I love Starbucks, and all their various specialty drinks. Their caramel macchiato being my favorite! It’s wonderful with steamed milk in the wintertime, and refreshing iced down in the summer. However, the $5 price tag that come along with it? Not so wonderful!

So, this is a beverage I learned to make easily at home. And, do so often. My mother-in-law treated me to a small espresso machine a few years ago, and I really love it. I thought it wouldn’t get much use in my kitchen, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. You could also use very strong regular brewed coffee if you don’t have access to espresso. A little bit of vanilla simple syrup for sweetness, a couple of glugs of cold milk – all over ice. You’ll be set for the day! And, you can save that $5 you saved on a cocktail at Happy Hour instead. Enjoy!

Having this homemade mixer in the fridge has been trouble. It makes it entirely too easy to make a delicious, fresh margarita on a whim. And with these warm summer evenings we’ve been having, I’ve had more and more whims lately!

This recipes comes from the lovely Shawnda, then Queen of all things margarita. Thanks to her, I’ve spent a small fortune in tequila already this year. And, summer is still young! Bringing the mix together takes only a few minutes, and a batch will last in the fridge for about a week. So great to have on hand for impromptu drinks with neighbors, or a girls night. Couldn’t be easier either; lime juice, sugar, and water. You won’t be able to go back to that neon green stuff you buy in a bottle! Enjoy.

What a great summer dinner this was! I don’t do much with flank steak. I feel that it’s overpriced for the cut of meat that it is, usually going for upwards of $8 a pound. But, it’s a great option for a weeknight meal. So, when it went on sale for $3.50 a pound – I stocked up, planning to use it for fajitas and gyros throughout the summer. Luckily, that next week Tracey posted this delicious looking recipe that immediately caught my eye. I’m a fan of anything that calls for a marinade, letting the protein do it’s thing while I prep the rest of the items for dinner. A quick 10 minute grill, and dinner is on the table!

The leftover marinade was then cooked down into a sauce to serve over the sliced steak. Out of this world good! The bite from the bourbon, and the sweet-syrupy quality that the brown sugar lent was a sure fire winner. I’m glad I went ahead and cooked a whole flank steak, instead of a half, because the leftovers were amazing on a steak sandwich with a bit of arugula for lunch the next day. Definitely will be going to this one through the summer!

I’ve had my ice cream machine sitting around in the basement since we got married. I’ve used it a couple of times, but most certainly not “on the regular”. After enjoying this ice cream last night, I’ve vowed to make homemade ice cream at least once a week – especially in these warmer months. With the new-fangeled machines they have now, it couldn’t be easier. I remember our vacations at Chincoteague (which, I’m now proud to call home), and the big wooden ice cream maker with the hand crank. It was just something about churning those common ingredients into a frosty delight, right before my very eyes, that was so magical. My four year old, Andrew, apparently feels the same.

So, the ice cream. The cherries are roasted with a little bit of sugar and bourbon, then soaked overnight in their own juices before churning into the ice cream the next day. The roasting process allows the cherries to remain soft even after freezing, not to mention intensifying their flavor. I was hesitant about the chocolate swirl, wanting to maintain simplicity for such a classic flavor – but, I couldn’t resist. Melting the chocolate, then pouring it into the machine during the last few moments of churning left beautiful, crackly ribbons all-throughout the ice cream. It really is pure heaven! Now that summer is officially here, I’m looking forward to giving my machine a workout. Stay tuned, more to come!