October 7, 2012

Hot Caramel Cinnamon Apple Cider

Hot Apple Cider

Fall, fall, fall! Have I mentioned how much I love fall? This morning we woke up to crisp fall air, leaves changing color and a lovely, eery fog that just made me want to snuggle up in my big squishy chair, with my sweater throw, a good book and a hot cup of apple cider!

This is the perfect time of year to find local apple ciders everywhere you go. You can't go wrong with a fresh apple cider and the better the cider, the better the finish product of this drink. Hot Caramel Cinnamon Apple Cider is very similar to Starbuck's Caramel Apple Spice, but I think it takes it to a whole other level. These are obviously sometimes drinks because they're sinful, but once you've had a taste you'll want sometimes to come around much faster the next time around!

What You'll Need to Make the Hot Caramel Cinnamon Apple Cider:
1/2 gallon of apple cider
Cinnamon syrup (see recipe below)
Caramel syrup
Whipped Cream
Caramel sauce
Cinnamon sugar

First you want to make your cinnamon syrup (or if you want you can buy cinnamon syrup instead, but I really like the flavor of the one I make myself. You can store the syrup in the fridge for up to six weeks.

Hot Apple Cider: Cinnamon Syrup

What You'll Need to Make the Cinnamon Syrup:
2 cups of water
2 cups of organic cane sugar
2 teaspoons of Saigon or Vietnamese cinnamon

In a large pot whisk together water, sugar and cinnamon. Cook over medium heat until the sugar melts. Set aside.

Now let's start the base of the drinks!

Add apple cider to a large stockpot over medium heat and bring to a quick boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and then add mulling spices.

Now let's talk a minute about mulling spices. You can usually find them easily this time of year and my favorite are the ones that come packaged like tea bags:

Hot Apple Cider: Mulling Bags

You'll love this type of bag type deal because it means you don't have to strain out the spices later! Best. Invention. Ever. Or well maybe not ever, but best thing I've come across in a while...you get the picture!


I use 3 mulling spice bags per half gallon of cider. I like to wrap the strings from the bag around the handle so they stay in one place and the paper end doesn't get in the cider itself or on the hot stove eye:

Hot Apple Cider: Cider

Steep while simmering for 20-30 minutes.

Now it's time to put the drinks together!

Hot Apple Cider

I like to have everything in one place to make the drinks:

Hot Apple Cider: Ingredients

It means you aren't rushing around grabbing this and that, when everything is simply right there at your fingertips.

Fill each cup 3/4ths of the way full. Add a generous splash of cinnamon and caramel syrups. I like to use a large mouth funnel for adding the cider and syrups...it keeps things from splashing around. Give it a quick stir to mix the cider and syrups

Next you want to to top the cider with a big dollop of whipped cream. You can make your own whipped cream. (I recommend this. I usually use 1/4 cup of sugar to 1 cup of heavy cream.) Or you can use the stuff in the can if you just must.

Drizzle the top of the whipped cream with melted caramel sauce and then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. (I make my own using 2 teaspoons of cinnamon to 1 cup of sugar.) Serve immediately:

Hot Apple Cider

A perfect bight of autumn right in your cup!

Notes: If you wanted to make an 'Adults Only' cider you could add in some rum, mead or whiskey to give it a little kick.

Posted by Dianne at 1:33 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 18, 2012



I always loved the show Sex and the City, in fact even now when I see it on reruns when flipping channels I usually stop and watch. In one of the episodes the girls are at a rooftop barbeque at Samantha's new place in the Meat District with her transvestite neighbors and the drink of choice is a "Flirtini". The dialogue goes on to reveal it's a martini made with pineapple juice, vodka and champagne and I noted that on my iPod a few years ago and promptly went on to forget about it until a few weeks ago, when I decided it was time to play around with the drink.

I'm a huge fan of pineapple, so instead of just using pineapple juice, I decided to go with pineapple vodka as well. I also thought since it was a shout out to Sex and the City I'd go with pink champagne just for the hell of it. What I came up with was a really fun, really fabulous little cocktail that is just perfect to share with your girlfriends when you're having a lovely girl's night in! If you like pineapple this is the drink for you!

What You'll Need:
A martini shaker
1 cup of pineapple juice
1/2 cup of pineapple vodka
1 cup of pink champagne


Gather your ingredients and place the ice, pineapple juice, pineapple vodka and champagne in your martini shaker. Shake gently to mix and pour in to a martini glass to serve.


Quick, simple and fabulous!

Oh and public service announcement: Don't drink and drive!

Notes: You can serve it over ice, or not. I like to serve it over ice as I like really cold drinks. You ingredients are chilled though so that is up to you. You can also use regular vodka or champagne. If you use regular vodka the pineapple flavor will not be as strong.

Posted by Dianne at 1:06 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 3, 2012

Strawberry Punch

Strawberry Punch

At our house birthday's are a big thing. Jamison could take or leave a birthday and ignore the day all together and it wouldn't phase him, but Alexis and I take our birthday's seriously and we celebrate the entire day.

Alexis turned nine on June 24th. Nine. How is that even possible? How could she possibly be nine already? It seems like just yesterday she was born! Due to my class schedule we had to wait to have her friend birthday party on the 30th and I wanted a new punch to try.

A while back I saw something like this on Pinterest, but I couldn't find the exact recipe so I just went out on a limb as I often do. I got several compliments on how good this punch was, and as an added bonus Alexis thought it was cool because it was somewhat pink.

This is a good birthday punch or party punch. It's festive and has a nice sweet/tart ratio. If you want something that is sure to be a hit, look no further, you've found it right here!

What You'll Need:
2 cans of frozen pineapple juice concentrate
1 cup of powdered pink lemonade mix
1 half gallon container of strawberry ice cream
3 bottles of ginger ale

Strawberry Punch

In a large punch bowl mix together frozen pineapple juice, pink lemonade powder, 1/2 of the container of strawberry ice cream and one bottle of ginger ale. Stir until well mixed and the ice cream and pineapple juice have melted.

Stir the punch occasionally while serving. Add more ginger ale as needed. Add the other half of the strawberry ice cream after you've used 1/2 to 3/4ths of the second bottle of ginger ale. Stir until ice cream melts and you can continue to add ginger ale as needed.

And the most important thing about a birthday party?


Anything that makes her giggle with glee like she is above is a very good thing.

Notes: There are so many possibilities for this punch. To make it an adult type punch, add a bit of rum or vodka. You could also add in a couple of cups of strawberry puree if you wanted a bit more of a strawberry punch.

Posted by Dianne at 6:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 21, 2012

Fruity Watermelon Sangria

Fruity Watermelon Sangria

I love Sangria...

It's a fresh, crisp, fun, little drink...

In short it's just perfect for summer! And summer is definitely here!

