I created this cocktail toward the end of summer, but it turned out so pretty and romantic looking that I thought I would save it for February. Not only does it look like Valentine’s Day in cocktail form, but as sweet and pretty as this cocktail looks, it packs a mean punch of heat that’s perfect for staying warm on these chilly February days. I mixed my own habanero infused vodka with a grapefruit and rose infused vodka I found from Ketel One. I added fresh grapefruit juice to bring out the flavor even more and a spoonful of Rose’s Grenadine Syrup for a little sweetness. Throw in some rose petals and fall in love with your new favorite cocktail… Was that cheesy enough for you?
Whether you love it or hate it, Valentine’s is just 2 days away and I’ve got a little something for everyone.. The couples, the crafty, the heartbroken, and even something for your sweet little feline friend (because let’s be real.. your cat is probably your soulmate). These are a few of my favorites I’ve created over the years and I hope that you find something you want to try no matter how you celebrate or don’t celebrate the day!
1. Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes
Let’s kick this off with something decadent! I made these cupcakes using a chocolate porter in the cake, fresh strawberries for the frosting, and homemade chocolate covered strawberries. It’s a two for one dessert!
Get the full recipe here
2. The Heartbreaker Cocktail
If your heart is on the mend after a rough break up, this one is for you! A bold rum cocktail that will make you forget all about the dirty rotten ex that broke your heart!
Get the full recipe here
3. Refillable Catnip Heart Toy
You can’t forget about your little ride or die buddy on Valentines Day! I often say Punk is my soulmate because she has been through it all with me. If you feel the same about your feline friend, celebrate them with this easy to make refillable catnip toy. Also scroll to the end of the tutorial for bonus photos of Punky geeking out on catnip because I know you all are just following me for her anyway! 😉
Get the full tutorial here
4. Broken Heart Tattoo Cookies
If you’re anti-Valentine’s guy or gal like myself then you’ll love making these! Filled with mini candies when you break them open, these tattoo-inspired cookies are as much fun to eat as they are to make! Check out the full post to see some of the other fun phrases I added to mine.
Get the full recipe here
5. Bloody Valentine Heart Wreath
Okay.. are you seeing a bit of a theme with my posts? Haha I made this wreath one year when Friday the 13th fell before Valentine’s Day. I sort of fused the two of them for this “blood” splattered creation.
Get the full tutorial here
6. Chocolate Covered Bacon
For the bacon lovers in your life.. this is a hundred times better than a box of chocolates with mystery fillings.
Get the full recipe here
7. Valentine in a Bottle
Skip the cheesy Hallmark cards and make a completely custom Valentine in a Bottle!
Get the full tutorial here
8. Brownie Dessert Cups with Whipped Cream & Raspberry Sauce
We’ll end this on a sweet note… rich heart shaped brownies, homemade whipped cream, and raspberry sauce make the perfect treat to enjoy with your sweetheart.. or if you’re single you can enjoy them both – no shame
Get the full recipe here
Have a Happy Valentine’s or Anti-Valentine’s Day!
Valentines Day is just a few days away and if you want to skip the crowded restaurants and impress your partner with a simple, but restaurant quality dinner at home instead, I’ve got just the dish! Not only does this walnut crusted salmon cost a fraction of what you’d pay for it in a restaurant, but it’s surprisingly quick and easy to throw together and can be prepped the night before.
An outer crust of pureed walnuts, blood orange zest, and a little garlic make a flavorful and crunchy complement to the tender salmon. There’s no fancy techniques here, just toss it under the broiler for 7 minutes and let it cook to perfection. Top it all off with a simple sweet and spicy blood orange salsa and you’re done!
After a few whirlwind days in Paris we were ready for the next city in our Europe trip, Avignon. I chose this city because of the fairy-tale like architecture and it wasn’t overly populated with tourists. To get there we had to take the train, which was the fastest and most affordable, but a holy nightmare when you’re lugging two giant bags and have to quickly scramble off and onto your next connecting train. We managed to make it and the train ride itself was quite enjoyable. I spent most of it just staring out of the window watching these beautiful French farmhouses whirl past us at 200 mph.
