Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Last minute tasty gifts

Hi Friends,
You might have noticed that I did not get around to posting any more gift guides.  The holidays totally snuck up on me this year!  If you're anything like me, you've run out of time and don't have gifts for everyone on your list.  Here are a few easy, doable, last minute foodie gifts. 

Herb Salt

This is a method more than a recipe but here we go. 
1 Cup Coarse Sea (or Kosher) Salt
¼ - ½ cup of herbs or other flavorings (depending on the strength of the flavors)
I'll give you the method and then a couple of suggestions on flavor combos.
Blend up the herbs in a small food processor for 30 seconds and then add ¼ c of the salt and blend for another 15 seconds or until everything looks uniform.  Remove this from the food processor and stir back in with the other ¾ c of salt.  Lay the salt out on a sheet pan to allow the herbs to dry (if necessary) and then pour into small craft bags or ball jars with cute gift tags.   

Here are some suggestions for flavor combos:
Rosemary, Parsley, Thyme
Mushroom, Thyme (use dried porcini mushrooms)
Mushroom Truffle (use dried porcini mushrooms and 1 tbsp of truffle oil)
Rosemary Grapefruit (any citrus zest would work here)
Cilantro Garlic (use pre-dried garlic powder or granules)
These are so pretty in tiny ball jars and are great for non-cooks because they really dress up pasta, plain meats and anything else you can think to put them on.

Holiday Chocolate Bark

This one is SUPER easy.  Melt down some good dark chocolate (I like Trader Joes extra dark 72%) and some white chocolate separately.  Pour the dark chocolate on a sheet tray lined with a silpat or greased parchment paper.  Let it cool for a bit in the fridge and then drizzle the melted white chocolate randomly over the top like you're some crazed Julia Child/Jackson Pollock hybrid.  

After you're done with this, you can sprinkle anything your little heart desires on top.  I'm partial to crushed up candy canes and pistachios but you could do anything.  More citrus zest, any sort of nut, a bit of sea salt, m&ms… To quote the fake movie inside the movie home alone, "I could go on forever, baby".  Shove this whole shebang back in the fridge, let it cool (or let it sit on the counter – the cooling will take longer but it will be less likely to get those white spots that cooled chocolate can sometimes get), and then break it up into pieces and wrap it up in a little gift bag.


This recipe from Winnie at a Healthy Green Kitchen for Thai Cashew Brittle looks amazing!
As does this one from gastronomy blog for Bacon Almond Brittle (Though I would add a little rosemary to it for an extra savory touch.)

Hope that helps!  Now get cookin' slackers!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!


Wednesday, December 14, 2011


Hi Friends!
I’m back with day two of my holiday gift guides.  Today is for the man you love, be it your husband, pops, boyfriend, best friend, or weird uncle that gave you booze at holiday dinners without your parents knowing it.  I guess I would not call these gifts standard or even exclusively for men but they’re definitely suitable for many of the dudes I know and love. 

Most of the men in my life are relatively outdoorsy.  Or, at least they think they are.  This is why this gift is perfect.  All The Knots You Need is a book that teaches them how to tie all the knots they say they already should know how to tie if they’re out and about in the wilderness, or hiking, or climbing, or on a boat somewhere.  Plus it is really cool looking and makes a perfect coffee table book. 

 100% of the men I have to shop for this Christmas own iphones.  100% of the men I have to shop for also own ugly wallets and/or money clips.  A simple calculation shows that this wallet is perfect for 100% of the men I have to shop for. 

It has enough slots for a few cards and some cash, a back pocket to protect the precious iphone and seems to be still slim enough to comfortably fit in their pocket.  It’s also hot when a dude has a nice wallet.  So there you go.

In general, I think dudes look hot in scarves.  It can be a challenge to find a masculine looking scarf that is still nice and cozy.  This scarf is awesome.  It looks incredibly soft and not at all itchy.  It’s in manly colors (is that a thing?) and it is exceptionally borrowable!

This is a hand crafted slingshot that comes with seed bombs that can be fired away.  Guerilla Gardening.  Weaponry and saving the planet in one perfectly packaged present?

I think this one is pretty self explanatory! 

I’ve found that most of the guys I know actually like chocolate more than any girl I know.  Also, in general, I think it’s safe to say that guys generally like bacon.  Well Vosegs has perfectly combined these two things into a holiday gift set that almost no one I know could resist. 
These chocolates go amazingly well with a nice, smoky scotch. 

