Monday, February 20, 2017

Cocktail Confessions: Baking With Booze

February has proven to be such a fun month so far. Typically it's a quieter month for us, but this year we've been taking our New Year's goal to heart and have seriously been consolidating down on our schedules. This has freed us up to do a lot more fun things, including entertain more!

As you know, we love us a good cocktail when we entertain. But here's my little confession for today - sometimes I like to mix a little booze with my baking.

Sneaky...yes.

Delicious? Absolutely!

{Photo Credit: Delights by Dawn}

When I came across this super yummy Dutch Caramel Vodka Bites recipe from Atlanta native and baker extraordinaire, Dawn from Delights by Dawn, I just had to give it a whirl on my own. Dawn makes the absolute best treats, and her speciality is infusing alcohol into decadent desserts. If you are local you might have been lucky enough to taste one of her treats when you've attended an event at the Georgia Dome or Phillips Arena. (If you aren't local - no worries - you are able to order all of Dawn's delights online too!)


My mouth was watering for caramel bites the moment I read about them, and I was equally excited to that the recipe called for one of my favorite infused flavors of vodka - caramel! Van Gogh Vodka has an awesome variety of flavored vodkas and the Dutch Caramel is one of my favorites (It's like dessert in a glass!).


It such a delicious flavor in cocktails that I couldn't wait to see how it would be used to create a fabulous tasting dessert.


After putting together the quick and easy recipe that Dawn provided we were smitten upon the first taste. These Dutch Caramel bites are are dangerous in such a good way! The combined flavors create such a decadent taste and we had to stop ourselves at just one or two because - eat responsibly. ;) But we could have easily gone through the whole batch!

Try them for yourselves!


DUTCH CARAMEL VODKA BITES

Ingredients

  • 1 12oz pkg of vanilla wafers
  • 3/4 cups of confectioners sugar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons of light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup of Van Gogh Dutch Caramel Vodka
  • 7oz of melting chocolate (dark or milk)
  • wax or parchment paper
  • Optional: Sprinkles or other desired topping

Directions

  1. Put vanilla wafers in a food processor and process until fine. (If you don't have a food processor available, stick vanilla wafer in a large ziplock bag and roll with a rolling pin until fine in texture.)
  2. Place crushed wafers in a bowl and mix with sugar, corn syrup, and vodka. Mix until well combined. 
  3. Using a small cookie scoop, or heaping tablespoon, scoop a ball of your wafer dough into a ball and place on wax paper. 
  4. Melt the chocolate according to the package. (We always choose to melt in the microwave at 50% in 30 second increments. We stir in between each heating and repeat until smooth.)
  5. With a fork dip the bites into the chocolate until covered and then place back on the wax paper. 
  6. Place sprinkles or garnish on top before chocolate cools. 
  7. Let cool or place in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve. 
  8. Enjoy!

Note: Dawn suggests for the best possible taste to let these sit for a day or two before serving. This allows the flavors to truly combine for an even more delightful treat. 


Do you bake with booze? Share with us some of your favorite boozy desserts!

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**Some of these products were provided by Van Gogh Vodkas in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are our own. **






Friday, February 17, 2017

Friday Favorites: Feeling the Love

Today I am doing back flips, jumping up and down, and cheering from the rooftops that it is finally FRIDAY! Nothing is better than a Friday, especially a Friday before a week long break - wahoo!

We had a ton going on this week, and I feel like I blinked and we were already at the end of the week. Here's hoping we put the warp speed on pause for next week, and savor every single day the alarm is turned off. 
Linking up this Friday as always to share some of our favorites with our favorite blogging ladies. What were some of your favorites this week? 




Top of my list this week is that it was a week filled with LOVE. We celebrated Valentine's Day full out. When I wasn't eating my way through all of our Cupid Crunch, I was hopping from class to class for parties, and then soaking up all the gifts my little valentines made me. 


The homemade cards and handprinted crafts are always my favorite! I know I am going to miss the day when I don't tiny little feet and hands on my gifts any more. 


The weather this winter has been so wishy-washy, and this week had a little bit of everything. Hot. Cold. Rainy. Hot. Freezing. 

Sunday we enjoyed dinner in our shorts on the porch. 


Monday we were in hats and gloves. Tuesday was back to warm, and I wore this cute little spring outfit, but definitely could have done with out the sweater. 

| Sweater | Tee | Jeans | Bag | Watch |
Our Mox shoes are still some of my favorites to wear, especially in the in-between temperatures. They are just so comfy! 


