Category Archives: Drinks

Classic Mojito

Classic Mojito Recipe

If there is one cocktail that screams summer, it is a mojito. A favorite in our household, these refreshing lime and mint summer drinks are the perfect cocktail for a warm night or the compliment to a summer BBQ. If you grow mint in your garden, you are likely wondering what the heck to do with all of it. Mint will take over. So before you pull it all out like a weed, (because let’s face it, we can only eat so many mint and watermelon salads) make yourself one of these cocktails.

I like to mix up a simple syrup to keep on hand in the refrigerator. One cup of sugar, one cup of water and bowl it down until it turns syrupy. Cool and keep refrigerated. It’s a great addition to any homemade cocktail or juice.

classic mojito

I’m enjoying this drink as I type, so I apologize in advance for any typos.

Classic Mojito
1 small lime, cut into wedges
10-12 mint lives, roughly chopped
1 1/2 oz light rum (like Bacardi)
1/2 TBSP simple syrup
1/4 C club soda
1 C crushed ice

In a tall glass, squeeze limes and toss into bottom of the glass. Add mint. Using a muddler or wooden spoon, muddle mint and lime together to extract mint flavor and lime juice. Add rum, simple syrup, and club soda. Mix together. Add enough crushed ice to fill the glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Enjoy some more summer cocktails with these folks around the web on Food Networks Summer Soiree!

Feed Me Phoebe: Grilled Strawberry-Mint Bellinis
The Lemon Bowl: Raspberry-Ginger Bellini
Jeanette’s Healthy Living: White Peach Sangria
The Heritage Cook: Refreshing Lime Coolers
The Cultural Dish: Pimm’s Cup
Virtually Homemade: Frozen Lime Margaritas with a Sangria Swirl 
Weelicious: Strawberry Lemonade 
Big Girls, Small Kitchen: Strawberry Gimlets with Homemade Strawberry Vodka
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Cucumber and Sage Cocktail
Red or Green: Frozen Tri-Melon Cocktail
Dishing With Divya: Caipirinha
In Jennie’s Kitchen: Cantaloupe Lillet Sparkler
Poet in the Pantry: Pirate’s Booty Call
Elephants and the Coconut Trees: Watermelon Malibu Surf
Sweet Life Bake: Boozy Affogato
Devour: 5 Boozy Summer Coolers
Domesticate Me: Blueberry Mojito Royale
Daily*Dishin: Blackberry Rum Shrub
Taste With The Eyes: Korean Soju Kimbap Bloody Mary
FN Dish: Sip Your Way Through Summer (Recipes)




Filed under Drinks

Superfood Smoothies

Smoothies are nothing new, although green versions are popping up like weeds in cafes and juice bars. If you’re on Pinterest, you’ve probably pinned a zillion recipes already but this is my go-to version. I started making these regularly for breakfast over the summer, sometimes alternating them with protein shakes. I played with a variety of ingredients and techniques but landed on this combo of fruit, veg and “power” ingredients to maximize benefits without loading on too many cals.

Here are my ingredient Cliff notes:
Beets: I totally dig beets with carrots as an occasional substitute. The key to a great texture with beets is grating them…preferably with a microplane grater to get an ultrafine texture that isn’t overbearing. Red beets will give you a gorgeous magenta smoothie but chioggia or golden beets will get masked by your greens if you’re more of a green smoothie literalist.

Greens: I say ‘greens’ because you can really use whatever you like or have on hand. Spinach, chard and beet greens (double duty ingredient!) will give you a smoother texture than kale, which tends to be a little coarser but still tasty.

Fruit: Use what’s in season or your favorites. I like pineapple as a base because it’s ultra juicy.

Liquids: After trying various combos, I settled on unsweetened almond milk and coconut water as my liquids for the relative nutritional benefits with fewer calories than juice or milk.

Chia Seeds: Relatively flavorless, these antioxidant and omega-3 packed gems also help me to feel more full. I personally like the ground version but you could use whole seeds.

Greek Yogurt: This is an optional thickener and smooth-ier. I like the protein it adds but you could skip it if desired.

