Champagne Lemonade

Champagne Lemonade

You need to make this cocktail for your 4th of July parties! This is definitely one of the best drinks I have made in a while. It tastes like summer in a glass, well that is if summer tasted like champagne and lemonade in a mason jar. It’s perfect for a hot summer evening. The lemonade makes the drink tangy and refreshing and the champagne adds a bit of delightful sparkle. Best of all, it is so, so easy to make! You could definitely use store-bought lemonade, but I’m a fan of the homemade agave nectar sweetened variety. I like to keep it on the tangy side, but using agave makes it easy to adjust the sweetness very easily. Using agave also means you don’t have to wait for water to boil and simple syrup to cool, which means you will enjoying this delicious beverage all the faster!

Champagne Lemonade

  • 1 bottle VERY chilled brut sparkling wine (cheap stuff is fine)
  • 3 cups VERY chilled fresh squeezed lemonade (my favorite recipe is below)
  • berries/fruit of choice (fresh or frozen will help keep it chilled)


  1. In a large pitcher (big enough to fit 6 cups) combine the sparkling wine, lemonade and 2 large handfuls of fresh berries. Lightly stir to mix. Serve immediately.


Agave Sweetened Lemonade

  • 10 large lemons, juiced(should yield about 3 cups of juice)
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 3 cups water


  1. Combine lemon juice, agave nectar, and water in a large pitcher. Mix will to combine. Place in fridge and allow to chill.

Gluten Free Brownies for 4th of July & a GIVEAWAY!

Betty Crocker Gluten Free Brownies

Life gets really busy sometimes. Between school, finals, trips (SF and DC, so fun), sick dogs, computers dying, volunteering and more school, something had to give. Unfortunately that thing was blogging. I’ve still been cooking and photographing and going to farmers’ market every weekend, but there just don’t seem to be enough hours in the day for getting around to writing and editing.

I really don’t want to talk about how it is July in a week, but considering one of my favorite holidays is on the 4th of July, I suppose we must. Just because life is super busy, doesn’t mean I don’t want to cook and bake as much as I normally would.  Sometimes everyone could use a little help in the kitchen. I have used Betty Crocker gluten free mixes before and I have to say I love them. I’ve used tried the yellow cake mix, the devil’s food cake and now the brownie mix. They have turned out perfectly every single time.

MyBlogSpark sent me an awesome baking tool set with a rolling pin, pastry brush, spatula, and timer, and an 8″ Square Cake Pan. The rolling pin, brush and spatula are all my favorite color, so I was pretty excited about that as well. I got even more excited when I noticed the pastry brush and spatula have a built in rest! No more goopy batter on the counters! Genius!  The best part of this My Blog Spark campaign for General Mills, is that I get to give away the same gift set to one of my readers! This gift set includes products from  Joseph Joseph.  One lucky winner will receive an adjustable wooden rolling pin, spatula, pastry brush, timer, and baking pan. And since I love a good giveaway, I’m also including an apron and a box of Betty Crocker gluten free mix to break in your new pan. See entry details below!

Betty Crocker Gluten Free Brownies

Enter the giveaway here:a Rafflecopter giveaway Giveaway info:

  • To enter, use a Rafflecopter giveaway (it’s super easy!)
  • Winner will be selected via Rafflecopter.
  • The giveaway will close Monday, July 1 at midnight (Pacific Standard Time).
  • Giveaway open to US residents only. (Sorry international readers!)

Disclosure: The information and prize pack have been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Good luck! 🙂

Betty Crocker Gluten Free Brownies


Gluten Free Brownies for 4th of July
Recipe from Betty Crocker.

  • 1 box Betty Crocker® Gluten Free brownie mix
  • Butter and eggs called for on brownie mix box
  • 1 package (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3-4 cups mixed fresh red and blue berries (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries)


  1. Heat oven to 350°F (or 325°F for dark or nonstick pan). Grease bottom only of 8X8 baking pan with cooking spray.
  2. In large bowl, stir brownie mix, butter and eggs until well blended. Spread in pan.
  3. Bake 28-31 minutes or until toothpick inserted into middle of pan comes out clean or almost clean. Cool completely, about 1 hour.
  4. In small bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Spread mixture evenly over brownie base. Arrange berries over cream cheese mixture. Refrigerate about 1 hour or until chilled. Cut into squares. Store covered in refrigerator.


Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

These made for a quick and easy weekend breakfast. I was a bit bored with my regular breakfast fare, so I decided to try something new. The lemon flavor really comes through and the pancakes are really The blueberries and blackberries definitely make this recipe for me. I’m not big on maple syrup, so I squeezed one of the lemons I used for zest over the pancakes and berries and it was perfect. I am sure syrup could be great, but it’s just not my thing. If fresh berries are hard to come by this time of year, frozen could be used in a pinch, or even a light smear of berry jam (I would recommend blueberry) or lemon curd would go really well with these pancakes.

