ah, memorial day. summer is finally here. it was a long/late winter here in colorado and I couldn’t be happier to have the final snow melted and the sun blazing. along with the rest of the country, I spent the weekend outdoors, playing tennis, swimming and celebrating with friends. welcoming summer again with open arms. and cocktails. I recently have been obsessed with watermelon juice and knew that i had to come up with a cocktail using it. These watermelon gin fizz slush drinks (or water-fizzes, as I now refer to them) are delicious, refreshing and summery. Here’s the recipe:
4 cups of watermelon juice (from approximately half a watermelon)
1/2 cup of fresh lime juice (approximately 4 limes)
1/2 cup of water
1 cup of sugar
Zest of two limes
1/4 cup of fresh mint leaves chopped
Gin (or Vodka if you prefer)
Juice approximately half a watermelon. This can be done with a juicer or by cutting into chunks and using a food processor or blender. I used my stick/immersion blender. After it is pureed, run through a mesh strainer/sieve to remove any pulp or seeds. There can be some pump but you want it to be mainly juice.
Then make simple syrup by combining the juice of 4 limes, zest of 2 limes, 1/2 cup of water, 1 cup of sugar, and 1/4 of chopped mint leaves in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil making sure to stir until the sugar has dissolved. Allow to cool to room temperature and either strain the mint leaves or use your stick blender to puree them into the syrup.
Combine simple syrup and watermelon juice with 1 cup of Gin (or Vodka is you prefer). Pour into quart containers leaving at least an inch of room at the top and freeze over night.
To assemble, remove the frozen quart container from the freezer and using a spoon flake it and scoop into a glass. Then pour a shot of gin or vodka and enough soda water into the glass until the slush is covered, stir until they are combined and have a slurpee-esque consistency. Add a straw, garnish with a lime if desired and serve. This recipe should make about 12 healthy servings.
Music has the amazing ability to transport me to a time and a place. I still remember what I was wearing when Milli Vanilli first told me toBlame It On The Rain, the moment that Purple Rain narrated a hard breakup and when Justin taught me that I could bring Sexy Back. Songs have always provided a soundtrack to my life through love, loss, sadness, happiness, laughter, tears and more. A few years ago, I started making monthly music mixes so that I could track what I was listening to and if I felt like it, travel back in time for a few hours by playing one of them.
I noticed a pattern this year, January is pretty much the same mix as everything I was listening to in November and December (minus the holiday music). And come February, I more or less have no interest in listening to any of those songs ever again. Which results in spectacular mixes in February with brand spanking new music. Since it’s so hard to find new music, I thought I would share this mix with you.
Tutorials for painted and dipped spoons have been floating around the interwebs for the better part of this year. I have always loved them and intended to make my own but had never found the time. Last week as I was getting ready to head to a friends for a holiday party, inspiration struck and I decided to do these but with a holiday twist. These could not be easier and a matching pair work as serving spoons or as salad servers. Here’s what you’ll need:
+ wooden spoons (i bought two three packs of michael graves wooden spoons at target – not available online)
+ craft paint (red: haberno and white: wedding cake satin acrylic paint by martha stewart crafts at michaels)
+ 1 inch thick painters tape (my fave is frog)
+ paint brush
+ food safe shellac (zimmers bullseye)
+ scissors and/or pinking sheers
You want to make sure that you buy spoons that do not have shellac on them already but if you make the mistake and do purchase them, don’t panic, just take some sand paper to them and roughen up the surface so that you can paint it. Then, you want to prep and tape the spoons for the first layer of paint. I choose varying lengths for the painted portion of the spoons, it was about the 1/3 of the spoon and I tried to make them as even as possible by measuring and marking with a pencil before adding the tape.
Once the spoon was taped, I painted the first layer of paint one red and one white for each of the pair of spoons. Paint two coats and allow to dry for an hour or so. Then using your tape and scissors apply the tape for the lines on the paint keeping in mind that the areas under the tape will remain the color of the first layer of paint. Make sure that you press the tape down firmly so that you get as clean as line as possible. Once the tape is in place, paint two coats of the opposite color and set aside to dry. Since I painted both the front and back of the spoons, I found that the best way to allow them to dry was to place the spoons on my counter top with the painted handle hanging over the edge. Allow to dry for an hour and remove the tape.
Do touchups as necessary and when you are happy with the final product, spray with two coats of the shellac and tie the pair in together with a bow
I did a set where I created a zig zag stripe by cutting the tape with my pinking sheers. These were by far the most “homemade” looking of them all but I fell in love and kept them for myself. The others have been set aside to hand out as I head to holiday parties this year. Make sure you let the hostess know that these are not dishwasher safe (but you really shouldn’t wash wooden spoons in the dishwasher anyway).
