How to Rim a Martini Glass with Peppermint Candy

Here is a fun cocktail garnish for a Martini glass!

Garnish a martini glass

Garnish a martini glass with crushed peppermint candy!

 Celebrate in style with this easy Martini garnish.  This will make your cocktail more memorable. Remember that drink garnishes should complement or contrast the flavor of the drink.   I recently made White Chocolate Mint Martinis and a festive rim is crushed peppermint candy……but how do you get the crushed peppermint candies to stick to the glass????

Video: How To Rim a Martini Glass With Peppermint Candy


Have some fun making a martini! Learn how to rim the glass with peppermint candy!

 

Here is my Success Secret…..

Put some Kraft Marshmallow Creme on a saucer.

Dip the edges of the glass into Marshmallow Creme.

Place the peppermint candy or candy canes into a large zip lock bag and pound with a mallet until crushed.

Dip the coated edge of the glass into the crushed peppermint candies and viola! …. They stick to the edge of the glass!

I love to use this garnish when I serve White Chocolate Mint Martini‘s.  The creamy marshmallow cream and the sweet peppermint candy is the perfect complement to this martini.   I use Dove Chocolate Discoveries White Chocolate Mint Martini Mix.  Be sure to check out my review for that product.  

Remember, “Let’s Make Life Special by sharing great food with our family and friends!  Enjoy!” 

     

 

Biltmore Estate Blanc de Blancs Sparkling Wine

Here’s a great bubbly wine for Holiday fun!  The Biltmore Estate Blanc De Blancs is absolutely delicious!  

Everyone who knows me knows how much I LOVE sparkling wine!  So, it goes without saying that I was absolutely delighted when I received a bottle of the Biltmore Estate Blanc de Blancs to review for our Holiday Gift Guide.  This sparkling wine is priced just under $25 and would be perfect to give as a gift, to serve at your holiday parties, or to enjoy with your sweetie.  I decided to serve it at a small dinner party we hosted and it accompanied our appetizer course.  The Blanc de Blancs was crisp and the finish was clean and tart.  It had hints of green apples and pears.  This sparkling was so refreshing and really paired perfectly with the appetizers.  It would also be great paired with seafood or cheeses .  

This wine is a brut – which means it is slightly dry.  It has tons of tiny bubbles that we all have come to love in a sparkling wine.  Serve it well chilled – 40 to 45 degrees.  

I was surprised to learn that the Biltmore Winery is the most visited winery in the United States.  The Biltmore is located in North Carolina and approximately 600,000 visitors  stop by to sample their award winning wines each year.  The Biltmore Winery opened in 1985 as an extension of the Biltmore Estate.

 I toured the Biltmore Winery shortly after it opened.  It was delightful to view their bottling rooms, stroll through the cellars, and of course, taste their award winning wines.

Speaking of awards, the Biltmore Estate Blanc de Blancs took home a Gold Medal with 91 points at the Los Angeles International Wine and Spirits Competition in May 2012.  This competition showcases the finest in domestic and international wines.

You can visit their website by clicking here,  Biltmore Estate Winery.  There you can learn more about all of their wines, locate a retailer near you, or order their wines online.

I plan on having several bottles of this bubbly on hand to enjoy during the holiday season.  

To view the Video review of the Biltmore Estate Blanc de Blancs, click here:  Biltmore Blanc de Blancs Video Review.

 

I received a bottle of the Biltmore Estate Blanc de Blancs in exchange for my honest review.  I was not compensated in any other manner.  The opinions expressed above are my true and honest opinions.

 

 

 

 

     

 

 

 

Mushroom Bacon Toasties

Mushroom Bacon Toasties are a delicious appetizer made with mushrooms, bacon, a herb cream cheese mixture on cocktail rye toast and topped with Parmesan cheese.  Enjoy these with a great bottle of wine at your next party!!!  The Velvet Palate has paired this appetizer with the 2004 Legon Reserva.  You can click here for their wine tasting notes and information on this wine.

