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Pink Champagne Bridal Punch

Nothing like a Royal Wedding to make everyone want to throw a party, and my Bunko group seized upon the occasion for a theme to provide a dear friend with a “Royal Send Off” before she moved out of state.  Many provided their best renditions of British fare, but I turned to my Southern roots and provided some bridal punch, not knowing whether they serve such libations in the UK or not, but with a huge crowd coming, it seemed a festive addition to the bottles of wine and champagne.

I modified a recipe found online and the results were very well received.  The final result is a deep ruby color, the “pink” refers to the champagne, not the punch!  Unfortunately I was not the one taking the photos that night, so I do not have a photo to share.  This produces a significant amount of punch, so either use a large bowl, or mix only half of the ingredients at a time.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans cranberry juice concentrate (note — I could not find this at Harris Teeter, did find it at Giant)
  • 2 cans pink lemonade concentrate
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) pinot noir wine, chilled
  • 1 quart club soda, chilled
  • 2 bottles, pink champagne, chilled (note, pink sparkling wine is fine)
  • 2 quarts of raspberry sherbet

Directions:

  1. In a large punch bowl, combine the cranberry juice concentrate, lemonade concentrate, and pinot noir.  Stir.
  2. Spoon in ONE quart of the raspberry sherbet, breaking it into chunks.  Stir.
  3. Slowly pour the quart of club soda and two bottles of pink champagne, this will cause the sherbet to foam and fizz significantly, causing a lovely pink foam on top of the ruby colored punch.
  4. Gently stir.
  5. At some point in the party, when the sherbet starts to dissipate, add the second quart of sherbet.

Do make sure that guests are aware the punch is alcoholic and that this is not accessible to small children.  It has a taste similar to a sangria, and yet also similar to a mimosa.  Feel free to use this as a base recipe and experiment with different sherbets or perhaps even adding orange juice or pineapple juice.  I stored the remainder in a sealed pitcher after the party and it still tasted wonderful the next day.

Enjoy!

S’mores – Recipe for Family Fun

Despite many pleas from the children, I have not taken them camping yet, which means we haven’t made what I will call REAL s’mores.  Yes, I have one of those s’mores makers that were all the rage a few years ago and I vaguely recall making some s’mores with them that way, but having been a Girl Scout, this hardly seemed satisfactory.

You see, I am a hard-core, s’mores-loving-gal.  How hard-core?  I actually registered for these cool telescoping marshmallow forksfrom Crate & Barrel when JavaDad and I got married.  When we had that little scanning gun and I saw those, I just had to have them!

When I took the incoming Junior League Board of Directors off to a mountain top retreat to plan our new year, I knew that our “fun activity” would be s’mores making in the gigantic fireplace at the lodge.  What I didn’t know was that several of the women had never made s’mores before!  The ensuing fun was quite hysterical.  I’d post photos if I didn’t think they’d kill me.

So imagine my delight when I came home Thursday to find a box from Hershey’s, with all the fixings for s’mores — including a zippered case with four telescoping marshmallow forks (with far safer ends, I might add, than my Crate & Barrel ones, which could show up as a murder weapon on an episode of Bonesone day)!  Despite the fact that it was thoughtfully packed with an ice pack, as it was one of the hottest days of the week, the chocolate bars had liquefied (which I rectified by putting them in the fridge), so please pardon the fact that they appear a bit mangled in the photos.

No, this was not some new, delicious form of junk mail, the kind folks at Hershey’s have sponsored a train ride for several area bloggers to go to the major conference in New York City this week, BlogHer, and I’m one of the bloggers who will be hopping on the S’mores Road Trip to BlogHer.  I’m quite excited about the train ride, not only because of course, it defrays the cost of going to the conference to me (the rest of the conference is on my dime), and also the fun I’ll have gabbing with some fantastic bloggers, but because I’ve never taken a long train ride, so this will be a new adventure for me!

But back to the s’mores.  Somehow both kids knew what this was all about — I think they saw it on a PBS show.  For some reason, JavaBoy chimed in, “Hey, we can go to the woods and get crickets!  Ruff Ruffman (PBS character) says they taste like peanut butter!”  Uh, keep your “peanut butter” out of my chocolate kiddo!  Me thinks I’ve let him have a little too much exposure to nature if he’s willing to eat crickets.  Maybe I should let him play with the Wii more?

