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WATERMELON MINT ICED TEA

WATERMELON MINT ICED TEA

How to make watermelon mint iced tea

Happy Saturday!  June came hard and fast, bringing an interesting mix of weather.  We’ve had cold days plus rain, sleet, and hail, and then those freaking HOT days!  The weather in Colorado flip-flops a lot, and here I thought Texas was bad!  Regardless of the crazy weather, it seems to always be hot when we’re doing outdoor projects, and with outdoor projects you naturally want some refreshing summer drinks.

As much as I wish I could drink chilled coffee drinks and wine all day on summer days (#goals right?), I also need to hydrate so I don’t shrivel up like a raisin.  This watermelon mint tea is so light and refreshing, it’s a perfect hydrating summer drink!  I kinda came up with it by accident and I’m excited to share it with you.

I’ve been a longtime fan of mint tea whether it’s hot or cold, and quite often in the summer we have a watermelon sitting on the kitchen counter.  So why not combine them?  Making watermelon juice sounds complicated but I promise it isn’t!  Before juicing the watermelon I suggest you brew the mint tea and let it cool so the ice doesn’t melt too fast and dilute all the great flavors.  You can always make the tea in advance and chill the tea in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it.

If you haven’t had watermelon juice before you’re in for a real treat, it’s incredibly delicious and hydrating!  Filled with vitamins A, B6, and C, lots of lycopene, antioxidants, and amino acids, it’s also incredibly healthy!

How to make watermelon juice

Once the tea is prepared, slice up the watermelon into medium sized chunks and just throw it in a blender or food processor.  You’ll want two cups of strained juice for this recipe so blend and repeat the process until you have at least 3 cups.  Once you strain the watermelon you’ll loose a bit of volume, so you’ll want to account for that.  You can also just juice the entire watermelon, watermelon juice is so delicious I know you’ll want extra!

I find the delicate taste of the watermelon to add the perfect amount of sweetness to the tea, if you prefer sweeter tea feel free to add a little sugar to the tea while it’s still warm.

Strain the pureed watermelon using a mesh strainer over a bowl, you can gently scrape the bottom of the strainer with a spoon to speed this process up.  You’ll know when all the liquid is strained out when the remaining contents in the strainer resemble a thick applesauce.  Combine equal parts of the mint tea and watermelon juice, add ice garnish with a sprig of mint, and you’re good to go!

As long as you strain the watermelon it shouldn’t matter if you use a seedless watermelon or one with seeds.  Find the recipe below.

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Watermelon Mint Iced Tea

Servings: 2

Equipment

  • Blender
  • Strainer

Ingredients

  • 1 watermelon (to make 2 cups of watermelon juice)
  • 2 mint tea bags (we used Tazo)
  • 2 cups water
  • fresh mint leaves (optional)

Instructions

  • Brew the mint tea bags with 2 cups of water, and let cool.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the watermelon for juicing. Slice the watermelon into medium sized chunks, filling the blender about 2/3 of the way full. Blend until smooth, adding more watermelon chunks if necessary until you reach at least 3 cups.
  • Place a mesh strainer over a bowl and pour the watermelon juice through the strainer, stirring with a spoon to strain.
  • Once you've reached 2 cups of strained watermelon juice, combine the juice and tea in a pitcher, and stir to mix.
  • When ready to serve, pour into 2 glasses over ice, and garnish with mint if desired.

How to make watermelon mint iced tea

Warm summer days call for this healthy refreshing drink!  We’re working on our back deck today and tomorrow, I’m hoping we can finish most of it this weekend.  Whether we do or don’t I can guarantee we will be sipping on some watermelon mint iced tea!  If you come up with any watermelon tea variations I’d love to hear them.  Have a great weekend, stay happy and hydrated!

CRANBERRY APPLE CIDER PUNCH

CRANBERRY APPLE CIDER PUNCH

CRANBERRY APPLE CIDER PUNCH

Happy almost Halloween!  I actually had some fun Halloween ideas for the blog, the only problem is they stayed in my head and never made it on the computer.  Funny how that happens…. but hey, I’m ready to jump into fall and Thanksgiving!  I love a good holiday punch, so I decided to break out my punch bowl.  I spent days searching through unpacked moving boxes in the attic only to find no punch bowl.  Yay.

The silver lining is that I found this gorgeous modern punch bowl online and I now had a legit excuse to buy it.  So thanks to the new punch bowl I can show you how to make this easy cranberry apple cider punch.  I love how a good punch really sets the party mood.

CRANBERRY APPLE CIDER PUNCH

I know not everyone enjoys an alcoholic punch so I have a naughty and a nice version.  Have no fears, though, the naughty version isn’t strong at all.  It’s just the difference of adding ginger ale or champagne, totally your choice.  Whether you make the naughty or nice version your crowd will love this colorful punch.

