Finally, Emma’s dream of doing a FOOD episode comes true today! In this episode, we talk about our favorite things to cook at home for every occasion. 2020 has brought us more appreciation than ever for learning to cook pretty much everything at home!
This episode is FULL of recipes, many of them from our blog through the years. Of course, it ended up being one of our longest episodes ever because we both like to talk about cooking. Here’s a link to our cookbook, Weekday Weekend.
Date Night at Home.
Holiday Tradition Recipes.
Cinnamon Hot Toddy here’s a cranberry Hot Toddy as well.
Homemade Chex Mix (SO GOOD!)
Autumn Trail Mix
Royal Icing Sugar Cookies (here’s our vegan recipe)
Caramel Apple Cheesecake
Pumpkin Swirl Slab Pie
Sweets + Treats.
Lol … I love the champagne soaked gummy bears. They’re so much fun for a little get together or a date night at home.
Here’s a link to the greatest jello shots archive on the internet (haha—we take so much pride in this!)
Here’s a link to Natalie’s book, Mod Cocktails. It’s excellent!
What Do You Take To a Party?
What Do You Love To Make When Guests Come Over?
Here’s another link to our cookbook, Weekday Weekend. Please make the hot pink cream cheese spread and the pizza crust recipes … we are so proud of those! xoxo. Emma + Elsie
Miss an episode? Get caught up!
- Episode #46: Book Report Episode!
- Episode #45: Covid Pivots
- Episode #44: (MINI) Oops I’m Moving Again Follow Up Q+A
Episode 47 Transcript
Elsie: You’re listening to the A Beautiful Mess podcast, in our years as bloggers, we’ve shared hundreds of recipes. We each enjoy cooking as a hobby, like a real hobby, a total hobby, not just writing blog posts, cooking for real at home. So we thought it would be fun to share our go-to recipes for pretty much every occasion. So this is a full on cooking episode.
Emma: And you didn’t mention, but we have a cookbook. It was our third book. It’s called Weekday Weekend. It’s been out for a couple of years now. So also that.
Elsie: It’s a great cookbook. I’ll say my favorite cookbook recipe somewhere in this episode, because I have — we had so much fun writing that damn cookbook.
Emma: Oh, yeah. That was that was a blast. Yeah. So this episode, we are going to talk about food for every occasion. And I thought it was really fun getting ready for this one…
Elsie: It was so fun.
Emma: …because when I’m feeling a little blue. I like to think about the holidays. So…
Emma: Just like thinking about what I’m going to make in October and December. And I also got inspired to make some of my summer favorites before summer’s over. So, yeah, I was I was into it.
Elsie: Yeah, it’s very year-round. So we’re just going to kind of like cruise through all the different festivities of the year and different types of food you can make at home. And I also thought this would be a good episode right now just because our family just got into our second wave of serious, serious quarantine, as in like our kids are home and it’s like cooking at home, it’s a true joy. Today we made something do you want to hear what we made?
Emma: Yes. I mean, this is just like food.
Elsie: It was a Pinterest fail. it was a really good Pinterest fail.
Emma: Oh, no. OK, yeah.
Elsie: So have you ever seen when people turn upside down a baking pan and then they make little cups out of cookies?
Emma: Oh yeah. Yeah.
Elsie: So I tried to make that, so I just used regular, roll cookie dough from the store and then turned the pan over and we kind of like pressed the cookie dough around the cups. And I even was thinking, I’m afraid this is going to melt all over the stove. So I froze it ahead of time like I do with the sugar cookies because that helps them keep their shape. But it did not help them keep their shape. It went everywhere. And it was just like a big melted globby mess. Anyway, it was a very bad Pinterest fail. And if anyone knows how, like, I don’t know what you could have done besides freeze them to make them stay on there like how they looked on Pinterest.
Emma: You probably…it’s probably the store-bought cookie dough, which nothing wrong with store-bought cookie dough. I love it. Delicious. But it’s probably that. You know how like certain sugar cookies, you can’t make shapes from them. They just kind of puff around and melt weird. You know, it’s probably you needed to make your own cookie dough and you needed to make it more like a shortbread like, you know.
Elsie: Okay, well, not going to do that, but…not for the not for these bowls. (laughs)
Emma: That was the vibe I was getting.
Elsie: It was fun to try. OK, but seriously, I do enjoy cooking, I actually really do. But I have a lot of fails.
Emma: Part of cooking is failing. I sometimes I think people, I don’t know, have this perception that it’s so, I mean it’s very disappointing when you were planning to eat something delicious like a cookie bowl.
Elsie: Oh, we still atethose delicious blobby cookie bowls.
Emma: Yeah. I think failure is just part of it. I don’t know. But I think that about everything and especially cooking, because that’s just how you learn.
Emma: All right. So let’s talk about some of our favorite recipes for various things. So first up, let’s do our favorite recipes for a date night at home.
Elsie: Ok, last year, you can see this on our IGTV because I didn’t blog it, but I learned to make pasta for the first time. So I’ll link to the ABM IGTB about pasta. So I didn’t get that far into it. Like I learned how to make basic pasta and it was so fun. But I still haven’t made, like I had visions of making like, colorful ravioli and like different shapes and different types of pasta. I feel like pasta is kind of like a long journey that you could go on for years. So that’s probably like my number one, is ever since the first time that I bought fresh pasta instead of dried pasta and then learned to make it, I’m just like a total convert about making pasta. It’s so magical.
Emma: Fresh pasta is amazing. It’s a good amount of effort, but. Oh, it’s so good. It’s so worth it. Delish. Anything else?
Elsie: I also put baked mac and cheese. I love that. Emma has a lobster mac and cheese recipe that’s delicious.
Emma: That’s if you’re fancy like me. (laughs)
Elsie: Oh yeah. Well to be honest I make mac and cheese all the time because I’m a mom. This is a totally different animal, and I will say one just like quick tip, if you don’t want to know how bad for you baked mac and cheese is, you should never make it, because once you make it one time you realize, like Annie’s mac and cheese is basically health food compared to this.
Emma: Compared…(laughs) Yeah. You’re like, how much butter is going into this? How much cheese?
