Lavender Infused Lemonade with Honey – the ONLY Summer Lemonade Recipe You Need!

Though I’m born and raised as a city girl, my roots trace back to the deep south and (in my Phaedra Parks’ voice) everybody knows it’s impolite to not have a cold glass of homemade lemonade or sweet tea at-the-ready for guests in the hot summer months.

Though southern belle at heart, there’s no better joy than discovering a remix on an “oldie but goodie” and this home-brewed Lavender Infused Lemonade with Honey hits the spot with a distinctive, refreshing taste and plenty of Vitamin C. Not to mention, it’s vegetarian, paleo safe, and gluten free – if you’re into those kind of things!

Your INGREDIENTS include:

Lavender Lemonade with Honey

  • 1 cup raw honey (local if you can get it)
  • 5 cups purified water
  • 1 Tbsp. dried, organic culinary lavender (or 1/4 cup fresh lavender blossoms, crushed)
  • 1 cup fresh-squeezed, organic lemon juice, strained
  • Ice cubes
  • Lavender sprigs, for garnish

Once you’ve gathered your ingredients:

  • Bring 2 1/2 cups purified water to boil in a medium pan
  • Remove from heat and add in honey, stirring to dissolve
  • Add the lavender to the honey water, cover the pan, and let steep (at least 20 minutes or up to several hours) to taste.

You can put the lavender into a tea infuser or reusable tea bag for easier clean up. Otherwise,

  • Strain mixture and either compost or discard the remaining lavender
  • Pour infusion into a glass pitcher
  • Add lemon juice and approximately another 2 1/2 cups of cold water, to taste.
  • Stir well.
  • Refrigerate until ready to use, or pour into tall glasses half-filled with ice, then garnish with lavender sprigs.

Lavender Herb

Okay, so listen closely! Use of lavender essential oil in this recipe is NOT recommended.

Seriously!

Consuming lavender oil can be toxic, cause allergic reactions, as well as contribute to hormone imbalances in men and boys. Signs of lavender oil toxicity include abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, blurred vision, burning pain in the throat, difficulty breathing and skin rash.

If you suspect you have an allergy to lavender or decide to use essential oil – although we suggested against it – and start to exhibit any of these signs, please call Poison Control immediately!

Otherwise, step 8 is to simply, ENJOY!

Cheers to the summer!  Happy planning!

 

 

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Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue…wine?

blue-wineWhen it comes to weddings, if safe to say that Brides are leaning further and further away from tradition and as a result, I’ve been challenged by my brides to provide alternative (sometimes, OUTRAGEOUS) takes on various wedding traditions, including “something blue” and well, get ready to imbibe because while the wine world is full of choices – red or white, sparkling or still, refreshing rosé or spritzy vinho verde – I’ve discovered there’s yet another trend on the horizon and it’s blue!  And, if you’re like my brides, you may want to consider the following liquid libations for your upcoming wedding or blue-inspired event.

Blanc de Bleu Cuvee Mousseux is a non-vintage Sparkling Chardonnay wine from California with an added hint of blueberries. It offers seductive flavors and fresh aromatic effervescence – vividly pasteled with blueberries and contained in an impressively sexy bottle.

Gik Bue WineGik wine is made using red and white grapes from vineyards in La Rioja, Zaragoza, León, and Castilla-La Mancha, Spain. Gïk blends different varieties of red and white grapes with two organic pigments to turn it blue: anthocyanin, from the red grape skin, and indigotine, an organic compound commonly used as a reddish-blue food dye. The resulting flavour is enhanced with non-caloric sweeteners to create a product that is cross between a wine, a wine cooler and a cocktail mixer, with a mellow, sweet, slightly syrupy mouthfeel.

The company faced backlash in Spain for labeling the product as wine but after weathering regulatory hurdles, Gik is finally bound for retailers in Miami, Boston, and Texas, New York, Michigan, New Jersey, Nevada, California and Washington.

blumond-socialSaraceni Blumond Blue Bubbly is made in Italy and noted as being seductive and flavorful, sweet, light (containing only about 7.0% in alcohol), and bubbly!  I’ve actually had the pleasure of tasting this wine at a recent bridal show and I can confirm the reports – it’s delicious! And even better, they sell mini-blumond bottles which, in my opinion, is a perfect favor idea!

When talking about wine, the next question I almost always receive is, “how much will I need to purchase?”, because, let’s face it, there really is nothing worse than running out in the middle of a celebration! You typically want to give each guest 5 ounces and most standard bottles are 750ml, which pours about 5 glasses. Always account for the occasional spill and definitely expect a few guests to want a refill so I highly recommend 15 bottles for every 50 guests.

So what do you think?  Are you brave enough to try blue wine?

Introducing Poptails by FrutaPop

img_3772FrutaPOP is a small-batch, hand-crafted ice pop company, specializing in natural fruit and juice ice pops, coffee ice pops and alcohol infused ice pops better known as Poptails.

