Filed In: Eat + Drink

Lavender Mimosa. Summer Cocktails.

Lavender Mimosa, summer cocktail

Goals for this past week were to be outside, in the sun, enjoying the 88-degree weather. That’s it. Sunglasses, drinks al fresco…I went into vacation mode, thinking all things summer and mixing up a Lavender Mimosa. So why not start a summer cocktail series in May?

Lavender begins blooming now, which might be why those lavender cocktails start popping up on menus {promise, you’ll start to notice them}. Usually, lavender is paired with some sort of combination of lemon, honey, vanilla, vodka, but I like my cocktails sparkling. So…I went the easy route. Literally. Dry lavender soda and champagne. No juicing a lemon, no stirring or shaking of any kind…nothing. Just pour and drink. Cheers!

Lavender Mimosa. Summer Cocktails.
 
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Ingredients
  • 2 parts champagne
  • 1 part lavender soda
Instructions
  1. Fill champagne flute ⅔ with champagne.
  2. Top with lavender soda.
  3. Cheers!

 

Chocolate Strawberry Cocktail

Chocolate Strawberry Cocktail, Valentine's Day

Since Valentine’s Day is less than a week away, I thought I should get into the spirit {at least a little bit} and make something inspired by it. Hearts, kisses, love… and boozy drinks. Since chocolate covered strawberries are a ‘thing’ that generates visions of romance and I’m someone who likes a good cocktail, I’m sharing a recipe for a Chocolate Strawberry Cocktail. Brilliant, eh? Whip these up for two and cheers with your special someone.

5.0 from 3 reviews
Chocolate Strawberry Cocktail
 
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Recipe type: Cocktail
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • ½ cup strawberries
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 tbs agave (or more to taste)
  • 1 cup sparkling water
  • 3 oz vodka
  • 1 tbs chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Heat chocolate chips in the microwave until soft, about 30 seconds.
  2. Use a spoon to smear chocolate around the rim of two glasses.
  3. Chill glasses in refrigerator for 5 minutes.
  4. Make the strawberry syrup by heating the strawberries, water and agave in a saucepan on low until strawberries crush easily, about 5 minutes.
  5. Chill strawberry syrup in refrigerator for 5 minutes.
  6. Mix 1.5 oz vodka and ½ cup sparkling water in each glass.
  7. Pour in strawberry syrup.

 

Golden Globes Cocktail. Pop the bubbly!

Golden Globes cocktail, champagne, bubbly

It’s Golden Globes day! Pop some bubbly and get ready to start the evening with red carpet glamour and close out with best picture….and hopefully, Ricky Gervais brings lots of laughs throughout. Since this show is the booziest of all award shows, with the nominees sitting at tables with cocktails in hand, it only makes sense to join and toast the winners, right? Using Madame Liberté Brut {find it at Whole Foods}, I’m serving the Golden Globes cocktail of the night…the Ruby Red. This French 75-style cocktail infuses champagne, capturing the hollywood celebration, making it a perfect drink to cheers!

4.0 from 1 reviews
Golden Globes Cocktail
 
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Recipe type: Cocktail
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • ½ cup raspberry purée
  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • ¼ lemon peel
  • 1 sprigs of tarragon
  • Cocktail Mix
  • ¾ oz lemon juice
  • ¾ oz tarragon, raspberry, citrus shrub mix
  • 1 oz vodka
  • 2½ oz Champagne (Golden Globes is serving Moet)
Instructions
  1. Bring ingredients of Tarragon/Raspberry/Citrus shrub mix to a simmer on a stovetop, then remove from heat and let cool.
  2. Pour the shrub mix, lemon juice and vodka over ice in a white wine glass
  3. Top with Champagne
  4. Garnish with fresh tarragon and a lemon twist

 

Red Wine And Cranberry Tart

Cranberry Tart

 

‘Tis the season to bake! Not only did this Cranberry Tart turn out absolutely perfect, it’s a great story of how it came to be. It’s a Saturday afternoon and after a few hours of holiday shopping, I feel like baking something festive. I also feel like a glass of red wine and putting my feet up, which might have been my main priority.

So…I start digging in my cupboards and fridge and pull out what I have. Priorities! I first find the red wine {open and pour a glass comes next}. I then see a pie crust, left from the Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie, and cranberries. The typical stuff, right?

As I drink my wine, I begin to make a cranberry sauce and get the pie crust ready. Once the pieces are all together and it’s in the oven, I enjoy more wine. 11 minutes later, I have a boozy {actually, I think the wine cooked out} Red Wine And Cranberry Tart.

And if you’re ever hesitant to cook with wine because you don’t know if you’ll finish the bottle, then try out VinEdge, a wine preserver that will keep wine fresh. I promise, it works.