When we arrived in Avignon we hoofed it about 15 minutes from the train station to our AirBnb. The streets were cobblestone and the sidewalks were pretty narrow so it was another comical endeavor. Although not comical to us at the time at all. Your entire arm starts to feel like it’s going to be torn from the shoulder after pulling 50lbs of weight on tiny wheels across cobblestones and up and down curbs. We were sweaty, cranky, and hangry. We navigated to the AirBnb, got the keys out of the lock-box, and then opened the door to be met with a very narrow and steep spiral staircase. After some trouble with the skeleton key we finally got the door open to our little studio apartment.
The building dated back to the 18th century and one of the things I loved was seeing where parts of the plaster had been scraped away, revealing the original stone of the structure. The bathroom window opened up to a narrow alleyway with laundry strung across and scooters cruising through every so often. Just like in Paris, the first thing I did was check out the balcony. I opened the huge French doors and looked out to the square below that hosted an array of shops, crêperies, pâtisseries, and a view of the back of the Saint Pierre Basilica, which made all that heavy luggage and sweating worth it. I left the doors open, flopped down on the bed, and sent texts off to family letting them know we arrived safely.
After a bit of relaxing I opened up my luggage to retrieve a “souvenir” from Paris. Our last night there we had picked up some wine and only drank a glass and a half from it. I had corked it and packed it away in my things, silently praying it didn’t explode or leak all over my clothes during one of our train changes. Much to my relief, the bottle didn’t leak a drop, and I poured us a few glasses to celebrate the next part of our trip. This became the beginning of a tradition we referred to as “Suitcase Wine” and it was always much needed after our train experiences.
We looked up a dinner spot that didn’t open until 7 and since it was only late afternoon, we decided to wander around a bit to kill time. We checked out all the shops, found markets that we could grocery shop at the next day, and then wandered back to a bar we had seen on the way that had a big ROGUE sign posted. Rogue is one of my favorite Oregon breweries and I was surprised to find it all the way in Avignon, France.
After a couple beers we walked to our dinner spot, L’Epicerie, but found that the doors were locked. The windows were darkly tinted making it impossible to see in and the tables outside of the restaurant were completely empty, giving the appearance that they were closed for the night. We were about to give up and find another spot, but then I remembered reading a review online for the place that said they had to ring a bell to be let into the restaurant. I thought it was odd when I read it, but then spotted the bell and gave it a rang. Sure enough, the door opened and we were greeted by a smiling waitress who sat us at one of the small tables inside. The restaurant which appeared to be quite big from the front ended up being just a cozy, darkly lit room, decorated with antiques and vintage signs, with seating for maybe 25 people tops. I felt like we had been let into this secret exclusive dining club which just added to the ambiance even more. It was one of the best meals and dining experiences of our entire trip.
The next day we went down to the pâtisserie below our apartment for croissants and coffee. The owner was incredibly sweet and had a pet cat that slept in a box in one of the potted bushes next to the tables, which made me fall in love with the place even more. I told Chris that her life was my goal after retirement! She also would play with my hair while telling me things in French that I couldn’t understand. I didn’t mind at all and secretly hoped she would adopt me as her grand daughter or something. A girl can dream, right? After we finished up we decided to do a little sight seeing.
Our first stop was walking through Rocher des Doms, a hilltop park with panoramic views of the city and the Rhône River. It was so incredibly windy which resulted in some hilarious photos and I thanked my lucky stars for not choosing a dress that day!
We also walked out on the Pont d’Avignon, a bridge that was built in 1234, but ultimately abandoned in the 17th century because the river would flood and destroy most of it. Apparently they got tired of fixing it so they cut their losses and left just this small section.
After that was the Palais des Papes (Palace of the Popes). Even if you’re not the least bit religious, it’s still hard to deny the beauty of the statues and architecture there. We found a spot on the steps to people watch for a bit before wandering back toward the apartment.
We stopped off at a tiny market for dinner ingredients and more wine (had to get more for the suitcase of course). I managed to cook us a fairly decent meal in our little kitchenette which we decided to enjoy on our balcony. It was the perfect way to end our stay in Avignon.
The next morning we had another round of croissants and coffee at the pâtisserie, said au revoir to the owner and her sweet little cat, and headed to the train station for our next destination along the Mediterranean..