Superfood Smoothies
1 C greens (any combo of spinach, beet greens, kale or swiss chard), washed and chopped
1/3 cucumber (about 4-5 thick slices), sliced and quartered
1 small beet, peeled and finely grated (use a microplane!)
3/4 C pineapple, chopped
2 other pieces seasonal fruit in any combo: 1 banana, peach, pear or green apple, 2 large handfuls of berries, or 2 kiwis
6-8 oz vanilla Greek yogurt
splash lime juice
1 C unsweetened almond milk
1/2 C coconut water
2 Tbsp chia seeds

Add greens, cucumber and grated beet to a blender with almond milk and coconut water. Blend until smooth and all large chunks are gone. Add chia seeds and any fruit that is more fibrous or firm, such as an an apple or pear. Blend again. Add pineapple and any additional fruit. Blend again. Finally add lime juice and yogurt and give a final blend.

Multiple blends will help you get the smoothest texture so if you prefer it smoother than after your final blend, pulse a bit longer to gain desired texture.

Busy mornings? Make your smoothies ahead of time! Since one batch will make two smoothies, you can make one for yourself and someone else or make two days worth of breakfasts at once. I like these Thermos brand bottles that I found at Target. They hold a perfect amount and have a straw for convenient sipping in the car or at my desk.


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Filed under Drinks, Healthy

{Fall Cocktail} Apple Jack

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, a soul warming cocktail is a must. My friends and I shared this warmed up adult treat after a chilly night of trick or treating. It is a perfect pre-Thanksgiving meal drink to prep your tummy for turkey or post-Thanksgiving meal drink to sip on while you lay on the couch and watch football.

Using Jack Daniel’s Bourbon will make it a true Apple Jack, but you can easily replace it with other bourbon or whiskey as achieve the same result.

Apple Jack
4 C apple cider
1 1/2 C bourbon or whiskey
1 TBSP ground cinnamon
Ginger ale

In a medium saucepan, heat apple cider, whiskey and cinnamon just until it simmers. Ladle mixture into mug, three-quarters full. Fill the rest of the mug with ginger ale. Add a dash of cinnamon. Garnish with an apple slice if desired.

This year we are participating in the Food Network’s Thanksgiving potluck! So pull up a chair and find a seat at our table with all these wonderful blogger recipes for the upcoming holiday!

Cocktails, Appetizers, Salads and Breads:
Cooking With BooksSpiced Couscous and Walnut Salad
Mooshu JenneHoney Bacon Potato Pops
Food For My FamilyRoasted Beet and Lacinato Kale Salad With Lemon Vinaigrette 
Big Girls, Small KitchenSuper Seeded Cornbread

FN DishBlack Pepper-Pomegranate Molasses Glazed Turkey

Feed Me PhoebeCornbread and Wild Rice Stuffing With Hazelnuts and Cranberries
Napa Farmhouse 1885Chorizo, Cornbread and Tortilla Dressing
Sweet LifeApple Chorizo Cornbread Stuffing
And Love It, TooPaleo Green Bean Casserole
Jeanette’s Healthy LivingSweet Spiced Winter Squash Casserole
Red or Green?Corn, Peppers and Onion Saute
Simple BitesHoney Pomegranate Glazed Brussels Sprouts
Virtually HomemadeFresh Orange and Cranberry Sauce With Toasted Walnuts
What’s Gaby CookingSweet Potato Gratin
The Heritage CookCauliflower Gratin
Creative CulinaryCreamy Mushroom Bake With Parmesan and Panko
Bacon and SouffleSpicy Carnival Squash

I Am BakerPumpkin Bars in a Jar
Add a PinchCaramel Pie
Chez UsPumpkin Cheesecake With Chocolate Swirls

Happy Thanksgiving!


Filed under Drinks

Mexican-Themed Christmas Fiesta

As I mentioned last week, my family and I decided to celebrate in a different way this year, Mexican-style! We celebrated this past weekend with festive drinks, food and desserts. It was a Feliz Navidad indeed.

To start the party out, I served Cranberry Pomegranate Margaritas using a recipe I found on the blog, My Life as a Mrs. Potent, but festive!

