Category Archives: Drinks

POM Mulled Cider


There are several reasons why Fall is my favorite season: the changing leaves, the damp cool air, leggings and boots, squashes galore, and cozying up with my  favorite reading blanket with a big mug of something warm and awesome. 

 

One of my favorite drinks would have to be cider.  Something about the comforting aromas of cinnamon and spices immersed in fresh apple juice seems soothing for any soul on any occasion. 

When the cool folks at POM sent me over a case their awesome pomegranate juice the first thing that came to mind was making a mulled cider out of it.  The tartness of the pomegranate blends harmoniously with the splendied sweetness of apples — a pair made in heaven, cider heaven specifically. 

This is not only an easy recipe but an awesome one — great for parties, get togethers, or in my case, just because.  Cider should always be enjoyed on a cool fall night.  Sit outside with your beau or friends and let the comforting aromas of spices fill your nose and warm your hands.  Maybe throw in a kumbaya somewhere in there and you’ve got yourself a party!

Ingredients for POM Mulled Cider:

  • 1 gallon fresh cider
  • 3 cups POM pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 5 cloves
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 piece of ginger, cut about 1/2 inch thick

Pour the cider and POM in a large pot and place on stove at high heat.  Add the sugar and spices and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, lower the heat to a simmer for 15 minutes — this allows the infusion of the spices. Remove the spices and ladel the cider into mugs, serve immediately. 

100th Post:Lindemans Framboise Float


 

Because this is my 100th post, I will share a confession.

I can’t drink.  I mean I can but 90% of the time I choose not to.  Not because I’m not down to party but this girl unfortunately has a severe case of alcohol intolerance.  It’s embarrassing really and I am sure I will look back on this post and regret ever admitting this to the world.  I’m that one-beer drunk and usually you’ll know within 20 minutes; my face begins to turn red, you’ll suddenly notice my flaring nostrils due to my labored breathing and within the hour my head will either end up against your shoulder or against the nearest stationary object.  Trust me, it’s bad – my entire demeanor goes from perfectly composed to disheveled in 30 minutes flat.

So the only place you’ll usually ever find me drinking is at home.  Because at home, I can have the reddest face in the world (and biggest nostrils) in the comfort of my wonderful couch and blanket.  I can have my glass of wine and melt into the pillows while watching Legends of the Fall for the 26th time.  And on top of that, I get to drink in my jammies and not worry about maintaining my balance while wearing stiletto heels.  It’s awesome, everyone needs to try it sometime — the drinking in the jammies part, not the stiletto heels.

When Collin was out of town for a week in Tucson, I decided to cope with his absence through ice cream.   So on my way to the ice cream aisle this beautiful bottle of Lindemans Framboise caught my eye, and it even whispered buy me, mix me with that vanilla bean ice cream, you know you want to.  I mean how could I have said no to a talking bottle of Lindemans, of course I had to buy it!  Safe to say, it was pretty much the best decision of my entire week — hands down, best combination EVER.

Lindemans Framboise is one of my favorite Lambic beers — the delicate tartness of the framboise spreads throughout your palette filling your nose with the intoxicating smell of raspberries with each sip.  Magical to say the least. BUT THEN adding creamy vanilla bean ice cream into the mix?  Decadence at its finest people, I could honestly have it everyday (if only alcohol and ice cream were fat and calorie free..).  I even threw in a few fresh raspberries ontop of the float which made the entire drink even more awesome — didn’t think it was possible but it did. 

Ingredients for Lindemans Framboise Float: (serves 2)

  • 12 oz bottle of Lindeman’s Framboise
  • 4 scoops of vanilla bean ice cream

Place 2 scoops of vanilla bean ice cream in each glass — preferably a tall glass.  Slowly pour the framboise until the foam reaches the top.  Serve and drink immediately!

