Category Archives: cocktails

4th of July Menu

Still need some menu ideas for 4th of July celebrations? Look no further! I’ve rounded up some of my favorite recipes along with others from the blog world!


Guacamole with Basil & Shallots

Roasted Vegetable Cheese Spread

Cheese Filled Endeive Leaves from MommyRD


Chicken Satay with Coconut Peanut Sauce

Grilled Pizzas from Fake Food Free

Prosciutto Chihuahua Panini from Eating for England


Artichoke Ravioli Pasta Salad

Greek Potato Salad

Arugula & Apple Salad

Lynn’s Cabbage Slaw with Mango from The Actors Diet


White Wine Mojito

Pomegranate Champagne – add some blueberries for the 4th!


Strawberry & Mascarpone-filled Cupcakes

Banana & Blueberry Popsicles – perfect for little ones – from Weekly Bite

What’s on your weekend menu? If you have some good recipes,  please share below with a link!  Have a safe & happy 4th!



Filed under antioxidants, appetizers, blog friends, cheese, cocktails, dessert, entertaining, fruit, great meals, in season, Recipes, salad, vegetables, whole foods, whole grains, wine

entertaining: how to plan a cocktail party

By no means am I claiming to be an expert, but throwing and attending cocktail parties is one of my favorite things to do! I think it has a little to do with my love for hors d’oeuvres but it can also be easy to build a healthy meal with cocktail party fare, while enjoying delicious food and great company.

Choosing the Menu:

Choosing your Cocktails:

Setting Everything Up:

  • Fresh flowers are a must!
  • Set aside a specific bar area: glasses, bottle openers, wine, pitcher of signature cocktail, ice, etc.
  • Have 2 or 3 different food areas so the guests can mingle
  • Area of plates, napkins and necessary utensils

Planning Ahead:

  • Choose things that can be made ahead and don’t need to be served immediately as they will be sitting out for a few hours
  • Make everything as much ahead as you can and give yourself an hour for last minute things that will come up (they always do)
  • Make a great playlist
  • Have your friends help!

Make sure to have fun! That is the whole point after-all, isn’t it?

What are your tips for throwing a great party?


Filed under appetizers, cheese, cheese tray, cocktails, crackers, entertaining, olives, Recipes, wine

blueberry & basil prosecco

Whats not to love when you can combine an herb that is anti-bacterial and a great source of Vitamin A, a fruit that is full of antioxidants, Vitamin C and fiber and some prosecco to top it all off? I’m really not sure. I love when cocktails can be construed as health drinks. Next up? Kombucha cocktail. Oh yes.

Blueberry and basil may be an odd-sounding combo to some, but I’m a fan and I’ve also been thinking about this drink since I spotted it on a menu board in Denver. I figured a trip to Arizona would be the perfect opportunity to try it out – complete with a pool, sun, flowy dresses and flip flops.

Try it out, or mix it up with different herb/fruit combinations, mint & melon anyone?

Blueberry & Basil Prosecco – 1 serving

  • 1 Tbsp blueberries (organic if possible)
  • 1 Tbsp basil, minced
  • 6 oz chilled prosecco

Combine basil and blueberries. Muddle together. (We didn’t have a muddler) Pour in prosecco and savor each sip. My favorite part? Eating the blueberries and basil!


Filed under antioxidants, cocktails, fruit, herbs, Recipes, Uncategorized

an antioxidant cocktail

Ever since my friend Mercedes introduced me to Valdoro Prosecco a few weeks ago, I have been finding myself straying from the beloved red for the crisp, fresh bubbly.  Now don’t get me wrong, I would never leave red behind, but I know I will be enjoying some more prosecco on the up-coming summer nights.

Prosecco is a dry sparkling wine from the prosecco grape (grown in the Veneto region of Italy).

I love it on its own, but I also love adding some fruit to my bubbles every now and then. Mixing some prosecco with a splash of juice proved to be delicious, extra-pink, pretty & full of antioxidants. (Ok, full of might be a stretch)

Prosecco Cocktail:

Here is a toast to Friday and the weekend!


Filed under antioxidants, cocktails, fruit, wine

in my cupboard: kombucha


I finally get kombucha. It is an acquired taste, much like coconut water and olives were to me. And the other afternoon when I actually enjoyed kombucha, it really left me feeling good. Maybe it was a placebo effect, maybe I was just in a good mood, but this is a habit I could get into. Like I really need another expensive food/health habit…so for the time being it will remain a treat and I’ll stock up when it is on sale. 😉

My favorite flavors so far are the divine grape and guava goddess. I haven’t had the straight-up kombucha yet – give me a few more bottles with fruit first!

While the benefits of kombucha can be argued (can’t everything?) a few of the health claims taken from GT Kombucha website are that the Synergy Kombucha contains:

  • probiotics (for healthy digestion and immune system)
  • enzymes (which aid in digestion)
  • polyphenols (antioxidants)
  • organic acids (help promote homeostasis)

Do you love or hate kombucha?