Elsie: It’s so much butter. But it is, it’s so much cheese and butter but it’s delicious. And the other thing I put down for date night, because this is my ultimate food always and forever is hibachi. So every year for Mother’s Day and my birthday and pretty much any time I get to choose, I always, always, always pick hibachi. And Emma just did a recipe for yum yum sauce. And I will say hibachi is probably like I miss everything about every type of restaurant, but I definitely miss hibachi just because it’s like, I don’t know. weekend guilty pleasure that we used to do it quite a bit and yeah, I mean I’d be making it…
Emma: You get a little show with your dinner. So it’s extra.
Elsie: It’s so much fun. One of my kids is scared of it and the other one loves it.
Emma: Great. (laughs).
Elsie: So fun. Anyway. Ok, so tell us your date night at home recipes.
Emma: OK, there are two things that Trey and I make super often. If we’re having a night in and not just like throwing something together and like watching TV, but like truly trying to have a date night at home moment. And one is stir fry and that’s if Trey is more in charge because he — I love to stir fry, but he’s kind of the master at it. And his stir fry is usually like shrimp, noodles and sometimes various vegetables, sometimes not. It’s kind of a at home hibachi thing, but he does it with a cast iron skillet.
Emma: So that and then one thing that we’ve been making since we were dating together for like date nights at home is risotto I, I just love risotto. It’s one of my favorite things to eat out and favorite things to make it home some people don’t like…if you’ve never made risotto, here’s how it works. You’re basically cooking rice in an open pot, so you’re slowly adding stock and wine and it cooks you know over 30, 40 minutes, something like that, maybe a little longer, it depends how much you’re making. So it’s kind of a slow thing to make. And I sort of like that when we’re having a date night at home because I, I like to just stand there and stir while we’re chatting. It’s easy and it feels like the date’s like already starting, but I’m not really, like I really don’t even measure. I just pour in stock and pour in wine until it, you know, I taste one grain and it’s cooked all the way through. And then you add some cheese and some other things, I’ll think some recipes. But I’ve made it so many times, I really just kind of wing it. And my favorite thing about risotto is that you really have to open a bottle of wine in order to make it. And so you can just be drinking the wine. And sometimes I’ll end up with very little wine in my risotto because we have drank most of the wine before it’s really cooked. (laughs) But it’s kind of fun. And if you’re staying home, it’s like, yeah, it’s fun.
Elsie: Why the hell not? You just romanticize that risotto so well, I really want to make it now.
Emma: I love risotto and you can serve it. It’s kind of a side dish. So you served alongside a protein or tofu or a lot of vegetables or whatever, but it’s typically kind of a side to something else, a complement to something else…anyway. Yep. All right. So next up, what about holiday tradition recipes?
Elsie: So this is our nostalgic…
Emma: I was picturing Christmas and Thanksgiving. Is that kind of what you were thinking with these?
Elsie: Oh, yeah, definitely what I met. So I feel like once Thanksgiving hits from then until New Year’s, it’s just like game on for all these recipes. So all of mine, they go for that for whatever month and a half. It’s a zone. Yes.
Emma: I put down Oreo truffles at Christmas time.
Elsie: Is that a recipe? On the blog?
Emma: Yes. we have it on the blog.
Elsie: I’ve never made that before? It’s it easy or difficult?
Emma: It’s very easy. If you can make cake pops, take it down two steps and here you go. These are super easy.
Elsie: I finally learned to make cake pops without falling apart. I was so proud of myself last year.
Emma: Hey! Yeah. Cake pops are kinda hard. Ok, so yeah. Oreo truffles. Delicious. If you’ve never had them you should make them. To me, it’s a Christmas thing, but you could certainly make them any time of year. At Thanksgiving, two side dishes that are very important to us as a family is green bean casserole because that’s Trey favorite and baked macaroni and cheese, which is my favorite. And last year I made a recipe for our blog that combines both together. And it was really delicious in my opinion.
Emma: So, yeah, that…also this one’s kind of just fall time. I don’t know why I put it on here. To me, all the fall is a holiday.
Elsie: Oh for sure!
Emma: I am that person. (laughs) But I love to make chili, so basically as soon as it’s fall time chili, but especially around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and if we have friends over, that’s something I make. And here’s my rule on Chili. Lots of different kinds. I’m good with meat Chili. I’m good with white chili, whatever. Vegetable chili, love it, all sorts. I make lots of different kinds I’ll throw wacky stuff in there, sometimes whatever. But it must have Fritos. If you don’t serve your chili with Fritos, get out of here! (laughs)
Elsie: I absolutely agree with that. I think that you have to have Fritos and I would even add to that sour cream and onion that’s like extremely important to me. That has all three.
Emma: Yes. Yeah if it doesn’t have sour cream. Forget it.
Elsie: Ok, I just want to say I just want to derail your story and say that my favorite dive bar do you remember from the Shania Twain story I told.
Elsie: Yeah. It’s from one of my embarrassing stories a little while back. So my favorite dive bar where we used to go all the time. They served Chili Frito pie, you know, like you, they make it in the bag with the bag of Fritos. But they did it with Doritos with like traditional orange Doritos. And it was amazing. I mean, it’s like I was going to say I was good for the ages.
Emma: Yeah, that’s what it is. It’s just such like hearty junk food and it’s really fun.
Elsie: It was magical. If you are going to already be eating chips with your chili, just try it out.
Emma: Yeah. And I’m I’m it’s all right. If I go like more north in the Midwest, then I know everyone’s all about the saltine crackers with their chili and that’s cool. But I’m telling you to get the Fritos, come on guys! (laughs)
Elsie: No, I totally agree. Fritos one hundred percent.
Emma: I will be curious. Speaking of that though to see, because I know this episode, we’re talking all about food and I just feel like there’s so much regionality with food, like people from the Midwest like things a certain way. People from the South like this, people from the coast are like, what are you talking about? You know? So I think it’ll be fun to hear from listeners, I don’t know wherever they’re from, if they chime in on things anyway. Ok, let’s hear your holiday tradition recipes. What gets you feeling festive?
Elsie: Oh, all right. I well, I love Hot Toddy, so I’ll link a couple. By the way, every single recipe here is linked in the show notes if that’s not super obvious. Abeautifulmess.comcom/podcast. That’s our show notes. Every Monday we have a blog post that shows all the show notes so should be very easy to find. If you want all these recipes, they’ll be on the blog for all eternity.
