Spiked Lemonades

Just in time for summer, here are some amazing summery cocktails to try!  Let me know what you think of them!

Blue Raspberry Spiked Lemonade

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 gallon of lemonade
  • 6 ounces of vodka
  • 4 1/2 ounces blue raspberry-flavored vodka (UV Blue)
  • Mint fresh leaves

DIRECTIONS

  • Prepare or buy your lemonade. Fill the glasses with ice and then pour the lemonade over the ice about 3/4 of the way full.
  • Add one ounce vodka and stir. Then top with 3/4 of an ounce Blue Raspberry Vodka. Garnish with a sprig of mint!

Recipe brought to you by Tablespoon.

Hard Fireball Razzyade

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  • 1 ounce Fireball Whisky
  • 2.5 ounces raspberry lemonade
  • Squeeze of one lemon wedge

Add the ingredients to a glass filled with ice. Mix well and serve. Garnish with fresh raspberries and lemon.

Brought to you by This Girl Walks Into a Bar.

Tequila Blackberry Lemonade

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Ingredients
  • ¼ cup fresh blackberries, plus more for garnish
  • 2 oz. silver tequila
  • 6 oz. of lemonade
  • lemon for garnish and juice
Instructions
  1. in the bottom of your glass or mason jar muddle (or mash) ¼ cup blackberries in the bottom
  2. top with crushed ice
  3. pour tequila and lemonade on top
  4. if not using fresh lemonade, squeeze a bit of fresh lemon juice into the drink
  5. garnish with more blackberries on top and a slice of lemon

This delightful recipe inspired by Real Housemoms.

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Chocolate Croissants

I was looking through my all time favorite recipe blog, Sally’s Baking Addiction and saw this little gem!  I can not believe I have not thought of this! Chocolate and bread–two of my all time favorite things!!  Mix these two ingredients together and wowa!

Who doesn’t like a little chocolate to get your day started?!  Europeans do it all the time and look at how happy they are!  (Yes, that is my logic and I’m sticking to it!)

20 Minute Chocolate Croissants

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury™ refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips or chopped pure chocolate*
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/4 teaspoon shortening, optional

Directions:

Heat oven to 350F degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper. Set aside.

Separate crescent roll dough into 8 triangles. Sprinkle about 1 Tablespoon of chocolate chips/chunks on top of each triangle as shown above. Use your best judgement – if you think your triangle can hold more, add more. If you think it should hold less, use less chocolate chips. Press chips down lightly to get them to stick. Reserve remaining chocolate chips.

Roll up, starting from wide end and rolling to opposite point. Place onto baking sheet and curve into croissant shape. Brush the croissants lightly with beaten egg – this helps gives them that golden sheen.

Bake 12 to 17 minutes or until deep golden brown. Remove from cookie sheet and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Melt the remaining chocolate in the microwave in 10 second increment, stirring after each increment. Add shortening to thin out if desired. Drizzle over croissants and serve warm. Try adding fresh whipped cream or even salted caramel on top. Leftovers keep well covered tightly at room temperature for 3 days.

Fabulous recipe brought to you by this talented lady!

Grandmas Things

My house just got a face lift with new paint (see the previous post) and I can not think of a better way to add charm to my house than to add more antiques!! My grandparents recently sold their city house and moved out to their lake house full time–I think that this move was exciting but very overwhelming and sad because my grandparents designed, built, and lived in their city house for over 50 years.  When they decided that they were moving, their three kids and nine grand-kids were able to go through their house and let them know what we would like.  I must admit, I am glad that I was not the one who decided who got what, I can only imagine how many names were on certain pieces of furniture/antiques.  But somehow it all worked out.

I loved most of the furniture in my grandparents house, however I already live in a fully furnished house, therefore, I had to pick and choose the most sentimental or interesting pieces.  I was quite pleased with the items I ended up with and they look great in my house!  I don’t even think James minds what we ended up with, plus, he knows my obsession with old things.

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Dry Sink

I have always loved dry sinks! I was so excited when this lovely piece of furniture showed up at the house! it looks great, is in great condition, and adds so much to our spare bedroom upstairs!

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Cherry Basket on the left (Gray and blue) and two lanterns on the right. I have had my eye on these three things for a long time. They were hanging around my grandparents house for as long as I can remember.  There were four lanterns, but my sister got two and I got two.  Sharing right?

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These two beauties were lights in my grandparents downstairs bathroom, I absolutely love these!  They are old oil lamps that my grandpa added electricity to way back when they built the house. I had originally thought I wanted them to be lights, however when I walked past this area on the way downstairs I could not pass it up! They fit perfectly there!

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The mirror is also from a bathroom and the potty chair…I really adore this piece of furniture.  It has a hole in the seat that can be covered up when it was not being used. There is a door on the backside of the chair to take the tray out each morning.  Now, I know that since it has been in my grandparents possession it has not been used as a potty chair, just a chair.  So nobody has used it as such for over 50 years, but I can not promise that it has NEVER been used. There is a handwritten note on the bottom side of the seat cover that reads:

“Hannah J. Bowen
From Mother
Aug. 7th 1892”

The fact that it probably had been used as a potty chair in 1892 and possibly up until my grandparents got a hold of it might gross some people out.  However I think it is fascinating! I love the thought that this chair has been floating around the US (maybe world) for about 120 years.  Can you imagine how many people have touched this chair (or sat on it); I think it is very neat to think about the history of this chair.  If this chair could talk, imagine the stories it would have!

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This light came from my grandpas office at their house.  I adore this, it is an old jug that has been transformed into a light.  This is the smaller of the two that they had. The larger lamp accidentally got left at my sisters house while they were packing all my things up to be brought out here.  The larger lamp will get out to Southwest Montana eventually.  I was also given a very old side table, however that is also still in my parents possession.  My mom did not want it to get ruined on the way out here, but part of me thinks that my mom did not want to give it up yet–which is ok, as long as it gets into my hands eventually.  This particular side table came out to the Midwest from New England a long, LONG time ago, so I can understand why they want to be careful with it.  Another item that I am particularly fond of is a bakers table that was in my grandparents basement.  That has not made the trek out to Montana yet either. It is rather large and needs to be redone, so I will refurbish it and find the perfect spot for it eventually.

Extra Hands

My mom came out to visit last Wednesday and stayed for just over a week, my dad had planned on coming last Friday but the weather was miserable and he was not able to fly out here until Monday afternoon.  Both my parents flew back Thursday morning–is it time for you guys to come back here yet?! We had planned to stain the trim on the outside of our house while my parents were in town, however the weather had other ideas. It has been raining for the past 2 weeks, non-stop.  So staining was thrown out the window, we do however, have a color picked out for when it stops raining and our house dries up again.

I have been wanting to repaint the inside of my house for a while now, it wasn’t that the color was bad, but it made the house seem very dark and woodsy.  James only recently decided that the house should be painted, maybe because I kept bothering him about it?  But in reality, he was tired of the green as well.  I was pushing for Sherwin Williams Antique White, James wanted Whole Wheat, also by Sherwin Williams.  Whole wheat is a nice color, we have that in the basement and bedrooms, but I wanted something a little lighter for the main level of the house.  James must have been on a painting frame of mind because last Saturday he decided that we should paint the inside of our house if we can not paint the outside.  So we looked at colors for a few hours and we compromised on the color between Antique White and Whole Wheat– Believable Buff.  My mom measured the wall square feet and we figured out how many gallons we would need, turned out to be 5-6 gallons.  On Sunday morning my mom, myself, and James went to go get paint, the paint lady asked if we would like a sample of paint first.  Now, normal people would say yes; it is a logical thing to do, sample the paint on the wall to make sure you like it, right?!  Well, turns out that is not how James and I roll.  We just wanted a 5 gallon bucket of paint.  I think my mom was either A) Totally impressed that both James and I were on the same page or B) Thought we were totally insane for buying $170 worth of paint without testing it first because she looked a little shocked.  Either way, we jumped right in, no turning back now!

We got back home, pushed the dogs out the dog door and locked them outside (it was not raining at that point) and started to tape the trim, doors, and windows.  James must have pulled the short straw because he was volunteered to paint along the ceiling.  He was the first person to put the paint to the wall.  I could tell he was panicking a little bit because he was very quiet.  I asked if he liked the color because we had already bought it or because he actually liked it; he could not decide which “like” it was.  I told him not to compare the green color with the cream color because it was a HUGE color difference.  I must admit, The cream color did not look that light until it was right next to the green, at that point I was happy we did not get the Antique White.

