Category Archives: Drinks

Restaurant-Style Bloody Mary

How to make a Restaurant Style Bloody Mary

The Bloody Mary.  It is THE quintessential brunch beverage, yet I only have them at a restaurant.  Brunch and Bloody Mary’s go hand in hand.  We are going to make a restaurant-style bloody mary at home.  I made a killer batch of bloody mary’s last weekend and they were hands-down one of the best I’ve ever had.

First things first, we are making it from scratch.  The difference is remarkable when you don’t use a store-bought mix.  The drink tastes MUCH fresher and brighter, which if I’m being perfectly honest, can be dangerous.  I’m usually a two drink max kind of girl and I had two drinks in no time flat.  Consider yourself warned, because they go down Very Easily.

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11 of My Very Best Fall Recipes

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Crisp fall air and leaves turning shades of red and burnished orange, the crackle of them under your feet as you walk down the street with hands snuggled deep inside your pockets.    Autumn is by far my favorite season.  The temperatures begin to cool down at night, calling for an extra blanket or a down comforter.    This is something I miss now that I live south of the Mason Dixon line.  It’s only been 3 and a half years, but I doubt I’ll ever really get used to the lack of (distinguishable) seasons.

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Citrus Sunshine Cooler

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Citrus Sunshine Cooler - Pook's Pantry
I love tea.  Warm temperatures call for pitchers of iced tea or sun tea sitting on the porch letting Mother Nature do the work for you.  Cooler weather brings spicy teas infused with cinnamon and cardamom or my favorite English Breakfast.  Recently, I wrote a post for a new grocery store in town and I discovered they have a bulk tea section.  I zeroed in on this particular tea, full of dried citrus and hibiscus.  I brought it home and opened the bag.  The smell of that tea was absolutely intoxicating.  I knew it would be lovely as is, but that’s not really my style.  So I started poking around in the fridge and freezer to see what I had stashed away.

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Can All The Things!

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I met Rebecca Lindamood a few years ago at a food blog conference in Orlando.  One day, we were talking about trading goods with each other (local food for local food).  A few weeks later, much to my delight, a quart of Grape Pie Filling (p.31) shows up on my doorstep.  I had never tasted grape pie filling before, so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect.  I was in for gastronomic bliss of epic proportions. If you pay attention to things I swoon about, you know THIS is at the top of my list.  Think of the juiciest, “grapiest”,  most luscious grape you’ve ever had.  Now multiply that by 10.  That’s Rebecca’s grape pie filling.

When there was talk of this book happening, I was beyond thrilled for my friend.  Her food is amazing and creative.  It is beautiful and yet,  practical.  As a former cook and Mom of 5 boys, she knows a thing or two about feeding people.   I couldn’t wait to get this book and review it because I knew it was going to be one of my “go-to” guides for canning.   I’ve made chutneys and jams, pie fillings and pickles,  chow chow and pickled beans… and then they sit there. Sometimes I get around to actually using them and sometimes, I give it all away because I can only eat so much of it.  Here’s where Rebecca saves the day:  there is a corresponding recipe for all of the things you’ve just canned!!!  I can’t even begin to explain my excitement about that!  

After all, a beautiful jar of something sitting on the shelf doesn’t do anyone any good unless you know how to use it!   -Rebecca Lindamood

If you or someone you know enjoys canning, get this book! There is something for everyone. It would make a great present for any occasion.  Or just because it’s Tuesday. I can’t recommend it enough.  It’s written in a way that makes it accessible for beginners and at the same time, appeals to experienced canners as well.  The recipes are unique and so varied!  Everything from the aforementioned grape pie filling to cardamom extract.   Make the cherries in red wine syrup this weekend (while you can still get this little ruby fruit) and enjoy the fruits (see what I did there ;)) of your labor in the fall or winter when you use those cherries to make Filet Mignon with Red Cherry Wine Sauce!  Make a batch of Ginger Peach Butter now, enjoy Peaches and Cream Baked Oatmeal later!   The entire book is like this!!!  Can you tell how much I love that?  It’s brilliant!

