Friday, April 27, 2018

Cinco de Mayo Celebration!!!

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An excuse to make margaritas, tacos, home made salsa, cookies?  I'm in.  It's also one of the prettiest times of year in the South.  We are likely running the AC, but not yet sweltering.  Lots of fun ideas this time of year, and I have a few to share.

The best version of a taco comes from the Taco Pizza.  This isn't just any pizza, it's an institution where I grew up.  The original blog, linked here, Happy Joe's Taco Pizza, is one of my most popular ever.  People move away and crave this stuff.  I encourage you to try it, I promise it is unlike any taco pizza you have ever eaten! And don't get fancy.  There is a reason this is so popular. But you know I make my mad money on cookies.  Lots of them.  So here are a few themed cookies perfect for the 5th of May!

It's an excellent time to plan a shower.  Instant theme, super colorful and an abundance of great food that people can bring! These were made for a girlfriend's party, and we watched the rain come down all day.  And miraculously at 5pm, the sun popped out!  It was a tiny bit humid, but no rain!!!

These were also a wedding shower, but it took place on St. Patrick's Day.  Funny right?  But the Irish food theme can only go so far, and the green beer could be problematic.  I'd much rather decorate with piñatas!  And eat fajitas!

This is my go to salsa.  I love this stuff.  It's delicious on a corn chip, but also great on fish, grilled steak, a beef fajita, or on a spoon.  You can alter the heat with jalepeños, and add anything that might be hanging out in your crisper!

Salsa of the Tropics

2 Mangoes, pitted, peeled, diced
4 Roma Tomatoes, seeded, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 orange bell pepper, diced
1 red onion, diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
5 small jalepeños, or to taste, diced
1 teaspoon cumin
generous shakes Crystal Hot Sauce
4 Tablespoons Sherry vinegar
2 Tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
fresh chopped parsley (it calls for cilantro, but hey, I'm a Petitti!)
2 fresh limes, zested and juiced

Toss everything together and you are good to go!  If it is going to be chilled for a long period of time, you'll want to make sure your olive oil doesn't get hard in the fridge.  Some less expensive brands tend to do that.  

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Happy Birthday Kiddo!

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Birthdays are a special celebration, and it seem like kid's birthdays have drifted away from the traditional birthday cake.  Cupcakes are a biggie, and cookies are popular because they can take them home with them.  I don't do character cookies, but we can channel the idea of them . This is a sampling of some kid's celebration cookies.

I've posted these before, but really, what kid doesn't love a bowling party!?

These were for a family party, to use as favors.  They were a big large, but I love my custom sprinkles mix!  And the colors are so sweet.

These were for a one year old as well, but the theme was a little more girly!!

These were for a farm party.  Not a great picture, but this Iowa girl loved them.

 This 1st birthday was a snow theme. Not many people in Buffalo wanting a snow theme birthday I bet, but in the South....bring it on!

This grandma was hosting the party for the first birthday.  She asked for a lot of cookies...must have been a heck of a party! I like the tone on tone pinks.

Did you know the light saber's color means something?  I didn't,  but you can Google the specifics.  This little boy knoew exactly how many of each color he needed for his friends!

Basketball cookies are stunning when done.  It's that color contrast.  I have airbrushed the balls to give it the texture look, but I find it unnecessary.  Certain the 6th grade girls didn't notice!

I bought these cutters at a certain Kingdom.  They are I did 2 cookies per bag for the 2 year olds.  Pretty cute!  I love that kids still love the mouse.

And the unicorns were made for someone at the Mouse party.  She loved the little favors, and I was excited to make sparkly unicorns!

Many more celebrations, we all have one a year, right!?  What are you waiting for?  Get in there and bake!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Dark and Stormy for an April Storm

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Dark and Stormy, something is definitely brewing, not just the weather... You see I really like cocktail hour, not that I drink a lot, I just drink, well, often. Five o'clock is sort of a sacred hour around here. I love a glass of wine (Cab or Pinot please), a frosty beer, or Scotch and soda water with a hunk of lemon. I tend to steer clear of mixed drinks. I enjoy one every now and again, but they can get me into big trouble. Not because I drink in excess, but there is this small allergy I have and I can only pinpoint a few culprits.

