Friday, December 30, 2011

Champagne Week: Day 3 - A Round Up

Happy New Year's Eve Eve! To ensure that you are well prepared with a bevy of beverage options for tomorrow night's festivities, we thought we'd put together a little round up of Champagne cocktails (and fun New Years-y DIY projects). And if you can't wait until tomorrow night? Mimosas are fully acceptable at any time of the day (and made with champagne). Look how festive you are.

We also shared recipes for Merry Mimosas and Cranberry Lime Bellinis earlier this week... and here are a few more champagne cocktails for kicks!

If you're feeling ambitious, bookmark (or pin) your favorite, and go grab a bottle of champagne or two! You'll be oh-so-prepared when tomorrow night rolls around- and hostess of the year for serving such yummy drinks. It's a win-win!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Champagne Week: Day 2 - Cranberry Lime Bellinis

Yesterday was Day 1 of Champagne Week
Did anyone get to try those? Are you planning to?
We'd love to hear your thoughts.

Today we have another Champagne drink for you.
It involves Cranberry Juice again, which is a total coincidence. 
But it's de-lish.
 It's a little sweet, it's a little sour, and it's a little fizzy. 
It's a Cranberry Lime Bellini, and it needs to be at your NYE party this weekend.

Please tell me you saw those bubbles?

The recipe was adapted from Giada DeLaurentiis (Love that girl).

Here's what you need:
equal parts of
cranberry juice, chilled
limeade concentrate, chilled
champagne or prosecco (we used champagne), chilled

Here's how to do it:

Mix, stir, sip.

(we rimmed ours in gold sugar to glam-it-up even more)

Pretty, huh? Your friends will love it, PROMISE.


Monday, December 26, 2011

Champagne Week: Day 1 - Merry Mimosas.

2011 has five days left!

That's five days to finish last years bucket list/new years resolutions, get some good R&R to wind down from the Holiday, and... plan your New Years party (or plan what to take to someone else's).

This is precisely why we planned Champagne Week for you.
Let us help you ring in 2012 with a little sparkle.

Today, we wanted to suggest that you kick off the celebration this weekend with a Merry Mimosa.

The recipe was originally published in Southern Living's 2011 Christmas Cookbook
(that my mom gave me, thanks Mom),
but it's the perfect recipe for this time of year: Tradition + Holiday + Glam

It's so great for a brunch on NYE or on New Years day, because shouldn't every year start off with little bubbles?

Here's what you need:
3 c orange juice, chilled
1 c cranberry juice cocktail, chilled
1 bottle Champagne or sparkling wine, chilled.
Garnish with an orange peel and/or frozen cranberries.

Here's how to do it:
Combine orange juice and cranberry juice in a large pitcher.
Add Champagne just before serving. Garnish, if desired.
Serve immediately.

Makes 7 cups


Thursday, December 22, 2011

best christmas drink ever (grandma's brandy slush)

Six years ago, our best friends brought a tupperware container full of sheer glory to our Christmas party. It was full of brandy slush (Ben's grandma's recipe) and I was immediately smitten. In fact, this brandy slush shares the top spot for my Favorite Holiday Drink (tied with my mama's wassail recipe).

I'm not kidding when I say that you should make this. Today probably. Everyone you share it with will thank you.

9 cups water
2 cups sugar
12 oz can limeade concentrate
12 oz can orange juice concentrate
3 cups brandy

Directions: Boil water and sugar to dissolve. Stir in oj, limeade and brandy. Cool. Freeze overnight.

Serve a scoop of brandy slush in a glass of sprite/sprite zero.

Alternately, skip the liquid add in and serve in little scoops like a granita or an Italian ice. 


ps- Even though this is a Christmas recipe in Ben's family, when he entered it in our annual Cocktails and Mocktails drink competition (in August), it won the overall prize (that's him with the trophy). The goodness is season-blind. Like I said, sheer glory.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Sippy Cup: A "Little" sparkle for your holiday

The "Little's" in our lives need a little sparkle in their holiday too, don't you agree?

So I think taking this adult idea (which would still also be a great dessert idea) but making it just for the little ones would be a great way to do it.

All you have to do is fill a cup with a sparkling drink (I used an Izze, but any sparkling cider, sprite or ginger ale, or even soda water or Pierre would work too!) and add a popsicle to it! 
Just be sure to prepare right before you serve--the good thing is that it hardly takes any time to make.

What a special, colorful treat to add to your Christmas dessert table,
or better yet, to help them ring in the new year?

Are you guys doing any other fun drinks for the kids table this year?

Monday, December 19, 2011

Barista Banter: Christmas gifts/Party Favors for $0.87 each!

I love on a cold winter day snuggling up with some hot chocolate to watch the snow fall. Now NORMALLY this time of year we have plenty of snow up in North Idaho but this year...we've got nothing. Zero. Zip. Nada. The weather reports Christmas day being in the 60's and although I LOVE me some warm weather this is just so....WEIRD!! Not a white Christmas this year?! Boo Hiss.