Filed under antioxidants, cocktails, fruit, in my cupboard, raw foods, Uncategorized, vegan

restaurant: red stag supper club

A restaurant that has been on the list for about a year now. (Yes, I have lists for restaurants to visit and recipes to try) But I will certainly not be waiting another year to go back.

It has the feel of an old school Wisconsin supper club, complete with cans of beer on the wall, Packer posters and a Friday Night Fish Fry. Except it is the first LEED-CI registered restaurant in Minnesota, the food is hip and it is located in NorthEast Minneapolis. The Red Stag strives to use local, organic ingredients and also conserve resources and compost waste.

truffled kettle corn – I knew this was something I would have to try, it was perfect and I will get it every-time I go back

old fashioned – “a little flat, not a lot of booze” ~ Taster


mac & cheese – with lobster and grilled leek, explains itself. Rich, decadent, delicious.

alaskan rock fish fried basket – very different batter than I’ve had in WI, in a good way

braised kale with olive oil and lemon zest – this meal clearly needed some greens, but these were more than just that, I’ll be making it at home


Filed under cocktails, eating local, great meals, leeks, pasta, restaurants, vegetables

guest blog: the ole Wisconsin favorite

The Taster here again.

If it hasn’t been evident in my past posts, you should know that I’m VERY proud of my Wisconsin roots and heritage.  I won’t get into sports rivalries and border battles because there is a time and place for that.  It’s Friday and Happy Hour is right around the corner so what I wanted to write about today (on the advice of my sister) was something that holds a place in my – nay, most every Wisconsinite’s – heart…the Brandy Old Fashioned.

There are countless rumors and stories of how much brandy Wisconsinite’s consume compared to other states and regions, so I’m not going to get into it too much.  Let me just point out a couple of quick stats to give you an idea why I titled this post as I did.  Korbel has said that it ships out 385,000 cases of brandy per year and that 139,000 go straight to Wisconsin – I did the math, that’s 36%.  According to the Distilled Spirits Council, Wisconsin drank 49% of the brandy sold in the US in 1965.  Now, that being said…I’ve lived ‘outside of my wheelhouse’ for a couple of years in Minnesota, all the while taking abuse from so-called friends and outsiders alike as they hurl drunk/drinking jokes and insults my way because I’m from Wisconsin and Wisconsinites are known across the country – and perhaps the world – for cheese, Packers, and drinking (it doesn’t help that I’m a red-head of Irish descent).  FYI: there IS more to Wisco than that.  Keep in mind Minnesotan friends that some stats out there say that Minnesota outdrinks Wisconsin per capita – you messy drunks…first, you steal our quarterback, then – I said I wasn’t going to go there…  In the booze industry they refer to Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Northern Michigan as the Brandy Belt so the Wisco nation isn’t alone.

But…on to the main point here – how to make a WISCONSIN OLD FASHIONED.  There’s a difference.  It isn’t easy to find a good old fashioned (as I know it) outside of Wisconsin when you go for a good cocktail.  This was classically demonstrated when my parents came to visit one weekend and we were out for dinner.  Jimmy, my dad, asked our waitress if the bartender knew how to make an old fashioned…our waitress took my father’s order while telling him, “oh yes, the boys behind the bar are from Wisconsin – I’m sure they know what they’re doing.”  They didn’t.  Apparently, they’ve spent too much time in The Cities and it has warped their cocktail skills (tongue-in-cheek people).  Needless to say, Jimmy turned his nose up at the drink and then went on his normal diatribe of how no one knows how to make a good drink anymore…”TOO MUCH BOOZE!”  “…THIS ISN’T AN OLD FASHIONED!”

The Old Fashioned cocktail can be made with whiskey, and I’ve even seen it attempted with gin and tequila as well –  I wouldn’t suggest it, but Sconnies like to make it with brandy.  Our brandy of choice?  KORBEL.  You will also see this quintessential Wisconsin drink made with club soda or water, but in Wisconsin it is mixed with 7up, Squirt, or a sour mix.

Needed ingredients:

  • Orange slices
  • Maraschino cherries
  • Aromatic bitters
  • Sugar
  • 7up/Sprite – or Squirt for a more sour taste…this has been my go-to lately
  • Brandy (Korbel, of course)

First, you start with a tub or lowball glass – usually 10-12 fl. ounces.  Drop an orange slice, cherry, and 3-5 squirts of bitters into the glass.  Blogger’s note: I like to put a little cherry juice/grenadine and just a splash of soda in as well.

Next, you muddle all ingredients in the glass.  This is when you should begin to see some froth develop.

Once thoroughly muddled, fill the glass with ice, then a couple of ounces of Korbel brandy.

Finally, top it off with your soda preference, stir, and garnish with another cherry and orange.

For more visual stimuli, check out the video of a bartender at one of my favorite restaurants, The Old Fashioned, make one.  The Old Fashioned is a bar/restaurant in Madison, WI that serves classic Wisconsin fare, and…yes, they specialize in old fashioneds.


Filed under cocktails, fruit, guest post, Recipes