Monday, June 11, 2012

What's Better than a Party??!!

Month of June = Birthdays????

I am starting to believe the Month of June is in existence just for birthdays. I have never encountered a month where I get so many opportunities to celebrate with those closest to me. On one hand it makes this month a blast….but it seems like time is going too quickly!!!

So far this month I have already lost count of the number of times I have celebrated and there are many more to go.  I love the fact I get to share these times with those closest to me and the parties aren't too bad either…lol. 

These parties allow me to do my favorite thing…….give birthday treats!!!!!  I have to say I love giving baked goods as gifts. Guarantees me there is no chance for my gift to be a duplicate and the feeling I get to I make the gift meaningful.

So here is my most recent birthday gift….Tipsy Turtle Bark.  I have to say….this one is going into the definite "keep" file…...

Tipsy Turtle Bark

Adapted from

2 C Pecan Halves
1 1/2 C (about 30) caramel candies, such as Kraft, unwrapped
2 Tbsp Bourbon (or any other dark liquor)
1 1/2 Tsp Heavy Cream
1/4 Tsp Salt
1 Lb Bittersweet Chocolate, finely chopped

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread pecans on large shallow baking sheet and toast until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to plate and let cool.

Line a clean cool baking sheet with parchment or wax paper. Set Aside.

In small bowl, combine caramels, 1 Tbsp liquor, cream, and salt. Microwave uncovered at medium power for 2 minutes. Stir with fork. Microwave at medium power for 1 additional minute (or until melted). Stir until smooth, add remaining bourbon and set aside. Note: Be sure to keep an eye on it so it doesn’t boil over.

In medium bowl set over saucepan of simmering water, melt half chocolate, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, add remaining chocolate, and stir until smooth. Stir nuts into chocolate. 

Transfer half of pecan mixture to baking sheet, spreading to 1/2-inch thickness. Spoon caramel over and pat on remaining pecan mixture. Let cool at room temperature until set, about 2 hours. Note: Do not chill.

Chop finished bark into irregular 1 1/2-inch chunks. Store airtight at room temperature up to one month.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Friends…..Some of the Best!!!!

Some weekends tend to go faster than others and aren't they always the ones we wish would just slow down to let us enjoy each and every moment. This was one of those weekends! I was given the opportunity to host a party for a great friend who is moving on to the next phase in life. While I enjoy growing in my own experiences, I also get excited to support others who are moving on in their own lives.

I guess I am a firm believer in opportunities create experiences allowing for new aspects and growth……. which as we all know is a GOAL in life. Don't get me wrong, I am a fan of tradition and routine. I think it is important to know our roots…but….stepping out on the ledge on occasion allows us to learn something new about ourselves we never knew. To learn what we are capable of or to realize something inside of us we never knew existed….How exciting!!!!

I wish them the best in this next adventure….and I value the friendship and the experiences they have offered me over the last few years…..Here is Rosemary-Infused Watermelon Lemonade we enjoyed sitting on the front porch in the sun creating new memories…Enjoy!! 

Rosemary-Infused Watermelon Lemonade
1 C Water
3/4 C Sugar
2 Rosemary Sprigs
1 C Lemon Juice, fresh
7 C Watermelon, cubed  & seeded

Clear Soda

Bring the water and sugar to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat until sugar is dissolved. Place in rosemary sprigs and set aside to steep for 1 hour. Remove sprigs and set aside.

Place half of the lemon juice, and half of the watermelon into a blender. Add 1/2 C Rosemary Simple Syrup. Cover, and puree until smooth. Strain into a pitcher, then puree the remaining lemon juice and watermelon. Pour into pitcher and adding additional simple syrup until desired sweetness is reached. Hint: Be sure to buy a seedless watermelon….I didn't…..and boy I learned!!!

To serve, stir the lemonade and pour into a glass containing ice until half full. Add soda, stir and enjoy.  

Option:  Add Vodka or Gin to lemonade in pitcher (or a shot into each glass). Then add ice and soda to serve.