Cocktail Time: Cotton Candy Martini

Cotton Candy Martini

It’s Friday so why not make a fun Friday night cocktail? Nothing could be more simple, or more fun than a Cotton Candy Martini! Here is a quick little entry for an easy little cocktail. So grab a friend or two, a martini shaker and let’s celebrate Friday. TGIF!

What You’ll Need per person:
1 cup of pineapple juice
2 shots of cotton candy vodka
Ice
Cotton candy

This is a very simple cocktail and takes next to no time to make.

In a martini shaker add pineapple juice, cotton candy vodka and ice and shake until mixed.

Pour mixture in to a martini glass. Drop a hunk of cotton candy into the drink itself. It will melt instantly and sink to the bottom of the glass. You can use whatever color of cotton candy you like. I used a pink/blue mixed variety.

Garnish with another hunk of cotton candy on the rim of the glass, careful not to let the cotton candy touch the drink.

Cotton Candy Martini

Enjoy!

Notes: If you can’t find cotton candy vodka then just add a bigger hunk of cotton candy and use plain vodka instead. You could also add in some white grape juice if you wanted as well.

Baked Rigatoni

Baked Rigatoni

I go through stages with pasta. Sometimes I can’t get enough of it and others I can go for months without having any pasta at all. This spring was one of those times when I was on the pasta train headed toward the corner of noodles and cheese.

Yes I went there.

Anyway….

In March my sister broke her hip ice skating. My mom and dad just happened to be visiting at the time and my mom ended up staying with my sister to help out for a while. On the weekends Mom would come over to spend time with us to give her a little break. She joked that since we live in the mountains of Central Maryland that we were her “Camp David”. I joked back if we were then we needed an indoor pool. I’m not even sure if the actual Camp David has a pool, but when I dream I dream big. Why not?

When she was visiting I made a few things that I had wanted to try and this rigatoni had been simmering in the back of my head for quite a while. When I made it the first time I forgot to put the goat cheese in and it was good, but it was missing something. The next time I made it I added in goat cheese and it was perfect!

This is a relatively easy, hearty, comfort food dish that is fabulous with a side salad and some garlic bread. If you’re going to go pasta, why not go all out?

What You’ll Need:
1 – 16 ounce package of rigatoni, cooked
Extra virgin olive oil
1 small container of mushrooms, sliced
4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 a large red onions, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped (Note: You can use whatever color you like.)
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 teaspoon of dried basil
A generous pinch of sea salt
Finely ground black pepper
1 jar of marinara sauce
1 cup of ricotta
1 cup of finely grated Parmesan
16 ounces of goat cheese, crumbled
16 ounces of fresh mozzarella cut into small cubes
More mozzarella and Parmesan to top

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Cook rigatoni according to package directions. Drain and set aside:

Baked Rigatoni: Rigatoni

In a large skillet over medium heat saute mushrooms, garlic, onion and bell pepper, with oregano, basil, sea salt and black pepper in a little extra virgin olive oil until tender:

Baked Rigatoni: Vegetables

In a very large bowl mix together pasta, vegetable mixture, marinara, cheeses and a little more salt and pepper until incorporated:

Baked Rigatoni: Ready for Baking Dish

Brush a large baking dish with olive oil and pour mixture in to the dish and then top with shredded mozzarella and Parmesan:

Baked Rigatoni: Ready to Bake

Bake covered in preheated oven for 35-45 minutes until hot and bubbly:

Baked Rigatoni: Baked

Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

Notes: I like to take the covering off for the last 10 or 15 minutes of cooking. You could add meat if you wanted, but I prefer this without.

Party Punch

Party Punch

It appears it’s becoming drink central around here with the last two beverage entries!

Alexis turned 8 a few weeks ago. I don’t know how it’s possible that she’s already 8! It seems like it was only yesterday that I held that little glow worm all wrapped up in the hospital. Other days? Well others it feels like decades, but luckily those days are few and far between! ;oP

This year Alexis wanted a Harry Potter party. I thought about being all Super Mom and making her a Hogwarts cake, which is what she kind of wanted, but decided in the end to order a cake and save my sanity. Maybe I’ll make her cake next year…..

Anyway….

Usually for her birthday I make some variation of Banana Punch, but I wanted something different. I asked on Twitter and FaceBook if anyone had a good fruit punch recipe that didn’t require gingerale or Sprite. If you’ve read for a while, you know my opinion on HFCS so I won’t go there again, but I was determined to get around that little problem.

I got several interesting recipes sent to me, but I knew that they weren’t Lex’s cup of tea. So I went out on my own as I often do and took clearer type juices that were 100% juice and an organic lemonade that was made with sugar. I used the Pomegranate for “color” and I ended up with a really fabulous punch that everyone seemed to enjoy. I’ll definitely be making this again!

What You’ll Need:
2 cups of organic cane sugar
4 cups of water
64 ounces of white grape juice
2 – 46 ounce bottle of pineapple juice
64 ounces of lemonade
32 ounces of pomegranate juice
Juice of 6 lemons
Juice of 4 limes
Club soda

First you want to make a simple syrup. Dissolve sugar in water over a medium heat until the sugar is melted. Remove from heat and let cool.

Next you’re going to need a big, big and did I mention BIG, bowl! Or you can divide it between two large bowls. That’s what I did, putting half of all the ingredients in one bowl and the other half in another bowl.

Mix together simple syrup, juices, lemonade and lemon and lime juice in a big bowl or half and half in to separate bowls as mentioned above. Stir to mix. Place in freezer safe containers that are the size that will fit into a punch bowl and freeze until solid.

Right before serving take one of the frozen containers and empty it out in to your punch bowl. Cover with club soda and stir to mix. The frozen juice combo will start melting and you end up with a really fabulous punch!

Add more frozen mix and club soda as needed.

Party Punch

Notes: You could use different types of juices if you wanted, but as I said above you want juices that are relatively pale, with the pomegranate for “color”. Red grape juice could be used instead of the pomegranate for a darker punch. Next time I want to try a pineapple/coconut combo instead of plain pineapple juice. For an adult kick add some rum or vodka.

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