Emma: Yeah. They’re on there. Yes. You could also just search at the top bar of the blog. A lot of people ask me for a blog post constantly every day of the week, DM’s and stuff. And all I have to do is use the search bar and send it to them. So maybe I’ll just put a PSA out there that anyone can use the search bar. (laughs)
Emma: Stop asking Elsie. (laughs).
Elsie: No it’s okay. (laughs) I’m not mad. OK, so I love a hot toddy. The cinnamon one that Emma posted this past year is delicious. I pretty much will drink any hot toddy though, if I’m being honest. It’s one of my favorite cocktails. It’s definitely my favorite winter-themed cocktail. I am not real big on the like milky cocktails, so I do not go there on, you know, like the eggnog, you know what I mean.
Emma: Yeah, I’ll have a White Russian or I’ll have one. I can’t have more than one. I’m getting old, but.
Elsie: Yeah. We went to that white Russian or that sorry, that Big Lebowski themed bar in Iceland. And that was definitely the last time I’ve had a white Russian and I probably won’t have one unless I end up at that themed bar again in Iceland. (laughs)
Emma: That was like five years ago.
Elsie: Yeah. OK. Anyway, Homemade Chex Mix is a very, very, very big deal in our family. It’s our number one most festive food. I make it with tons of butter. It’s very bad for you. I put the recipe on the blog last year and I also love making trail mix. So I’ll put both of these. They’re very similar. But the biggest difference is that one of them has a lot of candy and one of them is more savory. That’s really the only difference. And one of them has granola.
Emma: Have I told you about Trey dad’s Chex Mix that he makes at Christmas time?
Elsie: No. What is its defining moment? (laughs)
Emma: Well, it’s made with a lot of butter. You mentioned, you know, it’s like baked ingredients with lots of butter. But he has a special name for it. It tastes delicious, but he has a special name that really makes it fancy. He calls it “trash”. Just trash. He just calls it trash. Yeah.
Emma: And he just makes lots of bags of it and gives it to all the kids. And it’s delicious. But I think they call it that because it’s like, you know, kind of bad for you and it’s just junk. It’s just funny.
Elsie: It’s horrible. But it’s also a once a year festive food. OK, so last year Laura asked me, is it really better to make your own chex mix than to buy it from the store and, oh, my God, if you have to ask…
Elsie: No, if you have to ask, it means that you haven’t tried them side by side. And I don’t blame you. Not everyone gets to do a blindfold test on Chex Mix, but you have to try it. It’s so much better. The gas station one, I don’t even want that. OK, so the next one is royal icing sugar cookies. We do have a couple of recipes for this one. It’s a lifelong love for me. I’ll do it until I die for sure. It’s definitely my number one favorite craft/recipe thing because it really is heavy on the craft skills, which really appeals to me. It takes several days if you want to make a batch of elaborate sugar cookies, it’s a several day commitment, usually three full days, because you have to do the sugar cookies and then you have to start the icing. And each color of icing is kind of supposed to sit before the next colors go on.
Emma: It really gives you an appreciation for bakers who make these and they like make the beautiful ones that are like, you know, characters for movies or whatever.
Elsie: It’s true.
Emma: It’s worth every penny if you have ever, like, bought sugar cookies like that and thought “these were kind of pricey”. It was worth it. You should try to make them yourself. It’s so hard.
Elsie: It’s true. For my daughter’s birthday this year, I bought her two dozen royal icing sugar cookies and it was like one hundred and thirty dollars. It was like the Vampirina character. So, yeah, it was a crazy price. But since I’ve made them, I was honestly like, you know, I couldn’t have done any better. And I respect the price tag because they are so much work way, way, way more work than a cake or something like that. OK, one of Emma’s recipes actually I have three favorite Thanksgiving recipes that are all Emma’s that haven’t been mentioned yet. So this is crazy.
Elsie: Caramel apple cheesecake, which I usually make that every year except for last year she made this pumpkin pie/cheesecake and it’s like marbled together. And now I think that’s more my cheesecake lane. I think I’ll probably replace the. But they’re both so good. So if you have a big party, make both. And stuffing meatballs. I just asked Jeremy right before we started, what’s your favorite ABM recipe of all time? And he said, stuffing meatballs too. It’s a very big deal. They’re just they’re amazing. If you like meatballs at all, if you like stuffing at all, just make them. And I promise you, they’re a Thanksgiving tradition in our family forever. And Cranberry Margarita’s, which cranberry is a great flavor for every cocktail. I love cranberry, every kind of drink, but it’s so good in a margarita for some reason.
Emma: I also like that your holiday list started and ended with a cocktail.
Elsie: Oh, it did, huh. Well, it’s pretty well balanced. Hot toddy and a margarita.
Emma: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, definitely balanced. OK, let’s talk about just straight up desserts.
Emma: So sweet treats. Things you bake when you’re just like needing a dessert around the house.
Elsie: Emma’s no bake cookie recipe is incredible. No baked cookies are Jeremy’s number one favorite dessert — favorite cookie. So he loves it when we make them. I will say I don’t recommend making them with kids after I tried it one time. It’s not worth it. They can’t really help very much. It’s more of an adult job.
Emma: If you have like an older kid, like…
Elsie: Like a sixth grader.
Emma: Yeah, you know, getting in that range then, might work better. But yeah, it involves very hot sugar. So you don’t want to get that on little fingers because it’s hot.
Elsie: Yes, it’s very hot, but they are delicious and yeah. Perfect traditional no bake cookies. And the thing I really, really want to learn is ice cream. So I’ve been thinking that’s my next journey. After I complete my ravioli chapter of my life, then I think I’m going to move on to ice cream. I really, really want to learn to make it, but I haven’t ever made it even one time yet.
Emma: Ice cream is fun. You’ll like it. And depending on your base, it can be very easy or more like making a custard. So, which is a little more advanced, I would say, but not anything you couldn’t do. It’s like making pudding.
Emma: Yeah, well, no bake cookies were on my list to. That’s also one of my favorites. I think it’s because we ate it so much growing up in the summers, because in the summers once the air conditioner came on, I know our parents listen to this podcast. So I’m trolling my dad right now, guys. So just ignore me if you want. But as soon as the air conditioner came on, we were no longer allowed to turn on the oven or sometimes use the dryer. So it was clothesline and no bake cookies for the summer.
Elsie: It really…because you’re thinking that we’re not serious right now. We are dead serious.
