. Pizza cones are a fun new way to eat pizza, especially during the upcoming winter, when ice cream cones are just not as practical. I approve.

Dexter has volunteered as the next test subject when I run this experiment again.
The Uncommon Life

The Winning Board in the Cooking Local Pinterest Contest

October 5, 2012

We swear our pants got tighter just looking at the entries to our Cooking Local Pinterest Contest. We asked you all to combine fabulous food and hometown pride in a Pinterest board showing your favorite things to cook and eat where you live, and you delivered bigtime. Big, as in, we’re going to need bigger pants soon.

Lori Smart’s board highlighted some of Eugene, Oregon’s superfoods: salmon, blueberries, chard, wine, and beer (don’t tell us that Sweet Cheeks Chardonnay and Ninkasi Believer Double Red Ale don’t look super). It’s kind of a shame that Eugene Beliebers are, no doubt, too young for Believer.

The pins collected by Greenville, NC’s Allyson Rideout featured some racy southern food items generally not seen here in NYC: cheesecake that drinks creme de menthe, shrimp and grits all hot for each other, peanuts reverting to their base legume-y natures, and various flaming meats. Heavens to Betsy! We had to fan ourselves while ogling this board.

On to Melanie Feigl of Spokane, WA. Melanie! Why, oh why, did you torture us with your pins of delectable fresh-baked cupcakes, huckleberry cake donuts, and even better worse, beer-battered onion rings? Have mercy, woman! We are only human! Not to mention how you filled us with envy; Spokane has a restaurant with a ceiling made of two humongous stained-glass peacocks, and a diner that’s a converted rail car. We have zero of those in New York.

Like our runner-ups, winner Katie Selman of Tampa, FL made us salivate. Scallops in gumbo and polenta, or paired with roasted squash. Florida orange cake and cookies. All yummy.

But seriously, Katie, how do you expect us to look at the following without breaking down sobbing?

1) Reese’s Peanut Butter Banana Bread

2) “The Brewski” cupcake (“moist chocolate cake marinated in Maduro Brown Ale, blended with chocolate ganache filling, topped with whipped Kahlua icing, garnished with chocolate and toffee bits”)

3) “The Pumpkin Bomb” (“similar to an Irish Car Bomb, “ this lethal-sounding beverage combines Cigar City Brewing’s “Good Gourd Imperial Pumpkin Ale, brewed with Ceylon cinnamon, Jamaican all-spice, Zanzibar cloves and nutmeg, with a shot of Baileys Irish Cream and Pinnacle Whip (whipped cream flavored vodka), sprinkled with cinnamon”).

Through our tears, we managed to note how artfully Katie put her images together, a collection ranging from fifties vintage Florida orange juice, to a palm tree scene made entirely of Florida fruit, to funky local street signs. They were diverse, and yet all conveyed the Florida theme, including the UncommonGoods products she chose, like our Rowboat Salad Bowl, our Toast Glasses filled with orange juice, Cantaloupe Bowls, and Spanish Sangria Pitcher.

Join the foodie lovefest by checking out these fabulous Pinterest boards, and help us congratulate winner Katie!

The Uncommon Life

Cooking Local Pinterest Contest

September 21, 2012

Do you look to your favorite pinner when it’s time to make dinner? Are you always hungry to share your love for your city or state? Then our latest Pinterest contest is for you. We’re combining fabulous food and hometown pride in the UncommonGoods Cooking Local Contest.

Cook up your best board and leave a link and an email address in the comments below and/or on the original pin in our Cooking Local board and you’ll be entered to win an UncommonGoods prize package featuring designs from CatStudio.

The package includes a Hand-embroidered Pillow, a Geography Apron, and a Geography Towel. We’ll announce the winner on Friday, October 5 on our blog.

Follow us on Pinterest for more updates. Good luck and happy pinning!


Entries must be received by midnight on Thursday, October 4.

Open to US citizens only.