You can thank me later for this recipe — I accept gratitude in forms of cash, check, food and some hugs (careful, I’m picky).  Bookmark this for when you have a bad day at work, or if your spouse is being an ass, or just because you’re awesome and you want to freaking treat yourself.  Whatever the reason, just remember: Life is always sweeter with dessert! Cheers 🙂

Shakespeare in the Park


Every Summer and Fall, one of my favorite outdoor events to attend in Dallas is Shakespeare in the Park. They feature different plays every year and this Summer they are holding Cymbeline and The Comedy of Errors.  It’s a great opportunity to spend time with friends and family, what can be better on a warm Summer’s night than a picnic with a side of Shakespeare?

“As the area’s veteran producers of Shakespeare in the Park, Shakespeare Dallas has invited audiences to enjoy accessible productions in an open-air amphitheatre since 1971, reaching over 50,000 people every summer and fall.” — Shakespeare Dallas

As celebration for this Summer’s Shakespeare in the Park, I have come up with a simple and healthy Picnic menu!  Though you can bring anything you like on your own picnic, I’ve included some easy recipes and suggestions to help you plan a picnic fit for kings 🙂 Below is some additional information on Shakespeare Dallas and short synopsis of the performances playing this summer.

Cymbeline
By William Shakespeare
Directed by SD Artistic Associate Rene Moreno

Previews: June 16-17
Opening: June 18
Continuing June 29 through July 24
on Sundays, Tuesdays and Saturdays
With additional performances on June 19 & 20

Performances begin at 8:15 p.m. at the Samuell-Grand Amphitheatre

“Golden lads and girls all must, as chimney-sweepers, come to dust.”

Shakespeare weaves a tale of the beautiful princess Imogen and her new husband, Posthumous, parted by circumstances invoked by her wicked stepmother and her distant father, the King Cymbeline of Britain. Posthumous’ impoverished state makes him undesirable to King Cymbeline as a match to his prized daughter. Under the influence of his wife, King Cymbeline banishes Posthumous and confines Imogen to the castle. While exiled in Rome, Posthumous meets the foul Iachimo who finagles him into a wager on Imogen’s chastity. Iachimo goes to Britain and through trickery gains access to Imogen’s bedchamber. He manages to slide off a bracelet Posthumous gave Imogen to use as proof. Posthumous believes Iachimo’s treachery, and enraged, sends his faithful servant Pisanio to murder Imogen in retribution — although when he learns falsely of her death, he is devastated and repents his action. Imogen, meanwhile, has escaped to Wales in man’s clothing, unknowingly meets up with her long-lost brothers and is eventually reunited with her husband and the truth is revealed amidst the victory of Britain against Rome.

Fri. & Sat.: $10 adults/$7 seniors and students.
Tues. – Thurs. & Sun.: $10 donation requested.
Children 12 and under are free.

Samuell-Grand Amphitheatre
1500 Tenison Parkway
Dallas, Texas 75223


The Comedy of Errors
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Matthew Tomlanovich

Previews: June 24-25
Opening: June 26
Continuing June 30-July 23 on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
With an additional performance on June 27.
*Please note there are no performances on June 22 or June 23.

Performances begin at 8:15 p.m. at the Samuell-Grand Amphitheatre

“Was there ever any man thus beaten out of season,
When in the why and the wherefore is neither rhyme nor reason?”

Take one pair of estranged twins (both called Antipholous) and one pair of twin servants (both called Dromio), keep them in ignorance of each other and throw them into a city with a reputation for sorcery and you have the chief ingredients for theatrical chaos. Fast-paced, hilarious and seemingly irreverent, the young William Shakespeare explores themes in this comedy that recur again and again in his later work: mistaken identity, coincidence and the importance of family.

Fri. & Sat.: $10 adults/$7 seniors and students.
Tues. – Thurs. & Sun.: $10 donation requested.
Children 12 and under are free.

