Holiday White Wine Sangria


This time last year: Mexican Hot Chocolate (2013)


Friends, it is Day FOUR of “6 Drinks that aren’t Eggnog.” My how time flies. I hope you have been enjoying this series as much as I have!

(If you have no idea what I’m talking about, scroll through the last there days of posts, because this week is all about fun drink recipes! You don’t want to miss it!)


A few nights ago my family went to dinner with some family friends of ours. They were providing the entree, so we offered to bring a drink and some dessert as a contribution.

This is when having a food blog gets tricky.

Due to the fact that I am coooonstantly trying new recipes, and looking for new scrumptious dishes I can share with you all, anytime I have the opportunity to try out a new recipe on a crowd- I do! Crowds provide the best food blog feed back. You can tell if something is a total hit or if it’s not the most popular dish in the room.  It’s like having a bunch of food blog guinea pigs, which is super helpful!

Despite this obvious benefit to me and my blogging efforts, constantly cooking new recipes for parties is a high-risk, high-reward way to live. Sometimes I find myself bringing new dishes to a social setting and being a little nervous about how they will go over!

Last night was one of those situations.

Although I do love sangria, I will admit this was my first time ever making it! Thus, as I stirred together these delicious ingredients I started to get anxious that it would be a bust- there would be too much fruit, or people would find it too sweet, or find the wine too bitter, etc.

I carried the pitcher into our friend’s home with lots of apologies and excuses that I had yet to try it, and it really might not be all that great! (Such a human move, am I right?)

However, to my delight, every member of the party drank a large glass with nothing but compliments! The fruit was the perfect amount, the wine was fresh and crisp, and the drink was a wonderfully festive fit.

For my first round of sangria, on a group of food-blog guinea pig testers, I got lucky. This recipe is delicious. It’s so easy to make, and was a total crowd pleaser!

Give it a try yourself! I am confident you will love it.

And make sure you come back tomorrow! More drink recipes on the way!

XO Sarah



  • 1 granny smith apple, chopped into small bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 red apple, chopped into small bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup fresh/frozen cranberries
  • 1-2 sprigs fresh Rosemary (+ sprigs for garnish- optional)1 bottle white whine
  • 2 cups ginger ale
  • 1 cup sparkling apple cider
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  1. Add your apple slices and cranberries to a large pitcher.
  2. Bruise your rosemary to allow the flavors and juices to escape the leaves more. Do this by laying your rosemary on a cutting board, and using the backside of your knife blade, press down on the leaves.  Add the sprigs to the pitcher.
  3. Pour in the wine and stir. (At this point, you can put the pitcher in the refrigerator, and allow the fruit to marinade in the wine, or if you’re impatient like I am, you can skip to the next step!)
  4. Add the ginger ale and sparkling cider, and stir well.
  5. Optional garnish: Dip a few rosemary leaves in the wine, and then roll in a thin layer of granulated sugar. Place one in each glass, drink, and enjoy!
Notes and Tips!:
  • Serving recommendation: Best served chilled as an appetizer drink.
  • Source: Picture the Recipe
  • Like this recipe? Make sure you don’t miss this week’s other posts for “6 Holiday Drinks That Aren’t Eggnog” (Recipe links below photos):


Dairy-Free Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer


This time last year: Coconut Hot Chocolate (2013)



I woke up this morning to snow on the ground. It wasn’t a lot of snow, and honestly it’s probably more a mixture of ice than anything, however it is white, and beautiful and I love it.

All winter, across the country, we have been experiencing abnormally warm temperatures. My brother goes to college in Saint Paul and they still have yet to receive snow. That’s crazy! Not a good sign for global warning.

As much as I have loved wearing shorts in December and going on long runs without freezing to death, it feels weird to go a whole winter without snow. Snow, like christmas lights and fire places, is one of those few things that make winter and the holidays feel real!

