Category Archives: Food & Drink

Food & Drink

14 Mocktail Recipes for the Holidays

December 1, 2016

14 Mocktail Recipes for the Holidays

It’s the season for hosting parties and get-togethers. So, fancy drinks are a must. I’m a huge fan of the mocktail. It’s a fun way to play with flavors and make pretty drinks that the whole family can enjoy. Forget the 2-liter soda bottles, and upgrade your party beverages this year. I’ve got 14 fun mocktails for the holiday season.

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Grapefruit + Tonic Mocktail // Cranberry Shirley Temple

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Sparkling Vanilla Cider // Sparkling Nectarine Mint Lemonade

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Kiwi Mojitos // Hot Almond-Citrus Punch

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Candy Cane Italian Soda // Family Friendly Swedish Glogg

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Pineapple Rosemerry Spritzer // Blackberry Ginger Cooler

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Grapefruit Thyme Spritzer // Blueberry Bourbon Vanilla

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Sparkling Apple Ginger Mocktail // Grapefruit Jalapeno Lime Mock Margarita

Cocktail drinkers don’t have to have all the fun. You can still play with a little mixology and create special drinks the whole family can enjoy. Or these recipes can be spiked for a more grown up version. Cheers friends!

14 Mocktail Recipes - fun drinks the whole family can enjoy.

Food & Drink

Host Friendsgiving with Easy, No-Fuss Recipes

November 9, 2016

I love Friendsgiving, it’s all the fun of Thanksgiving with a lot less pressure (and a lot less family dynamics – tee hee). It doesn’t have to be perfect or fancy, it’s a fun relaxed way to celebrate the friendships we are thankful for. This week, I threw a little Friendsgiving at the studio. I put together an easy-to-make menu that is a twist on traditional Thanksgiving. It gave me a chance to try some non-traditional and a lot more casual takes on the usual staples you find at Thanksgiving.

Host an easy Friendsgivings with Target. Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake MousseHost a Friendsgiving Meal. A full menu of easy-to-make recipes.

Who wants to be driving all over town for the ingredients and supplies when you are throwing a party? From prep to plate, Target is my one-stop shop for affordable, simple and unique Thanksgiving solutions. I really do most of my grocery shopping at Target Grocery. Well, actually, I just do a lot of every kind of shopping at Target. All the ingredients and decor for this Friendsgiving get-together were all purchased at my local Target – now how easy is that?

Host a Friendsgiving Meal. A full menu of easy-to-make recipes. Give ThanksSparkling Vanilla Cider MocktailHost a Friendsgiving Meal. A full menu of easy-to-make recipes. Chipotle Mashed Potatoes

Friendsgiving Menu

Get ready for a whole bunch of recipes!  This post is jam packed with no-fuss, totally yummy food.

Sparkling Vanilla Cider Mocktail

I’m a huge fan of a Mocktail, they are fun drinks the whole family can enjoy, especially when you are celebrating in the middle of the day. This is the flavors of fall in one glass.

Sparkling Vanilla Cider Mocktail

In a glass with ice, pour 2 ounces Drink Mix with about 1/2 cup Spiced Cider.  Top off the rest of the glass with Dry Vanilla Bean Soda. Stir and garnish with a cinnamon stick and a slice of green apple. (For a spiked version, add a shot of Apple Whiskey.)

Friendsgiving MocktailCheese and Meat Board

Any great party starts with a great Charcuterie and Cheese Board. It’s always a crowd favorite. While you put the finishing touches on the meal, guests can snack on bites of cheese, olives, and salami.

Charuterie and Cheese Board

I say anything goes with a Charcuterie Board, if you like it, put it on the board. A good mix of cheeses, meats, fruit, olives and bread or crackers and you are set. Arrange the ingredients on a pretty marble or wood cutting board. Olives can be placed in a small bowl. Cheese does not have to be sliced, just provide little cheese knives and guests can cut off what they want.

Cheese and Meat BoardHost a Friendsgiving Meal. A full menu of easy-to-make recipes.

In place of traditional stuffing, I decided to make mini corn muffins with all the flavors of Thanksgiving in packed in them. Fresh sage, dried cranberries and orange zest give these muffins a little kick. And since it’s the holidays, I say, “Give Me All Carbs!”, so I served two types of bread. Pumpkin Spice Dinner Rolls and Cranberry Sage Mini Corn Muffins are both fun, unique twists on the classic dinner roll. 

