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Non-Alcoholic Drink Ideas

4 Jan

Its Friday, happy weekend!  For those of you that can go unwind with a glass of wine, or beer-Enjoy!  For those of you that cannot drink alcohol at the moment, I thought I would share some fun drink ideas for the weekend.  Water tends to get boring when you are pregnant-so spice it up!

If you are in a hurry and heading out the door, you can check your local stores for any of the following:

  • VIGNETTE, it looks like wine but is really juice!  I have to thank my friend Alana for informing me about this gem.  If you still have not announced your pregnancy, and want to hang out with your boozy friends, this comes in a wine bottle aka they will never know the difference!
  • When I was a kid, my parents would let my brother and I drink Sparkling Cider at Christmas and Thanksgiving dinner.  Of course, we thought we were soooo grown up drinking out of fancy glasses .  This past year, mom made sure to have a bottle ready for me at dinner again 🙂
  • You could always go with a non-alcoholic beer such as O’Douls.  Just be aware, that while it is branded as non-alcoholic, it does have a small trace-.4% per volume.  As with any product, just check the label.

If you are hosting a party and need ideas, try some below:

  • The old-fashioned Shirley Temple is made with Ginger Ale, Splash of Grenadine, and garnished with a cherry.  You can order in any restaurant or bar.  I also like to order mine with Sprite as opposed to ginger ale.
  • Rasberry Spritzer  —2 cups of seltzer, 2/3 cup frozen raspberries, 2 springs of mint, 3 ounces of raspberry flavored syrup, and don’t forget the ice.

Get creative-mix your favorite juices with seltzer just don’t forget the garnishes:)  Cheers, Tara

Rolo Pretzels-Sweet and Salty

24 Dec

Yesterday I posted that I made Rolo Sugar Cookies for my Mom’s cookie swap.  What I did not mention was my Aunt Jan brought Rolos melted onto pretzels and I fell in love!  Sweet and salty in the same bite-you cannot go wrong.  Luckily,  I had so many Rolos left over from cookies, I also made “Button Noses” as my Aunt Jan calls them.  Nathan prefers to refer to them as Pretzel Droppings, but you can name them whatever you like.

These are one of the quickest. easiest recipes and are DELICIOUS!

Ingredients you will need: Rolo Candies, Pretzels, and M&Ms

To start, spread pretzels out on a baking sheet.

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Unwrap the Rolo Candies.

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Place a Rolo on each pretzel and bake at 350 degrees.  Bake for 4-5 minutes, or until the chocolate starts melting.  You do not want them to melt too much, or you will have quite the caramel, chocolate mess. 105_0393

After removing the Rolo pretzels from the oven, place an M&M on each Rolo.

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Let cool and enjoy!105_0398

Nathan and I hope you have a very Merry Christmas.   Cheers, T

 

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Rolo Sugar Cookies

23 Dec

Last weekend my Mom, Mother Gerry, hosted a cookie swap at her house and I had to make 12 dozen cookies.  For those of you that are unaware of the cookie swap rules-each participant has to make a dozen cookies for every other participant.  You bring 12 dozen of one kind of cookie and you leave with 12 dozen different kinds of cookies.  I should mention the reason I keep using the number 12, is because that is how many participants were in the swap.  You could have 8 people and would have to make 8 dozen etc, etc.

Anyway-the point of this post is to share with you the delicious cookies I made….Rolo Sugar Cookies.  Though, I have to give credit where it is due and thank my co-worker, Ed, for this recipe.

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The only ingredients you will need are Rolo candies and sugar cookie mixture.

Now, of course you can make the sugar cookie batter from scratch, but if anyone knows me they know I am always trying to save time.  SO-there is no shame in buying the pre-made cookie mix and adding the necessary ingredients.

First, you need to start unwrapping your Rolos, and set them aside in a bowl so they are ready when you need them.

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Lucky for me, my wonderful friend, Amber was more than happy to help me make 12 dozen cookies on a Friday night. Thats Amber mixing up the sugar cookie mixture.

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Once the dough was ready we started wrapping the Rolos inside!

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Place on greased cookie sheet and bake at 400 degrees for 8-9 minutes.

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Voila! Let cool and enjoy.

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Hopefully you are not stressing as the holidays near and have all of your cookies made.  If not, try this easy recipe and enjoy!  Merry Christmas!-Tara

Mother Gerry’s Holiday Chex Mix

26 Nov

It’s here; the holiday season is here!  As my family can attest, I love the holidays-everything from the TV specials, the music, food, decorations, and yes even all of the family time-I love it!  This past Thanksgiving weekend Nathan and I came home early on Sunday so the tree and decorations could be put up immediately.  While decorating, I also had to make one of my mom’s staple holiday foods, Chex Mix.  I remember my mom, aka Mother Gerry, making a giant bowl of this stuff and we would pick at it all through the season.  I know everyone thinks their mom is the best cook, but my mom really is 🙂

I have added the recipe below if you are looking for a quick, easy, DELICIOUS, holiday snack.

Ingredients: 1 box of Chex cereal, 1 bag of pretzels, 1 bag of M&M’s, 20 oz container of salted peanuts, 12oz bag of raisins, 2 tbsp of worcestershire sauce, and 1 tsp of garlic salt

Chex cereal, pretzels, 2 tbsp of worcestershire sauce, and garlic salt

Combine the cereal, pretzels, salt, and worcestershire sauce .  Bake it in the oven for 10 minutes on 300 degrees.

In a separate bowl combine raisins, peanuts and M&M’s.

