Cloud Nine Valentine Martini

Since Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, I thought I’d share a yummy drink recipe that I made for my boyfriend and I this weekend. I found it through a pin on Pinterest and it’s from the Web site DayDreamerDesserts.com. Whether you are dining out or staying in and cooking at home, enjoy one (or two!) of these tomorrow evening. Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Cloud Nine Martini

Serves 2

Red Sanding Sugar
6 ounces Godiva White Chocolate liqueur (I used Merrys White Chocolate Liqueur)
2 ounces Pinnacle Whipped Cream vodka

For an added Valentine’s Day touch, pour some red sanding sugar (go to the baking isle in your grocery store and you will find it with the sprinkles)  into a plastic lid then swirl the rims of the martini glasses in some whipped cream vodka and dip them into the sanding sugar.

Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice. Pour ingredients into the cocktail shaker, and shake for 20 seconds.

Strain and serve into martini glasses.

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Recipe: Raspberry Shortbread Thumbprints

Happy New Year!

Even though the holidays are over (sad face), I had to share one other cookie recipe that I made for Christmas. I came across these cookies from a good family friend and had to get it from her – Thanks, Lynn! I remember eating them as a little kid too, but they were known as Kolacky’s to our family. So, tuck this recipe away if you need another cookie recipe for your next holiday cookie exchange because this one is so yummy! Enjoy!

Raspberry Shortbread Thumbprints (Otherwise known as Kolacky’s)

2/3 c. sugar

1 c. butter, softened

1/2 tsp. almond extract

2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1/2 c. raspberry preserves

Glaze

1 c. powdered sugar

1 1/2 tsp. almond extract

2-3 tbsp. milk until smooth

Add milk slowly so glaze doesn’t become too runny (should be thick like maple syrup)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine sugar, butter and almond extract in a medium-sized bowl.  Beat until creamy. Reduce speed and add flour.  Beat until well mixed – dough will be crumbly.

Shape into 1-inch balls.  Place two inches apart on cookie sheet.  With thumb make an indentation in center of each cookie, edges may crack. Fill with 1/4 tsp. raspberry preserves.

Bake 14-18 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Drizzle with glaze when cool.

Yield: 3 1/2 dozen

Recipe courtesy of Lynn Ahern.

Recipe: Ginger Spice Cookies

I participated in a cookie exchange about a week ago and made some delicious cookies, so I wanted to share the recipe with you all. Since I’m a part of the Junior League of Denver, I went straight to the new JLD cookbook, Colorado Classique (released in 2009), to get a holiday cookie recipe. After you are done, put these on a pretty plate or tin and give them as a hostess gift! They are guaranteed to love them!

Ginger Spice Cookies

1 c. sugar
3/4 c. butter
1 egg
3 tbsp. molasses
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
sugar for rolling

Glaze

1 1/2 c.  powdered sugar
1 1/2 tbsp. water
1 1/2 tsps. lemon juice

* Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl, cream 1 cup sugar with butter for three minutes or until light and fluffy. Mix in egg and molasses. In a separate medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture and blend well. Fill a shallow bowl with sugar. Break off walnut-size pieces of dough and roll into balls. Roll balls in sugar and arrange on greased baking sheets. Bake 10 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer cookies to racks to cool.

Meanwhile, make glaze. Combine powdered sugar with water and stir until smooth. Stir in lemon juice. Drizzle glaze over cookies, or dip half of cookie tip in glaze.

Nutrition Information: 97 calories, 4 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 14 mg cholesterol, 87 mg sodium, 16 g carbohydrates, 10 g sugars, 0 g fiber, 1 g protein.

Yield: 40 cookies.

Recipe from the Junior League of Denver Colorado Classique Cookbook.

How to Make a Holiday Wreath

After going up with my boyfriend’s family to cut down our Christmas tree, I decided to make my own wreath instead of going out to buy one. And since I’ve been getting a lot of compliments as far as how I did it, I thought I’d share it all with you! I found an easy step-by-step guide from eHow.

Things you will need:

  • Ribbon
  • Wire Wreath Frame (I used a 18″ frame)
  • #24 Floral/Paddle Wire
  • Shears
  • Pine cones
  • Scissors
  • Decorative ornaments, berries, etc.

1. Gather 6-8 inch trimmings from your tree or other greens found right outside your home. The tip ends of the branches work best.

2. Use a wire wreath fame or make your own from a wire coat hanger (I used a wire wreath frame that I bought at Michael’s for $2.99).

3. Attached #24 floral/paddle wire anywhere along the wire wreath frame. Tie is to the frame at that point and keep unspooling it and wrapping as you go around the frame with the bundles of greens.

4. Select several of the trimmings and place them together in a bunch with the stems at one end.

5. Place this bundle on top of the frame where the floral wire is connected.

6. Hold the bundle in place and wrap the floral wire around the bundle and frame.

7. Wrap the floral wire around the bundle a second time and then pull it tight. Make sure to leave the wire attached to the frame.

8. Gather another bundle and place it so that the leaves overlap the first bunch and cover the stems, making sure they face the same direction.