Thus, when I woke up this morning to a thin white layer of snow on the ground, I thought the recipe of the day needed to be a warm winter treat- something you could put in a cup, wrap cold fingers around, and enjoy the comfort of that warmth.

Thus, for my third holiday drink that’s not egg nog, in this mini holiday drink series, I present you with this Dair Free Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer.

It’s good y’all. It’s winter in a cup, and it will warm your soul.

Come back for another holiday drink that isn’t eggnog!

XO Sarah




  • 1 and 1/2 cups almond milk*
  • 2 Tablespoons pumpkin puree (not pumpking pie filling!)
  • 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 – 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 – 2 cinnamon sticks


  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the heavy cream, pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and pumpkin pie spice. Whisk together until fully combined.
  2. Add the cinnamon sticks.
  3. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Whisk while boiling for one minute, then remove the pot from the heat.
  4. Allow the creamer to cool for five minutes before adding to your coffee.
  5. Dress your coffee as you like- adding sugar, whip cream, and/or a sprinkle of cinnamon as you like!



Notes and Tips!:

  • I chose to make this coffee creamer dairy free, because I often get requests for dairy free recipes! Although almond milk is not as creamy as whole milk or half an half, it is definitely healthier, and still has a nice creamy flavor to it! However, if you prefer to go the traditional route, feel free to substitute the almond milk out for whole milk or half and half!
  • Store leftovers in a covered container for up to a week. Shake well before each use.
  • Source: Sally’s Baking Addiction 
  • Like this recipe? Try these other delicious recipes from A Rented Kitchen! (Recipe links below photos):

Cranberry Whiskey Cocktail


This time last year: Pumpkin Hot Chocolate (2013)


Well, Christmas has passed, but this holiday season is far from over- at least that’s the case in my house. Why let such a good thing end so soon?!

In celebration of the 12 days of Christmas, and a continued season of festivities, I am going to bring you six drink options for this holiday season that are NOT eggnog- starting today!

I will admit, I really don’t have anything against eggnog. Eggnog and I don’t go way back, but I don’t hate it.

However, I like getting a little more creative with my cooking choices than eggnog. It just makes life more fun! Thus, this week, from Christmas to New Years, I am going to bring you a handful of new drink recipes that you can use for a variety of occasions- from happy hour to early morning coffee.

Cheers to you!

And cheers to the holiday!

Love, Sarah


  • 1 oz. Crown Royal Whiskey
  • 1 oz. Ginger ale
  • 1 oz. Cranberry Juice
  • Fresh Cranberries and ice for garnish
  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour the liquids into the shaker and mix (shake or stir to your desire).
  2. Strain the liquids into a glass full with fresh ice.
  3. Garnish with cranberries and enjoy!
Notes and Tips!:
  • Yield: 1 drink
  • Source: Your Southern Peach 
  • Like this recipe? Try these other beverages from A Rented kitchen (Recipe links below photos!):

Sage Polenta Bowl with Parmesan, Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Wild Mushrooms


This time last year: Fall Harvest Vegetarian Stuffing (2013)


Man, time flies, doesn’t it?

It feels like just yesterday I was at home, filling my plate full of sweet potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts, and homemade rolls. Oh my goodness gracious, it was SO good!

I’m telling you all, veggie Thanksgiving is where it’s at. No turkey to make you sleepy, and all of the carbs and homemade goodness you could ever dream up. I can feel myself drooling now.


When the weather gets cold and the work load keeps getting harder, I dream of home. I dream about those moments around the table with my family, maybe some jazz music floating therough the speakers, always some kind of sweet potato dish being served (duh!).

When going home is not an option, which is unfortunately, almost always the case, I find myself eating soup instead. (Yes, some of us eat our feelings, and no, soup can not replace the comfort that comes with a family home cooked meal).

I think the warmth of a bowl of soup can push back the coldness of winter just a little bit, which can make the warmth of home feel a whole lot closer.