Oh and one last thing.  This one is still a prototype but if you are a moderately big spender and have no clue what to get for your tech obsessed giftee, check out this amazingkickstarter project.  If you donate at a certain level, you get a prototype of this awesome keyboard and mouse, and provide us non-moneybags with a better chance of getting this as a gift next Christmas!  Yay commerce!

Well, hope that helps at least one person out there pick out a dude gift! 

See you guys on Thursday with another go at the gift guide.  Eep!  We’re running out of time.  Only 10 days till Christmas!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Gift Guides – The Yogi(ni) in Your Life

Since pretty much everyone who reads my blog either knows a yogini or can discreetly send this link to their loved one because they are the yogini, I thought I'd start here.  There's been a ridiculous increase in the amount of “luxury yoga goods” that are on the market as of late.  I tried to not just link to everything on the lululemon website for this for two reasons – 1. There are some non-yoga things that I think many yogis would actually love and 2. There are a lot of great items that are not ridiculous expensive out there.
And away we go!

Let’s just get the lulu stuff out of the way first.  Everyone knows they make pretty awesome products so I’m just going to show you my absolute favorite thing they make.  Their wunder under crops are seriously the most perfect yoga pant ever made.  They do amazing things for your practice and your butt!

The next two items aren't specifically for yoginis but most of the people I know who do yoga tend to get cold out in the real world.  This may be why we tolerate those hot rooms so much better. 

This blanket looks amazingly soft and would keep anyone perfectly warm on a cold winter night. 

These slippers from LL Bean are awesome for wearing around the house while keeping your feet toasty.  They're also great for in the yoga studio where shoes are not welcome. 

This top from LUCY is great for coming and going from your studio on those fall and spring days where it’s too warm for a coat but too cool to head out in your damp yoga clothes.  It’s amazingly soft and has a hood/cowl neck that will cover up your sweaty mop head!

Mala beads are sacred necklaces that have been worn for thousands of years by practitioners of yoga.  Tiny devotions has beautiful malas that would make any yogini happy. 

Another fun and interesting option is a body soap based on your yogi's dosha.  You'd have to know their dosha to know what soap to purchase for them however they all smell amazing so even if you don't know, you can't go wrong.  
Finally, if your yogi(ni) has embraced the yoga lifestyle (especially enough to own the aforementioned dosha soap), they might appreciate a subscription to a magazine like Whole Living.  This magazine covers topics ranging from healthful cooking to living green to overall wellness.  

Whole living is a great magazine with interesting fitness tips, tasty recipes and discussions on finding balance in your life. 

Welp, that's it for today.  Check back tomorrow when I will have some suggestions for the men in your life.  Happy holidays!


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Disconnecting to Connect

Hi all!  I hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving.  Are you getting ready for the upcoming holidays?  If you need some help, I'll have a few fun gift guides on here for you beginning on Monday.  
Our family has a pretty standard Thanksgiving tradition.  We generally spend the night at my parents' house with my sister and then we all wake up, have coffee and breakfast, start the sauerkraut and watch the parade.  Slowly but surely we start to cook and prepare things for dinner as we watch a local high school game that is always on thanksgiving.  By the time the NFL games start, our kitchen is in full swing (even if most of us are still in our pajamas) and it smells amazing.  Around 4, we set out snacks and cocktails and my aunt and uncle and their five kids show up and everyone relaxes in for the evening.  It is truly my favorite day of the year. 

This year however, two things happened to change up this routine.  1.  The Ravens had a thanksgiving night game and the people we tailgate with were planning to have thanksgiving on the lot.  2. A good friend offered to let my family use her rental cabin in Deep Creek Maryland for a long, relaxing weekend.  I was honestly upset that regular Thanksgiving would not be happening, even though I had these fun events to look forward to.  So on Thursday, we went off to our tailgate and my parents went up to my Aunt and Uncle's for a relaxing and delicious Thanksgiving dinner (my uncle is a chef and an amazing one at that.) 

On Friday we packed up a cooler full of ingredients for a traditional thanksgiving dinner, including a heritage turkey that was AMAZING, threw some clothes in a bag and headed up to Deep Creek with my parents, my sister and her friend, and two not-so-little pups. 

Friends, the weekend was fantastic.  If you are in need of relaxation and decompression, PLEASE rent this house out for a week or even a weekend and just enjoy.  There is limited cell reception and no real internet access to speak of.  If this sounds like your idea of Hell, dip a toe in and start with a weekend!  I think you'll find that you really enjoy it.  It makes it so much easier to relax.  If you're interested in renting the house, rental information can be found here.  The fireplace alone is enough to make the trek.

