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Classy Jello Shots…Yes, classy!

1 Jul

Let’s admit it – Jello shots aren’t exactly classy – But these one’s are!

I was first introduced to these little delights when a friend brought them to my birthday party in 2011. They have been a summer staple ever since.

You can use any kind of fruit and any flavor of Jello, too.

Ingredients:

  • 1 box of lime Jell-O
  • Limes (as many as you would like)
  • Your choice of liquor.  *Absolut Citron or tequila with the lime??

Cut the limes in half lengthwise and clear out the insides. This part can be brutal. Jeff and I spent an hour on this part. I’m sure there is an easier way, but I’m not quite sure what it is…

Prepare the Jell-O according to the instructions on the box. Reduce the water portion by ¼ cup and replace with your alcohol of choice.

You want to make sure that your limes are set onto a surface that will keep them up right. I used a muffin pan. Pour your Jell-O mix into the lime shells and then place them into the refrigerator to set over night or for however long the Jell-O box instructs

When they are ready, cut each lime in half to make the perfect bight sized lime Jell-O shot!

 

Try these variations:

Watermelon in a Lime shell

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lemon

Strawberry Margarita

 

 

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Pretty Pretzels

19 Jun
Thought these would be a nice treat to go along with beer for all the Bruins games we’ve been watching…
30 Minute Homemade Soft Pretzels.

makes 8 – 10 (or more) depending on size

Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 cups warm water (lukewarm, no need to take temperature)
  • 1 packet active yeast (2 and 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 4 – 4.25 cups all-purpose flour + more for the counter surface to knead (or mix of whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour)
  • 1 large egg
  • course sea salt for sprinkling

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425F degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Set aside.
  2. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir with a spoon until fairly mixed, about 1 minute. Some clusters of yeast will remain. Add salt and sugar; stir until fairly combined. Slowly add flour, 1 cup at a time. Mix with a wooden spoon until dough is thick. Continue to add more flour until dough is no longer sticky. Poke the dough with your finger – if it bounces back, it is ready to knead.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes and shape into a ball. With a sharp knife, cut ball of dough into 1/3 cup sections. This measurement does not have to be exact – use as much or little dough for each pretzel as you wish – the size of the pretzel is completely up to you.
  4. Roll the dough into a rope with an even diameter. My ropes were twenty inches long. This measurement will depend how large you want the pretzels. Once you have your long rope, take the ends and draw them together so the dough forms a circle. Twist the ends, then bring them towards yourself and press them down into a pretzel shape.
  5. In a small bowl, beat the egg and pour into a shallow bowl or pie dish. Dunk the shaped pretzel into the egg wash (both sides). Place on baking sheet and sprinkle with salt.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes at 425F degrees. Turn the oven to broil and bake for 5 more minutes to brown the tops. Watch closely to avoid burning.
  7. Allow to cool and enjoy. Serve warm or at room temperature. Pretzels may be stored in an airtight container or zipped top bag for up to 4 days (will lose softness). Pretzels freeze well.
  8. *If you’d like to make cinnamon sugar pretzels, mix 1 Tablespoon cinnamon and 1/3 cup sugar and coat pretzels instead of using salt.

Funeral Potatoes (served at the funeral of a long lost Colorado girl)

13 Jun

These so-called “funeral potatoes” have been in my family for many years and they have become a staple at all our family gatherings since before I can remember…To be honest, I’m not even really sure where the name comes from but I do know that this dish has been served at a good chunk of the funerals I’ve been to over my lifetime…

The recipe is a simple one. But, truth be told, you can find a very similar one on the back of an Ore-Ida bag. Pretend I didn’t mention the previous point because I like to think this is some sort of top secret family recipe that has been passed down for generations. Wherever it came from, I know one thing- this recipe brings me home, and that’s all that really matters to me.

Obviously, these potatoes have been on my mind. When I thought about what to post today, two things kept coming up. Funeral potatoes and being homesick for Colorado. Well, perfect- the two naturally come together…

I made these infamous funeral potatoes a couple weeks back at a party we had. As I was mixing and stirring up all of the ingredients, I couldn’t help but think about CO. It’s been almost five years now since I have lived there, and I’m starting to feel like that part of me is getting lost (hence the title: funeral of a long lost Colorado girl). Don’t get me wrong, my life here in Boston is fun and it’s an experience everyone should have. But, I’m in dire need of laid back-ness. I miss home. I miss home so much  it hurts.

So, I’ve made it my mission, starting today, to remember my Colorado roots more often and start incorporating my “Colorado self” into my everyday life. I cannot forget that Colorado girl. I cannot forget the landscape that taught me about spirituality and God. I cannot forget the people who shaped me into who I am today. I cannot forget the unforgettable experiences I have had from growing up in CO.