This recipe yields a lot of batter! I will say that I did thin out the batter quite a bit (the Better Batter got a little gummy on me), but I think I got 14 or 16 pancakes out of it, either way it was way too much for just two people. I know you could increase the amount of batter used in each pancake, but I think the smaller size works a lot better for the fluffiness of the recipe. If the pancakes were bigger, I think they would lose some of that. If you do have to thin out the batter, I would recommend using lemon juice if possible, then water. Lemon juice really adds to the flavor and I think water would dilute that a lot.


Lemon Ricotta Pancakes

  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (I used Better Batter)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 large egg, yolks and whites separated
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar, granulated
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon zest, or increase to taste
  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • cooking spray
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together buttermilk, egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest and ricotta cheese by hand.
  3. In a clean bowl, using an electric mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form.
  4. Add dry ingredients to buttermilk mixture until just combined; gently fold in egg whites until they are just incorporated.
  5. Coat a large nonstick griddle or pan with cooking spray; heat over medium heat. Spoon batter into pan in batches using about a 1/4-cup batter for each pancake; cook until lightly browned, about 2 to 3 minutes per side (I found that the gluten free flour took longer). Remove pancakes to a tray in a warm oven and repeat with remaining ingredients

Thirsty Thursday: Blackberry Sparkler

Blackberry Sparkler

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone celebrating today and Happy Thursday if you’re not. Thanksgiving is one of my all-time favorite holidays. Regardless of how hectic and crazy the day might be, there is something kind of nice about sharing, eating and drinking with your friends and family. Whether or not the family fights have started yet, it’s never too early to think of cocktail time. I really think delicious libations are key through getting through the day. It doesn’t matter if your family is out of a Norman Rockwell painting or you all put the ‘fun’ back in dysfunctional, a good cocktail can help everyone survive the day.

I threw this drink together with just a few things that I had on hand. The limoncello was a last-minute, impulsive addition. It was sitting there in the fridge and looked lonely. I figured it would be rude not to use it. It was a perfect addition. A little hint of citrus from the limoncello and orange liqueur was the perfect complement to the blackberry. Letting the berries macerate and get all friendly with the liqueurs is essential. If you have a lot of people over or think it might be a long night, double or triple the measurements as needed!

Blackberry Sparkler

  • 8 blackberries, quartered
  • 1/4 cup triple sec
  • 1/4 cup limoncello
  • Angostura bitters as needed
  • 1 bottle (750ml) Champagne, Prosecco or other dry sparkling white wine, chilled
  1. In a small nonreactive bowl, combine the blackberries, triple sec, and limoncello and let stand for about 15 minutes to let the fruit macerate.
  2. Take 4 Champagne flutes and add 1 or 2 dashes of bitters to each one. Spoon 4 pieces of marinated blackberry into each flute. Top with Champagne and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Blueberry Lemon Ice Cream

This recipe seemed so incredibly simple, but soon as I set about making it everything went wrong…

There was a near incident with these two… They used to be neighbors in the cupboard, they now live on separate shelves.

Then the ice cream maker that I rediscovered in the garage decided it was time to throw in the towel. Just because you haven’t been used in, like, 10 years does not mean you can decide to crap out on me when I actually need you. Rude…

Then there was was some cursing, accompanied by the requisite wailing and gnashing of teeth. And then Mama CC stepped in. I have a theory that has yet to be disproven; everything, both living and inanimate,  in this house lives in a state of combined awe, fear and love of my Mama. Me, my dad, the dogs, uninvited bugs, kitchen appliances… She just has an affect on us.

And just as I was contemplating buying a new ice cream maker on Amazon, Mama CC got it to work. I swear she’s a miracle worker.

After some quick churning, this mix was ready for the freezer and a mere 3 hours later a delightful dessert was ready for eating.

The original recipe called for sour cream, which we apparently just ran out of… Oops. So, I used greek yogurt instead. The ice cream turned out great.

Blueberry Lemon Ice Cream

  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
In a medium saucepan, combine blueberries, sugar and lemon juice. Heat over medium heat until mixture starts to simmer. Stir untill the berries start to pop an release juices. Remove from heat and puree with food processor. Add cream, yogurt and vanilla. Pulse to combine. Place mixture in fridge for 1 hour. Then add to ice cream maker. Blend and freeze according to maker instructions. Then freeze for 3-4 hours. Serve and enjoy!