9. Continue overlapping the bunches and wiring them to the frame until you complete the circle.

10. Add pine cones by twisting a new piece of wire around the base of the cone, leaving a tail of 8-10 inches. Tie the wired cone’s tail to the wreath. (I was lucky in that I had pine cones already on the branches)

11. Lift the first bundle that you wired onto the frame and tuck the last bundle under it.

12. Twist the wire tightly around the last bundle. Knot the wire onto the frame, leaving 1-inch of wire with which to hang the wreath.

13. Trim the wire with scissors or shears when you are finished.

Tips:

  • Buy or make a bright red bow and attach it with wire to the top of your wreath.
  • These can make wonderful hostess gifts during the holiday party season.
  • You can do all of this for less than $10!

My homemade Christmas wreath hanging on our front door!


GOOD LUCK!

Happy Holidays!

I haven’t been on here in awhile, ok, a long while. But, I’m here now! (I promise to get better!)

It’s hard to believe the holidays are here and 2011 is coming to a close. Most people know that the holidays are my favorite time of the year. I swear sometimes I feel like a little kid, but I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. It really is the most wonderful time of the year! It’s a time to be around the people that you love the most. I love everything about it – decorating the tree, the Christmas music (I can’t stop listening to it), lights, finding the perfect gifts for all those who mean the most to me, baking cookies, delicious food, family traditions, holiday parties, and just being around all my family and favorite friends. What is your favorite part of the holidays? What does it all mean to you? I’d love to hear!

Stay tuned for more posts on holiday fun! Happy Friday!

Hello 2011…

Things have been quite hectic lately so I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything. I’ll try and get you caught up on the highlights from the last few months:

Denver Botanic Gardens – Blossoms of Lights

Myself and a couple good friends went to the Denver Botanic Gardens Blossoms of Lights to take in all the beautiful displays of lights around the gardens. I had never been to the Gardens before so it was a great time of year to go. I even saw the location where my brother asked my sister-in-law to marry him, which was special.

It was a peaceful, yet chilly evening, but so much fun and definitely something I would do next holiday season.

Zoo Lights

I had never seen zoo lights either during the holidays, but have always heard good things about it. My good friends, Abbey and Meredith, joined me and we walked, laughed and took in all the lights, families and joy the zoo offered. I haven’t been to the zoo since I was a little kid, so it was fun to go back even though we didn’t get to see many animals.

Junior League Holiday Party

Our provisional group had our holiday party at Julie’s house, where she made fabulous chocolate martini’s and a variety of holiday sweets. It was an ugly sweater party, so I put my holiday best on and took in the fun. Nice sweater, right?

I love my junior league provisional group. I’m so glad to have joined such an amazing organization. I’ve really met some great women and new friends.

Holiday Lights Wine Tour

A couple weeks later, my boyfriend and I went on a holiday lights wine tour through 5280 Wine Tours (http://www.5280winetoursco.com/). If you’ve never done a wine tour through them, I highly recommend it. I did one this past summer and experienced some of Denver’s local wineries which I had never done before. On the holiday lights tour we started at D’Vine Winery (http://www.winerydenver.com/) in downtown Denver where we did some wine tasting. Afterwords we  got on the bus and went to Union Station, the City & County Building and even stopped at a few homes in the Cherry Creek area to do some caroling. It was so much fun and such a fun activity for the holidays!

Christmas

Christmas is my absolute favorite holiday. I love everything about it – from making Christmas cookies with my mom and sister-in-law, putting up the Christmas tree, wrapping gifts and seeing the faces on those who open them and carrying on family traditions including eating monkey bread on Christmas morning. I think this year was one of the best Christmas’s I’ve ever had. I was around the people I love the most including Ben, both our families and friends. There was love and happiness all around me!

2011

Family Vacation to Ocean Reef, Fla.

My family hadn’t taken a family vacation in years, so the six of us took a vacation down to Ocean Reef Club in Florida to see my grandfather. It was great spending time with him and celebrating his 87th birthday. The guys played a lot of golf (Ben was in heaven), while the rest of us enjoyed relaxing on Buccaneer Island, driving around on the golf cart and a doing a little bit of shopping. Definitely a trip filled with good laughs and even better memories!

Canvas and Cocktails

Myself and four other girls enjoyed a morning at Canvas and Cocktails (http://www.canvasandcocktails.com/) down in Cherry Creek. If you ever are in need of exploring your creativeness, this is the place to do it. Plus, have a cocktail… or two, while you are at it! I can’t even tell you the last time I sat down and painted something… it was probably in middle school. I was surprised at how relaxing it was. What better way to paint, drink mimosas and listen and dance to some great music with your girlfriends!

Afternoon Tea at the Brown Palace

The end of January, myself, Abbey, Meredith and Laura did Afternoon Tea at the Brown Palace Hotel in Denver (http://www.brownpalace.com/dining/lobby_tea.cfm). We sipped on English tea while munching on scones, tea pastries and tea sandwiches. It was fun to get dressed up and chit chat with great girlfriends while taking in a beautiful and historical atmosphere.

Phew… it’s been a crazy few months, but oh so worth it! I promise to get better on updating this blog more often. 2011 is going to be a fabulous year and I hope yours is too!