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The first thing James painted was in the corner on top of the closet, the anticipation was killing when while he was painting and I was not able to see the color because I was holding the ladder.

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See? Big color difference.  I can understand why he was a little nervous when he first started to paint,  I on the other hand loved the color instantly!  The three of us painted the entire living room on Sunday.  Monday my mom trimmed the kitchen and eating area and then picked my dad up from the airport.  On Tuesday, my mom, dad, and myself painted the entire kitchen and eating area, along with the downstairs hallway, and one coat of paint up the stairs and the hallway.  We needed two coats of paint to cover up the green.  Wednesday my parents finished painting the upstairs hallway and then took my dogs for a hike.  Mom, Dad, seriously, when are you coming back? We get our house painted and get the dogs walked!  In all seriousness though, James and I really do appreciate all the work my parents put into painting our house! It really does look marvelous!

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Before.

Again, not a bad color, but it is a very trendy color and I like the classic look better.  The lights needed to be on all the time and I was not too crazy about all the dark furniture and all the wood in the house.

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After.

Now the wood pops and I love it, the dark furniture looks great against the cream color, and the light walls reflect the light and we do not need to have the lights on all the time!  I am so extremely pleased with the color and the way it turned out!  I would also like to brag for one moment, we did not get paint on any of the trim, ceiling, cabinets, or doors!  Once the entire house was painted I asked James if he liked the color. This time he said yes, he likes the color and he is happy we went with a lighter color, it makes the house look bigger. I think he really liked how the wood looked against the color.  My mom was also thrilled with the color choice, she said that our house looks more Vail-like than Montana-like now.  In case you are not aware what “Vail Like” looks like, it is more of a classic look.

Ok, so now, the projects for the summer are:

  • Stain the trim on the house
  • Paint the inside of the house
  • Dig up and replant the dead trees in the front yard
  • Do something about the grass in the backyard.

Who would like to help us with these projects?  Don’t everybody raise your hand at once!

Another Year in the Books

It’s May, May 1st happens to be my birthday, along with my amazingly talented twins birthday, Jim!  Even though we live so far apart, 14.5 hours to be exact, we still stay in touch and my brother and I would never miss our birthday call!  He was talking to me while he was supposed to be getting ready for a nice dinner with his fiance, Sarah–Sorry Sarah, I hope you two were not late!  We finally hung up when she walked through the door and they were supposed to leave.

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Meet my family! I have amazing parents and the two best siblings ever!

My twin is lead engineer for a manufacturing company; in his free time (which is minimal these days since he is planning his wedding and just bought a house) he is rebuilding an old car, makes carbon-fiber bicycles, and does crazy long races–like IRONMAN Races, for example.  My sister just moved back to Minnesota and is head of Human Resources in a very productive and thriving small business.  In her free time she cares for her adorable little farm house; she has three horses, a donkey, chickens, one of the largest roosters I have ever seen, three dogs, and two cats.  They have also been dealing with coyotes, so I guess you could say those count too.  She likes to ride her horse and play with her dog Remi.  I’m not sure if she would admit it all the time, but she enjoys taking care of her old farm and farm house.

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Her rooster. It is pretty, but I would not get close to it.
The picture does not do it justice, It is in a dog cage and that door behind it is pretty large.

About a month before my birthday, both my mother in law and mom asked me what I would like for my birthday.  I never really know what to ask for when people would like to know what I want.  It’s tough buying clothes because, as everybody knows, you need to try them on first.  Hmmm…We have quite a few projects this summer but those are boring and I didn’t want to put people to work for my birthday present–although it was quite tempting.

(**If anybody is bored this summer, come on over–we are

1) staining the trim on our house

2) replanting two dead trees in the front yard

3) wanting to repaint the main level of the house a lighter color

4) possibly doing something with our disastrous lawn**)

 My mother in law offered to split a Kitchen Aid Mixer with my mom. I said no because it is very expensive.  Then a few days later my mom said the same thing to me–the crazy part is they did not discuss this with each other before talking to me.  So I thought, why not, I have wanted one for a few years now.

