Strawberry Mint Moscow Mule #StreamTeam

Strawberry Mint Moscow Mule Recipe. #spon #StreamTeamYou all might remember that I am part of Netflix’s #StreamTeam. As a way to announce their newest animated, original series, The Adventures of Puss in Boots (now playing), they’ve asked us to talk about our own favorite four-legged friends. So I made a Strawberry Mint Moscow Mule recipe for you. “Huh?” you say…

Animals for home decor - Indian elephant and Jonathan Adler ceramic hedgehog.You see, my family doesn’t have any animals. From allergies and renting a home to our lack of interest in caring for animals, we are an animal free home. I guess that isn’t entirely true. I really love my Jonathan Adler ceramic hedgehog my husband got me for Valentine’s a few years ago. And I love this colorful woven elephant I picked up at a Furbish Studio dinner at Alt Summit last year. These are the kinds of animals that thrive in my home. So unless they are electronic or super cute home decor, we won’t be getting animals any time soon. So my favorite animal is a Moscow Mule. I think that totally counts.

Easy strawberry mint Moscow Mule Recipe. #spon #StreamTeamI love a good Moscow Mule but I wanted to do a strawberry variety. I know it isn’t quite strawberry season yet, but the strawberries at my local store looked pretty good so I picked some up to create a twist on one of my fave cocktails.

Mashed strawberries and mint are the perfect way to jazz up a standard Moscow Mule recipe. #spon #StreamTeamAlthough a simple syrup is a really great way to get flavor in to a cocktail, I don’t enjoy the sweetness. So for this, I decided to mash the crap out of them. If I had had a little more time, I would have added just a smidge of sugar and let the berries macerate a bit to produce more juice. But I’m super impatient. I added chopped strawberries to my jar, added a few fresh mint leaves and then smashed them all up with a muddler.

Delicious Moscow Mule recipe with strawberries and mint. #spon #StreamTeamThen I made a pretty standard Moscow Mule but added some of the strawberry smush. If you’ve never made one, you simply add all the ingredients to the cocktail shaker (except the ginger beer – shaking that up would end up with you wearing it due to the carbonation) and shake.

Moscow Mule Recipe with strawberries and mint. #spon #StreamTeamI was super excited to get to try out my new copper mugs that my mom got me for Christmas. LOVE them! Thanks, mommy!

Moscow Mule with strawberries and mint. #spon #StreamTeamJust because we don’t have animals of our own doesn’t mean that they aren’t part of our lives. My youngest son LOVES animals! He lights up when he sees puppies.  He loves to read about all kinds of animals. And he LOVES to watch shows about or staring animals. When he saw the previews for The Adventures of Puss in Boots, he got super excited and asked if we could watch it right then. Netflix is his favorite place to watch shows about animals.

Moscow Mules in Copper Mugs. #spon #StreamTeamHe loves any of the “Buddies” movies, like Snow Buddies. Milo and Otis is a fave.  He only continued to watch Annie because of Sandy. And Air Bud? Forget it. Don’t even try talking to him when that is on.

Strawberry Mint Moscow Mule Recipe. #spon #StreamTeamIf my husband has his way, one day we will probably have an animal. Until then, I’ll just keep the Moscow Mule around.

Strawberry Mint Moscow Mule #StreamTeam
 
If you love a Moscow Mule, you'll love this yummy twist!
Recipe type: Cocktail
Ingredients
  • 1½ oz. vodka
  • ½ oz. fresh lime juice
  • a handful of fresh strawberries
  • a few leaves of fresh mint
  • Ginger Beer
Instructions
  1. In a small jar or bowl, add the fresh strawberries and 4 mint leaves and muddle together.
  2. In a cocktail shaker, add vodka, lime juice and strawberry mixture.
  3. Add ice and shake.
  4. Strain over fresh ice in short glass or copper mug (taking care that the strawberry pulp may block the strainer)
  5. Top with ginger beer.
  6. Take 3 mint leaves and clap them between your hands.
  7. Serve with mint leaves on top of the cocktail.