These are definitely worth the effort!  They can be made ahead and flash frozen to use later – or bake now and enjoy!  

Click the link to view the YouTube How-to Tutorial for this recipe:   Mushroom Bacon Toasties 

 

Mushroom Bacon Toasties
 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Ingredients
  • 20 cocktail size rye bread slices
  • 4 tablespoons melted butter
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • ½ teaspoon Herb de Provence
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 3 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
  • ¼ cup onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Heinz 57 sauce
  • 4 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
Instructions
  1. Brush both sides of the cocktail size rye bread with the 4 tablespoons of meted butter. Bake ate 350 degrees for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
  2. Blend the cream cheese, Herbs de Provence, garlic salt and chopped fresh parsley together and spread evenly on the cooled toasties.
  3. Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in a skillet. Add the mushrooms, bacon and onions and saute until mushrooms release liquid and the bacon is cooked. Add the steak sauce. Divide mixture among the toasties.
  4. Sprinkle with cheese.
  5. At this point you can flash freeze to bake later or bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until bubbly.
  6. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

20 cocktail rye bread slices

4 tablespoons melted butter

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/2 teaspoon Herbs de Provence

1/2 teaspoon garlic salt

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

3 tablespoons butter

8 ounces fresh mushrooms, finely chopped

3 slices bacon, diced

1/4 cup onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoon Heinz 57 sauce

4 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese

Brush both sides of the miniature rye bread with melted butter.  Bake 5 to 6 minutes at 350 degrees.  Remove from oven and let cool.

Blend the softened cream cheese, Herbs de Provence, garlic salt and chopped fresh parsley together and spread evenly on the toasties.

Spread evenly on the cooled rye toasties.

Melt butter in skillet.  Add mushrooms, bacon ( I use kitchen scissors to easily dice the bacon ), and onions and saute until the mushrooms release their liquid and the bacon is cooked.  

Add the steak sauce.

Divide mixture among the toasties.

Sprinkle with the Shredded Parmesan cheese.

At this point you can flash freeze to bake later or bake now at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes or until bubbly.

Remember, “Let’s make life special  by sharing great food with our family and friends. Enjoy!”

 

 

Baked Goat Cheese Appetizer with Marinara

We had this  Baked Goat Cheese appetizer at one of our favorite restaurants and I had to recreate it for us at home! 

This Baked Goat Cheese Appetizer with Marinara is  just like the restaurant recipe – and it is really quick and easy to make.  I like to serve this with my French Bread Crostini.  The crostini can be made a day ahead and then wrapped in aluminum foil and reheated in the oven when you are ready to serve this.  The Goat Cheese Marinara can be assembled ahead of time and refrigerated until you pop it under the broiler.

 

Baked Goat Cheese Marinara
 
Recipe type: Appetizer
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1⅓ cups prepared marinara sauce
  • 6 oz log of goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, thinly sliced
  • 12 slices French bread
  • Olive oil
Instructions
  1. Brush each side of the French bread slices with olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Toast each side under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown.
  2. Pour marinara sauce in the bottom of a small baking dish. Slice the goat cheese log in half and place in the center of the marinara sauce.
  3. Bake under the broiler for 4 to 6 minutes or until the goat cheese is soft and slightly golden.
  4. Sprinkle mixture with fresh basil before serving.

 

Brush each side of the bread slices with olive oil and place on a sheet pan.  Toast each side under the broiler for 2 to 3 minutes, or until golden brown.

 

Pour marinara sauce in the bottom of a small baking dish.  Slice the goat cheese log in half and place in the center of the marinara sauce.

 

Bake under the broiler for 4 to 6 minutes or until the goat cheese is soft and slightly golden.

 

 

Sprinkle mixture with fresh sliced basil before serving.

 

Serves 4 people as an appetizer.

 

“Let’s make life special by sharing great food with our family and friends!”