To make a festive presentation I like to add a bag of frozen cranberries and slice a few apples with my mandolin.  The tart cranberries taste incredibly delicious against the sweetness of the punch.  I love to eat them in between sips, especially when they start to thaw out a bit – so good!  Keep all your ingredients chilled in the refrigerator and you can put this punch together at a moment’s notice.  Perfect for Thanksgiving or fall parties.

CRANBERRY APPLE CIDER PUNCH

I like how this punch bowl holds a lot but it has a smaller footprint, it’s not as wide as my last one.  Therefore it’s much easier to store.  I keep having an urge to put a goldfish in it.  Doesn’t it kind of look like a fancy goldfish bowl?  I’m still scratching my head where my old punch bowl is.  Did I break it?  Is it lost in a box somewhere or did I garage sale it and forget?  It’s a great mystery.

FALL PUNCH

Cranberry Apple Cider Punch

Ingredients

  • 2 quarts chilled apple cider
  • 1 quart quart chilled cranberry juice
  • 12 ounce container frozen pulp free orange juice concentrate, thawed
  • 2 bottles chilled brut champagne or a 2 liter bottle of chilled ginger ale
  • 2 cups frozen cranberries
  • 2 apples thinly sliced with a mandolin

Instructions

  • Mix apple cider, cranberry juice, and orange juice concentrate together in a large container and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • When you’re ready to serve the punch add the juice mixture to a large punch bowl, add ginger ale or champagne, and stir.
  •  Add the frozen cranberries and apple slices to the punch bowl for garnish and serve.

 

FALL PUNCH

I am so excited for the Thanksgiving and Christmas season, and now that things are starting to calm down with the house I’m ready to share some holiday fun.  Next up I’m making potpourri, your house will smell heavenly and it makes a perfect hostess or Christmas gift.  I should have that up real soon.  Happy almost Halloween!

LAVENDER LEMONADE CHAMPAGNE COCKTAILS

LAVENDER LEMONADE CHAMPAGNE COCKTAILS

Lavender Lemonade Champagne Cocktails

Happy July everyone!  June was cold up in our neck of the woods, but the temps are in the 80’s now and it finally feels like summer in Colorado.  We’ve been busy with lots of home projects, and at the end of the day I love to relax on the deck with a drink and listen to the creek.  Since the summer season is shorter in the mountains I want a drink that screams summer, and these Lavender Lemonade Champagne Cocktails are perfection.  The fresh taste of lavender combined with the sour taste of lemons is truly delicious… then we add Champagne and we’ve got a winner here!

These cocktails also gave me a chance to break in my new bar cart!  Our new kitchen is so small I had nowhere to store my wine or glasses so I jumped when I found this versatile bar cart at a good price.  With various remodeling projects happening our house is pretty much torn up, and this cart is one of my few little cute spots right now.  I’ve had lots of fun decorating it and when the construction dust gets crazy I can just roll it away to safety.  Plus I can push it around and play flight attendant with it and who doesn’t want to do that?

I have a such a lavender obsession, anyone else?  I love the taste and the smell, and it’s so refreshing this time of year.  The trick to this amazing cocktail is the lavender simple syrup.  Finding lavender flower buds may be tricky for some, I always pick mine up in the bulk spice section of Sprouts.  If you have trouble finding food grade dried lavender have no worries there’s always Amazon to the rescue!

Having lavender simple syrup on hand in the summer time is a great idea, not just for this cocktail recipe but you can do all sorts of delicious creative things with it.  Store simple syrup in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks, although it’s so delicious I’m not sure how it could last that long!  This recipe makes about 1 and 1/2 cups of syrup.  The first time making this recipe add about a cup of simple syrup, stir the cocktail and add the additional 1/2 cup syrup if you’d like a sweeter cocktail.

You’ll want to use fresh lemon juice for this recipe.  A cup of lemon juice is usually 6-8 lemons.  Those with Kitchen Aid mixers consider getting the citrus juicer attachment.  That thing has power, in just a few minutes I can get a cup of juice from 6 lemons plus it’s easy to detach and clean.  Those juicing by hand you’ll need more like 8 lemons.

When making Champagne cocktails I just go for a cheap Brut, but Cava also works as well.  If you prefer a non-alcoholic version add a bottle of sparkling water for a delicious mocktail.

If you would like more of a diluted cocktail similar to actual lemonade consider adding 1/2 cup to 1 cup of water when mixing the ingredients.  We like this cocktail as is without water, it has a stronger tangy sweet flavor, comparable to a margarita.  Cocktails are subjective and we all like them a bit different it seems, so taste and play with this recipe the first time you make it.