*This post contains affiliate links.  Read more about my editorial policies here.

 

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Ice Cream Float Bar

Set up an ice cream float bar for your next party. *Tillamook sent me coupons to purchase the ice cream for my son’s party. How cool is that?!

For the last few years we have kept our kid’s parties small. Gone are the days of my over the top kid’s parties. But I still like to make them special and memorable. That often means trying to do things a little bit differently. Most parties serve ice cream and soda. So this time I decided to set out an ice cream float bar. It was a total hit.

Set up an ice cream float bar for your next party. I’m mess averse so I didn’t want to set this out for the kid’s to do themselves. The kids range in ages from way too little to scoop their own ice cream to old enough to know that if they scoop their ice cream themselves they can get crazy. I brought out all the ingredients in the kitchen and recruited my sister-in-law to help me make them for the kids. I went to Bev Mo to buy all kinds of flavored sodas and picked up one 2 liter bottle of root beer. Because root beer floats. I picked up some standard flavors for the Tillamook ice cream including vanilla, strawberry and chocolate. And picked up one odd ball flavor – mint chocolate chip, in case anyone wanted to get crazy. We brought in the kids two at a time and they got to pick their flavors. There was lots of mixing.  Let me tell you, that blue cream soda was a hit. I had one taker for the banana soda and everyone skipped the pineapple.

Set up an Ice Cream Float bar for your next kid's party.I had forgotten to purchase the straws with spoons on the ends but the kids still really loved them. We had monster faces to add-on their straws and they were all set. They loved comparing the colors of their floats.

Set up an ice cream float bar for your next party. You can easily set up a float bar for an adult party too. Along with the flavored sodas you can also set out some Irish Cream, or other flavored liqueur.

Set up an ice cream float bar for your next party. Don’t be dumb. You don’t need me to give you the steps to make a soda float.

Set up an ice cream float bar for your next party. This chocolate ice cream + strawberry soda number was delicious.

Set up an ice cream float bar for your next party. Thanks to all the artificial colors the soda gets super foamy and bright. Yeah chemicals!

Ice Cream FloatI bet you want to go make yourself a float now, don’t you.

Thank you, Tillamook, for providing me the ice cream for my son’s birthday party. And thank YOU for supporting the companies that give me free ice cream and allow me to share cool things with you.

 

Best Champagne Punch Recipe

Best Champagne Punch Recipe.This is the best champagne punch recipe. The only one you’ll ever need. It is my family’s go-to celebratory recipe and we’ve been serving it for years. But if you get the chance you really should serve it to your friends out in the middle of the desert. All images via Tammy Mendoza.

Photo shoot out in Palm Springs.Since we were headed out to Palm Springs to shoot some new head shots, we thought it would be fun if we shot a recipe post while we were out there. This is the type of stuff that is so fun for a creative person. So often I have these big ideas in my head but the logistics to pull them off are a little bit too much for one person, or on account of family time constraints. I was SO excited to be able to sneak away with Tammy and Lauren and get to do something totally different.

Champagne and the desert. Two of my favorite things. We found this gorgeous little spot to set up in and got the bottles popping.

Best Champagne Punch RecipeAnd then started assembling the ingredients. This punch is pretty citrus-y so its refreshing and flavorful.

Add the champagne.What I love about champagne punch is that it works well for a crowd and because of all the other ingredients, you don’t need to splurge on the good bubbly. A super cheap bottle is perfect. And since this is SO yummy, you will need to make several batches. Know that going in and have several batches prepped ahead of time.

Slice citrus fruits for an easy garnish for your punch.Usually the garnish is some citrus slices. If you want to get crazy, you can add fresh raspberries. The pop of pink is a really fun touch. And edible flowers would be even more lovely.

Champagne in Palm Springs.Although this is a punch and your natural instinct might be to run towards your standard punch bowl, you should change things up a bit. I like to serve this Here I decided to use a vase to serve the punch in.

Make champagne punch and serve it in something other than a punch bowl to keep things interesting. I love to use things for something other than their intended purpose.

