5 Blackberry Drinks for Summer

It might still be Spring where you live, but we’ve already crossed over into Summer territory here in AZ. That’s got us feeling ready for some refreshing, fun drinks! These 5 blackberry drinks all start with the same delicious blackberry syrup recipe, which you can use to do some pretty incredible things!

Bare Bellies and Blackberries

Bare baby bellies and blackberries… what’s more summer-y than that?!

Truthfully, I never used to use blackberries that often.  Just not one of my go-to items in the produce section. But last year, we tried some blackberry lemonade while on a family road trip. My husband and I both loved the combo and it got me thinking about recreating it at home! So, let’s get cooking!

Blackberry Syrup

The blackberry syrup is fairly straightforward. You need blackberries, sugar, and some lemon juice. All of that goes on the stove in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir it occasionally and wait for the blackberries to start to break down.

making blackberry syrup

Once it looks more liquid than solid, I start to break up some of the remaining berries with my wooden spoon.  Keep stirring occasionally as you let the mixture reduce down to a syrup consistency (it should coat your spoon nicely) and is no longer foam-y.

making blackberry syrup

Let it cool and transfer the syrup into a jar to keep in the fridge. I like to keep the berry pieces in the syrup, but if you want it to be smooth, you could run it through a mesh strainer before you put it into your storage jar. Either way, you will use it for all kinds of yummy drinks!

Print

Blackberry Syrup

A yummy addition for your summer beverages!

Cook Time 10 minutes
Author huntersmama

Ingredients

  • 1 pint fresh blackberries
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat.

  2. Stir occasionally and bring to a boil.

  3. Continue to stir, allowing the mixture to reduce to syrup consistency.  It should coat the back of a spoon.

  4. Allow to cool and transfer to a glass jar to keep in the fridge. Use to add a blackberry punch to your favorite beverages.

First up… Blackberry Lemonade!  This one is kid-friendly and a big hit at our house.

Fill a glass with ice, and spoon 1-2 tablespoons of your blackberry syrup over the ice. Fill the glass with your favorite lemonade, stir and enjoy!

 

Print

Blackberry Lemonade

Course Drinks
Servings 1
Author huntersmama

Ingredients

  • ice
  • 1 tbsp blackberry syrup
  • 8 oz lemonade

Instructions

  1. Fill a glass with ice. Add blackberry syrup and lemonade.

  2. Stir to combine and enjoy!

Then, a quick adjustment makes this an equally amazing grown-up beverage… Blackberry Whiskey Lemonade. Make your Blackberry Lemonade and add in 1.5 oz of your favorite whiskey. A perfect backyard barbecue drink!

Print

Blackberry Whiskey Lemonade


Course Drinks
Servings 1
Author huntersmama

Ingredients

  • ice
  • 1 1/2 oz whiskey
  • 1 tbsp blackberry syrup
  • 6 oz lemonade

Instructions

  1. Fill a glass with ice. Add remaining ingredients.

  2. Stir to combine and enjoy!

We love iced tea at our house, and one of our favorite twists is using this blackberry syrup as a sweetener for our regular iced tea.  I also have these K-cups my husband bought for me that are Tazo Iced Passion Tea. if you’re thinking that Iced Blackberry Passion Tea sounds delicious, you’re absolutely right. It is. I’ll make this one for a little treat to take with me to run errands or back to work as an afternoon pick-me-up.

Print

Blackberry Iced Tea

Course Drinks
Servings 1
Author huntersmama

Ingredients

  • ice
  • 1-2 tbsp blackberry syrup
  • 8 oz black or passion tea

Instructions

  1. Brew tea and allow to cool.

  2. Fill a glass with ice and add cooled tea and blackberry syrup.

  3. Stir to combine and enjoy!

Okay, now we’re going to get a little crazy. You already know we have a killer frozen margarita recipe, but NOW we’re going to add our blackberry syrup and have Frozen Blackberry Margaritas. Once you add in all the ingredients from the original recipe HERE, you can add in 1/4 cup of blackberry syrup. Blend and enjoy! I recommend sipping these poolside!

