Dark & Delightful Halloween Party

Dark and Delightful Halloween PartyI’ve committed to making two handmade costumes this year, so I have been working my fingers off.  But it totally has me in the Halloween spirit!  We are not hosting a party and we never get trick-or-treaters on our street, but that doesn’t stop me from decorating.

If I was having a Halloween party, I would love throw a small dinner party with some close friends and family.  I would stay true to our love of antiques and brass.  I love the idea of faded peach roses, dusty lambs ear and eucalyptus centerpieces on black tablecloths.  Adding a simple mask to your portraits and photos is a quick way to dress them up.

  1. Printable Halloween Invitations from Design by Detail
  2. Cranberry Apple Cider Cocktail from Jelly Toast
  3. Bat Filled Front Door from Country Living
  4. Elegant Floral Halloween Centerpiece from Style Me Pretty
  5. X-Ray Glassware from West Elm
  6. Strapless Lace Mask from The Midway
  7. Masked Portraits from Country Living
  8. Chocolate Espresso Layer Cake from Savory Simple
  9. Lace Pumpkins from Honestly WTF
  10. Candlestick Mantle from Style Me Pretty

Flavors of Fall / Recipe Round-Up

Flavors of Fall on Lost and FawnedFall is a season of slow-cooking, spices and of course… PUMPKIN.  Some of my favorite flavors are seasonal in autumn.  I’m also a huge fan of my dutch oven, and I make it work hard in fall.  I love to make huge pots of hearty soups, stews and chili on the weekends so I don’t have to cook when I get home from work and it’s already dark.

Here is a little collection of some of the recipes I am dying to try this autumn…

  1. Cheesy Garlic Pull Apart Bread  /  by Jojotastic for Ziploc
  2. Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting  /  from Rasa Malaysia
  3. Cider & Honey Slow-Cooker Short Ribs  /  from Sweet Paul
  4. Pumpkin Spice Spritz Cookies  /  from Diethood
  5. Bourbon Apple Cider  /  from Set the Table
  6. Pumpkin Pie Cinnamon Rolls  /  from Diethood
  7. Slow Cooker Potato Corn Chowder  /  from Damn Delicious
  8. Roasted Fall Vegetables  /  from Martha Stewart
  9. Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte  /  from Live Simply

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Cheese Boards for Beginners

Cheese Education on Lost and Fawned

I love cheese.  Who doesn’t, right?  I’m not fancy and I certainly don’t know a lot about cheeses and pairings, but I find the whole culture and history quite fascinating.  Plus, cheese is delicious.  I often end up bringing a cheese board or plate to parties because they are super easy (very little prep) and are always a huge hit.  Lately I’ve been doing more reading and plan to up the ante a bit.

To start upping your game when it comes to cheese boards, you will need a few things…

  • AN EDUCATION  ::  Learn a little about cheese.  Maybe try your hand at making some cheese, so you can understand the science and art.  Pick up a cheese book.  The one I feature in this post is a great beginners guide.  Or look up some of the thousands of guides online.  A quick Pinterest search turns up tons.  Learn about pairings and the origins of different varieties.  Visit a local cheese shop (or if you are lucky, maybe you have a cheese vendor at your farmer’s market) and try some new cheeses.
  • CHEESE TOOLS  ::  You’ll need a basic cheese tool kit that includes cheese knives and a cheese board (a wood cutting board works great as well).  Why not pick up some cute cheese markers or fancy little bowls (which you’ll need for the next part).
  • FANCY FIXINGS  ::  Try something different with your cheese.  Honey and chutney are both traditional choices, but not something you see everyday.  Fresh fruit, herbs, nuts and olives are also classic pairings to cheese.

Here are a few of my picks for cheese newbies like me…

  1. Cheese Storage Kit from Fromaticum  /  $18.99
  2. Ohio State Cheese Board by AHeirloom  /  $48.00
  3. ‘Di Bruno Bros. House of Cheese’ by Tenaya Darlington  /  $16.66
  4. Cheese Marker Set from Modcloth  /  $24.99
  5. Italian Cheese Kit from Uncommon Goods  /  $24.95
  6. Adjustable Cheese Slicer from Amazon  /  $11.73
  7. Raw & Unfiltered Honey from Rodale’s  /  $12.00
  8. Old Yorkshire Chutney from Cachette  /  $4.30
  9. Cheese Chart from Uncommon Goods  /  $29.00

Sushi Night // with Kirin Ichiban

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Millennial Central for Kirin. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

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This weekend my sister-in-law and I decided to host a sushi night to celebrate the beginning of spring, inspired by the world famous Cherry Blossom Festival.  Spring is the perfect time to celebrate love, friends and family before summer is in full force and everyone is busy with yard work, vacation and summer festivals.

