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!

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

Gin Cocktails make a Great Gift

*I was sent G’Vine Gin to use in this post.  Idea and thoughtful gift giving heart is all mine. Cocktail kit : Easy gift idea. // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThis might be the best hostess gift idea ever.  I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but it’s kind of great.  Sure you can bring a bottle of wine, but that is so DONE.  You know what I mean?  So put a little gin cocktail kit together! 

Use mini bottles of liquor for a cocktail kit gift.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAll you need is some mini bottles of gin (or other spirit – or a mix of spirits!)  and pair it with some of the cocktail mixers that go well with it.  Oh hey, there is basil again (are you SO sick of my infatuation with basil?)  And Meyer lemons are crazy yummy.  And both go really great with gin.  

Just add ice and a shaker to your cocktail kit!  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.com

If you want to give an even better gift, you can also supply the cocktail shaker with the gin cocktail ingredients.  But most people have their own already so if you just want to give a little gift, leave it out.  Consider providing a recipe so your pal knows what to put in the drink and then they are ready to mix up some cocktails.  Just add ice! Meyer Lemon and Basil Gin Cocktail.  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.com

Gin is a great base for warm weather cocktails.  It has so many herbal nuances that it is really refreshing.  I’m not one for a simple gin and tonic but I don’t like things overly sweet either so this basil and Meyer lemon number is perfection! Add a mini bottle of gin with a basil plant and Meyer lemons to create a cocktail kit gift.  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.com I’m not sure this would be appropriate for an end of the year teacher’s gift but it would probably be much appreciated.  This would be awesome for a 21 year old, or someone moving in to a new house.  And especially as a hostess gift.  Next time you are at your local beverage center, pick up some mini bottles so you can have them on hand in case you need an impromptu gift.  

Gin cocktails are perfect for summer. // www.cupcakesandcutlery.com

Gin Cocktails make a Great Gift

Gin Cocktails make a Great Gift

Ingredients

  • 2 oz. gin
  • 3/4 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz. simple syrup
  • 2 dashes bitters
  • 4-5 basil leaves

Instructions

  1. Add lemon juice and simple syrup to a cocktail shaker.
  2. Add basil leaves and muddle together.
  3. Add gin and ice.
  4. Shake.
  5. Strain in to a cup over fresh ice.
  6. Top with 2 dashes of bitters.
http://www.cupcakesandcutlery.com/gin-cocktails-make-great-gift/

Are you a gin cocktail fan?  I’m certainly starting to be!  Don’t forget to check out this Blood Orange Sorbet Gin Float!

G’Vine Gin is a grape-based gin (instead of the usual grain based) and utilizes it’s aromatic surroundings for creating subtle fruit and floral notes.

 

How to Make Iced Tea with Lipton K Cups

This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Lipton, but all my opinions are my own. #bemoretea #pmedia  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

The perfect way to relax in summer: iced tea, magazines and music in the shade #PMedia #BeMoreTea #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThere are just two days of school left until my kids are out for the summer.  Isn’t that crazy late?!  I sure think so.  And they are moving up when school starts in the fall so this year we have a fairly short summer break.  That just means that we have to pack in as much fun and relaxing as possible.  For my kids that means swimming, playing with friends and lots of ice cream.  For me though, it means finding some “me” time to chill outside in the late afternoon.  My favorite thing to do is grab some music, some magazines and a nice tall glass of iced tea.  Ahhh, can you feel that?  That’s what Mom Oasis feels like.

The best iced tea now comes in three varieties for the Keurig!  #PMedia @BeMoreTea #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comGrowing up, we drank milk every night with dinner.  I didn’t love it.  So I loved when summer rolled around.  On the weekends, we got to drink Lipton iced tea instead.  I would get so excited when I would see my mom preparing to make sun tea on Saturday mornings.  She’d fill the glass jar, with a bright yellow summery design, with water, and then add about 9 tea bags and screw on the top.  The sun tea would sit outside in the hot sun until the early afternoon when it had finally finished steeping.  And at dinner I would get a glass of perfect iced tea, no sugar.  Fast forward to now, I’m pretty much an iced tea addict.  There is nothing more refreshing to me.  And Lipton is the standard to which I hold all other teas.  How do you make iced tea that is perfect for summer?  With Lipton K-Cups?!  The Lipton K-Cups come in 3 varieties including Iced Tea Lemonade, Refresh Iced Sweet Tea and my personal favorite, the Classic Unsweetened Iced Tea (some things never change) and can be found at your local grocery store or other larger retailers and also online.  So pick some up and get to relaxing. 

Classic Lipton Unsweetened Iced Tea for the Keurig  #PMedia #BeMoreTea #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.com

How to Make Iced Tea

I am beyond grateful to whoever invented the Keurig!  It is the easiest way to make a perfect glass of iced tea in no time at all.  We’re going to ignore all those coffee grounds that I forgot to clean off before I took this picture and just focus on the fact that all you have to do is grab a 16 oz non-glass cup, fill it with ice and then brew the tea over it.  And when you think about it, making sun tea is kind of gross.  I know we didn’t get sick from it growing up but it makes me think of bacteria baking in the sun and growing in to super germs.  

Mom oasis.  A little spot to relax that my husband made me for Mother's Day. // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThis is “mooooom oooooaaaaaaassiiiisssssssssss” and it was gifted to me this M0ther’s Day (and that is how my husband and two boys said it in unison once they had it set up that morning).  I had been asking for a comfortable place to hang out in the back yard and my husband listened.  My husband made the chair and ottoman, picked out the rug and got an umbrella to create this little sanctuary for me to retreat to with my iced tea and magazines.  I LOVE it!  For some reason when I sit out here, they really do leave me alone!  It’s magical! 

magazines and iced tea.  the perfect way to relax in summer.  #PMedia #BeMoreTea #ad // www.cupcakes and cutlery.comI sip my iced tea (often with fresh herbs muddled or even just as a garnish – the scent gets me to an extra tranquil place) and read leisurely as though there aren’t 4 loads of laundry that need folding or lunches to make.  And since it is summer, that means that I can usually get my husband to grill dinner leaving much less dinner prep for me than usual.  Amen. 

Relaxing with iced tea   // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI try really hard to have everything I could possibly need with me, in Mom Oasis, when I first sit down.  Because if I get up, someone steals my spot.  Both of my kids like iced tea which kind of surprises me especially since I don’t drink it with sugar and a lot of people find that to be too bitter.  They are the apples and I am the tree. 

Fresh fruit snack. // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comEven the snacks aren’t safe.  He’ll come out under the guise of making sure I’m enjoying myself.  But really I think he’s trying to see if maybe he can get a turn in Mom Oasis. 

New Lipton Iced Tea K-Cups.  #PMedia #BeMoreTea #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comPretty soon, my tea is empty.  The empty glass is sort of like my timer letting me know that the relaxing is over and it’s time to get back to reality.  So I gather up my things and head back to momming. All week long I think about my time in Mom Oasis and what I will read next.  Thank goodness I can drink the Classic Iced Tea all week long.  

K-Cups with Lipton Iced Tea!  Summer can happen now.  #PMedia #BeMoreTea #ad // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThank you to Lipton for bringing a little bit of my childhood to my summer and for making my favorite Iced Tea.  Follow Lipton on Twitter and Facebook.  (You have to go to their Facebook page to check out these really great videos featuring Carl and Stu and Lipton’s really great summer promotion where they are giving people more Sun in their Day!)

*Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Cupcakes and Cutlery able to do what I love to do!  I heart Lipton and I’m literally drinking a glass right now while I type this.

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.