Sangria is fabulous, especially in summer, but I caution you, this stuff has a lot of alcohol in it, so this is more of a stay in for the evening sort of drink, than a go somewhere after you'd had some type of beverage. It's especially fun to make in the summer when so much fresh fruit is available locally!

Now let's talk some Sangria!

What You'll Need:
1 cup of watermelon chunks (Note: I like to cut the chunks pretty small, about the size of a grape, but of course square.)
1 cup of blackberries
1 cup of cherries, pitted
1 cup of blueberries
1/4 cup of organic cane sugar
1 bottle of watermelon wine (Note: I used Solomons Island Winery's NV Mist Watermelon White Merlot, which is from a winery here in Maryland.)
1 cup of pineapple vodka
1 cup of key lime vodka
1 cup of lemon vodka
1 cup of triple sec or orange vodka, or heck both if you're feeling really crazy!

Fruity Watermelon Sangria

The fun part about sangria is you literally just dump it in a very large pitcher (I prefer to use glass.) and then stick it in the fridge for at least 6 hours, stirring occasionally to let the flavors meld.

And remember, just to reiterate, you need a very large pitcher to do this! The bigger the better!

This is what I like to do...

Place the fruit in the bottom of your pitcher and toss a bit to mix.

Sprinkle sugar over the fruit and let it sit for 10 minutes.

Add wine, vodkas and triple sec and stir to mix.

Place in the fridge for at least 6 hours before serving!

To serve you can serve it straight up or over ice.

Fruity Watermelon Sangria

Notes: You could use other kinds of fruit. Peaches would be fabulous, or chunks of pineapple, or strawberries, etc. If you like it, throw some in! That's the joy of sangria, it really is a mix and match sort of drink, so throw in what you like! This is just perfect for that backyard picnic or cookout, or even coupled with a cool salad for dinner on a very hot day. Mix it up! If you can't find watermelon wine you could use a sweet picnic type wine, either red or white, it's up to your tastes. I've done this before each with The Gollywobbler Red and White Wines from Saint Micheal's Winery too, which is also a Maryland winery.

Posted by Dianne at 7:30 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

June 18, 2012

Michelob ULTRA Light Cider--Real Apples, Less Sugar and Calories, More Yum!

Michelob ULTRA Light Cider

I love apples. They're one of my all-time favorite go to snacks! I also love apple juice and cider, and had always wanted to try a hard cider, but I had never actually gotten around to actually trying one. When I had the opportunity to try Michelob ULTRA Light Cider I jumped at the chance!

I didn't really know what to expect with the Light Cider, but I really was pleasantly surprised. It's crisp, slightly sweet, with a tangy edge and really refreshing! First I tried it chilled, straight up out of the bottle and really loved the flavor; next I made some adult snow cones with the Light Cider and they were fabulous! I think its flavor would also be nice used as a component for apple desserts such as apples cobbler, pie or fritters. I plan to test this theory soon!

Michelob ULTRA Light Cider tastes like apples from the very first sip and that's because it's made from actual apples. There is not an artificial apple taste here...instead you have a really great punch of actual apples. Real apples, not artificial apple flavor. That's always a good thing! Who wants artificial flavoring when you can have the flavor of actual apples? The apples provide a crisp, golden color that even reminds you of apples when you look at Michelob ULTRA Light Cider in its bottle, and leaves no doubt once you have your first taste!

Now let's talk about some of the pluses of Michelob ULTRA Light Cider!

Each bottle of Michelob ULTRA Light Cider has 120 calories. How many of us are watching what we eat these days, especially during bathing suit season? 120 calories is a very small chip in your daily caloric intake and other ciders usually come in at 180 calories or more per serving. Michelob ULTRA Light Cider provides a natural, lighter version of a classic!

Another plus is that there isn't a lot of extra added sugar with Michelob ULTRA Light Cider. Michelob's version is a lot less sweet than other varieties, but it's still perfect! You'll be impressed with the overall flavor of the Cider, all while not missing the extra sweetener. Remember this Cider is made from real apples and is naturally sweetened, both of these facts are very big pluses!

And last but not least, it's naturally gluten-free! People who suffer from gluten intolerance or Celiac Disease can enjoy Michelob ULTRA Light Cider and not have to worry about being exposed to that nasty gluten that can make you sick. Michelob ULTRA Light Cider is the perfect substitute for beer, which often does contain gluten. It's always nice to have a gluten-free alternative, and one that tastes good to boot!

So where do you find Michelob ULTRA Light Cider is crisp and how is it packaged? I found mine in a local liquor store in the cooler where they stored their beers, ales and flavored lagers. Michelob ULTRA Light Cider is available nationwide (excluding CO, UT, WY and OK) and is available in six-packs of 12-ounce clear glass bottles, so check it out!

Michelob ULTRA Light Cider

What are you waiting for? Grab a bottle, or grab a glass and some ice! It's fabulous either way. Michelob ULTRA Light Cider is crisp, naturally sweetened, with a tangy edge and really refreshing! Itr would be perfect for a summer cookout, a weekend party, or even just to relax after a long day of work. Try Michelob ULTRA Light Cider and you'll find a light, refreshing treat, which really hits the spot on those hot summer days!

How can you find out more? Please visit the Michelob ULTRA Light Cider page on BlogHer.com or the sponsor's site for more information. You can also leave me a comment for me telling me: Which favorite summer meal or activity do you think would go best with Michelob ULTRA Cider?

Happy Summer!

Posted by Dianne at 9:00 AM | Comments (0)

January 13, 2012

Make Your Own Ginger Ale

Make Your Own Ginger Ale: Ginger Ale

I'm not a big fan of soda as a general rule, but I do like a good root beer or ginger ale! My beef with most commercial varieties of these drinks? You've got it...high fructose corn syrup! There are some lovely artisan sodas out there, and I usually have some of those on hand, but occasionally I like to make my own ginger ale

Ginger ale obviously starts with ginger, in this case several pounds of it. This is a very easy thing to make, and you can't really go wrong. If your syrup ends up a little less gingery, use more of it when you make your final drink. If it has a stronger ginger flavor, use less. Not sugary enough for you? Add more sugar. Too sugary? Add less sugar, or add a bit more sparkling water when you're ready to drink your ginger ale. This is a very no-fail sort of thing. There are no wrong answers! And you know how I love that sort of thing.

So what's next? I'll make my own root beer, but that as they say, is a story for another day!

Let's talk some homemade ginger ale!

What You'll Need:
2-3 pounds of ginger, mostly peeled
6 quarts of water
4 cups of organic cane sugar
Sparkling water
Ice (optional)

Make Your Own Ginger Ale: Ginger

First you want to scrub your ginger. Usually ginger is presented to you in the store pretty clean, but you still want to scrub. Since ginger is a knobbly beasty of a plant you'd be amazed where dirt can hide in its little nooks and crannies! Look at those monsters in the picture above! Plus who knows who touched it at the store, or in the process of transporting it there, before you and what might have been lurking on their hands.

