Blackberry Margaritas

Happy Friday! I don’t know if it’s just me – or, has it been an especially long week for everyone? I thought nothing would be better to close out the week than a good cocktail! And, what better way to round out this week of blackberry posts than blackberry margarita? You guys know me, I always reach for the tequila first.

Thankfully, so does Shawnda – I don’t know there there is a fruit left under the sun that she hasn’t turned into a delicious margarita. Nothing but goodness in this glass – homemade margarita mix, tequila, triple sec, and blackberry  puree. I went ahead and put it through a fine mesh strainer, but I think they’d be fun to muddle right in the glass too. A blackberry mojito may or may not be in the works already…

Strawberry Wine Coolers

Well, it’s a beautiful Friday morning here in Charleston. To celebrate the first day of the Charleston Wine & Food Festival, I wanted to share something with you guys from 2 of my favorite chefs and cookbook authors, The Lee Brothers, who just so happen to be from Charleston. Their new cookbook is actually being released this weekend at the festival, and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy – I treasure their other two so much. They are some of my most used cookbooks in my kitchen!

These strawberry wine coolers are from their second cookbook. I remember the days of “scoring” some wine coolers when I was about 15. And, ugh – they were so horrible. These are nothing like them! Fresh fruit, crisp white wine – how could you not win? I used my strawberry vodka that I infused at home, and I loved the additional punch of strawberry that it brought with it. These are perfect for a party, or just to make a carafe of on a weekend and enjoy by yourself! Love them, and I’m looking forward to trying it with other fruits as they come into season as well!

Pomegranate Martinis

Today I’ve been busy in my kitchen preparing a New Year’s Eve feast for our little family tonight. But, I did want to take a quick minute to share a fun cocktail to celebrate with tonight!

We spend New Year’s Eve at home every year. We used to be big party people, but now in my mind there is nothing better than staying home with my boys, having a few cocktails, and waiting for the ball to drop.

Chances are you have most of what you need in your liquor cabinet already to make these, and they’re perfect for New Year’s Eve. I love the vivid hue, it’s just so festive! I hope that everyone has a happy & safe New Years Eve, full of fun and laughter. Here’s to a fabulous 2013!

Rum Balls

I have it on good authority that while Santa enjoys all cookies left for him on Christmas Eve, rum balls are his definitive favorite. This recipe is from one of my oldest girlfriends, who incidentally is named Noelle. She brought these to a Christmas party we  hosted a few years ago, and everyone just loved them. So, she gave me the recipe and I’ve had them on my “to-bake” cookie list every year since.

They’re super easy to throw together – using only melted chocolate, crushed vanilla wafers, and rum essentially. Make sure you use good brick chocolate – not the chips. I’ve been stocking up on the “Pound Plus” bars from Trader Joe’s when I’m in the big city, and I can’t rave enough about them. Great chocolate for a great price! And, good brown rum is important too. I used Cruzan, but I think spiced rum (Captain, anyone?) might just be my favorite.

I hope everyone is ready for this evening, and Christmas Day tomorrow. I know I’ve had a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit this year, but I think I’m finally coming around. Was baking, candy making, and enjoying Christmas music all weekend long. And the boys, oh – they are so excited! We’re looking forward to a nice dinner, baths & Christmas PJ’s, then putting baby Jesus in the manger and leaving our cookies for Santa before going to bed. I’ve always felt Christmas Eve is such a magical time – full of hope and wonder. I’m so glad that I still feel that way today. I’m pretty sure that having this crew to celebrate with makes it all the more easier.


I’ll definitely be leaving a couple of these babies out for the big man himself tonight, and carrots for Rudolph of course. Merry Christmas everyone, I hope you all have a wonderful holiday!