My last blackberry recipe is one that you’re going to make all summer long… I know I will be.  I wanted to make a Single Serve Blackberry Sangria. The problem with sangria is that most recipes make a big batch. That’s totally fine if I’m having a party, but what if I want just a couple?! The other sangria let-down is the waiting. Again, totally fine to make your big batch ahead of time for a party or something, but it’s a lot of time for just a glass or two. Happy to report that I have a recipe for us! Single serve, no wait sangria. You’re welcome!

Start with 1 1/2 tablespoons of our blackberry syrup. Then pour in 4 oz of your favorite red wine and 2 oz of club soda. Easy-peasy! Wine snobs, cover your ears… I serve this over ice. I live in Phoenix and it’s a million degrees outside, if you don’t have ice in your summer drink it’s just not refreshing! Another little trick, if you like an even sweeter sangria, use 7Up or Sprite instead of club soda.  as a little garnish/stir stick, I use a mini skewer of sugared blackberries. Just skewer your berries and run them under cool water. Shake off so that they’re just the tiniest bit wet, and then roll them in a little bit of granulated sugar. I hope you enjoy this one, I had [too much] fun testing out my different batches to get the right recipe!

Print

Single-Serve Blackberry Sangria

Course Drinks
Servings 1
Author huntersmama

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp blackberry syrup
  • 4 oz red wine
  • 2 oz club soda use lemon-lime soda for a sweeter sangria
  • ice optional
  • sugared blackberry garnish optional

Instructions

  1. Combine blackberry syrup, wine and soda in a glass. Best served chilled, serve over ice if desired.

To make the sugared blackberry garnish:

  1. Skewer 3-4 fresh blackberries on a mini skewer.

  2. Wet slightly so that the sugar will stick.

  3. Roll skewer in a small amount of granulated sugar.

Happy Summer! We hope you enjoy our refreshing treats… come back soon for more fun ideas!

Enjoy!

Love,

Hunter and Mama

 

 

5 Must-Have Super Bowl Party Recipes

The first month of 2017 is already gone!!  We could talk about already forgotten resolutions or getting ready for Valentine’s day…. BUT it’s almost Super Bowl weekend, and that’s a great excuse for whipping up some of our game day faves!

Even if your team isn’t going to the big game (ours definitely isn’t this year…) it’s still a national holiday of sorts.  No matter what your game day plan, FOOD normally plays a big part in the football watching experience.  Hunter and Mama are here to help!  Here’s a little round up of some of our tried and true snacks, sure to be crowd favorites no matter where you’re watching the big game.

  1. Our super-delicious, fresh guacamole.

Chips and dip are football staples, and guac has to be one of our favorites in the dip category.  Bonus: if you’re still sticking to a clean eating resolution, this guacamole recipe will be a hit at the party AND something you can still eat! Full recipe HERE.

2. Speaking of dips… We’re still dreaming of the AMAZING bacon dip from our New Year’s Eve celebration, and this seems like the perfect excuse for some bacon-y goodness.

This is such a simple recipe, and a perfect game day treat.  Just trust us, you’re about to be the most popular person at the party. Click HERE for the recipe.

3. Get out your slow cooker for this next one… we’re making meatballs! Cranberry Chipotle Meatballs, to be exact.

This recipe has been my go-to party contribution for years, and it never disappoints.  Just make sure to make extra, they go really fast!  Full recipe HERE.

4. Next, a game day idea if you’re looking for a little more than just a snack… Our Gameday Pizza and Wings!

Classic combo, delicious results… just takes a bit more kitchen time than the others.  I’m recommending this idea if you’re hosting a small Super Bowl party yourself, or just staying home to tune in with the family.  Full recipe for wings and 2 kinds of pizza is HERE.

5. Finally, if you’re looking to be the MVP of whatever party you’re attending… I have 3 words for you: S’mores. Poke. Cake.

Seriously, just think about it… everybody brings an appetizer. A bag of chips, a grocery store cheese tray. But bringing something for dessert?  That’s above and beyond! And the best part is, this recipe is SO EASY! But it’s also SO GOOD that people will leave the party saying… The game was okay, but that cake!!! (Okay, maybe that’s a stretch, but you get the idea!) Recipe HERE.

There you have it… all you need for game day glory! Make one idea, or all five… but I promise you won’t be disappointed!  Have a happy Super Bowl Sunday, I know we will!

Enjoy!