Red Wine And Cranberry Tart
 
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Recipe type: Pie
Cuisine: Dessert
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1 cup dark sweet cherries
  • 1 tbs light agave
  • ½ cup red wine (I used a red blend, but your favorite will work)
  • 2 handfuls of dark chocolate chips, optional
  • 1 pre-made pie crust
Instructions
  1. Throw berries, agave and wine into a saucepan and begin to heat on medium.
  2. Bring to a boil, remembering to stir.
  3. Let sauce simmer for about 20 minutes. Liquid will reduce and thicken.
  4. Let pie crust stand at room temperature for 20 minutes.
  5. Unroll crust and place in ungreased pie pan.
  6. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  7. When berry mix is ready, pour into pie pan.
  8. Sprinkle 2 handfuls of dark chocolate chips into mixture (optional).
  9. To avoid making a mess in the oven, place pie pan on a baking sheet to catch any bubble over.
  10. Bake pie for 11 minutes.
  11. Let stand 15 minutes before serving.

 

Wine Lover Gift Guide

Wine Lover Gift Guide

One of my favorite type of posts during the holidays is writing the gift guide. Sharing my most favorite and unique gifts is exactly the type of work that I love…and it pairs well with a glass of wine. Which brings me to the person we either are or all know…the wino. This wine lover gift guide is perfect for hostess gifts, your sister or best friend. Now open a bottle of red, white or bubbly and enjoy a little online shopping…cheers!

The bottle of wine. This is where you start. I either go for a wine that I love and am confident my friend will also or I go for fun packaging. Great strategy, right? Last month, I hit the jackpot with the Grocery Outlet. They sell wine! And really good wine…at really low prices. How? Why? Here are the details.

Wine Bag. I got the Easy, Tiger brown bag set in a PopSugar Must Have box this year and think they are the cutest!

Tea Towel / Napkin. These make the gift a little more festive, but are also incredibly useful. I either go with messaging that ties in to wine or the occasion. I found this tea towel at Nordstrom, but you can buy here. For holiday napkins, shop here.

Wine Accessories. This could include a cork, the wine opener, an aerator or a wine preserver. Yes! It’s a real thing and it works. VinEdge Preserver keeps your bottle of wine fresh longer.

Wine Glasses. GoVino is kind of the ‘thing’. These dishwasher safe, plastic glasses can be taken anywhere.

Bubble bath. I know…it’s not directly tied to wine, but who doesn’t love a relaxing evening? Like wine and a bubble bath. Vitabath products contain vitamins and botanicals and comes in a variety of scents.

Happy shopping!

Peppermint Recipe Roundup. Holiday Baking.

Peppermint Bark Waffles, Peppermint Recipe

With Thanksgiving behind us, it’s time to say goodbye to a season of pumpkin everything and hello to peppermint! Holiday baking is here and since I only have a couple days home between trips, I sadly didn’t have enough time to experiment {and eat} something sweet and delicious. So instead, I decided to share a peppermint recipe roundup….all of my favorites in one place. Time for you to get baking!

Peppermint Recipe Roundup

Peppermint Bark Waffles are not only a perfect at-home, holiday brunch item, they also are perfect for Christmas morning.

Peppermint Bark Doughnuts are just as good gluten-free and easy to make. They just look fancy.

Chocolate Peppermint Sandwich is just one of the quick-to-make cookies that taste like the holidays. Make with ice cream or frosting.

White Chocolate Peppermint Martini is dessert in a glass. Host a cocktail party and add this to the menu.

Find more peppermint {and non-peppermint} recipes here.

Merry Baking!

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes With Maple Frosting

Pumpkin spice cupcakes

This is NOT a recipe that I created… but it is everything you could want in a cupcake with my own gluten-free adaptation. When I saw this recipe for Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes With Maple Frosting + Heath Bar Topping from Ina Garten, I thought, how did I not think of this myself?!? Pumpkin and Heath Bar. Amazing!  The GF adaptation also was a success, which means I can keep eating….

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes With Maple Frosting
 
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Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • CUPCAKES
  • ½ cup brown rice flour
  • ½ cup Tapioca flour / starch
  • ½ tsp Xanthan gum
  • ½ tsp Baking powder
  • ½ tsp Baking soda
  • 1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree (not pie mix)
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup vegetable oil
  • FROSTING
  • 6 oz Cream cheese
  • 3 Tbs Unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbs Maple syrup
  • ½ tsp Vanilla extract
  • 2 cups Powder sugar
  • 2 Heath Bar candy bars broken into tiny pieces
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix, mix, mix... mix the dry ingredients
  3. Mix the wet ingredients
  4. Combine
  5. Mix up until blended
  6. Scoop into cupcake baking cups
  7. Bake for 25 minutes
  8. While baking, whip up the frosting
  9. Frost up the cupcakes once they are cool
  10. Top with pieces of Heath bar

 

 

Cranberry Hot Toddy To Warm You Up

Cranberry Hot ToddyBaby, it’s cold outside and it’s also the holidays… say yes to cranberries and hot drinks. Especially the ones that are a little boozy, like a Cranberry Hot Toddy.  I could also say that this drink boasts a few ‘good for you’ ingredients, as if you need another reason to whip one up. Fresh cranberries are high in antioxidants and great for your immune system and fresh lemon juice gives a great dose of vitamin C . These along with cinnamon and whiskey are said to help fight the common cold or at least make it more tolerable.