Emma: Luckily, no bake cookies are delicious. So all is well. OK, anyway, so that was on my list. Here’s the other things on my list. So one of my favorite sweet treats is quick breads. My favorite is banana bread, which I feel like is the one people are most familiar with. If you think of a sweet bread, banana bread classic. I also really love pumpkin bread and I also love chocolate chip bread. So…
Elsie: I love pumpkin bread. That’s good.
Emma: Zucchini bread is also really good. You know what I’m thinking about? There’s a lot of breads I like, but yeah, I love sweet bread. Quick bread goes great with coffee and banana bread is one of Trey’s favorites too. So that’s something that we both eat. Uh, OK. What else. Obviously chocolate chip cookies, but probably my favorite is to add some pumpkin and have pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. And sometimes I make these even out of season. I don’t even care. I eat pumpkin cookies in May, bring it! (laughs) OK, and then another cookie that I love is, I posted these a little while ago, I think I called them lemon burst crinkle cookies, but they’re kind of like, if you ever seen chocolate crinkle cookies, they’re like that, but they’re lemon. So it’s just a very bright pop of lemon cookie.
Elsie: They’re beautiful.
Emma: Yeah, very delicious, I thought. And then Trey’s favorite dessert is cheesecake. So I’ve made lots of cheesecake over the years. I really like cheesecake too. But I just mean it’s his one of his favorite desserts and I’m really dying to get Ting’s recipe for cheesecake and make it and maybe share it on the blog if he lets me, because he went through this phase where he made like so many cheesecakes, I don’t even know how many because he was trying to perfect his recipe and he got to a place. He was like, this is the one. And then now he’s like, so over cheesecake.
Elsie: He really made like fifty cheesecakes in a month. It was his quarantine hobby. They were delicious. We had a couple and we had some of the ones with gold on them. He got really into the edible gold.
Emma: Yeah, he did. Yeah. Yeah. So I really want to make his like final cheesecake recipe if he’ll send it to me. So.
Elsie: It was super good.
Emma: Yeah. All right. Next up, let’s talk about favorite cocktails. We kind of already started this subject a couple times, huh?
Elsie: Well, here’s the thing. In twenty nineteen I was like, I’m going to give up at home drinking because I’ll just drink at restaurants for special occasions. And I love a fancy cocktail made by a bartender, but in 2020 guess what happened? So I completely take that back and I think at home bartending is the greatest gift that most of us have and it’s wonderful. So yeah.
Emma: Yeah I love an at home cocktail.
Elsie: I do miss restaurants but this in the meantime this is, this is kind of all you have. So…
Emma: It’s bridging the gap.
Elsie: Yes. (laughs)
Emma: Tell us some of your favorite at home cocktails or the ones you make most often. My list is kind of like favorites and then just kind of ones that I make most often.
Elsie: Ok, yes. So my number one favorite cocktail is a classic gimlet, which the recipe is definitely on the blog you can make it was gin or vodka, but I really like it better with gin. So a super limey gin gimlet. That’s my number one forever. It’s so good. I also love a watermelon margarita, but honestly there are so many margarita recipes on our blog and margaritas are one of the easiest cocktails to make it taste just like a restaurant. I mean, honestly, even better than a restaurant because a lot of restaurants serve like neon yellow. You know, my nemesis Margarita that I hate. So, yeah, making a fresh margarita is always delightful, very simple. So I’ll link the watermelon one and the coconut one, and then you can decide where you want to go from there.
Emma: We also have a margarita mix recipe.
Emma: Just for the basic, you know, basic straight up. You get it OK.
Elsie: Yes. That I think that one got a lot of clicks from Google when the quarantine first started because you couldn’t go to the store and people were like, how do I make a cocktail out of things I already have right now in my house? OK, my original favorite cocktail was a mojito, so I still love mojitos. I think that was actually like I was embarrassed of it for a long time because when’s your first favorite thing then you like you know, you grow, you change, you learn, and then you’re embarrassed of yourself, you know? But now I look back and I’m like, those are pretty good first cocktail compared to, you know.
Emma: Mojitos are delicious.
Elsie: Yeah. I don’t know. I still order it now. It’s very refreshing. And I also love an old fashioned and honestly, I also love a Cosmo because cranberry again can’t really go wrong anything with cranberry. I will love it. My favorite cocktail that I’ve ever written for the blog is called the Summer Night Cocktail because I basically tried to recreate this….my favorite cocktail from a restaurant in Palm Springs, so it’s a replica and I feel like anytime you do a replica recipe and you feel like you really nailed it, it’s just something to be very proud of.
Emma: What’s in it? I can’t remember this one. What’s in the Summer Night Cocktail?
Elsie: It’s rum, pineapple juice, mint and cucumber. So it’s very refreshing. It’s a poolside drink.
Emma: Mm hmm. No that sounds very summertime. Delish.
Elsie: I have one more. Um, I also love OK, haters are gonna hate, but I do love the champagne soaked gummy bears. I do. They’re delicious. They’re not sticky and gross. I mean, they’re maybe somewhat slimy, but they’re not sticky. They’re so…
Emma: Well they’re more moist than, you know… (laughs)
Elsie: They’re well, they just get bigger. And honestly, they’re so good. I think they’re an amazing thing to make for a party. I wouldn’t be making that on like a Tuesday night at home or anything, but I think that they’re super fun. And also the Jello shots, like we were talking the other day about how proud we are that we have the greatest Jello Shots archive on the Internet on our blog. We’ve been working on it for like five years. (laughs)
Emma: And this is in large part like 90 percent Laura Gummerman. So, yeah…
Elsie: Laura is really, really creative with her Jello shots, and I think she takes great pride in them.
Emma: Yeah, I feel like I did the first one. And then after that, Laura just like did all these amazing ones, like I did a pretty basic one. And now we have a pretty substantial archive of Jello shots. If you need Jello shot recipes, look no further than ABeautifulMess.com.
Elsie: It’s probably the best pool party thing you could ever make.
Emma: Oh, yeah, yeah. I’ve brought them on a boat before, like, you know, when it when I’ve gone on boats with friends and it’s just fun. It’s just like a fun, silly thing to do. Yes.