I DO NOT want to have a funeral for the Colorado girl in me. I want her to live and live loudly (and proudly). So, I’ll start by making funeral potatoes, tonight. :)

Here’s the infamous, VERY TOP SECRET, cannot be found anywhere recipe:

2 lbs frozen hash browns (I use the diced kind)
1 stick of butter
1/2 (10 1/2 ounce) can cream of chicken soup

1/2 (10 1/2 ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup diced onion

1 cup corn flakes (crushed)
salt and pepper, to taste
Directions:

1. Defrost potatoes, melt half of the butter, and mix together all ingredients (except corn flakes- those are for the topping).

2. Melt second half of butter and mix with corn flakes. Place on top of the casserole.
3. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour in a 9×13 baking dish

PS.- Try crumbling 1/2c bacon on the top. :)

Oh, and I just had to add this…

Summer Party Ideas

6 Jun

Summer fever is in the air and that means outdoor BBQ’S, roof deck soiree’s & get-together’s at the beach…

My husband and I just closed on our first home and we most certainly will be having a house warming party this summer (I hope). Not only do I want to share our new home with our friends and family, but I also desperately need to get rid of some of the elk meat from Jeff’s hunting trip in Colorado last October. So, an elk BBQ it is!..with the addition of some fun summer faves like these:

Frozen Grape Kabob’s. They are my favorite summertime cool-down treat, and so much better for you than a Popsicle.

Caprese Sticks. I make these at almost every party I host because they are just so easy. Drizzle with a little fig balsamic and there you have it!

A personal veggie cup? Ok, how come I haven’t thought of this before?

Strawberry Bruchetta? Yes, please! (it’s goat cheese, basil, & strawberry with a dash  of peach balsamic)

Instead of a Jello shot, try a Jello slice…(cut your fruit in half, pour in mixture & refrigerate. Once congealed, cut in half to make slices).

Prosciutto and melon skewers- to die for.

Mango salsa. Here’s the recipe I use click here

White sangria pops. oh, yessss!

How to Set the Perfect Table!

10 May

I’ve always struggled with remembering which side the fork, knife and spoon go on when setting a table. On top of remembering that, which side does the napkin go on AND what about the wine and water glass? I’m not saying I’m one of those people who stresses myself over this kind of stuff, but at the same time, there are occasions where it just might matter… So, I found this cool little chart and a ‘saying’ to live by so that remembering is no longer a problem!

perfect-table

To follow up, I thought it might be nice to share this diagram. What to do with it all once it’s set (in case you’re like me and always need a refresher)!

Wings, Hooters Style

22 Jan

So, a couple of years ago I acquired the Hooters wings secret recipe. These wings are better than Hooters. And, they don’t require actual hooters. ha!

I served them on Sunday for the Patriots/Ravens game. They were a hit- the game on the other hand, was not.

Here’s the process for making these awesome things:

In a small bowl mix:

1/2 Cup Flour

1/4 Tsp Cayenne Pepper

1/4 Tsp. Salt

1/4 Tsp. Paprika

Dip each wing into this floury mixture until well coated. Put the coated wings in the refrigerator for an hour or so. That way the flour mix will really stick to the wings.

image

For the sauce (buffalo sauce):

1/2 Stick of butter

1/4 Cup Franks Red Hot

1/2 Tsp Garlic Powder

1/4 Tsp Ground Pepper

Melt these ingredients together and set aside.

image (2)

While your wings are in the refrigerator soaking up the flour mixture   get a large pot and add 3/4 gallon jug of vegetable oil (or fill your large pot about half way with oil).

Heat until oil is hot (350-375 degrees). I just eyeball it by splashing water on the oil. If it sizzles slightly, it’s ready. I doubt any professional would tell you that’s a good idea. One time Jeff and I had a sizzling explosion when the oil was too hot! Make sure to test it several times while it’s heating and you wont have that issue.

Add the wings (about 5 at a time) and fry for about 6-8 minutes. They will start to float and get a nice golden color when they are ready.

Then, take them out of the oil and transfer them to a bowl lined with paper towels. Once the oil has drained off a little, put them in a clean bowl and dribble the sauce you made earlier on the wings.

You’re done. Isn’t this an easy recipe? WHY would you ever go out any buy wings from a wing shop when you can make these?

I also make these wings “Adobo” style (plain). Instead of adding the buffalo sauce at the end, I sprinkle Lawry’s seasoning salt and regular salt on the wings. I think they are even better this way…OR, you could even do BBQ sauce.

I made all three types for the game.

AND DON’T FORGET: Serve with blue cheese and celery sticks!

image (3)Yes, those are solo cup shot glasses. Jealous? 

