Citrus Cherry Cocktail

It’s June already. Thank goodness. And with the official start of summer, it’s nice to have an adult beverage to sip on the veranda…or on the couch.

Matt made this one for me, but he’s graciously sharing this simple treat with us. 3 ingredients, sweet and tart, and great for a hot summer evening.

Citrus Berry Sipper
2 servings

2 ounces cherry vodka
1/2 cup lemonade
2 strawberries, chopped into bits
5 ice cubes

In a shaker or a tightly sealed cup/bowl, combine the vodka, lemonade and ice for 30 seconds.

Pour into 2 glasses and sprinkle half of strawberry bits into each glass. Sip and soak in your summer.

Happy Monday (tomorrow), Friends!


Cranberry Lemon Muffins

Hello! My first day of freedom involved waking up at 11. Yes, I’m embarrassed. But I’m also well-rested for the month. The other night, I needed a quick breakfast treat to whip up and serve to those who came to hear my research presentation. Yes, if you participate, I feed you. Always. Joy the Baker is truly the hip Paula Deen of my generation. Her Browned Butter Cranberry Lime Muffins proved to be easy, quick, and delicious. I just changed a couple of things (for time and ingredient’s sake) and got lots of compliments on these little jewels. I know cranberries are not exactly in season right now, but frozen cranberries work wonders.

Colorful and bubbly

Cranberry Lemon Muffins
From Joy
These simple muffins are great for entertaining or for a last-minute breakfast. With a simple lemon and cranberries from your freezer, you can make this cozy, not-too-sweet treat.

6 TB unsalted butter
1/3 cup skim milk
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk
1 t. vanilla
zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 t. baking powder
3/4 t. salt
1 1/2 cups frozen cranberries
1/4 cup sugar (for topping)

step one: Take the cranberries out of the freezer and set on the counter. Preheat the oven to 350. Line or spray 12 muffin cups. Melt butter in a small saucepan on medium heat, melting the butter down until brown bits appear. Crackling sound will stop and butter will turn a light brown. Remove from the heat immediately and set aside. (You have just browned butter!)

step two: In a medium bowl, whisk milk, eggs, vanilla and lemon zest together. Add in the brown butter and stir. In a second bowl, whisk flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir. Once combined, fold in the slightly thawed cranberries.

step three: Using a tablespoon or scoop, pour the batter among the 12 muffin cups (you might have a little extra…I had enough for 14 muffins). Sprinkle each muffin with sugar and bake until golden, about 18 minutes. Cool in the pan (on a rack) for 10 minutes and serve. (They taste good cold, room temp or warm…it’s all good!)

Hope you’re having a great middle of the week.

Happy eating!


LOC Bites

Like I said yesterday, my sweet grandmother was Southern to the bone. One of her signature desserts was Chess Bars. It involved all of the staples for a Mississippi dish–butter, eggs, powdered sugar, and cream cheese. Not exactly for the faint of sweets. Sometimes she added lemon, but rarely. Usually the cake mix crust warrants the prominent flavor–BUTTER–but I thought it might be nice to jazz it up a little for my Waco friends.

I’m spending two weeks in Waco for Capstone class–let’s hope these are the last classes of my life. I’m good with life long learning, but I need a break! After these two weeks, I’ll present my research project for social work, wait a week, and then (hopefully) snatch up two diplomas. Glory, glory. But back to the sugar. Chess bars…with lime and orange…in mini muffin pans. Can these count as tarts? No, bites is much more technical and approachable.

The flop the first time around. Oops.

LOC Bites (Lemon Orange Chess)

yellow cake mix (the box)
3 eggs
1 stick butter, softened
1 box of cream cheese, softened (8 oz)
1 lb of powdered sugar
1 orange
1 lemon or lime

base Preheat oven to 350. Grease 24 mini muffin cups. In a bowl, combine a yellow cake mix, one egg, and one stick of margarine. Using a teaspoon, pat one teaspoonful of batter into each cup. Pat down with your fingers–this is the crust.

topper In a second bowl, combine cream cheese, 2 eggs, and 1 box (16 oz) powdered sugar together until smooth. A mixer smooths it out so well.

topper2 Split cream cheese mixture into two bowls. In one bowl, grate an orange and add the juice of less than 1/2 of the orange (2 TB). In the second bowl, add grate a lemon and the juice of 1/2 a lemon (2 TB). Whisk each of the bowls’ ingredients separately.

assembly Using a teaspoon, spoon 1-ish teaspoon of the cake mix base in the bottom of each muffin cup. Press down with fingers, like it is a crust. Then, top with either 1 TB of the lemon or the orange filling. Bake for 13 minutes, or until the mini muffins are set and not Jello jiggly. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to the fridge for 1 hours.

Serve chilled. Share generously. Eat many.

Happy eating!


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