Next you're going to need a large stockpot. One that can handle at least 8 quarts of liquid, so you have a little room.

Peel your ginger. This doesn't have to be perfect. If you leave a little ginger skin here or there, no biggie! Did I mention how many nooks and crannies ginger has? Just get most of the skin.

Make Your Own Ginger Ale: Peeled Ginger

Once the ginger is peeled, chop it into rounds or chunks. Again nothing has to be perfect here. Just make sure you've got a sharp knife and chop/slice to your hearts content!

Make Your Own Ginger Ale: Chopped Ginger

Place chopped/sliced ginger into your big stockpot.

Make Your Own Ginger Ale: Chopped Ginger Ready For Water

Add six quarts of water and bring to a quick boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook covered for 1 hour.

Strain liquid through a sieve into a large bowl. Wipe or rinse out your stockpot to remove any debris and then return syrup to the pot and stir in sugar. Place back on your stove top and stir until sugar is melted. Given this has been cooking for an hour, the sugar melts almost instantaneously.

Make Your Own Ginger Ale: Ginger Syrup Ready For Jars

Once sugar is melted, pour ginger sugar syrup into glass canning jars. I like to use the ones with wide mouths, because if you leave an inch of space at the top you can freeze the syrup for use later.

Keep in mind that your liquid is hot, so either heat your jars a bit in a 200 F oven for about 10 minutes and then handle with mitts, or let the syrup cool down first or the jars might crack. Let the syrup cool completely if you chose the heated jar route, if not you're already cooled and ready to go.

Make Your Own Ginger Ale: Ginger Syrup

No matter which way you chose to handle your syrup above, now you've got your ginger syrup and you can make ginger ale!

Make Your Own Ginger Ale: Let's Make That Drink!

Now you get to decide whether you want to use ice or not. I like to do this over ice, but if your syrup and/or sparkling water have been stored in the fridge you can skip the ice if you want.

Place a little of your ginger syrup in the bottom of a glass.

Make Your Own Ginger Ale: Ready for Sparkling Water

Cover with sparkling water and stir.

Make Your Own Ginger Ale: Ginger Ale

The amount of syrup versus sparkling water depends on your own personal tastes. Play around with it until you get it where you like it!

What you end up with is a really fabulous, sweet, yet spicy, ginger ale that you can mix up whenever you like.

How fabulous is that?

Makes about 5 quarts.

To store you can place in a cool dark place, in the fridge or even freeze your syrup until ready to use. You could put one jar in the fridge and the rest in the freezer and then use it as you need it. The syrup lasts for weeks in the fridge or a cool dark place, and up to a year in your freezer

If you do decide to freeze your syrup be sure that you've left at least an inch of head space at the top of the jar and that your jars are completely cooled before you put them in your freezer. This prevents the glass from cracking as the liquid freezes and expands/cools.

Notes: Keep in mind that ginger has a little zing to it. Some people might not care for this version of ginger ale because it does have a bit of "heat" to it, for lack of a better word. Most of the people I've given this to, who were fans of ginger ale to begin with, loved the finished product!

Posted by Dianne at 11:03 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

July 29, 2011

Weekend Cocktail Time: Cotton Candy Martini

Cotton Candy Martini

It's Friday so why not make a fun Friday night cocktail? Nothing could be more simple, or more fun than a Cotton Candy Martini! Here is a quick little entry for an easy little cocktail. So grab a friend or two, a martini shaker and let's celebrate Friday. TGIF!

What You'll Need per person:
1 cup of pineapple juice
2 shots of cotton candy vodka
Cotton candy

This is a very simple cocktail and takes next to no time to make.

In a martini shaker add pineapple juice, cotton candy vodka and ice and shake until mixed.

Pour mixture in to a martini glass. Drop a hunk of cotton candy into the drink itself. It will melt instantly and sink to the bottom of the glass. You can use whatever color of cotton candy you like. I used a pink/blue mixed variety.

Garnish with another hunk of cotton candy on the rim of the glass, careful not to let the cotton candy touch the drink.

Cotton Candy Martini


Notes: If you can't find cotton candy vodka then just add a bigger hunk of cotton candy and use plain vodka instead. You could also add in some white grape juice if you wanted as well.

Posted by Dianne at 3:23 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 8, 2011

Party Punch

Party Punch

It appears it's becoming drink central around here with the last two beverage entries!

Alexis turned 8 a few weeks ago. I don't know how it's possible that she's already 8! It seems like it was only yesterday that I held that little glow worm all wrapped up in the hospital. Other days? Well others it feels like decades, but luckily those days are few and far between! ;oP

This year Alexis wanted a Harry Potter party. I thought about being all Super Mom and making her a Hogwarts cake, which is what she kind of wanted, but decided in the end to order a cake and save my sanity. Maybe I'll make her cake next year.....


Usually for her birthday I make some variation of Banana Punch, but I wanted something different. I asked on Twitter and FaceBook if anyone had a good fruit punch recipe that didn't require gingerale or Sprite. If you've read for a while, you know my opinion on HFCS so I won't go there again, but I was determined to get around that little problem.

I got several interesting recipes sent to me, but I knew that they weren't Lex's cup of tea. So I went out on my own as I often do and took clearer type juices that were 100% juice and an organic lemonade that was made with sugar. I used the Pomegranate for "color" and I ended up with a really fabulous punch that everyone seemed to enjoy. I'll definitely be making this again!

What You'll Need:
2 cups of organic cane sugar
4 cups of water
64 ounces of white grape juice
2 - 46 ounce bottle of pineapple juice
64 ounces of lemonade
32 ounces of pomegranate juice
Juice of 6 lemons
Juice of 4 limes
Club soda

First you want to make a simple syrup. Dissolve sugar in water over a medium heat until the sugar is melted. Remove from heat and let cool.

Next you're going to need a big, big and did I mention BIG, bowl! Or you can divide it between two large bowls. That's what I did, putting half of all the ingredients in one bowl and the other half in another bowl.

Mix together simple syrup, juices, lemonade and lemon and lime juice in a big bowl or half and half in to separate bowls as mentioned above. Stir to mix. Place in freezer safe containers that are the size that will fit into a punch bowl and freeze until solid.

Right before serving take one of the frozen containers and empty it out in to your punch bowl. Cover with club soda and stir to mix. The frozen juice combo will start melting and you end up with a really fabulous punch!

Add more frozen mix and club soda as needed.

