Pretty Pink Cocktails for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day can be fun no matter if you are married, dating, divorced, or single–it’s another day on the calendar, meaning the day is all that you make of it. Whether you plan to have a romantic cocktail with your sweetie or a sassy sipper with your best girlfriends, some pretty pink cocktails for Valentine’s Day can be the perfect way to celebrate this weekend.

Here are some of our favorite pink drinks for Valentine’s Day, with a few inspired back from Breast Cancer Awareness last October. You can enjoy these pink cocktails exactly as written or add your own special twists.

Feel free to try these delightful and beautiful pink alcoholic beverages and let us know what you think and which ones turn out to be your favorites!

PRETTY IN PINK

Ingredients

  • 1 oz. Van Gogh Citroen Vodka
  • 2 oz. Chilled Lemonade
  • 1 oz. Cranberry Juice
  • Squeeze of Lime Juice

Instructions

  1. Build vodka, lime juice, lemonade, and cranberry juice in a Collins glass with ice.
  2. Top with a squeeze of fresh lime. Garnish with a lime wedge.
    Courtesy of Van Gogh Vodka

La Vie en Rose

Ingredients 

  • Vodka 1.5oz
  • Strawberry 3
  • Rosé wine 1.5oz
  • Lemon ¾ oz

Instructions

  1. Squash the fruit.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients with ice.
  3. Shake and strain.
  • Courtesy of The St. Regis Mexico City and The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort’

Mrs. Pink

Ingredients

  • Montelobos mezcal 1.5oz
  • blueberries 10
  • Rosemary 1
  • Lemon juice ¾ oz
  • Natural syrup ¾ oz

Instructions

  1. Squash the fruit and the rosemary.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients with ice.
  3. Shake and strain.
  • Courtesy of The St. Regis Mexico City and The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort’

Pink Ginger


Ingredients

  • Gin 1.5 oz
  • Ginger syrup ¾ oz
  • Lime juice ¾ oz
  • Raspberries 5
  • Rosé sparkling wine 2 oz

Instructions

  1. Squash the fruit.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients (except the rosé sparkling wine) with ice.
  3. Shake and strain.
  4. Add the sparkling wine on the top.
  • Courtesy of The St. Regis Mexico City and The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort’

Hauntingly Halloween Cocktails

Whether it’s ghosts giving you chills or a bartender serving you chilled drinks, everyone has their own pick of activities to celebrate Halloween. For those of you staying in and putting on the costume of bartender, it’s fun to have a list of themed beverages to set the holiday mood. The following collection of themed sweet and spooky cocktails is sure to provide some adult treats. (The tricks you’ll have to come up with yourselves.)

If you’re searching for a particular spirit, here’s an index to help you find your pick of poison.
Tequila- Page 1
Vodka- Page 2
Rum- Page 3

Don’t see any cocktails you like? Can’t find what you want to drink? Comment below so we can find something to suit your cocktail preferences!

Continue reading Hauntingly Halloween Cocktails

Fun and Delicious Easter Cocktail Ideas

The weather is finally getting warmer, the birds are chirping and the trees are blossoming. The grass is green, the sun is shining brightly and it’s as if the whole world is saying: spring has finally come. Spring is here, and with it soon will come a favorite springtime holiday – Easter. To celebrate, consider sipping some fun and delicious Easter cocktails with family and friends!

Whether you’re relaxing with friends while the kids are out hunting for Easter eggs, having an Easter brunch or dinner, or if you decided to go celebrating with family or friends, there is no better way for you and your loved ones to commemorate this special day than with some delicious, refreshing and fun Easter cocktails. Mixing your own cocktails is always fun and easy to do ,and you can always add something new to spice up the flavor. On several occasions, we tried to help you with some of our Easter cocktail ideas, and this year we are back with lots of new and interesting recipes you’ll definitely be needing for a refreshing Easter drink. For teens and designated drivers, we have a whole array of tasty non-alcoholic Easter beverages that will look and taste just like the real thing. Take out your cocktail mixing equipment and read carefully because here we go!

Easter Cocktail Ideas – Fun and Beautiful!

Peep-tini

This is a really special Easter cocktail – it’s both yummy and insanely refreshing and just the thing you need to help you relax.

