Bloody Marys

There is nothing as fun as Bloody Marys for breakfast on a lazy Sunday. Last weekend, our friends Lindsey and Trevor came over for football…and whenever football is on, I feel the need to start cooking (What can I say, I don’t like to watch football and I love to feed people!).

I like my Bloody Marys fancy and spicy. Since we were entertaining, I made these fancy skewers that worked amazingly as stir sticks. They kept the spices from settling at the bottom, and infused the juice with extra garlic, jalapeno, and lime kick. Have fun with these!

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Classic Margarita

I am  so obsessed with Margartias lately. Maybe it was the burst of warm weather we had in early February, but I’m not even going to tell you how fast I recently went through a bottle each of Cabo Wabo and Cointreau (don’t worry, I shared!).

You’ll notice my margaritas are not bright green, and that’s because there is no sign of margarita mix in this house. Fake color, fake flavor, and unnecessary calories – no thanks! The extra effort it takes to juice your own limes is definitely worth it.

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Pink Port Sparkler

Last weekend, Tim and I poured wine at the Atascadero Wine Festival. If you’ve never been to a wine festival, you should definitely find one in your area (or come visit Paso Robles Wine Country…we have lots!). As long as you keep it responsible and don’t try to taste every wine there, you will learn a lot and maybe find some new favorites!

During the event, we traded shifts with our fellow pourers so that we could walk around and taste. I had some friends visiting from New York (Hi, Mike and Kate!), and the timing worked out perfectly so that they were able to come to the festival. They had never been wine tasting before (and of course, we took them tasting the next day, too!), and I had a fabulous time sharing my passion with them.

My two favorite tastes of the day were both bubbles! Domaine Le Mieux was a new discovery for me. They are opening a tasting room up in Templeton, hopefully by the end of summer, and they make Vin de Pomme…that is, Apple Champagne! (technically, Sparkling Apple Wine). I wish I had taken some photos, but I’m sure I will be mentioning them on here again – they are definitely a new favorite!

My other favorite taste was what the team at 15 Degrees C, our fabulous local wine shop, was pouring – Cava and Pink Port cocktails. Pink bubbles can do no wrong in my book; the next day I stopped by the shop to pick up the makings. The four of us polished off the champagne part of the mix before dinner – at $8 a bottle, I definitely should have picked up two!

p.s. Become a fan of Sweet Life Laur on Facebook!

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Citrus Sangria

The first time I had Sangria was in Ecuador. It was one of the last days of my study abroad there, and our professor, Nancy, made a big batch to accompany our dinner of grilled chicken, veggies, potatoes, and grilled pineapple for dessert. We ate and drank on the beach, and after dinner, my friends and I hung out and ate the fruit from the bottom of the pitchers – hey, we were 19, in a foreign country, and excited to get tipsy!

Nancy, who is from Venezuela, told me how to make Sangria in these words: “Cut up whatever fruit you have into small pieces, and add wine!” There are endless sangria variations – white, red, citrus, berries, bubbles, a splash of liquer – you really can’t go wrong!

A couple weeks ago, my cousin Erin wrote asking for a Sangria recipe. Thankfully, I had started making Sangria at the Bistro and was in the final stages of perfecting my recipe. Not too sweet, lots of flavor, and of course, refreshing! A double recipe has been selling out at the Bistro, which in my eyes is the best compliment.


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Spiked Hot Chocolate

Despite an 80-degree Thanksgiving, it looks like cold weather might be staying for a while here on the Central Coast. It’s been mostly sunny but very brisk and very breezy. And cold here is nothing compared to what I endured for the 3 1/2 years I spent at school in New Jersey, so I try not to complain.

Chilly days and evenings remind me of bundling up for sports games at Drew, my alma mater (so funny to say that, by the way). To gear up for late-season soccer and early-season lacrosse games on The Turf, I would wear leggings and knee socks under my jeans, along with any variation of long sleeve T’s, zip-ups, North Face fleeces, and hats and gloves and scarves. I would bring extra blankets, and a version of this hot chocolate was nearly always in hand.

Without further ado, I bring you one of my favorite “recipes” from college. And by recipe I mean dump it in a travel mug and get ready to cheer on your team. Spiked hot chocolate is basically guaranteed to warm you from the inside out and make sure you have fun at any chilly sports game. Truth.

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Oh, Mexico

bloody maries

Bon Voyage and Bottoms Up!

So if you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed that I have been gearing up for a cruise!  Brian and I are headed to Catalina, California and Ensenada, Mexico (via San Diego!) for a little five-day vacation.  We leave this evening and we’re very excited!

On the down side, this means no new recipes for about a week. On the up side, I will be eating many delicious things on the cruise and while in port, so I will come back with lots inspiration to share with you!  I might even post some vacation photos.

One thing vacation means is cocktails at fun times of the day…like breakfast (ha).  With that in mind, I leave you with a divine recipe for a delicious Bloody Mary, one of our favorite cocktails.

Customizable Bloody Mary
makes 1

Combine one shot (or more, I don’t judge) vodka, a few shakes Worcestershire sauce, a few drops Tabasco, a few cracks of pepper, and few shakes of celery salt in pint glass. Fill with tomato juice (or V8 – I like the low sodium one), stir well to combine, and garnish with celery.  Bottoms up!

Quantities can be adjusted based on how spicy you like it!  If you’re feeling lazy, like I will be this week, my favorite mix is Mr. and Mrs. T’s Spicy mix…I really recommended them, they taste just as good!

Brian’s Key Lime Sublime

Key Lime SublimeMy boyfriend Brian makes fab cocktails.  He came over the other night for a post-work cocktail, only to find that there weren’t really any mixers in my house (greattt job Laur).  We found a week-old bottle of tangerine lime seltzer and key limes…”That will work,” he said, and my champion improviser went to work.

We were both expecting sub-par, but this drink turned out to be great – I credit the bartending skills (…and the limes).

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