Samuell-Grand Amphitheatre
1500 Tenison Parkway
Dallas, Texas 75223

Season Sponsors
570 KLIF, 1310 The Ticket, Brierley+Partners , City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, City of Dallas Parks and Recreation Department, e-Rewards Market Research, Fossil, Star Newspapers, TACA, Target, Texas Commission on the Arts, The Dallas Morning News, The Hall Agency

Shakespeare Dallas
3630 Harry Hines Blvd. Dallas, TX 75219
(214) 559-2778

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The Perfect Summer Picnic Menu

Assorted Cheeses and Fruit Platter

Smoked Gouda, Bleu Cheese, Colby Jack, Fresh Strawberries, Green Grapes, Apricots with Rosemary Triscuits

Garden Vegetable Pasta Salad

with broccoli, tomatoes, corn, avocado, red onion, and black beans

Finger Sandwich Platter

cucumber tea sandwiches with cream cheese and sprouts & vegetable sandwiches with hummus and olive oil

Summer Fruit Salad

cantaloupe, honeydew, watermelon, blueberries, raspberries, green grapes soaked in honey and vanilla

Ingredients for Assorted Cheese and Fruit Plate : (serves 4-6)

  • 8 oz Smoked Gouda
  • 8 oz Bleu Cheese
  • 8 oz Mozzarella
  • 8 oz Colby Jack
  • 1 box Rosemary & Olive Oil Triscuits
  • 8 oz Fresh Strawberries, cleaned and hulled
  • 8 oz Green Grapes, cleaned
  • 8 oz Apricots

Bring a cheese knife and board along with you on the picnic, if you do not have these items a simple butter knife and paper plate will suffice.  Arrange the cheese crackers and fruits to your liking and serve with a nice Riesling or light red like a Pinot or Syrah.

Also feel free to experiment with fruits and cheeses.  You can use other fruits such as apples, figs, raspberries or peaches.  Or perhaps try interesting cheeses like a sharp Gruyere, a creamy Brie or maybe a nice mild Cheddar.  You can find a helpful wine and cheese pairing guide at Gourmet Sleuth here.

Ingredients for Garden Vegetable Pasta Salad: (serves 4-6)

  • 1 lb of Fusili or Penne Pasta, cooked
  • 1 cup of broccoli florettes, blanched
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup fresh yellow/white corn kernels
  • 1/2 cup of red onion, small diced
  • 1/2 cup of black beans
  • 1/4 cup of green bell pepper, small diced
  • 1/4 cup of red bell pepper, small diced
  • 1 avocado, pitted and small diced
  • 1 tablespoon parsley, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a tablespoon of salt.  Pour in the dry pasta and cook for 4-6 minutes or otherwise stated on the package.  Once pasta is “al dente” or semi-firm, strain pasta and run under cold water to stop the cooking process.  In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients listed above and toss with cooked pasta.  If more salt/seasoning is needed, simply add additional flavor according to your taste.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Ingredients for Finger Sandwich Platter: (serves 4-6)

  • 1 french baguette, sliced into 1/2″ rounds
  • 1 medium tomato, sliced
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, pitted and sliced
  • 1 cup spring mix
  • 1 cup hummus
  • 1 english cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup cream cheese
  • 1 cup of sprouts
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

To assemble cucumber sandwiches, take your baguette rounds and slather each side generously with cream cheese.  Add sliced cucumber and sprouts and hold together with toothpicks.  Sprinkle with cracked black pepper and refrigerate til ready to serve.

To assemble veggie sandwiches, take your baguette rounds and slather each side generously with hummus.  Place the field greens, tomatoes, avocado and onion in between and hold together with toothpicks.  Refrigerate and drizzle with olive oil when ready to serve.

You can make all different types of sandwiches — ham and cheese, turkey and swiss, blts — feel free to be creative!  You can also assemble the sandwiches at the picnic, just bring your pre-sliced ingredients and allow your guests to make their own.

Ingredients for Summer Fruit Salad (serves 4-6):

  • 1/2 cantaloupe
  • 1/2 honey dew
  • 1/4 watermelon
  • 1 pint of blueberries
  • 1 pint of raspberries
  • 2 cups grapes
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or 1 fresh vanilla bean

Using a melon baller, remove the seeds from the cantaloupe and honeydew.  Carve as many melon balls you can get from the cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon.  Set aside.  Reserve the remainder of the melon scraps for a refreshing juice.