Cranberry Sage Mini Corn Muffins

In a large bowl mix all the ingredients. Spray a mini muffin pan generously with non-stick cooking spray. Fill each cup 2/3 full. Top each muffin with a leaf of fresh sage. Bake at 400 F for about 12 minutes, or until just golden brown.

Cranberry Sage Mini Corn Muffins and Pumpkin Spice Dinner Rolls

They holidays are all about indulging, but a healthy green salad with fruit, cheese and nuts, is still always a hit.

Spinach and Pomegranate Salad

In a small jar combine the oil, vinegar, juice, poppy seeds, honey and salt and pepper.  Seal the jar and shake to combine.

Place the spinach, pomegranate seeds, feta and salad topping in a large bowl. Drizzle with the balsamic dressing just before serving and toss.

Spinach and Pomegranate Salad

A lot of the pressure of cooking a whole Thanksgiving dinner comes from having to tackle a whole huge bird. This Citrus Brined Turkey Breast is quick to cook and a lot less stressful. I was nervous that a boneless, skinless breast had the potential to be dry and flavorless. But, brining this turkey breast made all the difference. This might be the juiciest, tastiest bird I’ve ever made. Really, I mean it!

Citrus Brined Turkey Breast

Since this recipe is just for cooking a turkey breast, a 1/2 recipe of the Cider Brine is more then enough. Combine all the ingredients for the brine in a large stock pot. Remove the turkey breast from the bag and place in the brine.  Then place the pot into the fridge.  I brined my turkey breast for about 36 hours and it was delicious!  When you are ready to cook the turkey, remove it from the brine and pat it dry with paper towels.  Spread the butter over the turkey breast and place in a small roasting bag. Prick a hole in the bag and seal it with the tie.  Place on a baking tray and roast in a 375 F oven for about 1 hour or till meat thermometer reads 165 F at the center of the breast (cook time really depends on how big your turkey breast is).

Cider Brined Turkey Breast

Move over marshmallow topped sweet potatoes, these maple glazed, golden sweet potatoes are one of new favorite sides.

Roasted Maple Sweet Potatoes with Feta and Cranberries

On a parchment line baking sheet, toss the sweet potatoes with the olive oil, maple syrup, parsley and salt and pepper. Roast in a 375 F over for about 30-40 mins or until the edges of the sweet potatoes are just barely charred and dark brown.  Place the sweet potatoes in a serving bowl or platter and top with the cranberries and feta.

Roasted Maple Sweet Potatoes with Feta and CranberriesPumpkin Pie Cheesecake Mousse

No-bake Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake Mousse

This recipe can be made in a 9 inch. pie pan or in 10 individual mini versions like I did.

Prepare the ginger snap crust by placing the 20 ginger snap cookies in a food processor. Process until the cookies are fine crumbs. Melt the butter and add it to the cookie crumbs. Pulse to combine. With the back of a spoon, press the crumbs into the pie pan or glass jars.

Whip the heaving whipping cream to stiff peaks, set aside.  With an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and powered sugar until smooth, add the pumpkin pie mix and beat again until smooth. In a small microwave safe bowl, combine the water and gelatin. Microwave on high for 10 seconds or until the gelatin is dissolved. With the mixer running, pour the gelatin into the cream cheese mixture. Fold the whipped cream into the cream cheese mixture. Spoon the filling into the pie pan, or place in a large piping bag and pipe in the jars.  Chill for at least 2 hours before serving. Top with Pumpkin Spice Glazed Pepitas.

Friendsgiving with Target. A whole menu of easy-to-make recipes.Host a Friendsgiving Meal. A full menu of easy-to-make recipes. Host a Friendsgiving Meal. A full menu of easy-to-make recipes. Target FriendsgivingFriendsgivingHost a Friendsgiving Meal. A full menu of easy-to-make recipes. Host a Friendsgiving Meal. A full menu of easy-to-make recipes.

Here’s some of the pretty things I used to decorate the table with:

Host a Friendsgiving Meal. A full menu of easy-to-make recipes. Host a Friendsgiving Meal. A full menu of easy-to-make recipes.

This post is sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the companies that help make this blog possible. 

Food & Drink

Pumpkin Spice Caramel Corn

October 25, 2016

This is a recipe from the archives of O + P and it’s one that I grew up eating.  My mom made this caramel corn recipe every Fall. It’s buttery and crunchy and just so, so yummy. You think you’ll eat just a handful and then before you know it you’ve had 15 handfuls, it’s just that good.

Pumpkin Spice Caramel Corn wih PecansPumpkin Spice Caramel Corn wih Pecans

I found these little wax paper bags in the dollar section at Target. They are perfectly spooky just in time for Halloween. I really don’t like “evil” halloween, but I do like creepy, crawly. So, there will be lots of spiders and bats around our house.

