Champagne Cranberry Cocktail

These lovely cocktails will be making an appearance at our Christmas Brunch. They are beautiful and festive. If you like them sweeter (as my husband prefers), I think you could add a sugar cube in the bottom. These are quick and easy and lovely!

Oh and you can easily serve them to all of your guests by substituting sparkling white grape juice!

CRANBERRY CHAMPAGNE COCKTAIL
adapted slightly from Food Network
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1-ounce cranberry juice (sweetened)
1 wedge lime
Chilled Champagne or sparkling white grape juice
Cranberries (frozen)

In a Champagne flute add cranberry juice and a squeeze of lime. Top off the glass with Champagne or sparkling white grape juice. Garnish with 3 or 4 cranberries or sparkling white grape juice. Makes 1 cocktail.

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Weekend Fare: Margaritas

Just in time for the holiday weekend – margaritas! We’ve made a couple of different kinds and both were excellent! They make a great accompaniment for a backyard bbq or fiesta. I usually like them on the rocks but whatever you prefer.

TRADITIONAL MARGARITA
Ina Garten/Food Network
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1 lime, halved
Kosher salt
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 5 limes)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (1 lemon)
1 cup Triple Sec
1 cup white tequila (I think we used gold and it was fine!)
2 cups ice, plus extra for serving

If you like margaritas served in a glass with salt, rub the outside rims of 6 glasses with a cut lime and dip each glass lightly into a plate of kosher salt.

Combine the lime juice, lemon juice, Triple Sec, tequila, and ice in a blender and puree. Place extra ice in a cocktail shaker. Fill with margarita mix, shake well, and strain into glasses.

BLACKBERRY MARGARITA 
adapted from Cooking Light, June 2011
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1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 lime
1 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup 100% agave blanco tequila
3/4 cup Triple Sec (or Grand Marnier as originally called for)
2/3 cup fresh lime juice
12 ounces fresh blackberries

Combine 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar and kosher salt in a dish. Cut lime into 9 wedges; rub rims of 8 glasses with 1 lime wedge. Dip rims of glasses in salt mixture. Combine water and 1/2 cup sugar in a microwave-safe glass measuring cup. Microwave at HIGH 2 1/2 minutes, stirring to dissolve sugar; cool. Combine syrup, tequila, Triple Sec, fresh lime juice, and blackberries in a blender; process until smooth. Strain mixture through a cheesecloth-lined sieve over a pitcher; discard solids. Serve over ice. Garnish with remaining lime wedges.

Weekend Fare: 4th of July!

The 4th of July just seems to be the essence of summer. Cooking out, eating fresh foods, enjoying ice cream, and dining outdoors are just a few of the wonderful parts of this season! Today I’m sharing three recipes that will be great for your weekend bbq: baby back ribs, baked beans, and a summer cocktail.

A friend of ours makes the most amazing ribs ever. He told me the secret to them is slowly baking them first. I don’t make them often but I always follow his advice!


BBQ BABY BACK RIBS
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1 rack of baby back pork ribs
salt & pepper
olive oil
bbq sauce of choice (homemade or bottled – I used a fabulous local honey bbq sauce)

Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees. Drizzle olive oil on ribs and season with salt and pepper. Bake pork in a disposable aluminum pan or a sheet pan lined with aluminum foil for 1 1/2 – 2 hours until tender.

Prepare grill. Liberally brush the ribs with bbq sauce and put on the grill. Brush with bbq sauce every 5-6 minutes. Cook ribs for 30-45 minutes until charred and very tender. Enjoy!


Side note – the company (Local Folks Foods) makes amazing bbq sauce and ketchup with local, fresh ingredients! We love them!

 

These are vegetarian baked beans but they would be quite awesome with bacon, too.

BAKED BEANS
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2 cans cannelini (white) beans
1/2 c. red onion, diced
1/2 c. bbq sauce
1/4 c. ketchup
2 Tb. prepared mustard
1/4 c. maple syrup
1 Tb. lemon juice
2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
salt to taste

Combine all ingredients. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes until sauce is thickened.


SUMMER COCKTAIL
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coarse salt
1/4 c. vodka
1/4 c. fresh squeezed key lime juice
1/4 c. fruit juice or nectar (I used strawberry nectar)
key lime carbonated water
ice

Dip rim of a tall glass in vodka and then coarse salt. Fill glass with ice. Pour in vodka, lime juice, and fruit juice. Add carbonated water to top of glass. Stir if desired. Makes 1 cocktail.