Place balls in a large bowl and add the berries and grapes.  Whisk the honey with the vanilla extract/bean and pour over the fruit mixture.  Allow the fruit salad to “marinate” for at least an hour before serving.

Now remember when I told you to set the melon caracasses behind?  Well you can use the leftover melons to make a refreshing drink for the picnic! Now take the melon scraps you set aside and scrape off as much of the flesh as you can.  Transfer the juices and melon flesh into a large bowl or jar and mix with a cup of simple syrup, blend throughly with a hand held blender.

Ingredients for Simple Syrup:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water

In a medium saucepan combine sugar and water. Bring to a boil, stirring, until sugar has dissolved. Allow to cool.

If you want to make other drinks you can try this refreshing Mango Lemonade and Watermelon Lemonade or perhaps some of my Limeades !  Simply serve over ice and you are ready to go 🙂

I hope everyone who lives in Dallas takes the time to take part of Shakespeare in the Park.  It truly is a wonderful experience!  Not only do you get a picnic under the stars (boys, girls like these things) but you get to watch talented actors and actresses from Shakespeare Dallas put on an amazing performance.  Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend, and remember — no picnic is complete without a picnic basket :)!  (I got mine from Target for $15)

(Southern Style) Mango Lemonade


I was in Nashville, Tennessee a few weeks ago, home of country music and anything southern (you know– sweet tea, beautiful acre lot yards, billboard signs that have the wait time of the ER?) and I was blown away. It was beautiful with the lush greenery and rolling hills, the rich blooms of hydrangeas paired with the sweet smells of magnolias, it’s hard to imagine that just a few months ago this entire city was under water.

Thankfully, Nashville cleans up quite well — with a strong community connection, the city was able to jump back on its feet in no time, truly impressive. I was actually there to photograph one of my good friend’s wedding and truly regret not coming to this beautiful city sooner. She had a splendid rehearsal dinner thrown at her fiance’s (now husband) parents’ house, the settings were so perfect it looked like the entire party came out of a Martha Stewart magazine (divine!).

They had a bartender mixing delicious drinks and cocktails, I of course had to steer clear of the alcoholic drinks or else the pictures would’ve came out slightly skewed or maybe even a little…blurry? 🙂 So the bartender offered me a glass of Mango Lemonade that not only quenched my thirst but instantaneously boosted my spirits.

The combination was incredible — with the bright tartness of the lemons paired with the fragrant sweetness of the mangoes, it just kind of brought you into this tropical southern heaven. One that frankly I didn’t want to leave from…so what other choice did I have but to recreate it at home? Results? Highly successful 🙂

If you prefer your lemonade to be more tart, feel free to increase the lemon juice to 2 cups. Also if the mango puree makes the lemonade a little thick just add additional water to thin it out. Other than that, stay cool and hydrated this summer — make a batch and take it to the pool to share with friends or maybe even to a bbq for 4th of July! Just remember, sharing is caring and this drink will bring a smile to anyone’s face (unless you’re allergic to mangoes or lemons)…

Ingredients for Mango Lemonade: (makes 10 x 8oz servings)

  • 1 3/4 cups white sugar (you may substitute half the sugar for honey)
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups lemon juice
  • 3 mangoes, peeled and pitted

In a small saucepan, combine sugar and 1 cup water. Bring to boil and stir to dissolve sugar. Allow to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until chilled. Puree the mangoes using a blender or hand-held blender and strain through sieve to remove any fibers, set aside.

Remove seeds from lemon juice, but leave pulp. In a pitcher, stir together chilled syrup, lemon juice, mango puree and remaining 7 cups water. Serve immediately chilled or on ice. (You can also freeze them in ice cube trays and make a mango lemonade slushie!)

p.s. In order to make this Mango Lemonade “Southern Style” simply enjoy a tall glass sitting on your rocking chair either in your front and back porch, watching the sunset and enjoying the light summer breeze, repeat until you’ve reach desired level of relaxation. 🙂


Strawberry and Cherry Limeade


Apparently this weekend, temperatures in Dallas,TX will reach the triple digits.  Summer is here with a blistering vengeance but thankfully I love the summers in Texas.  Because Summer in Texas means swimmin’, bbq’n, fishin’ and boatin’ — and all of these things are at the top of my “Best Things in Life” list.

