New Years Eve Spritzer

It’s almost 2012! Time for sparkle, lots of glitter and parties!! Looking for a quick drink that will dazzle your new years guests? Try this bubbly drink!

New Years Eve Spritzer

Ingredients

  • 2 cups chilled dry white wine, nonalcoholic wine or apple juice (you can make 2 batches. One alcoholic and one nonalcoholic)
  • 1 cup chilled cranberry-apple juice drink
  • 1 cup chilled sparkling water
  • Apple slices, if desired
  • Fresh mint, if desired
  1. Mix wine, juice drink and sparkling water.
  2. Serve over ice. Garnish with apple slices and mint.
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La la la YUM! 25 Days of Yum – MERRY CHRISTMAS!

It’s HERE! Merry Christmas!

If you were nice, Santa brought you and your family wonderful things and if you were naughty don’t fret! I have got a bunch of great Christmas goodies for the last day of 25 Days of YUM!! I have had a BLAST with the past 24 days and I have to end the 25 Days of Yum with a BANG! So not one, not 2 but FOUR wonderful holiday items for the day! A cake and 3 festive drinks! mmmm let’s get started!

First a warm apple cider to get the festivities started! Hot apple cider is one of my fall and winter favorites!

Hot Mulled Apple Cider

This delicious hot apple cider drink is a specialty of New England. Spiced with a clove-studded orange, nutmeg, allspice, and cinnamon, hot mulled cider is the perfect drink to serve during the holidays.

Makes 8 cups

Ingredients

  • 1/2 gallon of fresh, unfilteredapple cider
  • 1 orange
  • 15 cloves
  • 4 3-inch sticks of cinnamon
  • 15 allspice berries
  • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 7 pods of cardamon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  1. Pour apple cider into a 3-quart saucepan, cover, turn the heat on medium-high.
  2. While cider is heating up, take a vegetable peeler and peel away a couple thick strips of peel from the orange. Press about half of the cloves into the peeled part of the orange. (You can also just quarter the orange and add the slices and cloves separately.)
  3. Place orange, orange peel strips, the remaining cloves, and the rest of the ingredients into the sauce pan with the cider. Keep covered and heat the mulled cider mixture to a simmer and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes on low heat.
  4. Use a fine mesh sieve to strain the hot mulled cider away from the orange, cloves, and other spices. If you want, you can add a touch of bourbon, brandy, or rum to spike it up a bit. Serve hot. Add a cinnamon stick to each cup if desired.

Now that you’ve gotten all warm and cozy its time for a southern favorite that I gush about all the time. RED VELVET CAKE! This three layer cake is full of Southern sweetness and charm and its deep signature red color is PERFECT for the holidays.

Southern Red Velvet Cake

Ingredients

Cake Layers

  • Vegetable oil for the pans
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose gluten free flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk substitute (mix 1 cup of rice milk (or coconut milk) with 1 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar. To ensure that the mixture doesn’t get lumpy, mix the cream of tartar with 2 tablespoons of rice milk. Once mixed, add the rest of the cup of rice milk. Cream of tartar is an acid and will simulate the acidic environment of buttermilk.)
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring (1 ounce)
  • 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting

  • 1/2 cup shortening (Spectrum Organic palm oil shortening)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • Up to 1/8 cup water
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil and flour 3 (9 by 1 1/2-inch round) cake pans.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the gluten free flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In another large bowl, whisk together the oil,buttermilk substitute, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla.
  3. Using a standing mixer, mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just combined and a smooth batter is formed.
  4. Divide the cake batter evenly among the prepared cake pans. Place the pans in the oven evenly spaced apart. Bake, rotating the pans halfway through the cooking, until the cake pulls away from the side of the pans, and a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the cakes from the oven and run a knife around the edges to loosen them from the sides of the pans. One at a time, invert the cakes onto a plate and then re-invert them onto a cooling rack, rounded-sides up. Let cool completely.
  6. To construct the frosting, in a large mixing bowl, stir together shortening, powdered sugar, vanilla and salt. Slowly add in water until consistency is thick, smooth, and spreadable.
  7. Frost the cake. Place 1 layer, rounded-side down, in the middle of a rotating cake stand. Using a palette knife or offset spatula spread some of the vanilla frosting over the top of the cake. (Spread enough frosting to make a 1/4 to 1/2-inch layer.) Carefully set another layer on top, rounded-side down, and repeat. Top with the remaining layer and cover the entire cake with the remaining frosting.

So. Cider. Check! Red Velvet Cake. Check! Now it’s time to whip up some cocktails to enjoy during and after dinner!

Egg Nog is a classic and simple drink frequently enjoyed during the holidays. But I’m going to spice it up a little bit and turn it into a cocktail!