Party Punch

Notes: You could use different types of juices if you wanted, but as I said above you want juices that are relatively pale, with the pomegranate for "color". Red grape juice could be used instead of the pomegranate for a darker punch. Next time I want to try a pineapple/coconut combo instead of plain pineapple juice. For an adult kick add some rum or vodka.

Posted by Dianne at 3:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 28, 2011

Triple Chocolate Martini

Triple Chocolate Martini

I've been intrigued lately by all the different types of vodka that are available. It's amazing what is out there. I mentioned before I had discovered whipped cream and cotton candy vodkas, but that's just the tip of the iceberg!

Now I love chocolate, I've mentioned it before, many, many times, so when someone told me that Godiva made a chocolate vodka well I couldn't not get a bottle and then you've just got to play around with a new "toy" and in this case the "toys" would be my new martini shaker and martini glasses. I had been looking for glasses that were a bit different than just your standard glass and when I saw the ones pictured in this entry I instantly fell in love! I love cobalt glass, and I loved how this glass had the cobalt rim, bottom and swirl. I also love how it is basically stemless!

Anyway...I got sidetracked by my glass love. Let's get back to the martini!

A few weeks ago I played around with an idea for a chocolate martini and it was good, but this version turned out so much better! I decided to just go all out chocolate for this one. Chocolate drink, chocolate drizzle, chocolate whipped cream. I'm a firm believer that there is no such thing as too much chocolate!

What You'll Need for the Chocolate Whipped Cream:
1 cup of heavy cream
1/4 cup of organic cane sugar
1/3 cup of cocoa

In a bowl of a mixer add all three ingredients. Mix on low until incorporated and then turn to high and beat until stiff peaks form.

What You'll Need for the Martini:
1 shot of Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
2 shots of Godiva Chocolate Vodka
1 shot of Chocolate Whipped Cream Vodka
1/2 cup of sparkling water
Chocolate or hot fudge sauce
Chocolate whipped Cream (see above)

In a martini shaker add chocolate liqueur, and the two vodkas, along with the sparkling water over ice and shake to mix well.

Add two or three tablespoons of chocolate sauce to the bottom of a martini glass and then pour the martini mixture over the chocolate. Top with the chocolate whipped cream.

At this point you can serve the drink as is:

Triple Chocolate Martini

Or you can drizzle on a little more chocolate sauce:

Triple Chocolate Martini

Now it's time to sit back, relax and enjoy a little piece of chocolate heaven!

Notes: Be careful because this is a bit strong if you have a low alcohol tolerance such as I do. I keep all of my vodka in the freezer, but I like to shake it with ice anyway. The colder the drink the better!

Posted by Dianne at 2:53 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

May 18, 2011

Creamsicle Martini

Creamsicle Martini

Last month Lex's Brownie troop had a Friday night activity at a Paint Your Own Pottery studio. There is a restaurant up the street from the studio that is one of my favorites in the area and since she was to be occupied for a few hours we thought we'd make a date night out of it after we dropped her off with her troop.

After I figured out what I wanted from the menu I was perusing their drink menu and they had so many different varieties I wanted to try, one of which was a Creamsicle Martini. That night I ended up trying their Lemon Drop Martini and their Chocolate Martini, but the Creamsicle variety kept popping in to my head. The description of the drink was intriguing, and it mentioned the addition of whipped cream vodka. Whipped cream vodka? I had never heard of it! It sounded too good to be true! So after that night I started asking around to see if anyone had ever heard of it. I didn't find anyone in my immediate acquaintance that had in fact heard of such a delight. I wasn't deterred though and decided to see if anyone in our area carried this mysterious vodka.

The next time I was on the other side of town I stopped by the liquor store, which ironically is across the parking lot from a very popular local church. One of the doctor's at our doctor's office, who actually attends to the church, jokingly refers to their church "the liquor store church", which is neither here nor there at the moment, but amused me greatly.


When I went in I not only found the whipped cream vodka, but I also found that the same company made a cotton candy variety as well, which you'll hear more about in the future I am sure. Needless to say both bottles made it home with me and I was happy to discover that both of them taste great alone, but why would I want to stop there?

A few nights ago I decided to play around with the whipped cream vodka and see if I couldn't come up with a creamsicle martini of my own and I was completely satisfied with what came about. This has a similar taste to those creamsicle bars some of enjoyed as children, but it most definitely has that adult kick that makes it a fabulous martini. Trust me, if you like orange, this is the drink for you!

What You'll Need Per Person:
1 bottle of Izze Sparkling Clementine fruit soda
1 cup of tangerine juice with 1/2 cup of club soda or seltzer
2 shots of whipped cream vodka
1 shot of vanilla vodka
A generous dollop of whipped cream

In a martini or cocktail shaker add all ingredients minus the whipped cream and shake well. If you don't store your vodka in the freezer you'll want to add some ice cubes too to chill the mixture.

Pour the mixture into a glass and top with a generous dollop of whipped cream.

Serve immediately.

Creamsicle Martini

Notes: There are so many possibilities with this drink. If you like you can mix the whipped cream in to the drink before drinking, or you can simply leave it at the top. I've tried it both ways and it's fabulous either way.

As I mentioned before if you don't have or can't find the Izze Clementine soda then you can simply use tangerine juice and mix in club soda. It has the same effect, though it does change the taste slightly, but either way you won't be disappointed with the overall result.

You could also add the zest of an orange on the whipped cream topping the drink, or an orange slice to add a little pizazz.

Posted by Dianne at 3:16 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 5, 2010



Recently I had a whim that I wanted to make sangria. I had never had sangria before believe it or not, but when has that ever stopped me? I looked at various sangria recipes and of course ended up going out on my own as is often the case.

This time of year is the perfect time to make sangria, with all of the fresh fruits available! I like to make it ahead of time and let the flavor meld during the day in the fridge. It's a really simple, yet really great drink to make. It's the perfect summer time treat!

What You'll Need:
1/2 to 1 cup of organic cane sugar (Note: If you're using a sweeter wine, use less.)
1 bottle of white wine
2 cups of dark rum
2 lemons, cut into wedges
2 limes, cut into wedges
1 peach, cut into wedges
Chunks of watermelon

Place sugar in the bottom of a pitcher and add wine and rum and stir well. Squeeze lemons, limes and peaches into the pitcher and then drop the fruit in as well. Add watermelon and stir.

Place in the fridge for at least 6 hours stirring here and there to ensure that the sugar dissolves completely. Serve chilled and you can even serve it over ice if you like.


If you're running low you can always add more wine and/or rum, along with a bit of sugar. I've even added red wine to a dwindling pitcher that had white wine in it to begin with, and switched from rum to lemon vodka when I'm refilling the pitcher. It's a very easy mix and match drink and the bits of sangria soaked fruit are a nice treat too!

