RECIPE :: CUCUMBER MINT JULEP GRANITA

There’s something about classic, American traditions that turn the imagination to thoughts of the South. Now that we’re in approaching the Kentucky Derby, the extravagant hats, the gatherings at Churchill Downs and derby pie all spark that southern allure. Of course, no celebration of the Derby is complete without a Mint Julep; so we knew that our own spread wouldn’t be complete without our own take on the southern classic.

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Given that we like to put a spin on the recipes that we share, I knew that our tabletop needed a cocktail that was unique, all the while staying true to traditional Derby elements. As a result, this super refreshing, cucumber, Mint Julep Granita was born.

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This granita is a really fur and refreshing  way to serve up a cocktail – you can serve it in little coupes with a spoon, or wait for it to melt down a bit a slurp it down with a straw. It’s also incredibly easy to make, can be prepared well in advance, and is absolutely gorgeous once you fluff the icy crystals. It’s an absolute winner in our book!

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Cucumber Mint Julep Granita // Serves 6

  • 3 large cucumbers, peeled
  • 1 cup bourbon
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup mint, roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice

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Prep // 

Coarsely chop the mint, place it in a heat proof bowl, and set aside. Combine sugar and water over medium hight heat, stirring occasionally until all the sugar has dissolved. Allow the mixture to come to a boil, then remove from heat. Pour the simple syrup mixture over the mint, cover the bowl, and allow the mint to steep in the syrup until it comes to room temperature. Once the mixture has cooled, strain out the mint and reserve the syrup.

Peel and chop the cucumbers. In two batches, blend the bourbon, simple syrup, lemon juice and cucumbers. Place the slush in the freezer. Every hour or so, take a fork and scrape the mixture to create crystals, then freeze again. The granita should be ready to serve after about four hours. Garnish with a sprig of mint!

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photography :: meghan klein for coco+kelley  // recipe :: natasha snowden

4 responses on “RECIPE :: CUCUMBER MINT JULEP GRANITA

    1. Cassandra LaValle

      You mean the food? It’s just a couple of classics – a benedictine sandwich and some bourbon pecans! I mentioned them in the previous post, but we just found the recipes on pinterest!

      Reply
  1. Pingback: End Of The Week And A Mint Julep Recipe - Book Delight

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OFF TO THE RACES :: A KENTUCKY DERBY PARTY

Every year I vow to myself that I’m going to throw a fabulous, over-the-top, big-hat worthy Kentucky Derby party (because really, I just want to wear the hat) and this year I finally got inspired to throw a little something together…

kentucky derby party spread and ideas // via coco+kelley

I love a little dose of preppy style every now and then, so what better excuse for a stripes, ribbons, seersucker, and roses?

all the elements you need to recreate this kentucky derby party // via coco+kelley

Here are the elements. Gifts for guests are tucked into striped boxes topped by golden jockeys (that we spray painted!). Table numbers mimic the gates at the track – pick your number wisely! Mint Juleps are a must, but we put a little twist on ours… And then of course there are traditional Derby snacks: benedictine and cucumber sandwiches stuffed with parsley, and maple bourbon pecans set on individual plates.

kentucky derby party ideas// via coco+kelley

The set up was inspired by these super fun harlequin print (just like the jockeys wear!) paper dishes. I found ribbon to match the colors, and did a simple DIY with these wood numbers and a little paint to coordinate as well!

kentucky derby party spread and ideas via coco+kelley - each guest gets a plate and picks their number to correspond with a horse!

kentucky derby party spread and ideas // via coco+kelley

kentucky derby party spread and ideas // via coco+kelley

So what’s with the numbers, you ask? Well, I placed them next to a plate, so each guest would get their own snack and pick a number at the same time. (There are 20 horses in the Derby so make your guest list to match!) 

When the race begins – everyone has their number. Whoever’s horse wins, gets a prize at the end!

kentucky derby party spread and ideas - vintage racetrack toy // via coco+kelley

Or… you can have some good old fashioned fun with a little game like this one – set them around the party and let your guests compete according to their number!

kentucky derby party spread and ideas // via coco+kelley

I like the subtle stripe motif too – you can see it in the straws, gift boxes, seersucker tablecloth, and the numbers… but it’s not even close to overwhelming! Just a nice common thread to tie the theme together even more.

kentucky derby party spread and ideas via coco+kelley - each guest gets a number and a snack plate! the number corresponds to the horse they're 'betting' on

kentucky derby party spread and ideas - granita mint juleps! // via coco+kelley

And then, of course, there must be a mint julep! But ours isn’t just any julep – we created a boozy granita for guests to sip on or spoon, and it’s insanely delicious and refreshing. (Recipe tomorrow!). 

kentucky derby party spread and ideas - white roses and rununculus // via coco+kelley

kentucky derby party spread and ideas via coco+kelley - parting gifts for guests are placed in striped boxes topped with gold spray-painted jockeys

Parting gifts for every guests always top off the celebrations. What you put in them is up to you!

Is anyone hosting a party this year? I do hope you’ll use some of these elements! Here’s our guide for shopping the look!

images by meghan klein for coco+kelley // styling by cassandra lavalle

5 responses on “OFF TO THE RACES :: A KENTUCKY DERBY PARTY

  1. Bridget B

    Oh I love this!! Def having a party now, so inspired and so fun! Would love to know where that floral garland is from too!

    Reply

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ONE ROOM CHALLENGE WEEK 4 :: LET THERE BE LIGHT!

Yes yes, I’m late to the party today with my post, BUT it’s all for good reason! Life has been crazy and – as usual – I waited until the last minute to do some updates to the dining room yesterday, which resulted in J and I hanging the chandelier by the light of our headlamps at 9pm last night. And the result?