We cooked a full Thanksgiving dinner on Friday when we arrived and it was awesome.  We had our turkey, gluten free cranberry and sage sausage stuffing, mashed potatoes, truffled creamed spinach, cranberry blueberry sauce, roasted root vegetables and homemade giblet gravy.



It was FANTASTIC.  So good, in fact, that we didn't even break into the other food that we brought, we just ate leftovers for the next three meals.  We also made a delicious onion and turkey soup using the turkey carcass for dinner on the last evening (I'll put the recipe of sorts at the bottom). 

We did do more than eat on the trip.  There were some outdoorsy type activities and a lot of relaxation and family bonding time.

We took the dogs out on runs, sat in the hot tub and took a small hike out to Swallow Falls State Park to see some rapids and do some yoga on the rocks. 

It was such a relaxing and fantastic weekend.  As type-A as I am, I could get used to this new tradition. 


Leftover Turkey & Onion Soup
(please don't judge me for my "recipe" writing skills)

Remove large pieces of leftover meat from the carcass and then put it in a large soup pot with a halved garlic bulb, a halved large onion (skin on), a few ribs of celery, a few carrots with the greens attached, a bundle of fresh thyme, two Parmesan rinds and a splash of vinegar.  Bring to a simmer and then turn it down a bit and let sit just below a simmer on the stove for a minimum of four hours.
About an hour before the stock is finished, chop 5-6 large onions into a large dice and begin to brown them in a pan over medium high heat with equal parts butter and oil (about 1 tbsp of each).  Be patient here, you want them to slowly come to a deep brown color - here's a great tutorial.  
When the stock is finished pull the carcass and strain the broth through a fine sieve and return it to the stove to warm.  Shred the meat that you pulled off the carcass as well as any remaining meat that was left and return it to the broth along with caramelized onions.  Add about a cup of red wine and let simmer for about 20 more minutes before salting to taste and serving.  Serve in a bowl with some croutons or a piece of crusty bread and gouda cheese on top if you like or throw a tbsp of fresh parsley in at the last minute.  

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving Favorites

Hi Friends!

Is everyone excited for Thanksgiving?  This is one of my favorite times of the year.  We'll be spending a long, relaxing weekend with family at a good friend's lake house in Deep Creek.  I cannot wait to relax in the hot tub out on the deck looking into the woods. 

Ahh Deep Creek

One of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving is finding the perfect balance of classic, traditional recipes and new, interesting ones.  I like to do most of the cooking, though my father always cooks the turkey on the grill.  I love spending all day in the kitchen with my family, drinking cup after cup of coffee, watching football while chopping vegetables and stirring whatever is on the stove and chatting with my mom.  Below you'll find some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes from the past few years.  

There are a few things we have without fail every year – A grilled, sage-butter turkey, chive mashed potatoes, cranberry jelly (from the can – only ever eaten by my sister) and sweet potato pudding with marshmallows on top (often accidentally lit on fire by being cooked too close to the broiler.)  The recipes below are things I've found that we have tried and loved and are on heavy rotation both for Thanksgiving and regular Sunday dinners at my parents.

Note* I like to brown a couple of slices of bacon first and use that fat to cook the sprouts and then crumble the bacon on top of the finished dish (I think they call this gilding the lily…)

This risotto is really fantastic with a homemade stock. 

These are a nice lightish alternative to a heavier creamed spinach type dish. 

Everything from Smitten Kitchen is always awesome.  Always. 

Another Thanksgiving favorite is butternut squash soup.  Below is a recipe I've sort of cobbled together by taking bits of other recipes I've really enjoyed.  We make this soup once every couple of weeks in winter. 

Smoky Butternut Squash Soup

2 medium-large butternut squash
4 cloves garlic
2 large poblano peppers (if you cannot find these, two chilies in adobo without the sauce will give a nice warmth to the soup also)
Olive oil
1 onion
¼ cup white wine
1 can fire roasted tomatoes
1 can coconut milk
1 tbsp turmeric (optional)

Preheat oven to 400*

Halve 2 large butternut squash (any deep orange winter squash will work here), clean out the seeds and rub them down with olive oil and a little salt.  Deseed the poblanos and put them on the tray with the squash.
Put them skin side up on a lined cookie sheet and pop 2 cloves of garlic in each seed hole (get over it… I'm sure they teach you the technical terms in culinary school) and top with a splash more olive oil
Roast until fork tender (about 40 min or so depending on the thickness)
In the meantime chop 1 onion and sauté in a tbsp of olive oil in a soup pot over med high heat.  When just starting to caramelize, add white wine and a can of crushed tomatoes (I like muir glen fire roasted) and let simmer.
When the squash are soft, let them cool a bit and scoop them into a blender (Vitamix is best, a hand blender would work also).  Add the coconut milk, a tbsp of curry powder and 2 tbsp salt (add the chipotles at this point if using) and puree until smooth.  If soup seems too thick, add a bit of water or stock to thin it out. 