Any who back to the hot chocolate yummyness.
 Some of you might know this but my husband is the middle school youth pastor at our church- not to say we aren't blessed beyond our needs but it isn't really like we are "rolling in the dough" if you know what I mean. So when he asked me to come up with 60 party favors for less than $1 a person for the church Christmas party I was completely on board.

 In my head things like this are a game, a challenge, a quest to be conquered- you get the picture. I had seen some hot cocoa giveaway jars but my budget would be blown by the cost of mason jars and then there were some other ones made of condiment carriers but those looked too cheap (sorry if I just offended anyone....) Finally I came up with these goodies.

 The cost ended up being .87 per person and they were a big hit at the party-None left!

 Here is a step by step to get your neighbors or friends a little something without breaking the bank.

1. First you essentially make a huge assembly line.
I did the first twenty one by one and believe me it's MUCH faster going assembly line style.

 2. Take 3/4 cup of your hot cocoa mix, and start the first layer in a clear treat bag or cello bag.
 I didn't do anything fancy just Swiss Miss from Wal Mart at $5.46 a can
 and this made about 15 goodie bags.

3.Then layer a healthy handful or two of marshmallows.
There is no "set amount" to this- let the heart run wild (is that even how you  USE that phrase?!?).  
I stopped after two handfuls aka when there were equal parts of hot cocoa mix to mellows.

4. Then you simply tie the bags with curling ribbon.
Pull hard so the marshmallows don't dry out and get crunchy.

5. Curl the ribbon and tie a candy cane to spruce it up.
 I ran out of the clear bags so I had to improvise and use these cookie treat bags I had on-hand from last Christmas.
 Goes to show when I tell my husband I PROMISE I will use those someday- don't throw them out...I really will!
HA jokes on him! ( that the right usage?! Stinkin idioms...get me every time)

Then take pictures of your hard work and show your hubby your craftiness and frugality without trying to gloat. Believe's harder than it seems!


Happy Monday! How were your weekends?

Ours were spending Christmas-ing. Meaning, we ate dinner at one of our favorite places with the fam, walked around looking at Christmas lights, watched Elf, drink hot cocoa, and did some Christmas shopping.

This is Adam L and Kirst's little one looking at the lights with their special glasses.
(Seriously, Burke walked around the whole park like this, cute huh? Sorry about the poor picture quality, it was taken on a cell phone...)

What about you? Did you guys do any Christmas-ing too?

Friday, December 16, 2011

TheAdams: What to Buy for your Guy

Trish tells me I'm hard to shop for. Actually, if you're a guy you probably get told this a lot. So I decided I would put together 4 ideas (you only need 4, guys are simple) to help out the girls this year so that no guy ends up with Soap on a Rope again...

1. Local Brews-Take him to one of your local breweries, try to go on a tour, and at the end, let him get either the sampler or a few of the ones he really wanted to try as you eat dinner. Make sure to call ahead if you're planning a tour, there are usually specific times they allow them.

Image via 

2. Build your own 6 Pack-Have you been to Cost Plus World Market or Whole Foods? Well if you have one near you, it'd be a great place to compile a 6 pack of his favorite beers, or new beers to try. You could go with all different kinds of Stouts or IPAs or something. Root Beer works really well too. You could probably also try to put together your own from another store as well, I just know World Market and Whole foods have a special thing there just for this.

Image via

3. Sports Mug-One of my favorite presents I've ever gotten was a Steelers Beer Mug. seems to have a ton if you type in the team or the sport you're looking for. Also, clicking the link for the picture below will take you to a site. Then he can have something cold to drink while watching the Steelers win another Super Bowl...

Image via

4. Coffee-Coffee tastes better from a French Press, but most people don't have time to do this every morning. Another of my favorite things is our French Press to-go mug. I know Starbucks has them because that's where ours is from.

Image via

There you go, 4 solid ideas so your guys (and you) are excited for the holiday this year. Hope it helps!


Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Peppermint Mocha Martini

Grumbling through lines at the mall
Plugging your ears each time your hear Jingle Bell Rock on the loud speakers at the grocery store.
Intentionally breaking each and every candy cane in the boxes at the check out line at Target.

Diagnosis: Scrooge-itis. A serious lack of some Christmas cheer (despite the ornament making and eggnog sipping from the last couple days).

Don't worry, we have a cure! It's an old home remedy: Peppermint Mocha Martini. A few sips of this bad girl and you'll be belting out "Merry Christmas" to each person you encounter.