Emma: OK, at home cocktails that I love. So here are some things that I make often love. No one is a fresh daiquiri. I like frozen daiquiris when I’m out, but I don’t usually get out my blender for at home cocktails unless I’m making a couple like if I have friends over or something. So just me and Trey or just me, I make a fresh daiquiri. That’s probably my number one. And I also love martinis generally. So usually I will make a vodka martini. I do like gin martinis, but I just more often, if I’m making it plain, I make a vodka martini and then I also love lemon drop martinis. And I put a I put a recipe on the blog recently for a lemon drop martinis and I shared how I make it a mocktail version. And I also have an IGTV about that. Yeah. So in case you’re listening to this section and you’re like, I don’t drink. Don’t worry. We do have some mocktails on the website too.
Elsie: We actually have a really good mocktail archive. Yeah, we do, because we’re definitely like moderation people. OK, so martinis, love it. Hot toddies and mulled wine, which we have quite a few hot toddy recipes. I actually don’t know if we have a mulled wine recipe on the blog. I need to go look, but I love to make this for parties.
Elsie: We do for sure.
Emma: OK, good. I was like I feel like we did a long time ago. And it’s pretty like it’s a pretty basic thing to make. But if you’ve never made it, then of course you’d prefer a recipe. Anyway, I like to make this in like a big crock pot for parties, and especially if it’s like a, and I don’t even know if that’s going to happen this year, but especially if it’s like a Halloween or a Christmas party. Last year we had a Christmas party at my house and I made mulled wine in a crock pot and or some people call it a slow cooker. I call it a crock pot. Yeah. So but it’s a slow cooker to some people. But anyway, I have a Christmas mug collection because I like to serve mulled wine in like a coffee mug because it’s you know, it’s like a hot toddy, like something some kind of mug that has a handle is nice because it’s pretty warm. It’s kind of hot.
Emma: So I have a big Christmas mug collection and I recently got a big not big, but a substantial Halloween mug collection. So I’m just waiting for the day I can have a…
Elsie: She got a huge Halloween mug collection for her quarantine self treat.
Emma: I was kind of feeling depressed, guys. And then I. Yeah. And then I was like, I’m going to get — the Christmas mugs, make me so happy. I’m going to get a whole bunch of Halloween mugs.
Elsie: About mulled wine. I just want to say, put it out there. This is the best thing make for a party because it smells really good because you’re basically just cooking wine with a bunch of spices. And, you know, like when you make the stove simmer or, you know, when you make apple cider, it’s really nice. It’s that kind of thing. You definitely, definitely want to make this.
Emma: Yes. And there’s lots of different ways to make it. It is basically a spicy, not spicy, hot, spicy like spices, like cinnamon and sweet red wine, which might sound weird, but it’s really, really delicious. And…
Elsie: Don’t you do it like a shot in it at the end because all the wine cooks out?
Emma: I do. I do. Yeah, but you don’t have to you know, if you wanted to keep it lighter on the booze, you could. But I do. I put yeah. It’s kind of a sangria but hot. I also love to make Moscow mules — super simple. The easiest cocktail ever to make and to drink — Moscow mules. And if I’m in the mood for something bitter, I love Aperol Spritz and in the winter sometimes I’ll make a negroni because to me an aperol spritz is kind of a warm weather thing. I would make it in the winter too, because I just really enjoy an Aperol Spritz. But yeah, I also really like Negronis. And then I also have had to mention our friend Natalie. She’s shared a lot of recipes on our site and she has a cocktail book which we will link, and it’s called Mod Cocktails and I love to pull it out and make classics, but it also has some that I’m not as familiar with. I’m not a bartender and she is. So I made one the other day and I should’ve wrote down the name because it was something I had never ordered before. But I realized I had all the ingredients for it and it was delicious. It was kind of like a different take on a Manhattan, basically, and it was really good. So anyway, it’s fun to just have cocktail books and open them up and kind of see if you have all the ingredients and you try something new. So.
Elsie: I agree. We’ll link her book in the show notes. It is like if you want to get one cocktail book, but just get that one. It’s really, really good.
Emma: Yeah. And it’s really cute. It’s an adorable size and it’s just really beautiful photography, very colorful and fun and it’s just great.
Elsie: It’s giftable.
Emma: Very giftable.
Elsie: OK, so the next one is what you take to a party, which I think this is an important one because, you know, showing up with a good gift to a party or a good dish to share is important.
Emma: Yes, true.
Elsie: I guess it depends on what kind of party, but let’s just assume it’s a regular housewarming party. Yeah.
Emma: So my number one thing is either a cheese board or a dessert. So let me explain a little more…
Elsie: Ooh, cheese board!
Emma: Yeah, the cheeseboard is just if I’m at a party and there’s not a cheese board, I’m upset. OK, gotta have a cheeseboard I need some snacks. I like snacks. You know, I don’t really want to like a whole meal. Like that’s not I mean, if it’s a dinner party. Sure. But I just, you know, so love a cheese board. And what I like about bringing a cheese board to a party, if you don’t think there’s going to be one, if you know they’re already going to do that, then no need. But if you are in charge of it is you don’t have to assemble it until you get there. So you really don’t have to worry about making your dish travel. It can be in the packages that you bought it in and you just bring your cutting board or whatever, you’re going to be serving it on and then you assemble it when you get there to the party. And I really like that because sometimes figuring out how to make something travel is the most difficult part of bringing something to a party. So that or I’ll often bring a dessert, which is usually something that will travel well, like cookies or some kind of bars, brownies or truffles, like the Oreo truffles if it’s the holidays.
Emma: Yeah. What about you? What do you bring? Should I invite you to my party? I’m going to decide based on what you answer.
Elsie: Well, I’m definitely going to bring wine. I always bring wine to a party. I think that’s just what you do. I love to bring cookies, like if I ever have cookies or I have time to make them, because that’s the thing I talked about earlier, the time commitment. But when I’m going to someone’s house and I know ahead of time, I will definitely make the cookies sometimes. And it makes me so fulfilled to present this, you know, epic little treat.
Emma: The sugar cookies?
Elsie: Oh yeah. Royal icing sugar cookies. I mean, yeah, I don’t even make any other kind of cookies, I make chocolate chip but you know, whatever.
Emma: I have to say something on the cookies.
