Thursday, April 30, 2020

Blackberry Smash

Hi, friends! It's been a hot minute and it seems like I have a mile long list of recipes to share. We are definitely living in some strange times right now but we are all making the most of it around here. I never mind a little slow down from time to time so for that, I am thankful. I know that we will look back on this time with memories of precious family moments. If anything, it's taught us how to enjoy the little moment each day that much more. Not to mention the doodle is loving having all of his people home all day every day right now. 

The world seems to be coming together in all kinds of ways right now and I'm loving seeing all of the new thing that people are making and new skills they are trying. I knew that I was going to go all in on quarantine cocktail hour and have been having tons of fun mixing and matching what I have in my liquor cabinet and coming up with new simple syrups and fresh mixers. If anything, we have had weather that has been beyond amazing the past month and a half, making happy hours on the patio extra festive. It's my favorite time of year to sit out there and the weather has just been perfect.

I have been missing my girls nights and happy hours at some of my favorite happy hour spots in Charlotte and was really craving a blueberry smash from The Summit Room! I pulled up the cocktail menu and with a little tweaking, was inspired to recreate my own with some fresh blackberries I had on hand. The result was SMASHING and I'll for sure be making this again. I love the refreshing taste of the club soda but for added sweetness, I think that ginger beer would be a tasty addition.


2 oz. vodka
1/2 oz. mint simple syrup
handful of fresh blackberrie
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 lime, juiced
club soda

In a cocktail glass, place 4-5 blackberries and muddle at the bottom of the glass. Top muddled blackberries with crushed ice  In a cocktail shaker, combine vodka, simple syrup, lemon juice, lime juice, and ice. Shake shake shake! Pour over muddles blackberries and ice and top with a little club soda. Garnish with blackberries and lemon rind

Thursday, August 15, 2019


This cous cous salad is having a major moment in our house this summer. I love the colors, the flavor, and the addition of paprika is just SO GOOD and unexpected. I've made this for a few Summer gatherings and it's been a huge hit. This recipe makes a ton and it is equally as delicious leftover. It makes the perfect side to chicken and fish, and can be served at room temperature which is great when you are trying to prep a meal for a crowd. This would even be good to make on a Sunday and eat for lunch for the week- just add some protein. 

Giada is one of my OGs and never steers me wrong. Her recipes are mostly effortless and with the right flavors and a few simple ingredients, you've got something restaurant worthy that everyone will love. I tweaked her original recipe a tad and am craving now as I type it out. I love the couscous, but you could easily swap out for quinoa, moroccan cous cous, or even orzo! The perfect Summer side that can take you well into Fall grilling.

recipe adapted from Giada DeLaurentiis

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 TBSP white balsamic vinegar
1.5 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1 TBSP olive oil
1 1/3 cups Israeli couscous
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4-1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds (if I have them)
2 handfuls baby spinach leaves, chopped or whole
1.5 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup roasted red peppers, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
kosher salt and ground pepper, to taste

To make the dressing, whisk together all ingredients in a bowl and set aside to let the flavors marry.

For the couscous, heat oil over medium heat and add the couscous. Toast until golden, about 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add 2 cups of water and salt and bring it all to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cover, simmering about 10 minutes or until the cousscous is cooked through and fluffy, and all of the water has been absorbed. Mix together the veggies, cous cous, and pour the dressing over the mixture, tossing it all together. 

Saturday, August 10, 2019


I hope everyone had a great week! We are over here soaking up the last few weeks of Summer. Routine is nice, but I'm just not ready for the busy-ness that Fall and back to school season brings. Summertime is just the sweetest.

Patio happy hours are my favorite and our cocktail game has been pretty strong this summer if I do say so myself. If there is ever a spicy tequila drink on a restaurant's cocktail menu, I will almost always order it- and then try to recreate it at home! Restaurant menus are a great source of inspiration when looking for different flavors and Liquors to mix and match. I honestly like to keep it simple with just some good tequila, lime seltzer, and a wedge of lime most of the time, but there are other times that you just want a little something extra.

A friend of mine dropped off a TON of fresh basil from her garden. I made pesto, caprese, and more caprese, then saved out a handful for this simple syrup. Basil and jalapenos work so well alongside each other and this simple syrup provides the perfect backdrop to even the simplest of cocktail concoctions. The fresh jalapeno really stands out here, and even more so if you drop a few slices of fresh jalapeno in your drink! I love the spicy kick. 