Now let's talk a minute about strength...This stuff is pretty strong! It's almost straight alcohol with a bit of fruit juice for fun. One glass and I feel it, but keep in mind my metabolism sucks and it doesn't take much to make me tipsy. Regardless though drink with caution! ;oP

Notes: You can use any kinds of fruit that you like. Blueberries are a nice addition as well, but you knew I'd go for the blueberries! ;oP

Posted by Dianne at 1:13 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

June 15, 2010

Party Punch

Party Punch

As I've mentioned before Banana Punch was a big thing when I was growing up for parties, showers, etc. I wanted to make some for Lex's birthday party (Which ended up being canceled, but that's another story!) but I wanted to make it a bit simpler overall and have less volume, yet a more concentrated punch base that would take up less room in the fridge/freezer and this really fit the bill!

Overall I ended up liking this more than the original Banana punch! I love when that happens! Just remember to mix this up at least 24 hours before you need it since you have to freeze part of the mixture.

Let's get started!

What You'll Need:
2 - 12 ounces cans of frozen orange juice (Note: A variety without high fructose corn syrup.)
2 - 12 ounce cans of frozen pineapple juice (Note: Ditto on the note above.)
2 - 12 ounce cans of a frozen pineapple, orange, banana blend (Note: Did I mention no HFCS?)
1 - 64 ounce bottle of apple juice (Note: Look for a variety that is just juice.)
4 cups of organic cane sugar
The juice of 4 lemons
Ginger ale (Note: It is possible to find varieties of ginger ale with no HFCS too.)

First you need two very large bowls. I like to use gallon glass bowls.

In each bowl add 1 can of frozen orange juice, pineapple juice and a pineapple, orange, banana blend. Next add 1/2 of the bottle of apple juice, along with sugar and the juice of 2 lemons to each bowl. Stir to mix.

When both bowls are mixed add the mixture from 1 bowl to a pitcher and place in the fridge. Divide the mixture from the other bowl into two equally sized containers and freeze until solid. (At least 24 hours.)

When ready to make the punch pour 1/2 of the mixture from the pitcher, with one container of the frozen mixture into a punch bowl. Cover with ginger ale and stir to mix. Serve immediately. Repeat as needed.

You can keep adding ginger ale to the original pour into the bowl until it becomes unfruity and then add the second round of liquid/frozen mixture.

Notes: You can use a mixture of other juice if you like, but I really like this mixture best. Crushed frozen strawberries would be good. And I have it on very good authority that the addition of a little rum to this sort of mixture makes a very nice adult treat! ;oP

Posted by Dianne at 11:48 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

February 4, 2010

Quick and Easy Hot Chocolate

Quick and Easy Hot Chocolate

Snow makes me think of hot chocolate. You got out and play in the snow, then come in, get warm and enjoy a big cup of steaming hot chocolate! The thought takes me back to my childhood. It was just the way we did things.

There are many ways to make hot chocolate, and yes there is always instant, but really it's so much better when you make it yourself! With a few simple ingredients, you have a really fabulous hot chocolate in no time that really hits the spot on those cold winter days!

What You'll Need:
4 cups of milk (Note: I used skim, but you can use whatever variety you like, you could even use half and half or heavy cream if you just wanted to go all out.)
1 cup of organic cane sugar
1 cup of unsweetened cocoa, sifted

In a medium sized pan add milk, sugar and sifted cocoa and whip to mix. (Note: This is one of the few times you'll see me sift anything, but you really want your cocoa powder to be fine and not in lumps!)

Quick and Easy Hot Chocolate: Ready to Simmer

Bring mixture to a simmer and then pour into cups.

Quick and Easy Hot Chocolate: Ready to Top

Top with marshmallows or whipped cream and you've got the perfect cup of hot chocolate!

See how easy that was?

Notes: You can store leftovers in the fridge for several days and reheat when wanted. To make an adult version add a shot of whiskey or Irish Cream.

Posted by Dianne at 8:21 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

October 21, 2009

Caramel Apple Cider

Caramel Apple Cider

I have a confession to make, and if you've been around Dianne's Dishes a while you may have heard me make this confession before, I'm not a fan of coffee. I love the smell of coffee beans and when it's ground, but the moment water hits it, it vastly loses its appeal to me. In fact when I was pregnant I couldn't stand the smell of brewing coffee the entire nine months, it made me nauseous. I don't like the taste of coffee and even if it is in infinitesimal amounts, like when it "enhances" the flavor of chocolate (don't even get me started on that!) I can taste the flavor, and it's a flavor that I just don't care for. I'm an avid tea drinker, mostly iced green tea, but even hot tea works for me as well. On top of not liking the flavor of coffee, it doesn't affect me one way or the other, so what's the point?

So why am I telling you that?

Sometimes, especially this time of year, you just want a hot drink, and sometimes tea is not what I'm looking for. Sure there is always hot chocolate, but sometimes that isn't quite what I'm looking for either. So what other options are there?

I may be one of the few people who frequents Starbucks who doesn't drink coffee. My standard order is a venti unsweet green iced tea. Plain, simple and delicious. Yes I grew up in the South, but no I do not care for sweet tea, and believe me growing up in Tennessee you would be amazed how many people take it personally that you don't want your tea sweetened. "Do you want artificial sweetener then?" they would ask and then be shocked when I said "No!" I like my tea straight up. I actually enjoy the flavors of the teas I drink. My standard order is what I order 9 out of 10 times. Occasionally I'll get the unsweet Passion tea, or I'll get a hot tea, but even in winter my normal order is still the iced green variety. But when I'm not in the mood for tea my two favorites of their hot drinks are their hot chocolates, and more often their Caramel Apple Spice.

If you've never tried an Caramel Apple Spice it's basically warm apple juice, with caramel syrup and whipped cream. It reminds me somewhat of hot apple cider, so I decided a year or so ago to play around with some apple cider and see what I could come up with. By pairing a few simple ingredients you end up with a fabulous fall treat that is fun to share. What's not to like about that?

What You'll Need:
1 cup of water
1 cup of natural brown sugar
1/2 gallon of apple cider (Note: It's really easy this time of year to find a fabulous, locally made apple cider.)
Mulling spices (Note: You can put the spices together yourself, or you can purchase them already put together. I normally us cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, cloves, etc. But this go around I got a package from Whiskey Island.)
1 cup of heavy cream
1/4 cup of organic cane sugar

In a small pot melt sugar in water and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring often. Remove from heat and let cool. This will make a thin caramel sauce.

In a large pot place apple cider and mulling spices. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer covered for 30 minutes or so.

Just before you're ready to serve, whip the heavy cream with the organic cane sugar, until stiff peaks form. Set aside.

When you're ready to serve strain the cider. (Trust me, or you'll be picking out bits of mulling spice as you drink...Not that I'd know that personally or anything! ;oP) Place cider in a mug, drizzle in some of the caramel into the cup. Next top the apple cider mixture with a dollop of whipped cream, and then another generous drizzle of caramel syrup.

