Sunday, September 28, 2014

Pumpkin Cheesecake Pudding Shots

Admittedly, pumpkin spice isn't my favorite flavor. I don't get as jazzed up about pumpkin spice lattes as most women I know.

I do however love, love, love pumpkin pie.

When I was little my mom used to put wrapped up slices of pumpkin pie in my lunch box when it was in season. I didn't even use a fork, I would just hold the pie and take a bite.

I love it super cold with a dollop of cool whip. I think it's the thick chewy texture that I like so much.

These pudding shots are my childhood favorite all grown up!

The cheesecake pudding adds some tang while the pumpkin pie mix in the bottom adds all the pumpkin flavor you need.

They are quick and easy to make and you should be able to find everything you need in every grocery store.

The graham cracker spoon is what really makes them amazing though. If you eat it right away it holds up and has a nice crunch but if you wait a little bit the graham crackers get soft and when you get a spoonful it's buttery and smooth just like the crust of pie would be.

More pumpkin recipes coming soon. Also, next week I launch my new blog design. Check out the sneak peek of my new logo on Facebook!

Pumpkin Cheesecake Pudding Shots (Makes 12-14 shots)
1 can pumpkin pie mix
1 box cheesecake instant pudding (3oz)
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup pumpkin pie vodka or flavor of choice
1 tub cool whip
graham crackers
whipped cream for topping
cinnimon or pumpkin pie spice for topping

Step 1. Mix your box of instant pudding and 3/4 cup milk in a medium sized bowl with an electric mixer until it's thick and smooth.

Step 2
. Add your 3/4 cup vodka and mix again until combined with a whisk.

Step 3. Fold in your cool whip. Don't over mix just fold until combined and thick again. Place in freezer for 10-15 mins.

Step 4. Add 1 large spoonful of pumpkin pie mix to your shot glasses.

Step 5. Add 1 large spoonful of your cold vodka cheesecake pudding on top of the pumpkin layer.

Step 6. Top with whipped cream, cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice. Add your graham cracker spoons right before serving. (If you add the graham crackers too soon the whole cracker can get soggy, you want it to have some crunch still) 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Marco Island (Our First Flight and Resort Vacation with a Toddler)

We've been back almost a week now from our first trip to Marco Island, Florida. Nick and I haven't been on a real vacation (one that requires a hotel stay or a flight) since after we got engaged.

I had some anxiety about flying with Austin but he did better than I thought he would. We had plenty of cartoons ready to go on our iPad and he even napped during our layover in Charlotte on the way there. I had a bloody mary on the way there and on the way back. That helped too :)

I did some research to find the right vacation for us this year. We needed a trip that wasn't too kid based since Austin probably won't remember anything but also something not too adult oriented either.

Marco Island on the Gulf coast on the Southern tip of Florida was perfect. We stayed at the Hilton. It was off season so it was pretty quiet which was exactly what I needed.

There weren't any lines at any of the restaurants and there were always chairs at the pool. It was calm. We made a promise ahead of time that we would not rush anything.

We are constantly rushing. Wake up, rush to work, super hectic busy days, rush home for dinner, play a little bit and feed Austin and then rush through making his lunch and our dinner so I might be able to enjoy an hour of so of free time before we rinse and repeat.

This vacation couldn't have come at a better time. We so, so, so desperately needed a break.

I made some mental notes when we were there. It's funny how you can spot everything you should change when you take a step back and are outside of your normal routine.

The biggest thing I want to do from now on is make a dedicated effort to linger on some of the smaller pleasurable moments through out my day and maybe even seek more moments like this out.

There is a cute little privately owned coffee shop down the street from my office. I'm planning to force myself to do some work from there for an hour or so once a week with a fancy mocha latte.

Of course there were so many pina coladas.

A couple days during Austin's nap Nick napped with him. This allowed me to sneak away down the pool and read with a drink in hand -- pretty much my favorite thing ever. It takes me awhile to put my phone down and stop photographing my self relaxing and just RELAX. Does anyone do that too? Damn technology.

Nick did some research and found an awesome play spot near the Hilton called Mackel Park. Austin loved it and we got some great photos.

There was a "Kids Cove" and then a little "Splash Park" too. Here is a cheesy tourist video I found online, wait for the water park, it really was awesome. .

We had rain every night. Lucky for us my mom was able to join us on the trip and Nick and I got to sneak away to the pool one night and got caught torrential downpour. It was pretty romantic ;)

The rain storms also made for some really amazing sunrises.