Love,

Hunter and Mama

A Dinner Party for 3- New Years Eve

Happy New Year!! We hope you all had a happy and safe time celebrating the start of 2017.

New Year’s Eve is a magical night, don’t you think?  It’s always full of hope, no matter what the previous year brought your way.  It’s a night to ring in a fresh start by doing something special.

This year, our something special was a cozy dinner party at home.  We briefly considered going out to a nice dinner as a family… but when we called to make reservations and couldn’t get anything before 9:30, we quickly revised our plans. And I’m so happy it ended up that way anyway!

We decided that we’d make some of our restaurant favorites at home, and create something super special for the last night of 2016. We thought about getting all dressed up for approximately 2 seconds, but ended up eating our fancy meal in our pjs and snuggling up on the couch after. No regrets!

Our meal would’ve easily been a couple hundred dollars if we’d gone out to a restaurant. Plus, I’m pretty sure one year olds, pajamas and unlimited wine refills aren’t what a restaurant has in mind on the biggest party night of the year.

Our NYE Dinner Party Menu:

Bacon Dip with Rosemary Olive Oil Crackers

Cale’s Bruschetta Sampler

Baked Jumbo Scallops

Stuffed Clams on the Shell

Garlic Tomato Zucchini Noodles

Brownie Sundaes

Hunter happily sat in his chair in the kitchen and munched on all kinds of goodies while we danced and sang and cooked all the components of our little feast.

For our appetizers, we chose an OUTSTANDING bacon dip recipe that we served with rosemary and olive oil crackers. The only adjustment I made from the original recipe, using real bacon crumbles(the Costco kind… lifechanging timesaver!) instead of frying, cooling and crumbling bacon.  In case you’re dying to try it tonight…

Bacon Ranch Dip (recipe credit: CountryLiving.com)

1 block softened cream cheese

1/3 C crumbled bacon

3 sun dried tomatoes, chopped

3 green onions, chopped

2/3 C ranch dressing

Mix all ingredients until well combined and let sit at least 30 minutes before serving with your favorite crackers or chips.

Cale also made bruschetta for us, one of his specialties.  If you’ve enjoyed fancy bruschetta at a restaurant, you know that you can mix and match different ingredients for endless possibilities.  For this reason, we’ve come to really enjoy making this at home because you aren’t limited to choosing 2 or 3 flavors from a menu list… you can try as many as you can think up!  We get a nice french loaf from the bakery section and have them slice it for us in store (your grocery store probably has a slicer that you can use yourself or ask a bakery employee to use for you!). Then we pick up whatever cheeses and meats sound good, and occasionally we’ll pick up a jarred bruschetta mix to add in.

For our New Year’s feast we ended up with the following combos:

  • sun dried tomato bruschetta mix with fresh mozzarella
  • fig jam, brie, and prosciutto
  • brie with bacon crumbles
  • basil, fresh tomato, and fresh mozzarella
  • mascarpone with prosciutto

I’ll be honest, we got done with appetizers and both Cale and I were full and had to wait a while to move on to our main course!  But move on we did, because we had some special treats we prepared and we WEREN’T going to miss out!

For our main course, we chose a seafood combo.  Scallops were on sale at the store, so we did these awesome baked scallops. Cale sent me a recipe from AllRecipes.com, and I made a few adjustments to fit our taste and use ingredients we already had on hand.

Baked Scallops

1 lb fresh jumbo sea scallops

4 T melted butter

4 cloves minced garlic

1/2 C diced yellow onion

Dash nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste

1 C bread crumbs (we used traditional, but I think it would be good with Panko too!)

4 T olive oil

Mix the butter, garlic, onion, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Add in the rinsed and drained scallops and toss to coat. Turn out into a casserole dish. 

Combine the olive oil and bread crumbs. Season with salt, pepper and dried parsley if desired. Spoon mixture over the scallops. Bake in a 425 degree oven for 12-15 minutes, or until topping is brown and scallops are done.

 

While we were at the seafood counter, we saw fresh prepared stuffed clams… so naturally we added them to the night’s menu as well!

As a side dish, I made zucchini noodles because I was itching to try out my new spiralizer attachment for my mixer!