Serve immediately.

Notes: No notes for this one!

Posted by Dianne at 12:53 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

August 12, 2009

Cocktail Time! Frozen Blueberry Margaritas!

Cocktail Time! Frozen Blueberry Margarita

I love blueberries and Alexis does too. Sometimes though we don't eat them fast enough and I often end up with blueberries in the freezer to keep them from going bad. The frozen variety are perfect for blueberry sauce, muffins, blueberry cheesecake, blueberry ice cream or even to eat as a nice little frozen treat, but why not take them to another level?

A few weeks ago I decided to make some margaritas, but I didn't want to make just the general version. I thought about many things and finally I thought it might be nice to throw in some frozen blueberries and see how that would turn out. It turned out well! If you like blueberries and want a margarita with a twist then this is the drink for you!

What You'll Need:
2 cups of freshly squeezed lime juice
1 cup of simple syrup
1 cup of triple sec
3/4 cup of tequila
2 cups of frozen blueberries (Note: These were local blueberries that I froze myself. In theory the ones you buy at the grocery store should work as well, though I haven't tried them.)
Organic cane sugar for rimming the glasses

Cocktail Time! Frozen Blueberry Margarita

Dump all of your ingredients into the jar of your blender and blend until mostly smooth.

I actually like little frozen blueberry bits in my drink, but if you want something a bit smoother then you can strain the mixture before putting it into the glass.

Cocktail Time! Frozen Blueberry Margarita

Wet the edge of your glasses and dip them into organic cane sugar. Pour the blueberry margaritas into the glasses and serve.

Notes: When I'm making a straight up margarita I prefer to rim the glasses with salt, but when it is a fruity version I prefer sugar.

Posted by Dianne at 10:58 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 14, 2009

Cocktail Time! Let's Make Lemon Drops!

Cocktail Time! Let's Make Lemon Drops!

Last week was one of those weeks. Most people I know were having that kind of week. I saw it with people I know here in Maryland, friends in other cities, people on Twitter/Facebook...The week was just off! Maybe it was the full moon? Maybe it was just a weird alignment of the planets? Who knows! But it was a long, long, long (and did I mention long?) week! On Friday night it was high time to make a cocktail (or two!) ;oP

One of my all time favorite drinks is a Lemon Drop Martini. Most of the time when I make cocktails (which sadly isn't often...The last time I made them was when I was at the beach a few years ago) I'll either make Margaritas or Lemon Drops. Friday was a lemon drop sort of night!

This concoction is the perfect, quick, no fail drink that comes out fabulously time and time again. Sometimes that's just what you need!

Cocktail Time! Let's Make Lemon Drops!

What You'll Need:
The juice of six lemons
1 cup of lemon or citrus vodka
1 cup of simple syrup
2 cups of seltzer water
2 cups of ice
Organic cane sugar (optional to rim the glasses)

Cocktail Time! Let's Make Lemon Drops!

In a glass pitcher stir together lemon juice, vodka and simple syrup until well mixed. Add seltzer and stir until incorporated. Add ice.

Cocktail Time! Let's Make Lemon Drops!

Wet the rim of your glasses and dip into organic cane sugar (optional). Pour drinks into the glasses and serve.

Notes: Someone on Facebook suggested doing this with limes. I'm totally going to have to try that next time!

Posted by Dianne at 8:23 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

January 27, 2009

Do It Yourself Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate

Do It Yourself Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate

I have to say I'm just not feeling winter this year. I mean I'm usually the winter is awesome girl, but this year not so much! If it would snow and actually stick around for a day or two, I might change my mind, but so far we've just had bitterly cold weather and a lot of ice. We're supposed to have some convincing snow over the next day or so, but who knows.It's snowing now and seems to be sticking around but for the most par it has just been super duper well, cold! And I'm just not feeling it! I'd love some spring like or fall like weather if it's not going to snow, but you can keep summer and you can keep this bitter cold!


I really can't stay - Baby it's cold outside
I've got to go away - Baby it's cold outside


Oh sorry...I got distracted there for a minute! Am I the only one that breaks out into song? Digressing again...Let's talk some hot chocolate shall we?

The other day on Twitter FaceBook I posed the question wondering if I was the only one who frequented Starbucks who did not order coffee. Most of the time when I go I order an unsweet green iced tea. If I don't go with the iced tea, I sometimes go with hot tea if I'm cold. Occasionally however I just want something hot that isn't in the tea family, especially when it's so bitterly cold outside as it has been as of late. When I'm feeling the non-tea hot drink call I normally get a Caramel Apple Spice (which I've created at home too, but haven't blogged about...I'll have to do that sometime in the future!) because I had tried Starbucks' normal hot chocolate and wasn't all that impressed or now that there is a choice I'll sometimes get a Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate, which I do like.

When Starbucks came out with their Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate this year I was immediately intrigued, even though as I mentioned above I wasn't a fan of their regular hot chocolate and I tried one the next time Miss G and I took a spin through one of their locations. I loved it! The Barista that made it for me compared it to a melted Snickers bar in a cup and that pretty much summed it up! And I have ordered a few more over the next few months as the winter has worn on. Only once was it not that great, but for the most part I was highly impressed and my mind started working on how to make something similar at home. This is what resulted and trust me...It's good!

Do It Yourself Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate: Hot Chocolate

What You'll Need for the Hot Chocolate:
4 cups of milk or dairy (Note: I used skim milk, but you could use any type of milk that you liked or even half and half or heavy cream if you just wanted to go all out!)
1 cup of organic cane sugar
1 cup of cocoa (Note: This is the stuff like you bake with.)

In a medium sized pot whisk together milk, sugar and cocoa until completely incorporated. This may take a minute or two. Heat over medium heat until steaming, but not boiling, stirring occasionally.

Proceed to the step to bring it all together below.

Do It Yourself Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate: Totally Cheating "Caramel"

What You'll Need for the Totally Cheating "Caramel":
1 can of sweetened condensed milk (Note: You can use regular or fat free.)
1 cup of natural brown sugar

(Note: This makes a very quick, very dulche de leche type caramel. But trust me you're the only really who will know!)

In a small pot over medium heat, melt brown sugar in sweetened condensed milk until smooth, stirring frequently. You can do this while the hot chocolate is heating...It's that fast!

What You'll Need to Put Together the Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate:
Hot Chocolate (See above)
Totally Cheating "Caramel" (See above)
Marshmallows (Note: I chose to use marshmallows instead of whipped cream as Starbucks does, but you can use whipped cream instead if you prefer. The marshmallows were really fabulous though!)
Sea salt

In a cup add about 1 cup to 1 1/2 cups of hot chocolate. Top with 2-4 large marshmallows or a handful of mini-marshmallows. Drizzle some warm caramel over the top and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt. Serve immediately.