However, since leaving home 6 years ago, I’ve had a lot of soup, and sometimes you need something else warm.

CUE the Sage Polenta Bowls with Parmesan, Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Wild Mushrooms.

This bowl is seasonal, warm, simple, and delicious. It is filling, while still healthy, and it meets all vegetarian and gluten free diets (two points for the picky eaters!).

Buy the ingredients and make this recipe this week. I promise, you will be so glad you did!





  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts- rinsed, trimmed, and quartered
  • 1- 8 ounce package assorted wild mushrooms (fresh)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup instant polenta
  • 3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh sage

1. Preheat the oven to 400˚F.
2. Toss the Brussels Sprouts and mushrooms with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and then arrange into one layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until slightly browned.
3. Meanwhile, bring the water to a boil in a medium sized pot. Reduce the heat to low and slowly whisk the polenta into the water. Continue to whisk, without ceasing, for 3 minutes.
4. Remove the polenta from the heat, and stir in 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, the sage, and salt and pepper to taste.
5. Divide the polenta into four bowls, and top each with 1/4 of the roasted vegetables + 1 Tablespoon of parmesan cheese.



Notes and Tips!:

  • Source: Oh My Veggies!
  • Like this recipe? Try these other delicious dishes from A Rented Kitchen! (Recipe links found below!):

Pumpkin Nutella Muffins


On this day last year: Caramel Delight Chocolate Covered Pretzels (2012)


Well, I think it is safe to say I have found my new favorite muffin recipe!

I had to bake something for a birthday party recently, so in a very typical fashion, I found myself trolling the internet looking for some cooking inspiration.

That’s when I stumbled upon these pumpkin Nutella muffins, and Woah, they are a game changer!

I have baked and cooked with pumpkin numerous times. Pumpkin  is an extremely versatile ingredient, pairing well with sweet tones as well as savory!

Want to see for yourself? Check out my Pumpkin Spice Bread with Streusel Topping or these Pumpkin Spice Doughnuts.  Not interested in baked goods or sweets? Check out this Vegan Pumpkin Curry or my Creamy Pumpkin Pasta with Roasted Rosemary!  Seriously, like I said, pumpkin is versatile!

While I am well acquainted with pumpkin, Nutella is somewhat of a different story.

Some people consider Nutella a critical part of the food pyramid foundation. All signs (such as the chocolate section of my recipe page and my absurdly large sweet tooth) should point me to being on of those Nutella fanatic people, but for some reason I have never been a big Nutella user.

That might have just changed.

In the last three weeks, I have made six batches of these muffins. Wooooops.

In my defense however, I was doing some experimenting!  I tried baking these mufffis with entirely white all-purpose flour, a combination of flours, all the way down the the other end of the spectrum, with entirely whole wheat flour.   I found that all forms of flour combinations worked wonderfully with this recipe! The muffins stay moist and rich in flavor, and the texture differences were not noticeable.  Thus, if you want to lean towards the healthier side, or if you have gluten free needs, feel free to substitute your flour out for something that works for you!

It turns out, pumpkin and Nutella are a match made in heaven.



  • 3 1/3 cups flour* (all-purpose, whole wheat, gluten free, or any combination of those will work!)
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 cup oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • Nutella


  1. Preheat your oven to 400˚F, and line a muffin tin with liners.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients. (Feel free to sub in Pumpkin Pie Spice for the other spices if needed).
  3. Once mixed, add the remaining ingredients, stirring until blended, and then fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.
  4. Drop a teaspoon (give or take) of Nutella onto the top of each muffin, and swirl in with a toothpick.
  5. Bake for 16-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of a muffin can be removed clean. (There may be some hot Nutella, which is fine.  You do not want wet batter!)


Notes and Tips!:

  • Yield: 36 muffins (Feel free to half the recipe if desired!)
  • Source: Your Cup of Cake
  • Like this recipe? Try these other delicious recipes from A Rented Kitchen (Recipe links below photos!)