Happy Thanksgiving

thanksgiving dinner table

Happy Thanksgiving!  May your turkey be juicy and your day be stress free.  Here are some Thanksgiving dinner tips in case anyone needs some last minute advice.  Have a great day!

Vanilla White Russian

vanilla white russian cocktail

The White Russian cocktail is one of my “go-to” after dinner drinks, especially in the fall and winter.  I enjoy trying new cocktail recipes and attempting to create my own new cocktails so lately I have been experimenting with flavored vodkas.

I bought a number of mini bottles of various flavored vodkas to try out so I would not be stuck with full bottles of liquor that I did not like (a lesson I should have learned years ago…).  I found that substituting vanilla vodka for the regular vodka in a White Russian gives the drink a nice smooth taste.  The vanilla taste is not obvious, but instead gives the drink a little extra depth of flavor.

I tried to come up with a creative name for this drink, but decided to keep it simple and call it a Vanilla White Russian.  I used whole milk instead of cream to keep the calories down, however anything from skim milk all the way up to half and half can be used in this recipe.

Vanilla White Russian
Fill glass with ice
Add 2 ounces Kahlua
Add 1 ounce vanilla vodka
Fill glass with cream or milk
Include a stir stick or straw


What is your favorite flavored vodka?

Lemon Cupcakes

lemon cupcakes

Fall gets me thinking about baking.  And when I think about baking lately, it’s all about cupcakes!  These lemon cupcakes have a generous dollop of vanilla cream cheese frosting on top rather than the usual lemon frosting.

For people who think buttercream icing is “too sweet”, there are a couple of things you can do to cut down on the sweetness.  My favorite trick to cutting the sweetness in buttercream icing is to add a pinch of salt.  Trust me, it won’t taste salty, but will cut the sweetness a bit so you can enjoy the creamy icing on top of the cupcake.  The other way to cut sweetness is to make a cream cheese frosting.  Cream cheese frosting is wonderful on all types of cakes and cupcakes, not just carrot cake or red velvet, and it was delicious on these lemon cupcakes.

Halloween Candy

Halloween candy

Halloween candy changes from generation to generation.  The candy we had as a kid is usually the candy we like for life.  I do not see the appeal of the candy kids eat today, but I am sure my parents felt the same way about me.

When I was a kid, there were fears of razor blades in candy.  I am pretty sure this was an urban legend, but it was real to us.  After trick-or-treating, my dad would examine all of our candy piece by piece feeling it for any foreign objects.  He also charged a “fee” for this…which we paid in candy.  He took a few of his favorites to keep for himself.  I was happy to give my dad all the Tootsie Rolls in my bag since I did not like those anyway.

halloween candy

It was also a time when candy was not the only thing handed out to kids since everybody knew everybody for the most part in the neighborhood I grew up in.  We also got pencils from teachers, toothbrushes from the dentist, a stack of pennies from another neighbor and once a goldfish from a pet store owner.  Yes, a real goldfish in a plastic bag filled with water.  We had to give those back.

Now that I’m on the other side of the trick-or-treat bag, I sometimes think of giving out whole candy bars, but have never done it.  Instead I hand out my favorite candy…things like Kit Kat, Snickers, Smarties and Skittles.  I wonder what the kids think of me.

What is your favorite Halloween candy?

Pink Champagne Cupcakes

Pink champagne cupcakes are my favorite cupcakes both to make and to eat.  Not a big surprise given my love for champagne.  These champagne cupcakes are so pretty in pale pink, although they can be made in any color, and are perfect for a baby shower, bridal shower or really any reason.

pink champagne cupcakes

I’m a big fan of “doctoring” cake mixes and happily admit to it.  This pink champagne cupcake recipe is from the Betty Crocker Big Book of Cupcakes, which is full of cupcake inspiration.

A few tips:

1. Use a champagne you like to drink!  It doesn’t have to be an expensive bottle, but do not go super cheap and use something like Cook’s.  I use Domaine Chandon Brut, which is also my go-to champagne for mimosas.

2. Instead of using liquid red food coloring (per the recipe), use “no taste red” icing color made by Wilton.  The liquid red food coloring has a bitter taste.

3. Add any decorations on top right after icing the cupcakes because the decorations will not stick once the icing has crusted.

4. If you want to use a different frosting, go ahead and use your favorite recipe and just replace the liquid in the recipe with champagne.


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