cocktails

I am loving the cold smoky winter evenings, the cooler temperatures, the fact that the holidays are coming.

The one thing I miss this time of year are the fresh and bright summer fruits.

I am so so happy to be finding the most amazing fresh raspberries right now! These are so good – so sweet.

The holidays have pretty much started in my life, and holidays mean more get togethers, more entertaining, more imbibing. More rich foods, more delectable desserts, more cheersing and celebrating.

So sometimes a break is needed. A fresh dessert. Even if it is spiked.

This is fresh and refreshing, light and sweet tooth satisfying at the same time. Instead of straining the fruit and just using the flavored liquid, I made a puree and froze it – a bit heartier than a traditional granita. I think I like the full fruit version even better.

This makes a large amount and we will happily enjoy it for many desserts – I made half without the vodka so I could share with anyone… or eat for lunch.

sparkly spiked cran-raspberry granita

adapted from cranberry whiskey sour slush

dairy, soy, and gluten free, vegan

1 pint fresh raspberries
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/2 cup club soda
1/2 cup vodka
3 tablespoons agave
juice of 1 lime

In food processor, puree raspberries and cranberries until smooth. Add club soda, vodka, agave and lime juice, combine completely. Transfer to a freezer safe container, cover and freeze. When solid, scrape with fork to make ice granules. Garnish with lime.

or whip cream:

Cheers!

 

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Last Saturday night we went to play B.I.N.G.O.

Jason and I met my sister, her husband and other friends for a fun night of numbers and daubers. I didn’t win anything this time, and we all still had fun. One of our friends wasn’t able to make it, and she later explained she was sitting out in the cold the night before, at her sons high school football game, and was feeling under the weather.

My first thought was to suggest she show up this Friday with a thermos full of hot soup. (Okay, if I’m being honest, I actually suggested hot soup or hot toddy – either way).

Then I started thinking of what I would bring to a football game these days. Leave it to a food writer to make a culinary experience out of any event…

I’ve gathered my favorite recipes from my own archive and that of some of my friends… these recipes are things I would bring to a football game on television at someones house, or what I would make at our place. We are football fans here, and I love a good tailgate or television viewing spread of food.

cheesy roasted hasselback tomatoes

 

sushi veggie sliders

 

seven layer dip with noocho cheese

 

baked pizza dip

 

old school wiener wraps

 

individual s’mores brownies

 

caramelized onion and tomato focaccia

 

roasted jalapeno and pineapple infused tequila 

 

reuben rolls with homemade thousand island

 

edamame “egg” salad

 

broccoli cheddar bites with honey mustard sauce

 

Thai deviled eggs

 

caramelized onion buffalo tarts

 

roasted red pepper and walnut dip [muhammara]

 

tahini almond date bites

 

guacamole deviled eggs

 

buffalo dip, three ways

 

potato angels

 

dill pickle dip

 

green falafel - Mediterranean chickpea fritters

 

plant based steak dinner

 

caramelized onion bacon dip

[lightened up] twice baked potatoes

 

mango habanero guacamole

 

easy crockpot lentil chili

 

olive and pepper tapenade

 

 

Do you like football? Favorite team?

This house is Oregon Ducks, Missouri Tigers and Green Bay Packers…

 

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As long as my house is clean, I am almost always up for some impromptu entertaining. Last minute spontaneity is a fun challenge, and I always love to have people over to our house. We always have a bottle of wine we can open, and at the very least, some nuts, olives, dried fruit and other fun nibbles on hand.

Once I check the possibilities in my ‘snacks’ cabinet (what, you don’t have one of those?), I then head to my metro rack of dishes, platters and linens. One quick way to make an impromptu get together not look so last minute is to include linens and fancy plates and serving pieces.

Even if all you are sharing is small nibbles like nuts and olives or cheeses and crackers, stepping up the elegance by using fancier serve ware takes no more time at the last minute. Adding linens and fun wine glasses or cocktail tumblers complete the feel of “I’ve been planning this all day!”

rosemary apricot tahini bites

 

When hosting a last minute thing, another place to find goodies is the freezer – I always have truffles, snacky bites and chocolate peanut butter cups filled with interesting things…

wasabi peanut butter cups

 

and if you were looking in my freezer, you’d also find seven different varieties of homemade ice cream…

ginger maple miso ice cream

 

As I get settled into our new house, much of my design plans are with entertaining in mind. My kitchen renovation plans include a new refrigerator. Jason and I both enjoy our wine, and we love to entertain – the LG Blast Chiller option is something I am considering. Chilled wine in 8 minutes? A cold beer in five? In eight minutes I can have a full table of goodies set up – want to come over for an impromptu party?

