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This is the cocktail that, Cay, the hostess of the gourmet group that I am now a member of, served for the December gathering at her gorgeous home. Co-host, Susie is on the left and Cay is on the right, as we toast ourselves for a job well-done. To be honest, this selfie was taken before the party began, but once we had cocktails in-hand, we knew it would be a success!
Pomegranate Moscow Mules
Candied Mint Leaves
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- Crushed ice
- 1 ½ cups ginger beer
- 2/3 cup pomegranate juice
- 4 ounces vodka
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- Fresh pomegranate arils
- Candied Mint Leaves
December 15, 2016 2 Comments
Let’s be honest, the best part about a Moscow Mule is the copper mug.
Without the mug, the Mule is just vodka, fresh lime juice, a bit of mint and ginger beer.
With the mug, the Mule is the most refreshing drink on a hot day. It almost makes it worth it to be sweaty in the summer … almost. It has become the “it” drink in recent years.
I became interested in Moscow Mules when I purchased this serving set at Sweet Salvage last year at about this time. Someday the set will be given to Marissa, but in the meantime, I’m making the most of it.
The Mule was introduced in 1941 as a way to promote Smirnoff vodka. For the full history of the drink and a recipe that is slightly sweeter than mine, check THIS out.
Since I’m lucky enough to have the copper pitcher and serving tray, I love to make a batch of the lime juice and vodka mixed together and then leave instructions for guests to add a 1/3 cup of the vodka mixture to an ice-filled mug, then top off with 1/2 bottle of ginger beer. Finish with stir, a garnish and drink with a straw.
The recipe below is for one drink. To make a batch, just multiply the ingredients by the number of mugs you have, set out a tub of chilled bottles of ginger beer, write out the directions and let your guests have fun making their own.
November 5, 2014 6 Comments
I was invited to the December gathering of a gourmet group that I had once been the cooking instructor for. When I initially received the call, I assumed I was going to be asked to lead the group in a cooking class again, but instead I was invited to be the group’s newest member. Fun!
The hostess had originally asked someone to lead the group in the making of holiday treats, but the woman backed out, so I became a co-hostess and we made the Oreo Truffles from yesterday’s post and this sweet treat.
We’ve all see these pretty candied pretzel rods around during the holidays. They are a snap to make and serve at parties or give as gifts.
I will admit that having a group of nine fun and rowdy women making them at the same time was a bit of a mess, but a very fun mess. Especially because there were holiday Moscow Mules involved! You’ll find the recipe for those in tomorrow’s post.
These keep really well, so you can make them a week or so ahead for holiday gift giving!
One important note – depending on the brand and flavor of melts, the coating may need to set up some before heavier decorations and candies are sprinkled on. As you can see from the photo above, we learned the hard way.
December 14, 2016 No Comments
I know it was just one week ago that I said I wasn’t going to continue with the Travel Tuesday feature, but I forgot about something I promised to report back on.
Nearly three months ago, when I was about to board our flight to Europe, I wrote about these adorable carry on cocktail kits.
Well, I’m here to report that they were as adorable and fun as expected, with one exception. Let’s just say that there was a Lime Situation. More on that later.
The first cocktail I made in-flight was the Old Fashioned.
I “procured” our mini-bottles of alcohol from the complementary stash in our room on the cruise.
So all I need to ask the flight attendant for was a cup of ice and another empty cup.
The drink was fun, easy to make and ever so refreshing.
October 4, 2016 No Comments
Over 80 recipes – All-Time Favorites in PINK
September 2, 2016 Comments Off on Drinks, Beverages & Cocktails
This, my 1800th post, is being written at Sky Harbor International Airport at 7:00 PM on July 15, 2016. Dave and I are waiting for our British Airlines flight to London, continuing on to Munich to start our 2-week vacation.
By the time you read this, we will be done with Munich and on our way to Switzerland. We begin a land tour in Zürich and Lucerne before boarding an 8-day river cruise down the Rhine River which ends in Amsterdam.
I hope to write blog posts intermittently, but you can also follow our adventure on my Instagram page.
