Winter Sangria


Happy National Sangria Day! This is a great excuse to commence that Holiday Festivities with a Winter Sangria!

beso del sol

Being a huge fan of cocktails and specialty drinks I was very excited when I was asked to review Beso Del Sol Sangria. They use high quality Spanish Tempranillo wine is blended with a selection of fruits to create light and fruity Sangria that is sweet and refreshing.

winter sangria

This boxed Sangria is very mellow yet very flavorful! Give you light and fruity Sangria a winter touch by adding cranberries, cinnamon sticks, orange and apple slices. It is like drinking a cold Mulled wine, and is absolutely delicious!

boxed sangria

This would be a great “adult” drink served punched style for Christmas and/or New Years. With meal preparation, shopping, and gift wrapping, let Beso Del Sol do the drink work. Simply add your fruit, chill, and serve! Or, warm it up in the crock pot for a delicious mulled wine!

Winter Sangria


  • 1 box Beso Del Sol Sangria
  • 1 apple, sliced
  • 1 orange, sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
  • 2 cinnamon sticks


  1. Combine all ingredients and allow to steep in the refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Baddish PR.


Refreshing Bourbon Cranberry Fizz

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MingleNMix #CollectiveBias

bourbon cranberry fizz

After Family time and Christmas cookies, refreshing holiday cocktails are one of my top favorite things about the holidays. Considering my husband won’t let me turn on the heat, this is also one of the only things that warms me up too :) just kidding. I absolutely love sitting next to the Christmas tree with my husband or friends after the kids have gone to bed, sipping on a delicious cocktail.

cranberry simple syrup

The warm winter flavors are lightened up with tart cranberry juices and fresh minute, making this cocktail pleasantly delicious to drink. This is the perfect cocktail for casual sipping or ringing in the New Year!

cocktail making

Let me tell you a little secret about me. I despise tonic water. I think it has something to do with the year that I spent as an exchange student. My host parents were determined to get me to like sparking water and served it with absolutely every meal. Needless to say, I haven’t touched it since. When I want to add some bubbly to my cocktails, I always use Canada Dry Ginger Ale® or 7UP®. I love that they add a slight sweetness to the cocktails, which is much needed when combined with bourbon!


If you want to add some extra flavor, head to Walmart to pick up some special Canada Dry Ginger Ale® with holiday varieties including cranberry, green tea, mandarine orange, etc.; 7UP® varieties including pomegranate, mixed berry, etc.

soda isle

In conclusion, after you have slaved in the kitchen baking cookies all day, make this cocktail and enjoy the rest of the holidays. You deserve it! So, tell me, what is your favorite holiday cocktail! Let me know in the comments below! 

cranberry fizz

Bourbon Cranberry Fizz

Yield: makes 6 cocktails


    Cranberry Simple Syrup
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup cranberry juice
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 sprigs of mint
  • Cocktail
  • BourbonCanada Dry Ginger Ale® or 7UP®
  • Ice
  • Mint, orange slices, and fresh cranberries for garnish


  1. In a small pot combine Cranberry Simple Syrup ingredients.
  2. Cook on low until cranberries have popped (about 7-10 minutes).
  3. Remove from heat and strain, reserving the liquid to make the cocktail.
  4. Chill until ready to use (up to 1 week).
  5. To make the cocktails, add ice, a shot of bourbon, and 2 tablespoons cranberry simple syrup. Mix well.
  6. Top cocktail off with Canada Dry Ginger Ale® or 7UP® and stir.
  7. Garnish with fresh mint, orange slice, and fresh cranberries.
  8. To make the mocktail, omit the Bourbon and proceed with the directions.