Check back in a few weeks when I share our next destination in France before heading into Italy!
I shared a sneak peek at this Bloody Mary creation via Instagram and the response was mostly a lot of expletives and excitement, which I interpreted as a good thing! I don’t mess around when it comes to Bloody Marys and creating this one was no exception.
I switched up my usual homemade Bloody mix by adding balsamic vinegar, olive juice, Italian seasoning, and homemade basil infused vodka, which complemented my Italian influenced garnishes perfectly. You can get as complex or as simple as you’d like with those too. I personally love a drink that is a meal in itself so I skewered some of my favorites.. olives, mozzarella, prosciutto, peppered salami, cherry tomatoes, Italian meatball sliders, and my favorite go-to appetizer, Goat Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms. It was, as I learned how to say in Italy, molto bene!
Goodness gracious.. how is it still January?! By this point I thought I would be writing, “I can’t believe it’s March!” but something about this month has just stretched on for an unnecessarily long time. Perhaps sliding my car into a ditch twice, the white knuckle drives home in the snow, and/or that I’m just two weeks away from hopefully/maybe/possibly/ CLOSING ON MY FIRST HOME!
I’m waiting to hear back about the appraisal, but as long as that’s good, we’ll close on Valentines Day.. which will finally give me a good reason to celebrate it! The tricky part about this home is that even though it will officially be mine, we cannot move in full time until the new septic is installed. I’m looking at the silver lining of the situation and waiting to move in will give us time to thoroughly clean, paint, and repair some of the major things needed first (like maybe that gutter that’s dangling off the back of the house). Utilities are also higher this time of year given the arctic temps so it will all work out for the better that we’re forced to wait a bit longer.
That hasn’t stopped me from obsessively watching Fixer Upper and then looking at photos of my house and saying, “Yep, we’ll just knock out this wall here, add a second bath there, put French doors in here, and shiplap on everything!” I’m certainly no Joanna Gaines (probably more like Chip than anything), but I’m most looking forward to sharing this home with you all too. I’ve been wanting to expand the topics and structure of this blog into something much more and a big part of that will be adding home renovations, DIYs, sustainable living tips, and sharing more of my lifestyle and personal insights.
This might be a good time to gently introduce you guys to an idea that’s been rolling around in my head for awhile and that’s to say goodbye to Tattooed Martha..
I’m not talking about the blog, but the name itself I’m ready to part with. Tattooed Martha was born from a kitschy pun of being a Tattooed Martha Stewart.. cooking, baking, crafting, and entertaining, but I really don’t want to stay pigeon holed to just that. I also feel like it was identity created with another part of my life. A life when I was married, living in Portland, traveling around to tattoo conventions, and doing pin-up style photo shoots. It’s just not really who I identify with anymore and I’d like to be known as Sasha and not this “character” that people have envisioned. I hope that when I make the transition to something different, you, my readers, understand that we all evolve throughout our lives and it’s okay to let go of parts that no longer serve us.
The blog will remain a big part of who I am and what I do (and don’t worry.. all the content that’s on here now will still be there after a name change), but I’ve got a vision so much bigger than just a blog.
I’m certainly curious to hear everyone’s thoughts on this change, just know that my mind is made up on the matter! Haha just not the name, so perhaps you’ve got a few ideas of your own. Comment below and let me know what you think or tell me about a time where you were at a crossroads of letting go of something that no longer felt true to who you are.
Be sure to follow along on Instagram for sneak peeks at the house, recipes, and more!
Ever since our trip to Italy I’ve been craving a big plate of decadent buttery seafood and pasta.. and of course wine.. and beautiful views.. and listening to everyone speak in perfect Italian. But since I won’t be venturing back to Italy this year I opted to at least satisfy my cravings for the pasta, seafood, and wine! I’m happy to say that this dish did the trick and the best part was that it made A TON so I was able to enjoy seconds and have plenty for lunches throughout the week!