 Ingredients:     image001

1 ½ oz. Sobieski Lemon Meringue Vodka
½ oz. white chocolate liquor
1 oz. cream
Sugar
Peep for garnish

How to:

Dip rim of chilled martini glass into sugar to coat.  Add Sobieski Lemon Meringue Vodka, white chocolate liquor and cream in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into sugar coated martini glass.  Garnish with a Peep and serve.

 

Spring Fling

Looks stylish and elegant, tastes heavenly and is the hit at any cocktail party. Definitely one of our favorites!

 image002Ingredients:

1 ½ oz. CAMUS VS Elegance
¼ oz. pomegranate syrup
1 oz. cranberry juice
3 fresh strawberries
red rose for garnish

How to:

Muddle strawberries and liquids in a shaker tin. Fill shaker with ice cubes, and shake vigorously. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with a rose.

 

Bunny’s Tail

Ingredients:       image003

1 ½ oz. Lucid Absinthe
½ oz. orange flower water
1 tsp. white or clear crème de menthe
1 large egg white
Ice

How to:

In a cocktail shaker, combine the ingredients and shake vigorously until frothy and well blended. Strain into a tall chilled cocktail glass and serve.

 


Mimosa MistMimosa Mist  

Ingredients:    

1½ ounces Florida orange juice
5 raspberries
¾ ounce lemon juice
¾ ounce simple syrup*
Ice
Champagne

How to:

Muddle raspberries in cocktail shaker; add Florida orange juice, lemon juice, simple syrup and ice. Shake and strain into champagne flute; top with chilled champagne. Garnish with Florida orange twist and raspberry.

*For Simple Syrup: Combine 1 cup sugar and ½ cup water in saucepan; heat over medium heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Simmer for 5 minutes. Cool syrup completely and refrigerate in covered container for up to 1 month.

Next – Fun and delicious non-alcoholic Easter cocktails for youngsters

Delicious and Fun St. Patrick’s Day Cocktail Ideas

It’s March already, and we are only days away from our favorite holiday of the season – Saint Patrick’s day. March 17th is the day when the whole world becomes Irish! Cities are overwhelmed with green hats, clover T-shirts, the aroma of corned beef and cabbage, and gallons of good ol’ dark Guinness are enjoyed while singing to “The Irish Rover” by The Dubliners. It’s safe to say that St. Pat’s isthe day for drinking, fun, and merriment

If beer isn’t your deal, you have a huge variety of cocktails and shooters to enjoy. If you liked our earlier article about fun and tasty cocktail ideas for St. Patrick’s Day, then you should also enjoy these new and interesting St. Patty’s cocktail ideas that are easy to whip up and absolutely delicious to drink. Whether you’re staying at home with your friends and family or going out to a bar or a club,  you should definitely have a drink or two to relax and unwind, and with these fun St. Patrick’s Day cocktails, you can celebrate with a festive Irish twist.

Green St. Patrick’s Day Themed cocktails 

Green hats, green T-shirts, green flags – why not green cocktails? Keep with the spirit of St Pat’s with some of these amazing cocktails:

image003

Emerald Crush
Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Blue Ice Organic Wheat Vodka
  • 1/2 organic kiwi, peeled
  • 1/2 organic lime, cut into quarters
  • 1 teaspoon organic sugar

How to:

Muddle fruit and sugar in a mixing glass until well crushed and juicy. Add ice and vodka and shake vigorously. Pour all contents over ice into a tall tumbler and drink with straws. This is a very special St. Patrick’s Day cocktail that will tingle your whole body and leave you asking for more.

 

Green Apple Martini

Ingredients

  • 1 part vodka
  • 1 part apple juice
  • 1 part DeKuyper Sour Apple Schnapps

How to:

Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake well and serve. Simple as that!

