Tag Archives: entertaining

NFL, Cocktails & a $300 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Changing leaves are great. Pumpkin spice lattes are awesome. Sending the kids back to school is … sanity saving.  The best thing about fall though is the return of NFL FOOTBALL! From the minute that the first fantasy draft books hit the news stand I start to hope again. Rivers‘ is going to stay healthy and on target. Mathews has at least one more season of greatness in him. We might actually have both a D and an offense this year. Hope springs anew with the first Sunday of the NFL season, the Superbowl is within reach. GO CHARGERS!  When it comes to game day though, I do enjoy a little bit of liquid faith in my team. Craft beers? I’m all about that. However, since 2014 is going to be OUR year, I thought I’d kick it off with a little celebratory cocktail. (also helpful for those inevitable crap calls from the Ref) I spent some time with my Mixology playbook, reached out to a team of experts on the interwebs and came up with two original recipes that pair perfectly with optimism and chicken wings! Cherry Bomb (to the End Zone)

Cherry Bomb (to the end zone)
Serves 1
Dark Cherry and Pomegranate Frozen Awesome, featuring PAMA pomegranate liqueur, black cherry rum, cherries.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 oz Cruzan Black Cherry Rum
  2. 1 oz PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur
  3. 1 oz Cherry Juice
  4. splash of Grenadine
  5. 1/4 cup Cherries (frozen)
  6. Ice
Instructions
  1. Place ice in blender (recommend 4-6 cubes). Add liquid ingredients, top with frozen cherries. Blend until smooth.
Notes
  1. Garnish with a frozen cherry skewer. A sprig of lavender adds an aromatic touch and brings out the tart sweetness of the pomegranate. To make a larger batch, simply adjust ingredients to serving size, keeping the number of frozen cherries to 1 cup or less to avoid changing the texture.
Chicken Nuggets of Wisdom http://chickennuggetsofwisdom.com/
  For those that like a little pig with their pigskin, we concocted an sweet, salty, aromatic option – because you’ve got to have options in your game plan. I’m a fan of a pass-option, and frankly since Ladainian left and took our kickass, two-back-run-game with him, it really is our best option. All American Apple Back Cocktail

All American Apple Back
Serves 2
What's more American that apple pie? Bacon! This cocktail pairs sweet and salty with an aromatic hit on the back end.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 oz Dr. McGillicuddy's Applie Pie
  2. 2 oz Bourbon
  3. 1 oz Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey
  4. 1/2 cup Tart Apple Sauce
  5. 1/4 cup Maple Simple Syrup
  6. 1 cup Martinelli's Sparking Apple Cider
  7. 2 slices Cooked Thick Cut Bacon
  8. 1 tsp Mulling Spices
  9. 1/4 tsp Fleur de Sel
  10. 1 Green Apple
  11. Ice
Instructions
  1. Place one cup of ice into a cocktail shaker. Add in liquids, and mulling spices. Shake rigorously. Rim highball glass with fleur de sel. Strain over mix over ice into highball glass. Garnish with bacon and green apple slice.
Notes
  1. A sage leaf makes a nice aromatic addition as a garnish.
Chicken Nuggets of Wisdom http://chickennuggetsofwisdom.com/
Do you have faith in a winning season for your team? Okay, maybe you’re not quite as delusional optimistic as I am… but YOU could still win. In fact I’m hoping you do… just not on the field against my Chargers. My sisterhood of traveling bloggers, Alpha Blogga Blogga Sisters has put together a great giveaway to get your season started off with a shot at that End Zone… YOU could win a $300 Amazon Gift Card, baby! Our sisterhood made of awesome is not only hosting this giveaway, the also have TONS of ideas to help you kick off your NFL season, from food to cocktails to love-of-the-game kvetching. PLUS endless EASY options for entering to win. See details below, and GOOD LUCK! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here are some other great ideas, inspiration and gridiron chat from my ABB Sisterhood

 



Cocktail Time: Black Cherry Sloe Gin Fizz

A new twist on a old classic, with no actual gin in it.

A well-crafted cocktail can turn any evening into an event. Sometimes afternoons too. Just putting that out there.  Of late, I’ve been getting creative with mixology. The results of which have been, well… mixed. One of the more successful results (per my official taste-tester – the hubby) came in the form of a Black Cherry Sloe Gin Fizz. Which oddly enough, contains no gin at all.

What?!

As it turns out Sloe Gin is neither “slow” nor Gin. This liqueur is actually flavored with a relative of the plum, the Sloe. It garnered it’s false moniker due to the fact that the Sloe was often soaked in gin, it’s juices infusing into the juniper berry flavors of the gin. These days cheaper spirits are often used, but the name stuck.

