Cucumber Margarita for National #TequilaDay

*I was sent Casa Noble tequila. I am very grateful for liquor companies that send me product so that I can share the cocktail posts that I would share with you anyway.  Do you know how much it costs to buy a bottle of liquor just for one post?  BTW, Casa Noble is delicious. But as always, all opinions are my own. Awesome recipe for cucumber margaritas!  Perfect for #TequilaDay  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comYou HAVE to make this drink! Aside from being crazy delicious, it is also a drink that was made for us on my recent trip to Villa del PalMar in Loreto, Mexico. Don’t worry.  I’ll have a full post soon on why I love it there so much but in the mean time, I thought I would share this Cucumber Margarita recipe. After all, today is National #TequilaDay. I was really inspired by a lot of different things on our trip. And when I got home I found that I was missing the food and drinks and have been trying to recreate them.  This drink has tons of memories tied to it from the trip. One of my favorite things about it is that it was made by a bartender who grew up about 15 minutes from where I did! Every single staff member was amazing and Jorge was no exception. I really enjoyed hearing his story and finding out how he ended up in Baja California. And he made a mean cucumber margarita.

What you need to make a delicious cucumber margarita for #TequilaDay  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comTo make your own cucumber margarita, you will need a gorgeous tequila, like this one from Casa Noble, Triple Sec, a fresh cucumber, fresh squeezed lime juice, a lime wedge and some Tajin. What is Tajin, you ask? It’s a seasoning. All I know is Jorge rimmed my glass with it for the cucumber margarita and I’m addicted. I am not a salt on my margarita glass gal but THIS is delicious!  This is totally not sponsored it is just a new product that I found and love and you need to know about. (Damn, this disclosure stuff is the pits). On my first grocery store trip after I got home, I walked in to the market and there was a table set up with tons of Tajin and a rep. Of course I made a beeline for the table. I took that as a sign that I was supposed to buy some. It is easy to find in the Mexican section of most grocery stores. Or maybe it is just easy for me since I’m in So Cal. I’m certain you can buy it online if you have to.  And you HAVE to.

Fresh cucumber and lime juice make this cucumber margarita super flavorful and fresh tasting.  #TequilaDay  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comIs there anything quite as refreshing as cucumber? I think not. And fresh lime is my jam. I have limes around my house at all times. Just in case. Right now I’ve been using a half of fresh squeezed lime juice and a drizzle of good olive oil as my salad dressing of choice. So good.

Use a blender to get tons of flavor and a great consistency.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWhen Jorge brought out the blender for our cucumber margaritas, Dinah and I just about jumped over the counter at him.  We do not like a blended margarita. He assured us that we would like the final product.  And he was right. You simply blend the cucumber, lime juice and liquors together.  The cucumbers do not get totally pureed so it leaves little bits of the fresh cucumber throughout your drink which I loved. You could probably get a similar flavor if you muddled the cucumber and lime instead of blending, but I think this method is best. If you don’t have a Ninja yet, just get up, get your keys and purse and go get one. Best thing to ever happen to me (I was sent one to review for another site so I will disclose to you that I didn’t buy it but they are not sponsoring this post. It’s seriously a life changer and I use it for EVERYTHING.  But I digress…)

Rub your cocktail glass in lime juice and Tajin for an unexpected twist on a margarita.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comYou can’t drink this cucumber margarita without rimming the glass with Tajin. I mean, I guess you can. But it won’t be the full experience. But do what you want to do. I can’t force you…But if you are a rule follower, like me, then you will do it. To rim a glass, in case you are living under a rock (I’m not judging, but really you should get out more), just take a wedge of lime and rub it on the rim of the glass.  Then pour out some Tajin on a plate and run the rim of the glass in it.  The lime helps the seasoning adhere to the glass.

Rim a cocktail glass in Tajin.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comSee, like this.

kids-and-blog-postsOh hey.  There’s my son.  Like a moth to a flame, when I’m shooting cocktail posts this one shows up.  He demands I take a photo and he’ll finally move on.  He’s 5 1/2 years old and in a full on baby phase right now. It’s probably why more cocktail posts have been showing up on the blog lately…

Fresh cucumber margarita recipe inspired by one I had at @villadelpalmarl //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comNow back to the world’s best cucumber margarita.  Absolute perfection.  I have to say, the Casa Noble tequila was clean and smooth with a silky quality. I don’t know much about the different types of tequila but I can tell you that I am a BIG fan of the Crystal variety.

