Give Thanks! Apple Cider Mimosa and Mini Pumpkin Pies

Oh Pinterest, you’ve done it again: delicious, festive, and easy recipes to celebrate Thanksgiving! If you need a last-minute signature cocktail or an easy dessert recipe to bring to your Thanksgiving feast tomorrow, we recommend these seasonal treats.

Apple Cider Mimosa, is a different take on the favorite, traditional, and boozy brunch drink! We adapted this recipe from The Cookie Rookie.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Apple Cider-we used Trader Joes apple cider
  • Brut-we used Michelle Brut, but your favorite sparkling wine or champagne should be just as tasty.

DIRECTIONS:

We eyeballed a shot of apple cider and filled the rest of the flute with the sparkling wine. Voila!

 

Apple Cider Mimosa

Apple Cider Mimosa

 

Mini Pumpkin Pies adapted from Make and Takes Mini Pumpkin Pies:

  • pumpkin pie filling for one 9-inch pie (we used the recipe right on the can)
  • two 9-inch pie crust doughs – pre-made from a box
  • round cookie cutter 4 inches in diameter- we used the pumpkin pie filling can to cut out the dough.
  • mini muffin tin
  • whipped cream

1. Prep your dough. Using  a small round cookie cutter or base of a can, cut out circles from your two 9-inch pie crust doughs.

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Use the pumpkin can to cut out perfect circles!

 

2. Place each circle into a pre-greased muffin tin. Press them in, letting the sides come up for a fun look. Score the bottom of your dough with a fork to keep the crust from bubbling up as it cooks.

3. Pour your filling into each muffin tin cup. Fill them to the very top.  We had leftovers of the filling!

4. Bake your muffin tin pumpkin pies at 425 for  about 15 -20 minutes. Keep an eye on them!

5. Let these cool on a wire rack for at least an hour to let the pumpkin filling set.

6. Add a dollop of whipped cream to each individual mini pie.

The cutest bite of pumpkin pie!

The cutest bite of pumpkin pie!

 

This Thanksgiving, we are thankful for our life long friendship.  And the delicious sips and sweets we’ve shared with you so far this year. Happy Thanksgiving!

And, Happy Fall Sipping and Baking!

xoxo, Colleen and Sarah

 

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Sips and Sweets: Garden Party!

We hosted a lovely garden party–Springtime Sips and Sweets–at Sarah’s house in Old Town, Alexandria to celebrate springtime with our girlfriends.

Here is the invitation we created using paperless post.  We loved that it looked letterpressed and highly recommend using Paperless Post for invitations; they have the cutest designs!

Sneak Peek of Our First Event!

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Colleen and Sarah Happy to Host!

 

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Garden Party Spread

The Decor

We enlisted our party planning consultant, Pinterest, to begin collecting ideas for our party. (Side note, are you following us on Pinterest?  Click here!).  We knew we wanted to incorporate a wine theme with the obvious garden theme, and found this adorable inspiration: tulips in wine glasses!  See below for our inspiration and result.  We cut the tulips down to a shorter length than we bought them, and used pipe cleaners to hold the tulips together.  Any twine or string would have worked well.

Pinspiration: Tulips in Wine Glasses!

Result: Tulips in Wine Glasses!

Result: Tulips in Wine Glasses!

We also loved the idea of using corks as place card holders:

Pinspiration: Corks as place cards/food descriptions

Result: Cork Card Holders!

We used corks we had been collecting from previous sipping nights and cut small slits into them with a sharp knife.  We bought inexpensive place cards at Michael’s craft store and voila!

Tip: We found synthetic corks and champagne corks were most durable!

Wine Cork Game

Another fun idea we found on Pinterest was a wine-inspired game.  We wanted a good way for our guests to interact.  We had our guests guess how many wine corks were in a vase.  The winner won a wine bottle topper.

After dessert, we announced the winner of the cork game. Ellen won with a lucky guess of 35! There were 36 corks and we gained even more after the party we can use for future games and decor!

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Sips, Savories, and Sweets Pairings

On to the “good stuff,” literally.  We decided to choose a white wine, Sauvignon Blanc, and a red wine, Merlot, to pair with cheese and desserts, and a sparkling wine to pair with dessert only.  To be honest, we googled around a bit to come up with our selections, choosing wines that pair well with a nice variety of items to please everyone.  Sarah went to Trader Joe’s knowing the types of wines she was looking for, but relied on the descriptions of the wines to guide her selection.

THE SIPS

The Sauvignon Blanc: Bogle, vibrant, lively, exotic flavors (yum!)

The Merlot: Red Diamond, like a diamond, it “goes with everything.”

The Sparkling: Michelle Brut, not too sweet or dry!

THE SAVORIES: Cheese!

We purchased the cheese at Trader Joes as well.

Tip: Trader Joes has incredibly priced, high quality cheeses.  In some cases, the same size package was almost half as expensive as in a regular grocery store!

Smoked Gouda paired well with the Merlot.

Parmesan- Gouda was the crowd favorite and was delicious with the crisp Sauvignon Blanc.