Emma: I don’t usually — I sometimes will make the royal icing sugar cookies but I am not as good as other people, I’m just not as crafty on it. But I like to eat them anyway. I went to a New Year’s party this past year that my friends hosted and they’re both vegan. And so Laura’s vegan sugar cookie recipe really came in handy. So I ended up making these like star kind of sparkly looking royal icing sugar cookies that were 100 percent vegan because I was a little bit at a loss because like I just said, I usually bring a cheese board and that that’s not going to work at the vegan party.
Elsie: I agree. The vegan royal icing sugar cookie recipe is probably the best thing you can make for a vegan get together.
Emma: Yeah, I went over really well. It was a great recipe. So I was glad Laura had shared that because I was like, oh, what am I going to make. Anyway, OK, I interrupted you.
Elsie: No, no, it’s good. Ok, so as far as just like something quick and easy, I think the. Easiest thing to make is pie. I love pie. It’s kind of like half craft, too, because I make it out of sort of like, you know, things you can just buy from the store like a crust from the freezer section and pie filling from the, you know, whatever. So you can make a pie so easy. I think this is a great thing to make with kids, too. And, you know, it can say a cute phrase on it. I love making pie crust, like just decorating it. So I think that’s a cute gift. Festive. So what do you love to make when you have guests over? I guess this is a little bit repetitive now that I think of it. But I guess what do you what’s your go to hosting like, you know, because we all, like, pull our same tricks out over and over, don’t we?
Emma: Yeah. Yeah. I’d like I mean, I try to do new things because I just think it’s fun. But I also am that type of host where I will often make something that I’ve never even made before. And it’s like, you know, 60/40 if it turns out. So that’s probably not that’s really not a great thing to do. But I just am like that. I just I love to try new things. Anyway. So I’d already mentioned my number one thing, cheese plates. And then I’ve mentioned, you know, things that I like to make in a crockpot for parties, which is usually mulled wine or like some kind of batch version of a hot toddy or I’ll make chili if it’s like any kind of fall time or football party. Yeah, chili.
Elsie: Stealing my answer!
Emma: The one other thing I would say is I love to make baked dips. So probably my best one is on the blog. It’s a jalapeno popper dip. Well, I served it at a friend’s giving when we were at the studio house. So I don’t know if you remember that. It’s been many years. I’ve made it a bunch since then, but that’s probably one time that I can think of that you would have. I don’t know if you ate any of it, but it was there. But anyway, it’s really good. It’s a very it’s just a dip that you bake in the oven in like a casserole dish and. Yeah, a hot dip. It’s delicious. So, yeah,
Elsie: That’s nice. I’ve never made a hot dip before. Queso I guess.
Emma: Oh highly recommend. Yeah, queso’s a hot dip.
Elsie: Um, OK, so what we like to do when we have people over are, is usually something that you can make a bar so we usually make tacos a lot. I love tacos, they’re a breakfast food and a daytime food and an evening food — they’re for all times of the day. (laughs) It’s definitely one of my top favorite foods and we’ve had grilled cheese bar quite a few times too, which is super fun just to like get all the fancy ingredients and let people make something kind of unique themselves. Build your own pizza bar. That’s a good one. Emma’s had that before at one of her parties. I remember. And if it is September through springtime, I basically make chili one hundred percent of the time. If people are coming over at least has like a side meal, you know, just because it’s I don’t know. I just think it’s a staple. And the other thing I wanted to mention is every year, usually in January or February, it’s different on different years whenever Lunar New Year starts and it’s actually two weeks long. So we just do it sometime within the two weeks that all our friends can get together. But we have a big Chinese New Year party for Lunar New Year every year. …So that is super special to us because Jeremy takes it upon himself to channel his passion for Chinese cooking. And it’s just something we always look forward to. And it’s fun all year round to test new recipes so that we can make them for that big meal.
Emma: Yeah, Jeremy is actually a really great cook. He gets very into it. The things I think of with him is like Chinese food, Vietnamese food, and then like Hispanic, Mexican like South American type spice, like a lot of spices and like interesting flavors.
Elsie: Yeah. Jeremy loves…his cookbook collection is mostly different countries in different regions. So it’s so inspiring and we’re so different about how we cook. So I love that too, because I feel like I’m just a Pinterest mom who likes making cookies and he is you know, he’s spent like a year trying to make the best Indian food and stuff like that. So good team. Teamwork.
Emma: Yeah, he’s very adventurous eater.
Emma: It’s very fun. OK, uh what next? Oh, let’s talk about breakfast recipes.
Elsie: Yes. Breakfast is my favorite time to have a get together. I think I’m just thinking extra about get togethers right now because it’s been so long since we had one. (laughs)
Elsie: I’m kind of like craving it if you can’t tell.
Emma: It’s a lot of wishful thinking going on over here.
Elsie: I know. Eventually, eventually on a different year. So my number one favorite breakfast recipe in the world is ricotta pancakes, I always order ricotta pancakes on any menu, and Emma has a recipe for them on our blog, so I definitely wanted to put that and I love breakfast tacos. Breakfast tacos are like, it can just fit any mood. It can fit any level of indulgence that you want to be or, you know, if you’re trying to make them healthier. It works for that too. It’s just so. Yeah. I love breakfast tacos. I love Eggs Benedict. That is one of my first loves and one of the first times I ever learned something from like learned to cook something from YouTube was to learn to do what’s the egg called?
Emma: A poached egg.
Elsie: Yeah, I learned to do a poached egg. I earned that from YouTube. It was so fun. And then homemade pop tarts, which sounds so silly, but they’re super fun to make our kids love doing it. I love doing it. They’re delicious. So what’s not to love?
Emma: If you want it to sound cooler, you just call it a hand pie. But that’s homemade pop tart.
Elsie: Homemade pop tart sounds cooler to me, do you think hand pie sounds?
Emma: Me, too. They’re both cool. No, I think but you kind of dissed it. So I was like, oh well here’s a different name if you want, but it’s the same thing.
Elsie: Oh no, I’m not talking shit about Pop Tarts. I like Pop Tarts.
Emma: Storebought? Or you mean homemade.
Elsie: I like store bought pop tarts but I like homemade way better.
Emma: OK, I guess I would agree. There’s only… I only like some s’mores store bought Pop Tarts.
Elsie: Ew. S’mores?
Emma: Which one do you eat?
Elsie: I only like strawberry and blueberry.
Elsie: Yeah. OK that’s fine.