Delicious cucumber margarita recipe. #TequilaDay // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comFloat a cucumber right on top for an added dose of cucumber.

Summer dress and margaritas. #TequilaDay  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd then drink it up. Responsibly, of course.  Thank you for introducing this fine cocktail to us Jorge!

Casa Noble Tequila for #TequilaDay  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comDo you celebrate National #TequilaDay? I never have before but I think I will be adding it to my calendar for the future. I don’t drink a lot in the week, but it just feels wrong not to when it is a National “day.”

Tequila shots with lime for National #TequilaDay // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comMaybe you aren’t going to make a cucumber margarita but I encourage you to at least take some tequila shots today. FYI, no one licks salt off anything in Mexico when doing a shot. I didn’t think about that until I was putting this post together and was like what kind of salt do I use, on account of the fact that I am that much of a tequila shot novice. A good tequila, some fresh lime. Done.

Tequila shot for National #TequilaDay! // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHappy  National #TequilaDay!  Need more drink ideas? Check out this great pin from Casa Noble! And be sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Google + and Instagram!

Cucumber Margarita for National #TequilaDay

Ingredients

  • 4 slices fresh cucumber, skin removed (3 for the drink, one for floating on top to make it look pretty)
  • 1 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz Triple Sec
  • 1 1/2 oz. Tequila
  • Ice
  • Lime Wedge
  • Tajin to rim the glass

Instructions

  1. Add cucumber slices, lime juice, Triple Sec and Tequila to a blender and blend well.
  2. Rim cocktail glass with Tajin by rubbing first with lime.
  3. Add ice to the glass.
  4. Pour mixture from blender over ice.
  5. Top with cucumber slice.
  6. Makes one drink.
  7. To make 4 servings (or 2 very large cucumber margaritas - party time!):
http://www.cupcakesandcutlery.com/cucumber-margarita-national-tequila-day/

Thank you for supporting brands like Casa Noble who send me stuff so that I can pass along my favorite recipes to you! Cheers!

Garlic Basil Mustard Dip

*This post is not technically sponsored.  French’s sponsored my post the other day about a picnic.  But I also wanted to share the recipe for the dip I made.  So this post isn’t sponsored but I DID use mustard they sent me.  And this photo IS from that sponsored shoot.  Have I covered all my bases?  All opinions are mine.  Full disclosure, I bought almost all pre-cut vegetables.  And then I reused them after the shoot on friends.  There.  Now you know everything. Garlic and Basil Mustard  Veggie Dip.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comVeggies and dip.  Match made in heaven.  But I’m kind of sick of ranch.  And a vinaigrette would have been too messy (I will NOT ruin this blanket.  It’s my new fave. Is it weird to have a special occasion blanket?)  So I decided to modify a recipe for French’s Basil and Garlic Mustard (which I can’t find on their site to link to) and turn it in to a dip.

I  first showed you this dip in my summer picnic post from the other day.  But today, you get the recipe. This Garlic Basil Mustard Dip is super tangy AND creamy with a touch of heat from the garlic and herbaciousness from mi amor basil.  I added some chives for good measure.  A quick squeeze of lemon juice and you’ve got yourself a dip!  Eat with fresh vegetables and behold the wonder that is nature.

Garlic Basil Mustard Dip

Ingredients

  • Adapted from French's Basil and Garlic Mustard recipe
  • 1/2 cup French's Classic Yellow Mustard
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 2 6oz. containers of Fage 0% Greek Yogurt
  • 2 TBSP chopped fresh basil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 TBSP chopped fresh chives
  • Juice of 1/2 of lemon

Instructions

  1. Combine all the ingredients.
  2. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. You can leave out the mayo if you are looking for more of a "clean eating" recipe.
http://www.cupcakesandcutlery.com/garlic-basil-mustard-dip/

 

Lavender Lemonade Recipes

Lavender lemonade recipe for summer picnics and parties.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comLavender lemonade!  How refreshing does that sound?!  It has been in my head since before school was out and I finally decided to make some.  I’m not usually a big fan of lemonade.  It can’t be made from a powder and it certainly can’t be too sweet.  I did tons of research on how to make it before I started.  And then had to research a little more when I finally came across food grade dried lavender.  I mentioned I was making this to several people and they all looked at me funny.  I guess lavender lemonade recipes are not something that a lot of people are looking for.  I get that there is a fear that whatever the lavender is in might end up tasting a little soapy since that is how we know lavender.  I love me some lavender soap and lotion.  But I adore the herbal quality to it and thought it would bring a really cool “flava” to lemonade.  And I just tried to turn lavender “street.”