So there ya go, a few recipes to get you going.  Hope you all have a fantastic thanksgiving!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Chronic Bitch Face

Hi peeps!

Semi-big post coming up later this week on my favorite holiday ever - Thanksgiving!  Several of my favorite recipes will definitely be included.  For now, I'm trying to pace myself as I dip my toe back into the blogging waters.

For today, I just wanted to share a site that I absolutely love, Krisatomic.  Specifically - this post on chronic bitch face (which I totally have and have accepted....)

I totally get this. People often tell me I look a. pissed, b. tired, c. miserable.  I know, I need new friends :)

Happy Monday!


Updated: Apparently my husband thinks he has bitch face MUCH worse than I do. He says - "yours is not chronic... you have no idea what's it's like to live with's a serious handicap you know :)"
haha, it's true - the man makes a mean bitchface!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Remember Me?

Hi Friends!  Remember that time that I said I would never leave you for that long again?  Ahh sorry!  Life got the best of me for a bit and while I won't make any more promises, I will try my absolute hardest not to abandon you so severely.  Truth is, I missed this space and would really like to get back to it in earnest. 
So here we are.  I hope that I didn't leave you for so long that you forgot about me!  What inspired me most to come back and post (that rhyme was totally unintended but it's awesome so it stays) was a visit I made with some wonderful friends to a Virginia winery and farm a while back to celebrate my darling friend Marianne's impending nuptuals.   The farm and vineyard is called Zephania and their tasting room is in the living room of their family home, built in the 1800s.

The company was great, the wine was delicious but the best part was the incredibly welcoming family that ran the vineyard.  Everyone in the family had other full time jobs and was running the farm and vineyard in their spare time - a true labor of love! Their son, who provided us with our tour and barrel tasting, had graduated with a degree in viticulture and chemistry and was working with some new and interesting blends (holy runon sentence batman).

Their land is also home to a farm on which they raise some fantastic grass fed beef.  They lovingly care for their animals and ensure they have the best and healthiest possible life.  The farm and vineyard are both sustainable, family run operations that I love to support.  (The fact that they are right near the fabulous Leesburg Outlets is an added bonus.) If you sign up for their facebook page, they'll let you know when you can come by the farm and help them pick the grapes.

If you're looking for something fun to do this fall/winter, please visit Zephania Vineyard.  I can't say enough good things about this lovely, family run winery and farm!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Reuben Eggrolls and an Apology

Guys! Hi! Thank you SO much for not giving up on me.  I know I've been totally MIA since that last, very intense post on homemade bacon… But I have something dare I say better (?) than plain old bacon.  I have for you REUBEN EGGROLLS.  That’s right!  But before we even get to reuben eggrolls we get to explore the fabulous world that is homemade corned beef.  And I have a promise… a promise that I will never abandon you for that long again (adam)!

The March Charcutepalooza challenge was brining which, I have to admit, I wasn't really excited about because I tend to brine a lot.  So… it didn't feel as special or as exciting as duck prosciutto or ahem, cured pork belly.  But anyway… I decided to just go for it since I'd never made corned beef before and I absolutely love it in any way shape or form.  Up next was the decision regarding whether or not to use the pink salt.  I went back and forth on this one.  I even bought the cure.  I know a lot of people feel comfortable using nitrites but I'm not quite one of them and after a nice twitterscussion (see what I did there??) with Dr. Winnie, I decided that   for me, no nitrites was best.  Enter the beets!

I didn't want to have ugly grey corned beef and I noticed that Wellshire Farms' corned beef is nitrite free and they use beet dye for coloring.  So I went to my favorite resource, the interwebs, and asked it how to make beet dye.  Turns out it's pretty easy… just cube some raw beets, cook them down a bit in boiling water, let them sit for a couple of hours and then pour that shockingly purple/red liquid right into the brine.  And five days later… here is what you have!