The Uncommon Life

A Rockin’ Sinangag (Filipino Garlic Rice) Recipe

August 31, 2012

I had a bunch of leftover cooked jasmine rice in the fridge and a new UncommonGoods gadget I wanted to try, the Garlic Rocker. So I did the math and came up with Garlic + Rice = Garlic Rice. Clever, eh?
Googling “garlic rice” in search of a recipe led me to the discovery that in the Phillippines, it’s a breakfast staple called “sinangag” in Tagalog. Garlic for breakfast?! I was on it like white on rice.
Because fried rice doesn’t require exact measurements–you can judge just by looking how much of each ingredient you want to add to it–I looked at several recipes and more or less winged it from there. (The recipe links are at the bottom of this page.) I also consulted UncommonGoods’ two Filipino software developers, Albert Tingson and Orlando Geronimo.
Orlando (right, in photo) said, “How about if you bring the sinangag to work and we’ll have a good breakfast with some tapa and fried egg. We call it ‘Tapsilog.'” All three of us were enthused about this idea until we remembered that we have no way to cook fried eggs at work.
With any kind of fried rice, you want to get all the elements (except herbs, if you’re using them) cooked and chopped before the “frying” begins (actually, sautéeing in my case, as I used a flat pan instead of a wok).
I put some “fancy” generic store brand frozen peas in a bowl and defrosted/cooked them in the microwave. When they were done, I set them aside.I started scrambling a couple of eggs. The secret to good scrambled eggs is low heat, minimal scrambling, and removing the eggs when they’re still slightly underdone, because they’ll cook a little more from their internal heat. That way, the eggs turn out soft and delicious rather than rubbery and tasteless.
When the eggs were done, I sort of stab/chopped them into irregular, bite-size chunks with the plastic spatula I was using in the non-stick pan. Then I set them aside.I took my leftover rice out of the fridge and broke up the stuck-together hunks so that it’d be ready to be scattered into the pan when the time came. I set that aside, too.Then I cut each garlic clove in half lengthwise so that it would lay flat and stable.Now I was ready to ROCK. I pressed the rocker down onto a nice, fat garlic clove and rocked it back and forth to cut through the whole clove.Oh, how beautiful the results were. Perfect little bullets of garlic that resembled part of a honeycomb. Without bothering to scrape off the “bullets,” I put another couple of cloves underneath the tool and pressed/rocked them, too.Because I’m a garlic glutton, I rocked a few more cloves. Then it was time to sauté the garlic bullets.
I used peanut oil. Chinese cooks normally use it because it has a high “smoke point” – meaning it can get a lot hotter than, say, canola oil, corn oil, or butter, before it starts smoking and burning. Also, its flavor goes better with Asian food than olive oil’s does. (If you live near an Asian grocery, buy it there. It’s a lot more expensive at typical American groceries.)I put maybe three tablespoons more into the pan than I needed for sautéeing the garlic, so that there’d be plenty of gloriously garlicky oil left over to fry the rice with.
I’m an impatient cook and I hate to watch over things, which is why I very often overcook my hamburgers and burn my garlic. Burning garlic ruins it. It tastes really acrid and bad. So I made myself pay attention and kept the heat low-ish. I didn’t ruin it! OK, actually a few pieces were overcooked, but I deleted them.One of the recipes I’d found said to add the rice to the garlic in the pan, but I didn’t want to risk cooking the garlic any longer. Instead, I set it aside with the other prepped ingredients, leaving as much as possible of the now-flavored oil in the pan.
It was time to put together the sinangag. I raised the heat to high and added the rice, stirring it in order to make sure it all got some oil on it. I cooked it for maybe three minutes, not enough to brown it, but sufficient to get it hot and give it some of the character of the hot oil. You can smell when it’s right — it’ll remind you a little bit of popcorn cooking in oil.
I added the peas and eggs and stirred to more or less evenly distribute them in the rice and to get all three elements to flavor-kiss a bit. Then I turned off the heat, added the garlic, and stirred some more. A wave of garlic bliss came over me while putting so much into what was only a couple of servings of rice.And there you have it. In imitation of the photo accompanying one of the recipes I’d found, I pressed it into a little bowl-type thingy (I don’t know what to call it because it isn’t round like a bowl — mini-crock?) and made it look all nice and photogenic.
I served some of it into a bowl that I know is an actual bowl because it’s rounded, added a couple of dashes of soy sauce, and dug in. It was a beautiful, heavenly, garlic symphony, much more than the sum of its humble parts.

Recipe: Sinangag (Filipino Garlic Rice)

(I’m not giving amounts because it’s up to you and how much leftover rice you have.)

Leftover cooked rice (it should be at least one day old)
Frozen green peas
Garlic cloves (lots)
Peanut oil
Salt or soy sauce

Preparation steps
1. Break up the rice if it’s sticking together; set aside.
2. Defrost and cook the peas. Set them aside.
3. Gently scramble the eggs; then break them up into small pieces. Set them aside.
4. Peel and cube (or “rock” – but do not use garlic press) the garlic into quarter-inch-size chunks and saute until golden–not dark–brown.
5. Set frying pan or wok on a burner and set heat to high.
6. As soon as oil has a subtle, shimmery sheen (but before it smokes), add rice and cook for about 3 minutes, until the rice is hot and perhaps very slightly browned in a few places, but no more. Turn heat down to medium.
7. Add the peas and eggs and stir to mix; cook for about a minute.
8. Turn off heat; add garlic and stir.
9. Add salt or soy sauce to taste.

Recipe links
Sinangag – Filipino Garlic Fried Rice
Garlic Fried Rice
Sinangag – Eggs and Peas Fried Rice
How to cook fried rice (Sinangag na Kanin)

Pin It on Pinterest