Okay, History of Hooch 101 is over. Let’s get to the mixing. For this cocktail I chose to take full advantage of sweet, in-season, scrumptious black cherries found at the local Farmer’s Market. After pitting, they went for a spin in my juicer. 

Hey, juicing… that’s healthy, right?!

A traditional Sloe Gin Fizz uses a simple syrup, I’ve replaced that with the cherry juice. If you’re into very sweet drinks feel free to add it back in (4 jiggers for the yield in this recipe.)

Cheers!

Black Cherry Sloe Gin Fizz
Serves 4
A sweet, summery twist on the classic Sloe Gin Fizz.
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Prep Time
4 min
Total Time
4 min
Prep Time
4 min
Total Time
4 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 Jiggers (1.5 fl oz) Sloe Gin
  2. 4 Jiggers Lemon Flavored Vodka
  3. 4 Jiggers Black Cherry Juice
  4. Soda Water
  5. Ice
  6. Cocktail Shaker with Strainer
Instructions
  1. Fill Cocktail Shaker with ice. Add juice and spirits. Shake well. Strain out into your class of choice. Top with Soda Water. Garnish with a sprig of mint or slice of lemon
Notes
  1. A traditional Sloe Gin Fizz calls for a simple syrup, lemon juice, and gin. This version replaces the syrup with cherry juice, the lemon and gin with lemon-flavored vodka.
Chicken Nuggets of Wisdom http://chickennuggetsofwisdom.com/

You’re Never Too Old for Peanut Butter & Jelly … Martinis

PB and J Martini

Peanut Butter and Jelly – that classic combo nearly every child has adored – has been honored with it’s own day of national recognition. A day on which millions will take a huge bite out of tradition, ceremoniously gluing globs of goo-covered bread to the roofs of their mouths marking the occasion with the pomp it deserves. I, on the other hand, choose to pay homage to this staple of the American lunch box with a cocktail!

To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of the PB&J sandwich. It could have something to do with the fact that my father once sent me off to school with his own version of the high protein power lunch… Peanut Butter, Jelly & ANTS.

Dear Old Dad mistook the sugar coated carcasses of suicidal insects for strawberry seeds in mom’s homemade jelly. You can imagine how that might sour one on the prospect of ever eating another PB&J. But, I grew up … and found vodka.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Martini

 

  • 1/4 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 Cup Strawberry Jelly
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 4-6 Jiggers Strawberry (or plain) Vodka
  • 1/2 Cup Animal Crackers

Combine Peanut Butter with an equal amount of water. Whisk over medium heat until combined. This makes a simple syrup that should be smooth and liquid. Add more water as needed. Set aside and allow to cool. Repeat this process with the jelly.

Place animal crackers in a ziplock bag. Crush them with a rolling pin and pour them on to a shallow plate. Dip the rims of the martini glasses into the jelly simple syrup and roll them in the cookie crumbs to rim the glass. This make for a scrumptious flavor that pays a decant homage to the famed sandwich.

Fill a large martini shaker with ice. Pour in vodka and both syrups. Shake well. Strain out into your rimmed glasses.

pbj martini 1

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Super Bowl Food and a Super Hero Cookoff

I’m not quite fully recovered from my Chargers loss to the Broncos, but I won’t let that keep me from watching the Super Bowl with my family this weekend and reveling in the fact that Tom Brady will be sitting on a sofa somewhere doing the same thing.

Nearly as important to us as the game is the Pool Grid my husband draws up every year (oh wait, is that legal? Doh!) Even more important to them is… THE. FOOD. super bowl party blueprints

I’m not joking here people, this household takes their football food seriously. I have years worth of clipped, handed-down and family favorite recipes. We each get to pick one thing we want to make the roster on game day. Heck, even the six-year-old has been stalking Party Blueprints and their Pinboards for inspiration. I gain 5 pounds just looking at their photos—–>

There is something, or rather someone, missing this year though.

Our Marine.

He won’t be slamming down sliders, taking on the fire-wing challenge or digging into Mom’s Famous Bean Dip. He won’t likely even get to watch the game. For him it will be MRE’s and Infantry.

Ah, but we’ve found a way to be Semper Fidelis with our Marine and all those thousands of service women and men who’ve had to eat an MRE (like me.)

The National Museum of the Marine Corps MRE Cook-Off!

2013-12-06 11.37.22What is an MRE, you ask? It is a military field ration, or “Meal Ready To Eat”. Frankly, they make that mystery meat you ate in Jr. High seem worthy of a culinary award. They serve the function of getting calories into those serving in the field, and don’t really spare much for taste.

