Posts Tagged ‘Layla Mays photography’

Say Goodbye to Summer and Spice Up the Fall Season with Sugarlands Pumpkin Spice Moonshine

Two Fun and Tasty Pumpkin Spice Cocktails Inspired by Sugarlands Moonshine for Fall Fun!

(sample of moonshine sent by Sugarlands Distillery)


(photos by

Sweltering summer heat is gone and fall has arrived. Trade the summer cocktails by the pool or beach for two cool cocktails infused with …wait for it…..Pumpkin Spice Moonshine! That’s right! Our good moonshine-making friends at Sugarlands Distilling Co. in Gatlinburg, TN have created a very, very unique way to get your Pumpkin Spice fall fix.

You can add a splash or two of Sugarlands Shine 40 proof Pumpkin Spice Moonshine the ever-popular PSL (Pumpkin Spice Latte, you know which one I’m talking about) to enhance the flavor and enjoyment or you can just have fun with these two cocktails.

Really, it’s one cocktail and one very grown up milk shake.

Campfire Pumpkin Spice Moonshine Martini


My daughter and I had so much fun creating, photographing (and drinking) our cocktails and now we happy to share them with you.

We created the Pumpkin Spice Campfire Cocktail because we both love the flavors of the fall, especially sitting around a campfire, or in our case, a warm fire pit with a cozy cocktail in hand.

For one cocktail:

1/4 cup (plus a splash more) half and half

2-3T Sugarlands Shine 40 proof Pumpkin Spice Moonshine

2T Marshmallow-flavored Vodka

Dash of Pumpkin Pie Spice

2t of canned pumpkin puree, for each martini

3 large marshmallows, skewered
On a small plate, Demerara sugar mixed with a few dashes of Pumpkin Pie Spice for dipping glasses


Moisten the edge of the martini glass with moonshine and turn it upside down and dip rim into sugar mixture until it’s coated.
In a cocktail shaker, add ice cubes, half and half, moonshine, marshmallow vodka, and a dash of Pumpkin Pie Spice and shake vigorously. Taste and adjust for flavors by adding more ingredients, to your taste.
Pour into the sugar rimmed martini glass.
Light the marshmallows with a lighter or fire from the campfire and quickly blow out so you don’t burn up the marshmallows.
Serve the cocktail with the marshmallow garnish.
**Double the ingredients for two cocktails
***Note: We believe the pumpkin puree enhances the texture and flavor of this cocktail and recommend using it. Leftovers can be refrigerated or frozen to use for desserts or more cocktails in the future.

        Pumpkin Spice Moonshine Milkshake


Here’s one milkshake just for the adults that will most likely bring out the kid in all of us! It’s not too cold yet to enjoy a cool and creamy ice cream milk shake with caramel and the most delicious moonshine ever.

For 2 shakes:

1/4 + 1T of Sugarlands Shine 40 proof Pumpkin Spice Moonshine

3T Pumpkin puree

1 pint great quality vanilla ice cream

1/2t pumpkin pie spice

3T half and half or milk

Caramel topping that comes in a squeeze bottle 1 sheet of graham crackers, crushed

Whipped cream, for garnishing

Moisten the rim of the glass with a bit of moonshine and dip rim into the crushed graham crackers

Drizzle the inside of the glass with the caramel, swirling it around making a pretty pattern up and down

In a blender, add the first five ingredients and blend on high speed until all ingredients are combined.

Pour immediately into the rimmed glass with the caramel.

Top with whipped cream and a dash of spice, if desired.



10 2016

Smokey Pineapple Tequila and Mezcal Cocktail Inspired by the Spirited Happy Hour at Bastion in Celebration of Music City Food + Wine Festival!

Your missing out if you haven’t yet had a tequila and mezcal cocktail!


Photo by

Get your tickets today so you can experience the fabulous 4th Annual Music City Food + Wine Festival held in Nashville. 

Every year before the Music City Food + Wine Festival, there’s always a celebration that takes place at one of our fabulous local restaurants that showcases our immensely talented chefs. This year we all gathered at Bastion, Chef Josh Habiger’s newest culinary and cocktail experience for all of us to enjoy. Josh is also one of the talented chefs who will be at the Music City Food + Wine Festival in September. Bastion is located in the Houston Station area of Nashville with a casual yet chic vibe in ” a warehouse-style digs with trendy, restored decor.”

If you’ve never had tequila in any other cocktail other than a margarita, you are missing out. And, when it’s combined with mezcal and pineapple juice, it creates a cocktail on a whole new level of refreshment and enjoyment.

Here’s my inspired version of my new favorite cocktail!

This is a cocktail that is a blend of all the flavors we love which are sweet, salty, savory, spicy with a touch of smoke. It simply has it all.

Immediately, I fell in love with the layers of flavors. Smoke from the mezcal, slightly sweet tropical flavors of pineapple juice, fresh ginger, tart lime, shaken and poured into a glass that’s coated with spicy BBQ seasoned salt. I added a touch of demerara sugar, cardamom and smoked paprika to balance out the flavors.

This cocktail is called Toy Soldier at Bastion. We just call it that “awesome smokey tequila cocktail” that changed my concept of a cocktail for ever.





08 2016

Put an Egg on It! Enjoy a Sunday Paella Brunch with My Paella Travels and Lodge Cast Iron Paella Pan

Paella is my passion and so is brunch! 


all photos are by my daughter @laylamays photography

First, I want to thank Lodge Cast Iron for supplying this awesome 15 inch seasoned carbon steel paella pan! WOW! It is the very best paella pan that I have used so far. I am a Paella Chef in Nashville, TN called MY PAELLA TRAVELS. I expertly create succulent, intensely flavored authentic Spanish paellas with a Nashville-inspired twist. I have cooked for many in the Nashville and surrounding area and even won FIRST PLACE in a paella contest last September. I won the popular vote. Everyone loved my Nashville-inspired paella!

I recently received this great pan from the Lodge Cast Iron Company. I was delighted to find that it is already seasoned and cooks the paella evenly which creates the most flavorful and uniform socarrat (crispy bottom crust) ever! It’s small enough to finish in the oven to get the crispy, caramelized rice crust and large enough to feed 6 to 8 people!

Put an egg on it!

Brunch seems to be very popular here in Nashville and we now have many great brunch places to choose from. But the only place you will find this is with My Paella Travels! Most brunches include several dishes with eggs or topped with a poached or fried egg. Soooo, I was thinking…..


There is always a plate or two of paella leftover from the events I host. I always tell the group to warm it up for brunch the next day, put a fried egg on it and serve with a side of tangy and smokey Romesco sauce. Well, it’s about time for me to do that too. But why wait until the next day. Why not have a Paella Brunch today!

IMG_9109-webSaveur Magazine has great Paella articles and recipes. I found this Paella Mixta recipe and thought this would be just perfect for today’s Sunday Paella Brunch. I was very inspired by the recipe but I did modify the recipe to fit my own flavor profiles. This recipe worked great for the 15-inch paella pan but I did use 2 cups of Bomba rice instead of 2 1/2.

The Romesco Sauce (modified) is the perfect accompaniment with the fried egg and paella. Spanish Romesco sauce is a tangy, smoky blend of roasted red peppers, smoked paprika, garlic, olive oil and the freshness is enhanced by the sherry vinegar. It is often served with tapas of grilled seafood or even with a paella.

All seasonings and spices used in the recipe can be purchased at Savory Spice Shop in Franklin,TN or online. The Palacios dried mild chorizo can be ordered from 

Let me know if you have any questions about how to host a Sunday Paella Brunch. MY PAELLA TRAVELS may just travel to you!




Paella Mixta with Spanish Romesco Sauce for a Sunday Brunch
Recipe type: Brunch
Cuisine: Spanish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 to 8 servings
My Paella Travels Paella Brunch! While the Paella Mixta was cooking, I made a Romesco Sauce. Both recipes inspired by Savuer
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • 2 chicken breasts,diced, marinated in olive oil, smoked paprika, lemon & seasoning, sherry vinegar
  • 10 large shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 oz. dry-cured Spanish chorizo, cut into 1⁄4"-thick coins
  • 1 tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • Pinch of dried thyme and oregano leaves
  • 3 medium tomatoes, minced
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 7 cups chicken broth
  • Juice from 1 medium lemon
  • 2 cups short-grain rice, BOMBA RICE
  • 8 oz. fresh or frozen peas
  • 3 jarred roasted red peppers, torn into 1⁄2"-thick strips
  • 12 mussels, cleaned and debearded
  • 1 (9-oz.) box frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
  • 1 egg per person
  • For the Romesco Sauce:
  • 2 large bell peppers or 2 jarred and drained roasted red peppers in a jar
  • 3 large cloves garlic cloves, crushed or fine minced
  • 1 cup blanched white almonds (I used Marcona almonds)
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp. sherry vinegar
  • 1⁄4 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
  • 1⁄4 tsp. smoked paprika
  1. Put saffron and 1⁄4 cup hot water in a small bowl; let sit for 15 minutes.
  2. Season chicken and shrimp with salt and pepper.
  3. Heat oil in a 15 inch Lodge Cast Iron Carbon Steel seasoned paella pan over medium-high heat. Add marinated chicken, shrimp, and chorizo and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes.
  4. Transfer shrimp to a plate, leaving meats in pan.
  5. Add paprika, garlic, bay leaves,thyme, oregano, tomatoes, and onions to pan and cook, stirring often, until onions soften, about 6 minutes.
  6. Add reserved saffron mixture, lemon juice and broth, season with salt, and bring to a boil over high heat.
  7. Sprinkle in rice, distribute evenly with a spoon, and add artichokes, peas, and peppers.
  8. Cook, without stirring, until rice has absorbed most of the liquid, 10–12 minutes.
  9. (If your pan is larger than the burner, rotate it every two minutes so different parts are over the heat and the rice cooks evenly.)
  10. Reduce heat to low, add reserved shrimp, and nestle in mussels hinge side down; cook, without stirring, until mussels have opened and rice has absorbed the liquid and is al dente, 5–10 minutes more.
  11. Remove pan from heat, cover with aluminum foil, and let sit for 5 minutes before serving.
  12. Fry one egg per person for each serving of paella.
  13. Make Romesco Sauce while Paella is cooking:
  14. Place the drained red bell peppers and garlic in a blender along with the almonds, olive oil, tomato paste,sherry vinegar, chile flakes, paprika, and 1⁄2 cup water, and purée until smooth. Scrape into a bowl, season with salt and pepper, and refrigerate until ready to use.







06 2016