Emma: OK, ok, breakfast. So I have to mention my husband Trey is kind of the pancake master.
Emma: Yeah. His dad was really into making pancakes when they were growing up. He would do the whole like it was your birthday or special day. He would like write their name in pancake batter like that type of thing. So Trey is really into pancakes and he’s very specific about his pancakes. Yeah. So we actually have a little like electric plug in griddle that the only reason we own it is for when Trey makes pancakes, like that’s all we ever used it for and it’s worth it.
Elsie: So does make them with it like pictures and doodles and stuff?
Emma: Sometimes he’ll make shapes but we don’t have kids so I won’t lie. We more just like make the pancakes and eat them.
Elsie: I want to learn to make shaped pancakes that are fancy.
Emma: But yeah he’s made — he’s made like my initials for me before and stuff like that. But I don’t know, I feel like it’s a little more fun for kids, but I think it’s fun. I’m a kid inside my heart. OK, anyway…
Elsie: Who doesn’t want their name on a pancake?
Emma: Yeah, it’s fun. And then for a more savory option, one of my favorite things is a breakfast sandwich. I’d say along the lines of breakfast tacos like you’re talking about, there’s lots of different ways you can make a breakfast sandwich and you could make it a little bit lighter or something very indulgent. There’s lots of options there. And we have a few different breakfast sandwiches on the blog and I can link a number of them. But my probably favorite favorite is just fairly simple with like a overeasy, over hard egg, veggie sausage, regular sausage, fine. I just really like veggie sausage and a biscuit. Got to have a biscuit and I like it when the yolks a little bit runny and it kind of gets into the biscuit as you’re eating it. That’s where it’s at.
Elsie: That sounds magical.
Emma: OK, and let’s see what else. Oh, so it’s still summertime right now. So let’s talk about some of our summertime favorites.
Elsie: Yes, I love frozen margaritas. Has to be homemade. I think I’m just talking about Margarita’s a lot tonight. I feel like I’m going a little crazy on the margaritas.
Emma: Are you like we need we need to wrap this up. I need to go make a margarita. (laughs)
Elsie: Yes. Yes I am. (laughs)
Emma: It’s evening while we’re recording together just so you know. (laughs)
Elsie: They’re so easy to make, but yeah. Blended, I think a frozen margarita or like a pina colada is like the ultimate poolside drink that you can make. It’s just, you know, kind of like nostalgic. Deviled eggs. I love deviled eggs. I know not everyone does, but I don’t understand why I love them so much.
Emma: I love them, too. So when I when people don’t like them, I’m like, I mean, do you just mean they’re not very healthy? Because that’s true. They’re pretty high fat, but wow, they’re delicious.
Elsie: Oh, I just realized all my items on my list are all drinking except for deviled eggs. Funny. OK, I’ll add one.
Emma: That’s funny.
Elsie: I also do love pasta salad and potato salad, so I’ll put that in there. That is really…I’m going to make pasta salad with Nova tomorrow. I promised her because we’re doing cooking lessons right now. That’s like our new thing. It’s really cute. So I think that if I just cook the pasta and refrigerate it ahead of time, then she can do all the rest of it herself. Which will be so cute.
Emma: That’s a great idea.
Elsie: And then Aperol Spritz, Emma mentioned earlier, but it really is the ultimate summer drink. It’s just summer magic. I don’t think it’s bitter, though. I thought it was weird when you said it was bitter because I think of it as a sweet cocktail.
Emma: Well, it’s made with Aperol and then prosecco, and there’s different types of prosecco, I guess. Is that true? I feel like there’s certain kinds of pop before that were much on the sweeter side. And then but maybe I was buying champagne when it was not sweet. I don’t actually know. I’m not an expert on this, but yeah, it’s a mix. I think it’s pretty balanced. I have friends who think it’s very bitter and I’ve had friends say it’s very sweet. I think it’s kind of balanced. But I wouldn’t…
Elsie: It’s definitely in the middle.
Emma: I think it’s like a negroni, though, to me, like, you know, Aperol…
Elsie: But not as strong.
Emma: No not as strong, no much lighter as far as booze level. But anyway, I don’t know, I’m not a bartender. This is just my at home opinion.
Elsie: OK. Other than that, for summer, watermelon, I love watermelon. I eat it every day. I buy it every time I go to the grocery store in bulk. This morning I made a watermelon and orange smoothie for the kids. So delicious. Anyway. So yeah, anything with watermelon. I’ll just put a bunch of watermelon recipes because I noticed we have like 40. What are your?
Emma: Yeah you seem to really like watermelon. Ok, so I had to mention two dips. So if I’m going on a boat or really if I have any excuse to make these, I make these.
Elsie: Yes I was curious about what your boat dip is besides guacamole.
Emma: Yeah. So guacamole is one. And I like the kind where you stir in a little bit of sour cream or Greek yogurt. That’s my trick. I think that’s from Queer Eye, pretty sure.
Emma: I think so. Anyway, so guacamole. Love guacamole. And then this other dip that I make is called Love Dip and it’s really my sister in law, Cat. She makes this for boat days and so, and I love it. So now I always make it for any kind of boat day or any kind of like, lake day and all love tip is, is cream cheese and salsa. That’s it. That’s all it is. You can’t make it wrong. You could put, you know, like it’s usually kind of two parts cream cheese, one part salsa. But you really don’t you don’t need a recipe. But I have had a lot of people, as I’ve mentioned this a few times, or like friends have had it, people will kind of like text me for the recipe. So I’ve been thinking about putting one on the blog, even though it is so simple. But I just thought, well, that would at least then be like a straightforward, here it is. But I do have a version…
Elsie: You should put it on the blog because I won’t even remember this.
Emma: OK, well I’ll put it on the blog. Sometimes I just…
Elsie: I did have that dip before though when you when we went on a boat day and it was so good.
Emma: Yeah. It’s not the most attractive thing because it’s kind of like a pink color, but it’s really, really good, I think, so…Yeah. And I don’t know why we call it Love Dip. I guess just because we love it (laughs) I don’t know. But I do have a different version of it on the blog that is similar but a little bit more fancy. And it has black beans kind of mixed in, but it’s still a very southwest creamy dip, so I’ll link that one. But and yeah, I might put Love Dip up on the blog. I just, I didn’t know if it was too simple and if people would be like, why are you blogging this? It’s so simple. And I’m like, I know, but you don’t know. It’s some people that I make.
