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Friday, January 4, 2013

Cecelia's Ristorante - Buffalo, NY

For a wonderful and inexpensive brunch in Buffalo, NY I recommend Cecelia's Ristorante.  My sister and I went one summery day and loved everything about it.

We sat at the bar initially while waiting for a table outside. The bar area was fine with an extensive list of cocktails to choose from. I got a super girly cocktail, the June Bug Martini, for $8. All the cocktails were reasonably priced, but if we had know about the drink deals on the patio we would have waited to order drinks.
June Bug Martini

Once seated outside on the patio we were given brunch menus. Every item came with a complimentary mimosa, including the raspberry mimosa! For $5 you could get bottomless mimosas.  If only we had known sooner! We had the fresh fruit crepes and eggs benedict. Both were excellent.
Raspberry Mimosa
I decided I had to know how to make these delicious drinks at home and they were kind enough to tell me! Anytime I'm taking a picture of the drink and not the food, you know the drink must be really good!

Raspberry Mimosa
1 part champagne
1 part Chambord (black raspberry liquor) 

June Bug Martini
1 oz Coconut rum
1 oz melon liqueur
1/2 oz crème de banana liqueur
2 oz pineapple juice
1 oz sweet & sour
cherry garnish  
Cecelia's Ristorante on Urbanspoon

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Beach Cabins at Bellows AFB

One of the many military lodgings available in Oahu, Hawaii is Bellows AFB. It's not a five star military resort like the Hale Koa, but it does have it's very own private beach! That was the draw for us. To stay on the beach, in Hawaii, for cheap, and avoid the crowd. Our cabin was a two bedroom and had one bathroom. The cabin was right on the beach on Turtle Cove. Here are some pictures of our cabin.

Bellows AFB beach cabin

Bellows AFB beach cabin

Bellows AFB beach cabin

Bellows AFB beach cabin
I was standing inside our cabin when I took this photo.
Bellows AFB beach cabin

Bellows AFB beach cabin

Bellows AFB beach cabin

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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Esio Hot and Cold Beverage System

Have you heard about the latest and greatest drink system out there?

It's the Esio Hot and Cold Beverage System. This handy machine always has hot water and cold water ready to go. So, whether you want to make yourself a cup a coffee or a glass of ice tea, it's ready. The Esio includes a strength selector. If you want a really strong cup of coffee you can turn the strength all the way up. If your like me and enjoy mild coffee, you can choose the lowest strength.

Our family has had so much fun lately with our new Esio Hot and Cold Beverage System. We've used it everyday since we got it. I've already had to order more E-Paks from the Esio website. They have free shipping! You can get them at Walmart too. The kids love the constantly ready hot water. They make themselves at least one hot chocolate everyday. I love waking up and having my cup of coffee ready in seconds.
Esio Hot and Cold Beverage System
I've even used my new Esio for entertaining. I had the ladies over for margaritas using the Crystal Light Margarita E-Pak. These margaritas are only 10 calories a serving, plus however many calories are in the tequila you add. You can see from the picture above how to pop in the E-Pak for the beverage you want to make. The E-Paks are self sealing, that way you can use your 14 servings whenever is convenient for you.
Esio Hot and Cold Beverage System Margaritas
One second the adults are making margaritas and the next moment the kids are making hot chocolates.
My daughter was quite the little hostess showing everyone how to use the Esio. She made lots of hot chocolates to go with the butterscotch cookie bars!

The kids preferred juice to go with their pizza, so we put in a V-8 Splash Berry Blend E-Pak, selected the lowest strength, and they all enjoyed fruit juice with less sugar.

I received a gift for this review.

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Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas Treats

This year we decided to try some new recipes. Here are two we tried: Chocolate Cake Batter Chex and Turtle cookies.

Chocolate Cake Batter Chex and Turtle Cookies, White Texas Trash, Christmas Treats

Chocolate Cake Batter Chex was really easy to make and it is so yummy. In Texas this is basically the same recipe we use to make Texas White Trash. This is a great recipe to do with your kids!

Chocolate Cake Batter Chex

5 cups corn chex
10 squares chocolate flavored almond bark
3/4 cup yellow cake mix
1/4 cup powdered sugar

In a gallon size ziploc bag mix together the yellow cake mix and powdered sugar, set aside. In a large bowl measure out your  5 cups of chex and throw in some sprinkles. Melt the almond bark and pour over the chex and sprinkles. Once the almond bark and chex is mixed up pour it into the ziploc bag and shack it up with the cake and sugar mix. Once it's mixed up well that's it. Your done!

  • To make this recipe into Texas White Trash just add pecans, pretzels, and peanuts.

Turtle Cookies are not as simple as the the other recipe. These are multiple step cookies, but they are quite delicious and worth the effort.

Turtle Cookies

Cookie batter:
1 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. cocoa powder
1/8 tsp. salt
8 T. butter, softened
2/3 c. sugar
1 egg yolk
2 T. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Combine flour, cocoa, and salt; set aside. With an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolk, milk, and vanilla. Reduce mixer to a low speed and add flour mixture until just combined. Cover the dough and refrigerate until firm.

2 egg whites
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Whisk egg whites until frothy.  Place chopped pecans in a separate bowl.  Roll dough into 1-inch balls, dip half the ball in egg whites, and then roll that half in pecans.  Place balls about 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Using a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon, make an indentation in the center of each dough ball. Bake at 350 degrees until set, about 12 minutes.

Caramel Filling:
10 caramel candies
2 T. whipping cream
Microwave caramels and cream together in a small bowl, stirring occasionally, until smooth, about 1 minute.  Once cookies are removed from the oven,  re-press the indentations.  Fill each indentation with 1/2 teaspoon of the caramel mixture. 

Chocolate Drizzle (optional):  
1/4 cup chocolate chips or white chocolate chips
1 Ziploc bag
Place chocolate chips in a small Ziploc bag.  Set the bag in a bowl of warm water to soften.  Gently knead the chocolate with your fingers until melted and smooth, placing back in the warm water for a minute or two as needed.  Snip a very small hole in the corner of the plastic bag.  Drizzle chocolate over the cooled Turtle Cookies.

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