Colorful Fun Food

Making food look appetizing is always a goal, but making it beautiful, fun, and interesting adds an extra element of enjoyment! It is actually easy, too! I was so happy to discover fruit powders (I order from Suncore Foods) and to learn more about their superfood status and health benefits. It takes smoothies and parfaits to another level! I have made gorgeous yogurt parfaits for adults and adorable unicorn parfaits for kids- read on to see those and more!

My absolute favorite (so far) is the Pitaya Powder. Pitaya is pink dragon fruit- and so the bright, pink color comes naturally. Pitaya powder is full of vitamin C, protein, fiber, and essential amino fatty acids- along with several of the B vitamins.

For this parfait, I layered Greek yogurt mixed with blueberry fruit powder, plain Greek yogurt, yogurt mixed with hibiscus powder, and then the top is yogurt mixed with pitaya fruit powder. I used 3 different medium sized bowls to mix the yogurt with the 3 different powders. Blueberry was my second favorite choice, and hibiscus was my third favorite. Hibiscus is very tart and so be sure to use a smaller amount. I would suggest starting with 1/4 teaspoon of a fruit powder mixed with 1/4 cup yogurt. Add more or less according to your taste preferences. I always end up adding a little more pitaya. You can see the layers in the photo below…

I also love to garnish desserts with edible rose petals, and I find those at Suncore Foods, too. You can see them scattered here and on top of the parfait beside the blackberry. What you can’t see is the fruit that is in the parfait- but it is there! I love berries and chopped apples in between the layers of yogurt.

Another way to use fruit powder is to make a colorful fruit dip. Here I filled a platter with a rainbow of fruit and added small ramekins filled with fruit dip. The dip is a simple combination of whipping cream and lemon curd- and then I added a 1/4 teaspoon of different fruit powders to make each one have a different flavor…

To make the different flavored dips, I ordered a bundle pack that included 4 choices. I chose Butterfly Pea, Pitaya, Blueberry, and Hibiscus (clockwise from top in the photo above). You can see more of the choices in the photo below…

EASY LEMON FRUIT DIP

Ingredients~

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup lemon curd (you can find in grocery store pre-made or make your own)

1/4 teaspoon of fruit powders separated

Directions~

  1. Pour whipping cream into a bowl (cold, metal bowl works best if you have it)
  2. Beat until cream is thickened and then add lemon curd
  3. Whip until soft peaks form
  4. Separate dip into 4 bowls and add desired amount of fruit powder and stir.
  5. Refrigerate and serve with your favorite fruits.



UNICORN PARFAITS

My third suggestion for how to get creative using food powders is to surprise your favorite littles with a Unicorn Parfait! The parfait part is made in the same way as described at the top of this post. Simply mix your favorite yogurt with 1/4 teaspoon of fruit powder (each flavor in a different bowl). Layer each flavor of the parfait in a small clear glass or bowl so that the colors show, adding blueberries and/or strawberries between each layer.

For a little extra fun, I added a layer of sprinkles between the white and pink layers. The fresh fruit is also in there between the layers of yogurt. The marshmallow unicorn face is easy to make using edible markers and premade sugar flowers found at Michael’s. I used a toothpick dipped in frosting and then rolled in sprinkles to make the unicorn horn. Attach the horn by pushing it into the top of the marshmallow. The ears are snips of marshmallow made by cutting the top of a marshmallow horizontally and then cutting that piece in half. You can use frosting to attach the ears. Simply draw on the eyes, nose, and cheeks using an edible marker.

And then, the easiest part of all is to place the marshmallow unicorn on top of the layers of fruit and yogurt. Serve and watch those eyes light up with excitement!

If you want the unicorns to stand tall, just put the marshmallow on a tall wooden skewer or straw (or a wooden skewer covered with a straw). These are really fun to serve for a special breakfast or birthday treat. I hope you enjoy all of these ideas!