To download the printable recipe with how-to photos, click here:  Baked Goat Cheese Marinara

Cream Cheese Whipped Potatoes

Years ago I would make this dish by first making my homemade mashed pototoes.  That involved peeling and quartering the potatoes and boiling them in salted water until done.  Then I would drain off the liquid, add butter and milk and whip them with an electric mixer – whipping in the cream cheese at the end.  THEN I started using the refrigerated prepared mashed potatoes and just stirring in the cream cheese and microwaving until heated.  What a time saver and the results are just as good!

Sometimes the simple recipes are the best!


Cream Cheese Whipped Potatoes
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Recipe type: Side Dishes
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 Container refrigerated prepared mashed potatoes
  • 8 oz Cream cheese
Instructions
  1. Mix potatoes and cream cheese together in a microwave safe bowl. Cover with waxed paper.
  2. Microwave on HIGH for 5 minutes, stirring halfway thru the cooking time.

Directions:

Stir potatoes and cream cheese together in a microwave safe bowl.

 

 

Microwave for 5 minutes, stirring halfway thru the cooking time.

 

Enjoy!

 

Tip:  You can easily double or triple this recipe if you are making it for a crowd.  I like to serve this at dinner parties because it is such an easy side dish.  I usually spend a lot of time on the meat and it’s great to have this easy go-to recipe to round out the meal.  This is also always on my Thanksgiving table and everyone always LOVES it!

To download the printable recipe with how-to photos, click here:  Cream Cheese Whipped Potatoes

 

 

Sherbet Punch

Looking for a quick and delicious punch to serve at a bridal shower or baby shower?  This is it!  The raspberry sherbet makes a pink punch and the pineapple sherbet makes a yellow punch.


Sherbet Punch
 
Prep time
Total time
 
Recipe type: Beverages - non alcoholic
Ingredients
  • 3 quarts Sherbet ( raspberry or pineapple ), partially thawed
  • 2 liters Ginger Ale, chilled
Instructions
  1. Add the Raspberry Sherbet to the punch bowl.
  2. Pour the chilled Ginger Ale over the sherbet and stir.
  3. Allow about 15 minutes for the sherbet to melt into the ginger ale before serving.
Notes
You can use either the Raspberry Sherbet OR Pineapple Sherbet but don't mix the two together.

Add Raspberry Sherbet OR Pineapple Sherbet to punch bowl.  Pour chilled Ginger Ale over the sherbet.  Stir to combine and serve.  Allow about 15 minutes for the sherbet to melt into the ginger ale before serving.

Let’s make life special by sharing great food with our family and friends!  Enjoy!

To download the printable recipe with how-to photos, click here: Sherbet Punch

Perfect Baked Potato Recipe with Baked Potato Bar

Here is a great option for EASY entertaining or just a family dinner… The Perfect Baked Potato Recipe With A Baked Potato Bar!

Baking the perfect baked potato recipe is easy and serving the baked potatoes on with baked potato bar toppings is fun for everyone!    It gets everyone involved by letting them choose all of their toppings.  Over the years I have seen many different ways to bake potatoes….wrap them in foil, don’t wrap them in foil, use a fork to poke holes in them, stick a nail in them and on and on.  I discovered the secret to what I consider “The Perfect Baked Potato” and that is this:  ramp up the oven temperature to 425 degrees and brush the potatoes with oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake large potatoes for 1 hour and 15 minutes and you will have the most incredible baked potato you have ever put into your mouth!

The baked potato bar is just as perfect for a cold winter day as it is for a summer BBQ by the pool.  Here I’m showing my set up for the Baked Potato Bar:

 

