Consider these Hasselback Apples as apple pie lightened up and given a unique, gorgeous new look. What makes them perfect is that they’re delicious.
Dress up a simple glass of water with beautiful, eye-catching ice cubes. Fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers make a stunning presentation.
Ah, summer. The season of sunshine (or lots of rain), fresh vegetables (unless the slugs and critters get to them first) and heat (until Canada blows arctic temperatures southward).
While this July has been one of the oddest I can remember, one thing that has remained constant is Dudette’s activity levels. Our child is nuclear powered, I swear she is. When she moves, it’s at a run. Or bounce. Or flying side kick.
I’ve spent the summer trying to tire her out so by nightfall she’s ready to fall into bed. We’ve had hiking trips, swimming pool adventures, playground dates, and a multitude of other adventures.
Throughout all that, a constant has been hydration. Dudette normally does a great job of drinking enough water, but with the extra amount of fluids I’ve been trying to pump into her, she had no problem expressing her feelings about the stuff when she got tired of it.
Enter Sparkling ICE. The nice folks from Talking Rain®, the company that makes Sparking ICE. They sent me a note with a ridiculous good recipe for a Sparkling Lemonito, a mojito-type beverage made with their Classic Lemonade beverage.
So, I wrote back and asked for samples, as well as the promise of a goodie box for a giveaway. They said yes, and the box arrived soon after. I received six bottles that looked like jewels.
I had fully intended to make the Sparkling Lemonito, really I did. I just forgot to tell Hubby and Dudette that the Sparkling ICE was off limits until I had made the drink and had the opportunity to taste them all.
It wasn’t until I noticed a bottle missing that I realized my lapse. Then, another bottle showed up at the dinner table. The lemonades disappeared faster than I thought possible. As did the others. Poof.
So, I surrounded the Pomegranate Blueberry with barbed wire and ‘keep away’ signs, threatening serious injury to anyone who touched it and changed my plans. Dudette didn’t mind. Her favorite was Crisp Apple and she drank the whole bottle.
Saveur may have some of the best chicken and steak recipes I’ve seen this summer in their special grilling issue, but it doesn’t stop there, and this drink is proof. Page 106 has six beverages that should be required at any cook out. While I usually make a recipe exactly as printed, in this case I deviated.
I couldn’t find blood orange soda anywhere, but I had a bottle of Sparkling ICE Pomegranate Blueberry sitting in my fridge. So, I simmered it with honey, a cinnamon stick and half a vanilla bean.
Once cooled, I added rosé wine and brandy to the mixture and then poured it into a pitcher that was filled with cut fruit. The hardest part was putting it in the fridge and letting it sit for four hours before drinking.
The hardest part of today is waiting for it to be late enough so I can have a glass of sangria. It’s delicious. Hubby thought so as well. He even said that it’s a bit dangerous and I have to agree. While sangria is definitely an alcoholic drink, it’s easy to forget that and have a bit too much.
I also loved the extra flavor that the Sparkling ICE Pomegranate Blueberry soda gave to the beverage. I did taste it prior to pouring it in the saucepan and was a bit sad that I had to use all of it for the sangria. It’s delicious.
What I’d Do Different Next Time
The instructions say to add a half of a vanilla bean. I scraped the seeds into the saucepan before adding the bean. I always, always do that.
- ⅓ cup honey
- 1 stick cinnamon
- ½ vanilla bean
- 1½ cups sparkling blood-orange soda
- 4 cups rosé wine
- ½ cup brandy
- 3 cups roughly-chopped stone fruit, like plums and nectarines (apples and pears may be used as well)
- 1 cup halved grapes
- ½ cup blueberries
- 3 sprigs mint
- Boil honey, cinnamon, vanilla bean, and blood-orange soda in a 4-qt. saucepan; let cool. Stir in wine and brandy. In a pitcher, layer chopped fruit, grapes, blueberries, and mint. Strain wine mixture over fruit; chill at least 4 hours or up to overnight before serving.
Sparkling ICE combines naturally flavored sparkling mountain spring water, vitamins and antioxidants and natural fruit juices for a bold, lightly-carbonated beverage that appeals to all age groups. Available in ten refreshing flavors: Coconut Pineapple, Lemon Lime, Kiwi Strawberry, Lemonade, Orange Mango, Pomegranate Berry, Pink Grapefruit, Black Raspberry, and NEW* Crisp Apple and NEW* Peach Nectarine. Sparkling ICE can be found in retailers nationwide. A great alternative to soft drinks, Sparkling ICE is caffeine free and sweetened with Splenda.