Lavender lemonade for your next picnic!  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comLavender lemonade is the perfect thing to bring to a summer picnic.  I also brought it along on our duffy boat trip through Newport Harbor.  I mean, you can’t JUST drink wine.  That would be uncivilized.  And if you actually drank it and didn’t forget that you brought it with you, it would probably prevent you from getting a severe hang over the next day.  Not that I did…

Dried lavender can be found in your local health focused market in the herbs section.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comSo, I headed straight towards Mother’s Market (hippie town) looking for a lavender plant.  In most of the lavender lemonade posts, people have these beautiful sprigs of lavender (see above photo.  spoiler alert, I finally found some beautiful sprigs!) that I am guessing they fuss and fiddle with in order to make an infused simple syrup of some kind.  Well, there were no beautiful plants to be found that day.  Wait, I’m a liar.  They had one plant that they brought out for me from the back that they “were trying to save” that they let me buy.  But hold the phone, it didn’t look at all like the sprigs I had seen.  Apparently there are different varieties of lavender plants.  And we weren’t sure that it was food grade.  Luckily they also sold the dried leaves in the spice section.  You guys! 

Lemons and limes.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comYou’ll also need a crap load of lemons.  And maybe some limes.  I freaking love limes.  Like, I love limes like I used to love the California raisins (not the fruit just the characters).  I got one of those hand squeezer juicer things and it’s AWESOME!  It makes juicing citrus super easy and you get the more out of the fruit than if you are doing it by hand.  If you don’t have one, and you want to make lemonade, or margaritas, go get one (but not at Target.  Apparently Target thinks these squeezer things are a luxury item and wants to charge you $12 for one.  Uh, no.  My grocery store had it for about $6.  Come on Target, be cool.)

Make lavender "tea" to add to your lavender lemonade. // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comBut these photos are a little misleading.  Because if you are using the dried lavender, you really need to start this process the day before you want to make the lemonade.  I know!  What a pain!  But worth it.  Now, if you ARE making a simple syrup with the pretty sprigs, then you can do that the same day.  I don’t like simple syrup.  I think it makes everything too sweet.  And I like really bold flavors so when you infuse the simple syrup, it is hard to get the flavor I like, without it turning too sweet.  That and the fact that I still hadn’t found those dumb supermodel sprigs yet. 

But I digress.  So lavender “tea”.  I took about 1 cup of water and 1 TBSP of dried lavender and put it in a mason jar.  Then I shook it up a little and left it at room temperature overnight.  In the morning, you’ve got lavender “tea”.

Strain the lavender tea for use in delicious summer beverages.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAll you have to do is strain it through a coffee filter.  And you are left with this fantastic amber-ish water.  Which smells awesome.  

Natural lavender lemonade recipe.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd THEN you are ready to make your lavender lemonade.  So you need fresh squeezed citrus, lavender “tea,” raw honey and water.  The sprigs above are purely decorative at this point. BTW I found the pretty sprigs at Trader Joe’s.  But there was no telling if they were food grade or not.  I’m wasn’t going to take any chances.  I didn’t want my tombstone to say “She died, super relaxed, drinking lavender lemonade.”  How much cooler if it said something like “She died valiantly while trying to defend the world from evil clowns.”

A great blend of lavender, citrus and raw honey for the perfect summer treat.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comTo a pitcher, add all the things.  

Raw honey is great for mixing in to drinks. Just whisk it until it dissolves.  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI was worried that the raw honey wouldn’t be a great choice for mixing in to liquids.  But it worked great, actually.  I just used a whisk and whisked for a short time and it blended right in.  I also thought it might harden back into a solid when I put it in the fridge, but it didn’t.  I’m a fan. 

Lavender lemonade recipe for your summer bbq or picnic.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd there it is.  A delicious lavender lemonade.  Everyone drinks their lemonade differently so modify any of these recipes to suit your tastes!  I think I may have put a little bit too much lime in mine.  It was quite bitter.  Which I didn’t hate, but it also wasn’t the taste I was going for.

Take a look at these recipes and find one that works for you!

via Home Cooking Adventure
via A House in the Hills
via Amy’s Lavender Lemonade via AllRecipes.com
via Small Footprint Family
via They Call Me Oyster Girl

Summer Picnics are #NaturallyAmazing

*This post is sponsored by French’s, a #NaturallyAmazing product.  All opinions are mine.

