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Monday, June 16, 2014

The Spiked Firecracker

Adapted from: The Tipsy Bartender

I have a secret to tell my followers. I am ADDICTED to The Tipsy Bartender. The dumbing down of the girls in the videos drive me crazy, but, at this point, I look past it. I have found some really rocking drinks on their site.

My Facebook friend, author Jackie Channel, had posted one of their drink recipes to her Facebook page, which had me clicking on it. When I came across a recipe for THE CINCO DE MAYO MEXICAN FLAG, I knew I had to try it. Although I regularly develop drinks and play with liqueurs, I am normally intimidated by frozen drinks. Amazingly, I felt calm going into this one. I couldn't believe I had been intimidated. It ended up being so simple that now I just whip out the frozen/slushy type drinks.

The secret to this drink is to place the glasses in the freezer while preparing the layers. It will give them the separated look that makes it such fun. Also, remember, about my advice regarding the simple syrup. There is no reason to go out and purchase a $3 bottle of sugar water. Simple syrup is nothing more than equal parts of sugar and water simmered until the sugar melts. Then, let it cool. Because it lasts a while, I will normally do 1 cup water to 1 cup sugar at a time. Just remember to refrigerate it.

For July 4th, I wanted to base my drink off the Cinco de Mayo drink because it really is fantastic! The red and white levels are the same, but I needed to concoct the blue level. I went with a lemon flavoring for it.

Each of the layers is enough for 3 Hurricane sized glasses. Have fun with this drink!

So, here we go!:


Red Layer:
1 oz white rum
1/2 oz simple syrup
1/2 oz grenadine
1 cup FROZEN strawberries thawed with their juices
2 cups ice

Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Divide equally between the 3 glasses.

White Layer:

1 oz White Rum
1/2 Oz Coconut Rum
10 chunks pineapple
1/2 oz Cream of Coconut (Not coconut milk!)
1.5 oz pineapple juice
2 cups ice

Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Pour on top of red layer. Divide equally between the 3 glasses.

Blue Layer:

1.5 oz White Rum
1/2 oz Blue Curacao
1.5 oz frozen lemonade concentrate
2 cups ice

Place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Pour on top of blue layer. Divide equally between the 3 glasses.

Mint Meltaway Tini

Adapted: Yahoo groups and

I have another Sue Dyer-Weekend Recipes find.

My weakness is mint and chocolate combined. I can NEVER say no to it, so when this hit my box, I couldn't hit print fast enough! It is a blend of chocolate with a very gentle twist of mint. I must admit that I screwed up and added a tad of mint extract to it, but I won't make that mistake in offering the recipe.

This recipe does take a bit more prep, so give yourself time and plan ahead. I was very lucky in that I simply went outside and grabbed mint out of my mint garden. If that is not an option, know that it will take about a package of mint to make two of these tinis.

As I am a huge fan of rimmers, I did a chocolate rimmer with this drink in addition to the chocolate splashes through out the glass. I won't do that again. Forget the fact that my husband and I had chocolate mustaches, but it was too much chocolate that deterred from the drink.

So here we go!:


1/2 cup of half-half (no substitutions)
1/4 cup mint leaves
2 oz chocolate vodka
2 oz Bailey's Irish Cream
Melted semi-sweet chocolate


1) In a small saucepan, bring the cream and mint to a low simmer. Remove from heat and let steep for 15 minutes. Remove mint leaves and place cream in refrigerator to cool.

2) Melt chocolate and swirl into glasses. Place glasses in freezer.

3) In a shaker filled with ice, combine half and half mixture, vodka and Baileys. Shake for 30 seconds and pour into prepared tini glass. Swirl some more chocolate on top and serve immediately.

Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce

Adapted: Taste of Home

I have to admit that I do not like jarred pasta sauce. I find the majority of it mediocre and overpriced, so I enjoy trying to find a cook sauce recipe that freezes well.

I will admit that although I have made this recipe five times, I have not duplicated it as a marinara to freeze it. I will be though. I just haven't had the time. I have also decided that as my tomatoes ripen in my garden, I want to try it with fresh diced tomatoes versus canned diced tomatoes.

This sauce was perfect to me. The original recipe called for either ground beef or Italian sausage. I had frozen meatballs that I wanted to get used up so I chose to use those. They worked perfectly! They stood up well to the 8 hours in the crock pot.

I partnered these with my bread maker bread sticks (which will be featured on a later P&G) and a Naomi Blackburn "everything but the kitchen sink" salad and it really made a delectable meal that required little work from me after a hard day. Just the way I like it! 

 So, here we go!:


1 pound ground beef, mild ground Italian sausage or prepared meatballs  
1 medium onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped (optional)
8 oz sliced mushrooms (optional)
2 cans (14-1/2 ounces each) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon brown sugar
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 to 2 teaspoons dried basil
1 to 2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried thyme
Hot cooked pasta (penne or spaghetti)


1) In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat
is no longer pink. Drain.
2) Transfer to a 4-qt. slow cooker. 
3) Add the next 13 ingredients (or 10 if omitting optional ingredients).
4) Cook on low for 7-8 hours or until heated through. 
5) Discard bay leaf. 
6) Serve with pasta. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Summer Shandy

Adapted: Yahoo Weekend Recipes

I really enjoy Leinenkugel's Summer Shandy. It is a blend of beer and lemonade. However, I will cop to the fact that I don't like the heaviness on the beer flavoring versus the focus on lemonade. Yes, I know Leinie's is a beer brewer.

Again, Yahoo Weekend Recipes offered this recipe and I knew I had to give it a try. Now, they had recommended a cayenne/kosher salt rimmer but that just wasn't happening.

