While it still may be hot and humid in parts of the country, Illinois is slowly cooling down. It’s creeping towards the end of the summer season for us. For me, that means it’s the end of a care-free time and back to the busy days of getting our family on a strict schedule.
As much as I enjoy the warm months, I’m very much looking forward to the flavors of Fall. To celebrate the end of one season and the beginning of a new one, Mirassou Winery has asked me to create a signature cocktail. While I won’t claim to be an expert in the delicious world of wines, I can say that I enjoy and trust in the quality of Mirassou as it is America’s oldest winemaking family that has been crafting wines in California for over 160 years. That’s a long time to learn and perfect the art that is wine making.
As for my signature cocktail, nothing says goodbye summer and hello fall like a sweet and crisp pitcher of Caramel Apple Sangria. Be sure to check out our Pink Lemonade and Blue Raspberry Lemonade!
This tasty adult beverage enhances the subtle flavors of peach, tangerine, melon and honeysuckle in the Mirassou Moscato wine.
When making this recipe, you can choose your own favorite varieties of sweet apples and pears. Personally, I love the crisp texture of a HoneyCrisp apple along with the tartness of a Granny Smith apple. The frozen grapes not only add to the flavor but are a great substitute for ice. They’ll keep your drink chilled without watering it down.
This sweet and delicious pitcher of caramel apple Sangria is best served in the company of great friends and family. I found it to be the perfect beverage to unwind with at home on the back porch in the company of my husband.
If a pitcher of Sangria shared with your adult friends is something you’d like to do, you’ll want to visit Mirassou Winery on Facebook where you’ll find information on how to enter the Dream Dinner Party Contest. You’ll be given the opportunity to pin your favorite dinner-party inspired wine, decor and more for a chance to win $1,000 and a wine fridge. It’s the perfect opportunity to turn your dream dinner party into a reality!
Caramel Apple Sangria Recipe
- 1 750 mL bottle of Mirassou Moscato
- 3 cups apple cider
- 1 cup carbonated lemon-lime soda
- ⅓ cup caramel flavored vodka
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 sweet apples (any varieties), diced
- 1 pear (any variety), diced
- ½ cup green grapes, halved
- Add the apples, pear and grapes to a large pitcher.
- Slowly poor in the Moscato, cider, vodka and cinnamon.
- Gently stir.
- Refrigerate for one hour.
- Before serving, add the lemon-lime soda and stir gently.
I know everyone says they love birthday parties for the cake and ice cream but not in this house. We love the punch bowl (and not because it’s spiked, it’s not).
Kids (and adults) always go crazy for my popular Pink Party Punch recipe and this one is very similar except it’s a blue raspberry lemonade flavor with pineapple sherbet and of course, it’s blue for a Little Mermaid themed birthday party. Thus the name, “Under the Sea” party punch. Also check out Refreshing Pink Sherbet Lemonade!
What makes this punch so absolutely delicious is that it starts with frozen sherbet. You can use any color or flavor you like but for this particular party theme, I went with a white pineapple sherbet. And you’ll see why in a photo below.
One recipe of this party punch fits perfectly in a one gallon jug. In fact, it’s even more perfect in the Aladdin 1 gallon glass mason jar dispenser! (I was provided with this dispenser through the Mom Trends network)
So about that pineapple sherbet. I picked it because once you give your drink a little stir, the Sprite reacts with the sherbet and creates a foamy layer that kinda looks like sea foam. How fitting is that for an Ariel themed party?
“Under the Sea” Blue Raspberry Lemonade Sherbet Party Punch Recipe
- 1 – 12 ounce can frozen Lemonade concentrate
- 4 cans warm water, use the lemonade can
- 1 – 2 liter of Sprite
- 1 – 2 packets of Raspberry Lemonade powdered Kool-Aid mix
- 1 tub pineapple sherbet
- In a large punch bowl, mix frozen lemonade with warm water (or cold if already thawed).