If you can boil water, you can make simple syrup! Trust me here and have at it. Use this in a margarita, or just with a splash in a vodka soda. We made margaritas and they were a HUGE hit. So much flavor here and a perfect drink for Taco night- or any night of the week to be honest. Enjoy!


1 cup sugar
1 cup water
handful fresh basil leaves
1/2 sliced jalapeno 

Place sugar and water in a small saucepan on medium high heat. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and drop in the basil and jalapeno slices. Let this all steep until the syrup is completely cooled.

Once syrup is cooled, strain into a glass container. This will last in a sealed glass container for quite a while! 


2 oz. Tequila
1/2 oz. basil jalapeno simple syrup
lime seltzer water
lime juice
jalapeno slices + lime wedges for garnish

Prep your glass with a salt rim if desired. Fill glass with ice, tequila, and the simple syrup. Finish with a pour of seltzer and a splash of lime juice. Give it a quick stir and garnish with a lime wedge and a couple of jalapeno slices for heat.  

Friday, August 2, 2019


If you've been following along here for awhile, you know that most Friday nights are homemade pizza nights in our house! I perfected my dough recipe YEARS ago and the only thing I've changed since then is making the switch earlier this year to organic flour. Hear me out on this one- something about the organic flour makes the dough SO MUCH BETTER. I can't explain it, but it's worth the extra few dollars at the grocery store. Also worth investing in? A pizza stone! This makes all the difference when cooking a homemade pizza at home. You just cannot beat it. 

This pizza was inspired by one they serve at a local organic farm here in Charlotte. My friend raves about it and I decided to give it a whirl. Mark Moore was skeptical at first, but I made him a believer. Corn on a pizza may sound odd, but trust me on this one. The sweet kernels add a little something extra and I am here for it. 

I layered the pesto on this one and it was just heavenly. There is nothing like fresh homemade pesto in the Summer. I was out of walnuts and pine nuts, so I made a quick batch with just basil, parmesan, garlic, and olive oil and I think this is what I will do from now on when making pesto for pizza. It was lighter and fresher tasting to me and without the nuts, the basil really shines through. That intense basil flavor on this pizza is what makes it so good. (besides the little pops of sweet from the corn) If you wanted to add some meat, I think prosciutto would be amazing on this one! 

It's like Summer on a pizza. 


For my homemade Neapolitan pizza dough, follow the recipe HERE

1 ear sweet corn, cooked and cut off the cob
Handful of zucchini "ribbons" (I used a veggie peeler and shaved about 1/2-1 cups worth!)
Pesto (store bought or homemade)
Shredded whole milk mozzarella

If you are using homemade dough, preheat oven with pizza stone inside to 500 degrees. Once the oven comes to 500, remove the pizza stone and immediately prep your pizza.

Roll out dough and place on preheated stone. Spread a layer of pesto and then a very thin layer of mozzarella. Top with zucchini ribbons and sprinkle on the fresh corn. Add another layer of mozzarella.

Bake for 8 minutes on 500, or until nice and melty and bubbly! Hit it with some red pepper flakes for heat. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2019


I will forever say that Summer cooking is the best kind of cooking. Everything is lighter and fresher and the colors make everything pop and look so pretty on a plate! The best kind of Summer meal in my mind is just picking up whatever is fresh in the produce section and grilling a good piece of fish or other meat. Done and done! 

This dinner is basically no recipe at all- my favorite kind of dinner to make! I was inspired by the fish special at one of our favorite beach spots last weekend (The Wild Olive) and decided to do my own take on it. These Summer veggies are my new favorite combo and the best part is that you can add whatever you like. Just a little garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper is all you need. The cherry tomatoes burst a little as they warm and make their own tasty sauce for another depth of flavor. I hit it all with a generous shake of red pepper flakes before serving- give me all the heat!! Wild caught Cod was on sale this week, but you could use whatever fish you like! I tried to tell my kids we were eating chicken, but they didn't buy it. We typically eat fish one night a week throughout the year, but the Summer is the best because you can always grill it! It's just so much better on the grill. For this dish, I put together a quick cajun rub and let it sit on the fish for about 15 minutes before Mark put it on the grill. 

Add this to your meal plan ASAP for the perfect weeknight Summer dinner! (you can even skip the fish and make these veggies as a side!)