Also, the original recipe called for 1 cup of lemonade for 24 oz of beer. I wanted to boost that some so I increased it to 1.5 cups of lemonade for 24 ounces of beer. Like the focus to be on the beer? Simply use the 1 cup and it will be fine. Also, no powdered lemonade on this. Only the real or minimally, refrigerated stuff, will do for this.

Be sure to serve it with a lemon wedge, especially for those who want an extra boost of lemon.

So, here we go!:


4 bottles beer (your choice), well chilled
2-3 cups lemonade, well chilled (dependent upon preferred beer/lemonade ratio)
Lemon wedges


1) Simply pour beer and lemonade into a pitcher. Pour into very well chilled beer mugs and serve with a lemon wedge.

Yes, it really is that simple!

Bourbon Punch with Grapefruit and Mint

Adapted from Bon Appetit

Here is another Sue D. gift to me that originally started from the Yahoo Weekend Recipe group.

I have something to admit. I didn't like this original recipe. I found that it was too bitter, bourbon(y) and if left as is, would put hair on my female chest! I know that I had to do some changes in it because to me, it did have potential. If you like strong stuff, keep the original recipe. I will be showing my changes in red.

Be sure to use pink grapefruit juice. It is sweeter than regular (yellow) grapefruit juice so that does happen some. Also, the original recipe called for club soda, which was just downright disgusting in this recipe. It added to its bitterness. Even my husband, who doesn't like sweet recipes, disliked the club soda, so we switched it out for 7-up.

One of the things that I did love about this recipe was that I was able to use a whole lot of mint from my yard. Don't have home grown mint, be prepared to need about 3 packages of mint for this one recipe. This recipe made so much that I have two (1) quart bags of this frozen in my freezer downstairs.

This drink doesn't require a high quality bourbon. In fact, my liquor guy discouraged it. I used a bottle of $8 bottle of bourbon (Benchmark) that covered two recipes, this one and my Citrus Bourbon Punch.

So, here we go!:


1/2 cup water
1/2 cup BROWN sugar
15 FRESH mint sprigs (set aside half)
4 cups PINK grapefruit juice
2.5 cups Bourbon
12 dashes Angostura bitters
1 cup club soda (7 up)


1) Make simple syrup by bringing the sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan. STIR FREQUENTLY...simple syrup burns easily. Place 8 sprigs of mint in the pan and swirl. This will wilt the mint and release the oils. Allow to sit/cool for about 20 minutes and remove the mint.

2) Combine grapefruit juice, bourbon and bitters in a pitcher. Add the simple syrup and stir well. Pour into ice filled glass and top with 7 Up or club soda.

Crunchy Italian Mix

Adapted: Weekend Recipes(Yahoo)

To celebrate National Library Week, I like to show appreciation for my library's staff by providing a lunch. I try to focus in on what each of them have told me that they enjoy and plan my menu around that. One of the employees loves Chex Mix/snack cracker type recipes, so I always try to find recipes that will show her that I am thinking of her in my preparations.When Sue D. sent me this recipe, I immediately printed it off. I knew I was going to make it for Sue M.

It turned out even better than I thought it was going to. The flavors are subtle, yet perfect. What I love about this one in particular is that it isn't overly salty. Normally, I can't stand that in the traditional Chex Mix recipe.

Because of its easiness, I make this recipe one to two times per week and it hasn't gotten old yet. Although the recipe calls for Crispix cereal, I use Corn Chex and I can't tell the difference. At this point, I keep the supplies for it stocked in my house so that I can just whip it up if I need to.

So, here we go!:


1 stick butter, cubed
3 t. Worcestershire sauce
1 t. Italian seasoning
1/2 t. garlic powder
5 cups Crispix or Corn Chex
2 cups Cheerios
2.5 cups mini pretzels or pretzel sticks
1 can (10 oz) mixed nuts
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)


1) Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

2) In a 4 cup measuring cup, combine butter, Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning and garlic powder. Microwave until melted. Remove from microwave and stir well.

3) In a large bowl, combine cereals, pretzels, mixed nuts and Parmesan cheese. Mix well with your hands. Pour melted butter over this mixture and stir until very well coated.

3) Place in a 15x10 pan and bake for 45 minutes. STIR EVERY 15 MINUTES!

4) Allow to cool and place in a container.

Yield: 10 cups

Friday, June 6, 2014

The Best Ever Strawberry Daiquiri

I always get nervous when I hear "the best ever..." because normally the recipe is horrible. That is until I tried this daiquiri recipe. On top of being incredibly easy, this was one tasty drink. I simply loved how refreshing it was. Although my bud Sue D. sent me this recipe from the Yahoo recipe group, it was originally developed by the The Slow Roasted Italian (

A note on the simple syrup, although they sell bottles of simple syrup for $3 a bottle, simple syrup is incredibly easy to make. Simply combine equal amounts of granulated sugar with water and place on a low boil while stirring constantly. Allow it to cool.

One other recommendation I can give is be sure to use fresh strawberries although the recipe calls for either. There is something so juicy in the flavor of a fresh strawberry that carries over in this recipe. This is definitely a recipe that I will try to adjust with other fruits.

Although, the recipe calls for Roses lime juice, I am only a fan of fresh squeezed lime juice. Again, it tastes fresher and is cheaper than the alternative given by the developer of the recipe. I believe one ounce is about 1 to 1.5 limes.

So, here we go!:

In a blender, place:

3 oz WHITE rum
1 ounce Malibu coconut rum
2 oz triple sec
2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 oz Roses or fresh lime juice
2 oz simple syrup
2 cups ice

Blend until smooth and creamy.

Pour into a well chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a fresh strawberry and lime slice.