thirsty thursday: cucumber martini

I almost forgot to write this post because I was preoccupied…enjoying this cocktail!

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…just kidding. kinda.

I know that the hubs and I have been slightly MIA with our “thirsty thursday” posts – blame that on a lot of activites/trips/visits over the past few months! {read: here, here, & here…whew!}

But fear not! We’ll be back in full force over the summer months; the time and weather is idyllic for evenings spent on the porch with a fun and festive cocktail. Watching the sun set and the cool breeze is one of the things I look forward to most about the summer months, and I thought today’s cocktail would be the perfect one to kick off the season.

Gin is the perfect summer liquor, in my opinion, because of the herbal notes and crisp flavor. I’ll take it one step further and say that it is my liquor of choice, just because I love that flavor so gosh darn much. It pairs so beautifully with an assortment of flavors; so when the hubs came up with this cocktail for me, on a total whim, not long ago, I knew I had found my new go-to for the summer. And perhaps, after your first sip, you just may have, too!

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Cucumber Martini {serves 1, can easily be mulitplied}

A fun and refreshing twist on one of the most classic drinks, this cucumber martini tastes like it is infused with all the goodness of summer – fresh cucumbers, herbal notes from gin, and just a dash of St. Germain rounds it out with bright, fruity notes. One sip and you’ll see why we will be sipping on this all summer long!

Ingredients:

2-1/2 ounces gin {we like Hendricks}

1 ounce St. Germain

5 slices of cucumber, plus one or two extra for garnish

5 ice cubes

To Prepare:

Muddle 5 cucumber slices in a cocktail shaker, making sure to really break them apart to release their juices.

Add in the gin, St. Germain, and ice cubes.

Shake vigorously for at least 30 seconds or, until as the hubs says, “you’re hand is freezing”.

Strain into a chilled martini glass, and garnish with additional cucumber slice{s} floating on top.

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Cheers!

happy memorial day

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Many people view Memorial Day weekend as the “kick-off” to summer; time to bring out the grill, open pools, create the first official outdoor gathering with friends. And let’s do that because we can – we can celebrate our freedom and our wonderful lives because of those who have served our country. Both in the past and present, and those destined to serve in the future, {& their family members and their support systems, too!}; let’s remember them today, offer a toast in their honor. Because of them, we are able to celebrate this day. 

Everyone, on your long weekend, take a minute {or two} to honor those who have made it possible for us to enjoy days like today. We are truly blessed. 

memorial day ideas

Can y’all believe that MEMORIAL DAY is just around the corner?!

I for one cannot – I mean, it’s almost June already! For us, this holiday means the start of the summer season…think grillin & chillin, lawn games, time spent at the river, and all sorts of fun outdoor activities and get-togethers. I thought it would be fun to share some of our favorites {our go-to articles, websites, etc.}, in case anyone out there needed a bit of inspiration for their Memorial Day bbq/party time. Here ya go – enjoy!

Alicia xoxo 

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Food & Grilling

Summer Grilling

BBQ Tips

Memorial Day Side Dishes

20 Desserts to Make for Memorial Day

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Fun & Games

Memorial Day Games – For Kids of All Ages!

Fun Adult Games

…Outdoor Games for Adults!

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Festive Beverages

Memorial Day Drinks {adult}

10 Cocktails for Drinking Outside

Fun & Refreshing Drinks {many kid-friendly!}

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Happy celebrating, y’all!

lately: graduation weekend

As you saw from Friday’s post, the hubs and I were home for a long weekend, celebrating a huge milestone for my sister Jackie : ) We spent the weekend touring Richmond – soaking in the graduation ceremonies, exploring the downtown area, and of course…lots of good eats and drinks! What made it even more special was that we got to see several of my extended family members, some of whom I haven’t seen for quite some time. Here’s a peak into how we spent our time!

-Alicia xoxo 

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lately: the in-laws were here!

Recently, my wonder in-laws and sister-in-law were here. We planned a full week and a half while they were here; packing in everything from hikes, to a nice dinner out, and everything in between. Here are some snapshots of our adventures – some of the views might make you long for the outside, and the food may or may not make you hungry! 

Alicia xoxo

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congrats, jackie!

…from our goofy days as kiddos, to her undergraduate graduation from Duke University, I couldn’t be more proud of my middle sister, Jackie. We’re celebrating her 2nd graduation this weekend – but this time, from medical school! She’s headed back to Duke this summer to begin her residency; a four-year stint full of what is sure to bring even more knowledge and skills to her already extremely smart and savvy self. Cheers to you, Jackie – I love you!

Alicia xoxo

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peanut butter power bites

Even a kitchen fail can produce beautiful results. I mean, just take a look at these…

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I am certainly no stranger when it comes to the occasional kitchen “mess up”. There are things, simple things, really…I just can never seem to get it right! My favorite example of this is brown rice – I don’t know what it is, but I have a tendency to either undercook/overcook the rice, or add slightly too much salt when preparing it. White rice, cous cous, or any other grain is no problem for me, but that darn brown rice and I just don’t get along!

But I digress. Back to today’s recipe.

I was making a batch of my homemade peanut butter and I accidentally over-processed the mixture. While still delicious, the end product was far too grainy and chunky to really be called spreadable. It was so thick I could barely get it out of the food processor, let alone into a Mason Jar for storing it! But I sucked it up and saved it anyways; I hate throwing out food, and I knew that if I gave it a day or two to roll around in my foodie brain, I’d eventually come up with something.

And boy oh boy did I; the end product is so wonderfully delicious {and nutritious!}. I was snooping around my pantry and my eyes danced over the rolled outs near the top shelf. So of course I thought of peanut butter cookies, but then I started pondering a no-bake, freezer-style version. Thin the peanut butter out with some honey and add in oats for binding, and you’ve got the perfect power snack! I was giddy with excitement, practically dancing into the kitchen to pull out my trust food processor yet again.

Y’all, the process doesn’t get much simpler than this. Everything goes into the bowl, a few quick pulses, and you’re there. I scooped them into greased mini muffin tins, popped them in the freezer, and fell in love. Truly. These are the perfect bites for between meals; great healthy snacking for outdoor activities, or a tasty little treat before bed. I even offered up a few suggestions for add-ins, should you feel so creative : ) These have become a staple in our house; I hope they will become the same for you!

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Peanut Butter Power Bites

Perfect for snacking on the go, and just comprised of three ingredients, there’s no reason to not whip up a batch right now. You’ll be glad you did! 

Ingredients:

2 cups peanut butter {here’s my homemade version!}

1 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup honey

optional: dried fruit bits, chopped nuts, mini chocolate chips

To Prepare:

Place all ingredients {except the optional ingredients} into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until combined; it won’t take long!

Fold in the optional ingredients by hand.

To assemble:

1.  Bites can be rolled into balls and placed on a greased sheet tray.

2. Using a greased mini muffin tray, balls can be formed and molded into rounds.

3. Spread evenly into a greased 9″ x 9″ baking dish.

Freeze until solid, about 3-4 hours. Store tightly covered.