- Add Kool-Aid powder and stir.
- Slowly add Sprite and gently stir to combine.
- Add a scoop of sherbet to a cup and pour punch over the top.
One thing to keep in mind, if you choose not to use the sherbet, you’ll definitely want to add more water and a big of sweetener or it’s going to be very tart. If you do use the sherbet, it will add just enough sweetness for the perfect flavor!
Banana Cream Pie
McDonald’s is on my short list of fast food restaurants I eat more than I should but for only two reasons, the french fries and the Egg McMuffin. The rest of the menu … bleck. My only problem is everyone in this house typically sleeps past McDonald’s breakfast hours which forces me to get my fix in other ways.
I’ve been making my own Egg McMuffins for quite some time now but I could never get the egg right. Then I ran into a blog post (which I totally lost the link to) that shared how she steam fries the egg to get the same texture. And it worked!
The secret to an awesome egg McMuffin is adding a little water to the skillet and a lid to steam the egg until it’s fully cooked. Well that, and ditch the Canadian Bacon … real ham is so much better.
- 2 English Muffins, cut in half
- 2 eggs
- 4 slices of shaved ham
- 2 slices American cheese
- 1 tablespoon butter
- salt/pepper to taste
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add butter.
- Add the muffins to the skillet and warm for about 2 minutes on each side, then set aside.
- Spray the skillet with non-stick cooking spray. Add a silicone egg ring to the skillet.
- Crack one egg in the ring and break the yolk.
- Fry for 30 seconds then add a tablespoon of water to the skillet (outside of the egg ring) and place a lid over it.
- Continue frying for 1 – 2 minutes until egg is cooked through.
- Place the egg on an English muffin and add a slice of cheese.
- Warm ham in the skillet and add to the sandwich.
Cheddar Bacon BBQ Grilled Potatoes Recipe
The past two weeks have actually felt like summer. Temps creeping into the 80′s, lots of sunshine and even a few thunderstorms. And since our air conditioner isn’t working so great these days, we’ve been spending a lot of time at the local water park. I would have taken some pictures but my husband has banned me from bringing my iPhone within 100 feet of a water source (kidding, sort of). Anyways, we’ve basically been living in their “lazy river” floating in ice cold water to beat the heat.
After a day in the sun the last thing we want is any type of hot food. So I’ve been coming up with cool meals and even cooler desserts … starting with this Banana Cream Pie Icebox Cake.
It’s shaped like a cake but tastes just like a pie. There’s layers of graham crackers covered in sweet banana cream pie fluff and loads of bananas.
What I love most about this dessert, other than the fact that it comes out of the fridge ice cold, is that you can make it the night before you plan on eating it. The graham cracker gets soft and easy to cut through.
Banana Cream Pie Ice Box Cake Recipe
- 2 – 3.4 oz boxes of Instant Banana Cream pudding mix
- 2-1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 small tub COOL WHIP frozen whipped topping, thawed
- 16 whole honey graham crackers
- 4-5 whole bananas
- 8 ounces white chocolate bark
- ¼ cup milk
- ¼ cup chopped hazelnuts
- Using an electric mixer, whisk both pudding mixes with the milk on high speed for 5 minutes. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
- Fold ¾ of the tub of whipped topping into the pudding mix, just until incorporated.
- On a long, rectangular serving dish or rectangular casserole dish, arrange 4 of the graham crackers into a long rectangle.
- Using a piping bag, pipe a layer of the pudding mix over the graham crackers.
- Top with banana slices from 1 banana.
- Repeat the layering process two more times. For the 4th layer, just add graham crackers and banana cream. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
- Just before serving, heat the chocolate bark and milk over medium heat, whisking constantly until melted and smooth. Cool for 15 minutes.
- Top the cake with fresh sliced bananas, chopped hazelnuts, drizzle with the white chocolate syrup and serve.
Cherry Heart Cupcakes
Candy Corn Dipped Marshmallows