Lavender Lemonade Champagne Cocktails

Servings: 6

Ingredients

Ingredients for the cocktail:

  • 1- 1 1/2 cups lavender simple syrup recipe below
  • 1 cup fresh lemon juice (6-8 lemons)
  • 1 bottle of chilled Champagne
  • Optional lemons and lavender flowers for garnish
  • Optional water if needed to dilute the cocktail – I don’t add any

Ingredients for the lavender simple syrup:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbs dried lavender buds

Instructions

Instructions for the lavender simple syrup:

  • Bring water and sugar to a boil, stirring to make sure the sugar is completely dissolved.  Add the lavender and boil 30 seconds.  Leave the pot on the burner, turn off the heat, cover and steep 25-30 minutes.  Cool and refrigerate syrup for up to 4 weeks.  Makes about 1 1/2 cups of syrup.

Instructions for the cocktail:

  • In a large pitcher mix 1 cup lemon juice with 1 cup simple syrup, stir to combine.  Pour half of the chilled champagne into a large pitcher, letting the bubbles settle, add the remaining champagne and stir to combine.  Add more simple syrup to taste if necessary and 1/2 cup of water if needed to dilute the cocktail.  Pour into glasses, add garnish (if using garnish) and serve immediately.  

 

Enjoy these fresh summery cocktails and have a happy 4th of July!

DELICIOUS SUGAR COOKIE MARTINIS

DELICIOUS SUGAR COOKIE MARTINIS

We’re now officially into the holiday season, and although this sugar cookie martini can be appropriate and yummy year round it’s especially great this time of year!  After all, who doesn’t love delicious sugar cookies, and who doesn’t love a great tasting martini?  This recipe is a total win win!  I love indulging in a delicious cocktail during the holidays and this recipe is a great fun adult way to indulge the kid inside you!

You can use any favorite brand of alcohol but for testing purposes I’ll tell you we used Svedka vodka, After All chocolate liqueur, and Bailey’s Irish Cream.  For the butterscotch syrup anything from the baking or ice cream aisle will work, if you can’t find butterscotch syrup use butterscotch topping, it’s just a little thicker.  The butterscotch gives it that rich butter flavor, much like you find in a sugar cookie.

Sugar Cookie Martinis

Servings: 2

Ingredients

  • 2 tbs vodka
  • 2 tbs chocolate liqueur
  • 1/4 cup Irish cream liqueur
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • 2 tsp butterscotch syrup
  • rainbow sprinkles
  • ice

Instructions

  • Prepare 2 small plates, one with sprinkles and another with a little water.  
  • Then in a cocktail shaker, add ice and all the ingredients except sprinkles, and shake well.  
  • Take the 2 martini glasses, dip upside down into the water to wet the rim and then into sprinkles to garnish the glass.  
  • Pour the mixed cocktail evenly into each glass and top with more sprinkles if desired.


These martinis are so fun and easy to make, they’re like a fun holiday party in a glass!  Enjoy and I’ll see you soon.

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SKINNY MARGARITAS FROM WILLIAMS SONOMA

SKINNY MARGARITAS FROM WILLIAMS SONOMA


Cinco de Mayo is exactly 9 days from today and I’m here to say it’s time to get your margarita on!  Being from Texas I’m all about a good margarita, but honestly I’m not willing to consume hundreds, if not thousands of calories just for a few drinks.  I mean swimsuit season is around the corner!  Sacrifices must be made.

In all honestly I actually prefer to make margaritas at home and for several reasons.  First of all, I find margaritas usually to be way too sweet and sugary.  Not to mention weak!!  Hello?  I live in Texas… pass the tequila.  I like a margarita that puts hair on my chest…lol.  Those hairy chest margaritas can hit you quite hard though…. better to drink those at home.  This way nobody gets hurt and you can pass out on the lawn.  A total win.

While browsing in Williams Sonoma recently I was intrigued and decided we needed to up our skinny marg game.  I found the Skinny Williams Sonoma Margarita Mix Caddy, which is a set of 3 flavors.  It’s a sampler set but the sizes are generous, you’ll get many, many drinks out of this.  The 3 flavors in the sampler pack are Skinny Mango Passion Fruit, Skinny Key Lime, and Skinny Pineapple Habanero.

Instructions are on the back of the bottles, with versions for blended or on-the-rocks.   Are you a a blended or on the rocks kind of person?  I’m on the rocks, although I know the majority is blended.   I’m not a fan of blended because they seem weaker, they always give me a brain freeze, and I feel like I’m drinking a 7-11 slurpee.  However, blended feels more like a slushy treat so it’s your call!

We use silver tequila because I like the taste better, I find it less harsh and it’s lower in calories.  Thanks Bethenny Frankel for turning me on to silver tequila!  I believe its right under 100 calories a shot.  Yeah… even skinny margarita calories can eventually catch up with you, but it’s nothing compared to regular margaritas.

So we prepared the glasses, rims salted, ice crushed, garnishes sliced, a little shake shake and we’re ready to go.  Now we have the hard task of sampling all 3 flavors.  Seriously blogging is so hard…

Did you see my perfectly cored pineapple above?  It’s so easy with this tool from Amazon.  You just cut the top off and the tool screws down, and pulls out kind of like a wine cork.  It’s such a fun kitchen gadget, you end up with one long pineapple ring connected that you can easily cut up into any size.

Our thoughts on all 3 flavors, they were overall very great.  Here are the details on each drink flavor:

Skinny Key Lime – Shown with the tiny key lime garnish, very predictable but this was our favorite.  It’s simply a classic.  You can’t go wrong with this choice.  It’s subtly sweet with a classic taste of lime.

Skinny Mango Passion Fruit – Shown garnished with lime and raspberries.  This was the sweetest mix of all, but it’s wasn’t a total loss with us.  On it’s own a little too sweet for me, but a big squeeze of lime did the trick.  It just needed a little more sweet and sour balance for me.  This will be a hit for people who like drinks on the sweater side, add a generous squeeze of lime though.

Skinny Pineapple Habanero – Shown garnished with lime and pineapple, I should have added a slice of jalapeño for cuteness, but that didn’t occur to me.  This was certainly the quirkiest drink and it’s definitely spicy!  Not undrinkable spicy, but definitely has some heat.  I can see these being a huge hit at a party with everyone wanting one of these drinks and then moving on to other flavors.  The sweet spicy mix is fun but it’s not a drink you want to drink over and over.  Pick this as an accent drink, not your main drink.

These drinks are made with a blend of agave syrup and Truvia for a perfect blend of sweetness without an artificial sweet taste.  Now, let’s talk carbs, sugars, and calories…

Skinny Key Lime – 15 calories, 4 carbs and 3 sugars, per 2 ounces.

Skinny Mango Passion Fruit – 25 calories, 6 carbs and 5 sugars, per 2 ounces.

Skinny Pineapple Habanero – 20 calories, 5 carbs and 4 sugars, per 2 ounces.

Considering how full sugar margaritas can range from 500-700 calories if not more I’d say this is a win!  Plus, come on,  most of us have more than one margarita, especially at home, so I save those calories for something better!  There are actually several more skinny margarita flavors we plan on trying soon.  Fingers crossed we don’t wake up on the lawn!

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4 INGREDIENT CHAMPAGNE COCKTAILS

4 INGREDIENT CHAMPAGNE COCKTAILS

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Maybe it seems I should have blogged about my favorite 4 Ingredient Champagne Cocktail recipe earlier….or should I have?  Hmm….I’m team champagne all year round.  Champagne is always a good idea, yet people tend to think it’s only appropriate for celebrations.  Yes, it’s great for celebrations, but it’s also great on a regular night.  So, I’m super excited to share this easy recipe with you!  I love the taste, it’s creative yet not too sweet.

If you can get your hands on a bottle of brut Champagne, some bitters, lemons, and maple syrup you can whip this recipe up in 3 minutes.  First of all, about the Champagne, I’d go with a cheap ol’ brut.  With the ingredients we’re adding you really can’t tell the quality of the Champagne.  As for the bitters we used Peychaud’s…a 5 ounce bottle is under $10 and is easily available in all liquor stores.  For the maple syrup, I recommend you use real maple syrup.  From years of watching Food Network I have it ingrained in my brain that Grade B is the best, but if you can’t find Grade B, no worries!  Just get the real maple syrup.  You’ll also need several lemons.  I’ll show you how to make the lemon garnish, it’s so easy!

First, let’s make the lemon garnish.  Just follow the steps in the picture.  Cut a large lemon in half, then slice into thin slices.  Cut through one side of the rind, but not the other side.  Then with a small knife remove the citrus pulp.  Once you have a lemon strip just curl it around your finger and add it to the glass.  I’ve found that the thinner-sliced lemons make a better garnish – but have a few extra lemons on hand and definitely experiment!

I’ll give you exact measurements below, but to start grab some Champagne flutes – chill them 10 minutes in the freezer if you can, if not no worries – just keep going.  Then and add the lemon juice (fresh or bottled), bitters, and maple syrup.  The bitters has a red tint, so it gives the cocktail that pretty orange color.

Once you add the above ingredients, just give it a little stir and top off with Champagne.  How easy was that?  I’m loving these Champagne Flute Glasses from Amazon, they are modern, elegant and oh, so pretty!  I had free 1 day shipping with Amazon Prime – yay!

 

4 Ingredient Champagne Cocktails

Ingredients

Ingredients per glass:

  • 6 oz brut champagne
  • 3/4 tsp bitters
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tsp real maple syrup
  • lemons for garnish

Instructions

  • Add bitters, lemon juice, and maple syrup to each glass, AND STIR.  
  • Pour Champagne into each glass and add the lemon garnish.

Happiness in a glass I tell ya.  Enjoy my friends!

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