Wild caught cod (I estimate about 1/2 lb. per adult)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 lb. fresh okra, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 small zucchini, chopped
2 ears sweet corn, cooked and cut off the cob
1 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
Olive oil

1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp cumin

To prepare the fish, pour a little olive oil on top and brush all over. Rub with the cajun seasoning and let the fish sit for 10-15 minutes.

While the fish sits, chop veggies. In a large saute pan on medium heat, saute garlic and olive oil until the garlic is soft and fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Add zucchini and okra and cook until the veggies become a little soft and toasty, about 8-10 minutes. Add in tomatoes and corn towards the end and wait for the tomatoes to get soft and a little saucy. Season with salt and pepper at the end to taste.

For the fish, grill for 10-12 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fish you may need more time. When it's nice and flaky its done! You can also do in the oven at 400 for 15 minutes. 

Plate a big pile of veggies with the fish on top. Hit it all with some red pepper flakes if you like heat and a squeeze of lemon! 

Friday, July 19, 2019


It's about time we add another cocktail to the recipe files around here! Not even 9:00 on a Friday morning and I'm still chugging coffee with happy hour on the brain.

We've always loved making these Markaritas, but we have really gotten into Tequila over the past couple of years and love trying new types and brands. Many years ago, when Mark was reading tons of Paleo books, so many of them talked about how Tequila is one of the cleanest liquors that you can drink since it comes from a plant. "CLEAN DRINKING" I call it. Sign me up!  We drank margaritas together on our first date so this only seems fitting that this is what we really gravitate to! With the good tequilas, we love it with a splash of lime La Croix and a wedge of lime- it is really my favorite way to drink it. I LIKE TO TASTE THE TEQUILA.

This drink was inspired from my birthday dinner at one of our favorite Charlotte restaurants. It's refreshing and flavorful without being overly sweet. This Blood Orange Liqueur is a new favorite and a great one to have on hand. Just a splash adds a touch of sweetness and that bold blood orange taste. I cannot get enough of this Spritz. 


2 oz. Good Tequila 
1/2 oz. Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur
A few dashes of Orange Bitters 
Top off with Grapefruit Spindrift
Squeeze of fresh grapefruit + grapefruit wedge for garnish

I make these individually in the glass. Combine Tequila, Blood Orange Liqueur, and orange bitters and give it a little stir. Add ice and top off with Grapefruit Spindrift and a squeeze of fresh grapefruit. Garnish with a grapefruit wedge!

Cheers! Hope everyone enjoys the Summer sunshine this weekend! (and some tequila of course) For more cocktail inspo, you can follow me on Instagram (@ninanmoore) and check out the hashtag #DRINKMOORECOCKTAILS

Wednesday, July 17, 2019


I love everything about Summer. The slow days and the late nights. The sun and the sand. Happy hours on the patio and even the HEAT. And give me all the fresh Summer produce. Summer is just the best. And so is Summer cooking! 

I've been hoarding all of my food pics on my phone with then intent of rapid fire posting this Summer because I have missed sharing on this little space. 

If there was ever an official salsa for Summer, this would be it! The original recipe comes from Tiffani Thiessen's Pull Up A Chair, but I tweaked it a bit and added some more spice! And because I was feeling EXTRA, I pulled up a YouTube video and taught myself how to cut out a pineapple and use it as a serving bowl. This salsa was a huge hit at a cookout two weeks ago and I think it's even better when it sits overnight! The flavors are insane and I will be making this on repeat for the rest of the Summer. Not to mention it's just so freaking pretty in this pineapple bowl! 

The best part about this is that all of the work is in the chopping and you just toss everything into a bowl. I honestly eyeballed the amounts here and just kind of added more of what I liked- like extra jalapenos for a kick! Scrape out the seeds if you don't like the heat, but I can't get enough. We are LOVING Late July Chips in our house. I picked them up for our Super Bowl nachos in the Winter and now they are the only chips I'll buy. The lime + sea salt ones are my personal fave. 

Now, whip this up for your next Summer shindig and while you're at it, teach yourself how to craft a pineapple bowl! 

recipe adapted from Tiffani Thiessen

1 cup diced pineapple
1 cup seedless watermelon
1 cup diced mango
1 cup diced papaya
1/2 cup diced english cucumber
1/2 cup diced red bell pepper
1-2 jalapenos, finely diced
1/2 small red onion, finely diced
1/2-1 cup chopped cilantro leaves
2 TBSP fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and let it sit and mingle for a few hours before serving.