A clean eating dinner picnic.  #sponsored #NaturallyAmazing @frenchsfoods //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comMy kids ask for a dinner picnic almost every single night during summer.  And fall.  And spring.  So we try to have them as much as possible.  There is something absolutely magical about sitting outside as the sun turns golden.  Eating outside brings an entirely different energy to dinner time.  It is much more casual and playful.  And the food is always kept simple and fresh.  This picnic set up shared through out this post, however, is a dream scenario.  In our real dinner picnics, the blanket gets all wrinkled, plates get kicked over and there is grass.  Lots of grass.  Everywhere.  This is what summer picnics would look like if my kids were robots that I could control with a remote control.

Lavender lemonade is the perfect drink to bring to a picnic or potluck.  #sponsored #NaturallyAmazing @frenchsfoods  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comMy robot children would willingly try all the wonderful and delicious foods that I love.  They would not be afraid of things that sound a little bit different.  They wouldn’t turn their noses up at lavender lemonade.  They would drink it and be instantly transformed in to a wonderfully relaxed state of mind.  They would never ask for soda even though they know they only drink it very rarely.

Fresh veggies and a tangy mustard based dip are a great dish to bring to a picnic.  #sponsored #NaturallyAmazing @frenchsfoods  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI am very lucky that my kids do, in fact, like vegetables.  They don’t hesitate to grab them off a buffet table and never complain when I send them in their lunches.  Up until a little while ago, my oldest son couldn’t eat anything with milk in it so he never really had anything to dip them in.  We are very fortunate that he seems to have outgrown that allergy.  For this picnic I made a delicious mustard dip.  French’s mustard is, and always has been a natural food.  What I love about it is that is adds SO much flavor.  And it is an absolute essential for summer grilling.  It is perfect with hamburgers and hotdogs but also delicious grilled veggie sandwiches.  It also sort of inspired the color palette as well.  You normally don’t think of mustard yellow as a summer color but I think these rich colors are perfect for the time just before sunset.  French’s wants you to get inspired also.  They have a new Pinterest page and it features other great ideas for #naturallyamazing entertaining and recipes for any occasion: graduation celebrations, picnics, summer BBQs, light lunches and more!  You can follow them by clicking the image below!

French's is now on Pinterest!

Cabbage salad for a delicious and easy dinner picnic.  #sponsored #NaturallyAmazing @frenchsfoods  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comMy real family has recently started eating more salads.  I’ve always loved salads so this has made me so happy.  However, only my robot children would eat this cabbage salad.  While the cabbage is really mild in flavor, the herbs would totally throw my kids off.  I loved the bright flavors of the mint, basil and cilantro.  And the lime sesame dressing had a touch of sweetness that paired with it really nicely.  Robot children are the best, aren’t they?

A vintage blanket works perfectly for a summer picnic.  #naturallyamazing @frenchsfoods #sponsored // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd only my robot children would be able to eat on this vintage blanket with a mustard dip…

Wooden cutlery for a summer dinner outdoors. #sponsored #naturallyamazing @frenchfoods // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI decided to keep the elements of this picnic really natural.  I mixed wooden utensils with wooden plates and platters and recyclable paper containers for easy clean up.  But since this was for pretend children who don’t break things, I used my fave blue glasses for a pop of color.  In a real scenario I would probably use some clear plastic cups, nothing colored as I wouldn’t want to compete with this gorgeous blanket.

Succulents transport well and are really great for decorating picnics.  Also, wine.  You should always serve wine.  #sponsored #naturallyamazing @frenchsfoods  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comSucculents are a great thing to bring as decorations when entertaining out of the house.  They are a really hearty plant and look great.  I also like to use bright-colored fruits because they double as part of the meal and decoration.  My robot and real children love cherries.

Mustard is all natural and a great way to add flavor to summer picnic dishes!  #sponsored #naturallyamazing @frenchsfoods  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comEating healthier, more clean, doesn’t have to be boring.  I look for ways to add in flavor to keep me the meals from tasting the same.  I use a lot of fresh ground black pepper, fresh citrus juices and French’s mustard to add a wonderful savory tang.

vintage-blanket-and-grass-picnicThis has been a tale of my robot children and this fantastical picnic we all enjoyed together.  All the tips still hold true, just maybe not as a family picnic.  Maybe your picnic won’t be as fancy as this one but French’s and I encourage you to bring some fresh tastes to your table this summer!  Don’t forget to follow French’s for time-saving hacks and useful cooking tips as well as memorable meal ideas!