By the end of the week I gave up, just wore my normal yoga pants and carried a fleece around with me. Yoga pants are the universal season pleaser. And they go perfectly with my new obsession...


My new Apple Watch!


I bought one for Mr. Cute for Valentine's Day and decided to get a matching one for myself. 


I am still getting used to it and learning all the features it has (which is a little overwhelming!), but I've loved it so far. 

Do you have one? What are some of your favorite features/apps? 
Share with me all your Apple Watch Wisdom!!


The Apple Watch isn't the only watch I've been obsessed with lately. I love love love this leopard watch Mr. Cute purchased for me for Christmas. 


It's so fun and matches my leopard print shoes perfectly. 

| Top | Jeans | Shoes (older) | Clutch | Bracelets

We love a good leopard print item, and I love how this watch just adds a fun little detail to any outfit. I also like that it is a little smaller so that I can stack it. I have a large watch obsession, but I find it's hard to pair cute bracelets with those without seeming uncomfortable. 



I am still obsessed with watching Victoria. This week on my run I caught up to the wedding episode. 

| Photo Credit |
I am such a nerd, but I can't stop watching. 

It makes me want to take a trip to a castle...and wear an obscene amount of diamonds. 

We stumbled upon the most darling thing for the kids, and I think it might be the kids new favorite activity. We were introduced to a local pen pal program called Ben the Rooster


I remember participating in a pen pal program in elementary school, and how much fun it was to get mail of my very own. When I learned of Ben the Rooster Pen Pal Program, I was so excited to sign the kids up.  


The kids were so excited when they received the mail from Ben and followed his instructions to write back. 


Everyday they have rushed to the mailbox to check to see if his response has come yet, and most days they check multiple times. I love seeing how enthusiastic they are about the program!

Stay tuned...but seriously such a cute and super fun activity to do with kids!


In an effort to drink more water (and less Dr. Pepper) I decided to give one of Carrie Beth's favorites a try. 


And I'm so glad I did! She drinks this water all the time, and even includes it in some of her cocktails so I figured why not give it a taste test? Um, yum! I've been missing out!

Strawberry Watermelon and Coconut Pineapple have been my favorite flavors so far. Carrie Beth told me the Grapefruit is her favorite so I'm going to try to pick up that one to taste test soon. Do you drink these waters too? Share with me which flavor I should try! It's going to be hard to knock out Strawberry Watermelon as a favorite, but I'm willing to try!


And that wraps up my random list of favorites this week. Now it's time to officially begin the countdown to the weekend and a week long break. Cue more backflips!

Share with us your favorites for the week!

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Super Bowl Weekend {Part 3}

First up today, we wanted to say congrats to the winner of our Feathered Nest Boutique giveaway!
The winner is Gina Tabor. 
You have 48 hours to email us (themagnoliamamas@gmail.com) to claim your prize.

If you have absolutely no interest in the Super Bowl I'm sorry and I've probably been boring you to death this week.  Good news is, this is the last post I'll do about it this week!  For those of you who have loved seeing a behind the scenes of what it is like at the Super Bowl, today will be exciting!  

Sunday morning everyone was so pumped up about the game.  We woke up, put on our red and black, and were very excited.  The Mr. had bought some Falcon's socks the day before in honor of our little Boo-Boo who is obsessed with "pull-up socks." 



Remember a few weeks ago when I helped the girls make Valentine's Day tassel bracelets?  I made a game day one for myself, too!


We grabbed an early lunch at Moonshiners and it was the best meal we had all weekend long.  The food was SO good, service was amazing and the atmosphere of the restaurant had a fun, southern vibe.  We loved it and I would definitely recommend it to anyone in Houston.

Next, it was time for the official Super Bowl 51 Tailgate.  There was yummy food, drinks, and lots of live music, including Lady Antebellum. 


It was dark and really loud in there so I didn't really bother taking any pics.  Next we were ready to check out the stadium and walk around a bit so we made our way over.  There were fans everywhere and it seemed to me that the Falcons fans were outnumbering the Patriot fans.  We did a little shopping for souvenirs! 


Then we found our seats which were in the end zone about 15 rows back.  We knew it would be hard to see anything going on at the other end of the field, but we had a good view when they were close to us. 



Really, we didn't care though. We were just so excited and happy to be there! 


The energy and awe of everyone in the stadium was so high.  When the teams were announced it was so loud.  Since the stadium has a retractable roof (more on that in a few) they were able to keep it closed since the forecast was calling for rain and that made it even louder in there. 