After making a special trip to my new favorite grocery store, El Rey, I put together a spicy Mexican meal that got us all in the Christmas mood. The shining star of the meal was the Chipotle Pulled Brisket Taco. Cooked in a slow-cooker, the beef was juicy and tender with a little kick.

Chipotle Pulled Brisket Tacos
Serves 6-8 people

3 lbs brisket
1/4 C apple cider vinegar
1 can diced tomatoes
1 TBSP chili powder
1/2 TBSP minced garlic
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp sea salt
1-2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, finely diced
1 TBSP adobo sauce
Queso Fresco
flour tortillas, warmed

In a slow cooker, place brisket. Pour in apple cider vinegar and diced tomatoes, including the juices. Add minced garlic. In a small bowl, mix together chili powder, cumin, coriander and sea salt. Shake evenly over beef. Add chipotle peppers and adobo sauce. Make sure tomatoes and peppers are evenly spread across the brisket. Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours. 30 minutes before serve time, take two large forks and shred beef. The beef should easily tear apart. Mix throughly, reduce to warm and cover until serve time.

Place guacamole in bottom of warmed tortillas. Layer beef into taco. Sprinkle Queso Fresco over the top and serve with Spanish rice.

We rounded the meal out with an easy and beautiful Dulce de Leche dessert I found over on Oh My Sugar High. This dessert took less than 10 minutes to whip up and wasn’t too heavy after  a big meal. I plan on making different variations in the future!

Wishing all of you love and joy this holiday season.

From my table to yours, Feliz Navidad!


Filed under Christmas, Cook, Drinks, Holidays, Main Dish, Treats

Caramel Apple Cider Float

The chilly weather in Wisconsin has got me feeling like fall will soon be coming to an end so I am trying to savor all my fall treats while I still can. One of my favorite fall indulgences is Apple Cider. I wanted to make it more of a dessert than just a drink, so I whipped up this Caramel Apple Cider Float. The combination of apple cider and ice cream was delicious!

Caramel Apple Cider Float

Glass of your favorite Apple Cider, warmed
1-2 Tbsp caramel topping plus more for drizzling on top
Vanilla Ice Cream

Warm your glass of Apple Cider. Add 1-2 Tablespoons of caramel topping and stir until dissolved. Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream followed by a sprinkle of cinnamon and a drizzle of caramel.
The ice cream melts into the cider making it extra rich and delicious! You could also get creative and use an ice cream flavor such as butter pecan or peanut butter swirl.

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Filed under Cook, Drinks, Treats

{4th of July} Fresh Strawberry Margaritas

When it comes to celebrating the 4th of July, a frosty adult beverage is a must. Nothing says land of the free and home of the brave like this fresh strawberry “ame-rita.” My family and I recently went strawberry picking at Polzin Farm in Cedarburg. We got a bit over zealous and found ourselves with over nine pounds of strawberries when it was all said and done. These strawberries don’t even resemble what you buy in the grocery store. They are bright red and bursting with juices.

Make this strawberry margarita for your BBQ or parade watching this weekend. With a little festive garnish, you re-create this Mexican treat into an old American favorite.

Fresh Strawberry Margarita

3 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and halved
1/2 C. tequila
1/4 C. sugar
juice of 2 limes
approx. 10 ice cubes
5-6 mint leaves, chopped (optional)
Fresh strawberries and blueberries for garnish

In a blender, puree strawberries, tequila, lime juice and sugar until smooth. Add ice and blend. Mix in mint. Pour and serve.

Looking for other goodies to cook up for your 4th of July BBQ? Try some of these HAP favorites!

Wishing you a safe and wonderful holiday weekend! What are you eating this 4th of July?


Filed under Drinks, Holidays

Iced Tea Mojitos

After an exhausting weekend filled with nursery painting, basement renovations and yard work, all I really wanted was a mojito. Or a cold beer. *sigh* Oh, the woes of pregnancy.