I know… does NOT look right.  But as it turns out, it's PERFECT after you cook it for 10 hours in a sous vide surpreme with a Guinness, blood orange and homemade mustard glaze.  And I mean perfect.
So here's what I did to get this little guy ready for the SVS.  I lactofermented mustard (I know!) and that turned out incredibly spicy and totally amazing.  In my next post I'll talk about my recent adventures in fermenting but I'm so in love with the process that I really think it deserves a post of its own.  Anywhoo, I combined that mustard with the juice of 2 blood oranges and a cup of Guinness and reduced it a bit on the stove top.

Then I poured it into the vacuum bag and added the rinsed corned beef to it.  Then I froze this as it can be a challenge to vacuum seal pouches with liquid in them and tossed it in the SVS for about 14 hours at 164 degrees F.  Then I took it out, gave it a quick pass under the broiler and sliced that baby up.   

I promise to never doubt the charcutepalooza goddesses again!  PROMISE.  As a bonus I had a bunch of extra blood oranges that are currently being preserved in a crapload of salt. 

Which leads me to the (clearly) more important part of this post… the aforementioned reuben eggrolls.  Another of my lactofermenting projects included red sauerkraut which was clearly just crying out to be made into a reuben.  I also had wonton wrappers conveniently in my fridge.  In a (rare) stroke of genius I combined them into the most glorious deep fried package to ever cross my lips.   

I layered some of the homemade mustard, swiss cheese, leftover corned beef and sauerkraut into the wonton skins and popped them into the deep fryer.   

This was really great… so so delicious.  The best part about it was the way the slight bitterness and acidity cut through the richness of this tasty little package. 

So guys, again… apologies for the delay in posting but I have some good (meaty AND nonmeaty) ones lined up for you! And I will never abandon you like that again! 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Birch Bacon

I honestly can't remember in recent history, a time I've been more excited about something than January 15th, 2011 at 10am.  For all you curious types, that's when I read that the next charcutepalooza challenge would be bacon.  That's right people, homemade bacon... and pancetta.  What more could I ask for?

So that weekend, the hubs and I wandered down to a butcher we are huge fans of to get a large pork belly.  I figured I would do half of it as bacon and half of it rolled as pancetta. I had recently worked with smaller cuts of pork belly for the first time in our relatively new sous vide supreme with some amazing results so I was pretty excited to try this challenge.  Plus... bacon!

When I was reading the recipe in Charcuterie for the bacon, I saw a note that indicated for a sweeter note, you could add some maple syrup.  I have to admit now that I'm not crazy over maple syrup the way some people I know are.  The hubs could main line it into his body however.  Here's where we enter tangent territory. (I know, you all love my tangents)

Last summer I'd read a recipe I found through Liqurious for an Old Fashioned made with birch syrup instead of raw sugar.

Photo from Art of Drink blog 

I liked the idea of using a syrup instead of plain sugar in an Old Fashioned because I felt it would add some complexity to what was already a pretty amazing drink.  So I scoured the internet and ordered way more syrup than necessary in order to justify the shipping costs and because I was secretly dreaming of homemade birch beer.  I just knew this was going to be the best Old Fashioned ever.  Can we just talk about how right I was for a second?  This was the Old Fashioned of my dreams.  Birch Syrup has a nice (mild) smoky flavor and a caramel-y sweetness that is not cloying at all.  So much better than maple, I promise!  Maple is meh, get on board!

Anyway... Delorean yourself to a few weeks ago when I was getting ready to rub my belly (will that ever stop being funny? no.) When I thought hrmm, I have had some pretty great maple bacon...  and birch > maple... and I knew I was planning to make bacon jam with at least half of this bacon.  And suddenly my brain was like HEY LADY.... BOURBON BIRCH BACON.  Duh.  How did it take me so long to think of this?  The flavor of bourbon should work perfectly with the mild smokiness in the birch syrup.  So, I cooked off the alcohol from a few tablespoons of bourbon, (in case it did something to the meat?) added it to about a quarter cup of birch syrup, and added that to my dry cure.  Then I rubbed it all over the first half of the belly that was destined for a salt cure only and waited.  And waited.

Can I just tell you how hard all the waiting involved in making charcuterie is?  It’s hard.  You know you have something that is inherently great sitting in your refrigerator... But... if you wait it out that greatness gets better.  WAY better.

Fast forward to a week later and it is time to make the donuts bacon jam (side note: bacon jam filled doughnuts?!).  I cleaned off the cure and patted that puppy dry and sliced off a couple strips to try.  The bacon was a bit saltier than I would have liked (I think this is due to the fact that we couldn't find a belly from a butcher/farmer that we were happy with that had skin on it so we ended up with a skinless one) but the flavor was incredible.  A hint of interesting sweetness added to what I can honestly say was the best bacon I'd ever tasted.  This bacon is the JAM (pun obviously intended.)