 Refresh-ZING Shamrock

Ingredients image002 (1)

  • 1.5 oz. ZING Vodka
  • 5 Cucumber chunks (approx 1 oz juice)
  • 1 Basil leaf
  • Splash Lime juice

 How to:·

Muddle cucumber and basil add ingredients and shake served Up. Garnish with a cucumber. Preferable Glass: Highball rocks or coupe.

image001Camarena Shamrock Shaker

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 oz Camarena Reposado Tequila
  • 1/2 oz Sour Apple Liqueur
  • 1/4 oz Agave Nectar
  • 2 oz Lime Juice
  • Sliced Green Apples for Garnish

How to:

Combine liquids in cocktail shaker with ice. Shake to blend and chill. Strain into chilled martini glass. Garnish with a fan of thinly sliced green apples.

Midori Sour 

Ingredients

  • 1 oz. Midori melon liqueur
  • 1 oz. whiskey sour mix
  • 2 oz. Sprite
  • 2 cherries

How to: 

Fill glass with ice cubes. Add Midori liqueur, sour mix and Sprite. Stir quickly. Add cherries as garnish.

Lemons, oranges, pineapples, and grapefruit make yummy beverage bases

These yummy cocktails are for those who prefer their drink with a fruity taste. Delicious and fun, they are very easy to prepare and will make your body feel fresh and elevated.

image002Irish Castaway

Ingredients:

  • 1 ounce Shellback Spiced Rum
  • 1 ounce Irish Whiskey
  • 1/4 ounce Vanilla Liqueur
  • 1/4 ounce Lemon Juice
  • Bar spoon of Brown Sugar
  • 2 ounces Brut Champagne

How to:

Combine brown sugar and liquids except champagne in cocktail shaker, no ice. Stir to dissolve brown sugar. Add ice. Shake to blend. Strain into highball glass over fresh ice. Top with brut champagne.

Kiss Me I’m Irish image

Ingredients:

  • 50ml/2 oz Belvedere Vodka
  • Dash Elderflower Syrup
  • 3 chunks pink grapefruit

How to:

Muddle grapefruit with elderflower cordial. Add crushed ice and churn. Re top with crushed ice and garnish with a pink grapefruit wedge.

 

 image (1)The Lucky Charm

Ingredients:

  • 1.5  Belvedere Bloody Mary
  • 1 oz  Pineapple juice
  • ¼ oz Lemon juice
  • 2 bar spoons Rosemary syrup

How to:

Shake and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a rosemary sprig.

 

Green Tea-ni Thyme 

  • 50ml/ 2 oz  Belvedere Lemon Tea  image (2)
  • 20ml/ ¾ oz Lemon Juice
  • 20ml/ ¾ oz Green Tea Syrup
  • 3 Sprigs Fresh Thyme

Gentle press thyme in base of shaker. Add remaining ingredients and shake hard over ice. Fine strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a sprig of thyme.

 

We hope you enjoy these fun Irish St. Patty’s Day cocktail ideas. Leave us a comment about your favorite one if you try them!

 

Creative Food Tips for Parents of Picky Eaters

IMAG4237My daughter is not even two yet and I feel like she barely eats anything. If it weren’t for pancakes, macaroni and cheese, and cream cheese bagels, I don’t think the poor girl would eat! Don’t get me wrong, she likes fruit and will try the occasional chicken tenders and other foods, but it’s never a “sure thing,” if you know what I mean. I often feel like our fridge is jam-packed with food in the hopes that she will actually eat SOMETHING. Then, inevitably, we end up throwing twice as much stuff out as we would before now. It’s frustrating to feel so wasteful!

I struggle with this every day. The pediatrician’s office had me all flustered when she fell from the 10th percentile or so down to third percentile for weight and fourth for height. She is a tiny little thing, but so cute and very healthy – not really a major concern. I’m not tall myself, so she likely got my genes as far as height and body type. Still, the doctor’s office got me so worried before that I have desperately been trying to get her to eat as much as possible, whenever possible.

Sometimes I bribe her, sometimes I just keep trying new things, other times I cycle through the few things I know she does like. We have occasional success with fish or fish sticks, pasta, and pretty good success with pizza. I have tried to creatively make special things for her to enjoy while still getting essential nutrients, and most times, have failed miserably. For example, my parmesan broccoli fritters looked and smelled (and even tasted) delicious when warm, but once cool enough for a baby’s palate, all bets were off. She didn’t even see the green of the broccoli that I popped in her mouth and still spit it out.

