Posts Tagged “gift”

Valentine’s Day Bacon Bouquets

Valentine’s Day Bacon Bouquets

Pairs Well With… “L.O.V.E. by Nat King Cole” + a little romance + a lot of bacon

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, my friends. It’s the time of year where we start thinking about what stops we’ll pull out to impress the one we love.

I used to be the person who absolutely despised Valentine’s Day if I wasn’t dating someone. I was “that” person who dreaded Valentine’s falling anywhere between Monday and Friday and hearing about all the gifts, roses and proposals. Blah. Blah. Blah.

Over the years, I got older (and naturally wiser) and realized that Valentine’s Day could be more than a singles pity party. On the years I haven’t been in a relationship, I leveraged Valentine’s Day as a larger celebration of love for those I care about.

And how better to show just how much you care than with BACON?! C’mon now.

These Valentine’s Day bacon bouquets are the easiest thing to make, and you’ll blow people away with your creativity and foodie DIY skills.  I promise.  For those of you looking for a memorable Valentine’s Day idea, you can thank me now. Bacon alone may not hold sentimental value (or does it?!), but the fact that you turned bacon into a craft will be unforgettable.

Add this bouquet to your Valentine’s Day brunch as an eatable centerpiece.  It will not only be pretty, but pretty tasty.

Ingredients:
(2) packages thick cut bacon (each package is approximately 10 slices)
(1) dozen artificial long stemmed roses
Foil lined baking tray
Cooking rack
Toothpicks

Instructions:
1. Remove rose buds from stems. Most detach quite easily.  Rinse and dry the stems.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

3. Trim bacon to remove excess fat. Slices of bacon should be as symmetrical and uniform as possible.
4. Roll bacon tightly from end to end, securing by placing two toothpicks through the center to form an “x”.  For a more pleasing appearance, ensure that the more meaty edge is the top of the flower.

5.  Place rolled up bacon slices on a cooking rack on top of a foil-lined baking tray.

6. Bake for approximately 25 minutes, longer for crispier bacon.

7. Place bacon buds onto washed stems.  They should attach easily.  Adjust to form robust and lush bouquets!

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

Meanwhile, back in Asia:
I had quite the week. I tried a lot of new things personally and professionally, including:
– Eating runny yolks.  (Picture on Instagram.) Now, you may not think this is a big deal, but the thought of anything other than scrambled eggs freaks me out.  Tried. Conquered. Succeeded.
– Presenting to a room full of people on blogging. Not a fan of public speaking, but based on the feedback I received, it was amazing!
– Recording my first podcast later today with a woman I find extremely fascinating. Excited for her to share her story with me!

Random Acts of Holiday Kindness

Random Acts of Holiday Kindness

Pairs Well With…Holidays + Kindness + A Giving Spirit

Everything about the holidays excites me: cookies with sprinkles, festive parties with friends, the upbeat Christmas carols.  I feel extra sparkly the whole season long, and that’s not just because I wore something sparkly every day for a week and coined it “The Seven Days of Sparkles”…but it is a thing. What I love most about the season is being able to put a smile on someone else’s face – especially when they least expect it.

The holidays seem to be a time when people look to do something nice for one another. In the spirit of giving, I compiled a list of ways to spread acts of kindness this holiday season:

CUPPA JAVA – Buy a soldier his or her morning java.  Coffee shops like Caribou Coffee are offering a program during the holidays where you can purchase a cup for the next soldier that comes in seeking their morning jolt.  Caribou will anonymously deliver on your behalf!

GIVE A GRANOLA – On chilly nights like tonight, it’s hard to think that someone may not have a place to go or food to eat.  Carry a handful of granola bars in your bag to help keep someone’s belly full.

PLEASANT POSTAL – Send a warm and fuzzy holiday greeting to someone you’ve not connected with in a while.  The surprise of hearing from you is like giving the gift of a smile.

SOUND THE SIRENS (with bad ass baked goods) – Whip up a batch of your favorite sweet treats and deliver to your local service officials with a letter of appreciation.

GET YOUR GRANNY ON – Spend time with someone older and wiser than you.  Share stories and swap life lessons.  It’s fun to learn from others, and spending time is a gift that money can’t buy.

MOTIVATIONAL MENTORING – You know that colleague who has been talking about how she’s “always wanted to do that” or friend who has been thinking of a career change? Give the gift of encouragement and support to help someone else reach their goals and dreams, and move in a better direction.  After all, encouragement costs nothing.

You get my drift…

Happy Holidays from me to YOU!  THANK YOU for your continued support and love for Pairs Well With…  It has truly been a blessed year!

 

Outstanding Infused Vodkas

Outstanding Infused Vodkas

Pairs Well With…  Sparkly club soda (and if you’re in Minnesota, a big snowstorm & a night in!)

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner!  Perhaps you need a hostess gift for your upcoming singles brunch or are looking for something with a homemade touch to give to your sweetie.  Maybe you’d like to kick back with a cocktail or two while watching a Nicholas Sparks movie. Either way, these infused vodkas are delightful and refreshing.

Plan ahead, as these take 5-6 days to reach perfection.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 3 glass bottles with toppers (for gifting)
  • 3 canning jars (for infusing)
  • 3 types of fruit or veggies for infusing (blueberry, raspberry, cucumber)
  • 1 bottle (750ml) unflavored vodka
  • Twine (optional)
  • Cutting board
  • Knife
  • Funnel
  • Strainer (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Wash, rinse and dry glass gifting bottles and canning jars.  Set aside gifting bottles for future use.  We’ll be using the canning jars soon.
  2. Wash and dry fruit.  Cut up if necessary.  I chose to use blueberries, raspberries and cucumbers, as they don’t require any dicing, which means less work straining out fruit pieces at the end of the infusion process.

Infusions Fruit and Veggies

Bottles and Infusions


3. Place each of your washed and cut fruit/veggies in your canning jars.

4. Divide 3/4 of the vodka between the three jars.  Save the remaining quarter until the          end of the infusion process.

5. Place lids on jars and put in the refrigerator.  Infuse for 5-6 days, shaking lightly             each day.  This duration will give the vodka a subtle fruit forward flavor without                  being too potent.

6. While your vodkas are busy infusing, you can add charm to your bottles! I chose to              use twine to create ribbons around the bottle necks.

Bottles Twine Ribbon 2

Bottles with Twine Ribbon

     7. Once done infusing, remove from refrigerator and get ready to pour into gifting                bottles.  Using a funnel is very helpful.  I suggest using a strainer if you see                          fruit/veggie pieces floating around.  The goal is to not carry any of the product over            to your gifting bottles.  Note: it is normal and expected for your vodka to change color.

8. You’re ready to gift and go!

Infused Vodka gifts


Suggestion: Place gifting jars in a 6-pack carrier for easier transportation. Put three cans of sparkling water in the other three carrier holes for mixing and to balance out the weight.

Be sure to let me know which one is your favorite!

Don’t forget to follow Pairs Well With… for more fun!

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