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4.11.2014

Honey Sweetened Strawberry & Lime Sangria


Strawberry and Lime Sangria with mint and sweetened with a touch of honey. Perfect for spring or summer parties. 



It is not often I host parties at my home. But when I do I like to keep things fresh and simple. Hosting parties are enough work on their own, why stress over menu plans and cooking?



For food, simple is my motto. There is typically a selection of cheese, a variety of crackers and breads. Fresh fruit, sliced vegetables, shrimp cocktail, steamed mussels, and special dips to serve with  chips. Not a lot of cooking required. A spread that can be simply plated and put out for my guests to enjoy. 

Our fridge is always stocked with a selection of beer, hard cider, and I typically make one big batch of sangria to go around.  Sangria is quite easy to prepare the day before a party and is always a hit. Filled with fresh fruit and sweet wine, is there anything that says warm weather more than a cold glass of sangria?




Today I have teamed up with a group of bloggers and some great sponsors to giveaway a fun Spring Entertaining gift pack. Complete with some of my favorites that will sure to be a hit at your next party. To enter in the giveaway, scroll past the recipe and enter following the directions on  the widget (rafflecopter box) below.




Honey Sweetened Strawberry & Lime Sangria

Ingredients:

  • 2 bottles of your favorite fruity white wine (I use a semi-sweet Riesling) 
  • 1 lb fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1 small handful of fresh mint leaves
  • 2 limes
  • 2 tbs honey
Directions:

In a small sauce pan combine the juice of one lime with the honey and heat until the honey mixes easily into the juice.

In a large pitcher combine wine, the lime and honey mixture, half of your strawberries, the last lime (sliced thin) and half of the mint leaves.

Refrigerate overnight.

Serve over ice and garnish with additional fresh sliced berries and fresh mint leaves.

Be sure to comment so I know you entered the giveaway! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

4.08.2014

Sriracha Glazed, Bacon Wrapped Corn on the Cob + a $50 Visa Gift Card Giveaway

The following post contains sponsored content. 





If you had to choose one food that reminded you of summer, what would it be? 

Mine would be corn on the cob! Growing up I had a neighbor who owned a farm stand that was popular for its fresh sweet corn.  This farm stand was and still is owned by an eccentric gentleman named Chris. Chris wore no shoes, he was always shirtless, and only wore old running shorts that sometimes were filled with holes… and scary short. In and around town the “No Shirt, No Shoes” policy simply did not apply to him. 



Chris’s stand was also eccentric much like him. The vegetables were all displayed in wooden crates and baskets set up inside a hut like structure that was dressed in what looked like dried palm leaves and a grass skirt. All along the outside of the stand you’d see tiki torches, unique art, baby dolls (creepy I know), scary halloween masks placed on stakes so they were human height, I think some dead president masks as well, you know the kind you wear when robbing a bank? Pretty much a ton of random (and mostly creepy) items most would look at and call junk. But for whatever reason Chris collected these things. 








When I was 14, Chris gave me my first job as “guard of the money”. He payed me $5/hr under the table and had me work 3-4 full days a week, and my younger brother who was 12 worked the days I was off . The farm stand was self service, so it did not need a cashier. However because it became wildly popular among locals and tourists, with the constant flow of people he started getting ripped off. People would take the produce without leaving him a dime. Worst of all they sometimes stole the money box. This was Chris’s only form of income, he was a farmer who worked very hard all summer long so he could fly down to his place in Puerto Rico during the winters. He depended on people being honest and paying for their goods. 



My job was to be there to prevent these thefts from happening. Because 14 year old girls…. are great deterrents right!? Overall it was a pretty sweet gig. I got to sit in the sun, paint my nails, work on my tan and read my latest V.C Andrew’s book (you know you read them too), and jam out to my latest Spice Girl’s CD in my Sony Diskman. 








The only time during the whole summer I did not get to kick back while “working” was when the corn was ready for picking! Corn was a hot item and by far his best seller. And I can see why! There is nothing better than a good BBQ and fresh corn on the cob.  The farm stand got so busy that it would sell out by the end of the evening. 

This recipe is easy to prepare with little fuss. The best part?  It can be prepared inside the comfort of your warm kitchen OR outside on your gas grill. Thanks to Sunshine Sweet Corn I was able to find fresh corn on the cob at our local grocery store as early as April! Thank goodness for the sunny state of Florida! They sent me a little taste of summer to help me thaw from the long New Hampshire winter. 



Sriracha Glazed, Bacon Wrapped Corn on the Cob

Ingredients
  • 4 ears of fresh Sunshine Sweet Corn
  • 4 slices of uncooked bacon
  • ¼ cup Sriracha hot sauce (if you don’t have sriracha, any hot sauce can be substituted)
  • 2 tbs dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbs chicken stock
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 450F (or if you are grilling, high heat).
  2. Cut each corn cob and bacon slice in half (or keep whole if you’d prefer).
  3. Wrap bacon around corn cobs, securing with a toothpick. 
  4. Place in oven/grill and roast until the bacon is crisp, turning occasionally to ensure even browning. Depending on the size of your corn cobs and the thickness of your bacon, it should take between 18-25 minutes. 
  5. While the corn is cooking, you can prepare your glaze. 
  6. On medium heat, add sriracha, brown sugar, and chicken stock to a small sauce pan. Whisk until smooth and bring to a low boil. Remove from heat, and set aside until the corn has finished.
  7. Using a pastry brush, brush each corn cob with your sriracha glaze and then enjoy!
Today we are also hosting a $50 Visa Gift Card Giveaway in partnership with Sunshine Sweet Corn. To enter, leave a comment below with your email address so I can invite you to pin to my Sweet Corn Pinterest Board.  Once  you have been added, pin at least ONE sweet corn recipe to the board.