After spiralizing 5 zucchinis,  I warmed about 4 T of olive oil in a pot with 1/2 C sliced red onion and 3 cloves of minced garlic. Then I added in my zucchini noodles, some basil, salt and pepper and let that cook for about 5 minutes with the lid on, stirring occasionally.  Lastly, I added in 1 C of halved cherry tomatoes and continued cooking until the zucchini noodles were to the desired softness.  For the first go at my ‘zoodles’ I think it was pretty successful! And a great side for our seafood, too.

We said goodbye to 2016 as a family, and had a countdown to bath time (no midnight for Hunter just yet!) with party poppers and conffetti.

Our dessert was brownie ice cream sundaes, and because we weren’t ready for them before Hunter’s bedtime, he got his baby sundae on New Year’s Day…

Complete with diced banana, a tiny scoop of vanilla ice cream, a dribble of chocolate and some whipped cream for good measure!

I hope you all enjoyed your New Year’s celebrations, I know we certainly had a special little night! Hopefully you’ll use some of these ideas to inspire your next date night in or little holiday celebration!  After all, Valentine’s Day is just around the corner!

Happy New Year to you, our Hunter and Mama supporters! We can’t wait to share 2017 with you!

Love,

Hunter and Mama

 

 

 

 

Cranberry Chipotle Meatballs

Today I’m sharing my go-to appetizer recipe: Cranberry Chipotle Meatballs. It’s easy, it’s delicious, and it uses my crockpot… what more could you possibly ask for?!Cranberry Chipotle Meatballs

I actually made these meatballs for Thanksgiving last week and they were a big hit.  I was in charge of bringing a veggie tray (which I whole-heartedly embraced, as you can see!)

Gobble Gobble- Mama's Turkey Day Veggie Tray

But my in-laws were hosting close to 50 people, so I thought a second appetizer might be in order! It’s always nice to have things for people to munch on as they arrive. I know I always start to get hungry smelling all the amazing Thanksgiving food cooking while we’re waiting for dinnertime…

This is a great post-Thanksgiving recipe, too, because if you have any leftover cranberry sauce you can put it right in! Also, we’re officially in holiday party season now… so if you want a quick recipe for entertaining or to take along to a get-together, this is it!

I use frozen meatballs for this recipe, but I like to warm them through in the microwave before adding them to the crockpot.  That way, if someone (namely my husband) were to sneak one before the party they would still be perfectly edible.

Mama's Meatball Tester

Also, Hunter likes to taste-test the meatballs ahead of the spicier sauce.  You know, quality control.

While the meatballs are warming, I get the sauce ready.  After putting in a crockpot liner, I add one can of jellied cranberry sauce and one cup of bbq sauce.

Cranberry Chipotle Meatballs- Add Cranberry Sauce and BBQ Sauce

Then, I cut up one pepper.  I use chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.  I take one pepper out, slice it open, and scrape out the seeds.  I don’t like these to be knock-your-socks-off spicy, but if you LOVE heat, feel free to leave the seeds in or even add a second pepper to the mix.

Cranberry Chipotle Meatballs- Chopping Your Chipotle Pepper

After I scrape the seeds out, I finely chop the pepper and add it to the other ingredients in the crockpot.  I also add in about one tablespoon of the adobo sauce that the peppers come in.

Cranberry Chipotle Meatballs- Add Adobo Sauce

Stir all the sauce ingredients until they are combined.  It will still look a little lumpy just from the jellied cranberry sauce, but the sauce will smooth out as it heats up.

Cranberry Chipotle Meatballs- Stir All Sauce Ingredients

Next, add in your cooked meatballs and stir until they are completely coated.

Turn your slow cooker on low and let the flavors get nice and friendly while it cooks for at least 1-2 hours before serving. 3-4 hours is ideal, but mine often don’t make it that long before people want to dig in!

Cranberry Chipotle Meatballs

Hope it’s just as much of a favorite in your house!

 

Cranberry Chipotle Meatballs

2 bags frozen meatballs (homestyle variety works best)

1 can jellied cranberry sauce

1 cup bbq sauce

1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped 

1 T adobo sauce from can of chipotle peppers

Heat frozen meatballs according to package directions.

In a slow cooker, combine remaining ingredients and stir until combined.

Add in meatballs, stirring to coat. Cook on LOW for 2-4 hours.

 

Hope you enjoy!