Kirin was kind enough to send us a sampling of their classic Kirin Ichiban and Kirin Light for our guests and us to enjoy with the meal.  Kirin was a new beer to Jared and me and we were thrilled to give it a try.  Kirin only uses the first strain of malt liquid, which makes it truly beer at it’s purest.  It has a clean taste that perfectly compliments bold Asian flavors and traditional Japanese cuisine.  Their namesake, the Kirin Beast is considered a good omen of serenity and prosperity.

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We invited some loved ones, put together a simple menu and set a beautiful table.  Kirin recently partnered with celebrity chef, Candice Kumai to create some Japanese inspired dishes that pair beautifully with Kirin Ichiban and Kirin Light.  We adapted two of these recipes for our meal.  It took the pair of us about 1.5 hours to complete this menu and set the table.  It yielded plenty of food for 6 people.

Menu:

  • A Variety of Sushi Rolls
  • Japanese Chicken & Yakisoba Noodles
  • Asian Pear & Mango Salad with Honey
  • Sushi Ginger (or Gari) for palate cleansing
  • Kirin Ichiban & Kirin Light

[Read more...]

Celebrate with Mrs. T’s Pierogies / Buffalo Pierogies

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Please note:  I participated in a campaign on behalf of Millennial Central for Mrs. T’s Pierogies.  I received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

Today I’m happy to bring you the final part of my two part series with Mrs. T’s Pierogies. In the first part I showed you how to jazz up a simple Minestrone Soup by adding pan seared pierogies to make a hearty meal for a crowd.  This month I’m sharing the easiest appetizer for a casual get-together.

We aren’t really sports people, but we do like to occasionally host friends for a game night or movie night.  While we love wings, they can be expensive (especially when making them for a larger group of people) and I’ve never had much confidence in cooking them.  A perfect alternative is pierogies!  I honestly had never considered this option until I saw it in Mrs. T’s recipe ideas.  After trying it I truly believe they are a stroke of genius.  Did I mention they are also vegetarian?

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You won’t believe how quick and easy it is.  It only takes about 25 minutes from freezer to table and most of that time is hands off, so you can be working on cutting celery and carrots, setting a table or getting yourself ready for guests.

And they are delicious.  They are satisfyingly crispy with just enough heat.  The sauce bakes onto the shell to make them easy to eat as well.  I caught a few people just picking them up with their hands.  The mini pierogies from Mrs. T’s are the perfect size for appetizers.  I’m hooked.

Buffalo Pierogies - Lost and Fawned

Buffalo Pierogies – Party Appetizer

Makes 4 servings.  Photos show half of a box.  Adapted from Mrs. T’s Pierogies Recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 box Mrs. T’s Potato & Cheddar Mini Pierogies
  • 1 cup of oil (I used olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup of hot pepper sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder
  • Blue Cheese or Ranch Dressing
  • Carrots & Celery for the side

(Note:  If you are in a real pinch, you can also just use a bottle of premade buffalo sauce instead of the oil, hot pepper sauce and chili.  I did it both ways and it was great either way.)

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.
  2. Combine oil, hot pepper sauce and chili powder in a large bowl.  Add frozen pierogies and use a spoon to gently coat them with the mixture.  (Alternatively, just add the premade sauce to the pierogies in a bowl and toss until coated.)
  3. Coat baking sheet with cooking spray or spread tray with a thin coat of olive oil.  Use tongs to place coated pierogies on the baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 8-9 minutes.  Flip pierogies.  Bake for another 8-9 minutes on other side until puffed and golden brown.
  5. Serve with dressing, carrots and celery.

For more information on where to purchase, recipes and more visit Mrs. T’s Pierogies website or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

Partner | Mrs. T’s Pierogies

I participated in a campaign on behalf of Millennial Central for Mrs. T’s Pierogies.  I received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item as a thank you for participating.