Austin liked the beach but what he really liked were the carts the resort used to tow beach chairs and clean the beach. He would play for a few minutes and then take off back toward the carts.

I think boys are born knowing how to make that "vroom, vroom" noise.

More of these because you know how I roll.

These are the tiki huts at the Marriott, another popular hotel down the road. The Marriot is a little bigger than the Hilton and has more than one pool which is great for older kids.

Nick and I had a drink at their tiki bar one night (I finally got one of these and it was the best thing I've ever had, I'm still craving another one).

This was the sunset on our last night. Perfection.

On our last night we also ate at Marco Island Fish Co. and it was the best meal we had all week. Our waitress was awesome and everything was delicous. I highly recommend checking it out if you are ever on the island.

Get the corn bread appetizer. It's a must (it tastes like cake) and the key-lime pie was amazing.

See you later Marco Island. We will be back!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Washington Redskins Jello Shots for Darcie

I did it again.

We are a Dallas Cowboys household and here I go making jello shots for our arch-rivals, The Washington Redskins.

But I wanted to make these for our good friend Darcie. Her and her family are HUGE Redskins fans.

We give them a lot of flack, they give us a lot of flack. Text messages are shot back and forth teasing between our husbands. Bets are made and won or lost, jerseys are stolen. It's all in good fun.

It's just what we do.

But this year we won't be watching the first rival game with Darcie and her family.

Darcie, a mother of two beautiful children who both play with and love my son, a former personal trainer who is in amazing shape, a vibrant 33 year old woman still deeply in love with her husband with so much of her life to live ... found out she has leukemia a few weeks ago.

She is in a fight for her life right now and I'm still trying to make sense of it all.

Darcie and her husband Eddie have always been huge supporters of my blog and my jello shots. They helped me taste test while working on the book and are always so excited to see what I'm working on next.

These Redskins, burgundy, gold and white jello shots are for her. We won't test them out together this Thursday night during the game. We might not even get to enjoy a game with them this season, but we will again. She's strong enough, no doubt about it.

If you are interested in learning more or helping out Darcie and her family visit her support page here.

Washington Redskins Jello Shots 
1 box black cherry jello (3 oz)
1 box lemon jello (3 oz)
1 cup whole milk or cream
3 cups flavored vodka of choice (I used Three Olives Cherry)
4 tablespoons sugar
12-15 marchino cherries with stems.
4 envelops Knox gelatin
1 drop red food coloring
9x13 pan

The instructions are very similar to my red, white and blue jello shots with cherries. See the step by step photos these for a good visual! 

Step 1: Pour 1 cup milk or cream in a medium sized sauce pan. Sprinkle 2 envelopes Knox gelatin on top and let it sit for one minute. Whisk until combined and turn on medium heat. Add 4 tablespoons sugar and whisk until combined. Bring to a light simmer. Add 1 cup cold vodka.

Pour into a lightly greased 9x13 pan. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or until firm but still a little sticky.

Step 2: Pour 1 box lemon jello and 1 cup water in a medium sized sauce pan. Sprinkle 1 envelope Knox gelatin on top and let it sit for one minute. Whisk until combined and turn on medium heat. Bring to a light simmer. Add 1 drop of red food coloring (no more than that, one drop makes the perfect color color, two drops makes it orange and we don't want that) Add 1 cup cold vodka or alcohol of choice.

Pour on top of the White layer and refridgerate for at least 30 minutes or until firm but still a little sticky.

Step 3: Slice 12-15 cherries with stems in half so the stem is on top. This way they will sit flat in the jello shot.

Step 4: Pour 1 box black cherryjello (black cherry is the perfect dark red/burgundy color) and 1 cup water in a medium sized sauce pan. Sprinkle 1 envelope Knox gelatin on top and let it sit for one minute. Whisk until combined and turn on medium heat. Bring to a light simmer. Add 1 cup cold vodka.

Step 5: Place cherries into the black cherry jello layer in rows of 5 or as many as you can fit for the shape you want to cut out. Refrigerate for at least one hour or until firm.

Step 6: Using a mini cookie cutter or fondant cutter or knife cut out your shots around the cherries. Cut out additional shots (they just won't have cherries) with the left over jello.

It's easiest to cut out strips of jello (vertically down the pan) and lift them out before cutting your shots. Make sure to lift out each strip in one piece. Place them on a cutting board and make uniform bites.

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! 
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