Ruby Red Sparklers


Red Red Wine you make me feel so fine
You keep me rocking all of the time....

That is what I keep hearing as I made these drinks.. 

Because, it started with rum and cranberry, then rum and pomegranate, 

then pomegranate and Champagne 

and ended with vodka and me laughing so hard at something that happened 3 years ago..

Let's just say..I'm what they call a tipsy singer... 

You know the one's that can't carry a tune to save their life but after a drink or 2 or 4 suddenly feel like they're Mariah Carey and are singing every song (even if they aren't sure of the lyrics) at volume level 10..

Yea, that's me..

Fortunately, I was safe and sound at home and away from public humiliation.. 

Today is a big day for partying and what better way to bringing in 2013 then with this Ruby Red Sparkler. It's not too sweet, not too strong, with just the right amount of sparkle to livin up any party (and your guest.) 

I wish everyone a Happy Healthy Fan-Snap-Tablous 2013!!

Please remember to drink responsibly...

Love y'all!!

 Ruby Red Sparklers

1 Part Vodka (1 shot)
2 Parts Pomegranate Juice
1 Dash Simple Syrup

In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine first 3 ingredients and shake vigorously.
Strain into cocktail glasses (or Champagne glasses) and top with Champagne. 
Garnish with Pomegranate seeds. 


Red Velvet Swirl Brownies

Y'all ready for Christmas?

Done all your shopping?

Anyone going on vacation?

Can I come with you?


Christmas is right around the corner 5 DAYS!!!! As my daughter so happily reminded me this morning.. There are sadly 3 wrapped presents under the tree… because I am a last minute person.. and I’ve learned in the past when I would wrap gifts early and have them under the tree, they would develop mysterious holes or gaps on the sides where a little elf tried to peek in the box..So on Christmas morning when that elf would say “I Love This Sweater” before the box was even opened, I knew I needed to re-think putting gifts under the tree so early..  And this year , its definitely difficult because my 18 month old thinks that anything, ANYTHING in his path is fair game for destruction and should be thrown in the trash (or toilet) or eaten.. 

Christmas doesn’t only mean gifts.. it also means food, lots of food and sweet treats that I tell myself it’s ok to eat because after the New Year I will get back into shape before bikini season only to wait until 2 weeks before its time to go to the beach to realize that I probably shouldn’t of eaten all that Red Velvet Cake. 

This year I came up with a plan that won’t put me on that same path.

I’ll make Red Velvet Brownies instead of cake, because that is way less fattening.. So it’s ok if I eat half the pan.

Don't answer that.. 

Red Velvet Swirl Brownies 
Print Me! 

 Recipe adapted from Southern Living Magazine

You might need these:
1 (4oz) bittersweet chocolate baking bar
1 ½ sticks of butter
2 ¼ cups of sugar, divided
4 large eggs
1 (1oz) bottle of red food coloring
2 tsp. vanilla extract, divided
1 ½ cup all purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
4 oz (1/2 8 oz package) of cream cheese
2 egg whites
2 tbsp all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350
 Line bottom of 9x 13 in baking pan with parchment paper and set aside
In a large microwave safe bowl, melt butter and chocolate on high for 2 minutes, stirring in 30 seconds intervals until smooth.
Remove from microwave and stir in 2 cups sugar, add 1 egg at a time mixing together until blended after each addition.
Stir in food coloring and vanilla extract.
Gently stir in 1 ½ cup floor and salt until well combined, pour batter into prepared baking pan.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese and remaining ¼ cup of sugar at medium speed until fluffy. Add in egg whites and remaining 1 tsp. of vanilla extract and beat until well blended. Stir in 2 tbsp. of flour until smooth.
Drop cream cheese mixture in large spoonfuls over the red velvet mixture in pan, then gently swirl with a knife.
Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until a inserted wooden toothpick comes out clean from the center. Let cool remove brownies from pan and cut into squares….


Holiday Party Mix

This year, unlike last year and definitely different from the year before that.. I will host all the chaos and mayhem that we so happily call Christmas at my house.

