Christmas & Creme Brulee

Christmas & Creme Brulee - a story + recipe! from Offbeat & Inspired

I can’t believe Christmas is over! It certainly snuck up on us this year. I say that every year, but it really snuck up on us this year. Confession: we didn’t even put ornaments on our tree! (Ducking and hiding.) We went to the tree farm about a week before Christmas, cut down our very first live tree since we got married, ooh’d and aah’d over how perfect and majestic it looked towering in our living room, draped it with some white twinkle lights — END SCENE. We even had a pile of ornaments sitting on the table waiting to be tucked into those glorious branches and it never happened. We’re the worst tree parents EVER.

Keep reading!

Chocolate Mint Cookies

_MG_3026 - Version 2

Growing up, my mom always made chocolate mint cookies for Christmas. I remember helping to put the little Andes mints on the top when the cookies came out of the oven, and I’d often attempt to sneak a few into my mouth for good measure. Of course, when there weren’t enough mints for the last tray of cookies it was glaringly obvious who was guilty of stealing them, but a bit of mischief was part of the fun of baking with Mom.

Keep reading!

Offbeat’s Picks: NoshThis Bacon Crack

NoshThis Bacon Crack

I recently found out about an amazing candy company called NoshThis.  Finding new (favorite) candy companies is not something I need right now, but sometimes they just sneak up on me!  I was innocently browsing cooking videos on YouTube (woops) when I came across this video about Kai Kronfield, NoshThis founder.  I’d like to think of myself as a reserved shopper, but I would be fooling no one.  The second Kai mentioned chocolate, almonds, toffee and bacon.. I was loading up the cart and placing an order.

Keep reading!

Homemade Eggnog

Homemade Eggnog - Offbeat & Inspired

Growing up, my mom always made eggnog around Christmas time. As kids, I remember going into the fridge to grab a snack, and then getting really excited when I saw the gallon jugs of milk replaced with gallons of homemade eggnog (non-alcoholic, of course).

Keep reading!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Fudge

When I made the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles last week, my taste-testers (i.e. family and friends) ate them up in no time. I took that as a good sign, so I’m at it again with the no-bake no-egg cookie dough creations. This time in the form of fudge!

Just like the truffles, this recipe comes from The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook, by Lindsay Landis. I originally borrowed this cookbook from a friend, but after making two delicious and indulgent treats I think I may be ordering it for myself. I hope my taste-testers are OK with trying out a few more cookie dough recipes!

Keep reading!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

My husband, Colson, is definitely the sweet tooth in our house. Don’t get me wrong, I love dessert. But I can go without it. It’s not that I have some uncanny sense of self-control - I’d just rather have a plate of nachos or a second piece of lasagna instead. Much to Colson’s frustration, when his dessert craving hits our sugar inventory is nearly nonexistent.

Keep reading!

Our Open “Haus” Menu

I recently shared a few creative and simple entertaining ideas inspired by my brother and sister-in-law at their open house for FreshGround Roasting. As that event was being planned I thought, “Why not make this a weekend event and host an open house at our place the next day?”

OK, I’ll admit it was quite busy cooking, cleaning and setting up for two consecutive open houses. But it was totally worth it! We had a great time on Saturday with FreshGround. Then on Sunday, my husband and I invited friends, family and neighbors to our open “Haus” (our play on words since our last name is Hauser).

Keep reading!

Chocolate Hazelnut Soap

This past weekend, one of my best friends came to visit. She and I have known each other since those uncomfortable junior high days of braces, over-sized glasses and zero sense of style. Fortunately, we survived the preteen years and have come out the other side with an awesome friendship and (hopefully) a little less adolescent awkwardness.

_MG_9483

We spent this past weekend hanging out downtown, eating great food, reminiscing about old times and of course, crafting. I couldn’t wait to share my new love of soap-making. I’ll admit, after my last soaping mishap I was a bit nervous to create my own recipe. But when you’re crafting with friends, the mistakes are half as frustrating and the successes twice as fun, so why not give it another shot?

Keep reading!

Creative & Simple Entertaining Ideas

Last Saturday, Tiffany and I hung out with my brother and sister-in-law at their open house for FreshGround Roasting. We had a blast preparing appetizers, decorating and learning about coffee. One of the things that I loved was how my sister-in-law, Krista, set out the food. We had hearty appetizers, local cheeses, amazing cupcakes from The Sugar Path and fresh fruits and veggies. Krista used vintage and household items to make the spread look as good as it tasted.

Keep reading!

Mini Pumpkin Pies

Pumpkin pie has never been something I particularly loved.  I’ve always been more of an apple pie sort of gal, but when my sister was visiting we decided to do pumpkin pie for fall’s sake.

I’ve had these Le Creuset mini cocottes (baby Dutch ovens) for a while now and I’m absolutely in love with them.  Aren’t they adorable?  Basically, if something can be made “mini”, I’ll do it just so I have an excuse to use these cute little things.

Keep reading!