We are planning a big Halloween party for Oct. 31st. Denali’s 15th birthday is the next day, so we are throwing her a fun Halloween/Birthday Party. This is actually the first time we’ve ever combined her birthday with Halloween. I’ve always tried to make her birthday feel special and set apart, but now that she is a full-on teenager, a Halloween party felt like a great idea.

This Pumpkin Spice Caramel Corn is sure to be a hit at the party! This recipe can definitely be made without the pumpkin spice and the pecans (but, pecans do make everything better, right?).  With the pecans as part of the mix, I like to call it Cockroach Nests, just to be a little gross this time of year.

_pumpkin-spice-caramel-corn-8

Pumpkin Spice Caramel Corn

  • 6 quarts popped popcorn
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 tbsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • 1 cup pecans (optional)
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Melt butter, stir in sugar, syrup and salt.  Boil 5 minutes without stirring.  Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla, then stir in baking soda and pumpkin pie spice.  Then stir in the pecans.  Pour over popcorn and mix well to all kernels are coated.  Spread onto two cookie sheets and bake 1 hour at 250 F.  Stir every 15 minutes.
Cool completely.  Store in airtight containers.

Pumpkin Spice Caramel Corn wih Pecans

Food & Drink

Hot Almond-Citrus Punch

October 14, 2016

Hot Almond-Citrus Punch

I’m really excited to share this fun Fall/Winter mocktail with you. It’s perfect for a chilly evening get-together. If citrus is involved, I’m sure to be fan. This Hot Almond-Citrus Punch is just one of the super yummy Scandinavian recipes from my friend, Melissa Bahen’s (aka Lulu the Baker) new book, Scandinavian Gatherings.

If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you know that I’m a sucker for everything Scandinavian. My grandpa was Swedish and I love connecting with this part of my heritage as often as possible. A couple years ago, we got to go to Sweden and visit my extended family. I fell even more in love with the culture and the food (oh the food is so good). I’m so excited to work my way through this gorgeous book. With gorgeous images and whimsical illustrations,  this book is filled with 70 recipes and crafts for everyday celebrations.

Scandinavian Gatherings Hot Almond-Citrus Punch

I’m excited to share one of the delicious recipes from Scandinavian Gatherings here with you.

This recipe makes a nice big batch for lots and guests. I chose to just make a 1/2 recipe for my little family and it was more then enough for everyone to have seconds, which we all definitely wanted.

Tante Kari’s Hot Almond- Citrus Punch

  • 15 cups water
  • 6 cups bottle orange juice (not from concentrate)
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 3 medium lemons)
  • 4 teaspoons almond extract
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Orange slices, for garnish

In a large pot over medium heat, mix all the ingredients except the orange slices. Heat th punch until steaming. Serve hot, and garnish with orange slices.

For a spiked version, add 1/2 shot of dark spiced rum to 1 cup of hot punch.

Hot Almond-Citrus Punch

It’s really a beautiful book with Melissa’s signature styling and gorgeous images. This book is on my Christmas shopping list for my mom and sister-in-laws for sure. And one lucky reader i going to win one over on Instagram this week.  So, head over there and check ENTER!

Hot Almond-Citrus Punch

Food & Drink

Sparkling Apple Ginger Mocktail

September 22, 2016

Sparkling Apple Ginger Mocktail

Welcome FALL!!!! We are so glad you are here. And to celebrate the first day of Fall, I have the perfect mocktail. Our days are still really warm, so I’m not ready for warm drinks yet. This crisp, refreshing Sparkling Apple Ginger Mocktail is just the right about of Fall, but still cool and refreshing.

I picked these cute mini apples at my parent’s tree. They are the perfect size for topping a drink. I sliced these apples and ginger super thin with a madoline.

Sparkling Apple Ginger Mocktail

Sparkling Apple Ginger Mocktail

  • Ginger Beer
  • Unfiltered Apple Juice
  • Apples and Fresh Ginger

Fill a glass with ice, add equal parts ginger beer and apple juice, stir. Garnish with thinly sliced fresh ginger and apples.

This drink would be perfect spiked with Jack Daniel’s Apple Whiskey. 

Sparkling Apple Ginger MocktailSparkling Apple Ginger MocktailSparkling Apple Ginger Mocktail

 

 

 

Food & Drink

Salad in a Jar – 3 Ways

August 31, 2016

Salad in a jar - three recipes to make ahead and have lunch ready for a whole week.