California Brittle

california brittle

Well, we are in the last stretch before Christmas. Personally I can’t believe it, and am no where near ready! Thankfully the kids are now out of school and we can concentrate on some quality family baking time. We still have about 20 people in which we need to gift a box of cookies to and a cookie exchange this weekend!

homemade candy

Normally our boxes are half cookies and half homemade candies. I usually bake with the kids during the day and make the candy at night. Combining butter and sugar to the perfect degree is not only calming to me but it is also therapeutic.

toffee brittle combination

As a big fan of See’s Candies, I knew that this was the year that I try and recreate the famous California Brittle. If you have never had a California Brittle, it is a cross between toffee and brittle, but made with almonds and dipped in chocolate. I figured since it was a cross, I would combine the two recipes. Can I just say that this may be my favorite candy recipe ever! I was so pleasantly surprised that the first batch came out so well, that I immediately made a second batch to test it. Both times the results were fantastic!!!! By the second batch I did not have enough almonds so I compensated with other nuts. I actually liked the second batch better, so I would suggest using a mix of slivered almonds, pecans, and walnuts.


One thing I always emphasize during the holidays is to use quality ingredients. They really make a huge difference in the end result. One of my favorite products is Plugrá European Style Butter. In fact, I have talked about them so much that they asked me to become a Brand Ambassador!

yummy candy

I only use Plugrá Butter in my candy making because it produces the smoothest and creamiest caramels and toffees! Plugrá Butter is slow-churned which creates less moisture and a creamier texture. This is also my go to butter for perfect pie crusts!


Although this recipe requires a candy thermometer it is not difficult, and totally worth the effort. The only thing you need to worry about is not eating it all yourself and being able to save some for the cookie boxes!

California Brittle


  • 2 cups unsalted butter
  • 1 and 3/4 cups granulated white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups almonds or whatever nut you prefer
  • 2 cups melting chocolate


  1. Line a 11x13 inch baking sheet with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray
  2. In a large pot, combine butter, sugar, brown sugar, salt, and water.
  3. Heat on medium heat until mixture reaches 300 degrees on your candy thermometer.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and baking powder.
  5. Stir in nuts.
  6. Very carefully pour into pan.
  7. Allow to cool thoroughly and cut into bit sized pieces.
  8. Heat melting chocolate in a microwave safe bowl for 1 minute.
  9. Stir and if needed heat again for increments of 10 seconds until melted (stirring in between).
  10. Dip cooled brittle pieces into chocolate and cool until chocolate is hard.

This post is sponsored by Plugrá butter however all opinions are my own.

Champagne Cupcakes with Rose Hibiscus Buttercream


I want to introduce you all to a company called Wild Hibiscus. They recently sent me some of their products to try out and let me tell you, they are pretty awesome!


From cocktails to cupcakes these extracts and syrups not only add a beautiful rose and hibiscus flavor, but they add a beautiful color too.

wild hibiscus

I used the Rose Hibiscus Flower Extract in the buttercream that topped these champagne cupcakes. The flavor combination was out of this world. Let’s just say that if a cupcake was glamorous, then this would Marilyn Monroe.

cupcakes 2

The buttercream had a wonderfully soft rose flavor that complimented the champagne cupcake beautifully. I also added a sprinkle of Wild Hibiscus Flower Salt, that finished the cupcake off beautifully.

NYE cupcakes

I am seriously so impressed with this product line. I cannot wait to serve the syrup with edible hibiscus flowers in our New Year’s Eve cocktails! They add such a delicious WOW factor! I love that the b’Lure and the Flower Extracts use the color pigment and flavor from natural flowers,​ and that each flower in the Flowers in Syrup is hand packed into the jar to preserve their quality and shape. All of the natural vibrant color and flavor comes just from the flower!

wild hibiscus

If you have a foodie or cocktail connoisseur on your list this year, I highly recommend giving them something from the Wild Hibiscus line. These items would make a fabulous gift!!!!!

champagne cupcakes

These cupcakes are the perfect New Year’s Eve dessert. The champagne keeps them incredibly moist. Just make sure to really take your time folding in the egg whites. Use slow and gentle strokes to ensure that you do not break down the air in the stiff egg whites. Enjoy!

