Category Archives: Beverages

Raspberry Peach Iced Tea


Hey!  It was actually SUNNY this Memorial Day Weekend!  Yahoo!!  Normally, it’s raining buckets.  And those buckets start raining on Friday afternoon and don’t stop until Tuesday morning.  Not this year!  This year, the weather was gorgeous and full of sunshine.

We got so much done!  Caught up on yard work, cleaned the house, took the pups on a walk, and went to a movie.  Working out in the yard made me thirsty.  Not just any kind of thirsty- thirsty for the Bellini Raspberry Peach Iced Tea at Olive Garden.  But I didn’t want to drive all the way over there just for iced tea.  So, I figured out how to make my own.  And it tastes just like the stuff at Olive Garden.  Plus, for the cost of one glass at the restaurant, I can make a whole pitcher.  🙂

Raspberry Peach Iced Tea

  • 6 black tea bags (Lipton)
  • 6 cups boiling water
  • 4 cups ice cold water
  • ice
  • Raspberry syrup (Torani)
  • Peach syrup (Torani)
  • Frozen peach slices
  1. Brew tea:  Bring water to a boil and pour over tea bags in a large pitcher.  Brew 5-7 minutes, then remove and discard the tea bags.  Stir in the cold water and place in the refrigerator until you’re ready to drink some tea.
  2. Fill each glass about half way with ice.  Add 2 Tbsp Raspberry Syrup and 1 Tbsp Peach Syrup.  Fill to the top with the chilled brewed tea and stir well.  Garnish with frozen peach slices.

Welcome to summer!



Strawberry Syrup

I’m so glad its Spring!  Aren’t you?  We had a few days of really beautiful weather, then the cool wind came sweeping in again.  It’s ok.  I know how you are, March.  You like to tease us.  “Come in like a lion and out like a lamb”, as my grandpa used to say.  Well, it’s almost time for the lamb.  Whatever that means!

I had some strawberries in my fridge that were a little past their prime.  Nothing really wrong with them, just time to get them used up.  So I made some syrup.  The process is very similar to making jam, but I puree mine to get rid of most of the lumps.  The resulting syrup is great on pancakes, in Italian Sodas, and wonderful in a Strawberry Vinaigrette dressing.  Great.  Now I have to go buy more strawberries!

Strawberry Syrup

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  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, cored and chopped
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  1. Place ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about 7 minutes.  The strawberries should break down and become thick.
  2. Use an immersion blender or transfer hot strawberries to a blender or food processor and puree until almost smooth.  Store refrigerated.
  • What to do with it:
  1. Serve over ice cream or pancakes.
  2. Serve in an Italian Soda (2 Tbsp strawberry syrup, 1 cup club soda, 2 Tbsp half and half (optional), 2 Tbsp whipped cream (optional).
  3. Strawberry Vinaigrette for one salad: 1 Tbsp strawberry syrup, 1 Tbsp raspberry vinegar or apple cider vinegar, 1-1/2 tsp olive oil– serve over spinach leaves with sliced strawberries, chopped apples, and toasted pecans.

Raspberry Tea Chiller

Holy bananas.  It’s hot outside!  We’ve been in the 90’s/ low 100’s for a few weeks now.  Because our home faces east, I don’t even want to cook at night because the back porch is bathed in the sun during the evening.  Some of the neighbors move their grills out front.  I have a ‘thing’ about grilling out front.  I don’t know what my problem is– I just don’t like it.  Mostly because I would be  inviting anyone that walked by to dinner.  🙂

I also have a problem with caffeine.  My ‘summer drink’ is iced tea.  I can drink gallons of that stuff!  But I can’t do caffeine after 3 pm or I can’t sleep.  And decaf black tea just doesn’t taste the same.  What to do, what to do…

My husband loves Raspberry Iced Tea.  I like it, too, but I can’t deal with too much sugar.  Gosh, now it sound like I’m the picky one!  Well, the good news is that I know how to work around my picky-ness.  😉

This tea is cool and refreshing.  I can drink all I want at night and sleep like  a baby.   I make it 2 to 3 times a week!