So, out of desperation in my own quest to get my child to eat more, I have decided to make a list of my most successful tips. I’d be thrilled if you can share any of your own tips in the comments so I can add them to the article and try them myself with N. Here’s my top list of tricks to get a toddler to eat more:

  1. Try to avoid letting them fill up on milk, water, juice, or whatever they are drinking. Keep their beverages out of site at first, at least until they get a little food in their belly.
  2. Offer different kinds of snacks often. We rotate through cereal, crackers, goldfish, dried fruit, fresh fruit, bagels, muffins, and other snacks.
  3. Sneak food into their mouths as they are feeding themselves. At this toddler phase, kids will never be as efficient at feeding themselves as you would be. Unfortunately, it seems they may also not be as agreeable to you doing the work as they once were. Sneak in what you can and allow them to have control over at least some of their food.
  4. Encourage your child and praise him or her for eating well. Use a tone that is fun and exciting, expressing how proud you are of their efforts.
  5. Consider bargaining if appropriate. It may not be a practice you want to do all the time, but bargaining can be instrumental in getting your child to try new things or to eat in greater quantity.
  6. Try different settings to give your child variety. The high chair gets old after a while. If you can pull your child’s chair up to the kitchen table without the tray, that could be a suitable alternative. I’ve also seen great success with the portable booster chairs for toddlers and even just letting them run around and pick food pieces up from a TV tray or table.
  7. Have a [willing] family member or guest offer your child their snacks or meals. I have seen more success with my daughter eating snacks she gets from someone new and exciting than from offering what we keep in the cabinets.
  8. And finally, my favorite tip of all – Disguise food as something they love. Create cute animal shapes with the food or use cookie cutters, food molds, or pancake and egg shapes to give your kid a more entertaining, more enjoyable option when it comes to eating the same foods day after day.

IMAG4236

If you have other tips and ideas to get your toddler to be a better eater, please share them in our comments below! You may think your tip or suggestion seems basic, but to someone else it could be a godsend.

Thanksgiving Wine Pairings and Cocktails

It’s that time of year when everyone pinpoints what they are thankful for. If you can’t say you are thankful for your flawless ability to create delectable homemade dishes, consider bringing all the makings to a holiday cocktail of your choice to the Thanksgiving dinner table.

Or if you truly tried your best at great-grandma’s classic Thanksgiving dish and failed to live up to hype, fall back on these quick foolproof recipes. (You can say you’re thankful for credit cards and 24/7 grocery stores.)

For fans of Pumpkin flavored recipes, check out our articles featuring some of our recommendations and suggestions. Find my favorite here. It is “technically” named ‘Halloween Brew,” but I’d drink it any time of the year. Flip the name to ‘Thanksgiving Brew’ and guests will be none the wiser.

Sterling Aromatic White

Pick out the perfect wine for the classic dishes of Thanksgiving dinner. Sterling Vintners offers the staples of red and white wine ideal to pair with many holiday foods. Pair Sterling Vineyards Carneros Pinot Noir with anything from appetizers up to the main courses. The Pinot Noir should be your go-to with the Turkey dinner as well as stuffings, especially those with chestnuts or mushrooms.

If turkey is not the main course for some diners, the alternative could be a spinach based salad with fresh pears. Sterling Vineyards Napa Valley Chardonnay pairs flawlessly with a salad of this type because the wine’s crisp acidity is an ideal balance to the acidity in the salad dressing. For other food that may be served, Sterling Vintners Collection Aromatic White goes best with fruit and cheese appetizers, particularly those with dried fruits like apricots.

Want to mix things up for a change? Avenue restaurant in Long Branch, NJ mixes a sweet and spicy cocktail called the Cranberry Jalapeno Mezcal Margarita for Thanksgiving.

Cranberry Jalapeno Mezcal MargaritaCranberry Jalapeno Mezcal Margarita

1 oz. Mezcal
1 oz. Triple Sec
1 oz. Fresh Squeezed Orange Juice
½ oz. Jalapeno Sour Mix
½ oz. Lime Juice
2 T. Fresh Cranberry Jam
Garnish: 5 Spice Rim (Star Anise, Fennel, Cinnamon, Schezuan Pepper, & Cloves)

Combine all ingredients over ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake and strain over clean ice.

