Harvest Cider Mule

TGIF! I am totally throwing it back to my retail days in college where they played this song non-stop but seriously Friday, I’m in love with you. It’s Friday I’m in love. Today I am sharing a tasty cocktail AND I have a giveaway to a FUN 5K happening in December.

Harvest Mule

Fridays were made for happy hour and boy do I have a delicious fall happy hour drink for you today! This is my fall riff on the infamous Moscow Mule. Vodka, lime, and ginger beer are so refreshing during the blazing hot summer months but I needed something a tad cozier for the fall.

Apple and ginger work so well together so I thought why not apple cider + ginger beer. Well lemme tell you, it worked! I have made a vodka version and a spiced rum version. For science you know. And both were uber tasty. Do you prefer a vodka drink? A cider drink? Well you can have it both ways. After you throw back a few of these mules you can’t blame me if you start singing songs that remind you of the good times.

Harvest Mule

Last month I hosted a Thanksgiving dinner with my friends and I really wanted a signature Thanksgiving cocktail to serve. So I needed to test my idea with various alcohols. When I was testing this recipe I shared this shot on Instagram and said I was testing cocktails. I followed it up by saying the cocktail was just rum and vodka mixed. :) Some days the temptation for a drink like that might be there.

The formula for this drink is really easy. 3-2-1 This way you can easily scale it up for a party. Apple cider (3), ginger beer (2), and vodka or rum (1). Truth be told I probably did more like 1.5 on the vodka. So you could do it in ounces, cups, or gallons whichever you prefer. ;)

Serve this at all your fall gatherings. Thanksgiving included! Cheers!

Harvest Mule

HARVEST CIDER MULE
Serves: 1
3 ounces Apple cider
2 ounces Ginger Beer
1-1.5 ounces Vodka or Rum

Directions:
Mix together and serve over ice

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GIVEAWAY TIME!

The Ugly Sweater Run is returning for the third year to Omaha on December 14. Pull out your ugliest sweater, I know there are plenty out there, and lace up your running shoes for a fun family friendly run.

My daughter, Sasha, has wanted to run a 5K with me for the longest time and I figured this noncompetitive run is the perfect one for us. If you want to run with your kiddos the good news is children under the age of 5 are FREE!

Sea of hats

Ugly sweaters, a run through downtown Omaha, and beer at the finish line are all fun reasons to do this race.

FOUR lucky readers will win ONE FREE entry to this cozy race. Good luck and look forward to seeing you at the finish line!

Enter to win using the widget below. Giveaway ends Friday, November 14, at 12 am Central Time.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received two free entries to the race. That being said it is a race I would have considered doing with my daughter anyway! 

Posted in Beverage, Gluten Free, Holidays | Tagged as: , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Pretzel Dogs

Did you have a happy Halloween? We certainly did. We went trick-or-treating for about an hour, it got pretty chilly outside, then came back home and handed out candy while the kiddos did “inventory”.

Halloween 2014

Sorry for the cruddy photo -it was already dark out when we were ready to go. This year we have Spiderman, the Woodmen Tower, a pink flamingo, and baby skeleton. Everyone but Felix picked out their costume. I noticed that people in my neighborhood were handing out lots of non-candy items. Pretzels, popcorn balls, fruit snacks, Ramen Noodles, Pop-tarts, juice boxes, Little Debbie’s, Cheezits, Rice Krispy treats, and breakfast cereal are all the non-candy items my kiddos received trick-or-treating. You won’t believe which non-candy item my kiddos were most excited about. RAMEN NOODLES. Yup they were dancing for joy over a package of Ramen Noodles. This food blogging mama found that hilarious.

Woodmen Tower Costume

Sasha, my creative artist, wanted to be a building for Halloween. We came up with the Woodmen Tower since it is an iconic building in downtown Omaha. Her costume was a hit. In fact she received extra pieces of candy everywhere we went. At one point she said “I think I will be this next year too.” Ha!

Did you grow up in a town that had a shopping mall? My hometown did not have a shopping mall. If we wanted to go to the mall we had to take a thirty minute drive south to the “big city.” If we did have a mall, and if I would have hung out there after school, I would have totally stuffed my face with those buttery mall pretzels. You know what I am talking about.

Pretzel Dogs

The fun part about writing recipes and posting them online is that I am constantly thinking about different recipes to try. Restaurant copycat recipes are fun category of recipes to make. And recipes that I can use in my daughters’ lunches are even better.