Gifted is the cook that can take one of these pouches, the potions and powders within, the Sterno burner it comes with, a little water and not much else and turn it into something tasty. That is the gauntlet taken up by the brave few at the annual Marine Corps MRE Cook-Off. Last year’s winner was Craig Allen of Headquarters Marine Corps, this year the winner will be crowned on February 1, 2014… just in time for the Super Bowl! MRE

We’ll be packing up the “Platoon” and heading down to check out these Super Heroes cook-off and we might just come back with a new game day recipe in solidarity for our Marine and in thanks to all those who have had to suffer through eating an MRE!

Want to check out the competition? Here is more info on the event and visiting museum;

Marine Corps MRE Cook-Off

Location: National Marine Corps Museum 18900 Jefferson Davis Highway in Triangle, VA

Event Date/Time: Saturday February 1, at 12:00-2:00 pm in the Museum’s Leatherneck Gallery (note: if you missed it this year, no worries this is an annual event. Check the museum website for more information)

Admission: FREE (we like free!)

The National Marine Corp Museum is open to the public 9:00 am to 5:00 pm daily, both parking and admission are free. For more information visit their website at www.usmcmuseum.org

How To Make Sangria

Ahhhh, Sangria! Few things say “Summer” to me like the harmonious marriage of fresh fruit and wine that make up the base of a sublime Sangria. One sip of a really good one and I’m back on the veranda of my flat in sunny Spain.

In the three years I spent living in a small, coastal town in southern Spain, I sampled many a Sangria. My extensive “research” led me to uncover the secret to making it. Grab something to write with and prepare for greatness.

The secret to making a sublime Spanish Sangria….

Keep it simple.

Down the street from my flat in Spain, there was a small Bodega, earthen floors and terracotta walls lined with huge oak barrels. Some held the region’s signature Porto Sherry, others “Vino”. In the summer months local Fishermen would gather at the end of their day as the proprietor cut up whatever fruit he had on hand, mixed it with the vino and poured it out into glasses of all sorts.  The cost, about twenty cents a glass. The conversations, priceless.

You see Sangria is anything but pretentious. You don’t need measuring instruments, formulas or a guide of any kind. All you need is; fruit, wine and good company.

Notice I didn’t say “good wine”. I’ll admit that I can be a bit of a wine snob. You’ll never catch me drinking wine that comes in a box. Until recently I’d even turn my nose up at a bottle with no cork. Family tradition isn’t the only reason we make our own wine. Making it, can be far more cost effective than buying wine I’d approve of. Unless we’re talking Sangria. I have only one rule for wine that makes it into my Sangria. It has to be drinkable.

For this post I picked up one of our favorite easy-to-drink wines; Carménère by GatoNegro of San Pedro Chile.

GatoNegroNotice that price tag? It’s rather like hitting the lotto. This wine is FAR better than the price would suggest. Wine Enthusiast even agrees with me on this one.

Next, choose your fruit. When I say “your” that is exactly what I mean. Choose in-season fruits you like. For this recipe I used strawberries, blueberries, grapes and apples. Let your taste be your guide.

Sangria with fruitChop your fruit up into bite-sized pieces. Some people like to macerate (the technical for this would be smooshing-up) their fruits. I do that with the grapes and blueberries so that they release their juices.

Cut sangria fruitThere are two camps when it comes to Sangria. Fizz and No Fizz. Some take this debate rather seriously. I, being the peacemaker that I am, make my Sangria both ways. If you’re a No Fizz-er, simply add your wine at this point and let it groove with the fruit for an hour or so in the fridge. If you’re game for giving Fizz ago, I have a “secret ingredient” that is sure to make your Sangria the star of the party.

Soda sangriaThis stuff is bottled BLISS! My family call it “Kid Sangria”. You can find it in the Hispanic isle of almost any grocery. I found this at Sprawl-Mart (aka, Walmart). Basically, it’s a carbonated, non-alcoholic Sangria soda. I add it to red and white Sangria’s alike, right before I serve.

Glass of sangria

My recipe for the above:

Spanish Sangria

1 medium green apple

1 cup white grapes

1 cup quartered strawberries

1/2 cup blueberries

1 bottle GatoNegro Carménère wine

1 single serve bottles of Sangria Señorial

Cut and macerate fruits. Place into a pitcher, add wine. Chill. Gently stir in Sangria Señorial just before serving. Serve over ice.

Here are some other great Sangria options from around the web (courtesy of my Pinterest board “Bar Wonderful‘)

White Peach Sangria

Apple Cider Sangria

Tropical Sangria (a non-traditional Sangria that includes rum… yum!)