Stirrings’ Holiday Cocktails

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Quarterback Sneak with a margarita rimmer cocktail garnish

It has been a blast creating new cocktail recipes for the Stirrings’ Stir It Up Holiday Mixology Challenge. I have a few recipes to share, so let’s kick-off the season with The Quarterback Sneak. It’s the perfect tailgate cocktail, but also fantastic for a Halloween party because there is a bit of trickery involved. Who doesn’t love a trick for a treat? By appearances, this cocktail is not what it seems. Can you guess the flavor just by looking at it? “Pomegranate” you say? Yes, it’s pink like pomegranate and even has pomegranate seeds floating around in it, but take a sip.

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What the what? Is that watermelon in October? Made with real juice the Simple Watermelon Martini is infused with fresh ginger and lemon and garnished with the Lemon Drop Martini Rimmer. Go ahead and treat all your guests to this sneaky and fun cocktail.

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Quarterback Sneak

1 cup (8 oz.) Stirrings’ Simple Watermelon Martini

2 (2-inch) slices fresh ginger

1 fresh lemon wedge, quartered

3 tablespoons Stirrings’ Lemon Drop Martini  Rimmer Cocktail Garnish, on a flat plate

½ cup (4 oz.) silver Tequila

ice cubes

1 (10 oz.) bottle club soda

Pomegranate seeds

In small saucepan, combine watermelon mixer and ginger. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon wedge into the pan and drop the wedge into the mix. Bring watermelon mixture just to a simmer; turn off heat and let steep 15 minutes to infuse ginger and lemon flavors and cool down. Remove and discard ginger and lemon wedge. Run a fresh lemon wedge around rim of 4 serving glasses; turn moistened glass edge in rimmer to coat. Fill glasses ¾-full with ice. Pour infused watermelon mix and tequila into a 2-cup measure; stir. Divide mixture evenly among glasses. Top off with club soda. Slice remaining two lemon wedges into thinner slices. Garnish each cocktail with a slice of lemon and fresh pomegranate seeds.

For a mocktail simply eliminate the tequila and top off your drink with additional club soda or your favorite flavored soda water. 

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Happy Halloween, Happy Tailgate Season and keep the Quarterback Sneak in mind for your next April Fool’s themed dinner party. Next up is The Bee Naughty cocktail.

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Do we agree that the second Halloween is over we roll right into the Thanksgiving-Christmas season? Already the mall is buzzing with Christmas music and holiday decorations, so let’s get a move on. I will be naughty for a moment and remind you that there are ONLY 55 days left until Christmas.

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The Bee Naughty features Stirrings’ Simple Lemon Drop Martini Cocktail Mixer and rimmer garnish by the same name. This cocktail is sweet, tart and bitter. It gets a bit of a sting from pan-roasted and crushed black peppercorn infused honey.

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Naughty or nice? This cocktail is both. For a mocktail just substitute some lemon flavored seltzer water for the vodka. Stirrings’ mixers and garnishes makes hosting a party simple and easy. All you have to add is some holiday decor, delicious food and wonderful friends.

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The Bee Naughty

5 whole peppercorns

2 tablespoons honey

3 tablespoons Stirrings’ Lemon Drop Martini Rimmer Cocktail Garnish

6 ounces Stirrings’ Simple Lemon Drop Martini Cocktail Mix

3 ounces vodka

ice

Toast peppercorns in a small skillet over medium heat until fragrant; crush with a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder to a powder. Return pepper to skillet and turn off heat. Add honey stirring with a small spoon until warmed through and mixed with pepper. Place rimmer on a flat plate. Using the back of the spoon dipped in the honey mixture lightly dampen the edge of two martini glasses. Dip the glass into the rimmer rotating the glass until evenly coated. With the same spoon drizzle about a teaspoon of the honey pepper mixture down and around the inside of each glass. Pour half of the cocktail mix into the pan with the remaining honey and pepper; gently heat, stirring, until the honey is dissolved and fully blended with the cocktail mix. In a shaker, combine warm cocktail mixture, remaining cocktail mixture, vodka and ice; shake well. Divide cocktail among prepared glasses.

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Happy New Year! Let’s celebrate with the Winter Watermelon Pear Spritzer. It’s inspired by the places I have been and the people I love. Like Nantucket where the Stirrings’ company was born and my sweet William. This recipe sparkles with everything I enjoy about mingling fun and complimentary flavors. It is a lovely combination of winter’s finest fruits and fennel dressed up with the fresh taste of real watermelon juice from the Stirrings’ Simple Watermelon Martini mixer. Cheers to you and me and the sea!

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Winter Watermelon Pear Spritzer

¼ cup Stirrings’ Simple Watermelon Martini

¼ cup pear brandy (poire Williams)

1 slice fresh fennel

1 strip lemon zest

1 bottle chilled Prosecco or club soda

Fennel fronds for garnish

Pomegranate seeds

In small saucepan, combine watermelon mixer, pear brandy, fennel and lemon zest; bring just to a simmer. Remove from heat and let stand for 30 minutes at room temperature to infuse flavors. Remove and discard fennel and zest. Spoon 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons of syrup in each of 4 flute glasses. Top with Prosecco or club soda.

Option: run a lemon wedge around the rim of each glass and dip in Stirrings’ Lemon Drop Martini Rimmer.

For more delicious Stirrings’ recipes and beautiful photos check out their Instagram @stirringsPinterest @Stirrings MixersTwitter @stirringsmixers and “Like” the Stirrings Facebook page. Locally, their mixers and rimmer garnishes are available at Acme, Janssens, Hockessin Liquors and Total Wine & More. For more locations check here: Stirrings’ store locator.