Speaking of jam!  I'm sure if you have graced the internet with your presence lately you've seen or heard about this bacon jam recipe that is making the rounds from Foodie with Family.  I've linked to the recipe and the pictures there do it way more justice than I ever could but PEOPLE - make this jam. ASAP.

I followed the recipe pretty much as-is with a few specific things to note.  I wanted a bit of smoked flavor that I wouldn't get from my fresh bacon alone so I used half my bacon and half Wellshire Farms black forest smoked bacon.

I rendered about a cup of fat off of this (hold your horses we'll get to that) and pulled it from the pan when everything was good and crisped.  I added some rosemary sprigs to the onion and garlic in the pan but removed it once everything was cooked down.

The only other change I made was to use half maple syrup and half birch syrup (continuity! woop!) instead of just maple syrup.  I don't even know why I'm still typing since you've probably left to make your own bacon jam but whatever.  Then I pureed it and let it sit off the heat to cool down.

Then I ate like 4 cups of it.

Just kidding I only ate 3 1.  Since I had plenty of bacon fat, and a starving sister sitting in my kitchen staring at me, I figured it was time to make some dinner.  I wasn't particularly hungry due to all the aforementioned bacon jam eating but I had invited her over for dinner and felt semi-obligated to provide her with food.  I defrosted a pork tenderloin and cut up some onions, carrots, mushrooms and parsnips.  I browned all the veggies in the bacon fat with a couple of sprigs of thyme and then spread them out in an oven proof pan just big enough to hold them.

 Then the pork tenderloin got the same browning treatment while I made a glaze for it and the veggies.

I just mixed together equal parts bacon jam (!!) and whole grain mustard.  I added a splash of white wine, salt and pepper and some chopped rosemary and poured it over the pork that was now resting on top of the browned vegetables.

Then I popped the whole thing in a 375 degree oven for about fifteen minutes and dinner was served!  And my sister was no longer making a face like 'if you don't feed me something besides jam I will just eat you.'

Win-win, I say.
I should mention that I made pancetta as well but it's not quite ready to taste yet.

I have big plans for that puppy though so stay tuned!  Also I wanted to take this time to thank all the organizers of Charcutepalooza for being supportive and building such a great learning community. Well that’s enough bacon talk for today.  Time to start thinking about getting my brine on.  Can't wait!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Guess what?  Today's post is about rings.  Woot!  When I was planning our wedding a lot of the posts I came across on wedding blogs were about engagement ring alternatives.  That's what I'm going to present here to you.  Lucky!  If you're not interested, come back later this week and we'll talk about bacon.  A lot of these rings could easily be non-contractual jewelry however, and Valentine's Day is just around the corner so stick around... just kidding... None of these will get to you by Monday.  You are definitely screwed.

Anywhoo... here we go!

First up is definitely my favorite. It's a beautiful cushion cut aquamarine stone set in rose gold.  I am totally in love with cushion cut.  It's an antique cut (according to people who know these sorts of things...) but I feel like it's actually quite modern looking.  Also, my engagement ring is cushion cut and I just love it, so there.

One Garnet Girl on Etsy

I love the look of this ring so much.  If you want to buy it for me, you totally can!

This next ring is from a designer that I truly love.  Bario-Neal is a jewelry designer out of Philadelphia that uses ethically sourced diamonds as well as environmentally friendly and recycled or reclaimed metals.  The jewelry is incredible too.  So you can feel good in your heart and good on your finger! Win Win, I say!

This ring is a three stone garnet engagement ring flanked by two yellow diamonds.

Its a custom designed piece but Bario-Neal also has some beautiful non-custom pieces like this awesome rough cut diamond solitare.

How cool is that?

Finally, Bario-Neal has some beautiful gemstone rings like this Cala Sapphire ring.

I love bezel settings and this one is particularly unique.  You know whatever you get from here will be gorgeous and one of a kind (or at least pretty damn close to it)

These rings, from Etsy seller Secret Charm are beautiful stackable gold.  If one ring says "I love you enough to marry you," can you just imagine what nine rings say?

Secret Charm on Etsy

These would make great wedding bands or just nice finger decorations in general :)

OK there you have it!  Sorry for the lack of posting lately.  Luckily I was guilt tripped back into posting regularly.  Up next?  BACONY GOODNESS