*Edit:  I have been having issues adding entrants to my Pinterest Board. If I was unable to add you, don't fret. You are still entered in to the giveaway, if you left your email.*

No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Open to US residents age 18 and older.

This sweepstakes is sponsored by the Florida Sweet Corn Exchange in partnership with Kitchen PLAY. One prize of a $50 Visa gift card will be awarded randomly to one eligible entrant. To be eligible to win, reader must request to be added to the Sweet Corn Pinterest group board maintained by Bakeaholic Mama, via the comments on this post. Once added to the group board, he/she must then add at least one pin featuring sweet corn to the group board during the sweepstakes period. (Pinning from the Florida Sweet Corn Pinterest board (http://www.pinterest.com/freshsweetcorn/) is allowed.) 

This promotion begins at 9:00 AM ET on 04/08/2014  and ends at 11:59 PM ET on 04/15/2014. Winner will be selected randomly on 04/16/2014 from all eligible entries and notified by email. Winner must provide shipping address within 48 hours of notification, at which time a new winner will be chosen randomly from all remaining eligible entries. Odds of winning depend on final number of eligible entries. Total value of prize is $50, and no cash will be awarded in exchange for the prize.

(Disclaimer: I received monetary compensation from Kitchen PLAY on behalf of Sunshine Sweet Corn to write this post. However, as always all opinions are 100% my own.)

4.07.2014

Black Bottomed Balsamic Strawberry Cheesecake


Brownie bottomed cheesecake topped with fresh berries and a balsamic reduction. 



Husbands are pretty great. Or at least mine is. Want to know what makes my husband super?



1) He goes to the store at 6:00 am to buy me tampons when I am  out. Seriously, as if tampon purchases are not awkward enough... try being a dude and having to do it.

2) He tells me that I am  beautiful on days I am  too tired to care about makeup and clothes. He might even compliment me on the weird layered sun dress, yoga pants,  running shoes and sweatshirt look I rock. He also thinks it is super sexy when I wear red wool knee socks over my leggings with clogs. (Kidding... he actually makes fun of me for that one.)

3) He spends at least an hour every night talking over my super duper exciting day filled with cupcakes and diapers. And he actually cares about the Asshat who left me a mean comment on Facebook.

4) He goes to work every day to make a comfortable living so I can stay home and pursue my passions and spend time with the kids.

5) He will eat all the food I prepare.... even when it is really shitty and gross. (I have at least 1 flub a week...)

6) When I try showing off and kick the soccer ball over the fence, which then makes the kids cry because it was their new ball (soccer mom of the year!)... he will un-nail the privacy fence and climb through pricker bushes to retrieve it.

7) He will watch hours of Special Victim's Unit and The Good Wife because he knows I love it.

8) When I have an anxiety attack over my current work load, he tells me to take the weekend off and relax. When I get worked up there is no one that can make me feel calm again except for him.


See? He is pretty much the best. Tampons. Seriously. 


To repay him for all the awesomeness he brings to my day. I made him this cheesecake. My thought was that I'd bring it into his work and share it with him... but then I remembered he doesn't like cheesecake. And then I messed it all up slicing and decided to keep it.

Wife of the year.

Black Bottomed Balsamic Strawberry Cheesecake

Ingredients:
For the Brownie Layer:
1/2 cup of butter
2 oz unsweetened bakers chocolate
2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 egg
2 tbs plain Greek yogurt
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup all purpose flour

For the Cheesecake:
3 8oz packages of cream cheese, room temperature
3 large eggs
2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 tbs vanilla extract
1/4 cup greek yogurt

For the topping:
1lb of fresh strawberries
3/4 cup balsamic vinegar

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small pan over low heat add the butter and chocolate for your brownie layer and melt. Remove and cool just slightly.

In a mixing bowl mix egg with, yogurt, sugar, salt until incorporated. Mix in the melted butter and chocolate. Fold in flower.

Spread into the bottom of a lightly greased 9-10inch springform pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean.

While the brownie layer bakes, prepare the cheesecake filling.

In the bowl of your electric mixer whip cream cheese with sugar until light and fluffy. Add in eggs one at a time, mixing completely before the addition of the next.

Mix in vanilla extract and greek yogurt.

Pour and spread evenly over the brownie layer.

Return to oven and bake for 40-50 minutes or until the center jiggles just slightly. If it starts to crack you are over baking it.

Turn oven off, crack and allow cheesecake to cool slowly to room temperature.

Refrigerate over night.

To assemble, hull and wash berries, place on top of the cheesecake.

Heat vinegar over low heat and bring to a low boil. Slowly cook until it has reduced in volume to about a 1/4 cup or is thick and syrup like.

Drizzle over the top of cheesecake and serve.


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