How easy is that?

Notes: If you aren't a fan of caramel you could drizzle it with hot fudge or melted chocolate instead for a double chocolate punch.

Posted by Dianne at 9:06 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

September 24, 2008

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

Today we're going to do a quick and easy post. Yesterday morning when I was slicing gluten free bread for Jamison's sandwich for lunch I sliced into my finger. I'll spare you the details, but needless to say typing is not that much fun right now! So this is going to be short and sweet. Let's get to it shall we?

What You'll Need:
1 frozen banana
1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter
1 cup of milk (Note: You can use cow's milk, almond milk, soy milk, rice milk, etc.)

Cut frozen banana into chunks. Dump everything into the jar of your blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

Makes one large breakfast sized serving or two snack sized portions.

Notes: You could do this with any frozen fruit or any nut butter.

Posted by Dianne at 9:09 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 25, 2008

Blueberry Pomegranate Fizz

Blueberry Pomegranate Fizz

As I've mentioned before I love Izze sparkling juice, but between gas prices and rising food costs there isn't a lot of room in the budget for such luxuries anymore. That doesn't mean however that you can't make your own version for a fraction of the price! What's not to like about that?

A fruit fizz is a wonderful alternative to soda that is healthier too! So why not go all out and combine the juice of two super foods to make it that much better? The fruit gives the drink a natural sweetness, while the sparkling water gives it a fizzy burst. It's just perfect for a healthy treat on a hot summer day!

What You'll Need:
3 parts blueberry pomegranate juice
1 part sparkling water

In a large glass pour juice and seltzer over ice and stir to mix. Serve immediately.

Notes: There is no need to add sugar or anything to this mix as the juice is sweetened naturally, though some people do add extra sugar. You could make this a bit of an "adult" treat by adding in some rum or vodka. You could also do this with any other kind of juice that you like.

Posted by Dianne at 7:29 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

July 16, 2008

Strawberry Lemonade Punch

Strawberry Lemonade Punch

Normally for a birthday party or something of that nature I make Banana Punch. Banana punch was the go to recipe when I was growing up for parties, showers, etc. But this year for Alexis' birthday party I had a bunch of lemons and strawberries on hand, and in the spirit of not buying more stuff I decided to make something different and the results were stellar! You could even make this an adult punch by adding a little rum if you liked...The possibilities are endless! ;o)

What You'll Need:
6 cups of frozen strawberries
The juice of 12-14 lemons
4 cups of organic cane sugar
Seltzer water

Strawberry Lemonade Punch: Ready For The Freezer

Place frozen berries in batches of about a cup into a blender and blend until completely chopped. A few larger pieces here and there are not a big deal. Pour into a very large bowl. (Note: It would be MUCH easier in a food processor than a blender, but sadly I still haven't replaced my processor that died horribly. If you have a food processor then by all means use it instead! It will make the process MUCH easier and if you're using a food processor you don't even have to freeze the strawberries!)

Stir in lemon juice and sugar and let sit until sugar dissolves. Place into small airtight containers and freeze until solid.

Strawberry Lemonade Punch: Ready For The Freezer

Thirty minutes before you want to serve pull out one or two of the frozen containers and let thaw a bit. Place the still slightly frozen mixture into a punch bowl and cover with seltzer water and then serve.

Notes: You could do this with blueberries or peaches or pineapple or any other type of fruit that you like!

Posted by Dianne at 7:44 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 6, 2007

Hot Chocolate Gift Jar

Hot Chocolate

Hot chocolate immediately brings to mind snow, warmth and the holidays! What better present to give than a jar of chocolatey goodness? Throw in some cookies and you could even leave out a cup for Santa! He'd really love that! ;o)

Hot Chocolate Gift Jar

What You'll Need for the Jar:
1 quart jar
1 cup of powdered milk
1 cup of powdered cocoa
1 cup of powdered sugar
2 tablespoons of vanilla powder (Note: If you've never used vanilla powder before you use it just as you would the liquid equivalent. Take the link to get more info. You'll have to scroll down until you reach the product.)
4 tablespoons of organic cane sugar

Mix ingredients in a food processor or sift together and stir until completely mixed. Dress up the jar however you like, but be sure to include instructions on how to make the hot chocolate (see below).

To Make the Hot Chocolate:
Add boiling water to 2 or 3 heaping spoonfuls of hot chocolate mix to taste. Top with marshmallows or whipped cream or even just drink it straight up! For an adult kick add in some rum or Irish cream.

Posted by Dianne at 7:53 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

November 15, 2007

Thanksgiving Yummy: Maple Pumpkin Bread

Maple Pumpkin Bread

Oh my what a day, what a DAY! I don't think I've made an entry this late in the day (or night as the case may be! ;o)) since I started Dianne's Dishes, but that's neither here nor there. Let's get on to the Thanksgiving recipe instead, shall we? ;o)

Even on Thanksgiving you've simply got to eat breakfast! Why not go with a pumpkin theme? Mmmmm Pumpkin! Maple Pumpkin Bread is just the thing to get the day started off on a holiday note. This bread is simple, quick and delicious! The best part is that you can make it ahead of time and simply enjoy a leisurely breakfast before all the joy and thankfulness! ;o)

What You'll Need:
3 cups of unbleached all purpose flour OR white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon of sea salt
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 tablespoon of pumpkin pie spice mix
1 1/4 cup of natural brown sugar, divided
1/2 cup of maple syrup
2 eggs
1 cup of buttermilk
1 - 15 ounce can of pumpkin (Note: NOT pumpkin pie mix!)
1 1/2 cups of chopped walnuts
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds (Also know as pepitas)

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a large bowl mix flour through pumpkin pie spice mix, along with 1 cup of brown sugar and stir to mix. Add maple syrup through pumpkin and stir to mix thoroughly. Stir in nuts and pumpkin seeds until incorporated. Pour batter into 2 greased or sprayed loaf pans. Sprinkle the batter with 1/4 cup of brown sugar spread evenly between the two loaves.

Maple Pumpkin Bread Ready for the Oven

Bake for 35-45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool to the touch before removing the loaves from the pans. Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Maple Pumpkin Bread

Notes: You could easily make this batter as muffins. They would most likely bake for 12-15 minutes or until they stick done. You could also add in a cup of raisins or use another type of nut. 2 cups of chopped apple would be a nice addition as well. You can serve it right out of the oven OR you can freeze it for up to six weeks and thaw before using. You can even top a slice with a little peanut butter...It sounds weird, but it's great so what are you waiting for? ;o)

Posted by Dianne at 9:56 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 18, 2007

Baked Pears with Goat Cheese and Honey

Baked Pears with Goat Cheese and Honey

It's pear season! You've got to love Fall! Goat cheese and honey, meld together with the pears to makes a scrumptious taste combination. This is a simple, quick, delicious dessert that you'll love!