What do you do to keep cool when its HOT outside?

Raspberry Tea Chiller

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  • 5 bags Celestial Seasonings Berry Zinger Tea
  • 1.7L (about 2 quarts) boiling water
  • 4 squirts (about 1/2 cup)Raspberry Syrup (1 use Torani Sugar Free)
  • Ice
  1. Steep tea bags in boiling water for 5 to 7 minutes.
  2. Pour into a heat-proof pitcher and add the syrup.  Refrigerate overnight or until cold.
  3. Pour over ice.  Add more raspberry syrup for desired sweetness.

Variation: Peach Tea Chiller

Substitute Celestial Seasonings Country Peach Passion tea and use Peach flavored Syrup.

Merry Rein-beers!

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This idea came from Pinterest.  I saw it and I HAD to make them for my boss’ Christmas party.  They are SO CUTE!!  I think using white M&Ms with a sharpie kinda makes them look like Homer Simpson.  Don’t you?

Merry Reinbeers can be made non-alcoholic.  Just use bottled root beer instead!

Merry Rein-beers

  • Six pack of bottled root beer or beer
  • 12 pipecleaners (can use holiday colors or brown)
  • 12 white m&ms or googly eyes
  • 6 red m&ms or small pom-poms
  • Glue gun

1.  If using M&Ms, draw a black dot in the middle with a sharpie.  Allow to dry completely so the dot doesn’t smudge.

2.  Apply the eyes and nose to the top of the bottles using a small dot of glue for each.

3.  Carefully twist one pipe cleaner around the top of the beer bottle in the groove just below the cap.  Cut the second pipe cleaner in pieces and twist around the ends of the main pipe cleaner to resemble antlers.


Spider Cider

Post 1 of 3: Hocus Pocus Party

Going to a Halloween Party soon and aren’t sure what to bring?  This is the recipe for you!  This tangy punch will be a hit!

Last night, I had a few friends over to watch ‘Hocus Pocus’.  We ran AMOCK!  AMOCK, AMOCK, AMOCK!  Running AMOCK can take a lot of energy.  This drink will refresh you and keep you running…. AMOCK!

Can you tell what my favorite line from the movie is yet?  😉

I found a mesh bag full of plastic spider rings and used them as a spooky prop along with some Silly Straws.  The kids are going to love this!

Spider Cider

Yield: 12 servings

WW Plus Points: 2 points per 16 oz. serving if diet ginger ale is used


1.  Combine apple cider, ginger ale, and lime slices.

2.  Serve in tall glasses with plastic spiders and silly straws!

Tip: for an even SPOOKIER cider, serve in a punch bowl with a bit of dry ice to create a fog-like effect.

Summer Sangria

Holy Hot Temps, people!  It has been quite warm outside.  Nice because my laundry tends to dry quickly, but not so good for walking pups and playing outside.  But I have a cure.  Something that will make you feel much better.  Something to sip with a good friend on the back porch.  Or the front porch. Or the sidewalk.  However you roll…

SANGRIA!!  The official drink of summer.  And winter.  Well, anytime, really.  I like making white sangria in the summer and red sangria in the winter.  Both are delicious and refreshing.  Here’s how I make white sangria:

White Sangria
1 bottle (750 ml) White Wine (I chose Orange Muscat wine– its already sweet)*
1 nectarine, pitted and chopped
1 plum, pitted and chopped
1 apple, cored and chopped
1 tangerine or orange
sugar, to taste
20 oz. club soda or lemon-lime soda

1.  Place the chopped fruit in the bottom of your pitcher.

Isn’t it pretty??  I thought so…

2.  Pour in the wine.

3.  Juice in the orange or tangerine.  Tip: use a paper towel to strain out any seeds.

4.  Stir everything together and let it sit overnight at room temperature.  In the morning, taste it.  Add sugar if it needs it.  Because I started with a sweet wine, I didn’t add any sugar.  Put the whole thing in the refrigerator and chill at least 4 hours.

