A New Year’s Mimosa Bar

We celebrated New Year’s Eve with a few friends at our place. We drank mimosas, ate lots of cheese, and played Cards Against Humanity. Oh and we also dressed the dogs up in party hats.

I kept seeing Mimosa bars on Pinterest, and decided it was the perfect thing for New Year’s Eve. I know that mimosas are traditionally a brunch item, but I highly recommend these for your next late-night party. It looks great, everyone has fun mixing their own drinks, and it cuts the amount of alcohol in each glass.

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We used three orange juices; regular orange, orange peach mango, and orange strawberry banana (all from Trader Joe’s) and set out black berries and strawberries. (I had meant to also set out clementine wedges, but ran out of time to peel the clementines). As you can see from the picture below, the Orange Peach Mango was by far the most popular juice. I found the carafes at Ross for $3.99 making this an affordable last-minute addition. The tags are wooden gift tags from Michaels – I tied them to each carafe with bakers twine (left over from the tassel garland) and wrote on them with simple black sharpie.  We didn’t end up using the cute paper straws for anything (they’re also from Michaels btw) but I love how they look and will put them away to decorate with / use in the future.SONY DSC

 

As you know, I also made some party hats and noisemakers. The noisemakers went largely unused (which was for the best as it sent both dogs under the dining table) but both the dogs and the humans liked the party hats. Here’s Penelope and her friend Piper modeling the party hats.

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How did you spend New Year’s Eve?  Here’s to a happy and healthy 2015!

Sarah Signature

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Cupcake Tasting

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In  mid-December we took my cousins for a last DC-based adventure before they headed back home. We decided on cupcakes in Georgetown and to make sure it was a real American experience, we got cupcakes from not one, but TWO places; Georgetown Cupcake and Sprinkles.

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Both stores made it hard to choose which ones we wanted to try! We got 6 (smaller ones) from Georgetown and 4 (larger ones) from Sprinkles. Here they are once we got them home.

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We annoyed everyone by taking WAY too many pictures of the cupcakes instead of just eating them.Luckily my cousin was also taking pictures, so at least I wasn’t the only one being annoying!

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We had the Georgetown cupcakes the first day and the Sprinkles cupcakes the next, so it may be a biased test. After eating all of the cupcakes, 3 out of 4 people declared that Georgetown Cupcake was the clear winner. I was on the fence – I loved both cupcakes and I sort of wished that I had gotten a red velvet from Georgetown so I could compare apples to apples. If you forced me to vote, I would’ve given my vote to Sprinkles.  I do love Georgetown cupcakes (the frosting to cake ratio is probably the best I’ve ever found!) and will continue taking our out-of-town visitors there.

Sarah Signature

Oh and this was Penelope’s face when we told her we forgot to buy her a doggie cupcake…

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DIY Fajita Seasoning

This isn’t really a recipe post, since all you need to do is mix some dry spices, but we love this combination of spices, so I thought I’d share.  I found this recipe a couple of years ago and it’s still a favorite. We use it most often when making Chicken Tortilla Soup (both on the chicken tenders when we’re putting them in the oven, and in the soup itself).

DIY Fajita Seasoning #thissarahlovesSince it takes quite a few ingredients, I’ve started making a double recipe and keeping the extra in a small mason jar.

DIY Fajita Seasoning Ingredients #thissarahloves

Don’t let the number of ingredients scare you off!  These are pretty basic and you probably have all of them in your spice cabinet already.

DIY Fajita Seasoning Ingredients with Labels #thissarahloves

You’ll need this much of each of the following

Fajita Seasoning (Found as Taco Seasoning I at AllRecipes.com)

  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

All you have to do is mix up all the spices & sprinkle it on the food liberally.  Store in an air-tight container – preferably a cute little mason jar.

DIY Fajita Seasoning Close-up #thissarahlovesHope you try this out next time you make Mexican food!DIY Fajita Seasoning Recipe #thissarahloves
What’s your favorite spice mixture?  Any favorites for vegetables?
Sarah Signature

 

 

Lime and Condensed Milk Fridge Tart

Happy July!  I’m assuming if you’re reading this that you manged to make the switch from Google Reader.  You can also sign up to have new posts delivered directly to your inbox by subscribing on my sidebar (to the right).  We’ve made some good progress on the Retro Stereo Cabinet but it’s not quite ready for sharing, so I thought I’d distract you with a yummy summer dessert!

Lime and Condensed Milk Fridge Tart - Closeup - #thissarahloves

Doesn’t that look yummy?!  Well it is!  And it’s easy to make too.

In the last few weeks I’ve been pinning various key lime pie recipes (like the ones below).  Even though I’ve never actually made a key lime anything.

{1, 2, 3}

I was excited when I found a recipe for a condensed milk based key lime pie.  And even more excited when The Pioneer Woman’s recipe said that she just uses regular limes!  Of course, I couldn’t just follow the recipe as it was written, so I switched it up a bit.  

Some of you may recall that I don’t eat gluten.  Now what you may not know, is that I eat gluten when I travel outside of the US and it doesn’t affect me.  Please don’t think that I’m advocating that celiac sufferers should eat gluten ever, in fact I would advocate the opposite.  However, if you have non-celiac gluten intolerance, you may want to test foreign gluten and see how you react.  Okay, so the point of this tangent was that I can’t just grab a pre-made crust from the store, so I had to come up with another solution.