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Another moment of ‘this feels like whole new room!’. If you don’t recall, here is the before photo complete with the most awful light fixture ever.

Speaking of awful, please excuse the crummy iphone pics – I literally just snapped these this morning before I rushed out the door to a photo shoot, so I hope to add some better ones later, but you get the picture.

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love that I got to sneak a little brass detail into the space, and J is happy to have his dark bronze. I wanted white shades because – of course – I want more white in the space. The chandelier is from West Elm, and I like that it’s got this mid-century meets traditional vibe. It makes just enough of a statement without being overwhelming.

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I also spent part of the day yesterday installing our new roman shades (yaaaaaay!) I love the way linen looks with sun filtering through. We ordered them through Loom Decor and they were fairly easy to install, although they didn’t come with instructions which caused some momentary frustration.

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While I originally thought about going with white or a pale grey, I eventually ended up choosing the classic linen in ivory because our drapes in the living room are also an ivory to contrast a bit with all the white trim.

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Our biggest debate in the process was deciding if we wanted to have the chandelier in the middle of the room (where the wiring already was) or if we wanted to move it and have it centered over the table. The verdict – for now – was to keep it in the middle of the room.

I also keep messing with the centerpieces…

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I love the way the lilacs look with the artwork! I’m so not usually into all these shades of purple and mauve, but it’s working in this room.

Only two weeks left of the challenge, so it’s time to bust out my styling skills to finish off the gallery wall, find the perfect rug, and maybe even add a cushion to that bench? We’re in the home stretch!

Huge thanks to West Elm for the chandelier and Loom Decor for the roman shades! Don’t forget to check out my previous posts if you’re just catching up on the One Room Challenge, and visit the other gals who are participating too!

Jana Bek * Autumn Clemons * The English Room * Vanessa Francis * Greige Design * Hi Sugarplum * I Heart Organizing * Jenna Sue Design * Stephanie Kraus * The Pursuit of Style * Julia Ryan * Savvy Home  * Simple Details * Simply Grove * 6th Street Design * Jill Sorensen * Swoon Worthy * Waiting on Martha * Kimberly Schlegel Whitman

16 responses on “ONE ROOM CHALLENGE WEEK 4 :: LET THERE BE LIGHT!

  1. franki

    LUV the light fixture…what made you decide on that height?? Maybe it’s the perspective of the photo. Waiting for more!! franki

    Reply
    1. Cassandra LaValle Post author

      I didn’t consider the height much to be honest but this was about as low as we could go without someone potentially bonking their head on it! If we had centered it over the table I probably would have gone a bit lower.

      Reply
  2. sherry hart

    This room is coming along so nicely….Love that you hung the chandelier high and not specifically over the table….as a light fixture. It totally works. Looking forward to seeing your talented styling skills come to life.

    Reply

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GOING TROPICAL IN BLACK + WHITE

Watch out banana leaf and pineapple prints. This year’s tropicals are getting a sophisticated twist in black and white, and frankly – I couldn’t be happier.

palm leaf tropical drawings // via coco+kelley

Cut25 Spring 2015 palm tree print / via coco+kelley

It’s no secret that I love a more beachy vibe, but when it comes to my home and my wardrobe, I can’t deny my neutral inclinations, making this style irresistible, and perfectly me.

black and white tropical print and vibe // coco+kelley

1. raffia sneakers // 2. msgm pineapple coat // 3. sara story wallpaper // 4. fringe mules // 5. tropical print top // 6. fabric boho bag in palm leaf print // 7. jute wrapped circle mirror // 8. cream sunglasses // 9. black and white clutch // 10. metallic woven round pouf // 11. the rug i’m currently obsessed with

Of course you don’t have to go just for the palms or the pineapples, it’s all about the mood – like that jute-wrapped mirror or fringed heels and rugs. But the easiest way is to hop on the black and white bandwagon in some fashionable prints like these:

images :: the jungalow  // cut 25 lookbook

3 responses on “GOING TROPICAL IN BLACK + WHITE

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IN THE DETAILS :: ORGANIC WOOD ACCENTS

I don’t know if many of you follow my friend & blogger, Justina Blakeney, but this inspirational gal has just released a stunning, colorful new book called The New Bohemians profiling the lives and homes of fellow boho spirits, and I’m thrilled to bring you a peek at what’s inside today!

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While there are many design elements throughout the book that relay the laid-back, layered bohemian style (macrame, layered suzanis, you name it), one detail I picked up on that’s super easy to incorporate into any interior are the many uses for organic wood.

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This awesome driftwood pendant was probably one of my overall favorite details amongst the many homes! I love the nautical feel with the silver bulbs!

One of my favorite parts of the book is that it’s divided into different personality types of bohemian homes. I lean more towards the Nomadic or Romantic Bohemian, but it’s fun to flip through the pages to see which style you relate to the most.

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And then of course there are the ideas that are so simple, you have a ‘why didn’t I think of that?’ moment. I love the use of a gorgeous wood slab as more of a natural way to add a layer to the coffee table vs. a structured tray. Genius, and easy. And this book is full of those moments, including a few DIY’s from Justina herself.

Thanks, Justina for having me as a part of your book tour, and for the sneak peek! A huge congrats to her for producing such a beautiful piece. I highly recommend picking it up! (Available for purchase here.)

2 responses on “IN THE DETAILS :: ORGANIC WOOD ACCENTS

  1. Emily Katz

    So excited that you love the images from the book of our home! We made those driftwood lights ourselves.
    Justina sure captured the best parts of our home.

    Reply

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