My dream pantry is lined top to bottom with beautiful jars containing their jewel colored treasures.  This book has me on my way to achieving that dream.  Thank you Rebecca, for reintroducing me to my love of canning.

Here is an affiliate link to Amazon to make getting your book even easier!

Happy Canning!

There’s a New Store in Town

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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Safeway. The opinions and text are all mine.

You may have noticed that there is a new store in town.  Safeway has recently opened and I was asked by the company to go check it out!  Safeway is excited to provide the local community an unmatched experience in their new stores including savings programs, grocery delivery and many other new offerings.  Collage 1 

We went in with our list, but we also had the app on my phone, which helped because I was able to see the items I had saved that were on sale.

Upon entering the store, there was a nice young lady at a table with store flyers and materials to sign up for their “Just for U” program.    You can download the Safeway app to your smart phone and start saving.   The offers are based on the app users’ purchase history and organized in a way that works for you, so you can save more on what you actually buy and use.   You don’t need to present a card or clip coupons, once you have the app on your IOS/Android device, the Just for U savings tool provides access to hundreds of offers.  Shoppers have the chance to find over $300 in weekly savings with digital coupons and personalized deals that are available through the just for U savings tool available through the Safeway app and Safeway.com.

We hit the produce section first (and we hit it HARD) because we eat a lot of fresh fruit and veggies in this house.  I was quite pleased to see the amount of organics available!produce 

 

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Look at the size of that apple! (We bought two!)  

There were also fresh juices being made when we walked in. They looked fantastic. They were packaged nicely and there were many different options.#2

This morning, I had groceries delivered.  It was rather convenient, considering I was out of eggs and sugar. It’s also pretty easy to sign up and get it done. Click here to create a shopping cart for yourself.   New customers get FREE delivery on their first order and they may also qualify for free or discounted delivery fees on subsequent orders.   The delivery program offers one-hour delivery windows and a  “Shop By History” feature that saves all previously purchased items for easy repeat purchasing.  Their trucks are equipped with both refrigerated and frozen compartments, so frozen items stay frozen and refrigerated items are cool when delivered.  The only downside to this for me was having to allow someone else to choose my produce.  If you are picky about it, like I am, you might consider sticking to other items on your list and visiting the store in person to choose your fruits and vegetables.

tea

My favorite thing about the new Safeway store is the bulk tea section.  They have about a dozen different varieties of loose tea.  I was partial to the Citrus Sunburst tea…  When brewed, it is a beautifully deep shade of pink from the dried hibiscus.  I’m working on a new recipe using this tea, so stay tuned!IMG_0841
I would be remiss if I failed to show you the wine aisle… Hello, Gorgeous!

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There is also a beautiful flower section in the store.  I snapped a shot of this orchid as we were leaving.
 
Now We’re Cookin’ with Gas! 
Safeway has partnered up with Chevron to bring you even more savings!  Earn gas rewards every time you shop at your local Safeway store.  For every dollar spent,  you start earning rewards… you could save up to .20 a gallon on gas.  Enroll today at Safeway.com or download the Safeway app.  Using the rewards could not be easier!   I saved on gas yesterday, paying only $1.95/gal instead of $2.15/gal, thankyouverymuch…  You can either enter your card number, or as I did, phone number because I didn’t have that info with me.  The screen at the pump then asks if you would like to use your rewards & voila!  Easy Peasy.

Comments submitted may be displayed on other websites owned by the sponsoring brand. #ad

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Safeway. The opinions and text are all mine.
All photos and content are copyright protected. Please do not use my photos without prior written permission. Thank you!

