Watermelon Rum Cooler

The sale on watermelon was too good to pass up — even with the smallest watermelon weighing 15 pounds! Getting the thing home was one thing; finding room in the fridge another.

After we cut it, we had more than ten cups of watermelon. After snacking on it for three days, I decided that what we really needed to do was have a drink with it. What is more refreshing than a watermelon cooler?

IMG_7933Watermelon Rum Cooler

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 or 2 mint sprigs
1 cup fresh lime juice
3 cups rum
4 cups seedless watermelon chunks
8 cups crushed ice
watermelon chunks and mint sprigs

Make a simple syrup with the sugar and water. Pour over a sprig or two of mint. Let cool and remove the mint. The mint simple syrup can be made ahead and refrigerated a week in advance.

In a blender, combine half the simple syrup with half of the lime juice, rum and watermelon chunks and blend until combined. Add half of the ice and blend until smooth. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Serve in chilled glasses garnished with watermelon chunks and topped with mint sprigs.

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GiveOUT and Stand Up for Louisiana Equal Rights

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11220885_1586888811598582_5410102100642377534_nToday, millions of Americans will GiveOUT by donating to civil rights organizations across the nation to lend support in the fight for equal rights. As we work to make history in the state of Louisiana, it’s important to remember that true equality begins at home.

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Maximize your impact! Spread the word by joining us on Facebook, tweeting us @FFELouisiana, forwarding this email to your friends and remember to tell them why it’s important to you that equality begin at home! You can throw some hashtags in there too: #GiveOUTDay #BeFairLouisiana #ForumforEquality!

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Mojito Slushy

I had some friends coming over for dinner and wanted to serve mojitos. Unfortunately, the limes I bought had no juice in them – I reamed nine and barely got 1/3 cup of juice. Add that to the mint being shoved to the back of the fridge where it iced up and turned brown and it looked like my plan was foiled.

Then I remembered an adult slushy recipe that used mint simple syrup, a bit of lime juice, rum and ice. No muddling needed. I always keep a jar of mint simple syrup around (usually to add a sweet minty touch to iced tea but, also because there is no telling when you might have a mint julep emergency!).

mojito slushy picMint simple syrup

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/4 cup fresh mint, firmly packed

Mojito Slushy
1/3 cup fresh lime juice, about 4 to 6 limes
Zest of at least 2 limes
1/2 cup rum
1/2 cup mint simple syrup
4 to 8 cups crushed ice
Optional – Mint sprigs and lime wedges, for garnish

Mint simple syrup can be made up to a week ahead: In a saucepan over medium heat, add the sugar and water. Cook until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup is clear, stirring regularly. Pack the mint in a jar and pour the sugar water over it. Let steep for 30 minutes before removing the mint leaves. Allow to cool completely before putting it in the refrigerator until ready to use.

In a blender, crush the ice. Pour the mint simple syrup, lime juice, lime zest and rum into the blender and blend until slushy. Taste, adding more rum or simple syrup as desired. Spoon into glasses; garnish with a sprig of mint and a lime slice.

Double Chocolate Chip and Gluten Free Fudge Brownies

both pansThe board I serve on is having a Strategic Planning session on Saturday and I decided to make brownies for that mid-afternoon pick me up we will desperately need to keep us going to the end. As I know of at least one person on my board who is gluten intolerant, I am making two pans of brownies.

The first one is a one-bowl recipe that I found years ago. It is rich and chocolatey with chocolate in the batter and chips in the pan. It is my go-to brownie recipe.

The other is an adaption of a recipe I found on Bon Appetit. This one is quite chocolate, too, and I put whole pecans on top to help folks tell the difference.

With luck, these will both satisfy and keep engage everyone who snacks on them!

Double Chocolate Chip Brownies

2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels, divided
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
dash salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 13 x 9-inch baking pan.

Melt 1 cup morsels and butter in large, heavy-duty saucepan over low heat; stir until smooth. Remove from heat. Stir in eggs. Stir in flour, sugar, vanilla extract, salt and baking soda. Stir in remaining morsels and nuts. Spread into prepared baking pan.

Bake for 20-22 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky. Cool completely in pan before cutting into squares.

IMG_7894

Gluten-Free Fudge Brownies

1 cup pecans, toasted and chopped (optional)
2 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels, divided
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1⁄2 cup gluten free flour – I use rice flour as it is light for baking
1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
11⁄3 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter a 13×9″ baking pan.

Melt 1 1/2 cup chocolate with butter in a a double boiler, stirring, until butter and chocolate are entirely melted and mixture is smooth. Let cool slightly.

Whisk flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat eggs, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl until mixture is pale and thick, about 5 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add dry ingredients, mixing just to combine. Mix in chocolate mixture.

Fold in remaining chocolate and two-thirds of pecans. Scrape batter into prepared baking pan and sprinkle with remaining pecans. Bake brownie until puffed and top is cracked and looks dry and shiny, 30–35 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting into 2″ squares.

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