Sunday, September 14, 2014

Apple Butter Sparklers

I've been putting apple butter on my toast in the morning to feel a little more fall-ish. You know what's even more fun that apple butter on toast?

Apple butter in champagne.

I saw this cocktail recipe while I was reading Southern Living at the hair salon a few weeks ago. I had foils all over my head (still not ready to let go of the summer blonde) and was obsessing over all of their autumn ideas.

This one was the first on my list to try.

They had a recipe for making your own apple butter. You could do that. I bet it would be really tasty.

Me ... I just bought some at the store already in a jar and made it look prettier by putting it in a mason jar. (Me + job + toddler = shortcuts)

I bet your local farmers market has some really good homemade apple butter too. Move over mimosa. Fall is coming and she is spicy, sweet, tart and bubbly!

Apple Butter Sparkler (Adapted From Southern Living, serves 2) 
4 Tablespoons Apple Butter from store (usually next to the peanut butter and jelly)
3 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 Cups chilled Prosecco or champagne of choice
Garnish with apple slices on mini skewers (the apple butter can settle at the bottom after time so the skewers are a good way to stir it back up)

Step 1: Pour 2 cups champagne into a large measuring cup (or bowl but it's easier to pour later out of a measuring cup)

Step 2: In a bowl whisk your 4 tablespoons apple butter and 3 tablespoons lemon juice.

Step 3: Whisk the apple butter into the champagne and pour into two glasses.

Step 4: Serve with apple slices on mini skewers in each glass. Again, the apple butter can settle at the bottom after time so the skewers are a good way to stir it back up.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Can I Have a Sip?

A weekly "all things boozy" series because sharing is caring. Cheers and Happy Friday!

Check out Tina's Tinto de Verano! She explains that it's basically a mix of fizzy lemonade and red wine that is popular in Spain. You know how I feel about mixing juice and wine.

Also ...

Bailey’s Banana Colada - Where have you been all my life?!?!

Roasted Garlic Infused Vodka - Mmmmmmmm perfect for bloody marys.

Browned Butter Old Fashioned - This guy is amazing.

White Sangria with Figs and Anjou Pears -- A white sangria that's still fall-ish. Love.

Sweet Potato Waffles with Strawberry-Vodka Sauce -- Boozy breakfast sauce. Shhhhhh. I won't tell if you don't.

Gummy Bear Sangria -- Gummy bears in EVERYTHING please.

Margarita Ice Cream Pie - I just discovered this blog and I can't get enough!

Grilled Surf 'n Turf Party Nachos with Spiked Pico de Gallo -- I could eat these every night.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pudding Shots

Dear caramel apple everything,

I'm not sure it's time yet. There are no crunchy leaves or cool breezes. I'm not in long sleeves and shorts or boots with my dresses. But lucky for you I love you more than pumpkin spice (who has to wait longer) and I'm ready to let you come on over a little earlier.

I guess the caramel apple party can start now. Break out your butterscotch Schnapps and Kissed Caramel vodka.

You have two options for these pudding shots. The knock your socks off boozy pudding shot, or the "Mmmm, I can taste the booze a little, this is nice" pudding shot

I like them both, I suppose it depends on how rowdy you're feeling. ;) 

Use the apple slice to spoon out the cheesecake pudding and scoop the apple pie filling out from the bottom. Drizzle some caramel, maybe even salted caramel, on top.

These are almost like a boozy caramel apple parfait.

P.S. I've also allowed these caramel apple filled Twizzlers in my home. No regrets. But I can't make up my mind about these.

Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pudding Shots (Makes about 15 large shots)
1 (3.4 oz) box of instant cheesecake flavored pudding
1 cup Milk
3/4 cup Caramel flavored vodka or 3/2 cup butterscotch schnapps (depending on how strong you want them)
1 (8oz) tub of Cool Whip
1 can of apple pie filling
2 green apples
Caramel sauce for drizzeling on top

Step 1: Mix your cheesecake pudding and milk in a large bowl with an electric mixer until combined. Will look semi thick.

Step 2: Add your 3/4 cup caramel vodka or butterscotch schnapps and cool whip. Fold the ingredients into the pudding mixture until combined. (Don't over mix it, just make sure there are no lumps). Cover and set aside in fridge or freezer to thicken up.

Step 3. Pour your apple pie filling in a separate bowl and make sure the apples in the filling are cut up small enough to fit in your shot glasses and then spoon them in, filling your shot glass about half way.

Step 4: Top the apple pie filling with the boozy cheesecake pudding.