My mom makes an amazing pineapple condensed milk fridge tart without a “proper” crust.  Rather than making/using a traditional crust, you just layer cookies at the bottom of the dish.  It holds together pretty well & is much easier to make.  I found some Goya Maria Cookies at our local super market (imported from Spain) which are pretty much the exact same thing as my beloved Marie biscuits from childhood.  Bonus, since they’re from Spain, I didn’t need to pay an insane amount for gluten-free cookies.

Making this crust is ridiculously simple & you can’t mess it up.  All you need to do is layer cookies along the bottom of the pie dish you’ll be using.  I did two layers, since these cookies are pretty thin.  Make sure to sprinkle them with some citrus juice to soften them up – I usually use orange, but I only had lime juice this time & it worked perfectly.  I also sprinkled a layer of coconut on top of the cookies.

Lime and Condensed Milk Fridge Tart - Crust Layer - #thissarahloves

Then just mix up half a cup of lime juice, two egg yolks, and a can of condensed milk.  You should also mix in some lime zest.  I didn’t have a lime. {And yes, that means I used lime juice from a bottle.  Gasp!  And it still tasted AMAZING!}  Mix well & pour over your cookie layer.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes, let cool & then chill for at least an hour.  Remember, it’s a fridge tart – you want it to be cold!

Lime and Condensed Milk Fridge Tart - #thissarahloves

Lime & Condensed Milk Fridge Tart

  • 1 packet Maria Cookies
  • 1/2 cup lime juice + 1 tbsp for sprinkling on cookies
  • 1 tbsp lime zest
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut (optional)
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 can condensed milk
  1. Layer cookies in pie plate.  Sprinkle with 1 tbsp lime juice.
  2. Sprinkle coconut over cookies (if using).
  3. Add 2 egg yolks and 1/2 cup lime juice to your mixer bowl.  Mix well.
  4. Add 1 can condensed milk & 1 tbsp lime zest to this mixture and mix until smooth.
  5. Pour over cookies – smoothing it out with a spatula if needed.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.
  7. Let cool.  Refrigerate for at least 1 hour & keep chilled.
  8. Serve cold, with whipped cream if you’re so inclined.

Do you have a favorite key lime (or faux key lime) recipe?  What about a favorite condensed milk based recipe?  If you love condensed milk, you should check out my microwave fudge recipe.

Heart Sarah

 

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10 Minute, No Bake, Chocolate Coconut Oatmeal Clusters

I can’t believe I haven’t shared this recipe with you!  This is a favorite around here (although I haven’t made it in a while – which might explain why I haven’t shared it). It’s an awesome dessert to make during the summer because you don’t need the oven & it only takes about 10 minutes from start to finish (plus a couple of hours drying time).

Last Wednesday I was craving something sweet & these clusters came to mind.    Given that it was 90 outside, turning on the oven was definitely not an option, so I was very excited when I pulled out the recipe and realized we actually had everything we needed to make these! {Love when things work out like this!}  Plus, I had a very happy husband when he came home to two cookie sheets filled with these clusters!

These clusters are also great for gluten-free living, as all it takes to make them gluten-free is switching out your regular oats for some certified gluten free oats!

No Bake 10 Minute Chocolate Coconut Oatmeal Clusters

Chocolate Coconut Oatmeal Clusters

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup cocoa
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. Prepare 2 cookie sheets with foil & non-stick spray.  {Don’t worry these won’t go into the oven!}
  2. Measure out one cup of coconut, one 2-cup serving of oats, and one 1-cup serving of oats.  Set aside.
  3. Add butter, sugar, milk and cocoa in a large pot.  Heat over medium heat until butter is melted.
  4. Bring to a low boil & stir continuously for 5 minutes.  {No seriously, time yourself.  5 minutes people!}
  5. Remove from heat.
  6. Add coconut and vanilla.
  7. Add 2-cup serving of oats.
  8.  Mix everything well.  You want this mixture to be firm enough to form clusters, so you’ll probably need to add that 3rd cup of oats.  Add it a little bit of a time until the mixture gets lumpy.  But work fast, so the mixture doesn’t cool too much in the pot.
  9. Spoon mixture onto cookie sheets in little heaps & let cool.  {I got about 32 clusters}
  10. Store in an air-tight container.

What’s your go-to no-bake dessert?

Heart Sarah

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Broccoli-Zucchini Soup

I feel almost silly posting this recipe, since it’s so easy!  This winter I’ve added many soups into our meal rotation.  This Broccoli soup is one of the newer additions, but it is here to stay.

Broccoli Zucchini Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 bag of frozen broccoli florets
  • 1 bag of frozen sliced zucchini
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • cayenne pepper – to taste
  • salt & pepper – to taste
  • 3-4 cups chicken broth
  • parmesan

Chop onion & saute in olive oil.  Add broccoli, zucchini, and chicken broth. Add a generous pinch of cayenne & black pepper.  Simmer until the vegetables are soft.  Add in 1 cup coconut milk.  Use an immersion blender to puree the soup.  Add salt & pepper to taste.  Serve warm with freshly grated Parmesan (our your favorite cheese)!