 

Looking for something to satisfy your sweet tooth? Bring the easiest to make desserts with practically candy-coated cocktails. Smirnoff Vodkas’ new flavors, Wild Honey and Cinna-Sugar Twist Flavored Vodka, are easy solutions with their simple recipes.

It might seem difficult to find an easy recipe with such bold and distinct flavors. Have no fear! Each flavor has two recipes below with one each being simple enough you might not even need to buy any mixings. Smirnoff’s site offers more recipes, not just for these flavors, but every bottle they offer.

Wild Honey Vodka

SMIRNOFF Honey Nut Cake

1 oz. SMIRNOFF Wild Honey Flavored Vodka
0.5 oz. Hazelnut Liqueur
0.5 oz. Creme de cacao
1 oz. Cream

Preparation: Add ingredients to an ice-filled shaker. Shake and strain into a martini glass. Finish with grated nutmeg as garnish.

Honey Cider
1.5 oz. Smirnoff Wild Honey
2.5 oz. apple juice
2.5 oz. cider

Shake and serve over ice in highball glass.

 

SMIRNOFF Cinna-Sugar Twist Cheeky ChurroCinna-Sugar Vodka

1 oz. SMIRNOFF Cinna-Sugar Twist Flavored Vodka
0.5 oz. orange liqueur
0.5 oz. Bailey’s Irish cream liqueur with a Hint of Vanilla Cinnamon Flavor
0.5 oz. light cream
Glassware: Coupe glass
Garnish: Grated cinnamon

Preparation: Shake and serve

Lucky Lemonade

1.5 oz. Smirnoff Cinna-Sugar Twist
2 oz. lemonade
3 oz. apple juice

Add all ingredients together, shake well and pour into stemless wine glass over ice. Garnish with lemon wheel.

What are your Thanksgiving cocktail go-tos?

 

Writer’s Note: I received samples of Sterling Vineyards Napa Valley Chardonnay, Sterling Vintners Collection Aromatic White, Smirnoff Cinna-Sugar Twist Vodka, and Smirnoff Wild Honey Vodka.

My Unofficial Version of the Pink Leaf Cookie from Italian Bakeries

pink cookie sandwich baking partyFor as long as I can remember, I’ve loved the pink leaf cookies with the chocolate sandwich middles that you get at Italian bakeries and sometimes in the gourmet cookie assortments at the grocery store if you are lucky. These cookies come in pink and green sandwiches in the exact same leaf shape, and they have a layer of chocolate holding them together. I believe the pink cookie is a strawberry flavor and the green cookie is supposed to be pistachio, I THINK. For almost as long as I’ve loved these cookies, I’ve been desperate to learn how to make them. I’ve scoured the Web and asked chefs and others I know who love to bake. Always coming up empty handed, I thought about reverse engineering the cookie with a basic Italian butter cookie recipe. I found a pretty good amount of success with this method.

WARNING: STOP reading here if you might be disappointed in learning of a possibly different origin for these scrumptious cookies other than the quaint Italian bakeries of your childhood or the pleasant Italian women you’ve pictured baking these from scratch —

Okay, you’ve been warned… I also, through my research, came up with a new theory that the pink and green leaf sandwich cookies might be a product of a company that mass produces them for sale at bakeries and so forth. Sort of like a Nabisco or Keebler, but more upscale and more “white label.”

kitchenaid-mixer

Again, just my suspicion, but it would certainly explain why a recipe is so hard to come by! And also why, no matter what brand, store, or model, I cannot find quite the right leaf shape cookie cutter or cookie gun with leaf shaped disks.

From a previous blog post I wrote, I’ve received a few requests for my version of the pink leaf bakery cookie recipe, so here goes nothing! If you try it, please let me know in the comments what you thought and if you have any improvements or modifications that may be useful to other people.

