Cucumber Basil and Lime Vodka Cocktail

*I was sent a bottle of American Harvest Organic Vodka for this post.

cucumber-and-basil-vodka-cocktail-for-summerUm, yeah.  Cucumber.  Lime.  Basil.  Each of those things screams refreshing to me.  Then put them altogether in a cocktail and of course you aren’t going to hate it.  This cucumber basil and lime vodka cocktail might just be my summer drink for 2014.  But let me tell you a little bit of a funny story…

American-Harvest-VodkaSometimes brands send me alcohol to use in posts.  Just like American Harvest did.  But most of the time I already have an idea for something I want to make with it.  The bottle arrived with a little recipe booklet and I flipped through.  Each cocktail sounded more delicious than the last.  And then I came across this cucumber number. 

slicing-cucumbers-for-the-vodka-cocktailI sliced up the cucs, quartered the limes and got almost through the entire recipe before I realized…

refreshing-vodka-drink-perfect-for-summerthat the drink is pretty much straight vodka.  Like, there is a little bit of lime juice from the muddling but it’s pretty much a big old cup of icy cold vodka.  You would have thought I would have figured that out when I read the recipe the first time.  Or made my grocery list of things I needed for making the cocktail.  But no.  I’m a total lightweight so I was super concerned that I would not like it and be drunk just from one sip.  I am happy to report that while the cocktail was on the stronger side (again, the whole thing is pretty much vodka) the taste was fantastic!  The basil, cucumber and lime took a little of the edge off but the real star is the American Harvest Vodka.  For real.  I wouldn’t just say that since they sent me a bottle of vodka.  I could totally see drinking these this summer.  Like, really slowly.  Over several hours.  With lots of food in my stomach.  And a baby sitter for the kids.  And some Drinkwel.  But I have heard that organic vodka’s are not as likely to induce a hang over…

summer-cocktail-vodka-basil-cucumberWhat I loved most about this cocktail is that the flavors were so crisp and clean.  The ice made this super easy to sip and the fragrance from the basil and cucumber made it a really enjoyable from start to finish.  It goes to show that with the right brand of spirit, you might like something you were never a huge fan of before.  This has also happened with me and whiskey.  But still not probably going to drink that straight.

You can find the full recipe right here (I didn’t use the agave because I don’t generally add sweeteners to my drinks)

*Thank you for supporting the brands, like American Harvest, that let me do what I do.  All opinions are mine.

 

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Beer Floats

Banana bread beer floats are a refreshing treat for summer.  And dessert too.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comDo this.  For real.  Beer floats are kind of amazing.  And this one, with banana bread beer(!) is super yummy.  I was thinking these would be fantastic for Father’s Day celebrating.  Or a man’s birthday.  Or Saturday.

Banana bread beer floats!! YUM!  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comMy local supermarket has been carrying craft beers for the last year or so, so I didn’t even have to go track this down any where fancy.  They also have a chocolate stout version (which I used here) that is GOOD.  There is no recipe for a beer float.  Add scoops of ice cream, pour beer on top.  Drink. 

Make a beer float this summer!  This banana bread beer is perfect.  Or try a stout with chocolately flavors!  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comIt’s dessert and adult beverage in one.  I don’t see why you wouldn’t have one of these on a balmy summer night.  Have you ever tried a beer float before? 

Beer floats are perfect for summer.  And Father's Day.  And any other manly holiday. // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comJust like a regular float, the beer foams up when you top the ice cream.  But please drink responsibly, and by that I mean make sure the kids know this is not a root beer float.  And don’t drink and drive.  And don’t drunk text.

 

DIY Painted Cutting Boards

fruit face on neon cutting board  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comOh hey there.  I’m going to come right out and say that I don’t love things that aren’t entirely useful.  And this one is not 100 % useful in my opinion.  But like Kristen on RHONY, it sure is pretty (if you don’t get that reference, you don’t watch enough television).  So anywho, these are DIY painted cutting boards.  But the paint is not food safe.  So you would have to sort of hand wash this.  So I would really only serve things on it that aren’t super greasy etc.  So see, it’s kind of dumb.  But I just couldn’t take the plain wood.  Something had to be done.

Take plain cutting boards and make them cooler with a little paint. // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI picked up a two pack of these cutting boards from HomeGoods and LOVED that they were two different sizes.  But they were so gosh darn plain.  It’s like the little black dress that needs some accessories.  As is, these serving platters would have bored my guests to death.  And I would feel really bad about that.  

Tape of geometric sections and paint to create a custom serving piece with a standard cutting board. //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comSo I taped off a bunch of random geometric patterns and painted a bunch of different colors.  I love color. 