July 20, 2016 2 Comments
Steve and Tram are building a new home. Their house recently sold and they have to be out in a month. They love to entertain but haven’t been in the position to do so for months now. The reason? Well, many of us know how difficult it is to keep our homes clean and ready to show at the drop of a hat. Imagine trying to do that with two full-time jobs and 2-year old twins. Talk about stressful!
Saturday night, the overachieving duo hosted an intimate dinner party. Steve was the stellar chef and pitmaster and Tram was the dessert queen.
It’s bittersweet to sell the house you brought your babies home to, so Tram lovingly called the evening The Last Supper. I call it a Housecooling, you know, the opposite of a Housewarming.
I created a new cocktail for the occasion, so in honor of Zak and Zoey’s first home, I’m attaching that moniker to the drink.
I’m already looking forward to the Housewarming Party!
June 20, 2016 7 Comments
Today is the last day of “Cocktails & Cupcakes” bridal shower details and recipes.
What better note to end a week on than cocktails!?!
We’ll start with the recipes and end with a fun decor item that the mother of the bride, Laura, her sister, Mary, and I created.
These following two cocktails come from The Bar Book Elements of Cocktail Techniques by Jeffery Morgenthaler with Martha Holmberg. Martha taught a modern sauces class at Les Gourmettes last month and I was the happy recipient of this bar book.
- 2 ounces (1/4 cup) gin, preferably in the Old Tom-style, such as Hayman’s (available at Total Wine)
- 3/4 ounce (1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons) fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 ounces (1 tablespoon) simple syrup*
- Ice cubes
- 2 ounces (1/4 cup) chilled soda water
- 1 lemon peel for garnish
February 13, 2015 2 Comments
All week I will post photos and recipes from Megan’s bridal shower.
How cute is the invite?!? Laura ordered them from HERE on Etsy.
Megan is Laura’s daughter. Laura is my best friend from high school. She was my maid of honor, I was a bridesmaid in her wedding. Laura is Marissa’s godmother and I am godmother to two of her sons. So, yeah, we have lots of loving ties to each other.
Three generations of beautiful women! Laura’s mom, Coleen, the guest of honor, Megan, and my dear friend, Laura.
The theme may have been cocktails and cupcakes, but the shower began at 5:00, so dinner was on the menu too!
Megan’s Bridal Shower Menu
- Build Your Own Niçoise Salad
- Cheese Board
- Mini-Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Curd and Lemon Buttercream Frosting
- Toffee Crunch Mini Cupcakes
- Maple-Bacon Mini-Cupcakes
- Stout and Irish Whiskey Mini Cupcakes with Bailey’s Irish Cream Frosting
- Mini Strawberry Margarita Cupcakes
I had a lot of inspiration from my wonderful neighbors, Cindi and Cheryl.
Cindi is the queen of hosting bridal showers! She offered to loan me some of her beautiful items/ideas. For instance, she takes her daughter Stephie’s vanity out of the bedroom and used it as a champagne bar!
She generously offered the vanity for me to use, but I used Marissa’s mirrored vanity instead.
I moved it downstairs and outside and used to it serve the Maple Old Fashioned drinks from. Such a glamorous look!
Cindi also loaned me a wedding dress that she used as the front door decor. Doesn’t it look fabulous on her gorgeous front door?!?
Not quite as impressive on my door, but the guests still thought it was beautiful, of course, they didn’t know any better! Since I have the double doors, I had to somehow balance it out, so I used the vintage window frame/chicken wire frame that Peggy made for me.
It’s pretty darn cute! Even though, now I want new front doors as fabulous as Cindi’s!
Lastly, Cindi loaned me big “diamond” ring napkin rings. Not the best photo of them, but they were darling. Thank you Cindi for all your help and inspiration. xoxo
Now it’s time to share the inspiration from Cheryl. Do you remember this photo from back in December? This is what she made for her annual Ornament Exchange and I’ve been dying to recreate it ever since! As you’ll see in the recipe below, I copied Cheryl’s salad down to the order that the components are placed on the platter. No need to mess with perfection! Thank you, Cheryl! xoxo
February 9, 2015 4 Comments
I had not intended to take a week off from blogging. I had plenty of things going on, lots of stuff to blog about. Honestly, I had too much going on and as a result I was too exhausted to sit down and write about it!