Cherry Coconut Rum Slushie

Cherry Rum Slushie
It’s summer, people and I am all about the stone fruit right now… particularly cherries. We’ve gone through 5 pounds in a week and a half. I’ve put them in baked goods, drinks, yogurt, etc.  I must admit, this super simple libation might be my VERY favorite way to enjoy this ruby red fruit.

Summer drinks, particularly slushies,  shouldn’t be overcomplicated.  No one wants to spend an hour prepping ingredients for a drink that is meant to be sipped poolside in the summer sun.  This little libation has 3 ingredients:  blackberry soda, cherries and coconut rum.  I feel compelled to warn you about one teensy thing…  it goes down very easily and for a lightweight like me that means I’m on the train to “Tipsy Town” with only two drinks.   

This cherry rum slushie has quickly become my favorite summer sip for a few reasons.  First and foremost, it is delicious!  The fact that it is only 3 ingredients and it comes together in roughly five minutes flat is a close second.  The best reason – you can make a big batch and serve everyone at once.  

Grab a bottle of coconut rum, some fresh cherries, call your friends and celebrate summer!
Cheers!

Cherry Rum Slushie

Fire up that blender!
Cherry Rum Slushie
Yields 2
A super simple summer drink with only 3 ingredients!
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Prep Time
4 min
Cook Time
1 min
Total Time
5 min
Prep Time
4 min
Cook Time
1 min
Total Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 8.4 oz blackberry soda, frozen in ice cube trays
  2. 1/2 cup coconut rum
  3. 1 cup fresh cherries, pitted
Instructions
  1. Combine all 3 ingredients in blender until smooth.
  2. (about 30 seconds)
Notes
  1. I used Izze blackberry soda. They did not sponsor this post, I wasn't compensated in any way... We just like it.
Pook's Pantry http://www.pookspantry.com/
Used in this recipe:
Amazon Affiliate Link- I get a few pennies if you purchase through this link.

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Summer Berry Smash

Summer Berry Smash

Has this ever happened to you?  You buy a watermelon, a huge watermelon (because it’s finally in season and you’ve been craving it since October), and then you realize you are going out of town in a few days?   I’m not naming any names,  but you (I) know who you (me, again) are…

Not one to let food go to waste, this was no exception.   Watermelon, meet blender.

It’s summer, people!  What do we need?!  Drinks!!!  When do we need them?!  RIGHT NOW!!!  
A libation that screams summer.  A drink that makes us think of lazy days, floating in the pool or feeling the sand between our toes.  One that  we have at backyard bbqs with friends and neighbors, watching the sun drop as the firepit glows with bright orange flames dancing around skewered, melty marshmallows.  This is that drink.

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Caramel Buttered Bourbon

This post is sponsored by Four Roses Bourbon. The content and opinions are mine and not shared by the sponsor.

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It’s Opening Day and what better way to celebrate than with a little bourbon?  Four Roses Bourbon wants to help you celebrate Opening Day with a Bourbon Cocktail and the idea was to incorporate ball park food.  I love a good hot dog as much as the next girl… but for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how to combine a hot dog and bourbon.

So, I started thinking about what I love about bourbon and it’s the caramelly smokiness that gets me.  An old-fashioned is my drink of choice, so I am *quite* familiar with bourbon.  Ahem.   Which leads me to the question “what do I eat at ball games that I can combine with bourbon?”. Answer: Caramel Corn.   The flavors are already there and I wanted to come up with a drink that would enhance the flavor profile of the bourbon without masking it.

The Girl and I love baseball and lucky for us,  the Grapefruit League is here.  We take road trips all over Florida to watch Spring Training games and now Opening Day is finally here!  Growing up in Ohio, the Cleveland Indians have always been my team.  I know you are only supposed to have ONE favorite team, but I must divulge this bit of info:  I lived in NYC for 17 years, how could I not root for the Mets?  I’ve been to more Mets games in the old stadium than all the other games combined!  (Don’t even talk to me about the Yankees…)   We take it pretty seriously, as you can see.  