Love,

Hunter and Mama

 

 

Mama’s Fiesta Enchilada Stack

I’m a midwestern girl through and through, especially when it comes to comfort food.  Anything in casserole form… sign me up! But since I moved to Arizona (and married a native Arizonan), my recipes have started to take on a more southwestern flair.

Mama’s Fiesta Enchilada Stack

Heavenly S’mores Poke Cake

Cale often makes fun of me for my sweet tooth, but I swear to you that I was just born this way! Must be my sweet personality!

In any case, it is definitely the reason for my love of baking.  I really enjoy creating decadent treats, especially for those I love.  This s’mores poke cake was originally made to celebrate my grandma’s birthday.  She happens to be a big fan of marshmallow, so every time I think of a dessert for her, I think of something marshmallow-y.  Hunter was under the weather on the day we were supposed to take our cake to the celebration, so we made a new one for the next family gathering… and boy, was it a hit!

I love poke cakes.  They are easy, relatively quick, and ultimately really impressive and over-the-top delicious.  If you’ve never made a poke cake, the concept is essentially to take something pretty good (a boxed cake mix) and turn it into something spectacular by doctoring it up a bit.

img_6237

For this one, we started with a chocolate cake. Follow the box directions to make a 9 x 13 cake. Once it’s completely cool, it’s time to poke your holes. I normally just use a fork to poke holes across the entire surface of the cake. However, because the marshmallow creme doesn’t sink in to the smaller holes as well, I followed up by poking some larger holes throughout with the handle end of a wooden spoon.  This allows the marshmallow goodness to really get into the cake.

img_6245

After the holes are poked, it’s time to start adding all the extras. First, I poured one can of sweetened condensed milk over the surface of the cake and spread it around until it was all soaked in.

Then, I got my marshmallow creme ready to go. I split my jar of marshmallow creme into two equal parts. Since we’re putting this in the microwave, warming it in 2 parts will keep it from overflowing and making a sticky mess all over your microwave! Put the first half of your marshmallow creme into a microwave safe bowl and heat for about 30 seconds, or until it’s a pourable consistency. Stir and spread this over half of your cake, making sure to get it into the larger poked holes. You’ll need to work quickly as the creme will get more difficult to spread as it cools. Repeat this process with the remaining marshmallow creme, making sure the entire cake gets smothered in marshmallow goodness!

Let the marshmallow fluff cool before adding the rest of the toppings. Otherwise, the whipped topping can melt and the final product just doesn’t look as pretty.

img_6253

Once cooled, cover the cake with one thawed container of whipped topping. You can absolutely make your own whipped cream if you prefer, I have before and it turned out great! But this is meant to be an easy recipe post, so we’re keeping it simple with the store bought stuff today!

smores-with-logo

 

After the whipped topping, it’s time for our s’mores toppings! These include 3-4 crushed graham cracker squares, one cup of mini marshmallows, and one cup of milk chocolate chips.

img_6251

As you can see, this was Hunter’s favorite part… He stole his first ever marshmallow and kept trying to come back for more!

img_6259

 

Your cake is all ready to go! Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. In the highly unlikely event of leftovers, the cake will keep pretty well in the fridge for about 3 days.

Heavenly S’mores Poke Cake

1 Boxed Chocolate Cake Mix (prepared according to package directions)

1 Can (14 oz) Sweetened Condensed Milk

1 Container (7 oz) Marshmallow Creme

1 Container Whipped Topping

3-4 Graham Cracker Squares, Crushed

1 Cup Mini Marshmallows

1 Cup Milk Chocolate Chips

Mix the boxed cake mix according to package directions and pour into a greased 9×13 pan. Follow box instructions for baking temperature and time.

Allow the cake to cool completely. Poke holes with a fork across the entire surface of the cake. Poke larger holes throughout by using the handle end of a wooden spoon.

Pour can of sweetened condensed milk over the cake, spreading to cover completely.

Heat half of the marshmallow creme in a microwave safe container for about 30 seconds. Stir and quickly spread over half of the cake. Repeat with the second half of the creme, making sure to cover the entire cake.

Allow the marshmallow creme to cool, then cover with the whipped topping.

Finally, sprinkle the crushed graham cracker, mini marshmallows, and chocolate chips. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Hope you enjoy!

Love,

Hunter and Mama