XO,

Lydia

Lydia Loves… ~ Edition 3

Hello, Friends! One of the things I love most is hearing from you! This edition of Lydia Loves starts with a useful and fun find sent to me from my friend Lee Ann who lives in Nashville, Tennessee. Feel free to share ideas with me when you find something that you think we would all enjoy knowing about- just like Lee Ann did! And, as always, let me know what you find on these lists that are new to you and that you have found useful for yourself or for others! It is fun to swap ideas and help us all live our best creative lives! 🙂

  1. Paper Placemats from Hester and Cook

These placemats are perfect for indoor and outdoor entertaining! They dress up a table with beautiful patterns and colors, and they come in a large variety of themes! From sophisticated looks to whimsical children’s patterns, you will find one suited to your tablescape.

I really like that I can accent a particular look without investing in 12 placemats that I may only need a few times- and I can get the look I want without having to find a way to store them. You can use them and then recycle!

I love this placemat set for a twist on red, white, and blue for July.

Both of these patterns would be great for summer. You can get colorful with the pattern shown above, or use a more conservative placemat like the one shown below and dress it up with tableware and patriotic decorations. I like the red, Swiss dot for many occasions- from Independence Day to Christmas to Valentine’s Day to family birthdays!

2. Reinvented Shower Cap by SHHHOWERCAP

Ah, a shower cap makes me think of images of olden days and perfectly coiffed hair stiff with hairspray. But, it is time for me to think again. Have you seen these newly-designed shower caps that pretty much negate everything you ever thought a shower cap was? Meet SHHHOWERCAP! First of all, they have tons more style, but even better they have such better functionality!

In a nutshell, this new design keeps humidity from completely ruining your hairstyle. It dries right away because water is repelled rather than soaked into the cap. The elastic band is redesigned so that it keeps water out, and it doesn’t leave an indention around your head when you remove it. And so, to recap (lol), there is now a shower cap made modern with cool fabrics and function like no other! As a bonus, Shhhowercap will replace your cap if you have a problem- I love that!

3. Earrings by Mae Wearable Art

Mae Wearable Art is a collection of jewelry handmade by Margaret Mewborn. I had the pleasure of meeting Margaret and having dinner with her at The Southern C Summit in February. I was immediately drawn to her happy disposition, enthusiasm for creating, and appreciation for life. Mae Wearable Art has a big variety of styles and collections to suit many tastes- and I was especially touched by her collection that was created in memory of her best friend. Here I am highlighting the blue cross earrings in medium, but be sure to see all of the colors and sizes… I love these for gift giving, and I also love the price range!

Margaret lets her spunk shine through in so many of her designs. Each one is extra-special because of its handmade nature. Supporting an art is one of my favorites because you truly receive a thoughtful, one-of-a-kind item that is created just for you. I am loving one of her newest designs. These earrings would be perfect for all summer …

4. Beach Towels and Beach Bags by Taylor Beach Design

Vivid, spirited, and fun is how Taylor Beach Design is best described- which also happens to be her tagline! I couldn’t agree more- and I couldn’t love her entire newly-designed online store more, either! You should definitely take a look at all of the fresh designs waiting on all of us to enjoy! I first discovered Taylor’s talent when she hand-painted Christmas ornaments for our Christmas trees. I love seeing what is new each time she expands her line, and now there is so much to see all at once. It was hard to choose what to share, but I decided on beach towels and totes…

Many of the beach towels can be personalized…and there are many beautiful and fun designs!

I love all of the beach bags/totes- they make us look pulled together and ready for the day when we pack our towels, sunscreens, and snacks. You can coordinate the tote and towel if you like- but I wanted to show you some of the variety that you will find!

5. Superfood Super Color Fruit Powder from Suncore Foods, Inc.

One of my favorite food discoveries- Super color powders from Suncore are naturally beautiful fruit powders that are healthy, organic, gluten-free, and non-GMO. My favorite way to use the fruit powders is with Greek yogurt and fruit- but there are so many creative ways to add a dose of pretty (and healthy) to your food! The fruit powder is also great to add to juice, smoothies, dips, and so much more. The natural colors will wow you! My very favorite is the Pitaya Powder, but I love ordering a set of 4 flavors at a time to try the different tastes…

I literally use pitaya powder each day with yogurt and fruit- and here is another way I have used the powders for my family…a fruit platter with a variety of fruit dip flavors. I will share a few more of my favorite ways to enjoy the fruit powders soon!