The LG Blast Chiller, available in the 3-Door Super Capacity French-Door refrigerator (LFX31935), can chill a room temperature, 12oz beverage in five minutes or a bottle of wine in just eight minutes. By comparison, a typical refrigerator takes about 40 minutes to accomplish this task – even in the freezer. This refrigerator is also among the largest capacity 36-inch refrigerators currently on the market, offering almost 20 percent more space and the ability to store over 50 gallons of milk.

Compensation was provided by LG via Glam Media.  The opinions expressed herein are those of spabettie and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of LG.

 

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I cannot have a whole month of Treats and Sweets without including a few cocktails.

Right?

While I am not generally a sweet cocktail fan, every now and then I love to create a dessert drink. and I usually have fun making the edible shot glass it goes in.

Some of these are perfect for the fall and winter, others are fresh summery sippers. Some are really fun, all are really sweet…

Cheers!

s’mores shots in chocolate glasses

 

hot chocolate peppermint shots

 

spicy hot cinnamon shots

 

cherry mojito milkshake

 

strawberry habanero margaritas

 

cherry sorbet champagne floats

 

fresh and fruity sangria

 

lightened up Pina Coladas

 

homemade Baileys Irish cream recipe

and something to make with that Irish cream:

 

salted caramel spiked milkshake

  

Do you have a favorite sweet libation?

 

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Salted Caramel Milkshake with Homemade Baileys

A few years ago, Portland had a huge winter storm. Snowpocalypse, or something like that, according to the news. Inches and feet and piles of snow.

Back then we were at the old house, the one on a couple acres. This is two rare acres in the middle of Southwest Portland, and we were the last house on this semi private road. We were actually unincorporated, end of county service. Which meant the snowplow would come right up to the bridge right before our house, and stop. Leaving a huge pile of snow, as if we weren’t there.

We couldn’t drive anyway, the road was a sheet of ice. We were stuck indoors for more than two weeks. This two week period is when I created my vegan Baileys Irish cream recipe. We enjoyed Bailey’s and coffee each morning, while sitting in front of the fire and watching even more snow fall…

Salted Caramel Milkshake

salted caramel Baileys milkshake

dairy, egg, soy and gluten free, vegan

makes two milkshakes

4 scoops dairy free vanilla ice cream
1/3 cup dairy free caramel sauce
3 teaspoons sea salt
3-4 ounces Baileys Irish cream
3/4 cup milk (almond + coconut)
3-4 ice cubes dairy free whipped topping 

In blender, combine ice cream, caramel, salt, Baileys, milk and ice – blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and top with whip cream, cinnamon, salt. Enjoy by the fire while the snow falls…

Hoping for lots of snow this season!

 

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You may have heard, I love to throw a party. Big or small, formal or casual, well planned out to each and every detail or an impromptu last minute thing (my controlling nature prefers the former, of course).

sunday night dinner

In college with my own place, the hostess in me blossomed. My housemate and I would host Sunday Night Dinners each week, where a large group of friends would each contribute and we would have a great feast. A great way to both end the weekend and welcome the new week, our friends would linger into the late hours, not wanting the night to end. It was at these dinners where I also started to get creative in the kitchen, often planning my part of the menu early in the week before.

Although they were planned events, the Sunday Night Dinners were more casual get togethers with no real structure – just friends sharing a meal and socializing.

pageant nights

Later in college, I would host girls nights in a much different way – pageant nights. Each and every pageant that was televised, from Miss USA to Miss America to Miss Universe, I hosted viewing parties that began with a cocktail hour and ended with a dinner and of course, the crowning of a new pageant winner. Using a time saving hostess trick of making a signature cocktail for the evening, I would greet each guest at the door with said cocktail and choice of tiara to wear…  from my collection. Dinner would be served shortly after the pageant began – I would always plan an appetizer, salad, main entree and dessert courses. Elaborately fun evenings – I sometimes think I should start them up again!