The Grief Marathon & Quinoa

quinoa for breakfast

quinoa for breakfast

A New Year’s resolution… Have you made any? How about running a marathon? A number of my friends and family are runners and it impresses me to no end. It seems like a lonely endeavor, but day after day they persevere no matter how cold the weather or painful the perspiration in their eyes. They have a goal and they see a finish line. In some ways, Grief is much like running a marathon.

my cheerleaders

my cheerleaders

Remember the first day of exercise? The body, a little overwhelmed by the assault, rewards you with soreness. For some, the pain that follows is excruciating and requires a bit of medication. But you are determined and this pain, while undeniable, will not keep you from going forward. In time each workout gets you a little stronger and you go a little faster. There are sunny days when the run is actually quite enjoyable. Yes, there are sunny days and even an occasional rainbow.

there will always be better days

there will always be better days

It’s a race and along the way there are supporters. They hand you some water or a tissue to wipe that burning water from your eyes. They cheer you on and hold you up when it seems there is no strength to put another foot forward. It’s an exhausting long run, but you can do it. I know WE can because along the way no one is cheering as loud as the person we have loved and lost. In our hearts, they go wherever we go. They do whatever we do. They are running the race and some day we will see them at the finish line.

He is cheering me on

He is cheering me on

Ok, so if you are going to run a marathon you must eat healthy. Have you tried quinoa? Pronounced “keen-wha”, it is an ancient grain first discovered in South America. Packed with protein, B vitamins, iron and fiber it is a powerhouse of nutrition and the perfect food for those who want to reduce meat consumption or go vegetarian. Versatile and gluten-free it makes a great substitute for other grains. Quinoa is often used as a side dish or in stuffing recipes, but today’s recipe is a warm and nourishing breakfast pudding. It will keep you energized and running all day. Feel free to substitute any fruit and nut toppings you like. Happy 2015!

bittersweet jewels that burst in your mouth

bittersweet jewels that burst in your mouth

Toasted Almond & Pomegranate Quinoa Breakfast Pudding

1-cup quinoa (pre-washed)

1¾ cups skim milk or almond milk

4 tablespoons honey or agave syrup

¼-teaspoon almond extract or vanilla

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup plain Greek yogurt

¼ cup pomegranate seeds

¼ cup chopped roasted almonds

Over medium heat, toast quinoa in a dry skillet for a few minutes or until quinoa begins to darken. In a 2-quart saucepan, combine toasted quinoa, milk, 2 tablespoons honey or agave, almond extract and salt. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover leaving lid slightly ajar and simmer for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and white spiral-like threads appear around the grains. Turn off heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Divide quinoa among 4 serving bowls. Top with yogurt and a drizzle of honey or agave. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and almonds.

Here For Me & You & the Guacamole

“whole” foods guacamole

This week marks one year since I started this blog. I have to wonder how I ever got to this place spilling my private life and innermost thoughts. It’s unlike me to share in this way. To grieve and to mourn so openly not only with friends, but with complete strangers. Why am I here? This blogging thing is hard work. It’s not only the writing, but the technology, too. Why in the hell am I in this struggle?

my sweet William

my sweet William

My very first blog post https://goodgriefcook.com/2013/10/21/following-in-his-light-with-cookies brought it all back. In an instant, I remembered. Stepping out of my comfort zone. Following in his light. Being brave in the way he would want me to be brave. Celebrating his life and never forgetting HIS struggles is why I am here.100_1911

The blog started with a chocolate chip cookie recipe spirited with a little Jack Daniels and retrieved from the oven…perfectly baked…in the shape of a heart. Is it a sign from him that this is a good thing cooking, baking and sharing?

Sweet William's Fancy Chocolate Chip Cookie

Sweet William’s Fancy Chocolate Chip Cookie

It is clear that cooking and baking are my coping skills. Right now, it is what I do best and what gets me through the day. One recipe at a time like one foot in front of the other it works for me. Some recipes for my own enjoyment, some for sharing with family and friends and still others to share with complete strangers. Each and every recipe celebrating who I am, where I have been and inspired by those who I love. Every recipe, putting pieces together in hopes of making something new and whole.guacamole

And along with that I hope my story is helping others to grieve or to learn about grief. To dispel some of the myths about this subject that no one ever really wants to discuss. A subject no one ever wants to think about or be a part of it, but then it happens. Eventually it will. And so I am here.

And sharing this “whole” food recipe. Whole foods means fresh and not processed. I think this guacamole is perfect for the upcoming holidays or your favorite tailgate party. Unlike blogging it is super simple to throw together. Enjoy and from the bottom of my heart thanks for hanging out with me this past year.

Pomegranate Guacamole

2 ripe avocados, peeled and pitted and mashed–chunky or smooth -your choice

juice from 2 fresh limes

1 tablespoon each finely chopped cilantro and red onion (rinse the onion in cold water to remove those nasty sulphur compounds that make us cry)

1/2 teaspoon each ground cumin, smoked paprika, kosher salt (more or less to your taste)

1/4 cup pomegranate seeds

Mix it all together with half the pomegranate seeds. Sprinkle the rest on top along with a sprig of cilantro. And I don’t know about you, but I hate double dipping, so pull out those shot glasses (unless of course you are doing shots of Jack Daniels) and fill them with guacamole along with some fresh carrot and jicama sticks..so pretty and festive and wholesome.