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Today kicks off a two-part series brought to you by Mrs. T’s Pierogies.  I’d like to thank them for supporting Lost & Fawned and partnering with us to bring you this content.

Between big games, award season and season premiers, it’s a great time of year to entertain.  Cooking for a crowd or even a small party can be a challenge for those of us who don’t have practice cooking for more than 2 people.  Mrs. T’s Pierogies are a great shortcut.  They have a huge collection on their website of inspiring recipes for entertaining, like Pierogy Kebabs or Buffalo Pierogies.  As a main dish or appetizer, pierogies are a perfect addition to your party menu.

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This time of year, I love making soups.  They especially come in handy when I need to cook for family and friends.  When entertaining, my time management can be shaky at best.  Soups and stews are great because you can cook them ahead of time and simmer them as long as needed while you entertain your guests or prepare other components.  Pierogies seemed like the perfect way to jazz up a quick and simple minestrone soup.  I modified this recipe from Mrs. T’s recipe collection.  For a small group double the following recipe (or even triple it for a party).

Ingredients:

  • 2 (12 ounce) boxes Potato & Cheddar Mini Pierogies
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (8 ounce) can stewed tomatoes
  • ¼ tablespoon dried or fresh basil
  • ¼ teaspoon dried or fresh thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 bag of frozen green beans (or fresh if in season)

Directions:

In a large stockpot, combine onion, garlic, and carrot with enough broth to cover; cook until onions are soft. Add remaining broth, tomatoes and seasonings; bring to a boil. Cover and simmer at least 15 minutes (I like to let it simmer for at least an hour personally).

In a separate frying pan, saute Mini Pierogies with a little bit of oil or butter until cooked through and shell starts to get browned and crispy.  Add beans to soup 15 minutes before serving and allow to cook to desired texture.  Add pierogies to soup just before serving.  Sprinkle with parsley or parmesan cheese.

For more information on where to purchase, recipes and more visit Mrs. T’s Pierogies website or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

A Night In // Watch – Make – Drink

Watch Make Drink - Lost and FawnedThe holidays can be a super busy time.  So when I get a night off to myself I try to take advantage of it.  I’ve put together a little cocktail for a perfect December night in for just you or a few close friends.  I suggest pairing it with PJ’s and wooly socks to complete the cozy atmosphere.  Bonus points for a glowing fire or christmas tree.

My ultimate holiday movie.  I watch this every year and I cry every year.  Also always try and get Jared to watch it with me, but he insists he has seen it, and then I insist that he is thinking of “Holiday Inn” and then he rattles off the plot accurately and I concede.

I usually like to bring a project I’m working on downstairs and stitch away on the couch or spread out on the coffee table.  These votives look so easy and look great on a mantle or in a table setting.  (Side-note: My favorite tealights are the TINDRA scented tealights from Ikea.  The vanilla perfect for every season.  I have a huge stock of them and usually light one in the kitchen after I do the dishes.)

Treat yourself!  There are tons of great hot chocolate hacks on pinterest and Tastespotting.  This recipe contains three of my favorite things… cookies, cocoa and rum.

All images property of the noted owners.  Please visit their sites for more information.  Thanks!

“Oh Bring Whatever…” Thanksgiving Favorites

Thanksgiving 'Bring Whatever' FavoritesLike many 20 and 30-somethings, we don’t host Thanksgiving at our home, but we are guests at a handful of holidays.  You always ask what you can bring and often you get “Oh bring whatever…” or “Anything you like…” which usually means the potatoes, green beans and pumpkin pie are already spoken for.  So what do you bring?  I typically stick to 3 categories: appetizer, dessert or cocktail.

