Cranberry Ginger Lime Refresher……………

This is a great mixer for both alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks. It’s tart, sweet, festive, refreshing. Such a pretty drink too. I really should have posted this before Christmas, as it is so festive looking.  I made this mix to make a margarita. But it is really good with vodka or even non alcoholic beverages! Seriously, it is a keeper recipe. When I made it, I had 3 separate mixers….cranberry mix, simple syrup and the lime juice. I just mixed a little of each into my tequila, since I was just making one drink. But if you are serving several, just combine multiple amounts of the mixer ingredients to make a batch. Then you can just add it to your liquor of choice, . Much easier. I did that after the one drink for future drinks. Easy preparation, for when I get a hankerin’ for a drink. Hankerin….I like that word.

Now, you know I love spicy. So when I made the simple syrup, I infused it with fresh ginger and jalapeno. HOLY CRAP is it ever tasty. It’s not overly hot….it won’t turn your face red and make you break out in a sweat. It’s just enough heat that you get a little hint of. Trust me, it’s great, but you certainly don’t have to add the jalapeno. Of course, by now, you know I am a huge fan of fresh ginger. But you don’t have to use that either.

Just a wee bit of info for ya, on simple syrups. It’s just a mixture of equal parts water and sugar, heated. That’s it! It’s great to use in cocktails, or iced tea. Much better than sugar since you don’t have to wait for the granules to dissolve.  I also brush it on my cakes and cupcakes, pound cakes etc. It adds a sweetness and a moisture to baked goods.  Hmmm, I think I will do a separate blog post on all things simple syrup.

With New Year’s Eve coming up, this would make a great mixer for your cocktails or mocktails. Please drink responsibly. 🙂

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Cranberry Ginger Lime Refresher

Fresh squeezed lime juice

Simple Syrup:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1  2″ chunk of fresh peeled ginger, sliced (optional)
1/2 of a fresh jalapeno, sliced (optional)

Cranberry Mix:
12 oz bag of fresh cranberries
1  1/2 cup water

Place the cranberries and the water in a medium sized sauce pan, over medium heat. Stir. Once the cranberries have burst open, they should start to thicken up to a beautiful, colorful mixture. Remove from heat and put them in a food processor. Pulse, pulse. At this point, you can either strain them through a sieve if you just want the juice, but I leave them as is, with some texture. Set aside to cool. It will thicken, but that’s ok.

Simple Syrup: In a sauce pan, mix 1 cup sugar with 1 cup water. Add a 2″ size chunk of fresh, peeled ginger, sliced and half of a sliced jalapeno. (optional) Set aside to cool. Pour into a glass container with the ginger and jalapeno. You may want to remove the jalapeno at this point, as it will continue to get spicy as you store it.

To make 2 cocktails: (quantities can be multiplied for a bigger batch)
6 oz. cranberry mix (it will have thickened, so just give it a stir)
6 oz. simple syrup
4 oz lime juice
3 oz, vodka or tequila **

Mix or shake cranberry mix, simple syrup, lime juice and liquor together. Pour over ice and drink!

** For iced tea, champagne, ginger ale, etc,:
Mix the cranberry mix, simple syrup, lime juice together. Add to beverage, according to taste. So refreshing!




Brie Cheese & Garlic Bread Melt…….

Recently, I had dinner at a cozy little Italian restaurant. While the pasta was quite good, it was the bread that was the star of the show. I mean, I would go there just to have this bread. It was a simple round loaf, covered with sesame seeds. It was hot and crusty on the outside and light and feathery on the inside. Deeeelicious.  Sounds good right? Well, as if that wasn’t good enough, it came with a melted chunk of brie cheese and a bulb of roasted garlic. We slathered both the garlic and brie on the hot crusty bread. It was amazing. Seriously, we really enjoyed this treat. I even asked the server where I could get the bread. He told me and do you know that I drove to the bakery that makes this bread! Yes, I sure did.