Brie was the second favorite.  The creamy and slightly sweet brie paired with the dry Sauvignon Blanc.

Goat Cheese paired well with the Sauvignon Blanc.

Mild Cheddar went great with the Merlot.

 

Cheese platter with pairing on the back of the name card

THE SWEETS:

Strawberries with Merlot Drizzle paired with Merlot or Brut

& DIY Dirt Cake paired with Brut

Ingredients for Strawberry Merlot Drizzle adapted from Yummly.

  • 1/2 cup merlot
  • 2 tbsps fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tbsps honey
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 cups strawberries (sliced)

Homemade Whipped Cream

* heavy whipping cream: whip cream with mixer and add a dash of vanilla and sugar until   smooth and creamy. Be careful to not over-whip!         

Instructions:

  1. Bring merlot, lemon juice, and honey to a boil in a sauce pan over high heat.
  2. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Drizzle over sliced berries.
  3. Top with whipped cream

 

 

Strawberries with Merlot Drizzle and Whipped Cream. YUM!

Strawberries with Merlot Drizzle and Whipped Cream. YUM!

DIY Dirt Cake adapted from Lorie’s Mississippi Kitchen.

We traveled back to our childhood when brainstorming garden themed dessert ideas like Dirt Cake! We have to credit Lindsay Christians’ friend with the wine pairing for this dessert, which we found here.  Apparently a dry sparkling wine pairs perfectly with crunchy cookies and creamy filling, and we completely agree.

Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups whole milk

2 small packages instant French vanilla pudding

1 stick butter, softened to room temperature

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened to room temperature

1 cup powdered sugar

1 (16-ounce) container non-dairy whipped topping

2 packages chocolate sandwich cookies

Assorted gummy worms

Instructions: 

Whisk the milk and pudding together in a large bowl until smooth.  Let stand five minutes.  In another large bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese together with a hand mixer on medium speed until fluffy.  Beat in the powdered sugar until smooth.  Add the pudding and beat until smooth.  Fold in the non-dairy whipped topping.

Crush 1 package of cookies so that there are some fine crumbs, but also some larger pieces.  There needs to be a variety. Crushing cookies is a great stress reliever!

Assemble:

We set up a DIY Station for our girlfriends to make their own dessert. We provided bowls of Oreos, Gluten-free Oreos, Pudding Mixture, and Gummy Worms. Our guests  layered the pudding and oreos to their liking in small garden pots, purchased at Michaels, then topped with gummy worms! Delicious and adorable 🙂

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DIY Dirt Cake! Brings us back to childhood!

 

Dirt Cake in Mini Flower Pot! We send some springtime cookies home with our guests too!

Dirt Cake in Mini Flower Pot!
We sent some springtime cookies home with our guests too!

 

We had a great time planning our first party and catching up with our girlfriends. We can’t wait to host again!

Happy Sipping and Sweet Making!!

xoxo, Colleen and Sarah

 

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Lovely ladies in Sarah’s Garden!

Blind Wine Tasting: Learn to Sip

ImageWe booked a Living Social deal for a blind wine tasting class at the fabulous 918 F Street space in downtown DC, and had a great time learning a few tidbits about what to look for in a good, affordable bottle of wine.  Special thanks to the Food and Wine Diva, Summer Whitford who led the class and shared the sipping tips.

The Summary: Colleen started early with a pre-class drink of Pinot Noir. Pre-class drink is always necessary acceptable in this case. We learned how to open a bottle of sparkling wine, tasted several wines, and learned some useful tips on drinking and tasting the flavors of a wine.
The Tips:
  • Champagne is a specific grape that comes from the Champagne region in France.  All sparkling wine is not Champagne!
  • Opening a bottle of sparkling wine with a cork flying and a loud POP is not the “right” way (We beg to differ, as this is the most festive/fun part)
  • Smaller bubbles=less likely to have a hangover and the flavor is better!
To Open Sparkling Wine:
Remove foil and wire cage.  Tilt the bottle at a 45° angle, obviously facing away from you and your guests.  Hold the cork firmly and twist the bottle. If you aren’t coordinated (Colleen usually hands the bottle off for someone to open), you can set the bottle down on a flat surface. You will have opened the bottle correctly if there is barely any noise.
  • Temperature matters when serving wine.  We tasted the same wine at two different temperatures, and each tasted like a completely different wine.  Wine that is too cold will not have as much flavor as wine that is the correct temperature.
  • Flavors you smell and taste in wine (grapefruit, florals, earthy, tannins, Band Aids?? (yes, someone said they smelled Band Aids! EW!) vary by person.  We learned that just because you may taste a certain flavor,  doesn’t mean the person next to you will taste the same flavor.  One could taste blackberries, while another could taste a more earthy flavor.
  • What are tannins?! Tannins refer to the textural elements typically found in red wines.  Summer described it as the component which dries the mouth out.  She compared it to “cotton mouth.”tasting
The best part: All the wines we tasted and Summer suggested were under $30 a bottle! You don’t have to break the bank for a fine bottle of wine.  View the list of wines from our blind wine tasting here:

Happy Sipping!

xoxo, Colleen and Sarah