Photo by Lydia Menzies

6. Blue and White Striped Tray with Ginger Jar Pattern from Parker Kennedy Living- The Cellar

Having a tray handy for serving appetizers or snacks is always a nice touch- and this blue and white tray is an exceptional find from Parker Kennedy Living- The Cellar. It makes your presentation feel and look pulled together and polished- even if it only took a few minutes to assemble! I love it on a kitchen countertop or a bar cart. I also think it is a beautiful addition to a bathroom vanity to boost your design. The tray is a perfect accessory- and I love the combination of the stripes and the ginger jar patterns!

7. Southern Lady Magazine

My mom began subscribing to Southern Lady magazine when the magazine first was published. I would tease her about it because my mom was (and still is) the epitome of a Southern Lady herself. It was as though they had created a magazine about her! When I would get the magazine out of the mailbox and bring it to her, I would use my best Southern drawl to let her know that her “Suthin Laydee” had arrived. Fast forward a few years and I was asking to “borrow” her Southern Lady magazines so much that mom decided it was time she sent my own to be delivered to my door. She gave me a subscription as a gift, I have loved it ever since!

Imagine how surprised and excited I was (and still am) when I opened the latest edition and found a photo that I had taken featured as part of a summer inspiration page. The photo is one that I took on Nantucket and it sums up this Southern girl’s summer fun in a quick click. I am grateful for the feature and so excited to be included in a fabulous publication like Southern Lady. The magazine is always an inspiration to me – I read it for the entertaining ideas, recipes, and business features that are always useful and gorgeous. Thank you, Southern Lady for the feature! I appreciate it so much!

And so, those are my loves for this week! I hope you have found something that you love, too. I would really enjoy hearing what you find helpful and useful- or if you have something you think I would love to know about, please share! We can help each other discover all of the fabulousness that is out there for us to enjoy! Have a great week!

XO,

Lydia

Pots De Creme

If you love a rich and creamy chocolate dessert, then this one is just for you! The name alone- Pots de Creme- sounds very fancy, but you will be surprised at how easy it is to make this decadent and delicious dessert! My college roommate and forever friend gave me the recipe after she impressed me with her fancy dessert on one of my visits to see her and her family. Her husband is half French and so he suggested this treat. She knew me well enough to know that it would be a big hit, and that we would basically eat all of the servings in one night just like our college days!

For this recipe, you only need a handful of ingredients. It is quick and easy to make- you only need to allow time for it to chill. You can find more elaborate recipes- I know they used to add in a step called a “water bath” to finish the recipe, but it just isn’t necessary to achieve the same result. I have also used a double boiler to melt the chocolate and mix in the cream, but I have found that letting the heated yolks and milks melt the chocolate in the blender is the best method for keeping it simple. As you can see in the photo below, it whips up to be so thick and rich… and so small serving sizes are ideal. I use 4-ounce ramekins and a small amount of homemade, fresh whipped cream to top the chocolate goldmine. Of course, you can use larger serving sizes and add more whipped cream plus any other topping you like. Raspberries and strawberries are always a perfect way to up the delish factor, but I am a purist when it comes to chocolate pots of cream.

Chocolate Pots de Creme

Ingredients

12 oz. bag of Ghiradelli semi-sweet chocolate chips (you can also go with darker chocolate if you like)

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 1/2 cups whole milk

6 large egg yolks

5 tablespoons of granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 Tablespoon confectioner’s sugar

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions to Make…

  1. Whisk the egg yolks, 1 cup of the cream, the milk, granulated sugar and salt in a medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Continue cooking and stir constantly for about 5 minutes until it is almost boiling. The mixture should be thick enough to coat the spoon or spatula.
  2. Place the chocolate chips into a blender and then pour the milk mixture over the chocolate chips. Use care with the hot milk mixture. If using a food processor, cover the open spout with a cloth to prevent the hot mixture from contacting skin. Blend until smooth– scrape the sides as needed to be sure it is all mixed smoothly.
  3. Pour the chocolate mixture into ramekins and place in refrigerator to set. The pots de creme should be chilled in 2-3 hours.
  4. When ready to serve, whip the 1/2 cup of heavy cream with confectioner’s sugar until soft peaks form. Fold in vanilla. Spoon a dollop of whipped cream on the top of each ramekin. Top with berries, if desired. Serve and enjoy!