With school back in session, there are a lot of lunches to be made. So, to avoid the PB+J on repeat, I came up with 3 make-ahead salad’s in a jar that use one rotisserie chicken. Last week we all ate these yummy salads for lunch. Today I’m ready to make another batch so that we can avoid another week of boring, unhealthy lunches.

It’s hard to pick a favorite –  Asian Chicken Salad, Pesto Caprese Chicken Salad and Curry Chicken Salad give you lots of flavor options.

You can find all three of these recipes over on eHow today!

Salad in a jar - Curry Chicken Salad

Curry Chicken Salad

Salad in a Jar - Asian Chicken Salad

Asian Chicken Salad

Salad in a Jar - Pesto Caprese Chicken Salad

Pesto Caprese Chicken Salad

Making these salads ahead of time sure save me a lot of time in the mornings. Do you have any other morning time-saving tips or ideas? I’d love to hear.

Salad in a jar - three recipes to make ahead and have lunch ready for a whole week.

Food & Drink

Night Cereal – Curry Coconut Cashew Granola

August 29, 2016

Curry coconut cashew granola. A sweet and spicy 'Night Cereal'.

I had so much fun creating a fun sweet and spicy ‘Night Cereal’ a couple weeks ago. The Chocolate Chipotle Granola is gone and I might have single handedly eaten it all by myself. So when got milk?, CA Milk challenged me to create another savory twist on cereal and milk for a fun night snack or even meal, I was ready for another challenge.

This was a easy flavor choice our family. One of our favorite things to eat is curry, especially coconut curry. This latest savory cereal recipe is another sweet and spicy combination. The heat of a little curry is balanced with sweet mangos and pineapple. Olivia, my youngest, is always ready to help in the kitchen. And I find that if kids help with cooking and prepping meals they are more likely to eat whats put before them. She loves measuring the stirring so I happily took the help.

We’ve survived the first couple of weeks of school, but we have a crazy week ahead of us. With sports, band, church activities, and homework I know there is going to be an evening when this savory cereal is going to hit the spot as a late night snack or even dinner that my kids can grab for themselves. Curry coconut cashew granola. A sweet and spicy 'Night Cereal'.curry coconut cashew granola curry coconut cashew granola curry coconut cashew granolaCurry Coconut Cashew Granola

  • 3 cups of rolled oats
  • 1 cup of dried coconut
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 1/2 tbsp. curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. cardamom
  • 1/4 cup dried pineapple (chopped)
  • 1/4 cup cup dried mango (chopped)

In a small pot, combine the coconut oil, honey, sugar, curry powder, cumin, salt and cardamom. Warm over medium high heat until the sugar and honey dissolve. Remove from the heat.

In a large bowl combine the oats, coconut, cashews. Pour the melted honey and coconut oil mixture over the oat mixture. Stir till all the ingredients are wet.

Pour the granola onto a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet.Spread out on the sheet evenly. Bake in a 325 F oven for about 25 mins, stirring the mixture halfway through the baking time. Then add the pineapple and mango pieces and bake 5 mins. more.

Cool completely and then break apart the bigger clusters of granola. Store in an airtight container. Serve with cold milk or use as a yogurt or ice cream topping.curry coconut cashew granolacurry coconut cashew granolacurry coconut cashew granolaThis post is brought to you by got milk? (Food loves milk!) Thank you for supporting the companies that help make this blog possible. 
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Food & Drink

Pumpkin Spice Waffles with Homemade Cinnamon Ice Cream

August 24, 2016

In honor of National Waffle Day and in hopes of bringing on Fall, here is the recipe for our favorite waffles – Pumpkin Spice Waffles. This is a recipe for the O + P archives. I first shared this recipe in 2010 and when I did my blog re-design earlier this year, it was lost in the shuffle. I couple of friends have asked for this recipe, so I thought I’d re-share it. It’s still a really great recipe.

pumpkin spice waffles

When comfort food is needed, waffles are our the best.  I adapted an Ebelskeiver recipe to make this waffle recipe. I really liked a Williams -Sonoma recipe because of the graham crackers in them. Now, are you ready for all things Pumpkin Spice? Even though it’s still 100 F here, I’m ready, so so ready!

pumpkin spice waffles

Pumpkin Spice Waffles

1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

2 eggs separated
3 tbsp. butter (melted)
1 cup milk
1 cup canned pumpkin

Combine dry ingredients in a bowl.  Beat the egg white with an electric mixer until stiff peaks form, set aside.  Combine egg yolks, milk, and butter.  Pour the egg and milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined (it will still be lumpy).  Alternate adding 1/2 the eggs white and 1/2 the pumpkin until combined.  Cook waffles in waffle iron according to your iron (probably spray your iron with a non-stick cooking spray).  Top with Cinnamon Ice Cream and Candied Pecans.

pumpkin spice waffles

Cinnamon Ice Cream

1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. cinnamon

Mix well and put in ice cream freezer.  Prepare ice cream according to your freezer.