Most days my daughters bring their own lunch to school. They seem to be happy to eat sandwiches every day but I want to give them something more than a sad sandwich. That’s where these pretzel dogs came in. What child, or adult for that matter, wouldn’t be delighted to open up their lunch pail to this fun lunch?

This is a recipe where the kiddos can easily help. Let them roll out the pretzel dough and wrap around the hot dog. I have found that if I let them help they are even more likely to gobble it up. Sous chefs and clean plates are a good thing in my book.

These were a hit in the lunch box but I also think they would make a great snack for tailgating or football watching. Beer + pretzels were made for each other. Cheers!

Pretzel Dogs

PRETZEL DOGS
Ingredients
1 1/2 cups warm (110ºF) water
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
4-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 Tablespoons butter, melted
10 cups water
2/3 cup baking soda
1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 Tablespoon water
kosher salt for tops
16 bun length hotdogs, pre-boiled

Directions
1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the water, sugar and kosher salt. Sprinkle the yeast on top and allow it to sit for 5 minutes or until it begins to foam
2. Add in the flour and butter to the bowl and using the hook attachment mix on low until the ingredients are combined
3. Increase to medium speed and mix until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl about 5 minutes
4. Remove the dough from the bowl, spray with nonstick spray, return the dough to the mixing bowl
5. Cover it with plastic wrap, place in a warm draft-free place for 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in size
6. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line baking sheet with parchment and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside
7. In a large pot stir together water and baking soda. Bring to boil
8. Divide dough into 16 even portions. Roll out each portion into a 15-18 inch rope
9. Starting at the end of the hotdog roll the rope around the hotdog. Continue until all hotdogs are wrapped
10. Working in batches, drop 3-4 pretzel dogs in the boil water at a time, boil for 30 seconds. Remove to prepared baking sheet.
11. Brush each pretzel with the egg wash. Sprinkle with kosher salt.
12. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. 

Pretzel Dogs just like Auntie Anne's

 

Posted in Main Dishes, Snack | Tagged as: , , , , , | 14 Comments

Chopped Con 2014

Last Thursday I attended my first food blog conference. The best news is it was in the heart of the Midwest in Kansas City, MO (GO ROYALS!). Kansas City is just a short three hour drive away from Omaha. The perfect first time getaway since having Felix. I survived, he survived, and Grandma survived so that is a relief.

The conference was only one day and they jammed a lot into that day. Chopped Con was organized by Marly from Namely Marly. She (and her family) did a fabulous job securing a beautiful location, fun speakers, and some of the tastiest food. Many of the food bloggers attending are online celebrities of sorts. I mean all my friends read their blogs on the regular so I was incredibly nervous and apprehensive to go up and barge into their conversations.

Kristen from Dine and Dish was one of the hosts of the Thursday night reception. She was incredibly gracious and kind. She introduced me to several of the people whose blogs I have been reading for years. Ali from Gimme Some Oven and Bev from Bev Cooks (the babies made an adorable appearance on Friday!) were the other hosts but I was too awkward to say more than “hi”.

Thursday night’s food showcased Kansas City’s finest chefs. Local chefs sharing their fabulous food with us was the best start to the weekend. The appetizer that stood out the most was from the only female chef representing that night. Chef Renee Kelly owner of Renee Kelly’s Harvest (a farm to table restaurant) made a savory herb filled bread pudding topped with sarsaparilla braised short ribs and a drizzle of local honey. I died. Then I went back and ate two more! Next time I am in town I will be certain to eat at her restaurant.

Chopped Con 2014

The real event was all day Friday. Big circular tables were set up so we could eat and listen to the presentations in comfort. I have to make note of the lovely private loft space Marly let me use when I needed to pump. I was still able to hear all the speakers and I didn’t have to sit in a bathroom stall to pump. Pumping mamas I know you know how wonderful this is. While at the conference Alex and I sat next to two sweet gals from The Pasta Shoppe out of Tennessee. It was fun chatting with them throughout the day. If you have a second take a look at their fun-shaped pasta for every occasion!

The keynote speaker was Carolyn O’Neil M.S. R.D. It was fun having someone from the health/dietician side of things there. After her talk I wanted to come home and bleach out my produce drawer since she said it is the top spot for germs in the kitchen. Later in the day Ms. O’Neil sat next to me and made a comment about how Walmart is the largest seller of organic food in the country. Whatever your opinion about Walmart may be at least they are getting good food in the hands of people that can’t afford to drop a whole paycheck at Whole Foods.