Unofficial Italian Bakery Pink Leaf Cookies Recipe:

pink-leaf-cookie-dough

Ingredients:
1/2 pound butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
pink-leaf-cookie-cutter1 egg
1 tsp strawberry extract, or to taste
2 & 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
Red food coloring

(Yields 40 cookies, depending on size. I usually double the recipe. When you need two cookies per sandwich, the recipe doesn’t stretch very far…)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Using an electric mixer (my favorite), cream the butter and sugar until super fluffy (around 3 minutes or so).
  3. Add eggs and strawberry extract and mix until blended completely.
  4. On the lowest speed, add in the flour, baking powder, and pinch of salt.
  5. Mix the dough just until it’s blended. Avoid overmixing.
  6. Add in a few drops of red food coloring and mix with spoon until blended. Adjust to your desired shade of pink.
  7. pink-leaf-cookie-pressFill your cookie gun (cookie press) or roll out a handful of dough for use with cookie cutters.
  8. Attempt to make equal numbers of the same shape of cookies – for example, I have used the Wilton Cookie Pro Ultra II Cookie Press as well as the Wilton Leaves and Acorns Cookie Cutter Set, although you can find other cookie cutter options as well. You will need pairs of cookies to make the little sandwiches. Space them apart by about two inches on your cookie sheets.pink-leaf-cookie-tray
  9. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges begin to turn golden brown.
  10. Cool on cooling rack.
  11. Heat about 1/3 of a bag of semisweet chocolate chips in a glass measuring cup. Be careful not to overheat – I put mine in for 60 seconds followed by another 10 seconds, mixing in between.
  12. chocolate-leaf-sandwich-cookieUsing a spoon or other utensil, spread the melted chocolate on the bottom of one cookie and press the other half together so they stick.
  13. Place on a sheet of wax paper inside a plastic container.
  14. Repeat for all cookies until done.
  15. Place container inside refrigerator for about 10 to 20 minutes to “set” the chocolate. This way the chocolate won’t melt and smear as much as it otherwise might.
  16. Enjoy and share your cookies and this pink leaf cookie recipe with family and friends!

pink-leaves-on-tray

Please let me know what you think of this recipe if you decide to try it! I would be glad to use your comments to further improve the recipe for our readers, myself, my family, and friends. Also, if you’ve attempted the green leaf cookies, please share as well. Thanks, and happy baking!

pink-leaf-sandwich-cookie

Halloween Cocktails

Make your Halloween event stand out from the others with themed cocktails! Have fun with glassware by adding flair to drinks like candy eyeball stirrers or blood dripped drinks with grenadine. Continue reading Halloween Cocktails

Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches Using Different Kinds of Cookies

sugar-cookie-icecream-sandwichIt may be a wonderful summertime treat, but Chipwiches and ice cream sandwiches can be delicious any time of year. It’s hard to picture a more scrumptious dessert than ice cream sandwiched between two soft, chewy cookies. Yum! Store-bought ice cream novelties like Chipwiches can certainly be tasty, but making them at home adds a fun element of creativity and freshness.

Whether it’s a hot summer day or a rainy day any time of year when you’re bored, consider making your own delectable ice cream cookie sandwiches using your favorite flavor of ice cream and favorite type of cookie. You can use store-bought cookies if you must, but half of the fun is baking your own cookies to use in your ice cream sandwiches.

When making ice cream sandwiches at home, you can make them completely by hand or you can use an actual ice cream sandwich maker or mold. You can make ice cream sandwich minis or full-sized treats, depending on how much variety you want to have in your snack. Mini ice cream sandwiches can be great for parties – just make them ahead of time and freeze until you are ready to serve. My family bought me the Cuisipro Mini Ice Cream Sandwich Maker set for Christmas last year and I love it. You can make mini ice cream sandwiches in shapes of hearts, stars, and circles, in as many flavors as your heart desires. This kit is a super easy, beautiful, and fun way to make delicious, amazing, frozen treats any time of year.

I also received a different set of ice cream sandwich makers for bigger treat sizes from a friend. The Tovolo Ice Cream Sandwich Molds set allows you to make ice cream cookie sandwiches very easily with a cookie cutter type mold. The molds have a plunger type piece that allows you to gently push out the ice cream sandwich once it is ready. These ice cream sandwich molds and the mini ice cream sandwich makers are really cute and fun helpers when it comes to making your own frozen treats at home. Of course, you can always make cookies in similar sizes and simply use those without the ice cream sandwich press as well. It’s really up to you and how you prefer to assemble your treats!

homemade-ice-cream-sandwiches3

Try these tips to make a delicious spread of ice cream cookie sandwiches for your entire family or all your friends to enjoy.

Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich Ingredients:
– Ice cream (vanilla, chocolate, black raspberry, black cherry, strawberry, cookies and cream, etc.)
– Ingredients for your favorite cookie recipe
– Mini chocolate chips

Recipe Steps for Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches:

1. Make up your favorite batch of cookies. Chocolate chip cookies work perfectly, but you can also make oatmeal raisin cookies, sugar cookies, chocolate sugar cookies, and more.
2. Allow cookies to cool sufficiently, at least 20 minutes.
3. Match up cookies of similar sizes.
4. Bring out the ice cream and a scooper.
5. If using an ice cream sandwich maker, follow the individualized instructions. Usually you will press the mold / cutter down onto a semi-soft cookie, scoop the ice cream into it, and press down onto another cookie. Then twist the handle until the ice cream sandwich pops out of the mold.
6. If desired, press mini chocolate chips around the edges of the exposed ice cream.
7. Store your cookie sandwiches individually in plastic baggies or in a freezer-safe plastic container with a lid.

Making homemade ice cream sandwiches is easy and fun, but you might find a little difficulty since the ice cream melts really fast. Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your fun treat-making experience:

ice-cream-sandwiches-x• When making these treats in bulk, create small batches and take a break to let your ice cream get harder again. If you try to make too many sandwiches or let it take too long, the ice cream will be a mushy mess that is too tough to handle.
• Put them in the freezer in small fold-over sandwich bags, individually wrapped for best results. That makes them easy to enjoy later, too!
• Consider putting them in the freezer for a little while before you add the mini chocolate chips to the edges if you find the ice cream is too soft to manage.
• I know it’s hard to wait, but please avoid putting ice cream on the cookies until they’ve really cooled. Your ice cream will melt too fast and you’ll never be able to enjoy your cookie sandwich without a real mess!

Do you have a favorite flavor of ice cream cookie sandwich? I made the ultimate, extreme ice cream cookie sandwich using chocolate chip cookies and cookies and cream ice cream with mini chips on the edges. I also tried sugar cookies and black cherry ice cream, oatmeal craisin cookies with chocolate ice cream, and sugar cookies with black cherry ice cream. They were all wonderful, although Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwiches will always have a special place in my heart!

Do you want to try this? Have you already done it? Do you have any other tips to share? Please share your comments below – we’d love to hear from you!

Smirnoff Sorbet Light Vodka Review

Summer’s winding down, but that doesn’t mean you still can’t have a summer-y drink or three. Smirnoff features three fresh flavors in their Sorbet Light Line – Lemon, Mango Passion Fruit and Raspberry Pomegranate. I received all three to try and review. My verdict is that they are all fantastic!

Continue reading Smirnoff Sorbet Light Vodka Review

Vegetarian BBQ Tips

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWho says that grilling is just about burgers and ribs? You can just as easily grill tofu, tomatoes, peppers, and other tasty veggies to create a light and healthy meal for everyone to enjoy. It’s the perfect food for those hot summer days. If you’re a vegetarian or a vegan, a vegetarian barbecue is the most natural choice. Meat lovers may also accept the idea since it’s nice change from the usual all-meat grill menu. Grab an apron, get that grill out of the garage, and pay attention, because we are about to give you some delicious vegetarian BBQ tips and recipes that will leave your mouth watering.

1. Stuffed BBQ peppers

These delicious peppers are guaranteed to impress all of your friends and family and keep them coming for more. Not only are they very easy to prepare, but their rich flavor and strong aroma will also make your mouth water as soon as you smell them. Stuff the peppers with a mix of rice, onions, mozzarella, and gorgonzola, and then grill them for 15-20 minutes, turning them lightly until they get a nice brown color. Vegans can create their own cheese substitutes with tofu “ricotta” or agar. Serve the peppers with some mashed potatoes or pasta as a side dish and you’ve got yourself an ideal light summer lunch!