FrutaPOP offers seasonal flavors, making the POP a year-round treat and for the summer their featuring six tantalizing flavors that we are patiently waiting a chance to try, including Coconut Rosé Sangria POPs made with fresh blueberries and strawberries; Watermelon Mint Lemonade POPs made with premium vodka; Sparkling Prosecco POPs in mango mimosa and passion fruit; Tropical POPs in rum punch and pina colada; Red or White Coconut Sangria POPs made with top shelf alcohol, wine produced in New York State and organic fruit; and Passion Fruit Pink Champagne POPs which we can totally see as a champagne toast alternative for our summer brides.

At approximately $60 for a dozen, each pop costs about $10 each once you factor in the $35.00 flat-rate shipping fee.  All of the flavors are 5% alcohol by volume – which means you must be at least 21 years of age to enjoy them – and available in packs of 12, 24 and 48.  It also looks like you can mix and match your order so you can try all of them.

We haven’t yet had a chance to taste test these tasty treats but we’re hoping to do so soon and even have plans for a future event so stay tuned.  In the meantime, stop by FrutaPOP for a full list of their healthy frozen dessert options and to place an order for your upcoming event

Cupcake Bouquets & DIY Tutorial

When I first heard about the cupcake bouquet, I wasn’t too sure what to expect.  But a quick google search led me to this beautiful creation and I’m hooked!  There are endless ideas for this perfect marriage of flowers and cake and who doesn’t love anything that does double duty!

The “florist bakery” featured in the video is Baked Bouquet and they’re located in Verona, NJ. Their creations “offer customers a gift that is new and unique: baked cakes, truffles, ganache, and drizzled chocolate designed and arranged in the form of beautiful flower bouquets…made daily for pick-up and hand delivery”.

I don’t know if anyone is wondering, but I wouldn’t mind getting one of these in the mail tomorrow.

Check out their very mouth-watering website at http://www.bakedbouquet.com/.

Feeling adventurous and wanna try this at home?  Here’s a quick tutorial on how to recreate these beauties for yourself:

And as always, you know we wanna hear about your Cupcake Bouquet Experience so let us know!

Until further notice…celebrate everything!

 

Easy Party Appetizers: Goat Cheese Bruschetta

Photo credit: fakeginger.com

I love hosting a dinner party! Many people look at me with the side eye when I say it but I get a total kick out of setting up my home for an evening of good company, laughter and vino.  Dinner parties also afford me the opportunity to play around with food and drink recipes that I usually wouldn’t consider.  I recently hosted a girls night in and included on the menu were these tasty goat cheese bruschetta.  I found the recipe online (sorry, can’t recall the site) and after a trial and error batch I was well on my way to making what ended up as the most popular option on the menu.  Ahhh, success!!  Needless to say, it will now be a staple on the dinner party menu and if simple and easy recipes make you happy, I’m recommending this one for you!

Bruschetta with Goat Cheese, Figs and Honey

The Ingredients:

  • Half loaf (5 oz.) baguette, cut into ½ inch slices
  • 4 oz goat cheese
  • 2 ripe figs, diced
  • Clover honey to drizzle

The Raw Materials:

  • 1 Baking Sheet

The Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 400°F
  • Place baguette slices in single layer on baking sheet.
  • Bake 8–10 minutes, turning each slice until both sides are crisp and golden around edges
  • Let cool
  • Spread cheese on toasted baguette slices.
  • Top with figs and lightly drizzle with honey.

You can substitute Crostini’s for the baguette.  Either way, this recipe is worry-free and easy enough to make for your next bridal or baby shower.  This recipe makes 13–15 slices.  Bon apetit!

9 Fun Cake Alternatives

Chocolate Chip Cookie and Marscapone

Included in my list of on-going projects is ‘cleaning up’ my Pinterest boards which is really just an exercise of removing duplicate pictures and appropriately categorizing “Likes”.  A word to the wise…do it from the outset because backtracking while constantly adding new pins can become daunting.

Anywho, in a related story – I recently signed up for Pinclout and it’s very useful in providing statistics based on your Pinterest activity.  One of those stats is a list of your top 10 popular boards based on likes and repins.

Included in my top 3 was one of my personal favorites – Elegant Cakes.  The board is really a collage of artistically tempting cakes for weddings and special events and if you have any sort of  sweet tooth you will not be able to view it without your mouth absolutely watering.

If you need inspiration for your wedding cake, the Elegant Cakes board is a good start.  And if you were looking for alternatives to traditional tiered yellow cake with elaborately decorated fondant icing, you may be in the market for one of the alternatives below.

Layered French Crepe Cake

Double Chocolate & Raspberry Pavlova

Lemon cookie and mascarpone cream cake

Popcorn cake

Wood Wedding Cake

Cocoa Candy Candy Marshmellows

Birthday Cake Martini

I wrote this recipe down a few months ago and recently featured it as the drink of the night for a girl’s night in.  The name was changed to ‘Tickled Pink’ but  it was still a huge hit and I highly recommend it for any event.  What’s better? You can easily swap out the vanilla vodka for an alcohol-free mocktail that is still delicious.  Cheers!

Ingredients

  • 1.5 ounces vanilla vodka
  • 1.5 ounces cranberry juice
  • 1/2 ounce champagne
  • Maraschino cherries (1 per glass)
  • Rim glass
  • Sprinkles

Directions:

Combine vodka and cranberry juice in an ice shaker, half-filled with ice cubes. Shake well. Strain into glass. Top with Champagne. Drop in cherry. Enjoy!