There will be recipes this week – Posole, Moscow Mules, Perfect Steamed Artichokes, and more. Then on Friday, I’ll be off to San Francisco to “Say Yes to the Dress” with Marissa, along with her maid-of-honor and a couple of her bridesmaids. We will be dress shopping, eating out, and having girl-time all weekend long!
But for today, I shall share images and notes from my busy exhausting week.
On Friday night, Dave took me to Café Monarch for an early birthday dinner. The Café has a prix fixe menu that changes weekly. The only thing you choose is your entrée. I had the trout and Dave had the filet. The ambiance, service and food were all pure perfection. I highly recommend!
After dinner, we drove to Sky Harbor to pick up Marissa. Having my girl home, made it the perfect ending to a perfect evening.
Saturday morning brought a shock in the bathroom. While in the shower, I looked up. There above the bathroom door – a scorpion! I got out, dried off and yelled for Marissa. It was beyond hilarious as we tried to decide how to kill it without risking it falling on us. There is a video, but it contains too much swearing and screaming to share. Rest assured, the thing is dead and we were not stung!
Later that morning, Marissa, Connor and I went to El Chorro to meet with a wedding planner and to show Connor the wedding venue.
That evening, Connor went to work while Marissa, Dave and I went to Steve and Tram’s annual Okbirthdayfest party. Steve’s birthday is October 9th, hence the “Okbirthdayfest” instead of the usual Oktoberfest.
But, as you can see, Birthday Boy-Chef Steve cooks up a traditional Oktoberfest menu. How about that gorgeous job Tram did on the chalkboard menu!?! Love me a chalkboard menu!
Chef Steve with his prized heat lamp-board of outstanding tender and delicious Sauerbraten!
Plus a very happy Marissa – holding sweet Zoey!
Guests were asked to bring their favorite cocktail to share. I brought Moscow Mules. Recipe later this week.
Sunday was our neighborhood Fall Fling. It was a blast! I spent the entire preceding week hunting and gathering items for the party.
All patios and nearly every flat surface was covered with party fixings. This is the part of event planning I love.
I love the party part too. Over 100 neighbors had a great time.
Even the set up was fun.
We had plenty of things to do for young and old alike.
As usual, I didn’t take nearly enough pictures. Darkness fell quickly on a cloudy night. The cleanup consisted of getting everything off the street and onto my driveway and patio.
This is what greeted me on Monday, my birthday, morning. Thankfully, my kids and my fantastic neighbors also woke up early and helped clean it all up.
An added bonus – my beautiful friend and neighbor, Karin, brought me birthday flowers! How sweet and thoughtful!
Before the day was through, I had flowers from not only Karin, but also from Dave and from my beloved friend, Lori, all the way from Tokyo! xoxo
Connor took the day off work, which was a gift in itself. After cleanup, he and Marissa took me to The Biltmore Spa where the three of us had hot-stone massage pedicures! The perfect thing for weary legs and feet! We had a delicious early dinner at Pizzeria Bianco Town & Country.
To end my “mom and kids” birthday, after we dropped Marissa off at the airport, Connor and I stopped by the Salty Sow and tried a bunch of different cocktails and had quality mother and son time.
Tuesday brought a birthday lunch with my dad, an HOA committee meeting and work that night.
Wednesday I spent most of the day trying to put away all the party stuff. As of today, it’s still not all put away! Maybe by the end of this week.
Peggy and Anne took me out for birthday dinner at Rusconi’s. We met at Peggy’s house, where grandson Cruz was visiting and Anne fell in love.
If you haven’t discovered Rusconi’s American Kitchen yet – get over there and thank me later!
As you can see, we loved every bite and wished it was in good taste and manners to lick the plates.
November 3, 2014 6 Comments