Delicious citrus champagne punch.But if that’s not your jam, simply make several batches and serve them in mismatched glass jars. Empty wine bottles are perfect for this. And this is a great way to make sure that all your guests can get their beverage quickly without having to wait for the ladle.

Best champagne punch recipe..How gorgeous is this?! It really makes me want to throw a whole desert party.

Fur coats and champagne punch in Palm Springs.

Best Champagne Punch Recipe
 
Best champagne punch recipe. Citrusy and refreshing, this punch is perfect for all your festive gatherings.
Serves: 3 quarts
Ingredients
  • 1 can (46 oz.) Pineapple Juice (cold)
  • 1 bottle (28 oz.0 Club Soda (cold)
  • 1 can (6 oz.) Frozen OJ Concentrate (thawed)
  • 1 bottle Champagne or Sparkling Wine (chilled)
  • 1 lemon or lime, finely sliced for garnish
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries for garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients, stir and serve.
  2. Garnish with a slice of fresh lemon or lime.
  3. Can be made the night before but wait to add the club soda and champagne until ready to serve.
  4. Should at least plan to double or triple the recipe. It is a crowd pleaser.

All images by Tammy Mendoza of Dez and Tam Photography 

*I did not create this recipe. Years ago, before blogs and Pinterest, when you found a recipe you liked, you wrote it down and emailed it to all your friends and family. The source for this recipe is long gone. If you know the source, please share! I like to credit when credit is due! 

 

Popcorn with Lavender Pepper

A delicious popcorn snackI’ve been thinking a lot about my “brand.” What am I all about and what do I want to share with you, my reader. I’ve been making lists and thinking about what I love. And one thing that keeps making it on to those lists is snacks. Wait, what?! Hey, turns out I love snacks. And here is a super easy one for you. On my last trip to Temecula I picked up some lavender pepper from the spice shop. I’ve been dying to use it and this just made sense. I’m trying to eat healthier snacks (but you know me, my quest for health usually lasts just for a few weeks) and popcorn is an awesome option. And so I made popcorn with lavender pepper.

Popcorn with Lavender PepperIt’s healthiest if you make it at home in an air popper or special microwave bowl, but it should also be noted that “lazy” is on my list of things about me. Trader Joe’s has a bag of reduced guilt popcorn that is a great base. Then all you need is some lavender pepper and sea salt. Now, I realize that you probably won’t have lavender pepper. Especially since this is the first time I’ve ever seen it. But you can pick up edible lavender on amazon or some local markets. Just add that and some fresh peppercorns to a spice mill or old coffee grinder to make your own. And be sure to taste your popcorn first to see just how salty it is before adding more.

Lavender and Pepper popcornBecause I am trying to not add calories, only flavor, I usually spritz the tiniest bit of water on the popcorn to help the spices stick. Weird, I know. But it would also work to toss the popcorn with a little melted butter or olive oil.  What is your favorite way to eat popcorn?

 

Chocolate Peppermint Italian Soda #StreamTeam

New Year's Eve Kids Treat. Chocolate Peppermint Italian Sodas  #spon #StreamTeamThis post is brought to you in partnership with Netflix. All opinions are my own. I’m part of their #StreamTeam and it’s awesome.

My kids love Christmas, of course. But they LOVE New Year’s Eve. As they’ve gotten older, my husband and I have been enjoying spending New Year’s Eve with them too. Getting to stay up and “rage” until midnight is one of the coolest things ever to them. And for some reason, they are really well-behaved and super fun to be around (if you are a parent, you know how those days go where you just can’t wait for them to get to bed…). This holiday is no longer about being out on the town in sparkly clothes and drinking too much. For us, we stay at home, spend time together, enjoy the TV broadcasts where they are freezing their buns off in New York, and indulge in several treats throughout the night. This year we’ll be having these Chocolate Peppermint Italian Sodas.