You will actually have to stir the mixtures to ensure the raisins don’t clump together.

After the cereal mixture has finished in the oven, let it cool for 20 minutes.   If you mix it too soon the M&M’s will start to melt.

Once the cereal mixture is cool, combine all ingredients and voila-happy snacking!

Now, I know some might argue that this is more of a trail mix but Mother Gerry says its Holiday Chex Mix and I learned at an early age not to argue with my mom-she  always wins.

Enjoy and Happy Holidays!
Cheers, Tara

A Very FriendsGiving

19 Nov

For the past 3 years Nathan and I have hosted a pre-Thanksgiving dinner and game night for our friends.  Its great to be able to see everyone and relax together before the hectic holiday season starts.  This has become my favorite event of the year and we always have a full house.  Nathan and I prepare all of the food for the main meal, and ask people bring an appetizer or a dessert to share.

25LB Turkey

This year we had a 25 lb turkey and 10 lb ham!  The usual side dishes made their appearance-the green beans, mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls, and cranberry sauce.  Yet, this year some of the side dishes had a slight spin on them.

Instead of doing corn this year, I made a very delicious Corn Casserole Paula Dean’s Corn Casserole Recipe.  AMAZING! Many thanks to Paula Dean-it turned out great.

Corn Casserole and 10lb Ham

Another difference this year was the stuffing-I fried it!  My coworker Ed gave me this idea and its so simple and oh so good.  Make your stuffing as usual and let it cool enough so that you can roll it. Once you have rolled the stuffing into balls, coat with egg and flour and fry away.

Fried Stuffing Balls!

Elise helping out in the kitchen

I have found that doing prep work early cuts down on the stress of having everything ready at the same time.  The mashed potatoes were made earlier in the day and put in the crockpot to keep warm.  Serving the potatoes in the ceramic pot also cuts down on dishes later.

Make it easy on yourself by making things early.

Finally all sitting to eat

Must be good if Nate is up for seconds:)

After dinner it is game time!  Our yearly tradition is Pictionary with guys vs. gals.  We make up the categories ourselves and think of things for the other team to draw.  I would just like to note that the girls usually win 🙂  This year we also played Cards Against Humanity.  HILARIOUS! This game is always sold out and you have to be on the waiting list if you want to buy it.  I know a few of us have already added it to our Christmas list.

Nate’s turn at Pictionary.  Of course Cheetoes has to see what the fuss is all about.

The holiday season always serves as a reminder of things that are important in life.   I am very thankful to have such wonderful friends and family, both nearby and those far.

I hope you and your families have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Cheers, Tara

Irish Weekend in Wildwood

30 Oct

Last month, Nathan and I were in Wildwood, NJ with family and friends for Irish weekend. This is one of the biggest Irish festivals in the country and a quick weekend getaway if you are on the East Coast.  The festival has something for everyone from crafts, boxing matches, music, and of course great food and beverages.  Starting on Thursday night, the festival runs all weekend, and concludes on Sunday.

Nathan and I at the Wildwood Boardwalk

In Jersey we actually go to the shirt store to buy clothing with fun sayings pressed on them.

Our friend Leeihnae found a great place two blocks from the beach for us to rent for the weekend and since it is off-season everything is cheaper!  One of the wonderful things about the festival is the trolley that stops at multiple locations in town to pick you up and drop you off at the festivities.  Once we arrived in town, we parked the car and didn’t have to worry about driving all weekend.

Getting dressed up for Irish Weekend is a must! Leeihnae rocked her green wig all weekend.

Glow sticks are fun for any celebration. My brother, Phil, prefers them as shoe laces.

The streets are closed to traffic, making it an easy stroll to check out the craft vendors, food tents, and of course find your favorite Irish beverage.

So many food options, but my cousin Jen went with the roasted corn.

The establishments and streets are pretty crowded, but you might get lucky enough to snag a spot in the corner like Jen and I did.  We set up our area overlooking the street so everyone in our group would know where to go in case they were separated from us.

Jen and I were able to find a spot overlooking the streets

On our way back, Mother Nature decided to unleash a storm upon us, so we made a mad dash to all get on the same trolley.  Unfortunately, the trolley we rode back on did not have any windows.  As you can see from Nathan’s picture below, we were all freezing as the rain came in from the side.  Luckily, no one came home with pneumonia, just funny stories about the entire weekend.

Trying to keep warm on the trolley in our Jameson hats

If you have the opportunity to go next year, I suggest you go for a fun weekend at the shore before the winter months hit.  Irish Festival

Cheers, T

Cookie Covered Brownie Recipe

29 Oct

A couple of weeks ago Nathan and I were at his Uncle Mark’s house for family dinner.  I have been dying to try a recipe that my co-worker, Ed, shared with me.  This dessert was one of the easiest recipes to make and everyone loved it.  You can’t go wrong with two kinds of cookies covered with brownie, it is amazing!

Ingredients you will need: brownie mix, chocolate chip cookie mix, and Oreos (you can see I went with the generic brand and it worked just fine).  I think next time I will use double-stuffed:)

To start, grease a 9×11 pan and pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Evenly line the bottom of the pan with chocolate chip cookie dough.  You can make the dough yourself but I choose to buy the pre-made stuff and it worked well.

Cover the cookie dough with a layer of Oreos.

Top your Oreo layer with brownie batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.  Of course ovens vary, so to be sure it is done stick a tooth pick in the center.  If it comes out clean, your dessert is ready to be taken out.

Top with ice cream, cool whip, or strawberries and enjoy!

Cheers, T

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