Perfect Baked Potatoes with Baked Potato Bar
 
Cook time
Total time
 
Recipe type: Side Dish
Ingredients
  • Large Idaho Baking Potatoes
  • Oil
  • Kosher ( coarse) salt
  • Options for Baked Potato Bar Toppings: Butter, sour cream, bacon crumbles, green onion slices - including tops, pickled jalapeno pepper slices, shredded cheddar cheese, chili - in the Fall and Winter, canned black beans - rinsed and drained, chopped fresh tomatoes, thawed frozen green peas, salsa, nacho cheese sauce, ranch salad dressing, salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. This high temperature is the secret to baking perfect baked potatoes.
  2. Line a rimmed cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Scrub the baking potatoes and pat dry. Place on foil lined sheet.
  3. Brush both sides of potatoes with oil and sprinkle both sides with kosher salt.
  4. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes ( for the extra large potatoes) or until done. Smaller potaoes will be done in about an hour.
  5. Split and serve with a variety of the options listed above.
  6. At serving time, cut the potatoes lengthwise across the top and squeeze the ends together to open up the potato. Let guests choose their own toppings.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.   Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.  Scrub baking potatoes and pat dry.  Place on foil lined sheet.

Brush both sides of the potatoes with oil and sprinkle both sides with kosher or sea salt.

Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes ( for the extra large potatoes like I used) or until done.  Smaller potatoes will be done in about an hour.

At serving time, cut the potatoes lengthwise across the top and squeeze the ends together to open up the potato.  Serve with the topping options listed above.

I used butter, sour cream, bacon crumbles ( that I cooked in the microwave), sliced green onions – including tops, Jalapeno pepper slices, shredded cheddar cheese and salt and pepper.

”  I just love to serve food in attractive and creative ways!   Here you see the buffet set-up.  I used a round platter for the baked potatoes and matching small bowls in different bright colors for the condiments. ”

 

“Remember, let’s make life special by sharing great food with our family and friends!”

To download the printable recipe with how-to photos, click herePerfect Baked Potatoes with Baked Potato Bar

Cool Summer Salad

This recipe was given to me over 30 years ago by my girl’s Grandma Great.  It’s full of pineapple, mandarin oranges, marshmallows and creamy vanilla pudding.  It goes together in a snap and you can serve this as a side salad or a light summertime dessert. This can also be made ahead and frozen until needed.  Our family has enjoyed this recipe many times over the years and I think your family will like it too!

 

Cool Summer Salad
 
Recipe type: Salad
Ingredients
  • 20 oz can crushed pineapple
  • 3.4 oz package instant vanilla pudding
  • 8 oz Cool Whip, thawed
  • 1 cup miniature marshmallows
  • 15 oz can mandarin oranges, drained
Instructions
  1. Mix crushed pineapple and dry pudding mix together.
  2. Fold in the Cool Whip.
  3. Stir in mandarin oranges and marshmallows.
  4. Chill well before serving.
Notes
This can be made ahead and frozen until needed.

 

Mix pineapple with dry pudding mix.

Fold in Cool Whip.

 

Add oranges and  marshmallows.

Stir to combine and chill until serving time.  To serve as a dessert, place Cool Summer Salad in Martini glasses or individual serving bowls.

 

To download the printable recipe with how-to photos, click here:  Cool Summer Salad

 

To view the complete video recipe, click here:     http://youtu.be/W-JJdI-5M08

Chilling White Wine In An Ice Bucket

Here’s a success tip on how to fill an ice bucket and chill white wine.  

Video: Chilling White Wine In An Ice Bucket


Learn the success secret for filling an ice bucket and chilling white wine! This simple trick will make it easy!



How many times have you been to a party and you can’t get the white wine bottle out of the ice bucket?  Or, when you get it out…you can’t get it back in the ice?  So many people don’t know the secret for filling an ice bucket!  Here is the simple secret! 

Fill the bottom of the ice bucket with about an inch layer of ice cubes.

Fill the ice bucket halfway with cold water. The cold water is the success secret – it helps to chill the wine and it makes is easy to get the wine bottle in and out of the ice bucket.

Place the bottle of wine in the ice bucket and position it in the middle of the bucket.

Fill up around the wine bottle with more ice cubes.  Fill up to the top of the bottle’s label – but don’t pack the ice too tightly.

After about 30 minutes the wine will be perfectly chilled.

To download printable directions, click hereSuccess Secret_Chilling White Wine

 

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Phone: 217-556-8297 Website: http://www.makelifespecial.com