5.  When ready to drink, stir in cold club soda or lemon lime soda.  Serve over ice, if desired.  The fruit is good to nibble on if it drops into the glass– but it absorbs a lot of the alcohol so watch out!

*Other wines I like to use: Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc or Viogner.  Just be sure to begin with a wine you like to drink.  Remember– if you begin with crap, you’ll just have fruit flavored crap at the end. Wink wink!

My silly camera decided to erase the pics I took of the sangria in the glass.  I’ll catch it next time!

Happy Summer!

Wishing for Spring (Grilled Chicken and Fresh Lemonade)

Oh boy.  That Christmas Vacation was a doozy!  Here’s a few pics of family at my parents house.

This is Aunt Marsha, Grandma Lucille, Mom (Laurie), my cousin Kristy and her daughter Cassie.  Lovely ladies!

This is Aunt Marsha with her pal, Butch.  She makes the coolest harnesses for this little guy!  She also made some harnesses for Ralfie and Tobie that make them look like little train engineers.  So cute!
Now that the Holidays are over, its time to get back to normal and look forward to Spring.  The weather lately has been very deceitful!  The sun shines, but it’s still only 20 degrees outside.  Brrr!  Well, that brings us to the recipes. 

These recipes include an ingredient that always reminds me of sunshine– both in the way it looks and the way it smells.  Can you guess what it is?  That’s right!  Lemons!  Not only can you cook with lemons, but they come in handy around the house as well.  Use a small handful of kosher salt and half a lemon to scrub a wooden cutting board.  Put a quarter or so down the garbage disposal to keep it smelling fresh.  Use it for ‘secret messages’ by writing on a piece of paper with lemon juice, letting it dry, then make the message appear by lightly warming the message over a candle (with adult supervision of course).

Fresh Lemonade
juice of 4 lemons (save those peels for the garbage disposal!  Just keep them in the freezer until you need one)
1 cup sugar (or splenda– I used splenda)
2 quart pitcher

1.  Place sugar or splenda in the pitcher with about 2 cups of warm water.  Stir until sugar/ splenda dissolves.
2.  Stir in lemon juice.
3.  Fill pitcher with water to the 2 quart mark and stir well.
4.  Serve over plenty of ice and enjoy!

*You could also use a combination of citrus fruits– try replacing one of the lemons with 2-3 clementines or use Meyer lemons instead of regular lemons for a sweeter citrus-ade.

And now on to the chicken.  This marinade is wonderful.  It really is!  The chicken comes out tender and juicy, even if it gets slightly overcooked.  My parents have a covered back porch and are lucky enough to be able to grill year round.  If you can’t grill, the broiler in the oven works just fine. 

Garlic and Lemon Grilled Chicken
For every 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, combine in a small bowl with a whisk:
3T. olive oil
2T. water
1T. lemon juice (fresh is best but juice from those little plastic lemons will work)
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp. sugar
1-1/2 tsp salt
3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

I like to put my chicken in a ziptop freezer bag, but my mom uses a plastic food storage container.  Either way, put the chicken in and pour the marinade over it.  Close the container and shake or tumble to distribute the marinade.

Chill 30 minutes, turning at least once.  Preheat grill or broiler to medium heat.  Drain chicken from the marinade and place on the grill or broiler pan.

Grill/broil for 12 minutes, turning every 4 minutes.  Let rest for 5 minutes before eating.

Hint/tip:  Mom likes to pound the chicken breasts slightly so they will cook evenly.  Chicken breast tenders will also work with this marinade, as will fish, pork, beef, etc.  Cooking times will vary.

Hope this post brought a bit of sunshine to your day!