Luke Bryan sang the national anthem and did a wonderful job.  


The former President Bush and his First Lady were escorted onto the field for the coin toss.  It was so sweet to see them and all of the players seemed honored to shake their hands.  


Anyone who watched the game knows the first half was awesome if you are a Falcons fan. We couldn't believe how well they are doing and that we went into halftime with such a huge lead.  We thought for sure we had this game in the bag. 



More people asked me about the half-time show than anything else about the Super Bowl.  I loved it! I have always loved Lady Gaga and feel like she is such a great performer.  She puts on a good show and that is what everyone got. 

As soon as halftime began the roof to the stadium started opening and I knew that Lady Gaga had mentioned in previous interviews that she wanted to do something from the roof.  As they were setting up for the show everyone kept staring at the sky searching for her.  Come to find out after the fact that part of the show was pre-recorded, but when she started her decent into the stadium the spotlights focused on her and everyone saw her about half-way down.  I have no idea where she came from but it had to be way up high, so for all I know she did come from the roof.  

 Because of where our seats were we couldn't see the front of the stage, but there was still plenty for us to take in.  The lights, the fireworks, the set changes...all of it.  I will say though that I loved coming home and watching a video of the full performance, because it was so much better to watch on TV! 


The second half of the game just started to get worse and worse. As the Patriots were inching closer and closer to catching up with us our spirits just kind of kept sinking.  We couldn't believe how we could have had such a big lead and then to have lost it.  It honestly didn't feel real. Going into the first overtime ever in Super Bowl history had to say something about our team though and the fact that we made it there was such an incredible accomplishment.  Here's hoping next season will be as wonderful as this one was! 


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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Super Bowl Weekend {Part 2}

If you missed it, yesterday I shared day one of our time in Houston for the Super Bowl and moving right along, today I'm sharing day 2!  

Remember yesterday when I mentioned that we had to wake up at the crack of dawn...3:45 AM to be exact.  Well all I wanted to do on Saturday was sleep.  Seriously.  I did not want to be woken up early and had no desire to set an alarm.  It didn't help that we woke up to an overcast day so sleeping was just what I did all morning long.  

After a quick workout (with Thomas Rhett and his crew working out in the same small hotel gym...totally crazy and awkward at the same time) we got ready to hit the streets of Houston.  Along with all the other Super Bowl fans! 


We had commented on Friday afternoon that there didn't seem to be that many people in town yet because everywhere we went was pretty dead.  Well that all changed over night because there were people EVERYWHERE! 


We grabbed a quick bite to eat and then made our way to the NFL Experience.  It was so crowded and so busy, but wen wanted to see what it was all about.  


There were a ton of fun exhibits and things to see.  Everything from team gear, to the Super Bowl trophy and even a display were you could see all of the Super Bowl rings over the years.  


The only problem though were the crowds.  We didn't want to wait in line for close to an hour for each exhibit, so we just kind of walked around and took it all in.  


There were a lot of fun interactive activities were you could try to catch footballs, kick a field goal, run obstacle courses, etc.  The whole time we watched I kept thinking how my kid would have loved to try that stuff and there were a ton of kids trying it out.  It reminded me a lot of the College Football Hall of Fame Jen and her family went to not long ago.  


 We were told by a few of the people working there that we came on the wrong day.  Apparently, if we had come during the week you could have walked up to every exhibit, every interactive activity and not had to wait at all.  Atlanta peeps...take note.  When the Super Bowl is here in a few years, take your kids during the week to experience the fun with little or no wait times. We still had fun being there in the middle of all the excitement and surrounded by fans everywhere we turned! 

After our time there we walked back to the hotel and got dressed for the happy hour, dinner and concert that evening.  

I wore my favorite black skinny jeans again and this fun top I bought not long ago. I loved that it was a flowy floral print, and I especially loved the lace detail on the back! 


Before going to dinner we saw the famous Atlanta Falcons Super Fan, The Bird Lady.  She was nice as could be and had no problem snapping a pic with us! 


Most of the restaurants we ate at during the weekend didn't seem to be prepared for the crowds that would be in town for the weekend and we experienced long wait times, but good food and dinner was no different this night.  After dinner we made our way to White Oak Music Hall for a VIP concert featuring the Goo Goo Dolls and Sting.  It was such a neat venue and a great show!  


Be sure to check back tomorrow for the real reason we were there...the Super Bowl!!!  
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