So, I walked into the bakery and looked for the bread in a frenzied state…..hahahahahah. I asked the young gal there about the bread. Now, here she is surrounded by bread…….ALL KINDS OF BREAD and what does she say to me? “well, I don’t really know that much about breads”. I couldn’t believe it and for some reason it annoyed me. After all, I drove miles and miles to find my bread (ok,  16 miles). I said “you work in a bakery surrounded by bread and you don’t know about bread….how does that happen?” She just looked at me and offered me a sample of some crappy, chewy bread. So, then she told me that the loaf I was looking for was made only for restaurants. I left the bakery annoyed at her and disappointed that I was leaving without my bread.

I ended up buying a French loaf, brushing it with olive oil and sprinkling sesame seeds all over it. I didn’t have the time to wait for roasting a bulb of garlic, so I made garlic butter, spread it on the bread, and put it in the oven, along with a nice wedge of brie cheese wrapped in foil. YUMMMMMMMMM. I have to say, that it was every bit as good as the dish I had at the restaurant. I highly recommend that you make this. It goes great with a nice glass of white wine, or prosecco. I’m hungry.


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Brie Cheese & Garlic Bread Melt

1 loaf of good French bread with sesame seeds (or plain French bread, lightly brushed with olive oil or butter and coated with sesame seeds)
garlic butter (1 stick of butter mixed with 2 cloves of fresh, minced garlic)
1 good sized chunk of brie cheese

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Mix together the butter and minced garlic. Split the french bread in half and spread the garlic butter on both halves. Place the bread on a baking sheet. Loosely wrap the brie cheese in aluminum foil. Place the packet on the same baking sheet as the bread. Place sheet in oven and bake until bread is crusty and butter is melted, about 10 minutes or so.

Remove from oven check to see if brie cheese is melty. Carefully scoop cheese off the foil and place it on a plate, along with the bread.

To eat, just take a bit of melty brie and spread it on a piece  of bread. Don’t forget to pour yourself a glass of vino!!

Giant Rice Krispie Cupcake…..

My darling daughter just had a birthday. She is just so special to me and has grown up to be a wonderful young lady. Ever since she was very little, she has loved rice krispie treats. She loved to “help” me make them. OMG, where does the time go?

She has turned out to be quite the baker herself.  I wanted to make her something a little different. I’m glad I did. She loved her giant krispie cupcake! It’s a great gift…..a real treat that anyone would enjoy. I used a giant cupcake baking pan. I painted the inside of it with melted chocolate melts, like the Wilton brand found at Michael’s, Joanns, Hobby Lobby, etc. Once the chocolate is painted on, its chilled. Once chilled, it easily comes out of the pan. It’s super easy to do, so don’t be intimidated. Once you have your cupcake shell, you can fill it up. I simply made a batch of rice krispie treats and I stuffed the mixture into the cupcake shell. Then I just made a mound on top, so it looked like a cupcake. I have made these many times, filled with different kinds of  candy, cake pieces, fruit, etc. I even placed non-edible gifts in them! They are so fun and the possibilities are endless.

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Giant Rice Krispie Cupcake

1 box of Rice Krispies
1 bag of mini marshmallows
3 tblsp butter
1 bag of Wilton candy melts
sprinkles, or any other toppings you want to sprinkle on your cupcake

In a heat proof bowl, melt the candy melts in the microwave. Once smooth and melted, use a pastry brush to paint the melted candy on the inside of the cupcake pan. Be sure to coat the entire inside, especially down in the bottom little creases. Place in the freezer for about 20 minutes. Remove from freezer and paint again. Make sure you dont see any parts of the pan. Place in the refrigerator for about an hour and a half. Remove from fridge and place on your counter. Place your fingers in the inside upper edge and lift up. The chocolate cupcake shell should come right out. Set it on a plate.

Following the directions on the cereal box, make the rice krispie treats. (I always put about a cup more marshmallows.)

When the krispie mixture is not hot any longer, gently stuff it into your chocolate cupcake shell, making a mound at the top. Top with your favorite toppings, or drizzle melted chocolate on top.