If you would like to be more authentic in the way you serve this dessert, look for antique pots de creme serving dishes at antique or vintage shops. You can also find sets or individual pots online. The sets are tiny cups with one handle and a lid. A small spoon is used for eating from the small pots- usually a demitasse spoon. If I were to buy a set for our family to have, I would choose these…


Aren’t they so pretty? I also love the new set made by Mottaheda. The neutral color works for every occasion. But, clearly the decadence of the dessert itself stands alone no matter what you choose to serve it in- a simple ramekin works just fine, too!

I always love to hear how you like the recipes that I share! Leave a comment below and give me your thoughts. Also, if you have egg whites that are left over from making this dessert, you can use them to make this Pavlova! Sometimes it is helpful to be able to make 2 easy desserts at once for special occasions. Happy Baking!

Best Pavlova with Strawberries

I don’t know what it is about egg whites and sugar being baked at a low temp, but it creates magic in the form of meringue- and this meringue cake called a Pavlova. This dessert is named after the famous Russian ballerina, Anna Pavlova…and I can see why! Light, airy, delicate, lovely, sweet, and beautiful~ does that sound like a ballerina to you? That also describes this easy yet fancy dessert! I am no ballerina, but just the thought of this dessert makes me want to twirl. :). I made this dessert as part of our Mother’s Day celebration- my mom LOVES strawberries and so I always love setting a strawberry themed table for Mother’s Day in her honor!

I doubled the recipe so that I could show you how beautiful the large Pavlova is as a main event (shown above) and how pretty and dainty mini pavlovas look for more individualized servings (shown below).

As a child, I grew up with my mom baking meringue cookies each Christmas and they were always my favorite. I remember how she would tell me that you could never bake meringue on a rainy or damp day- and so it would make it extra-special to have to wait for the right day. The humidity will ruin a batch of meringue- I have tested the theory many times out of impatience in hopes that each time my mom would not be right. But we all know that mom is always right- and yes, baking meringue on a rainy or otherwise humid day does not work out well. So, please keep that in mind when you decide to make these. Damp weather makes for flat and chewy meringues- I speak from experience! And so, I want to share the Pavlova recipe that is a version of the meringue cookies I fell in love with as a child. Follow the recipe below for an impressive-looking and somewhat fancy desert! It is so much easier than it seems!

I love the look of the big pavlova – and I would love to know which one you prefer (the large or the minis?). The biggest difference to me is in serving them. Below, I show you the Pavlova after it has been sliced. Expect the crust to crack and break a little when the dessert is cut. It gives it a rustic feel and is definitely not like cutting a flour-based cake.

Individual servings make the actual act of serving the dessert easier- it really depends on your guests and the feel you want to achieve. If it is more formal, I would suggest individual servings. If you are wanting a more casual feel, go ahead and make the show-stopping large version and don’t worry one bit when it cracks as it is cut. It is delicious either way!

This dessert is great for anytime of the year- but my very favorite time to make and serve Pavlova is during strawberry season. There is nothing like topping the dessert with freshly-picked strawberries and adding in other berries of your choice. I go with blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries along with the strawberries, but I am a berry girl. Choose your favorites or stick with just strawberries. If you want to continue with the strawberry theme, add strawberry touches to your place setting. This is really perfect for a Mother’s Day gathering. I love it when strawberry season and Mother’s Day collide!