Top 5 Holiday Wreaths

17 Dec

Ahhh Wreaths…

M&J Blog

There are so many ways to decorate your home for the holidays and creating a wreath is probably one of the most classic and simple ways to make your home festive.  Out top 5 DIY wreaths contains ones that are simple and sweet!

DIY Simple Ribbon Wreath by Clumsy Crafty Happy

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

DIY Ornament Wreath by Matt and Becky

2 diy christmas wreath

DIY Candy Cane Wreath by BHG

3 DIY Candy Cane Wreath

DIY Bow Wreath by Chic Steals

4 DIY gift bow christmas wreath

DIY Yarn Ball Wreath by Country Living

5 DIY yarn christmas wreath

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Thanksgiving Spirits

15 Nov

One of my favorite things to make on holidays are the drinks! Thanksgiving brings so many wonderful flavors…Cinnamon, spice, pumpkin, apple, ginger…the list goes on and on. mmmmm….Make sure to try using herbs in your cocktails- it’s such a nice twist and gives it an earthy flavor.

Here are my suggestions for some really yummy cocktails (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) for you to try out this Thanksgiving. Enjoy!

Pear and Rosemary

Ingredients

6 to 10 Seckel pears

4 cups (32 ounces) vodka

1 cup sugar

12 sprigs fresh rosemary plus more for garnish

1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) pear nectar

4 cups (32 ounces) sparkling water

Directions

Put enough pears into a 48-ounce glass jar to fill. Add vodka. Seal jar, and let stand at room temperature 2 weeks (up to 2 months).

Heat sugar and 1 cup water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until sugar has dissolved. Add rosemary; remove from heat. Let stand 30 minutes. Discard rosemary. Let cool completely. Syrup can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to 1 month.

Fill 12-ounce glasses halfway with ice. Add 4 tablespoons vodka, 2 tablespoons syrup, and 3 tablespoons pear nectar to each. Top with 1/2 cup sparkling water. Serve garnished with rosemary sprigs.

 

Mulled White Wine Sangria (MY FAVORITE!! and it’s pretty, too)

Ingredients

1 cup water

1/2 cup honey, preferably orange-blossom

Zest of 2 lemons, cut into long strips

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2 lemons)

4 whole star anise

4 cinnamon sticks

12 whole cloves

2 bottles dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc

1 cup orange Muscat, such as Essencia

1 Golden Delicious apple, cored, halved, and thinly sliced

1 Bartlett pear, cored, halved, and thinly sliced

2 lemons, preferably Meyer, thinly sliced crosswise

12 kumquats, thinly sliced crosswise

Directions

  1. Bring water, honey, lemon zest and juice, star anise, cinnamon sticks, and cloves to a simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes.
  2. To serve cold: Mix spice mixture, wines, and fruit in a large pitcher. Cover, and refrigerate overnight. Transfer to a large punch bowl, and serve with ice. To serve hot: Heat spice mixture and wines in a large pot over low heat until heated through. Add fruit, and divide among mugs.

 

Apple Pie Cider

Ingredients

1 1/4 quarts apple cider

3 tablespoons firmly packed light-brown sugar

7 whole cinnamon sticks, (6 sticks for garnish)

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Ground cloves

Freshly grated nutmeg

Salt

1/2 cup Calvados, or other brandy (optional)

Directions

  1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together cider, sugar, spices, and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Remove from heat; pour in brandy, if desired. Strain into a pitcher; discard solids. Serve in mugs, garnished with cinnamon sticks.

 

Apple Ginger Sparklers

Ingredients 

1/4 cup Ginger Syrup

4 1/2 cups sparkling apple cider

6 cinnamon sticks

6 pieces crystallized ginger

Directions

1. Place 2 tablespoons ginger syrup in each of six glasses. Fill glasses with ice cubes, pour in cider, and stir to combine. Garnish with cinnamon sticks and fresh ginger, and serve. (Add Rum for some fun).

Fall Entertaining

1 Nov

The best time of year is fall. The beauty of this season warms my heart and my home each year. I look SO forward to the day afer Labor day when I can finally tell myself that it’s “ok” to bring out my autumn decor. I had Jeff’s family over the other night for dinner and I had to do a bit of thinking as to how I would set my table. I ran into some beautiful ideas…Although mine never looks this good, I try.

My new favorite thing is using  real pieces of nature on my table. Like a leaf, an acorn or a gourd… I know, gourds can be so ugly, but some of them can be simply divine.  It’s all about what you do with them and how you arrange them. My favorites are the ones that have the warts and bumps on them- it makes them so unique. Life can’t always be about pretty things.

Candles always set the mood, no matter what your table looks like. I also love the idea of glass votive’s  filled with goodies. It adds such a special touch.

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