Thankfully I was introduced to iced tea mojitos, or faux-jitos if you will, while on vacation in Florida a few months ago and have been recreating them ever since. At first I was a little suspect of the flavor combo but it’s a solid substitute for the real thing and a refreshing alternative to the ultra sweet, non-alcoholic cocktail options that you’re usually offered if you’re pregnant or don’t drink. I plan on keeping them in my summer beverage lineup long after the baby arrives!
iced tea mojito

Non-Alcoholic Iced Tea Mojito
handful fresh mint leaves
1 lime, sliced into 4 quarters
1 Tbsp lime juice (or juice from 1/4 of a lime)
3 tsp sugar
5-6 ice cubes
5 oz unsweetened iced tea
2 oz seltzer water

Add mint leaves, sugar and lime juice to a pint glass. Use a muddler to muddle the ingredients together until mint leaves are mashed and sugar dissolves. Add ice cubes. Pour iced tea over iced cubes. Squeeze in juice from two more lime quarters and toss quarters into the glass. Add seltzer. Mix well with a stir stick or spoon. Garnish with extra mint leaves and remaining lime quarter.

NOTE: You could make them alcoholic by substituting 2 oz of white rum for 1 oz of seltzer and 1 oz of iced tea.

non-alcoholic mojito


Filed under Drinks

Guinness Float

This beer and ice cream marriage has been years in the making. It all started back in college when my good friend Greg and I tried to make a beer float. Much to our chagrin, Miller High Life Lite and vanilla ice cream DO NOT go well together, no matter how many Miller High Lifes you imbibe before taste testing.

Fast forward some years.

Greg and I were playing Rock Band on the Wii and drinking Guinness when it came to us: Guinness and ice cream! Better yet, Guinness and vanilla frozen custard! We high tailed it over to Murf’s, ordered up some custard and mixed our newest concoction. We were onto something.

This year, I perfected the Guinness Float. The creaminess of the custard, the thick, bold taste of the Guinness and the smoothness of Bailey’s Irish Cream make for one delicious Irish treat.

Guinness Float

2 small scoops vanilla frozen custard or vanilla ice cream
1 bottle or can Guinness
1 shot of Bailey’s Irish Creme
Dash of nutmeg

Scoop frozen custard or ice cream into a pint glass. Pour one shot of Bailey’s over the ice cream. Slowly pour Guinness in the glass until full. Top with a dash of nutmeg.

So let us raise our glasses: “May the roof above us never fall in, and may we friends beneath it never fall out.”



Filed under Drinks, Treats

Cranberry Cider Margarita

Whether you’re greeting guests at the door or closing the evening with a nightcap, this year try trading in the basic wine for a signature holiday cocktail. We think that this gorgeous, fall-inspired Cranberry Cider Margarita recipe from Lauren Fister is sure to put your friends and family in a festive mood.

Lauren is a girl who knows the kitchen inside and out, working as a kitchen designer for Studio Snaidero by day and blogging by night over at Chat N’ Chow.

Favorite Thanksgiving Dish or Tradition: Growing up my mom (who’s from the south) always had a baked ham in addition to the turkey. I always love to have a bite of fresh sliced ham on a biscuit with my Thanksgiving dinner!

Pumpkin Pie or Apple Pie? Pumpkin Pie – if I had it available to me I would eat it for breakfast every morning!!

Cooking Mantra? Just roll with it! If you’re going downhill with a recipe stick it out to the end so at least you gave it your all and you will have learned what not to do for next time. Also, never apologize (as Julia said)!

What are you thankful for this year? I started my blog a year ago in December. At first it started out as something I did to fill my time and my content was just OK. There was a turning point a couple months ago where I got totally inspired to push myself for higher quality content and to put more of myself into my posts. When this happened I found such an amazing community of readers and bloggers who inspire me even more. I don’t know where it’s going but I’m thankful to have discovered an outlet where I can creatively express myself and focus my energy!

