How to Get into the Derby Mood

If you live in Louisville or have spent time there during the first week of May, you know that the Kentucky Derby is more than just a sporting event. It's a bona fide holiday, and celebrations rival those of Christmas and the Fourth of July. Kids are out of school on Friday before the race, and everyone is getting Derby-ready the better part of April and early May. People are celebrating at concerts on the waterfront, running the Derby mini-marathon, chowing down at the Chow Wagon (which still confuses me, what is a chow wagon??), or just participating in a number of other festival events

 Photo circa 2015, when we were in better shape and sporting coordinating headbands at the Kentucky Derby Mini-Marathon. 

Photo circa 2015, when we were in better shape and sporting coordinating headbands at the Kentucky Derby Mini-Marathon. 

For those of us living outside of Louisville, it takes a bit more creativity to celebrate Derby week. Here's my plan for making the most of the next few pre-Derby days!!

1. Pick up some Kentucky Derby-themed snacks!

 
 

I stopped at Thornton's while running errands to grab a quick pick-me-up, and the bourbon vanilla latte did just the trick! They also had bourbon ball donuts and Johnsonville bourbon BBQ sausages, which would be festive treats to pick up if you're driving out and about this weekend! They'll have these offerings for the month of May.

2. Use Kentucky and equestrian-themed drinkware and dishes.

3. Pick up some red roses for the kitchen counter. Read more about the history of the garland of roses here!

 
 image  via

image via

 

4. Have fun outfit planning for the weekend festivities! Check out our top picks!

Cheers to Derby Week! How are you celebrating?

 
 

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends! During the month of December, we are sharing our holiday favorites each Friday, and today we're excited to share our favorite holiday treats!

Our family tradition is to make Christmas candy. We're big fans of peanut butter and chocolate, so peanut butter fudge and buckeyes are a must. 

Buckeyes

  • 1/4 lb softened butter
  • 2 c crunchy peanut butter
  • 12 oz package chocolate chips
  • 16 oz powdered sugar
  • 2-3 c Rice Krispies
  • 1/3 stick paraffin

Mix butter, sugar, peanut butter, and Rice Krispies. Form balls. Place in the refrigerator. Melt chocolate chips and paraffin in a double broiler. Dip ball in chocolate and place on wax paper to set. Store in a cool place.

Peanut Butter Fudge

  • 3 c sugar
  • 2/3 c evaporated milk
  • 1.5 sticks butter
  • 7 oz jar of marshmallow cream
  • 1 c peanut butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Slowly bring sugar, milk, and butter to a boil. Boil 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add marshmallow cream, peanut butter, vanilla. Stir until smooth. Pour into a greased 9x9 dish. Refrigerate. 

If you're more of a cookie person or headed to a cookie exchange, I always try at least one of the cookie recipes Southern Living publishes in their December issue. Some recipes are more involved than others, but mine have always turned out great.

 
 

Finally, we have a little bit of humor to share. In full disclosure, Sarah, my mom, and I all loaded up on some tartan and peppermint holiday items at Williams-Sonoma this month. What can I say? I think we all secretly want to be domestic goddesses and spend afternoons perusing the upscale markets in East Hampton like Ina Garten, but you have to get a kick out of the  Hater's Guide to the Williams-Sonoma Catalog

One that note, have a great December weekend!

 
 

Holiday Cocktails with Sydney and Jackson Morgan

We have the best surprise for you all today! Our friend Sydney from Soda and Lime is joining us for a special holiday post in partnership with Jackson Morgan Southern Cream. The holidays just don't seem like the holidays without a festive drink in hand, and if you're looking for the perfect one to serve at your next holiday gathering or on a cozy Saturday just because, then Sydney has got you covered! In honor of her guest post, we are also doing a giveaway of a Jackson Morgan Southern Cream bottle, so head over to our Instagram @kindlykentucky to enter! The winner will be picked tomorrow by 7:00 PM. 

 
 

Hi everyone! I'm so excited (and honored) to be guest posting for KK today! When Sarah asked me to think of something fun and holiday themed to post on, I knew I wanted to incorporate a local, Nashville product. I partnered with a local whiskey cream company, Jackson Morgan. JM gifted me a bottle of Peppermint Mocha Southern Cream for today's recipes. I had a BLAST concocting these two drinks and have no doubt that JM will become a staple on your bar cart this holiday season.

 
 

For the first drink, I did a version of JM's Peppermint Russian. It's the perfect after-dinner, dessert drink.

Ingredients:

  • 1 part vodka
  • 1 part Jackson Morgan Peppermint Mocha Southern Cream
  • 2 parts half and half
  • Ice
  • Crushed peppermint (optional)
  • Melted chocolate (optional)

Directions:

  • Melt chocolate in a small dish. Place crushed peppermint in a separate dish. (Make sure that your drinking glass can fit inside the opening of both of the dishes with the chocolate and peppermint.) Take your drinking glass, and dip the rim in melted chocolate and then immediately into the crushed peppermint. This step is optional but really gives a festive feel to the cocktail!
  • Put a significant amount of ice into a martini shaker and pour the vodka, JM Southern Cream, and half and half into the shaker. Shake vigorously for about 30 seconds.
  • Pour contents from the shaker into the decorated glass. Sip and enjoy.