Step 5: Slice up your green apples so they fit into your shot glass and can act as a spoon. Stick them in and the drizzle with caramel. (Do this right before serving or the apples with brown)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Blue and Yellow College Football Jello Shots

It may be too early for pumpkin spice lattes but football season has officially arrived and after talking to a few people I realized that my jello shot portfolio is lacking in the sports department.

I was worried about starting my new football jello shot series with Michigan. I'm an Ohio State fan... This is craziness, I know. Classic rivalry and my grandpa is going to kill me.

I'm so sorry grandpa, but the flavor combo was just too good to pass up.

My co-worker Kim told me about a drink she makes called a "Wolverine" made with blueberry Smirnoff and lemonade and I had to try it.

So maybe the "M" Stands for Michelle. Or maybe you can make these if you are a West Virginia Mountaineers fan with a W and V shape, or for the UCLA Bruins. There are a lot of blue and yellow football teams out there right?

The important part of this post is this; if you are having a football party these are easy to make and you can make them in large batches. Two cups of blueberry vodka will get you about 50 shots or more, depending on the size of the square bites.

What team should I do next? I'm taking requests!

P.S. The blue and yellow combo has a tendency to look green when you view it overhead. I am working on an option to get a truer blue color when using with yellow! Stay tuned.

Blue and Yellow College Football Jello Shots (Makes 50 or more shots)
3oz. box blue jello
3oz. box yellow jello
2 envelops Knox gelatin
2 cups blueberry flavored vodka
2 cups lemonade
9x13 inch pan

Step 1: Pour 1 cup lemonade into a medium sized sauce pan. Add your box of yellow jello and mix to combine. Next sprinkle your envelop of Knox. Let it sit for a minute to activate the gelatin. Turn on medium heat and mix to combine again. Bring to a light simmer then remove from heat and add 1 cup blueberry vodka.

Step 2:
Pour your lemon vodka jello into a lightly greased 9x13 inch pan. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes or until set but still sticky not completely firm. (While your lemon jello is setting get started on the next step)

Step 3:
 Pour 1 cup lemonade into a medium sized sauce pan. Add your box of blue jello and mix to combine. Next sprinkle your envelop of Knox. Let it sit for a minute to activate the gelatin. Turn on medium heat and mix to combine again. Bring to a light simmer then remove from heat and add 1 cups blueberry vodka. (Set aside until your yellow layer is ready)

Step 4
: Make sure your yellow layer is set but still sticky not completely firm and then pour the blue layer on top. Refrigerate for a couple hours or until completely firm.

Step 5: Run a thin rubber spatula or a butter knife along the edge of your 9x13 inch pan to loosen the jello. Don't try to flip out the whole pan of jello, it will break. Slice the jello in strips and then carefully place your hand under each strip and lift it out carefully. Use a sharp knife to cut uniform cubes out of the strips. Keep cold until serving!

Share and enjoy responsibly! 

Monday, September 1, 2014

Tequila Lime Shrimp Tacos

Shrimp tacos make me think of summer time. Maybe even a tropical summer with a Corona on the beach. Can you tell I'm not diving into pumpkin spice yet?

It's Labor Day and I'm not ready yet. I'm clinging on to my iced coffee and flip flops for dear life. Where did this summer go?

Did you know that if you leave lime rind in your marinade it doesn't make it taste more bright and limey? It actually makes it taste more boozy and bitter.

You think I would have remembered that from making all of these little lime babies. Long story short,  I made this marinade twice. It was worth it though. I think I got it just right.

Now put down that pumpkin, apple, caramel, bourbon, spiced whatever and go get some shrimp and tequila.

P.S. A long time ago I posted a similar shrimp taco on Instagram when I was on my clean eating diet. I had a lot of requests for the recipe. I went a head and posted that one below as well. It's very similar but there is no tequila. Boo. 

Tequila Lime Shrimp Tacos (Serves 4)
Corn tortillas
1 lb frozen or fresh shrimp
1 avocado
Shredded red cabbage
Pico de gallo
Lime wedges
1 cup Greek yogurt or sour cream
Hot sauce (optional)

Quick Marinade
1 cup lime juice
1/2 cup tequila
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic powder
Salt and pepper

Step 1: Thaw frozen shrimp if frozen. Add all of your marinade ingredients into a medium sized bowl, add in your shrimp and toss. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for about 30 mins. You don't want to let it get too boozy so don't let it sit too long.

Step 2: Get your taco assembly line ready. Slice your avocado and lime wedges and put your red cabbage and pico de gallo in little bowls.

Step 3: Mix your Greek yogurt or sour cream with hot sauce and set aside for topping. You can leave the sour cream or yogurt plain but the added kick is nice.