I think one of my favorite summers by far was back in 2005.  That summer all of my closest girlfriends were in Austin and together, we painted the town crazy.  It was safe to say it was the pinnacle of rebellious independence : we were all single, young, beautiful and fearless.  We’d spend our nights tearing through 6th street, dancing and partying til the bars would close.  Yet our night wouldn’t be complete without our late-night ritual, the Waffle House run (hence how I gained the freshman 30).  Bed time would usually be a couple of hours before dawn and mornings wouldn’t start til well after 12 pm.

Our days often spent moseying by the pool, reading fashion magazines, sipping on cups of ‘Boone’s Farm’ and slathering on gallons of tanning oil (before I was up to date on the whole excessive uv rays causes skin cancer and wrinkles thing) because the darker the better was the fad back in the day.

Life was truly liberating back then, nothing really mattered.  We celebrated our freedom of youth, unrestrained by the problems of adulthood.  That summer created moments we still die laughing about and all the girl talks by the pool that made us become closer friends.   Every time we reminisce back to these memories of that one FABULOUS summer, without fail it leaves huge smiles on our faces.  And after all these years, these girls still remain wonderful friends of mine.  Though we’re now all in different places with our new lives, it was one of those summers that will inevitably keep us together, always.

Earlier this week as I was reading my Vogue and basking out in the sun, I realized how much has changed, not only in my life but within my self.  Sometimes you grow up so quickly, you don’t even realize everthing that has happened.  I am fortunate to have good memories that will always make me smile when life seems to be “moving too fast”.

Take a break. Relax. Enjoy something that makes you smile.

Apparently Strawberry and Cherry Limeade makes everyone smile.  This is a raw recipe, I used honey instead of sugar and fresh cherries instead of Maraschino.  Granted Maraschino Cherries are quite yummy, preservatives and food coloring are not.  If you like your limeades tart, add more lime juice and if you have crushed ice, make it into a slushy!  And of course, I will never stop anyone who wants to “kick it up a notch” and throw in a little magic called Vodka or Gin.  Either way, stay hydrated and keep cool this summer, I have a feeling it’s going to be a long one :).

Ingredients for Cherry Limeade:(makes 4 servings)

  • 1 pint (750mL) of S.Pellegrino sparkling mineral water
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 12 ounces of  cherries, rinsed and pitted
  • 1/2 cup honey or agave
  • 1 lime, sliced for garnish

Take the cherries and either place them in a blender and puree or place in individual glasses and mash with mortar.  If you are mashing with a mortar, make sure the cherries are broken down pretty well — this ensures maximum cherry flavor.

Mix the lime juice and honey, until honey has dissolved and place equally in the glasses.  Top off with the sparkling mineral water and garnish with a slice of lime.  If it’s not sweet enough feel free to add more honey/agave, same goes for tartness.

Serve with ice or if preferred, throw it into the blender and make it into a slush.  To make it extra saucy, just add an ounce of Vodka on top, serve and enjoy!

Ingredients for Strawberry Limeade:

  • 1 pint (750mL) of S.Pellegrino sparkling mineral water
  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • 12 ounces of  strawberries, rinsed and hulled
  • 1/2 cup honey or agave
  • 1 lime, sliced for garnish

Take the strawberries and either place them in a blender and puree or place in individual glasses and mash with mortar.  If you are mashing with a mortar, make sure the strawberries are broken down pretty well — this ensures maximum strawberry flavor.

Mix the lime juice and honey, until honey has dissolved and place equally in the glasses.  Top off with the sparkling mineral water and garnish with a slice of lime.  If it’s not sweet enough feel free to add more honey/agave, same goes for tartness.

Serve with ice or if preferred, throw it into the blender and make it into a slush.  To make it extra saucy, just add an ounce of Vodka on top, serve and enjoy!