Here, I used a white tablecloth and then added green pagoda wrapping paper down the center of the table as a runner. The gorgeous paper is from A Pretty Paper Company/Ruby Stripe. I love being able to change up the look of a table setting by incorporating beautiful patterns from wrapping paper. It makes a difference at a fraction of the cost of a customized tablecloth. Clean up is also very easy! No washing, dry cleaning, or ironing necessary when you decorate the table with a paper runner. Ruby Stripe sent me their pagoda designs in green and in white. I used the green background for the table and the white background coordinated perfectly with a small gift at the table for Mother’s Day. The fabulous compote that I used in the center of the table in lieu of flowers is from Parker Kennedy Living and is a vintage piece. I added trendy plates from Kate Spade in a strawberry pattern and her bright yellow china pattern to tie it all together. The adorable serving dish with strawberries in it and bees on the outside is from PKL-The Cellar.

Add in touches of pastel pink, and it will ground the bright, vivid colors and bring it all together. I added pink lemonade and pink satin ribbon to the gifts to bring in the small touch of soft pink that the table needed. I really love mixing patterns, and I feel like it works best when coordinated with white and with a solid, pastel color.

Here is my favorite Pavlova recipe…it is different from what my family usually thinks of for dessert- and they all love it. It gets rave reviews from the adults and the teenagers. I literally hide the dessert from my son so that he doesn’t decide to taste test too soon. He has been known to polish-off an entire dessert all by himself when no one is looking (which is also how we discovered his tree nut allergy when he was a toddler). I hope you love this as much as my family does. It makes it into the dessert rotation as often as I can- it is truly delicious! It is perfect for everything from a ladies’ lunch, to Mother’s Day, to a birthday celebration. Tell me your favorite topping on a Pavlova by leaving me a comment below and tell me what your family thinks of this dessert! Happy Baking!

Pavlova

You will need…

4 egg whites (use egg yolks to make Pots de Creme)

1 cup granulated sugar (spin it in the food processor for a few seconds to make it fine and it will taste even better)

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Whipped Cream- made with…

1 cup heavy cream

2 Tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla

Strawberries (plus blueberries, raspberries, blackberries if you like)

DIRECTIONS FOR MAKING THE PAVLOVA –

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. You will reduce the temperature to 200 degrees after you put the mixture in the oven.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper (I have tried using non-stick pans without parchment paper and it always sticks- you definitely want to use the parchment paper).

Using a mixer (handheld or upright), beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. This usually takes 5-7 minutes depending on your mixer.

Next, add sugar (one Tablespoon at a time) and continue to beat at high speed until stiff peaks form. The mixture will be thick and glossy.

Add the vanilla extract and use mixer to mix it in.

Combine the cream of tartar and the cornstarch in a small dish and then fold into the egg white mixture using a spoon or spatula.

Spread the mixture in an 8-inch circle onto the prepared pan. Or, spoon small sizes onto the pan to make individual servings. The sides should be higher than the middle of the circle so that you can add the whipped cream and fruit to the middle.

Place the Pavlova in the oven and turn oven temperature to 200 degrees (F). Leave oven door closed and let bake for 90 minutes.

After 90 minutes, turn off the oven and let the Pavlova completely cool inside the oven. This step is part of the trick to the perfect Pavlova- I leave it for a couple of hours or more and let it rest. When you remove it from the oven, the Pavlova should have a crisp outer crust and will be marshmallow-like in the center. When you are ready to serve dessert, add whipped cream (see below for homemade whipped cream) and berries to the top of the Pavlova. Serve immediately and enjoy!

HOMEMADE WHIPPED CREAM RECIPE

1 cup cold heavy cream

2 Tablespoons Confectioner’s Sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Using the mixer, begin to whip the heavy cream until it thickens.

Add the sugar and vanilla extract and continue to whip until soft peaks form (don’t over beat the cream). You will have around 2 cups of fluffy whipped cream. It is best served immediately, but the whipped cream will typically hold its shape for a day if tightly covered and refrigerated. Just as a side note, the kids and I tried using Cool Whip as a substitute for whipped cream. Cool Whip was no match for the real thing- the Pavlova is so much better with homemade whipped cream and it is so easy to make!

xo,

Lydia

Freshest Salsa Mexican Recipe
the Three Best Recipes for Your Fiesta, Cinco De Mayo Party, or Taco Tuesday

We all know that having good food can make or break a party! Today I am going to share with you my 3 best recipes for a fiesta. These are my go-to recipes for any party, to be honest. You definitely don’t have to save them just for a fiesta. The Black Bean recipe is one that I get asked to share over and over! And so, here you go! My absolute favorite party appetizers for a casual gathering! They are easy to make and they always disappear fast! I like to serve salsa in an individual bowl for guests if possible. Here I used cupcake cups that are made to hold liquid. They are from Party Hat Paper Company.

This is my husband’s recipe for Salsa! Ron’s recipes are always so good- it can be hard to get him to write down the measurements for what he makes because he loves to just “iron chef” it – but I have been convincing him to write it down lately. My kids love this salsa so much- and I do, too- and so I thought you guys might like to have it on hand! It is soooo good!

Best Ever Salsa Recipe

One small sweet onion 

¼ cup of fresh lime juice (add more if you wish)

2 teaspoons salt

½ cup of fresh cilantro

Fresh jalapeño in amount of preference (half of a medium size is what I use)

6 to 7 medium to large tomatoes

Chop all ingredients to place in a food processor.  You will probably need to process in a few batches then final mix everything together in a bowl.  Serve with bite size Tostito’s.

Freshest Salsa Mexican Recipe

My second easy recipe- which is great for Taco Tuesday ideas- is a burrito bowl. I can’t tell you how much I love how easy this is!! My husband and I just put out all of the choices and then everyone makes their own! I love serving them in small pots with a large lettuce leaf for the base just for the fun of it- but they are also great served in a taco bowl. Needless to say, it works equally as well on any bowl you have!

Best Burrito Bowl Ideas

best-burrito-bowl-recipe

Yellow Rice (you can choose any rice you like, but we like yellow rice for something different) Other good choices are Mexican Rice or white rice with your favorite spices. Cook as directed on package

Black Beans or Pinto Beans Cooked

Torn Lettuce or Spinach

Chopped Tomatoes

Shredded Cheese

Avocado Slices

Salsa (see recipe above)

burrito-bowl-recipe

I saved my very favorite recipe for last. This is called Cowboy Caviar but, for some reason, I have never liked that name. So, Black Bean Dip works just as well for me. Anyway, when my husband and I were engaged, my coworkers hosted a Fesita shower for me. This dish was one of the appetizers, but I didn’t actually have any at the party (I was too busy being the bride-to-be). One of my friends got the recipe and then gave it to me and told me that I had to make it. I didn’t take her too seriously but she told me again that I should make it for a party I was going to – and so I finally did! And, the rest, is history. It has become my go-to recipe for anytime I need to bring an app to a party. I even had a chef once ask me for the recipe! I thought that was funny and was quite a compliment. So, here is the recipe…

black-bean-dip-cream-cheese

Cowboy Caviar

8 oz. cream cheese (softened)

15 oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed

4 oz chopped black olives

1 small chopped onion

1 clove chopped garlic

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 Tablespoons lime juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Mix all ingredients (except for cream cheese) together in a medium bowl.

Spread cream cheese on a serving platter

Add bean mixture to top of cream cheese

Garnish with lemon slices or pepper slices and cilantro.

Serve with bite sized Tostitos or blue corn chips.

Enjoy!

I hope this is a favorite at your house, too! My kids can’t stay away from it when I make it. There is something about all of the flavors together that are just so delish! Let me know what you think in the comments below! And, remember that you can easily double this recipe if you have a large crowd. No one will complain! 🙂 Have a great day!

XO,

Lydia

bar-cart-fiesta-balloon
Shake Up Your Fiesta! Mexican Themed Party Drinks

Cheers to having new ideas for fun drinks to add to your celebration rotation! A signature drink for a get-together always makes for a nice greeting for your guests as they arrive- and today I am sharing 2 recipes that will shake up your classic margarita recipe just a bit! I love this homemade version and I think you will, too! Also, I am going to share a non-alcoholic drink that you can whip up easily for your younger or non-drinking friends! So, join me for this fiesta full of ideas to help you host your next party! And, I have to brag on the girls from Party Hat Paper Company who sent me a box FULL of fiesta party supplies! The streamers and party fans are so easy to put together and have such a wow factor!

bar-cart-fiesta-balloon

I really love the FIESTA balloons that are so easy to assemble and really put the perfect touch on the decorations over the bar cart. All you have to do is unfold the letter balloons and use a straw to inflate them. The balloons seal automatically- no tying or twisting. They are just simple to do. I strung them on fishing wire using the holes in the table that are made into the tops of each balloon letter.

fiesta-letter-balloons

To set up this bar cart, I really wanted the top part to be the usable part and the bottom part to be decorative. I put all of the ingredients needed for the drinks on the top, plus glasses, a shaker, ice, cocktail napkins, flowers, and some pretty cookies just in case someone would rather have a cookie than a drink! Something for everyone, right? The bottom shelf of the bar cart was so easy to pull together. I used luminaries from Party Hat Paper Company’s fiesta party kit. I added glasses that my friend tells me look like a cactus, some water for good measure, and a bowl of extra lemons and limes just in case. The party box also came with the garlands that you see on the front of the cart- I loved how easy it was to drape them on the cart and how perfectly they dressed it up and added interest and color!

titos-tequila-patron

For the recipes, I stopped by Five Points Bottle Shop in Athens and bought the ingredients I needed- and they are always so helpful, by the way. For the margarita, I am sharing my favorite marg from an Athens favorite- Taqueria del Sol (there are locations in Atlanta and Nashville if you are close to those cities). It is named “Westside Rita” (aka “the Westside”) and is my favorite Friday night toddy. It gets its name from the location in Atlanta of the first Taqueria del Sol. Here is what you need to make this citrusy margarita…

The Best Homemade Margarita

Salt

2 Fresh Lime Wedges or Slices

2 ounces Herradurra Reposado Tequila

1 ounce Patron Citronge Orange Liqueur

3 ounces Fresh Sweet-and Sour Mix (see below)

To make the Sweet-and-Sour Mix, you will need

3/4 cup water

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup lime juice

1/2 cup lemon juice

To make the Sweet and Sour Mix…combine 3/4 cup water and 3/4 cup sugar in a saucepan and heat on high. Let boil and stir until the sugar dissolves.

Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Add 1/2 cup lemon juice and 1/2 cup lime juice and stir. Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to one week.

  1. Pour salt into a small plate
  2. Use the lime wedge to wet the rim of a 12 oz. glass
  3. Dip the rim of glass in the salt.
  4. Pour tequila, liqueur, and Sweet-and-Sour Mix into a shaker with ice.
  5. Shake it up! Pour into glass. Garnish with other lime wedge.
  6. Sip and enjoy!
fiesta-recipe
Recipe from Turnip Greens and Tortillas by Eddie Hernandez of Taqueria del Sol
best-mexican-recipes


Basil Limonada

For this next recipe, this is fresh basil limeade which is perfect as it is but also makes a great base for a cocktail or a fizzy drink. If you want to make it a cocktail, add in a splash of Tito’s Tequila. If you prefer to make it into a soda, just replace the regular water with sparkling water. So perfect for a hot day! Here’s how to make it…

1/2 cup sugar

4 cups water

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil

2 or 3 limes, quartered

Ice

  1. Place the sugar and water in a large pitcher and stir until the sugar dissolves. Measure out 1 cup.

2. Put the limes and basil in a blender, add the 1 cup sugar water and puree the mixture

3. Pour the mixture through a fine-mesh strainer back into the pitcher with the remaining sugar water. Use a whisk or wooden spoon to press any pulp. Taste and add more sugar if needed. Serve over ice and garnish with a basil leaf and/or lime slice.

bar-cart-fiesta

Click on the video to see the fun you should definitely have when making these drinks and meet my friend Ellen! She’s a party all on her own! Giant sombrero optional!

Cheers XO,

Lydia