Cranberry Hot Toddy
 
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Recipe type: Drink
Serves: 1
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup fresh cranberries
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ lemon, juice
  • 1 tsp agave
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • 1 shot whiskey
Instructions
  1. Heat the cranberries, water, lemon juice, agave and spices in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. The cranberries will pop and the mixture will begin to boil.
  3. Add an additional teaspoon of agave if needed
  4. Combine whiskey {I used bourbon} and cranberry mixture in glass.
  5. Serve

 

Order In For Thanksgiving With Whole Foods

Order In For Thanksgiving, Whole Foods Thanksgiving is just 3 weeks away and there are two options…to spend a long day {or two} cooking up a delicious meal with lots of leftovers…or a complete Thanksgiving meal made easy. And by easy, I mean order in for Thanksgiving, letting professionals do the work, giving you more time for football, wine and friends and family. Soooo much better than slaving away in the kitchen cooking and cleaning!

If you still aren’t sold, on November 5, Whole Foods in Portland and Seattle will be hosting Taste Of Thanksgiving, open to everyone for a $5 donation that supports local elementary schools. This is a perfect time to get an early Thanksgiving meal fix and to place your holiday order. Whole Foods also makes it easy to serve up everything that your guests want. Paleo, Vegan, Gluten-Free…it’s all there.

TASTE OF THANKSGIVING 2015

See menu here and find your nearest Whole Foods.

Happy Turkey Day!

Fall Wine Sale. Get Ready For The Holidays!

Wine Sale

The best part about wine shopping is that it always ends with drinking wine. The non-fun part is the price and what’s even more non-fun is drinking a terrible wine that’s priced too high. When Grocery Outlet asked if I would like to do a little wine shopping and share my experience to promote their Fall Wine Sale {an additional 20% off an already 50-70% discount…amazing!}, of course I immediately said YES then thought…wait, what? They have wine?

I was completely surprised to walk in and see an extensive and complete selection of wines, from reds to sparkling, local to imported and everything in between. I also was floored to see the more-than-reasonable prices. I will say that many of the wines were new to me and the unknown caused some stress as I realized that this was going to take serious thought about what to buy. But…it also forced me to try something new versus just picking up one of the basics on my rotation.

wine sale, Grocery Outlet

So shop I did and had a blast doing it. I will be going back between November 4 and 10 for the Fall Wine Sale and recommend you do the same. Not sure where your G.O. is? Find one closest to you here.

Now, back to my shopping and amazing finds. I focused on finding red and sparkling wines from Napa, Italy and Chile, since I enjoy wines from those places and wanted to stick with something that I sort of knew.

I also looked at prices, shopping in shock at how looooooow they were. How can someone offer such low prices on wines? Well, the answer is simple: Grocery Outlet buys overstock and products with packaging changes from product manufacturers and wineries. The change in packaging explains why you may not recognize the wine label, but the quality is still great. So… go stock up for holiday parties and gifts! ‘Tis the season!

What did I pick up to try?

A medium bodied red wine from California. Four Star Cabernet. Priced at $11 before the sale, it’s comparable to a $13-18 wine. A quick look online proved this wine is popular and overall has fantastic reviews. At this price, pick up a few bottles and invite the girls over!

A full bodied red wine from Chile. Rios de Chile. I love full bodied wines from Italy and South America…Chilean wines in particular. Open a bottle and get cozy watching a movie. I purchased for $5 {seems way too low}, but compares to $12+. Yeah. I know.

Some bubbly! An extra dry Prosecco. Masquerade Prosecco is from Northern Italy and is what Sunday brunches are all about. This wine scored of 3.9 out of 4 on Vivino, which is a high score for an $8 bottle.

A dry red wine from Italy. Giormani Valpolicella Superiore. Valpolicella is a popular wine from Northern Italy and Superiore means minimum aging of one year. This blend can even be served slightly chilled, which I’m a huge fan of during the summer. I purchased for $9, but it’s compared to wines priced at $17. I LOVED this wine and thought it compared to wines priced much higher…like $30. This also explains why online wine shops show this being sold out, people must love it.

wine sale

Other wines to look for at your local G.O. during the Fall Wine Sale:

  • Pine and Post Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
  • Goss Creek Red Blend Sonoma
  • Cline Zinfandel
  • Hayes Ranch Zinfandel
  • Mission St Vincent Bordeaux RSV
  • Wandering River Sauvignon Blanc
  • Schlumberger Chardonnay
  • Red Autumn Chardonnay
  • Bedford Chardonnay
  • Cathedral Creek Chardonnay
  • Villa Veneta Pinot Grigio

Disclosure: Gift cards provided by Grocery Outlet via Zenzi Communications. The opinions expressed herein are those of TonieGirl and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Grocery Outlet.