On to the recipe!  There are only 2 elements to this libation, making it pretty easy to whip up if you are having a few people over.  You can easily double or triple the simple syrup recipe, put it into a nice little pitcher, set out your bottle of Four Roses and your guests can help themselves!   The Bourbon and the Buttered Caramel Simple Syrup.  That’s it!  (BOOM… Mic Drop)

6pp

 

 

Caramel Buttered Bourbon
Serves 2
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Prep Time
2 min
Cook Time
8 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
2 min
Cook Time
8 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 6 ounces (4 shots) Four Roses Bourbon
  2. 1/2 TB unsalted butter
  3. 1/2 tsp vanilla
  4. 4 TB light brown sugar
  5. 4 TB water
  6. granulated sugar for rim of glass / caramel corn for garnish
Instructions
  1. Combine butter, vanilla, sugar & water in a small sauce pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat slightly and let it continue to simmer for 5 - 8 minutes, until sugar has completely dissolved and syrup has thickened just slightly.
  2. Pour 3 ounces (2 shots) of bourbon in a glass and add syrup to taste. Stir to combine. Garnish if desired.
  3. Suggestion: start with 1 tablespoon of syrup, you can always add more to taste.
Notes
  1. A word on ice: I use a muffin tin to make large ice cubes for my drinks. They are the perfect size for the glasses I have and they don't water down the drinks as quickly as smaller cubes.
  2. Because there is a smidge of butter in the syrup- if you add ice, the drink will get a bit cloudy. There's nothing wrong with your drink, it's just the butter getting cold.
Added Bonus
  1. I had some simple syrup left over and I also had leftover ham from Easter... Throw a splash of bourbon into the syrup, and glaze the ham with that magical concoction!
  2. You're Welcome.
Pook's Pantry http://www.pookspantry.com/
#Opening Day @4RosesBourbon

White Wine Blood Orange Spritzer

2.1One of my favorite memories from childhood is having my grandfather’s siblings and their spouses at our house.  There were 10 of them  (including my grandparents) and they would get together regularly.   We would rearrange the living room to accommodate everyone,  kitchen chairs lined up beside the sofa and I would find myself seated on the floor at their feet.

This “mini-reunions” are where I learned about my grandparents and great aunts and uncles,  I heard stories about their childhoods and often I heard the same story re-told by someone else with a slightly different perspective than the original storyteller.  It was incredibly entertaining to see this group of elders challenging each other and trying to convince the other that their recollection of the same event was rather skewed.

My all time favorite story was one my grandfather told about the farmer and the watermelons.  He worked for a farmer when he was a kid and made 10 cents a day.  He gave half of that to his mother and the other half he kept for himself.  This was during the depression, so although it wasn’t much money,  he was lucky to have anything at all.  Somehow, my grandfather and one of his brothers got the bright idea that they would go to the farmer’s field at night and take a watermelon.  This was stealing, and they knew it, but they were hungry and didn’t really figure the farmer would miss one melon…  They were wrong.

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Cold Remedy Tea -Kitchen Rx

Kitchen Rx - Cold Remedy Tea

The Kitchen Prescription.  This tea has been my “go-to” for years when I’m under the weather. Lemon, mint, ginger and honey tea soothes your throat and warms you up to get you get through even the worst colds.  Winter in most of the northern states is serious.  Temperatures hovering in the single digits for weeks on end, plummeting to -20 at night, leaving you so cold that you simply can not shake the chill no matter how many layers you pile on.    I hate winter,  let me rephrase:  I loathe winter.  I loathe the snow and ice, the freezing temperatures, the slipping and sliding down sidewalks that haven’t been cleaned, chipping an inch of ice from the windshield, car doors that are frozen shut…  You get the picture.

And then you get sick.   Watery eyes, stuffy nose, scratchy throat and a cough that rattles your insides like gunfire.   You have been taken down by the common cold.   Once it gets you,  it takes weeks until you start to feel human again.  

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