Triple Sec is one. Stand back if I am unknowingly drinking something with Triple Sec. You'll see the flush rise up my neck, my ears, my face, my body temperature climbs and suddenly I feel very much like there isn't enough air in the room. A few glasses of ice water, a blast of cold air, and I can usually bounce back. But it only took a couple of times for me to reach that hot point, and now I order just wine. Even in one of the very nicest Memphis restaurants, I ordered a Cosmo and about died right there. I wouldn't dream of putting Triple Sec instead of Cointreau in a Cosmo, but that $14 Cosmo was built as cheap as they could manage. When the bartender saw the color of my face and chest, I hope he decided to rework the recipe. So basically I avoid Margaritas, Cosmos, any tropical, fruity drinks, especially the blue ones. There is definitely something to do with the citrus. But I know when it's coming and can stop before any permanent damage is done. Even an imported "big" beer has had these effects on me. But I am not out of the game.

Frosty mug beer...yes please!

My sister in Iowa, who lives on a farm, is crazy about a Dark and Stormy. Which is ironic as she has had not one, but two homes demolished by tornadoes.  Really.  It's an amazing and frightening statistic right? According to her, a Dark and Stormy is a shot of Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum and a Ginger Beer. We'll get to that in a minute. But first, I had no idea that there was Ginger Ale and Ginger Beer. Is there a difference? Yes! I think it is safe to say that Ginger Ale is a soda pop, lighter and a little sweeter and friendlier to drink. The Ginger Beer I bought totally rocks, spicy and very gingery. And mixed with a little Captain, it really rocks, and now I am a little flushed, so I could probably only have one, but what a delicious diversion on a Tuesday evening with flowers starting to bloom and the smell of spring in the air...but alas, it is not really a Dark and Stormy. Let's call it a Dark and Cloudy, shall we?

See, according to the Internet and this guy named Jeffrey Morganthaler, who seems to know a lot about cocktails, I need to drink my yummy ginger beer with Gosling's Black Seal Rum. This dark Bahamian Rum is supposed to go in at the end and settle like a dark, stormy cloud. See my tantalizing picture at the beginning of this post. He also insists on homemade ginger beer. He obviously has never had the epic fail-homemade-root beer-explosion (another post, but the stickiest and stinkiest thing ever), so I am sticking to Cock and Bull Ginger Beer.

These folks have been brewing it since 1946. Why mess with perfection? But the rum. I found in my assortment of adult beverages some Meyer's Dark Rum. I bought it to make Jerk Lamb Chops (which I will blog if I ever find Scotch Bonnet Peppers) I am sure it will work, but I decided to head to my favorite liquor store first to see if I could get the real thing. After all there were 3 more bottles of Ginger Beer to tinker with! I called the nice guys at the liquor store and he asks, "Are you making a Dark and Stormy?" So, everyone knows what this is except me.

Moscow Mule, good stuff. Never saw one in Moscow though, for the record.

And since we were mixing drinks, why not make a Moscow Mule. I know, it requires one of those copper mugs.  And no, I don't own any.  I am a copper collector, but as delicious as this cocktail is, no one here will be drinking them on the reg, so no copper mugs for me. According to the carton of Cock and Bull Ginger Beer they make this cocktail with a shot of Russian vodka, ½ a lime squeezed in and a bottle of their Ginger Beer, mixed in a copper mug. I served mine in a great Triple Old Fashioned crystal glass from my very favorite store...I gave Scott the Moscow Mule, and he gave it a thumbs up made with Stoli Gold. But I digress...blame it on the rum.

I made the Dark and Stormy just as directed, and my land...This Goslings Rum is over the top. It has a very distinct flavor, and with the Ginger Beer, well it is deeelicious. Am I slurring yet?  I am headed (tomorrow, sober) back to the market for more Ginger Beer. And what a coincidence that I have 3 weather alerts on my phone as the severe weather comes in tonight, high winds, hail, possible tornadoes. Perfect stormy weather!

What I have discovered on this cocktail journey is that it is quite fun trying new concoctions....I may have to experiment more! Also, blogging while drinking cocktails, especially strong cocktails makes spell check a necessary addition! But I also like the idea of taking one ingredient (in this case that Ginger Beer) and sort of finding its best presentation. There are so many ideas swirling in my rum-crazed brain...where to begin? For now, though, get in there and have a Dark and Stormy! Cheers!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Hoppy Easter Cookies for the Family!

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I love Easter.  It really does herald in Spring here in the South.  Most years, I am already a week or so into running the AC, and this year, I am using up the firewood trying to keep warm and pretend this rain is warm (it's not!).

I also love to make place card cookies.  It's funny though, we never seem to get around to eating them!  I sat down and ate mine the day after Easter, and you know what?  It was delicious.

He was made for a shower...but bunnies!!!

An assortment for a cookie class.

These are for all of spring!

such a great cookie to use up lots of various colors icing!

Instead of platters, we sent the cookies out in baskets!

Sweet and simple.  The most popular design this year!

And there are more, many more.  Here's a link to some oldies.  Always fun to look back on previous designs.  Happy Easter!