Lindsay and Bjork, the power-couple, behind the gorgeous Pinch of Yum had an information loaded presentation about Taking Your Food Blog from Good to Great! These two seem so knowledgeable and it was fun getting to hear them share a bit of their knowledge with us. I feel like I am treading water some days and most days I don’t have a clue what I am doing so it was awesome to pick up some great tips as I prepare to launch a new site.

royals

All-in-all it was a wonderful time. Alex and I got to see the Royals win game 3 on the giant screen in the Power and Light district. I am so glad they won. KC you are lots of fun when everyone is celebrating a win.

citymarket

Before heading home we stopped into the new IKEA store and a visit to Kansas City River Market where I picked up some new spices. I definitely need to come back when it is in the middle of the growing season. I can’t wait to see what next year’s Chopped Con has to offer!

 

Posted in Fun | Tagged as: , , | 1 Comment

French Silk Pie Birthday

Hi friends! How was your weekend? I had such a lovely weekend, my husband and I took a mini-vacay to Kansas City where we attended Chopped Con, a food blogging conference in the heart of the midwest. Yes, I dragged my husband to a food blogging conference since he is the *behind the scenes guy I figured it would be fun for him to see/hear more about this thing I love so much. Check back later this week for a little recap of the conference.

French Silk Pie

If you have been a reader for awhile you already know how much I love throwing birthday parties for my kiddos. Penelope had a birthday earlier this month and she went with a Halloween costume party theme, which is a great October birthday party theme. When I asked her what kind of cake she wanted she said French Silk Pie, not cake. OKAY! I can do that!

Halloween Birthday

 

The cousins came all dressed-up, as did my in-laws, my sister, and Mom (Dad said he was scary enough as is ;) ), we played pin the hat on the witch, had a spooky bubbling cauldron of witch’s punch, walking tacos for the kiddos, and of course French silk pie. We had a Halloween Pandora station playing and got to hear every single recorded version of Monster Mash there ever was. There seriously needs to be more Halloween music!   

Spooky French Silk Pie

Since this was a Halloween themed party I swirled some Hershey’s syrup on the top of the whipped cream. Using toothpicks I dragged them through from the middle to the outside making it look like a spider web. Spooky, right?! Spooky delicious.

This pie is RICH and CHOCOLATEY. I actually made this pie earlier in the month as a trial run for Thanksgiving. Penelope LOVED it and that is why she chose it for her birthday. I like the way she thinks.

French Silk Pie

French Silk Pie was a favorite of mine at those 24 hour diners I would go to at 3 am in college. For some reason I always thought it would be so involved and difficult to make, I mean it is French so it had to be complicated, right. This is not true. It is shockingly EASY to make. If you have mixer it will do the work for you. YAY!

Quick note: The filling is gluten free so pour it into your favorite gluten free pie crust and you will have a decadent gluten free dessert.

French Silk Pie

FRENCH SILK PIE
Ingredients for the crust
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup shortening, chilled
pinch of salt
4 tablespoons ice water, possibly need more

Ingredients for the pie filling
1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
4 large eggs
2 cups whipped cream for topping
chocolate for grating or shaving on the top

Directions

for the crust
1. Preheat oven to 400ºF
2. Cut shortening into the flour and salt with a pastry cutter to the consistency of coarse meal
3. Add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time while stirring gently until the dough starts to form into a ball
4. Gently roll out the crust between two sheets of parchment paper. Place it in a pie plate. Crimp edges as desired.
5. Dock the dough by piercing with a fork several times around the bottom and sides
6. Lay parchment on the crust and fill with pie weights (or dried beans or rice)
7. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove weights and bake for 10 more minutes or until golden brown
8. Remove pie and allow to cool completely before filling

for the filling
1. In the bowl of your mixer beat together butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes
2. While mixer is still running gently pour in the cooled melted chocolate.
3. Add vanilla, cocoa powder, and espresso powder. Scrape down the bowl
4. Add eggs one at a time, beating on medium-high speed for 5 minutes in between each addition (20 minutes total for silky texture)
5. Pour into cooled crust and refrigerate for 4 hours before serving.
6. Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings or curls or chocolate syrup for a spooky spider web

French Silk Pie

*Alex has been busy behind the scenes working on my NEW site. There is a lot of work we still need to do to launch but hopefully I can show it off before the end of the year! 

Posted in Desserts, Family, Gluten Free, Holidays | Tagged as: , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments
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