I sauteed the shrimp in butter with fresh garlic and lemon zest and then tossed everything together with the Lemon Garlic Parsley Pesto I shared yesterday. The tender garlic butter shrimp, tangy lemon, buttery al dente angel hair pasta, and the bright and zesty flavors from the pesto added complex flavors to a surprisingly simple dish. I didn’t even care about how much pesto I had in my teeth because I was in a proverbial pasta heaven!
The only thing that would have made this dish better is if I would have used homemade pasta, which I can hopefully do very soon! My boyfriend gifted me a pasta maker for Christmas after we took a pasta making class during our stay in Rome. With the impending close date on our first home, I’ll be making all kinds of pasta and new dishes for you out of my new (old) kitchen! Until then, you’ve got this one to enjoy!
At the end of fall I couldn’t bear to part with my garden, so I transplanted some of my herbs into pots that now have a happy and warm home in front of my window. The Italian flat leaf parsley was starting to get a little crazy because I really just don’t cook with it all that often. I challenged myself to look for recipes where parsley was more than just a garnish and I am quite happy I did!
I cut nearly all of the parsley and turned it into a pesto with some lemon zest, garlic, and Parmesan cheese and then tossed it with a shrimp pasta I was making. It completely made the dish, but then I decided to just try it on it’s own with some baguette slices and that didn’t disappoint either! The flavor is bright, tangy, and fresh and was a nice change from the usual basil pesto.
If you’re new here, you might be wondering why I’m sharing this sludge-like looking monstrosity and that’s because this is Friday Failures! I like to feature my messes and mistakes as much as I love to share delicious and appetizing posts as well. With the large amount of snow we’ve recently received here in the Midwest I thought this would be the perfect time to share this.
I originally tried this creation a few weeks before Christmas. I thought a nice minty smelling sugar body scrub would be the perfect DIY addition to the gifts I was giving to all the women in my family. I used coconut oil, white sugar, and mint green tea bags. Everything smelled great and was going smooth until I went to stir in the tea, turning this beautiful snow like body scrub into gray sludge. It reminded me of the stuff that you see on the side of the road after they’ve plowed and put down sand. Gray, dreary, dirty sludge. Not exactly something you want to slather all over your body.
I hate to waste anything so I decided I could still use it for myself and hopped in the shower to see how it worked. Yea.. that didn’t go well either. The coconut oil acted as a waterproof seal and made the tea leaves stick all over my body, leaving me covered with tiny black specks. I had to spend twice as long in the shower trying to get it all off of me. It did smell really great and my skin was extremely soft, but this is one I learned my lesson on. Maybe larger tea leaves or using a tea powder would have better results, but this is one DIY you can save yourself the trouble on!
With the wintry weather, I’ve had quite the craving for bright citrus flavors, fresh herbs, and a good strong drink. Heavy emphasis on the “good strong drink” part since I’ve found myself getting towed or pushed out of a ditch twice in the last week. My poor little Corolla that I lovingly refer to as Carol, slid off into a small ditch on our gravel road leaving my tires about a foot from a very steep drop off into a creek. A quick rescue from my dad with his truck and some tow chains saved her, but then it happened again! This time I spun out while getting off on an exit on my way home last Friday. My brother, nephew, and boyfriend were able to push her out. Next challenge was an extremely steep and slick curve. My boyfriend tried using his truck to push my car up hill before we finally deemed it too dangerous and left her parked safely in a mobile home park. It was extremely stressful at the time, but I was able to laugh about it later when the news featured Carol in all of her glory stuck in the ditch in front of the exit sign. Apparently they are reusing that shot over and over again on their recent commercials advising about more of our impending winter storms. My one shot at 15 minutes of fame and my car steals the show… dammit Carol.
Since I was snowed in with no car I set about making the best of the situation and made some thirst quenching and stress relieving margaritas! I’ve been playing around with different ways to use smoked rosemary in cocktails and thought it would make a nice pairing with blood oranges that are currently in season. I would have loved to grill the oranges on the grill, but since it was a sweltering 6 degrees Fahrenheit and the grill was buried under 8 inches of snow I had to settle for a cast iron skillet instead. It lent a mild smoky flavor that complemented the sweet citrusy flavors of the blood orange and tequila.
Even if you didn’t find your car featured on the news or have to brave the snow, do yourself a favor and treat yourself to this margarita regardless!