July 13, 2017

Italian Berry Mule

As I googled recipes utilizing BERRIES & BALSAMIC vinegar for July's #ImprovCookingChallenge I came across one I couldn't shake. Actually, I could shake...

There's a little bit of quite a backstory, you can skip down to the  ^*^recipe^*^ if you wish...

This story actually begins in 2006 with the death of our friend who was a fighter pilot. (You can read about his widow's & their 5 kids' story in this incredible book.)
Folds of  Honor is an organization that steps in to help families of our military who have paid the ultimate price for our country. It has been exciting the past few years to watch the breadth of FOH's fundraising grow. At first it was golf tournaments, soon QT was involved and now there are many major donors giving to honor the sacrifices made for our blessed nation.
So when Budweiser advertised their tribute, we had to buy a carton (even though we don't like beer...)
Perhaps you've seen this ad:

^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^recipe^*^ *^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^

First I made a ginger syrup with about 8 oz. ginger I thinly sliced with the mandolin. Boiled it up with 4 cups of water and 2 cups sugar, then simmered for an hour. I strained it into glass bottles & refrigerated.

For the mule (adapted from here) we used the following ingredients:
10 raspberries
1 shot vodka
2 t. fresh lime juice
1/2 t. balsamic vinegar
1 T. ginger syrup
beer to top off

Muddle raspberries in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and remaining ingredients excepting beer and shake well. Strain into an iced highball glass and top it off with the beer.

10 blueberries
1 shot vodka
T. ginger syrup
1/2 t. balsamic vinegar
beer to top off

Muddle blueberries in cocktail shaker. Add ice and remaining ingredients but the beer and shake well. Strain into an iced highball glass and top it off with beer.
(light up the night!)

If you're looking for more BERRIES & BALSAMIC recipes, please check out the links below:

Balsamic Berry Hand Pies

While I do love me some balsamic vinegar on my caprese, I'd never thought to use it in any but savory dishes. When July's #ImprovCookingChallenge ingredient list popped up, I figured I'd pass on this month's entry -- Berries & Balsamic -- yuk!
So I googled berries & balsamic - who knew it was a "thing"?! I figured I'd better try it, just in case the fellas might like it.
I used a mix of blueberries & raspberries.
The filling wasn't quite as bright-colored as I'd hoped, but it sure tasted killer
Turns out, balsamic vinegar enhances berry flavors!

I made a gluten-free pie crust and cut rounds.
Added a large dollop of filling, then topped it with a second round.
Since gf pastry doesn't always brown nicely, I brushed the tops with beaten egg & sprinkled sugar over before baking.
The crust was super flake-y and could not contain all the goodness that was the balsamic kissed berries!
So yummy! 

Good to the last crumb!

Here's what I used to make the filling:

  • 12 oz. blueberries
  • 12 oz. raspberries
  • 2 T. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. cornstarch
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 1 T. fresh lime juice
Stir in sauce pan over medium heat until mixture thickens.

Check out these other recipes from my fellow "Improvists" -- you won't be sorry!

July 12, 2017

~ June Celebrations ~

June was jam-packed, as usual...

From the time of my MIL's birthday on the 2nd until my birthday 3 weeks later, we kept busy crafting & baking & celebrating. (3 birthdays, 2 anniversaries & Father's Day...)
(from a shirt for my mom's 58th anniversary)
(lil' somethin' for my man to carry around -- I ordered it here)

(we might or might not've eaten our way across town during our anniversary weekend...)

(a raggy banner I made for the headboard)

(fudgy cookies for my chocolate-addicted f.i.l's b-day... ☺)

(don't mind these -- they were just gf tart cherry bittersweet chocolate chip...)

My sis made a big party @ her house to celebrated Father's Day + my birthday.

The very best part of my birthday was having all my fellas together at the same table!