Should I be a little happier about this…? 

I have my menu’s all planned out (yes as in more than one, because around here they expect you to cook breakfast too) and we decided on which cookies to make for Santa.. This was after I had to warn my daughter that if she crushed the hopes and dreams of the smaller kids by telling them there was no Santa, there would be nothing.. Absolutely nothing under that tree from the Apple Store..  

“So you want me to lie”


“But you said that lying was bad”

“Sometimes you have to embellish or tell a little white lie every now and then”


I know that is going to come back to bite me in my petunia somewhere down the road but we’ll worry about that later.

Anyway, along with my holiday planning I always try to have something my guest can snack on.. Basically, this keeps them out of my way (and my kitchen) and also allows me to work quicker without the hassle of turning around every 30 minutes to answer the question..

"Is dinner ready yet?"

This year I am making this Holiday Party Mix, which my daughter and I have made 3 times (to test..yea to test) and are currently addicted too.
This Holiday Mix is a perfect combination of salty sweet that will have you crunching and munching so much so that before you know it you’ve eaten whole bowl before your guest even arrive..  

Not that I know or anything..I’m just saying, it’s possible..

 From what I hear.. 


Holiday Party Mix

You might need these:
3 cups of popcorn, Popped (this was one bag of butter popcorn)
2 cups corn chex cereal
2 cups pretzel sticks
1 (12 oz) bag of Christmas m&m’s
8 oz White Chocolate ( I used 2 bar of Ghirardelli White Chocolate)
2 tablespoons of shortening
Red and Green sugar sprinkles for sprinkling  

In a large bowl, mix popcorn, chex, pretzels  and m&m’s, set aside.
In the bowl of a microwave safe dish, place chocolate and shortening and microwave for 2 mins, stopping every 30 seconds to stir until smooth..
Pour chocolate mixture over popcorn mixture, toss to coat... Then Sprinkle the mixture with red and green sugar sprinkles… Spread onto waxed paper. Cool until set and  Enjoy!!
The 1st time I made this I didn’t let it sit ( I have a hard time following direction) and ate it immediately.. It’s fine just make sure you have lots of napkins to un-stick your hands..


Gingerbread Pear Muffins

I received an email yesterday that began like this....
Hey Erika where are you..??
So Dear reader.. Firstly.. thanks for the email y'all are all so sweet..
The answer was very simple.. I was in a food coma.. 

I ate way too much over the holiday and frankly, honestly, truly.. My brain malfunctions when this happens. Prohibiting me the ability to think clearly..
Or it could of been that vodka fruit punch… 

Anyway.. I don't know about you but I have a really hard time getting back in the groove of things after being on holiday..
So do my kids..

So it's twice as difficult because when I heard the alarm ringing on Monday reminding me to get up and get the troops up, fed, and ready for school. I immediately laid back down thinking.. “oh, mom will get them”
Then I remembered… I'm the mom…
30 minutes later..
Which meant everyone was late for work and school because for some reason nothing can happen in my house until I get up.
Luckily I made these muffins the day before so all I had to do was warm them up and send everyone on their way with warm gingerbread.. Just call me June Cleaver..

Gingerbread Pear Muffins
Print Me
recipe adapted from the Bread Bible

2 pears (Bartlett) peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons apple cider
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground ginger
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground mace
½ cup sour cream
1 stick of butter, melted
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350. Grease large muffin tin pan ( makes 6 muffins)
In a medium bowl, gently toss pears with the sugar and cider and set aside.
Using an electric mixer, combine flour, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and mace.  Drain the pears, reserving the juice in a separate large bowl.
To the juice..add in sour cream, melted butter, eggs, and maple syrup and whisk together until smooth.
Add juice/sour cream mixture to the flour mixture in mixer and mix until fluffy and smooth.. How many times do you see the word mix..
Fill each muffin cup halfway, spoon pears on top.. then cover each with remaining batter.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
These were best served warm..
And even better the next day.