Pageant nights revolved around the televised event and girls being girls – aside from my menu planning, the night flowed along the schedule of the pageant. Easy planning there.

modern day tupperware party

Other girls nights are easy to plan as well – a candle party, purse party, housewares party (I always ask my girlfriends ahead of time if they are interested – if I get enough positive response, I go ahead with it). These are fun events, and again the only planning involved on my end is the menu. These parties are best with several small plate options – finger foods set out where guests can nibble and graze. Cocktails or wine also make the event lively and fun.

naked lady party

Come on, minds out of the gutter. Similar to the “buying party”, another girls night in could be a Naked Lady Party – where all the girls show up with clothes, shoes, accessories they no longer want – and we swap! Everything unclaimed at the end goes to charity. These can include a potluck, to cut down on your food planning, and again don’t forget the cocktails or wine. You have a fun girls night and come away with new outfits as well!

karaoke night!

One of my favorite impromptu get togethers? Karaoke night at my house. Cocktails or wine, small plate and finger foods, and the courage to sing just for the fun of it are all required for a successful karaoke party. Such a fun time. Always.

small plate ideas for girls night in:

 

mango habanero guacamole

 

self-serve raw taco bar

 

spinach blini with pimiento spread

 

reuben rolls with homemade thousand island

 

seven layer dip with ‘noocho cheese’

 

quick and easy classic fudge

 

What is your favorite girls (or guys) night in?

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COMPENSATION WAS PROVIDED BY ORBIT® GUM VIA GLAM MEDIA BUT SUCH COMPENSATION DID NOT INFLUENCE ANY OPINIONS EXPRESSED HEREIN.  THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED HEREIN ARE THOSE OF SPABETTIE AND ARE NOT INDICATIVE OF THE OPINIONS OR POSITIONS OF ORBIT® GUM.

 

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I am going to be incredibly cliché in declaring I cannot believe Labor Day is this Monday.

Totally snuck up on me this year.

We are planning a small shindig, and I am mixing classy with lowbrow, cocktail party with casual barbeque.

We really just want a low key comfortable thing – friends over grilling and chilling. A couple friends can only come for a short time, so I decided to split it up and have a little cocktail thing beforehand. Hey, any chance I can [click to continue…]

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I love caperberries – salty, briny, salty goodness. Larger than the caper and a completely different thing, the caperberry is the fruit of the caper plant and is about the size of an olive, while a caper is the smaller flower bud. They taste similar, and I find the caperberry is milder in flavor.

Awesome salty flavor.

When Heather picked caperberries for C Week of Meatless Monday A to Z, I was thrilled. I actually already had two jars of caperberries in my pantry, along with at least three jars of capers. I always have capers.

We had some friends over for a Happy Hour at Home, Caperberry Style. They were greeted with a caperberry martini, made dirty with the brine juice. So very good.

For a fun one bite appetizer with some tang, I stuffed caperberries with my vegan goat cheese.

They were easy to pick up by their stem handles. An easy last minute prep that looks elegant and tastes crazy good. Especially when you drench them in agave…

create a gif

The third item for this caperberry cocktail party was a hummus – a lemony, garlicy, salty hummus. We served this with crunchy crisps and vegetables.

caperberry hummus

dairy, soy and gluten free, vegan

1 can chickpeas, rinsed and peeled
3 tablespoons tahini

juice of 2 lemons
1 clove garlic, peeled
handful (8-10) caperberries, stemmed
sea salt, to taste
olive oil, for garnish
2-3 whole caperberries, for garnish 

In food processor, purée chickpeas until crumbly-smooth, add tahini, lemon juice, garlic and caperberries. Salt as needed. Blend until smooth. Transfer to serving bowl, pour 1-2 tablespoons olive oil over top, garnish with whole caperberries.

This has been my favorite week with #mmaz yet! Are you a caperberry or caper fan?

Here’s one of my favorite recipes using the smaller, stronger, saltier caper:

lemon piccata enchilada

 

 

Better With Veggies

Cheers – happy Monday!

 

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