new years eve cupcakes

Champagne Cupcakes with Rose Hibiscus Meringue Buttercream


    Champagne Cupcakes
  • 2 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup champagne
  • 6 egg whites
  • Rose Hibiscus Meringue Buttercream
  • 1¼ cups sugar, divided into 1 cup and ¼ cup
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 6 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 1/2 cup unsalted butter, very soft, cut into pieces
  • 1 tablespoon Rose Hibiscus Extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line two cupcake pans with liners.
  2. Sift together cake flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. In the bowl of your mixer (or beaters), cream butter, sugar, and vanilla until soft and fluffy.
  4. Reducing your mixer speed to low, alternate adding flour mixer and champagne until just combined.
  5. Transfer batter to another large bowl and wash and dry thoroughly mixer bowl.
  6. In clean bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form.
  7. Add 1/3 of stiff egg whites to cupcake batter folding in very gently. Repeat 2 more times.
  8. Fill cupcake liners 2/3 of the way full with batter.
  9. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, or until a knife is inserted and when removed is clean.
  10. Cool completely before frosting.
  11. To make the Meringue combine 1 cup of sugar and water in a small sauce pan.
  12. Heat sugar and water on medium until boiling (you want large bubbles).
  13. In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat egg whites, cream of tartare and sugar until frothy.
  14. Increase your mixer speed to high and beat egg whites until hard peaks form.
  15. Reduce mixer speed to low and slowly and carefully pour hot sugar mixture into egg whites.
  16. Slowly increase the mixer speed again and beat until the mixture is no longer hot or warm and is fluffy (mixture needs to be as close to room temperature as possible before adding butter).
  17. With the mixer set at medium speed, slowly add butter pieces. Mix until smooth.
  18. Place into pipping bag and pipe onto cooled cupcakes.
  19. Garnish with sugar pearls and Hibiscus Flower Salt.


cupcake recipe slightly adapted from here:


Chocolate Almond Turtles #GoNutsForNuts #CollectiveBias

cocoa almond turtles

One of my favorite things during the holidays are all of the seasonal items that are released. We always stock up because we know that we will not see these items for 9 months! Planter’s Seasonal Nuts are at the top of our list! Between the Holiday Nut Crunch and these Cocoa Almonds, we are in nut heaven! We have found that Walmart has the largest selection of Planter’s Seasonal Nuts, FYI ;)


Beside just eating them, I love using these products in my holiday baking and candy making too! They add an extra depth of flavor.

homemade candy

These Cocoa Almond Turtles for example. The added cocoa coating on the nuts add an extra chocolate flavor…and who doesn’t love more chocolate! I topped the turtles off with some sea salt for a perfect salty sweet treat!


Speaking of sweet treats, have you tried out the new Blippar App? This thing is freaking cool! Simply scan that item you are looking at (i.e. Planter’s Nuts) and voila, games, recipe, selfies with Mr. Peanut, and gift giving guides will magically appear! I love this because sometimes I often find myself impulse buying then getting home and having no idea what to actually do with the item. Now, all I will have to do is scan it (provided they have the Blippar logo) and get fabulous new ideas!

quick candy

These were extremely easy to make and only took about 30 minutes (not including drying and cooling time), but they are absolutely delicious! This is a great treat for teacher’s, neighbors, co-workers, etc.

planters collage

If you need more inspiration, check out the Cooking Up Good website. They have recipes, sweepstakes, loyalty programs, coupons and more! What’s not to love? If you’re looking for a new dinner idea or a chance to win some awesome prizes, be sure to check it out!

on the inside


Chocolate Almond Turtles #GoNutsForNuts #CollectiveBias

Yield: about 30 turtles


  • 2 cups brown sugar (packed)
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 Box Planter's Cocoa Almonds
  • 1 cup melting chocolate
  • Sea Salt


  1. In a large heavy bottomed pan, combine brown sugar, whipping cream, corn syrup, butter, and salt.
  2. Cook on medium low, stirring occasionally, until your candy thermometer reaches 247 degrees.
  3. Remove from heat and add vanilla.
  4. Let caramel cool for about 5 minutes.
  5. Prepare 2 large cookie sheets with parchment paper and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  6. Add almonds to the caramel and stir to coat.
  7. Carefully spoon out about a 4-5 almond clump and place on the cookie sheet.
  8. Continue until you have used all of the almonds, and allow to cool for 1 hour.
  9. Once cooled, heat melting chocolate in a microwave safe dish for 1 minute the stir to smooth.
  10. Spoon about 1/2 tablespoon of chocolate onto each almond caramel clump and garnish with a light sprinkle of sea salt.
  11. Cool until chocolate has hardened and store in an airtight container.

Raspberry Pomegranate Smoothies


Every year around this time, I began craving healthy. Considering I start my holiday post preparation and baking in early fall, I am ready for spring in the middle of december. After having gone through hundreds of pounds of butter and flour, I crave all things healthy and light. I have since filled my refrigerator with nothing but salad and smoothie ingredients!

cashew milk

I was so excited when I was contacted to review Silk’s new Cashewmilk. Personally, I am not a huge fan of milk and actually prefer nut milks, especially in my smoothies! Silk’s new Cashewmilk is a perfect dairy milk alternative! It has a subtle delicious cashew taste. Made with the special creaminess of cashews, NEW Silk Cashewmilk brings an irresistibly creamy taste that is perfect over cereal, in recipes or straight from the carton. It contains 50% more calcium than dairy milk with only 60 calories per serving (25% less than skim milk)* and is an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D.

raspberry pomegranate smoothie

Because it so new to the market, it may be a bit difficult to find (I found it at Walmart). Sign up for their newsletter or Facebook page to find the latest news on where to find it. Also, follow the Cashewmilk Pinterest page for more delicious recipes! Finally, if you are like me and craving healthy, make this delicious smoothie to jump start your day!

Raspberry Pomegranate Smoothies


  • 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1/3 cup pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 cup Silk Cashew Milk
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 cup ice


  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Enjoy immediately!

*Silk Original Cashewmilk: 60 cal/serv; skim dairy milk: 80 cal/serv. USDA National Nutrient Database
Standard Reference, Release 26. Data consistent with typical skim dairy milk.

This conversation is sponsored by Silk. The opinions and text are all mine.

Gluten Free Molasses Cookies

gf molasses cookies

As my previous posts suggest, I love giving homemade treats to people for the holidays. I have always said that baking is a labor of love. Homemade goodies are my personal way of showing people how much I care about them!

gluten free flour

Since I have quite a few friends who are gluten free, I always put aside a day just to bake for them. Up until this year, I always felt that the items were just meh. No matter what I did, they always had a grainy texture. Now I know that this is common in GF baked goods, but it is not my cup of tea!

molasses cookies

This year however I was sooooo excited to gift my Gluten-Free cookie platters because I was so impressed with the results!  Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 Baking Flour makes it easy to transform traditional recipes to gluten free. Simply follow your favorite baking recipe, replacing the wheat flour with this extraordinary blend. There was no residual graininess in the cookies and they were even chewy!

gluten free molasses cookies

It is perfectly formulated for baked goods with terrific taste and texture – no additional specialty ingredients or custom recipes required. This flour combines finely ground brown rice flour, sweet white rice flour, whole grain sorghum flour, potato starch, and tapioca flour with a touch of xanthan gum—just enough xanthan gum to create chewy cookies and springy muffins.

gf cookies

The protein in the sorghum flour helps give baked goods an almost wheat-like texture and aids in browning, for those times you need a perfectly golden brown chocolate chip cookie. Use this blend for cookies, cakes, brownies.


I love Bob’s Red Mill flours and use them daily. Their flours are made with quality and their business practices are those to be proud of…A family company that I personally want to help support! Oh and did I ever tell you that I actually met Bob at an expo? He is just as sweet in person as he looks on that packages!!! Make sure to stock up on the flours now- and use this coupon to save even more!

Gluten Free Molasses Cookies


  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 2 cups Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Extra sugar for rolling


  1. Using a beater or stand mixer, blend butter and sugar until combined.
  2. Add molasses and egg and beat until blended, scraping down the bowl at leaf once.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.
  4. Slowly add the dry mixture to the wet mixture until just combined.
  5. Refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour before baking.
  6. Once cold, roll dough into 1 inch circle.
  7. Coat dough balls in sugar and place on a parchment lined cookie sheet.
  8. Bake cookies for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.