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Friday
Dec162011

Two fizzy holiday COCKTAILS (with MOCKTAIL options)

From Sierra Mist come two festive cocktails, sure to add zing to your holiday parties! If you're avoiding artificial ingredients - as I am - rest your troubled head with the knowledge that Sierra Mist is made with real sugar, no artificial ingredients, 100% natural flavorings.

I made the two below for a recent party, and while I think I prefer "Meet Me at the Mist-letoe" for the holidays, one of my guests pointed out that "Frost Bite" would be prefect for a holiday-in-the-tropics theme, what with the orange and coconut flavors. Good point.

Visit Sierra Mist's Facebook page for more recipe ideas, and watch for the second post in this series, coming next week (there's a giveaway...)

Frost Bite

• 3 oz. Sierra Mist Natural
• 1 oz. Blue Curacao (substitute 2 oz white grape juice for mocktail)
• 1 oz. Coconut Vodka (substitute 1 oz lime juice for mocktail)
• Fresh mint
• 1 oz. Pineapple juice
• Fresh blueberries for garnish

In a shaker filled with ice, mix coconut vodka (or lime juice) and pineapple juice. Add blue curacao (or white grape juice), fresh mint and blueberries. Shake, strain, and top with Sierra Mist Natural. Garnish with fresh blueberries.

 

Meet Me At The Mist-letoe...Martini

• 2 oz. Sierra Mist Natural
• 1 ½ oz. Raspberry Vodka (substitute Raspberry juice for mocktail)
• 3 Leaves fresh basil
• ½ oz. Fresh lime juice
• 1 oz. Blueberry juice

In a glass, muddle two basil leaves and lime juice, then add to shaker filled with ice. Add raspberry vodka (or juice) and blueberry juice to the shaker; shake and strain. Top with Sierra Mist Natural and garnish with a basil leaf.

 

This is a sponsored post, but as ever, opinions are strictly my own.

Wednesday
Dec142011

Small Space Tip: Use nature's refrigerator

Just a quick reminder for all those living in a small space. To make the most of your set-up, sometimes you have to think out of the apartment...

...and onto the back porch or balcony!

Of course, there are much prettier ways to do it (I'm fairly certain this is the work of a resourceful young man not too concerned with aesthetics), and you don't even need to have snow. Keeping drinks outside - just on the other side of the door - is something to consider when you think you're short on space.

Wednesday
Dec072011

Hot Toddy: Mocha MAPLE Coffee

Cold days call for hot drinks! I was flipping through the new book Hot Toddies (filled with all sorts of concoctions just begging for a snow day or three) and spotted this caffeinated wonder...

 

Mocha Maple Coffee

Reprinted with permission from Hot Toddies (Ryland Peters & Small)

Coffee and chocolate make perfect partners as this delicious drink proves. The addition of sweet, maple syrup flavored cream makes this an indulgent after-dinner drink.

2 cups freshly brewed hot coffee
¼ cup crème de cacao or chocolate syrup
½ cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
finely grated dark chocolate, to serve

Pour the freshly brewed coffee into 2 heatproof glasses and add half of the crème de cacao or chocolate syrup to each one.

Lightly whisk the cream and maple syrup together until the mixture is foaming and thickened slightly. Slowly layer the cream over the surface of the coffee using a flat-bottomed barspoon or a teaspoon. Sprinkle with grated chocolate and serve immediately.

Serves 2

Monday
Dec052011

BRIGHT and Whimsical CHRISTMAS Table

Today's post is part of the #HolidayHQ Blog Hop. See the links below for more posts from the best party and entertaining experts!

If you saw my "Rough Luxe" Thanksgiving table, you might recognize one of the patterns on this bright and whimsical Christmas table....we're reusing Mikasa's "Italian Countryside". It's a totally different look (and I'll have one more for New Year's)! I'm sure some people have full sets of dishes that they swap out for each and every holiday, but urban living doesn't lend itself to that kind of storage space. Here, I've supplemented the base pattern with beautiful rentals from Tablescapes. I especially love the cute patterned plate.

The napkins are rolled in a style reminiscent of Christmas crackers. In fact, you could even place a small treasure in the middle of each roll, to be discovered when your guests unfurl their napkins. How fun! Remember to keep centerpieces low, so that guests can easily make conversation over them. Here I've used a small bowl full of retro-inspired ornaments and pom-pom garland.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Housewife Bliss |  Holiday Salt Dough Ornaments
The Gracious Girl |  Holiday Parties, Let Your Heels do the Walking
Second City Soiree  |  A Bright and Whimsical Christmas Table
Tatertots & Jello  |  Holiday Party Mantel
With Style & Grace  |  Holiday Sweet Treats & Homemade gifts, minus the gluten
Party Bluprints  |  Ring In The New Year Right with Brunch
Celebrations at Home  |  The Kids' Christmas Table
The TomKat Studio  |  Easy Oreo Truffles with Printable Tags & Recipe Card
The Daily Basics  |  Christmas Cupcakes, Cake Ball and and Cookie Baking Supplies

Join us on Twitter this Thursday, December 8th 8pm EST for another #HolidayHQ chat. Get ideas, recipes & tips from top crafting, foodie & entertaining experts!

Wednesday
Nov232011

Photo Tutorial: Savory Creamed Corn Panna Cotta

Looking for an elegant starter with humble roots? Savory Creamed Corn Panna Cotta is creamed corn casserole, in exalted form. The step-by-step is below, with my complete recipe in the Huffington Post feature "Unconventional Thanksgiving Recipes From Chicago Chefs And Foodies". Enjoy!

 

The base of this recipe rests on just four ingredients - whole milk, corn, goat cheese and powdered gelatine. The simplest panna cotta in the world requires only milk (or cream) and gelatine...ok, and a bit of water to "bloom" the gelatine. It's such a beautifully streamlined dessert.

 

Should you wish to garnish, you could use finely chopped pimento, fried pancetta, and paprika.

(That paprika, friends, was plucked from the shelves at Budapest's main market, with the assistance of our Hungarian chef/guide. Someday I'll have to tell you about that day...)

 

To make enough panna cotta for four 4-ounce servings, combine 2 cups whole milk and 3 cups corn kernels in a saucepan over medium heat.

 

Simmer and stir for 5 minutes, then whisk in 4 ounces of goat cheese. Everything's better with goat cheese!

 

Whisk it well...

 

Cover, turn off the heat, and let it sit for 30 minutes.

 

While that's steeping you can do three things:

#1 - Fry the pancetta for the garnish. If you have any canine kitchen helpers, they will no doubt appear during this step in the process.

 

#2 - "Bloom" the gelatine. Fill a small container with 4 TBS water. Sprinkle 3 tsp gelatine powder evenly over the surface of the water.

 

It will soon turn into a near solid. Resist the urge to play with it.

 

#3 - Lightly oil the insides of your ramekins. You could also use a muffin tin, but I'm using ramekins.

 

After 30 minutes, spoon out the gelatine blob...

 

And whisk it into the corn/milk mixture.

 

Strain the mixture into the oiled ramekins, and let it set in the refrigerator for about 2 hours.

 

Reserve a little bit of the cooked corn for garnish.

 

After two hours, gently run a sharp knife along the side of the ramekins to release the panna cotta. Invert a small plate over the ramekin, flip, and garnish. Serve immediately.

Get the complete recipe on Huffington Post.

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