What You'll Need Per Person:
1/2 a pear with the core scooped out
1-2 tablespoons of goat cheese

Preheat oven to 375 F.

First you want to scoop out the core of the pear:

Baked Pears with Goat Cheese and Honey

Next stuff the center with goat cheese:

Baked Pears with Goat Cheese and Honey

Bake for 10-15 minutes until pear is soft and goat cheese is slightly golden.

Remove from oven and drizzle with honey. Serve immediately.

Notes: If you want to you could use blue cheese instead of goat cheese, but I'd omit the honey. Chopped pecans or walnuts would also be a good addition to sprinkle on top before baking.

Posted by Dianne at 9:56 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 14, 2007

Pumpkin Smoothie

Pumpkin Smoothie

It's amazing how much pumpkin three small sugar pumpkins actually put out! So that just encourages me to come up with new uses for pumpkin. This morning I was thinking about pumpkin and I wondered how a pumpkin smoothie would taste, so I whipped one up. If you like pumpkin then this little gem makes a great fall time breakfast or snack!

What You'll Need:
1 ripe banana
1 cup of cooked pumpkin
1 cup of milk (Note: I used EdenBlend's Rice Soy blend, but you can whatever type of milk you like.)
1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter
1 cup of ice

Dump all the ingredients into the jar of your blender and blend on high until smooth. Serve immediately.

Notes: If you wanted to add some cinnamon they that would be a great addition, but I'd leave out the peanut butter. Also I think the banana and pumpkin "sweetens" the smoothie without having to add any other sweeteners, but if you think it needs something more then I would go with either a tablespoon of honey or a tablespoon of maple syrup. I'ts nice to stick with natural sweetners and not processed ones.

Posted by Dianne at 7:49 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

July 17, 2007



What's better than a nice, big, cold glass of lemonade on a hot summer day? The two go hand in hand!

What You'll Need:
1 1/2 cups of organic cane sugar
1 1/2 cups of water
9-10 lemons, juiced
More water to fill the pitcher

Heat sugar and 1 1/2 cups of water over medium heat until sugar dissolves and syrup forms. Remove from heat and let cool. In a gallon pitcher add lemon juice to cooled simple syrup and stir to mix. Fill up the rest of the pitcher with water and viola...Lemonade! Pour over ice and garnish with a lemon round if desired.

Notes: You can add in some lime juice instead of lemon for Limemade. You could also add in any other fruit juice you wanted for a lemonade combo deal (Watermelon Lemonade, Strawberry Lemonade, etc.)

Posted by Dianne at 2:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

July 10, 2007

Frozen Fruity Rum Punch

Frozen Fruity Rum Punch

I still have some frozen Banana Punch concentrate in the freezer from Alexis' birthday party and I decided it would be fun to thaw some out and have a little fun with it...Add in a little rum and you've got a wonderful summer treat for the adults!

What You'll Need:
4 cups of Banana Punch concentrate, thawed until slushy
2 cups of ice
1 cup of dark rum
1 cup of ginger ale

Place all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth.

Posted by Dianne at 7:26 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 18, 2007

Banana Punch

Banana Punch

When I was growing up this was the go to punch for baby showers, bridal showers and parties. It's simple to make and it's delicious. It always gets raves! Try it at your next party and see!

What You'll Need:
5 crushed bananas
The juice of one lemon
4 cups of organic cane sugar
1 – 46 oz unsweetened pineapple juice
1 – 46 oz unsweetened orange juice
1 – 46 oz unsweetened apple juice
Ginger ale

Squeeze lemon juice over the crushed bananas. Mix together everything but the ginger ale in a very, very large bowl or in batches and freeze until solid. Take out of freezer about 1 hour before needed. Pour ginger ale over mixture in a large punch bowl and mix in a large punch bowl just before serving. As you use the punch you can keep adding more ginger ale and more frozen punch. Quick, easy and delicious!

Notes: If you can't get juices in the exact sizes don't sweat it, it will still taste delicious! As long as you have some amount near the above recommendations of each juice you're fine. You can't mess this one up...it's foolproof! Also don't sweat it if you can't find unsweetened juice. Just take out some or all of the sugar depnding on how sweet you like things.

Posted by Dianne at 1:04 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 27, 2007

Frozen Pineapple Margaritas

Frozen Pineapple Margarita

I love margaritas and I always like to try new renditions. Watermelon? Check! Strawberry? Check! Peach? Oh yeah!

This pineapple version is cool, fruity and oh so lovely. It's just perfect for a warm summer evening! If you like margaritas give this one a try...You won't be disappointed!

What You'll Need:
The juice of 12 limes
1 cup of pineapple juice
1 cup of simple syrup
1/2 cup of triple sec
1/2 cup of tequila

Dump all ingredients in the ingredients into the jar of your blender (add enough ice to fill the jar) and blend on high until smooth. Serve with a salted rim or even a sugar rim. Drink and enjoy.

Simple, easy and delicious!

Posted by Dianne at 12:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 12, 2007

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Strawberry Banana Smoothie

Sometimes I like to make a smoothie for breakfast. I've seen a lot of smoothie recipes that call for sweeteners, but the reality is that natural sugars in the fruit are more than enough! Smoothies are fast, easy, healthy and delicious!

What You'll Need Per Person:
1 cup of milk (skim, soy, etc.)
2 strawberries, sliced
1 banana
1 tablespoon of ground flax seed
1 cup of crushed ice

Place all ingredients in the jar of you blender and blend until smooth.

Notes: You can use peaches or blueberries or any other fruit that you like. You can even use frozen fruit! You can also add in some yogurt if you like as well. It's another one of those recipes that you can play with and the possibilities are endless!

Posted by Dianne at 9:01 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

February 25, 2007

Dianne's Tropical Lemonade

Dianne's Tropical Lemonade

I was reading the current issue of Cooking Light and they had a frozen lemonade made with coconut rum. The only problem is that I don't keep frozen lemonade concentrate on hand (high fructose corn syrup anyone?) and usually make lemonade straight from lemons. I decided that it had to be easy to make my own little concoction and this is what I came up with. It's fruity, tropical and oh so good!

What You'll Need:
The juice of 2 lemons
2 cups of water
1 cup of club soda
1/2 cup of coconut rum
1/2 cup of organic cane sugar
2 cups of ice
Sliced lemon for garnish (optional)

Mix lemon juice, water, club soda, rum and sugar in the canister of your blender. Add ice and blend until smooth. Serve with sliced lemons to garnish if desired!

Who says you can't be tropical in February? ;o)

Posted by Dianne at 10:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack