Blueberry Lemon Iced Tea

Sometimes summer just calls for simple drinks.

No bubbles.

No booze.

Just cool and refreshing and mildly sweet.

Bags of decaffeinated black tea and a little sachet of lemons and blueberries.

Lingering together in a pitcher of cool water, and pressed and prodded with a wooden spoon to release pulp and essence.

Then parked out in the direct sunshine for hours, until it’s a deep, dark gold and tastes like blueberries and lemons.

Sweetened naturally, and just the way you like it.

Enjoy on a porch swing with a beachy novel in your lap and chirping birds in the distance – or at least while pretending it.


Lemon Blueberry Iced Tea


  • 1/2 cup fresh blueberries, rinsed and drained
  • 1 lemon, cut into eighths
  • 10-12 decaffeinated black tea bags
  • 10-12 cups of water
  • 1/4 cup agave syrup (or to taste)
  • cheese cloth
  • kitchen twine


Create a sachet of the lemon and blueberries by placing them on a double-layered square of cheesecloth, then pulling the edges up and securing with kitchen twine.

Fill a pitcher with desired number of cups of water.

Float tea bags (the same number as cups of water) in the pitcher of water.

Add the sachet of lemon and blueberries.

Gently poke an prod the sachet until some pulp is released. You can be a little rough with it, just careful not to break the cheesecloth.

Set out in direct sunlight for 3-5 hours.

When tea has reached desired color, bring inside and remove sachet and spent tea bags, squeezing tea bags into the pitcher to drain before discarding.

Pour tea through sieve to remove unwanted pulp.

Add agave syrup to taste.

Chill for about 2 hours.

Serve over ice.

Keep remaining tea covered and refrigerated.


Framboise Lambic Mimosa

We’re going international here. A little Belgian, a little French, a little uncouth American.

I don’t have great photos of these. I was too busy drinking them.

Part raspberry beer, part Champagne, part orange juice, and lots of ice. They’re pretty much fizzy cocktail heaven.

We started out with Framboise Lambic and Mimosas as separate drinks, and then with the phrase, “I wonder what would happen if we did this?” and a pour of the raspberry beer into the glass before the champagne and OJ, the FLM was born.

Not too sure about the name yet.

Framboise Lambic Mimosa?  Romantic, but maybe a little on the snooty side.

The photos are saved under FLM.  Not romantic. Not snooty. A little boring.

The Flame? No – too hot.

The Flam? No. Just. . . no.

Flam Bam Thank You Ma’am?  Maybe. . . .

How about the Brash American? I like it.

Throughout history people have doctored their champagne – with vodka, gin, bitters. . . but beer? Who would do that?

We would (and maybe the British and some Irishmen). We love our beer.

And over ice? In a white wine glass instead of flute?  Stop. . . who would drink a mimosa over ice in a regular old wine glass?

Uh. . . we would.

We’ve taken the romance down a notch and hiked up the chic factor. It’s young. It’s hip. It deserves a theme song or maybe an entire cocktail party mix.

Sweet with a hint of fruity-sour, it fizzes and bubbles sweet nothings to your senses. Oops! The romance is back.

Okay, so it’s a hip romantic drink with a soundtrack. Not a silent, stuffy, in your face drink.

Here’s how you make it:

Oh yeah. We’re high rollers. Cook’s it is.

I know – any bartender will probably tell you that for the best drink you need “better champagne” – but I have to tell you – we didn’t miss the fancy stuff. Cook’s totally did the trick without breaking the bank.


Framboise Lambic Mimosa ( AKA the Brash American?)

I suggest you play with your ratios a bit until you find your perfect recipe. Here’s the starting point.


1 part Framboise Lambic (found in the refrigerated beer section of the liquor store)

2 parts dry champagne

Splash of orange juice

Lots of ice


Fill a wine glass with ice. Add Framboise Lambic, champagne, and a splash of orange juice.

Try not to guzzle like it’s fruit punch.

Source: Lara from Beat of the Track

Cranberry Mulled Wine

Cinnamon, cranberry, star anise, . . . wine.

A fireplace, a blanket, some candles, some Christmas music and your hands wrapped around a steaming mug of . . . wine.

Can it get any better than that? Really?

The grown-up version of spiced apple cider, this mulled wine is sweet but not sickeningly sweet. It’s rich and deep without a shocking bite every time you take a sip. It’s smooth, and warm, and spiced just perfectly with all scents Christmas.

I sampled this three different times (purely for the sake of the blog, of course). ¬†Once to try the recipe straight out of the book, once to try it with less sugar and made to serve just two – which is how I’ve presented it below, and once to see how it kept if you made it ahead (it keeps well).

It’s a delicious thing to have simmering on the stove top Christmas Eve – good for guests, or maybe just you and your numero uno guy or gal.


And have a very Merry and blessed Christmas, filled with loved ones and joy and happy memories. Xoxo!