Cranberry Cider Margarita

When I entertain I like to have cocktails ready for guests as they come in. This is a great cocktail because vodka could be easily swapped if someone doesn’t like tequila. Cocktails are also great at Thanksgiving because they can add fun edge (vs. just only having red and white wine) to what can sometimes become a stressful day (you know how it can go with all the different personalities that come together but only a few times a year). I show two serving ideas, as a martini and on the rocks. I think guys might like it on the rocks and ladies might like it in a martini glass. Mixing Note – I use a small shot glass as my measure for 1 oz.

holiday cocktail recipe

Rimming the Glass
I think rimmed glasses are a fun & flavorful addition to cocktails. For this cocktail I ran the lemon wedge around the rim of the glass to make it wet, I then dipped the glass in the following mixture spread out on a plate:

1 Tablespoon kosher salt
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
zest of one orange

Optional garnish:
For a sliced apple garnish, place apple slices or wedges in a dish with cool water and the juice from half a lemon or lime. This will keep the apple from turning. Keep the dish at hand when making the cocktails.

thanksgiving cocktailCranberry Cider Margarita (serves 1)
2 oz tequila – I like silver tequila
1/2 oz triple sec
1 oz cranberry juice
1 oz fresh cider
Juice from 1/4 of an orange

In a cocktail shaker combine all of the ingredients with ice. Shake well. Pour into chilled rimmed glass and garnish. Enjoy!!

cranberry cider margarita
Thanks again to all of our haute guest bloggers and to you, haute reader, for celebrating this foodie favorite holiday with us!


Filed under Drinks, Holidays

Pumpkins & Polka Dots and Festive Fall Fare: Part I

On a crisp and cool autumn night last week, the girls gathered for monthly Ladies Night at my house. With pumpkins and polka dots strewn throughout my home, guests feasted on a festive fall menu. This simple and affordable get-together makes for a great Halloween party, but has the legs to last through Thanksgiving.

As guests entered the house, they walked along a pathway of pumpkin lumineria, purchased from the dollar bin at Target. Mums, pumpkins dotted with acrylic glitter paint and my new fall favorite – a gray pumpkin – framed the doorway.

The ladies were treated to a buffet of festive fall fare including apple cider punch, party mix, pumpkin dip, fall spinach salad, butternut squash soup with pumpernickel croutons and caramel apple cupcakes, complete with sticks. Each of these items were pretty simple to make and created a fun fall menu.

Butternut squash soup is quickly becoming our family fall favorite recipe, especially with the new addition of an immersion blender to my kitchen tool repertoire. The simple to make pumpernickel croutons add that extra bit of crunch to the soup to leave you wanting more.

Butternut Squash Soup:

3 TBSP unsalted butter
3 TBSP all-purpose flour
4 C low sodium chicken stock
one butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
1 tsp curry powder
1 C heavy cream
salt and pepper to taste

To begin this soup, you need to make a blonde roux. In a large pot, melt butter until it begins to bubble. Slowly whisk in flour until a thick mixture forms. Slowly whisk in room temperature chicken stock. Bring to boil. Add butternut squash and curry. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until squash is tender.

If you do not have an immersion blender, transfer contents of pot to a blender or food processor (this will likely be done in two steps). Puree until mostly smooth (I like to leave a few small chunks in for texture). Transfer back to pot and slowly whisk in cream over medium heat. Add salt and pepper. (If you use an immersion blender, just place into pot and puree until you reach the desired texture.) Top with pumpernickel croutons and serve.

Pumpernickel Croutons:

2 C pumpernickel bread, cubed
1 TBSP olive oil
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp oregano

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix all ingredients in a small bowl. Spread on cookie sheet and toast for 15 minutes, flipping croutons halfway through.

The fall spinach salad included spinach, roasted and salted pumpkin seeds (aka pepitas), dried cranberries, four-pepper goat cheese and sliced Cortland apples, dressed in a creamy balsamic dressing. Pumpkin seeds are a great alternative to croutons or almonds for creating a fall salad.

Every good ladies night needs a good drink. While a good glass of wine will usually do, I decided to put together an apple cider punch for the occasion.

Apple Cider Punch:

6 C apple cider
2 C orange juice
juice of one lemon
1 bottle chilled champagne

Mix and serve over ice.

Join me tomorrow for the pumpkin dip and caramel apple cupcake recipes!


Filed under Cook, Decorate, Drinks, Entertain, Main Dish, Sides