That’s it!! Super easy, right? And, so frickin cute!

White Chocolate Popcorn…..


Looking for a quick and easy snack for the holidays? This stuff is addicting, it’s quick, easy and yummy. It makes great party food and a great gift. I am not a fan of white chocolate. But I get alot of requests for this, so I make it. Did you know that there really isn’t such a thing as white chocolate? It’s actually a white confection. But never mind about that. I made a batch of this today to share with ya’ll. Well, not so much to share the popcorn, but rather the recipe. Folks have been asking me for some Christmas treat ideas and this came to mind immediately. It’s super easy. I just use the microwaved popcorn….cuz I always burn fresh made popcorn. You might want to make a big batch…..some for friends and some for yourself.

I made half of the batch with coconut and half the batch with crushed peppermint candies and some Christmas sprinkles. If you want to add some crushed nuts or pretzels, that would be good too. Or, you can even add red and green M&M’s. Make it festive. Package it up in some cellophane bags tied with ribbon, or fill up a nice Christmas tin.

Fa la la la la.

Now, since both the popcorn and the coating is white, you cant really see that the popcorn is coated, but it is!

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whitepopcorn5White Chocolate Popcorn

1 regular size bag of popped microwave popcorn
1  12 oz bag of white chocolate chips
1  tsp shortening
1  cup shredded coconut
2 candy canes (broken in small pieces)
Optional: broken pretzels, nuts, M&Ms, cookie pieces,

Pop your popcorn as directed on the package and allow it to cool a bit in a big ol bowl. Melt your chips in a heat proof bowl and add the teaspoon of shortening to the melted chips. Immediately pour the  melted chips over the popcorn and stir it up gently, being careful not to crush your popcorn. Spread it out onto a foil lined baking sheet. Allow the chocolate to completely set. Break apart and package it up.

Orange Cream Cupcake……

Everyone knows how much I love the flavor orange. This particular cupcake tastes like the old fashioned orange 50/50 ice cream bars. It’s a favorite of everyone.

Someone very special requested these, this past weekend. He isn’t feeling well. That’s actually a huge understatement. Jeff has cancer. He has been battling this for so long. He is a fighter……..and I admire him so much. His girlfriend is a good friend of mine and she has been by his side, fighting this battle with him. They have amazing strength. I feel so helpless….wanting to do something for Jeff. So when he requested these cupcakes, I was so happy to do it. It’s an honor.

I have to say, as I was baking these, I was so emotional. I will always think of Jeff now, whenever I make these. It’s funny….I always tell people that cupcakes make you feel better. They certainly make you smile. I could only wish that these cupcakes would indeed make Jeff feel better. But I did hear that they made him smile. That makes me smile.

Jeff, you keep fighting….I will make you cupcakes anytime you want them.




Orange Cream Cupcakes

1  cup all purpose flour
1  3/4 cups cake flour
1/2  tsp baking soda
1  1/2 tsp baking powder
1  tsp salt
1  1/2 cups sugar
2/3  cup vegetable oil
1/3  cup shortening
1  tsp vanilla
3  large eggs
1  cup buttermilk
1/2 cup orange juice
zest of 1 medium size orange

Preheat oven to 350. Sift all dry ingredients together. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, beat the oil, shortening and vanilla. Beat till light and fluffy. Add the eggs and orange zest. Fold in the dry stuff alternately with the buttermilk and orange juice, starting with the dry and ending with the dry. DO NOT OVER BEAT.

Line muffin tins with paper cupcake liners. Scoop batter into cups, 3/4 full. Bake for approx. 14 minutes, depending on your oven. Check with toothpick to see if they are done. Allow to cool completely before frosting.

Orange Frosting

1 block of cream cheese, softened to room temp
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
zest of 1 orange
1  lb. box of confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
orange juice (just enough to get the consistency you are looking for)

With mixer, whip the butter and cream cheese until very creamy. Add the zest and powdered sugar. Mix till smooth and not gritty. If you need to add orange juice, do so.

Makes 24