Mulled Wine (serves 2)


3/4 cup cranberry cocktail (not cranberry juice)

2 tablespoons sugar

1 cinnamon stick

1 star anise

1 and 1/2 cups dry red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot

1/4 cup fresh cranberries


Combine the cranberry cocktail, sugar, cinnamon stick, and star anise in a medium pot.  Simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in red wine and fresh cranberries. Bring back to a simmer, server warm.

Leftovers, should you have any, can be stored in the fridge overnight, covered tightly.

Source: Adapted from Real Simple magazine


I know what you’re thinking.
Well, I probably know two things you are thinking:
1. That I am obsessed with vodka.
2. That I misspelled lemoncello.

You might be at least a little bit right about both.

I am not usually obsessed with vodka, but this year, for Christmas, I am. I never knew the potential of “bootlegging” for gifts. Okay, so I’m not bootlegging, but I am sort of brewing things, aren’t I? Just not illegally.

And, no, I didn’t misspell lemoncello, but I thought I did – and I thought it was very convenient, because I had to use limes in my version.

What do you do when you are all set to make limoncello and then realize you are actually not all set because you are missing almost a quarter of the lemons you need?

First you do a panic dance that includes running around in tiny circles and flapping your arms.

Then you get a grip.

And add some limes.

You make lemon-lime-cello.

And instead of tasting like super spiked lemonade, it tastes like super-spiked 7-up (minus the bubbles).

Traditional limoncello is lemon liqueur. It can be sipped, mixed, or cut with some bubbly water. Mine is the same, but with a zip of lime in the recipe.

It pretty much made me want to dig out the glass cowboy boot mug from my childhood and fix myself a grown up Shirley Temple.
Pass me the club soda please (because the lemon-lime is going to come from the limoncello).
And a little OJ and grenadine.
And a maraschino cherry. . . . preferably on a little plastic sword.

Oh, wait! I was making this for gifts, wasn’t I?


Limoncello (takes 3 days to one week to make, total time)


9 lemons and 2 limes (or just 11 lemons if you want true Limoncello)
1 bottle (1 liter) 160-proof vodka (This is what the original recipe from Martha Stewart calls for, but I actually just used the vodka we already had on hand – which was 80-proof. . . . It’s okay if it’s not that strong!).
3 cups sugar
3 cups boiling water


Peel strips of zest from lemons and limes using a vegetable peeler; reserve remainder of lemons and limes for another use. Combine zest and vodka in an airtight container, and let stand at room temperature at least 2 days or up to 1 week.

Stir together sugar and water until sugar has dissolved; let cool completely. Stir sugar mixture into vodka mixture; refrigerate in an
airtight container overnight.

Pour liquid through a large sieve (discard zest), then pour through a funnel into airtight bottles. Limoncello can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Source: Martha Stewart, or you can find it in her Holiday Handbook 2011.

Happy Thanksgiving, and a Bailey’s Pumpkin Pie Coffee

I hope I get to spend at least part of Thanksgiving weekend quietly sipping one of these and reading a favorite book; but it’s okay if I don’t, because this year my focus will be on having an “attitude of gratitude” – no matter what.
If I can’t because my kids want me to play a game with them, I will be thankful that my kids love me and want to be with me.
If I can’t because my husband wants to cuddle up and watch a movie, I will be grateful that I am blessed with a healthy him and a happy us.
If I can’t because I need to fold laundry, I will be grateful that we have more than enough clothes to wear.
If I can’t because I have to cook dinner, I will be grateful that we have plenty of food to eat.
If I can’t because the house is full of the noise and chaos of four children, I will be grateful that they are all healthy and enjoy being together.
If I can’t because someone needs me to help them, I will be grateful that others know they can count on me.
If I can’t because I am busy putting up Christmas decorations, I will be grateful that my favorite holiday is just around the corner, and my whole family loves it just as much as I do.
If I can’t for any reason, I will find a way to be grateful for whatever is stopping me.

But I really hope I can sip one. . . per day. It’s dreamy – even without the Bailey’s if you must. Maybe that’s what we’ll do the morning after Thanksgiving. Wake up late, fix a nice breakfast, and snuggle in with everyone to sip hot cocoas or coffees and watch our first Christmas movie of the year.

I am grateful for new holiday traditions.

Have a very happy Thanksgiving. I hope your blessings are countless and your heart is warm with gratitude this holiday!


Bailey’s Pumpkin Pie Coffee

2 ounces Bailey’s Original Irish Cream
4 ounces Espresso or Strongly brewed Coffee
1 teaspoon Pumpkin Pie Spice
Cinnamon Stick
Whipped Cream

Combine Bailey’s Original Irish Cream and Pumpkin Pie Spice in a mug. Pour in coffee and stir. Top with a dollop of whipped cream (optional – (not really!)), a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice, and a cinnamon stick.

Source: Baileys Irish Cream via Drink of the Week

To make without the Bailey’s:

4 oz of coffee
1 teaspoon of sugar
2 oz half and half
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Cinnamon stick
Whipped cream

Combine coffee, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and half and half. Add a cinnamon stick, top with whipped cream and sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice.