Watermelons and margaritas are two refreshing ways to stay cool in the hot days of summer. Combine the two to make a watermelon margarita cocktail, and it is summer in a glass! What I also love about this recipe is that you can keep frozen watermelon in your freezer and enjoy this treat anytime you like.
We can thank my friend MK Hannigan, at In the Curious Kitchen, for sharing this delicious jewel of a drink with us. MK is known for her way with cocktails and appetizers, and I’m thrilled that she passed along this watermelon margarita recipe just for us. I highly recommend adding MK’s blog to your rotation as she is always adding a creative touch to any recipe she makes. I love her easy cocktails and delicious appetizers! Here’s my current favorite- the Watermelon Margarita!
Watermelon Margarita Recipe
4 cups frozen watermelon (cubed)
3/4 cup good tequila
1/3 cup orange liqueur (I used Patron)
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/8 – 1/4 cup simple syrup*
Place frozen watermelon pieces in blender and add in all other ingredients.
Blend until smooth.
Using lime wedge, line the rim of the glass with lime juice and then dip rim of glass in margarita salt.
Add ice to 8 oz. glass (recipe yields about 32 oz. or about 4 servings)
Pour drink into glass.
Garnish with a slice of lime.
*Simple Syrup is easy to make and store for when needed.
SIMPLE SYRUP RECIPE
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
Mix both together in a pot over heat. Boil the mixture until sugar dissolves.
Let simple syrup cool.
Store in refrigerator for up to one month.
You can also watch my video on Instagram/IGTV.
A quick tip from Lydia…
If the watermelon is frozen together into a block, let it thaw on the counter for a few minutes until you can break apart with a knife.
For more recipes and party ideas with watermelon, see these posts…
After trying acai bowls for years and always wishing we could replicate our favorites at home, my daughter and I decided to test our own recipe. We are so happy to finally have it figured out, and we wanted to share it with you. The great thing about acai bowls is that you can adjust them to your liking. Remember to try different toppings according to your favorite tastes and flavors. Here is our version~ we hope you LOVE it!
ACAI BOWL RECIPE
1 FrozenAcai PureePouch (found in frozen fruit section) We use Sambazon unsweetened and organic
1 Frozen Banana
1 cup frozen fruit of your choice (we use half cup blueberries and half cup strawberries)
1/2 cup pure apple juice (cold)
1/4- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1-2 Tablespoons Honey
To make the acai bowl, simply add the ingredients to a powerful blender (we use a Ninja) and blend. Stop to scrape down sides and continue to blend until the ingredients are smooth. The mixture should be thick enough to eat with a spoon.
Pour mixture into a deep bowl or divide into 2 smaller bowls to serve.
Top mixture with granola, blueberries, sliced strawberries, blackberries, raspberries.
Serve immediately and enjoy!
Tips and Toppings for Acai Bowls
When making an acai bowl, be sure that all of the fruit ingredients are frozen. The frozen fruit gives the mixture the desired texture and consistency. Using a powerful blender will help as you blend the frozen ingredients. If you thaw the acai puree or any other fruit, the acai bowl will melt too quickly or never achieve the correct consistency.
We have saved the mixture in the freezer to enjoy the next day, but we prefer it served immediately after being made.
TOPPINGS WE LOVE
Shaved or Shredded Coconut
I would love to know how you like acai bowls and if you have ideas and suggestions for toppings. Leave a comment below and tell me your favorites!
Lemonade with blueberries and watermelon makes this iconic summer drink even more fun and refreshing! The good news is that this lemonade is easy to make and packs a big festive punch with friends and family!
I like to kick off summer by serving it on Memorial Day and then bring it out again on Independence Day. You can always turn it into a cocktail if you like- but it is really good as it is! My kids would drink it by the gallon if I would let them!
This star-spangled lemonade is easy to make- or you can always substitute your favorite store-bought lemonade! Here is the recipe…
A Mother’s Day cocktail that is quick and easy- and perfect for any occasion or celebration, actually! Enjoy this refreshing drink anytime and often! The idea for this cocktail started with the gift of acrylic stir sticks from Giddy Paperie and a quarantine limitation on available mixers. Making the best of the shelter-in-place means being creative with what we had! I liked it so much, I wanted to share…
The acrylic stir sticks are a party all on their own, aren’t they? They are so cute and pretty. What a great way to mix your drink and to be able to tell whose drink is whose! I love the useful ways and the beautiful details they provide.
I loaded my silver serving tray with all of the ingredients and supplies and headed to my front porch to create this simple and tasty treat. All you need are a few ingredients…this recipe yields one drink made in an 8 oz. glass.
The stir sticks dress up an otherwise really simple drink. I love the orange color of the cocktail combined with the blue and white chinoiserie designs on the stir sticks. Giddy Paperie hand painted each design and then the designs were made into acrylic stir sticks. It is such a brilliant little party detail- I would love to have them in so many designs! From coffee to cocktails, a stir stick comes in handy!
My favorite way to serve cocktails to a small group is on a decorative tray. With a few simple touches, you can have a beautiful display in no time. Start with a small vase of flowers- I used this small vintage Herend vase and loaded it with ranunculus and snapdragons. Remember to add limes, napkins, glasses, stir sticks, Izze, and gin. I used a shot glass to measure the alcohol.
If you have festive glasses, those are always fun to use. If you don’t, your drink will still be pretty and festive with the orange color and the stir sticks and limes. I added several lime slices to mine because I like the flavor. You can decide what you think, but I love the slight tang that it adds.
Sweet and simple and easy to enjoy! I hope you love this cocktail- and I think every perfect drink deserves to have a fun name, don’t you?? 🙂 Here’s to you and the friends and moms that you celebrate!
In a large saucepan, heat sugar, peanut butter, and light corn syrup over medium heat until smooth.
Turn off heat and add in butterscotch chips. Stir continuously to melt the butterscotch into the warm mixture.
Add Corn Flakes, and mix to coat the cereal evenly.
Line cookie sheet with aluminum foil and spread mixture evenly on pan.
Heat oven to 400 degrees (F).
Sprinkle chocolate chips evenly on top of mixture and bake until chocolate chips begin to melt. This takes 15 minutes in my oven. Stay close and watch carefully so that the chocolate does not scorch.
When chocolate chips begin to melt and sides begin to bubble, remove from oven and spread chocolate evenly across candy.
Let set (about an hour) and then slice into pieces. Enjoy!
I hope your family enjoys it as much as mine does! This recipe combines the old-fashioned recipe of Corn Flake Candy with butterscotch and chocolate. I literally could make this each week and my kids and husband wouldn’t get tired of it. Lol! I love adapting older recipes and making them a little bit new. If you have a recipe that you would like to share, please do! You can always email it to me. I will also share a video of this recipe on my Instagram.
For other simple candy recipes, you can also try one of these…
Blueberry Cobbler is a sweet treat to serve to my family throughout spring and summer. My dad has always grown blueberries (and often gives the entire bush as a gift to friends who ask him about them). We had trays full of berries each summer, and I always loved that abundance of homegrown goodness in our kitchen. 🙂 My mom would make blueberry jam that I could never get enough of- and blueberry muffins, and blueberry cobbler…
When we have blueberries that happen to be more tart than sweet, my kids will ignore them pretty harshly. I usually freeze them for smoothies, but this time I decided to bake with them. The kids had no problem with the berries after this cobbler came out of the oven. Haha! Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and this tastes like summer in a bowl. Here is the recipe for this very simple family favorite!
My daughter requests this recipe for each holiday meal. I think it is cute because I felt the same way about this when I was a teenager. This recipe is hard to describe because it is unlike anything I’ve had or seen to which I can compare it. It is a perfect recipe for a brunch- and according to my daughter, every holiday meal that you make! I made it for Easter this year and thought I would share it with you. It is a shortcut recipe because it starts with a cornbread mix- and it doesn’t have many other ingredients to go along with it. I didn’t have a chance to take photos of it- except for when it was just out of the oven, but I thought you wouldn’t mind. Here’s the recipe…
Sometimes we all need a shortcut when we need a dessert for something special. This recipe was one that my sister used to make when I was younger~ and even though I am more of a frosting girl when it comes to cake, this cake recipe won me over. It is really simple because it starts from a boxed cake mix!
By baking the cake in a bundt pan, it gives the cake some decoration. I love the simplicity of the chocolate cake with the white powdered sugar, but I often dress up this cake a little more. Depending on the occasion, I decorate the cake in different ways. It is perfect for birthdays and holidays- and for when you just have a chocolate craving. It is rich, and the powdered sugar is the perfect complement to all of the chocolate.
For Easter, I had a little fun decorating the cake with a spring theme…
After the cake had cooled, I added powdered sugar. Next, I added edible green grass (I found it at Target) and a chocolate bird nest with jelly beans in the center opening of the cake.
Hands down, this recipe is one of the easiest and most-requested desserts I have ever made! My mom made this for us when we were kids, and then it became my signature dessert when I was a teenager. Lol- I would make it all the time! When I went to college, I continued to make it for my college friends- and then on and on. Here I am with teenagers myself, and I am still making it! The good news is that kids can easily learn to make it, too!
I love a big bowl of soup and often joke that I could live off of soup and dessert. I am sharing five of my favorites with you today- especially because it has been perfect weather for a big bowl of soup lately.
This first soup is one that my friend Nancy served for lunch one day when our kids were toddlers. The kids loved it and so it became a go-to for me. A funny little side note…my niece always thought my sister was saying “Santa Face Soup” and so now my sister makes this each Christmas Eve. 🙂
13 oz.can chopped green chiliesMost chopped green chili cans are 4 ounce; so I measure about half way between ¼ cup and ½ cup in a liquid measuring cup.
½cupshredded cheese(Monterrey Jack, Cheddar, or Mexican Blend)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine ingredients in medium mixing bowl. Stir only until ingredients are moist.
Pour into greased (use Pam) 8 inch baking pan. (I use mini-muffin pan) Bake for 25-30 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. (Mini-muffins take about 15 min.)
My husband likes soup, but I can tell that he often wants bread to go with it. I switch it up on which bread I put with it, but this Mexican Corn Bread and the frozen Pepperidge Farm 3-Cheese baguette are our typical choices.
2. SAUSAGE AND SPINACH TORTELLINI SOUP
Another friend, Heather, made this soup for me one day (they know I love trying new soups!). I think I sent this recipe out in my newsletter, but I thought it would be nice to have it all in one place. This is one of those recipes that I would have skipped right over because of the sausage. I’m so glad Heather didn’t! It is really good- and my kids love the sausage and tortellini in it. I am linking you to the recipe here >> SAUSAGE AND SPINACH TORTELLINI SOUP Again, I typically serve Pepperidge Farm’s 3-Cheese Bread (from the freezer section) with this soup.
3. THE ULTIMATE CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP
If your family prefers something a little less daring and a lot more familiar, I recommend this Chicken Noodle Soup recipe from Taste of Home. I made it recently and it was a really big hit with my kids. Empty bowls all around the table!
BUTTERY BISQUICK MUFFINS
I used to make these in college for my friends and they were always a hit. Now, I’m not saying these are healthy, but they surely are always gone quickly. They are so simple!
I would love to know what you want to try first- and which ones you like best! I am a crazy for soups and so I like a variety of kinds. If you ever have a favorite you would like to share, please send me an email or leave a comment in the comment section.
Ivy Odom brings an energy and enthusiasm to Southern Living’s YouTube Channel called, “Hey Y’all!” that is undeniably fun and fresh! I had a chance to sit down with Ivy for a chat recently, and I am excited to share more about her with you all!
I met up with Ivy in Birmingham, AL where she lives and works. Ivy is originally from a small town in South Georgia (Moultrie) and went to the University of Georgia in Athens. She now works at her dream job as a recipe tester/developer at Southern Living Magazine. I loved finding out more about Ivy’s path to fulfilling that dream…here she is, below, showing me her Southern Living Test Kitchen.
Ivy says, when she was younger, she wanted to be a Home Economics teacher. As a student at UGA, Ivy decided on Consumer Journalism for her major and Spanish for her minor. While in college, Ivy sought out a mentor that could help guide her on her career path. Not only did Ivy find a mentor in Rebecca Lang, but she also found a friend for life. Rebecca’s guidance, coupled with Ivy’s ambition, set Ivy on her way to reaching her goal of working at Southern Living. Below, you can see Ivy as an intern with Rebecca…a sidenote about Ivy’s connection to Rebecca is that Ivy reached out to Rebecca after Googling, and Rebecca loved the drive that Ivy showed in doing so.
After finishing college and then completing culinary school (graduated top of her class!), Ivy began as an intern for the Southern Living test kitchen. At one point, Ivy was given the opportunity to bake anything she wanted. She didn’t go small! Clearly not one to shy away from an excellent chance to let her skills shine, Ivy made an 18-Layer Chocolate Cake! 18 layers is an incredible feat. 🙂 Ivy told me the story of how her Great-Grandmother used to make this cake for Ivy’s mom and uncle- increasing the number of layers with each birthday. It became a family birthday tradition and Ivy shared it with Southern Living. The video of Ivy making the recipe quickly became the most viewed video of that year on the Southern Living YouTube Channel. Way to make a career entrance, Ivy!
Ivy has such an endearing quality about her- she draws you in with her charm and grace. And, she continues to impress you the more you get to know her. What stands out to me so strongly is Ivy’s love of learning and her intelligence and curiosity. I was surprised to learn that Ivy has also passed the level one course of sommelier training. When I asked more about her training, Ivy told me that she loves wine and being an informed consumer! What I found fascinating was Ivy’s description of how much she learned from wine and its connection to art, science, geography, climate, and history.
I asked Ivy that if she could prepare a southern meal for someone who had never been to the south, what would she choose to make. Her menu did not disappoint! I love the thought that she put into what she would want to serve as to give the best “first impression” of the south. No wonder she is an excellent representative of the south’s finest! Here is Ivy’s menu…now if we could only have her cook it for us!
Ivy Odom’s Ideal Southern Meal
Ivy said she would take cues from a traditional southern New Year’s Day meal and make a few changes to offer a warm welcome to anyone visiting the south for the first time…
Fried Catfish with Remoulade
Field Peas mixed with chopped tomatoes and chopped raw Vidalia onion
Mix 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 stick butter, and 2 eggs in electric mixer until well blended. As batter is mixing, add in another cup of both flour and sugar, 2 eggs, and 1 stick of butter.
Add in the last of the flour, sugar, butter, and eggs once the second round is mixed in well.
Finally, add in the cream cheese and lemon extract and beat until smooth. Pour batter into a greased bundt pan and place in cool oven. Bake at 300 degrees for 2 hours, or until fork placed in center comes out clean.11
In the photo above, Ivy posed in front of the cameras and equipment they use to film Hey Y’all. I asked Ivy about the production of the episodes and she says she always likes the first take because it feels the most genuine to her. The producers and editors often like the last take because it is more practiced. The final version is usually a mix of them all. I always enjoy watching each episode and seeing the variety of topics that Ivy covers. It is especially fun to see Southern Living embracing YouTube as a source to bring content to its readers. Ivy is the perfect ambassador! In fact, a few days before Ivy and I met, she was on Good Morning America sharing recipe ideas for the Super Bowl and Ivy was outstanding! I was so proud of how well she represented all of us southern ladies (I brought her this champagne bottle as a congratulatory gift)!
Ivy talked about her southern upbringing being such a great springboard for life- from the traditions of her family to her appreciation of her always-encouraging parents. Ivy says she has always been the girl who enjoys setting pretty tables, serving delicious meals, and providing a warm atmosphere for friends and family- all thanks to the examples set before her. One of the sweetest things Ivy told me was that her grandmother gifts her a piece of silver each year at Christmas so that she will eventually have a complete set- what a thoughtful gift and heirloom. I love the strong family ties and values of southern (and all) families.
I had fun asking Ivy a few rapid-fire questions about her likes and dislikes.