  1. Boozy Pomegranate Cider by Dessert for Two  //  A cocktail is almost always a welcome addition.  It’s a great twist on the usual “bring a bottle of wine” approach.  While this one requires a little prep, it’s pretty simple and has great autumn flavors.  Easy to omit the booze too and it still sounds delicious.
  2. Candied Citrus Peel from Martha Stewart  //  I’ll be trying this one this year.  Make a variety of lemon, orange and grapefruit for a beautiful plate.  I’ll be finishing them in chocolate (because chocolate makes everything better).  They are easy to pack up and take on those longer road trips and are perfect to make ahead.
  3. Crispy Baked Parmesan Green Bean Fries by Dashing Dish  //  I love this idea.  It uses a classic Thanksgiving favorite and makes it something fun.  a basket of these would be perfect on the coffee table for the Thanksgiving ball game.
  4. Easy Holiday Chocolate Bark from PBS Kitchen Explorers   //  Only two ingredients… seriously.  Chocolate and trail mix.  Perfect to make they day before and bring in a tin.  It even looks beautiful!
  5. Autumn Punch by Scout  //  Another cocktail.  Cider, spices and rum… delicious.  A little harder to make this one a “virgin” cocktail, but the grown-ups will thank you.
  6. Fall Cheese Plate  from Taste  //  You really can’t go wrong with cheese, crackers, fruit and sliced meat.  There are tons of guides out there to help you put together a well rounded cheese plate or board.  We almost always put one together for Thanksgiving, and by the time we start slicing the turkey it’s pretty empty.

What are you bringing to Thanksgiving this year?  If you are a host, what dishes do you LOVE to see people bring? 

Please visit the sources provided for more information on any of the pictured dishes.  Link lovingly to the original source if you decide to share.  Thanks a million!

 

My Blissful Moment with Neuro BLISS

Neuro BLISS and Tell

It’s been a stressful year.  Probably the most stressful so far.  On top of dealing with a lot of personal struggles, I’ve been super busy.  If at all possible, I try to find at least 15 minutes a day (in the evening before bed, in the afternoon after work, or in the morning on weekends before the boys wake up) to do something just for me.  Maybe I spend the night in and put on a soothing skin mask, watch one of my favorite guilty pleasure movies (I’m looking at you The Devil Wears Prada) and give myself a pedicure.  Or just spend 15 minutes on the sofa with a dog and a good book or new magazine.

Instead of reaching for a comfort food, this week I gave something new a try.  neuro BLISS is a deliciously fruity beverage.  It’s a blend of citrus and tropical lychee and is lightly carbonated.  It also contains a smart blend of chamomile, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants including L-theanine, an amino acid found in green tea which has been found to reduce stress, produce relaxation and enhance focus.  Neuro drinks contain no artificial colors or flavors and are a guilt-free 35 calories per bottle.

My Blissful Moment

Enjoying my Blissful Moment

Recently neuro did a study of a large chunk of consumers.  More than half revealed they spend at least half their daily lives feeling stressed out.  Additionally about 89% said a night out did NOT help relieve their stress.  Check out some of the other data collected in the infograph below…

NeuroBLISS Stress Study

Give neuro BLISS a try and take $1 off!  Print the coupon by using the widget below to print your coupon and visiting Target, Walgreens, 7-11, Safeway or using this store locator to find your nearest distributor of neuro drinks.

Then share your BLISSful moment on instagram or twitter and enter to win a $10,000 dream vacation!  For more details on how to enter and official rules visit neuro BLISS.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Date Night In // Experimenting with Herbs

Date Night In - Herb Experimentation

We are starting to save up for some bigger projects on the house, so lately we’ve been cutting back.  A big area where we have chosen to save, rather than spend is Date Night.

Instead of a movie or dinner out, this week we had a Date Night In.  I made a dinner and after we ate, we gathered some fresh herbs from the yard and had a tasting.  We have a few different mints we put in last year that (pineapple mint and chocolate mint) as well as some pineapple sage and lemon balm.  Jared has been wanting to try some fresh herb teas (or as he calls it “survival tea”).  So we got out our little tea cups (this set from Ikea) and put the kettle on.  We made a cup with each type of leaf and gave them a try.  3 out of 4 were OK, but nothing special.  The tea made from our fresh chocolate mint was the clear winner.

We also harvested the lavender I have been drying in the kitchen.  I have a few projects planned for my lavender.  We are also planning to make some mint oil.  We are trying 2 methods.  One with a carrier oil (in our case olive oil) and distilling out the oil with vodka.  Both of these take some time, but we have them started.

 photo 2

Fresh Mint Tea

Lavender Drying in the Kitchen

It was a lot of fun, and in the end didn’t cost us a penny (other than the groceries).  Stick around for more Date Night In posts over the course of the summer.

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