Step 4: Add one teaspoon olive oil to large frying pan and turn on medium heat. When pan is hot and shrimp have marinaded for 30 mins take your shrimp out of the marinade and place them in the frying pan. Cook 1 minute on each side. They don't need that long. The citrus from the lime may have slightly ceviched them already.

Step 5: Remove your shrimp from the pan, when cool enough pull off the shrimp tails. Dump any excess marinade or oil out of the pan and turn the heat to low. Gently warm your corn tortillas.

Step 6: Top each tortilla with red cabbage, then pico de gallo then shrimp and avocado. Drizzle your yogurt or sour cream on top and serve immediately. Serve with a lime wedge to squeeze over the top.

*Clean Eating Version
Follow the same steps above but instead of using the tequila lime marinade, lightly season the shrimp with Mrs. Dash Fiesta Lime seasoning.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Life Lately and My Spa Day at The Salamander

I'm sorry for the lack of posts lately. With a few new projects at work and crashing on my book deadline (which I promise to stop complaining about) the blog has had to take a back seat.

I knew things were going to get crazy toward the end of the summer so a few months ago I planned a little get away to reward myself and decompress.

I ended up doing a solo spa day at The Salamander Resort and it was exactly what I needed. This place is like a little piece of heaven 45 minutes away from my house. Amazing. 

Nick took on daddy duty all day and I booked a blueberry facial for 10:30am. I showed up a few hours early so I could use the other spa amenities.

Guys, I've never been to a spa before. I was actually a little bit clueless when I walked in but I think I picked the right one for my first experience.

I got my own soft cushy robe and a locker. I was able to shower first and shave my legs (I don't have time for even that lately, poor Nick). I soaked in this "vitality pool" for awhile and let the waterfall massage my shoulders.

My favorite part was the aroma steam room. It's right behind these "tepidarium loungers" (what?) which  means heated chairs that relax your muscles.

I was a little claustrophobic in the steam room at first but I tried my best to think meditative thoughts and stare into the glowy planetarium like lights on the ceiling and breath in the lavender mist. Eventually I was completely calm. I feel relaxed just thinking about it again.

Since I got there so early I had the place all to myself. It was quiet and tranquil and everything, I repeat everything, I've been needing.

This is the "relaxation room" at the Salamander. I sat in here while I waited for my esthetician to get me for my facial. They had cucumber water and almonds and other little healthy snacks and a view of the spa pool.

After my amazing 90 minute facial I sat out at the pool for a good 3 hours and read magazines. I forgot that 12 noon is nap time for Austin. I forgot about all the house chores I try to rush and get done during nap time. I forgot about making a million jello shots for the book or what I needed to plan for my work week.

I ordered a strawberry, watermelon sangria and totally zoned out.

After about an hour of laying there someone from the resort brought me a cold "summer scented" face towel. I felt like a queen.

Seriously people, everyone needs to really treat themselves to this type of experience at least once in your life. It was definitely a splurge for me but worth every penny.

Back to real life.

Austin has been loving bananas lately. If he could eat anything he wanted it would be cheese and bananas all day long.

He has been so much fun lately and loving to cuddle with me before bed and when he wakes up. It makes it harder to get out of bed when this little cutie just wants to lay his head on you.

I think I am going to continue my little blog break for the next week or so and spend some more time with Austin. We have been trying to soak up every last bit of summer.

School starts next week in our area. Can you believe it? Not ready to give up my tiki torches and sangria on the back deck yet.

Might have to work on a good fall themed sangria to take over for my mango moscato.

P.S. That's so Michelle is getting a MAJOR redesign. I am still a few months out from going live but I am super excited. Can't wait for you to see it!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Siracha Vodka Guacamole

This weekend was spent recovering from a sinus infection/virus. There were a lot of tissues and cups of tea.

Groaning and coughing. There were no kisses and I had zero appetite. The worst.

But Sunday, when my taste-buds returned and I could get out of bed. I wanted a snack...

I had some avocados that were perfectly ripe and needed to be used and a new bag of tortilla chips.

I was clearing out the fridge looking for some wasabi to give it an extra kick and then I remembered the little bottle of Siracha flavored vodka I bought out of curiosity.


You guys, it was awesome. I know vodka and guac sound crazy but it was so right.

Not to mention that it totally helped clear out my sinuses.

Happy Monday!

Siracha Vodka Guacamole
4 small ripe avocados
1/2 medium sized red onion, finely diced
1 large tomato seeded and diced
1 clove minced garlic
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2-3 tablespoons Siracha vodka
salt and pepper to taste

Place avocados in a large bowl. Mash and mix until desired texture (I like chunky gauc instead of smooth). Fold in the rest of your ingredients saving the lime juice for last. Lime juice will help your guacamole stay green longer.
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