For my last drink, I combined two of my favorite things - coffee and liquor. I call this drink The Mcallister. The holidays with my family is a lot like the scene from Home Alone when they realize that they have overslept for the airport. The house is filled to the brim with family, my brother(s) can be a pain, and we have our own version of Uncle Frank. To combat the craziness, this drink should be sipped in the morning - the sooner the better. 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup of strong coffee
  • 1/4 cup frothed milk (or half and half)
  • 1.5 oz of Jackson Morgan Peppermint Mocha Southern Cream
  • Whipped cream (optional)
  • Chocolate syrup (optional)
  • Candy cane stick (optional)

Directions:

  • Brew coffee like normal, filling a mason jar or mug about halfway.
  • For this step I used my Ninja Coffee Bar frother, but you can get the same effect by placing in a mason jar. Microwave milk or half and half in a glass jar for one minute. Once finished, froth for 20 seconds. If not using a coffee frother, screw lid onto your mason jar and shake for 20 seconds.
  • Pour heated milk into coffee using a spoon to hold the bigger froth in the jar. Once liquid is out, use the spoon to plop the remaining froth on top. 
  • Top coffee with whipped cream and drizzle chocolate syrup.
  • Place candy cane stick in drink. Sip and enjoy.

For your enjoyment, I have also included a montage of photos documenting an embarrassing moment with my neighbor. She walked out back to let her dog out and caught Jake taking pictures of me, fully dressed, demonstrating cocktails at 8:30 AM. I asked her if she'd like a boozy coffee she declined, I yelled that she would love it, she declined again. Jake documented my embarrassment, frustration, and giggles. 

If peppermint mocha isn't your thing, Jackson Morgan also offers: banana pudding cream, southern bread pudding cream, whipped orange cream, brown sugar & cinnamon cream, peaches and cream, and salted caramel. You can browse JM's website here or follow them on Instagram @jacksonmorgancream

Cheers to family, friends, and neighbors that make ya wanna drink!

 
 

Don't forget to head over to Instagram @kindlykentucky to enter the contest to win this cute Jackson Morgan bottle! 

*Southern cream and bottle were provided by Jackson Morgan, but the opinions expressed are those of the blogger.

Deck The Halls Home Tour

Now that we're in the thick of the holiday season, I'm excited to give you a glimpse into my holiday home decor! If you're joining us from the Deck the Halls Holiday Home Tour sponsored by Salt and Life Blog, we're glad to have you! 

front door.jpg

Jay and I moved into our new house about three weeks ago, and we've been working around the clock to finish renovations and get it put together. While there are still lots of little things to do, we're finally feeling a little more settled. Since we've been moving, unpacking, and painting, I wasn't sure if we'd put up many Christmas decorations this year. However, we hosted a holiday gathering for family on Saturday, and while we didn't put up tons of decorations, we added several festive touches around the house. 

My taste in Christmas decor is pretty classic, but I do like a little more sparkle and bling for the holidays. I like to start with a base of gold, silver, and winter white, and then I add pops of red from there. I also try to purchase decorations that I know I can use year after year, and many of our holiday decorations have been passed down to us from family.

Other than our real tree, the only things I purchased this year were four basic wreaths to hang from our front windows and some ribbon to make bows for them. I looked several different places for outdoor ribbon, and the best selection was at Michael's for 70% off.

I found these Pottery Barn lookalike trees at Hobby Lobby a couple of years ago, and I previously used them on a mantle in our old house. Now I use them for our cabinet in our dining room, which leaves plenty of room to serve dessert, appetizers, or drinks if we're entertaining. 

The antique marble top washstand in our living room is the perfect spot for a hot chocolate station or a bourbon bar. I love these hot cocoa mugs that have the built-in spoon. They're perfect for stirring in marshmallows or peppermint!

We're still working to put together our coffee table, but you can't really go wrong with a plate of treats for Santa (or yourself) while catching up on your favorite magazines or latest Netflix binge. We've sung the praises of Louisville Stoneware on the blog before, but this Santa Clause plate would be a perfect gift for your friend or relative who has everything or for kids to leave cookies for Santa Clause. 

I appreciate a festive hand towel that is actually absorbent and doesn't require ironing, and this one fits the bill. Add some holiday soap and a classic three-wick Bath and Body Works candle, and you can quickly spruce up the bathroom for the holidays.

Thanks for joining us on the Deck the Halls Holiday Home Tour! We hope you continue on the tour by heading to Holly's blog, Just Bake! Holly is a fellow dog mom, and in addition to checking out her home tour, you can find lots of great recipes and craft ideas.