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Happy Birthday, Thank you Mother in Law and Mom!!!

For those of you who have a Kitchen Aid, you know that it comes with a very neat cookbook with exact speeds to beat the ingredients at.  (Its wonderful!) I really want to bake the chocolate chip cookie recipe or make the yellow cake with butter cream frosting, but the amounts are quite large and I am the only person in my house that eats that kind of stuff.  So once again family and friends, if you are bored this summer, pick a task above and then you will be rewarded with sweets!

I have however, been making the breads.  They are wonderful! My husband wanted wheat bread, so I have made six loaves already.  It is very good!  The last time I made the bread, I switched it up slightly and added cinnamon and sugar to one loaf.

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I love that the cinnamon made a swirl.

Skinny Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars

Recently I have been on a major cheesecake binge–Ok, I have not actually had any cheesecake in the past 6+ months, BUT I almost drool over it every time I walk past it in the grocery store.  I really should just A) Avoid the isle or B) Run past it quickly and grab bread on my way through.  One of the grocery stores I go to put the bread right next to the cheesecake, clever, but torture!

I was looking at my new favorite food blog the other day and ran across this beauty!  I have not made it yet, and honestly probably won’t for awhile but I thought somebody out there would appreciate a good chunk of cheesecake.

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I am not into counting Calories, but this cheesecake bar only has 125 Cals. per square.

Ingredients:

CRUST

  • 5-6 full-sheet graham crackers (or 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs)
  • 2 Tablespoons (30g) unsalted or salted butter, melted (or even melted coconut oil)

FILLING

  • 8 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, softened (do not use fat free)
  • 3/4 cup (185g) Chobani Greek yogurt (or similar)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup (50g) granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons (16g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (85g) mini chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line a 8×8 baking pan with aluminum foil with enough overhang on the sides. Set aside.

Make the crust: Using a food processor or blender, pulverize the graham crackers into a fine crumb. Pour into a medium bowl and mix with melted butter. Press into the lined pan. Bake for 8 minutes. Allow to cool as you prepare the filling.

For the filling: Beat the softened cream cheese for 1 minute using a hand or stand mixer. Beat in the yogurt, egg whites, sugar, and flour until mixture is smooth and creamy, about 3 full minutes. Add the lemon juice and vanilla, beat for 1 additional minute until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Remove the crust from the oven and spread filling on top. Bake for 25 minutes, covering the cheesecake bars at the 20 minute mark with aluminum foil to prevent browning. Allow to cool for 20 minutes at room temperature, then chill completely in the refrigerator for at least three hours. Lift the foil out of the pan and cut into squares.

Makes 16 bars. Store bars in a covered container for up to 7 days in the refrigerator; bars may be frozen up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before serving. Recipe can easily be doubled and baked in a 9×13-inch pan, baking time will vary – about 45-55 minutes.

Recipe brought to you by Sallys Baking Addiction.

Flavored Waters

Well folks summer is right around the corner!  Everybody likes flavored water, so why not make your own!!

Cucumber Grapefruit Water

Ingredients

  • ½ gallon spring water½ grapefruit, sliced
  • ½ cucumber, sliced
  • 2-3 mint leaves
  • ½ lemon, sliced
  • ½ lime, sliced

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a pitcher.
  2. Allow the ingredients to chill in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours before serving. Drink throughout the day or discard after 24 hours.

Raspberry Mint Water

Ingredients
  • 1 Large Pitcher of Spring Water
  • Raspberries
  • Peeled Grapefruit
  • Sliced Cucumbers
  • Sliced Pears
  • Fresh Mint
If you want to spice it up a little more, add one or some of these:
  • Sliced Lemons
  • Sliced Limes
  • Cranberries
  • Blueberries
Combine ingredients into pitcher. Allow to chill in refrigerator for 1-2 hours.
Lemon Ginger Water

Ingredients

  • 1 12-ounce glass water, at room temperature
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 inch knob of ginger root

Directions

Add the lemon juice to the glass of water. Finely grate the ginger by using a zester, add to the glass of water. This drink is a perfect way to start your day