In my office, I tend to be the person in charge of birthday celebrations (no surprise). I tend to take advantage of these special occasions and use them as opportunities to try out my craziest recipes. Today, I made these:
I had seen a photo of these on Pinterest but was unable to find a source website for this (if you know of one let me know and I will link back to it). Essentially these are the easiest things in the world. Here is what you need:
1 box Brownie Mix (My favorite is Ghiradelli)
24 Regular Oreos
Creamy Peanut Butter
Mix your favorite brownie mix according to the directions on the box and preheat your oven accordingly. Then place paper liners in a muffin pan. Spray with non-stick cooking spray. Then sandwich two Oreos together with a decent layer of peanut butter between and on top of the cookie and place in the muffin pan. Once you have assembled 12 oreo sandwiches and placed them in the muffin tin, take an 1/4 cup measuring spoon and pour the brownie batter over them until covered. Then bake for between 20 – 30 minutes so that a toothpick comes clean when used to inserted into the brownie.
Happy Thanksgiving from both of us. We hope that you have wonderful weeks filled with family, celebration and good food. And don’t forget, if you need something to do with the leftover stuffing, consider our stuffing bread!
As a kid, the weeks leading up to Halloween were always filled with two flavors: Candy Corn and Caramel Corn. With Halloween only a little over a week away, I have been craving both so this weekend I went crazy and threw them all together. And added peanuts because I also was introduced to the genius pairing of candy corn and salted peanuts this weekend. Mind blowing and totally changes the flavor of the candy corn. If you haven’t tried it, try a few handfuls of each while you are making this. This is my mother’s recipe for Caramel Corn, in my very biased opinion it is the best and easiest way to make this treat.
Halloween Caramel Corn Ingredients
+ Vegetable Oil
+ 1 /4 cup popcorn kernel
+ 1 cup light brown sugar
+ 1/4 cup light corn syrup
+ 1 pinch of sea salt
+ 1/3 cup unsalted butter
+ 1 tsp baking soda
+ One 11 oz. bag of candy corn
+ 2 cups salted boiled peanuts
Start by popping the popcorn. I prefer to do this in a pan on the stove so use a large sauce pan/stock pot, add enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom of the pan (approximately 1 tablespoon) and place 3 kernels of popcorn into the pan. When the three kernels pop, add 1/4 cup of popcorn. Shake the pan every 30 or so seconds until the popcorn has stopped popping. Remove to cookie sheet or bowl. This should make approximately 6 cups of popped-popcorn.
Next, make the caramel. In a medium sauce pan add butter, sugar, corn syrup, and salt to pan and stir until melted. Bring it to a boil and remove from heat. Add baking soda and stir–it will foam up a bit. Throw in popcorn and mix until the popcorn is fully coated. Add an entire bag of candy corn and 2 cups of peanuts and stir until mixed. You can either wait five minutes and then form the mix into balls or spread it out onto a parchment lined cookie sheet to cool.
Yesterday, the temperature in Boulder dropped from 85 to 55 in a matter of hours meaning that fall (and probably the first frost) is finally here. For years I’ve been in denial about my favorite season. I love the beach, long days, the leisure and the humidity (what? it’s good for my hair/skin) during the summer but deep down the fall is my favorite. It makes me want to buy new pencils and roast something, since I can finally turn on the oven without also needing to crank the AC. And one of the best perks of the fall is football. There’s something about spending an afternoon or evening or entire weekend watching games, rooting for your home team and eating delicious food. With the weekend almost here, I thought I would share one of my go-to recipes for parties. I have been serving this Spinach Dip for over a decade and I rarely tire of it. In fact, there was a time in my life where my mother and I would make it for dinner. Yes, I love it that much. It’s mayo free, doubles well and can be prepared in advance so all you have to do is throw it in the oven.
+ 1 T diced pickled jalapeños (I buy them canned in the Mexican Food section of my store)
+ 2 fresh tomatoes seeded and chopped
+ 1 10z. packed of frozen spinach thawed and squeezed dry
+ 8 oz. cream cheese
+ 2 c. shredded jack cheese
+ 1/3 milk or half and half (depending on what you have in the fridge)
Mix the ingredients together and pour into a 8×8 or 9×9 oven proof dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes until bubbly and browned at the edges. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes or until the first person starts to dig in. I serve this with veggies and tortilla chips. Enjoy!