2. All-veggie grill platter

Looking for some inspiration for a light veggie lunch, you check your kitchen and see you have some asparagus, carrots, and onions. “What can I make of these?”, you think. Well, why don’t you grill them all and create a tasty BBQ veggie platter? The end result – everyone licking their fingers and rubbing their bellies in satisfaction after a delicious meal. Don’t just stop at these tasty vegetables; take whatever you got stored and just throw them in the mix – you just can’t go wrong! The whole thing takes only 15-20 minutes and the fascinated compliments you receive from your friends while they eat it will definitely make your day. Toss with some olive oil, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Have fun and be creative.

3. Grilled eggplant salad

This summertime dish is an absolute must for every green lover and it will make your mouth explode with delight with the first bite. The entire meal takes about 45 minutes to prepare and is very simple. Slice the eggplant into 1/2 inch rounds, sprinkle them with salt and olive oil, and grill them for 5-10 minutes while preparing the dressing that consists of oil, vinegar, tomato, garlic, and paprika all mixed in a blender. Pour this over the eggplant, toss some green salad and cheese (or cheese substitute if you’re a vegan), and voila! Lunch is served. Not only is this dish very low cal but it’s also extremely healthy and very light to eat in these extreme hot days.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOf course, all grilled food tastes a whole lot better with a dip. Create your own tasty vegetarian dips in just a few minutes and store them in the refrigerator for the next time you need to use them. All you need is a blender and a creative mind – take your favorite greens, blend them together for a minute or two and you’re all set! The possibilities truly are endless. After giving you all these tasty vegetarian recipes and tips, all we have to say is: have fun grilling and bon apetite!

Recipe: Homemade Brownie Pudding Pops, Full-Size or in Dixie Cups

zoku-pops-ss

Summertime rolls around and frozen treats become the perfect pastime. Make yummy frozen desserts to enjoy with your kids, family, friends, and loved ones, and this will also become a fond memory of the warmer seasons. Making homemade pudding pops doesn’t cost a lot and also doesn’t take much time. It also allows you to be creative with the ingredients, mixing in your favorite things for a yummy treat you can enjoy as a snack or as dessert any time.

I am a sucker for brownies, so I wanted to make a frozen treat that incorporated tiny pieces of brownie and of course, chocolate and fresh strawberries. Are you hungry yet? If so, keep reading – you will find this recipe fairly simple and fun!

Homemade Strawberry and Brownie Pudding Pops
In Dixie cups, these yummy treats are the perfect size for the kids or a modest dessert for adults of all ages. You can also use the Zoku™ Quick Pop™ Maker for a full-sized treat.

Mix up your favorite flavors and experiment with different combinations to see what you like best!

dixie-pudding-pops Ingredients:

Strawberry layer
3/4 cup fresh-cut strawberries
2 tsp Honey
1/8 tsp Vanilla extract
3/4 tsp water

Pudding base
1 8-oz package Chocolate or Vanilla Instant Pudding (plus required ingredients on pudding packet)
1/2 cup (4 oz.) whole or 2% milk
1 and 1/2 Tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp Vanilla extract

Other:
One or two brownies, broken into pieces
Sliced strawberries
Dixie cups
Mini popsicle sticks
Instructions:

  1. Create the strawberry sauce by combining strawberries and water in a food processor.
  2. Move to measuring cup and add in honey and vanilla.
  3. Set aside.
  4. Mix together all the ingredients for the pudding base.
  5. Starting with the pudding base, layer ingredients as desired into little Dixie cups. Add in slices of strawberries or bits/chunks of brownie as you go. When the cup is about 3/4 full, add in a popsicle stick if desired.
  6. Put brownie crumbles atop any remaining pudding or fruit layers around the stick.
  7. Freeze until solid, at least 4 hours but possibly longer.
  8. Enjoy!

pops_2281I adapted my recipe from a great book of popsicle recipes entitled Zoku Quick Pops, for use with the Zoku™ Quick Pop™ Maker. We have the pop maker and I actually did use it to make these very same pops. We noticed the ingredients ended up being a bit thick for the pop maker, but it was also our first attempt, so I’m looking forward to giving it a shot with a different recipe, perhaps a more juice-based pop recipe.

We had some leftover pudding, strawberries, brownies, and strawberry sauce, along with some bananas, so we made the rest of the batch into the Dixie cups version of pudding pops. It worked out great and I look forward to doing this together with my little girl when she is old enough to enjoy it.