Cocktail O’ Clock: Strawberry Amore

Strawberry Amore

Pink is the color of Valentine’s Day. Pink Champagne, pink hearts, pink (okay, kinda red) strawberries… I love strawberries and Champagne on this holiday so I’m pretty into this recipe from Three Olives, using their Marilyn Monroe strawberry vodka. It reminds me of another classic film star—or rather, the drink named after her—Shirley Temple! (RIP, my sweet friend). This recipe uses lemon lime soda to add bubbles, but I think it would be great with a float of your favorite sparkling wine as well.

I took some creative liberties and garnished with a “chocolate-covered strawberry” flavor Peep... because hey, why not?!

Strawberry Amore Cocktail

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Super Sweet Valentine’s: Strawberry Funfetti Melted Ice Cream Cake

Happy V-Day! Whether single, attached, or somewhere in the middle, there’s one unifying reason for everyone to celebrate the holiday of love: SUGAR. Valentine’s Day is a no-holds-barred marathon of sweets. Chocolates, strawberries, truffles, cupcakes, whipped cream…the sugary possibilities are endless. Personally, I’m a “red wine and dark chocolate” type of dessert lover, but I do have a couple vices when it comes to sweets, and here’s my most guilty one: funfetti. I’m powerless before funfetti. You know what I’m talking about, that boxed rainbow cake you see at birthday parties? I love it.

Strawberry Ice Cream Funfetti Cake

Anyway, this is a recipe that was sent to me by our friends at Arctic Zero, so it’s festive and sweet but definitely lower in cals/fat than your average dessert made with cream, butter, etc. Meaning you can still feel H-O-T in whatever seductive outfit you want to flaunt after sharing this dessert with your love (significant other, friend, family member, TV screen?) of choice.

The cake itself is cute and pink and rainbow-y, and super moist thanks to using Arctic Zero versus oil or something in the cake batter. It tastes like a homemade birthday cake with a scoop of melted ice cream mixed together. What could be better than that?

Strawberry Funfetti Melted Ice Cream Cake

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Two of Hearts: Ultimate Valentine’s S’mores

The best thing about Easter — PEEPS! — is now the best thing about Valentine’s Day! A few weeks ago, a box of glory appeared on my doorstep. A box full of VALENTINE’S PEEPS. Oh, yes. It was ON. (And by “it,” I mean “intense sugar highs and almost immediate sugar crashes.”)

Take a glimpse of the offerings:

Valentines Peeps Products

Chocolate Mousse teddybears, Strawberry Creme hearts, Vanilla Creme hearts, regular marshmallow hearts, sugar-free hearts, and Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry chicks! My favorites are the Vanilla Creme and Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry.

So, what to do with all these marshmallows? There’s an obvious answer here: s’mores.

Recently, one of my (GENIUS) coworkers mentioned an awesome trick: instead of using a regular ol’ Hershey bar in your s’more, use a Reese’s Cup to add some peanut buttery goodness. What?! Mind. Blown. Lucky for me (and you!) Reese’s makes heart-shaped candies for Vday. This is some heart-on-heart action.

Peeps S'mores

Peeps S'more Reeses

I mean… I don’t even know what to tell y’all about this. It’s so simple. The answer was there all along. REESE’S CUPS. I made mine with a Vanilla Creme Peep (because I love me some vanilla + PB) and it was heavenly. (By the way, no shame in using a microwave on this guilty little pleasure… it’s way too cold to be messing with a backyard bonfire this winter.)

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5 Last-Minute V-Day Desserts

While we personally believe that showing up with a case of wine and a gallon of chex mix should be enough to get anyone laid, we understand that some of you have more demanding Valentines than us. In that case, here are a few high-class (but not that hard) desserts that should be able to make any dinner date fall into bed…er, love.

1. Banana Cream Pie Cupcakes

Sorry, guys — if you’re skipping the night out, you can’t just order up a pint of B&J and call it a day. Staying home for V-day usually requires presenting something both pretty and impressive. These banana cream pie cupcakes ought to do the trick.

2.Pine Nut Brittle

Trust us, nothing gets a foodie more excited than seeing an expensive ingredient show up in unexpected places. And this sweet/savory snack actually tastes delicious: pine nut brittle with vanilla ice cream and blueberries.

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Sweet & Salty Valentine’s Day

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I am willing to bet that  you currently fit into one of three Valentine categories: (1) you haven’t gotten your Valentine a gift yet, (2) you hate Valentine’s Day, or (3) you think you’re getting something that you really are not. Or maybe you are perfect and got exactly what your Valentine wanted for this special Hallmark day (NOT). For the rest of us—there is a solution. This treat is the end game.

Unless you hate everything awesome, you’re going to love every bite of this action-packed chex mix. Some call it “Better than Sex Chex Mix.” I’m calling it it “Cupid’s Special Secret”…because this will make anyone happy. Take chocolate chex (Gluten Free, of course—I’m still trying to be healthy), caramel, chocolate (milk and white), tiny peanut butter cups, and some sea salt. …And butter, brown sugar and corn syrup (sugar is sugar, right?) If you still aren’t convinced to make this for your boo (or yourself), then you don’t belong here.

I’m not going to waste anyone’s time…bottom line: this will win the day. Game Over. Flowers? BUSH LEAGUE. Take the half hour out of your life to spoil her/him/yourself. You won’t regret it. My girlfriend loved it!

Cupid’s Special Secret Chex Mix

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Sweets For Your Sweet: Tiny Turtles

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These candies are pretty, delicious, and best of all: simple. Chewy caramel is layered over toasted pecans, then topped with chocolate and a sprinkle of sea salt. These candies need to stay refrigerated (since the chocolate is not tempered it will ‘bloom‘ if left at room temperature. It will be safe to eat, but not very pretty). The caramel will also be easier to unmold from the paper wrappers if it is chilled.

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Tiny Turtles

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Cooking with Booze: Bourbon Bananas Foster

bananas foster

It’s never too early to start planning Valentine’s Day! And single folks, it’s definitely never too early to start planning a mid-winter, anti-romantic gorge fest, right? We’re thinking a weekend staying in Vegas, ordering up ridiculously lavish steaks and tracking down various booze-soaked desserts like the ridiculously good banana’s foster at Hugo’s Cellar in Four Queens Hotel and Casino Las Vegas. It’s prepared tableside, bananas served up over vanilla ice cream and then set on fire! Who’s with us?

Or you know, either way you could just stay home and cook up your own lavish mid-winter feast. Chef Nisa Burns of Kitchenability.com and author of the new book Kitchenability 101: The College Student’s Guide to Easy, Healthy, and Delicious Food, shares a sweet, spiked dessert. This bananas foster is made with bourbon rather than rum (we like), and is actually quite easy to make.

Easy Bananas Foster with Ice Cream

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