DIY neon painted cutting boards for entertaining.  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comSo much better, right?!  I’m thinking that I could use some sort of sealer over the painted area to make it more hand-wash friendly.  Not sure if Mod Podge or anyone else for that matter makes something that is food safe but as long as I aim to place food on the center section I am certain I will not poison any guests.  DISCLAIMER:  If you make this you assume all risk for your guests, family and anyone else you feed off this hand-painted board.  Poisoning people is not cool so use caution when painting anything that will be used in conjunction with food.  

Painted geometric cutting boards // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comDang, look how cool that fruit looks now that it is served on these hand painted cutting boards.  I mean, I totally want to hang out with that fruit don’t you?  Need to see how these fit in to an entertaining set up?  See them here.

 

16 Delicious Recipes for Outdoor Entertaining

*This post is sponsored by Foodie and Mode.  All opinions are mine.  And in my opinion, these recipes look freaking awesome and I can’t wait to make them.

Check out Outdoor Entertaining

by Sharon Garofalow (Cupcakes and Cutlery) at Foodie.com


Ahhhh, Memorial Day.  Does that signal the start of summer for you too?  I mean, we still have about a month left of school (I know, it is SO late!) but that doesn’t stop us for hosting barbecues and kicking off the summer grilling season.  But eating outside sometimes means we either make a signature dish over and over (because we nail it every time) or that we are scared to try something out of the ordinary because eating outside provides a host of challenges (breakable plates, temperature control, grody bugs).  These 16 recipes for outdoor entertaining are just what you need for all your upcoming parties.  I’ve included some drinks, entrees and side dishes for creating a delicious meal for your guests or even just your family.  I’ve included some familiar dishes, like a bbq burger that looks crazy good (and has a little whiskey in it…) but I’ve also included some not so traditional grilled items like Grilled Chipotle Lime Sweet Potato Fries.  How good do those sound?!  Make what you are comfortable with but don’t be afraid to make mistakes.  I speak from experience when I say that even if you make a mistake in front of people that you don’t know very well, it is not the end of the world.  It happens.  More than I care to admit.  I remember this one time in particular when I realized I had used tablespoons instead of teaspoons a little too late.  Oops!  But it wasn’t the end of the world.  And they’ve even come back since.  I am excited to get creative this summer with my recipe repertoire.  And I’m going to start with these Basil Beerades.

 

Rad Custom Straws


Rad straw with neon boho summer dress.  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHow rad is this custom straw?  Isn’t it the coolest?!  I ordered some custom name Krazy Straws for my kids for Easter and since I was placing an order for custom straws, I figured I might as well make one that said “rad” too.  Even drinking water is way more cool with these, right?!

Custom rad Krazy straw.  Makes a great gift!   //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThere are a ton of different custom straws that you could make.  They are pretty inexpensive and not something you see every day.  These are potentially the best kid’s party favor idea ever.  And I’m totally in love with that charcoal color.  Big thank you to Lauren for helping me shoot them.  Can you imagine how awkward that selfie would have been if I tried to take one of myself using it?

Rad and palm tree //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comSo have a rad week, won’t you?

Custom name Krazy Straws are the perfect kid's gift idea!  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comSee, the custom name straws are pretty rad too.  (Originally posted to my Instagram account.  Are we following each other?)

Make your own custom name straw at KrazyStraw.com

**NOT a sponsored post. I think these are awesome and think you will too.

 

Best Frozen Margarita Recipe

Margaritas are the perfect summer drink.  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comSo last summer I discovered that I really enjoy tequila.  Or rather tequila based cocktails.  I’ve never been a shots kind of a girl and I don’t think my late 30’s, with two small children, is the time to start.   And since I like the flavor of limes so much it makes sense that I would love a good margarita.  About 6 months ago I asked my Facebook followers for their favorite margarita recipes.  They were varied to say the least.  So I decided I would try several of them and see which ones I like the best.  It was hard work, you guys.  But these are the kinds of things I do for you.  Turns out I found the best frozen margarita recipe.  Ever.

Tequila shots, leopard print and Mexican blankets = summer.  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI know that the flavor of a margarita depends of the taste of the tequila you are using.  I’m not a tequila expert at all.  I just used what we had in the cupboard.  I see the guys on Real Housewives drinking a lot of Don Julio so I’m guessing that is a good brand to use.  And let’s talk for a second about the lime shortage we are currently facing.  Are you all as broken up about it as I am?  And I’m not even exaggerating about that.  I went to my grocery the other day to get limes for the margaritas, some salsas and guacamole I was going to make.  And my store was completely out of them.  Like, there were no limes in the entire store.  I asked.  Luckily my mom was able to grab a few from her store for me but that is why you see the bottled lime juice in some of the photos.  I’ve had to supplement with it.  It is not ideal.  I’m thinking about starting a fundraising campaign for the lime plight.  My summer relies heavily on limes.  But back to the margaritas.