Pumpkin Spice Waffles

Candied Pecans

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup whole pecans

Put the sugar into a small non-stick fry pan.  Heat sugar until in turns to a liquid.  Before it begins to turn a golden color, add in the nuts and stir.  Make sure the nuts are completely coated and the sugar begins to turn slightly golden.  Pour nuts onto parchment paper and allow them to cool.

Food & Drink

Night Cereal – Chocolate Chipotle Granola

August 16, 2016

Chocolate chipotle granola recipe - a sweet and spicy combination. chocolate chipotle granolaI love a challenge, so when got milk?, CA Milk challenged me to create a savory twist on cereal and milk for a fun night snack or even meal, I knew this would be right up my alley. I already love food with an unexpected twist. I’m the girl that’s always going to order the weirdest thing on the menu. For my ‘night cereal’ recipe, I quizzed my kids on some of their favorite flavor combinations. One of their favorite treats is these Chocolate Chipotle Donuts – we all love that rich chocolatey flavor with a touch of heat. So, I came up with a sweet, spicy and crunchy granola that my whole family loves – Chocolate Chipotle Granola.

Cereal is a perfect late night snack or even dinner on a busy evening (yep, I’m that mom once in a while). Sometimes, when I have a lot on my plate or we have a million after school activities, my big kids just have to fend-for-themselves when it comes to dinner. With one in high school, one in middle school and one in kindergarten, our family is BUSY! Some evenings we aren’t all home at the same time. This yummy granola is a great dinner option for kiddos who get home late after cross country or marching band. All of my kids are pretty adventurous when it comes to food. So, having a gourmet twist on a breakfast staple works in our house.  chocolate chipotle granola - a sweet and spicy combination chocolate chipotle granola and cold milk Don’t be intimidated, granola is one of the easiest things you can make. And once you make one batch, you’ll be coming back to bake more. It’s important to me to know what’s going into my food. This homemade granola is full of fiber and protein and really doesn’t have very much sugar at all. Served with ice cold milk, this cereal is really makes a filling and nutritious meal.

Chocolate Chipotle Granola

  • 3 cups rolled oats (not the quick cooking type)
  • 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. ground chipotle pepper
  • 1/3 cup coarsely chopped almonds
  • 1/4 pepitas
  • 2 tbsp. sesame seeds
  • 1/4 coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup raw sugar
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

In a small pot, combine the coconut oil, honey and sugar. Warm over medium high heat until the sugar and honey dissolve. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla.

In a large bowl combine all the dry ingredients (the first 7).  Stir to combine.  Pour the melted honey and coconut oil mixture over the oat mixture. Stir till all the ingredients are wet.chocolate chipotle granola recipePour the granola onto a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet.Spread out on the sheet evenly. Bake in a 325 F oven for about 25-30 mins, stirring the mixture halfway through the baking time.

Cool completely and then break apart the bigger clusters of granola. Store in an airtight container. Serve with cold milk or use as a yogurt or ice cream topping.chocolate chipotle granolaI love this combination of sweet with a little heat. Late night snacking just got a whole lot better in the McConnel house.chocolate chipotle granolachocolate chipotle granolachocolate chipotle granola

This post is brought to you by got milk? (Food loves milk!) Thank you for supporting the companies that help make this blog possible. 


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Food & Drink

Peach Thyme Hand Pies

July 14, 2016

I love a portable treat! And hand pies are pretty much the cutest snack out their right now. Move over cupcakes and macarons, I think hand pies are the next hot item. I love that they are so versatile and can be either a sweet dessert or a savory, hand-held meal (like these Buffalo Chicken and Blue Cheese Hand Pies).

Peach thyme hand pies. The perfect handheld Summer dessert.

Peaches are ripe and in-season and do you get anymore quintessential Summer dessert then a peach pie? I love playing with fruits and herbs together. Woodsy thyme and sweet, juicy peaches are a perfect pairing in these yummy Peach Thyme Hand Pies.

Head over to ehow for this easy-to-follow recipe.

peach thyme hand piespeach thyme hand pies.