Baileys Spiced Nog

Makes 8 cups

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. Baileys Original Irish Cream (25 oz. per bottle)
  • 4 oz. Captain Morgan Original Spiced (25 oz. per bottle)
  • 8 dashes St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
  • 8 dashes angostura bitters
  • 8 whole eggs
  1. Mix Baileys, Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum, St.Elizabeth Allspice Dram, bitters and eggs thoroughly!
  2. Pour evenly into 8 snifter glasses
  3. Garnish with a sprinkle of grated nutmeg and cinnamon on top

This next cocktail is a lot of fun! It’s called the Grinch! How the Grinch Stole Christmas is my all time favorite Christmas movie! I watch it every year and when the Jim Carrey version came out on DVD, I added that into my Christmas movie watching list. I found this drink it is absolutely perfect for a festive holiday party! I think the Grinch would definitely want to steal this drink so you’ll just have to make sure you make one for him too!

The Grinch

This green cocktail has none of the nasty elements of Dr. Seuss’s classic holiday character. On the contrary, it’s reminiscent of the changed Grinch with the sweetest flavors; melon-flavored Midori and lemon juice. It’s all sweetened even further with a little simple syrup. Add a maraschino cherry for the garnish for color and to represent how his heart grew three sizes that day! Add a mini candy cane for a after cocktail treat! 

Makes 1 drink so double or triple etc…for the appropriate amount of guests who will be enjoying this drink

Ingredients

  • 2 oz Midori
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 1 tsp simple syrup
  • maraschino cherry for garnish
  • mini candy cane for garnish
  1. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. 
  2. Shake well.
  3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  4. Garnish with cherry and candy cane

When all is said and done, whatever drinks and desserts and entrees you serve at your holiday get together or bring to a holiday party, may your Christmas by filled with laughter, cheer, family, friends and an abundance of JOY!

Grinch: How could it be so?
It came without ribbons! It came without tags!
It came without packages, boxes, or bags!

Narrator: And he puzzled and puzzed, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before!
“Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store.
Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more.”

Welcome, Christmas, bring your cheer.
Cheer to all Whos far and near.
Christmas Day is in our grasp
So long as we have hands to clasp.
Christmas Day will always be
Just as long as we have we.
Welcome, Christmas, while we stand
Heart to heart,… and hand in hand. 

Merry Christmas! 🙂

La la la YUM! 25 Days of Yum – Scones and Mimosas

Here are two extra special holiday breakfast recipes with festive ingredients such as cranberries and apricots or your favorite holiday fruit! These recipes are perfect for a wonderful holiday brunch…waking up to the smell of these scones is sure to making the season bright.

Apricot Scones

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cups gluten free flour (choose your favorite)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup buttery spread (such as Earth Balance)
  • 3/4 cup diced dried apricots.
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup rice milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease a divided scone pan, or grease (or line with parchment) a baking sheet.
  2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, xanthan gum, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  3. Work in the cold buttery spread till the mixture is crumbly.
  4. Stir in the dried apricots.
  5. Whisk together the eggs, rice milk, and vanilla till frothy.
  6. Add to the dry ingredients, stirring till well blended. The dough should be cohesive and very sticky.
  7. Drop dough by the 1/3-cupful into the scone pan or onto the baking sheet. Let the scones rest for 15 minutes.
  8. Sprinkle the scones with sparkling sugar or cinnamon sugar. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, till golden brown. Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes or so before serving. Best enjoyed warm, with  your favorite buttery spread or jam!

Cranberry Mimosa

This holiday twist to a great breakfast cocktail is sure to be a hit at any holiday brunch at any time of day! Guest will surely be asking for seconds! Serves 12.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups cranberry juice, chilled
  • 4 cups orange juice
  • 2 (750 ml.) bottles of your favorite fruity Champagne, chilled
  • 12 slices fresh orange, for garnish
  1. Fill twelve 12-ounce glasses with ice.
  2. Pour 1/3 cup cranberry juice into each glass.
  3. Top each serving with 1/3 cup orange juice and about 1/2 cup of champagne.
  4. Garnish with orange slices

Raise.Your.Glass!

Time for some delicious non-alcoholic drinks that everyone at your holiday party can enjoy!

Pink Grapefruit “Margaritas”

Definitely a fun and festive mocktail! This nonalcoholic pink drink is a great treat for children during festive occasions. Sanding sugar is a large-grain decorative sugar; granulated sugar may be substituted.