French's Mustard is #NaturallyAmazing #sponsored

 

Thank you for supporting the companies, like French’s, that sponsor my posts and allow me to create.  My robot children appreciate it also.

Family Movie Night Popcorn

*This post is sponsored by Pop Secret.  All opinions are my own.

Movie night snacks are essential for a good family night!  #sponsored http://ooh.li/1863c9b #perfectpop #goodbyeburnedpopcorn  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comDo you guys have family movie night?  We try to but sometimes we just get started too late and end up having family TV night.  Either way, the treats look the same.  There is always candy.  And there is always popcorn.  We managed to get started early enough the other night so we got comfy on the couch and hung out together.  But one thing that has always plagued us is how to get the perfect family movie night popcorn. 

Family movie night needs Pop Secret and the #perfectpop app!  #goodbyeburnedpopcorn #sponsored http://ooh.li/1863c9b  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comA love of microwave popcorn runs in my family.  So much so that we refer to it as micro poco.  Say it.  You know you want to.  I can’t tell you how much popcorn I’ve had to throw out that was burned though.  Not all microwaves are created equal.  And they totally lie about that “popcorn button” being an accurate way to pop a bag of popcorn.  Pop Secret came out with this fun new app that will help you get the #PerfectPop and it is seriously the BEST!

The ONLY way to pop the perfect bag of microwave popcorn!  My kids love this app!  It listens to your bag and tells you when it is done!  How cool is that?! #sponsored http://ooh.li/1863c9b #perfectpop #goodbyeburnedpopcorn  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comIt is free to download on iTunes (iPhone 5+ only – this is totally a reason to upgrade like you have been wanting to) and be warned, the kids will want to pop bags constantly.  Just wait, I bet “popping bags” ends up in the urban dictionary and rappers are going to start rapping about it.  You put your Pop Secret bag in the microwave and follow the instructions from the bag (note: this doesn’t work on the Kettle Corn or Sweet’n’Crunch varieties, and if you are using the snack sized bag, you have to remember to modify that setting on the app).  Then all you have to do is hit start on the app and keep the phone within 3 feet of the microwave.  

The kids LOVED this new #perfectpop app from Pop Secret.  It has XRAY vision to know when your popcorn is perfectly popped! #sponsored http://ooh.li/1863c9b #goodbyeburnedpopcorn  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comUsing the microphone on your phone, the app listens to the popping of your bag and tells you when it is done popping.  And throughout these few minutes, the app shares fun facts to keep you entertained.  

The perfect @prefresh shirt to wear before consuming tons of movie candy on family movie night.  #sponsored http://ooh.li/1863c9b #perfectpop #goodbyeburnedpopcorn  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comSO FUN!  I had to pop bags for both boys because they each wanted a turn with the app.  

The Perfect Pop App from Pop Secret pops the perfect bag every time! #sponsored http://ooh.li/1863c9b #PerfectPop #GoodbyeBurnedPopcorn  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.com While the kids had their eyes on the popcorn, I worked on putting the rest of the treats together for our family movie night.  Usually they are all up in my business about when we can start the movie, but this brilliant app bought me the few minutes I needed to get everything ready. 

Family movie night is the easiest way to spend quality time together as a family!  But there HAS to be popcorn.  #sponsored http://ooh.li/1863c9b #perfectpop #goodbyeburnedpopcorn  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWe picked Hotel Transylvania.  Because it’s awesome.  

Make sure you buy everyone's favorite candy for family movie night!  For the healthy eaters, I provide sweet cherry tomatoes!  They aren't quite candy but they are a great substitute when you are trying to be good! #sponsored http://ooh.li/1863c9b #perfectpop #goodbyeburnedpopcorn  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWe never skip popcorn on movie nights.  But we do let the kids pick out their favorite movie candy too.  Since I’m trying to be healthy, I got the 94% Fat Free Pop Secret variety and then set out sweet cherry tomatoes instead of candy.  They have really helped with my sweet tooth!  And I noticed the kids grabbed for them too.  And not by accident.  Although they were watching the movie so intently I probably could have swapped out most of the candy for vegetables and they may not have noticed.  Maybe I’ll try that next time.  Have you tried the app?  Let me know if you do!  You’ll totally say #goodbyeburnedpopcorn!

*This post is sponsored by Pop Secret but all opinions are my own.  And I love this app.  And micro poco.