Elsie: You’ll find a way. You can do it.
Emma: So OK, so those two dips and then the other a couple of things I would say is basically things that to me are very like picnic, uh, you know, potluck, outdoor barbecue type foods.
Emma: So macaroni salad and potato salad, which I have a macaroni salad recipe on the blog that I love and I literally just tonight made potato salad and like baked chicken for dinner. That’s like what I made for me and Trey for dinner. And you know, we don’t have a potato salad recipe on the blog, so I probably.
Elsie: Are you kidding me?!
Emma: I know, right? So I’m like, what is…what kind of oversight? Who’s in charge here? Oh, my God, people. So anyway…I’m in charge. I’m making fun of myself. In case you didn’t know.
Elsie: You need to get that recipe up quick because that’s that’s a very important recipe.
Emma: Yeah, it was very summertime. And I mean, I love macaroni salad’s delicious. Both of these salads are very, I make them very classic Mid West. They’re just full of mayonnaise. Delicious. But, uh. Yeah. So that and then another thing that I love in the summertime or any warm weather time is hot dogs. And I like a hot dog, very specific way. And I often go for a veggie dog. But any hot dog that you prefer is cool. It’ll work. But I love it with a, gotta toast the bun. One, two. I have this like Icelandic mustard and I’ll put a link, but it’s really good. It’s like this kind of sweet brown mustard, I don’t know how else to describe it, it’s…
Emma: It’s very delicious. And then French fried onions.
Emma: That’s yeah I know, strange. It’s kind of an Iceland thing, which I don’t know. It’s just so good if you’ve ever had a hot dog like this. Really good. I just like the crunch and the like sweet but kind of like flavorful mustard. It’s just really, really delicious. So that’s, that’s how I like my hot dogs.
Emma: Anyway, that’s it for me on the warm weather things. So we’ve talked about food now for quite some time. Maybe we should wrap it up. Let’s end it with our all time favorite or most made or just like number one recipe from the blog or the cookbook or wherever it could be anyone’s recipe. Just think you make the most often or thing that you like couldn’t live without for us.
Elsie: I definitely make the stuffing meatballs every Thanksgiving and it’s like a thing now. It’s a part of the rotation for Thanksgiving. So I’ll probably always make those and the the marbled, is it called slab pumpkin pie? I feel like it was called slab.
Emma: Yeah. That’s what I call it. OK, but it’s, it’s just like bars. It means it’s like made in a like a rectangle baking pan.
Elsie: It’s basically a cheesecake/pumpkin pie. And those are like every Thanksgiving until we die we’ll make those. So I feel like that’s pretty high praise. And then my favorite recipe that I made from the cookbook is OK, do you remember how I made hot pink cream cheese dip that was really garlicky?
Elsie: I loved that! I feel like no one’s ever made it. So I wanted to give it a shout out and maybe one person will make it. It’s beautiful.
Emma: It’s beautiful and delicious. I love garlic.
Elsie: Garlic is my favorite flavor. It would be really good. It would be like having hot pink spread on your everything bagel. Just think about that. Just give it a chance. But my — well actually you’re going to say my other favorite so you say it ok.
Emma: Yeah. My, my favorite or thing I make most often is from our cookbook Weekday Weekend and it is the pizza crust recipe that’s in that book because it’s the whole wheat pizza crust recipe, but it’s very light and soft and not like I don’t know, I feel like so often when you think whole wheat, you think, oh, this is going to be crusty. Yeah. And it’s not it’s very soft still and really good. And it’s just really easy. It’s like a you can’t fail. You really can’t hardly mess it up really. And yeah it’s.
Elsie: Really? That appeals to me.
Emma: Yeah. Super super simple. And I also love pizza. I don’t feel like I’ve talked enough about pizza in this whole episode about food. I don’t know how that happened, but I love pizza. That’s something I make most weeks. It’s not Trey’s favorite food. So if it was we would eat pizza all the time, every night because it’s one of my favorites.
Elsie: I love pizza so much too. And I do think Emma’s pizza crust recipes are all very good. It’s usually kind of a thin or hand tossed. Yeah they’re so good.
Emma: I’m working on one, though, right now for the blog. I’m not I haven’t quite got it exactly right yet, but I think I’ll get it pretty soon and practicing again this Friday night. But it’s a very deep dish. You bake it in like a brownie pan, like it’s very like crunchy on the edges.
Emma: Yeah. So I’m going to put that on the blog soon. I probably won’t be done by the time this episode goes up, but I don’t know who knows. But yeah, I love pizza. I’m always experimenting but probably my go to simple and like still kind of light. Not a super like I mean pizza is always kind of a treat but you can have like very bad for you pizza or like a lighter option. And the one in the cookbook is definitely more of a lighter option.
Elsie: Nice. I like very bad for you pizza.
Emma: Oh I do too. But as often as I eat pizza I have to have to watch it. Anyway. That’s it. Anything else you want to say about food? I feel like this is going to be a real link-tastic in the show notes.
Elsie: Yeah. So this is going to be a good show notes episode. There’s just so many good recipes. Will probably even add a couple more. Just because while we’re searching around the site to get all these links, we’ll have remorse. So yeah.
Emma: I’ll be like, Oh I forgot about this!
Elsie: But yeah, if you love cooking at home, we would love to hear about what you’re making, what you are trying to learn, like what’s on your list next. I want to learn ice cream and I want to make ravioli. Like what do you want to do? We want to know, we want to know everything because I feel like in 2020 with so much going on the world, the best thing to talk about right now sometimes is food.
Emma: I agree. I agree. Why not. Yeah. So thanks for letting us chat about food for this amount of time, really, really appreciate it. We always appreciate you guys for listening, for sharing, for leaving us reviews. Elsie just told me we’re about to hit a milestone here in a couple more episodes or whatever. Tell them what it is.
Elsie: We’re about to have one million unique listens, which I guess is so exciting. Yeah. So we feel—we are loving doing this podcast. And I don’t know. I think when we started out, we were like, let’s just do it. Let’s just see how it goes. But we really, really love it. So we want to keep doing it, you know, semi-forever. So keep sending us your suggestions.
Emma: Yep. Yep. We appreciate you can e-mail us at Podcast@abeautifulmess.com. And until next time!