S’mores in suburbia

In case you’ve never made s’mores, you simply roast — or flambe if you prefer! — a marshmallow over a flame, then sandwich it between two graham crackers with a bit of chocolate on top of the marshmallow.  The heat of the marshmallow should melt the chocolate to make an ooey-gooey mess.  Yum!  Girl Scouts usually lay claim to this treat and the name is usually credited to the cries to have “some more” of the camp fire treat.

Clearly, it was time to re-introduce this treat to the JavaKids more appropriately.

I just couldn’t resist those telescoping forks.  But alas, we had no campfire.  Nor, a cool firepit.  And it was way too hot to contemplate building a fire in the fireplace.  This meant… using the grill.  One problem, I have never used the grill.  Ever.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m no sissy.  In my reporter days I went out on drug busts with the cops, I’ve jumped out of airplanes, I’m no wimp.  But my father was always King of the Grill and then my husband has always been proud of his, so it’s just not been something I’ve ever needed to do.  JavaDad was about to leave town and didn’t want to hang around making s’mores, but realized I wasn’t going to touch his new grill without a lesson.

A few twists of some knobs and a push of the ignitor and VOILA, I made FIRE!

This is not how we did it in the Girl Scouts, but pretty darn close. 

The final verdict? 

  • Telescoping forks — way cool!
  • JavaBoy: “Gimme s’more s’mores!”
  • JavaGirl: prefers to each component separately
  • Me: “Move over kids, Mommy wants some s’mores!”
  • JavaDad: “What happened to my grill?”

Other s’mores options:

We tried the “foil packet method” and I burned most of them.  I now realized that maybe I didn’t leave room for “air to circulate.”  Or maybe I just left them on the grill too long.

We took the show on the road and went to a friend’s house and made them using her fire pit on the deck — way cool.  Though she greatly disapproved of the telescoping forks and the long wooden skewers I had and thinks the kids should have to forage through the woods for sticks like we did growing up.  

If you’re going to be at BlogHer…

Hershey will have a S’mores “Snacktivity” Suite at BlogHer in booth #4233 and will be giving out S’mores branded bags and will be putting together a mural of photos of favorite S’mores moments.

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Disclosure:  As part of the S’mores Road Trip to BlogHer, I received a round trip ticket on Amtrak to the convention, and Hershey-branded items.  Any views expressed in this post are my own.  Because as y’all know, when it comes to my blog, I write what I want to!

Delayed Gratification

 

Look what I the kids got for Christmas!  I’ve waited a long time to get for the kids to be old enough to get an Easy Bake Oven!  I remember how much I loved mine as a little girl, foisting impossibly tiny cakes on my parents.

Now that I’m the Mommy, I realize just how awful those little cakes really taste when you aren’t bursting with that I-made-it-myself pride.

I scream, you scream, we all scream for SNOW CREAM!

2008-01-17 first snow039The Floridian in me never ceases to be amazed when it snows enough to actually stick to the ground. I just love looking at the whole world being draped with a nice, white blanket of snow.  And of course, the JavaKids and I have to find a way to turn it into a way to make something in the kitchen!

I’m linking you to a post from earlier this year for snow cream and snow candy — both delicious and easy to make!  I was going to add photos, but to be honest, unless  you a professional food photographer, snow candy while still in the snow does not look much different than — uh– yellow snow from a dog — and once you lift if out of the snow, it is in a child’s (or Mommy’s) mouth so fast, you can’t get a photo of it!  Snow cream doesn’t look like much more than white mush in a photo!

You can also mix up a little food coloring and water and get out there and do a little snow painting.  Or just go out and roll around in the white, fluffy stuff!  Just have FUN!

When you come in, mix up a huge batch of my favorite hot chocolate, read a good book, indulge in a bit of Robert Frost, and relax!  (Until it’s time to deal with those sopping wet jackets, snow pants, boots, mittens and so on….)

A Few Thanksgiving Classics

It’s been a little rough in the JavaFamily household this week… JavaDad has had the flu and a kidney infection and when JavaDad is sick, no one is happy! It is clear how much we function as an entire unit — when one of us is out of commission, it throws the household out of whack.

So pardon the absence of posts of late, but I thought some of my readers might enjoy a couple from this time last year:

Happy Thanksgiving to you, and among my many blessings are YOU — the readers of Caffeine and a Prayer, which is now ONE YEAR OLD!