Any foods you don’t like? Cantaloupe and Cauliflower
Favorite place to go to relax? The beach
Favorite beach? St. George Island
Favorite chocolate for baking? Ghirardelli
Cocktail parties or cookouts? Cocktail parties
Favorite apron? Hedley & Bennett
Travel essential? Earring organizer from Amazon
Snapchat or TikTok? TikTok
Favorite season? Summer
Favorite holiday? Easter
Red wine or Rose’- Red
Favorite hostess gift to give- Tea towel
Favorite party favor? Flower arrangement in something to keep like a teacup
Favorite party theme? Casual Girls’ Night with Wine and a Movie
As the mom of a teenage girl, I love the example Ivy provides to my daughter and her peers. I feel grateful to Ivy for being the epitome of southern grace combined with determination, eagerness, confidence, wit, and intelligence. I could just hug her for representing all of those values to the teens out there who are searching for young role models. I asked Ivy what message she would give to girls younger than she, and this is what she had to say~
“Girl power is a lot more powerful than you think. Be willing to fight for yourself. Be fearless but with grace. Show kindness and humility. Don’t act better than others.” ~Ivy Odom
And, with that, I think you can see why I am so excited to share Ivy on my website. I can’t wait to cheer Ivy on as she continues on her path- she reaches high and I look forward to watching her soar!
A champagne brunch is such a simple and beautiful way to celebrate or entertain. I am going to show you the basics of setting up an area for serving champagne (and a non-alcoholic version, too). I will also share one of my favorite champagne cocktails in case you prefer to take it up a notch.
For starters, use a silver or gold/brass ice bucket as a focal point for the champagne drink station. Here, I used a vintage brass loving cup / trophy cup ice bucket. I think it is always interesting to use a unique serving piece in the center. You can also use a garden planter or cache pot to hold several bottles of champagne at a time. Another striking alternative is to group several (at least 3) coordinating single ice buckets as the focal point and elevate them so that they are different heights.
Secondly, use a serving tray that gives the occasion an extra-special feel. Here I used one of my favorite silver trays and loaded it with simple champagne flutes. The metallic and glass complement each other nicely and play off of each other with a little bit of shimmer. To create a fun, celebratory vibe, add in a playful sign or saying such as the “Press for Champagne” button below…
You could incorporate the playful message through printed napkins, or a garland/banner that fits nicely on the drink area.
On the tray, use a loving cup to serve raspberries, blackberries, or blueberries. Remember to add a spoon so that the guests can add the berries to their champagne glasses. Above, I also added simple pink candy melts in a silver loving cup to add an unexpected treat that also was a pretty shade of pink! 🙂
I surrounded the champagne and tray of glasses with flowers. Parker Kennedy Living and I put together several loving cup container ideas, and I used those to dress up the champagne bar. I kept it simple by setting up the champagne on the sideboard in our dining room- it has an easy flow of traffic and is large enough to serve more than one person at a time. The loving cups full of flowers give it a beautiful feel- and is a perfect way to brighten up a winter day.
Continuing with the loving cup theme, I set up a hot tea service (see my favorite tea here) on my bar cart beside the champagne bar. It is always a thoughtful gesture to serve non-alcoholic options, even at a champagne brunch! The silver urn serving piece holds the hot water and makes a great centerpiece.
Around the urn, I added all of the essentials for hot tea- the tea itself, honey sticks, sugar…
Remember to offer several teacups and saucers for the guests to serve themselves- along with a spoon for stirring. Colorful macarons add another bright spot to a wintry day and pair nicely with tea.
As you can see, I also placed a pretty bottle of water on the serving cart and glasses are housed below. Simply add cocktail napkins and flowers, and you are all set!
Setting up a bar cart / drink station for a champagne brunch doesn’t have to be difficult or elaborate. If you elevate the simple necessities and use items from around your home, you can design a beautiful setting for drinks in no time. One last little tip… remember to add a tea towel or bar towel to your drink station. It will help with accidental spills (which always happen) and will make your guests feel more comfortable to have a towel close by if needed when dealing with drinks. That way, no one has to embarrass themselves over a spill that needs a lot of attention. See below for my suggestions for champagne cocktails and favorite teas…
This is a simple way to add a little something special to your already special champagne!