Chocolate Peppermint Italian Sodas  #spon #StreamTeamYou only need a few things to make these and they take just a second. The basics for any Italian soda are the same, milk (or cream), syrup and club soda. But you can change-up the flavors to make them in a ton of flavors. This year, my kids are super in to peppermint so I decided to create one last treat for the holiday season with it. I know you can use peppermint in January but it just feels so wrong!

Chocolate Peppermint Italian Sodas  #spon #StreamTeamMix them up, top with club soda, spray on a little whipped cream and top with some crushed candy cane. Done.

Chocolate Peppermint Italian Sodas  #spon #StreamTeamThis may look like a lot but it is mostly club soda. My ratio may have been off a little bit in this size jar. I would say to add some soda, give a little stir and do a taste test to see if you need more. And since this is the blogging world, I needed this to be all the way to the top so the whipped cream could be seen better…

Chocolate Peppermint Italian Sodas  #spon #StreamTeamFor sure use a straw. Straws are festive.

Chocolate Peppermint Italian Sodas. A fun New Year's Eve treat for kids.  #spon #StreamTeamThe rest of our New Year’s celebrating is pretty low-key. Of course there will be party hats, some balloons (because I don’t know about you but my kids can be entertained for HOURS with balloons!) and special candy. These chocolate peppermint italian sodas are perfect for the whole family. I don’t even drink at all on New Year’s Eve any more. It makes me too tired. I don’t want to be the party pooper! But if you wanted something a little more “festive” you could absolutely add vodka.

Chocolate Peppermint Italian Sodas  #spon #StreamTeamNew Year’s Eve is the perfect time to try a new treat. But not all of our night is based around food…We do these countdown bags every year as well. It is a really great way to keep the kids entertained and looking forward to the next hour. There is nothing worse than a bored, tired kid, am I right? Pick up little activities while you are out finishing up your stocking stuffers and you will be all set!

Thank you for supporting the brands that let me create and share with you, like Netflix!

Viewing party for #KingJulien the new show on Netflix #StreamTeamOn December 19th, Netflix is debuting a new, original series called, All Hail King Julien, of Madagascar fame (watch the trailer!). We got the chance to preview a few episodes this past weekend and brought the cousins along for some extra fun. The show is really funny! I heard the adults and kids laughing through out. Your kids will love this!

Craft time at #KingJulien. #StreamTeamThe Netflix team put on a really fun event with all kinds of activities that enhanced the King Julien experience. The kids learned a dance to the theme song of the show which was super amazing to watch (and my kids have continued to perform it at home for me). And there was a craft table to create your own crown or hat similar to the one King Julien wears.

Netflix will probably be part of our New Year’s Eve festivities. We’ll probably watch more King Julien episodes, especially since a really fun New Year’s Eve party kit just arrived – thank you Netflix! But as I was browsing around looking for a few shows to recommend, my youngest son and I became enthralled with this series called The Adventures of Figaro Pho. It’s about an odd little boy who has tons of phobias. This is definitely boy’s club stuff. Lots of farts. No talking, but great music to enhance the moods. And the subtitles are of the funny noises the characters make. So if you have little boys, check it out. And if you are still in the market for holiday movies, check out the top 20 movies to stream on Netflix this holiday season. And tonight we will be watching the original Annie. My boys want to see the updated version on the big screen so we decided we should watch the original so we can compare and contrast. I can’t wait to sing all the songs! Bet your bottom dollar it will annoy the kids!

Chocolate Peppermint Italian Soda #StreamTeam
 
These yummy chocolate peppermint sodas are the perfect treat during the holiday season. These are made for my kids but you can make these more "fun" by adding some vodka (to yours...)!
Recipe type: Beverage
Ingredients
  • 3 TBSP chocolate syrup
  • ⅛ tsp peppermint extract (it is VERY strong - I'd start with a few drops and get to the flavor you prefer)
  • ¼ cup milk
  • Club Soda
  • whipped cream (optional)
  • crushed candy cane (optional but super cute)
Instructions
  1. In a glass, mix together the chocolate syrup, peppermint and milk.
  2. Add ice.
  3. Top with Club Soda to taste
  4. Top with whipped cream and crushed candy cane.