Here's what you need:
2 oz. pinnacle whipped cream vodka
2 oz. chocolate milk (we made ours with dark chocolate syrup and skim milk)
a splash of peppermint schnapps
crushed candy canes and Hershey's Magic Shell ice cream topping for garnish

Here's how to do it:
Combine the whipped cream vodka, chocolate milk, and peppermint schnapps in your cocktail shaker.

Shake it up so it mixes well.

Next, put the Magic Shell in on one plate (or wide bowl) and the candy canes on another.

Take your serving glass and spin the top rim in the chocolate first, then immediately in the crushed candy canes. (It'll look pretty, and ensure extra-chocolatey-goodness with every sip.) It'll look like this:

Pour your mixture from the shaker to your glass, turn on your favorite Christmas jams, and sip away.
It'll be the perfect cure for any Grinch-iness left in you.

PS. My husband is mildly suffering from Scrooge-itis right now. I might be off to make him one ASAP.


Monday, December 12, 2011

The "It Wouldn't be Christmas without Eggnog" Eggnog Recipe

What kind of a drink blog would this be if we didn't do an eggnog post at Christmas?
 I would argue, we would not be a very good one.

I know not everyone loves eggnog. (Actually, our very own Adam G of TheAdams Friday Column is one of those people). But, I also know that there are a significant number of "eggnog-ers" out there, and so this one is for you.

There are so many variations on eggnog.
The store bought kind, great in a pinch.
The flavored kind, fun for the experimental types.
And then there's good, ol' fashioned eggnog, simply delicious

Most eggnog lovers have their own recipe, and even their own secret to making it the best. And as a fellow eggnog-er, I'm going to share my favorite recipe yet.

There's no crazy ingredient, and no sentimental story to go behind it, but it's delicious and that's enough for me. I used the recipe from here, with a couple tweaks.

Here's what you need:
4 egg yolks
1/2 c sugar
2 c milk (I used 1% and it tasted great)
2 whole cloves
pinch of cinnamon
1 c cream (half pint is exactly one cup)
1 t ground nutmeg
1 t vanilla extract
** may add Bourbon, Rum, or Brandy to taste. For adults only, please.

Here's how to do it:

1. Separate 4 egg yolks from their egg whites. (If you've never done this, just toss the yolk back and forth between the to sides of the shell, dropping the whites into one bowl until only the yolk is left). Put the 4 yolks into their own bowl and beat with a mixer or by hand.

2. Gradually add in the sugar. Whisk until fluffy. Set aside.

3. In a medium sauce pan, combine the milk, cloves and cinnamon. (the recipe calls for a pinch of cinnamon, but I always add a bit more). Stir constantly.  Heat over medium until steaming.

4. Next, pour half of the milk mixture over egg mixture, stirring constantly. When combined, pour in the remaining amount, continue stirring.

5. When fully combined, pour back into the saucepan. Cook over medium heat, again, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Make sure it reaches 160 degrees if you have a thermomater, if not, just be sure it is thickening a bit until the back of the spoon is coated. Don't let it boil.

6. Remove from heat, stir in cream. Let cool for 1 hour.
(I put it in the fridge for 20-30 minutes because I was on a time crunch and it worked out just fine).

7. Add in the nutmeg and vanilla. (again, I'm always pretty generous with the vanilla also). Be sure to strain the eggnog to get those cloves out too.
**you would add the alcohol here if you are opting to do so.

8. Chill then serve.

It took about 30 minutes to make, and yielded about 4 servings. 4. delicious. servings.

Ok, now it's only fair for you to share your famous-secret-sentimental eggnog recipes.

Ready, Go.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Diet Coke Days: DIY Diet Coke Ornament

First, did you read my cute husband's Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe from Friday?
His passion for it is pretty adorable.

And second, It's our VERY FIRST Edition of Diet Coke Days!
(If you missed the intro, you can read it here.)

If you're here reading this column, then you or someone you know probably loves the D.C. So, if you're looking for a little something to give that person (or yourself) to add a little Diet Coke love to their holiday, we have just the thing.

Here's what you need:
a Diet Coke can (washed and dried out)
scissors (sharp enough to cut aluminum)
paper and pen to make a stencil
low temperature hot glue gun
a hole punch

Here's how to do it:
1. Cut the top and bottom off your can. BE CAREFUL! It's VERY sharp.

2. Tape the can onto the table so it's flat and won't move.

3. Make your stencil. (We chose to do a star, but I think a Christmas tree, a heart, or just a regular ornament shape would be fun too!)

4. Trace the stencil onto the can where you want it to be.
5. Cut it out. Again, being very careful.

6. Glue the can onto the felt. Cut around it, leaving a little showing on the sides so it's not so sharp.

7. Here is where I punched a hole through the can and the felt.
It was pretty hard to go through both, so you might consider punching the hole through the felt and the can separately and lining them up. If you try this way, let me know how this works for you.

8. Finally, tie the ribbon making a loop so you can hang it on a tree.

Almost takes your breath away, doesn't it?