  • 2 tablespoons colored sanding sugar
  • 1 lime
  • 6 teaspoons pomegranate syrup or grenadine
  • 1 1/2 cups pink grapefruit juice
  1. Place sanding sugar in a shallow dish or plate. Slice six thin rounds from the middle of lime; set aside. Rub lime wedge around rims of six glasses; dip each rim in sugar to coat. Pour 1 teaspoon pomegranate syrup into bottom of each glass.
  2. Place grapefruit juice and 2 cups ice cubes in a blender. Process on high speed until ice is crushed. Pour frozen mixture into glasses, and stir to combine with syrup. Garnish with reserved lime rounds, and serve immediately.

Ginger Lime Fizz

  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 liter seltzer or sparkling water
  1. Combine ginger and sugar with 4 cups water, or enough to cover, in a medium saucepan. Place over medium-high heat until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce to a simmer; stir until sugar dissolves completely. Continue to simmer about 20 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool to room temperature, at least 2 hours. Strain out the ginger, and discard.
  2. Combine the ginger syrup, lime juice, and seltzer in a pitcher. Pour into ice-filled glasses, and serve immediately

Pomegrante Citrus Juice

Orange juice gets a little punch from the addition of pomegranate juice for a dose of color, flavor, and antioxidants.

  • 2 small grapefruits
  • 2 juice oranges
  • 2 tangerines or mineola tangelos
  • 1/2 lime
  • 2 pomegranates
  1. Use a citrus press or a juicer to juice the grapefruits, oranges, tangerines, and lime. Juice the pomegranates (2/3 cup juice) into a separate bowl. Divid citrus juice among 3 glasses. Top with pomegranate juice, which will settle to the bottom, and serve.

 

Your guests will be beaming with holiday cheer as you toast to the holidays! 🙂

ENJOY!

 

Oh My Clementine Cocktail

Whole Foods Market has done it again! This time creating a wonderful winter cocktail with an interesting ingredient that you would not normally find in drinks – rosemary. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. Rosemary and clementines? Really? Yes really! The surprising hint of rosemary really makes this cocktail come alive. Whole Foods is a great resource for a variety of recipes that can be tailored for various allergies! So of course this clementine cocktail is gluten free and dairy free! 🙂

Clementine Crush Sparkling Cocktail

Thanks to the vibrant flavors of clementines, cranberries and fresh rosemary, this pitcher full of sparkling wine-based cocktails is prime for winter celebrations. Use a vegetable peeler to remove the clementine zest in large pieces for the chopping and twists.

Ingredients

  • 2 2/3 cups clementine juice, plus 1 tablespoon finely chopped clementine zest, plus 1 clementine for garnish (from 12-14 fruits total)
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar
  • 1 cup 100% Cranberry Juice
  • 3/4 cup fresh cranberries
  • 8 (1-inch) sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 (750ml) bottle sparkling wine, such as Pascual Toso Sparkling Brut, well chilled (or use your favorite)
  • 1 (12-ounce) can Tonic Water or Ginger Ale ( I suggest ginger ale)
  1. In a wide, shallow dish, mix zest and sugar together with your fingers. Wet the rim of 8 cocktail glasses with a wet paper towel, and then dredge in clementine sugar to coat.
  2. In a large pitcher, use a wooden spoon to muddle cranberry juice, cranberries and rosemary sprigs thoroughly.
  3. Fill pitcher with ice cubes.
  4. Top off with clementine juice, wine and tonic water or ginger ale.
  5. Stir vigorously; pour into glasses; garnish with clementine twists and serve.

Your cocktail hour just got a little more intersting!

ENJOY! 🙂

La la la YUM! 25 Days of Yum – Apple Ginger Sparklers

Ok. So you’ve got your muffins and your cookies and cakes. You have a few fun drink and cocktail in your arsinal but what about for the kids and the under 21 year olds? What are they going to drink? Well, Martha Stewart has the answer – Sparking Apple Cider with a little kick! Ginger and cinnamon help this drinks sparkle and shine while your guest wine and dine. This recipe is nice and simple and sure to be a hit.

Apple Ginger Sparklers

First, you’ll need to make some tasty ginger syrup!

Ginger Syrup

For a more intense flavor, make this syrup a day before using, allowing the ginger to sit in the syrup, refrigerated, overnight.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 six-inch piece fresh ginger, finely diced
  1. Place sugar, ginger, and 2 cups water in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook about 1 hour, until ginger flavor is quite strong. Let cool; strain before using.

Now lets make the drink!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Ginger Syrup
  • 4 1/2 cups sparkling apple cider
  • 6 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 pieces crystallized ginger
  1. Place 2 tablespoons ginger syrup in each of six glasses. Fill glasses with ice cubes, pour in cider, and stir to combine. Garnish with cinnamon sticks and fresh ginger, and serve.

With the combination of the bubbling crisp apple and the kick of ginger, this certainly isn’t just some ginger ale. So break out your favorite glasses and toast to good times, great family and friends and an amazing holiday season.