Sparkling ICE has agreed to give a goodie box to one lucky winner, so all you have to do is enter using the Rafflecopter dohickey below. The giveaway ends at midnight on August 6 and I’ll be choosing a winner on Wednesday, August 7. Be sure to check the Q&A page for all giveaway guidelines if you’re curious about the official mumbo-jumbo.
You can find out more about Sparkling ICE by visiting them on their web site or linking up with them on Facebook or Twitter. Sparkling ICE is part of the TalkingRain® family of beverages, and retails for $1.19-$1.29. To locate Sparking ICE visit www.sparklingice.com.
As you already know, the Sparkling ICE bold sparkling waters were provided for review. My opinion of them are, and forever will be, mine. All mine.
I have a few rules I follow that have been created (by me) with the sole reason of making my life a bit easier.
One rule is that I don’t look at food-related web sites when Dudette or Hubby might walk by because then I’ll they’ll be begging me to make whatever it is that they see.
A biggie regards the snacks I buy for the family. I make sure to buy treats that not everyone likes. For instance, Dudette loves Funyuns but Hubby and I don’t. Hubby’s fond of pretzels and while Dudette will eat them, they don’t reach crave level for her. Me, I can take them or leave them, mostly leave them. With this system I’m assured that when I reach for a bag of snacks to add to a lunch, they’ll be there.
Probably my first and foremost rule is that I don’t make frosted cupcakes. Hubby and I don’t need them and Dudette doesn’t care for them. I should clarify. Dudette loves the frosting. She’s a champ at licking off ever microdot of flavored sugar and butter while leaving behind all the cake.
That’s why I make muffins. Since they don’t have frosting, muffins rely on all kinds of goodies packed inside to provide pizzazz and flavor. In this house, it’s much more likely for us to have our muffin and eat it too.
Dry goods mixed together. Wet goods mixed together. Wet meets dry and so the story goes.
The recipe calls for buttermilk or milk. I went milk since I didn’t have the other. I also used frozen blueberries.
I was probably a little light on the blueberry jam addition because two teaspoons was an awful lot when measured out. I’m glad I did so too because I had several muffins overflow and drip in the oven. Messy.
Ah, this is good stuff. The cake part of the muffin is very tender and moist. The blueberries and jam only add to that. Please don’t think that it would be possible to get away with just spraying the muffin cups. Trying to remove them with the jam and berries would make a huge mess. The paper holders are essential.
Hubby came up from his man cave just to report on how good he thought these were (he may have snagged a second muffin on his way back down to watch more basketball). I’m not sure that we’ll have enough to test out how good they are with coffee, but I have a feeling they’d be fantastic.
Dudette was in on the muffin goodness. Well, I’ll let her tell you her thoughts herself.
What I’d Do Different Next Time
Not a thing.
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- ¾ cup buttermilk or milk
- 6 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
- ½ cup blueberry preserves
- 1 teaspoon finely shredded orange peel
- 1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 2-1/2-inch muffin cups with paper liners. Set aside.
- Stir together flour, the ¾ cup sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of flour mixture; set aside.
- Whisk together eggs, buttermilk, and 6 Tbsp. melted butter; add all at once to the dry mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in blueberries. Remove 1 cup of batter.
- Spoon remaining batter into prepared muffin cups, filling about half full. Spoon 2 tsp. of blueberry preserves into the center of each muffin. Top with remaining batter to cover the preserves, filling muffin cups about two-thirds full. Bake 20 minutes or until golden.
- Meanwhile, stir together orange peel, lemon peel, and the 2 Tbsp. sugar. Remove muffins from oven; brush with 2 Tbsp. melted butter. Sprinkle citrus-sugar mixture on top. Cool in muffin cups on wire rack 15 minutes. Serve warm.
As you can see, Better Homes and Gardens is one of my March magazines. This recipe is from a section providing uses for jams and jellies. Whether you’ve made your own or will be buying it from the store, the goodies in here look fantastic. I hope you’ll enjoy these too.