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Warm summer days are so limited in MN. We wait all winter for warmth and when it’s finally here, I try my best to embrace it and allow Juliet to enjoy and soak in every precious minute. For I know all too well that winter rolls back around quickly. You know what I love so much about summer? No jackets, boots, mittens, and hats. To get Juliet out of the house without having to fuss with all of that is so nice. It’s freeing. And I know she feels that way too.

So on these warm days, as soon as we get home from daycare/work, we run outside as fast as we can. We run around the yard, play hide and seek, laugh, roll around on the grass. We eat frozen fruit bars even though dinner is not far away and it will surely ruin her appetite. I don’t care. It makes her so happy. In an ideal world, I would always make homemade frozen fruit bars, but in reality, I often have to go for convenience. So it’s a good thing there are frozen fruit bars like these Fruttare bars for us to enjoy when there is no time to fuss around with the homemade version.

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Last Saturday I hosted a brunch with my girlfriend Shannon, Emily and Natasha. We drank cocktails and had a wonderful spread. The food is always amazing and the drinks are always flowing and the company is always awesome when I am with these gals.

Smirnoff contacted me a couple weeks ago and asked if I wanted to try their new flavors of infused vodka. Typically I like mimoas with brunch but after trying these infused vodka recipes I have a few additional cocktails that I will definitely be adding to my brunch regime.
I wanted to add some light, colorful touches to decorate my home for our girl’s brunch. I kept it easy and used lemons in tall cylinder vases and bought a bouquet of pink tulips and placed them in small mason jars and glass vases.  My entertaining philosophy is to keep things pretty simple. I add special touches here and there but I try not to go overboard, and I don’t spend a ton of money. I also always focus on serving good food, which doesn’t always mean homemade. And I always, always have alcohol.

Another entertaining philosophy I have is to divide and conquer. I am a big fan of hosting events but not necessarily providing everything. My friends and family are awesome and without fail, offer to bring something. I take them up on it almost every time.
Smirnoff sent me three bottles:

Smirnoff Sorbet Light Mango Passion Fruit
Smirnoff Sorbet Light Lemon
Smirnoff Sorbet Light Raspberry Pomegranate

We made three different cocktails with each of the vodkas. You will definitely want to check out these recipes at the end of this post. Two of the three of bubbly and perfect for brunch. The other is made with coconut water and is light and refreshing. Overall, this vodka has less calories than other dessert-inspired flavored vodkas. Plus, it’s infused vodka, not flavored and it tastes way better.

The menu:

Strawberry bread
Fresh fruit
Bacon and egg strata
Bagels and goat cheese
Fruit tart
Cocktails!

Emily made an awesome strawberry bread and Natasha and Shannon made a beautiful plate of fruit with pineapple, strawberries, papaya and peaches.  Smirnoff Sorbet Light Pomegranate Punch (recipe at the bottom of this post) and gluten-free bagels with goat cheese.

I purchased this bacon egg strata at Byerlies the morning of the brunch. It was delicious.The whole brunch spread. Let’s just say none of us gals went hungry. I also purchased this beautiful fruit tart for dessert. It was calling my name at the bakery counter of Byerlies. I set up a little Smirnoff cocktail bar on my foyer table. Smirnoff Sorbet Light Tropical Martini and Smirnoff Sorbet Light Lemon Pomegranate Punch.

Smirnoff Sorbet Light Pomegranate Punch

Ingredients

1.5 oz Raspberry Pomegranate Smirnoff Sorbet Light
2 oz Diet Ginger Ale
1 oz Cranberry Juice

Preparation

Mix all ingredients in a martini shaker with ice and strain into a glass (I like using champagne glasses but martini glasses would work too)
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Smirnoff Sorbet Light Tropical Martini

Ingredients

1.5 oz Mango Passion Fruit Smirnoff Sorbet Light
2 oz Coconut Water
1 oz Pineapple Juice

Preparation

Mix all ingredients in a martini shaker with ice and strain into a glass
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Smirnoff Sorbet Light Lemon Pomegranate Punch

Ingredients

1.5 oz Lemon Smirnoff Sorbet Light
2.5 oz  Diet Sprite
1.5 oz Pomegranate Juice

Preparation

Mix all ingredients in a martini shaker with ice and strain into a glass
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What an awesome brunch we had. Thanks to Shannon, Emily and Natasha for such a great time. Can’t wait to do it again soon.

Disclosure: this is a sponsored post by Smirnoff Sorbet Light. As always, all the opinions are my own.  

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Diet Pepsi approached me earlier this month to create tips on how to throw a holiday party. It’s no secret that I love hosting parties, but I especially love holiday parties. Cookie baking parties, festive dinner parties…but my all-time favorite holiday party to host is a brunch party.

I focused on tips for throwing a holiday brunch and the content is live on Diet Pepsi’s site today! What’s a fabulous brunch without a sparkly champagne cocktail bar and a mini donut tower?  These are easy tips that will help you host a quick holiday brunch or incorporate the ideas into your Christmas morning breakfast.  Be sure to head over to Diet Pepsi’s website to check out my brunch holiday party planning tips and be sure to try for your chance to win fabulous prizes!

Disclosure: Diet Pepsi and I partnered to create content on holiday party planning tips and I was compensated by Diet Pepsi.  As always, all the opinions are my own.  

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I’ve been craving Jamba Juice type fruit smooties lately but instead of driving 10 minutes and spending $6 I decided to whip something up at home. I had a few essential ingredients and went from there. 

The smoothie was refreshing and yummy.  I was hoping its sweetness would suffice for the rest of the day.  Unfortunately, I still ate girl scout cookies and part of a chocolate bunny that was in Juliet’s Easter basket.  Oops.
Berry almond smoothie

Ingredients

3/4 cup vanilla almond milk (unsweetened)
1 cup berries (I used strawberries and blackberries)
1 teaspoon honey

Pour all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy! Makes one serving.

*If I had kale or spinach I would have added a handful of that as well.

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I have a fun post for you today that includes mocktails and a giveaway.  Ok, so maybe it would be a bit more fun if the drink was a cocktail, but hey, I haven’t had a drink in about 7 months so it’s all about the mocktail for me these days.

The Cranberry Kiss mocktail is something I whipped up with the holidays and New Years Eve in mind.  The key ingredient is Sierra Mist Natural, which gives it those festive bubbles! Pretty, aren’t they?


Cranberry Kiss (Mocktail)

Ingredients:

• 2 oz. Sierra Mist Natural
• 2 ½ oz. cranberry juice
• 1 mint leaf
• Fresh lime juice (about 1/4 of a lime)

Directions:

1. In a martini shaker, muddle one mint leaf with lime juice

2. Add cranberry juice to the shaker; shake well and strain into a champagne glass

3. Top with Sierra Mist Natural

4. Garnish with three cranberries skewered on a toothpick

Now for the giveaway…Sierra Mist and I would like you to share a creative cocktail/mocktail recipe. One winner will receive a Sierra Mist Natural holiday gift pack which includes:

  • Martini shaker
  • Drink garnish/sugars
  • Party glasses
  • $50 Amex Gift Card (this will come in handy with all those after-the-holiday-sales) or perhaps you are hosting your own New Years Eve party? 

How to enter:

Leave a comment on this post with your own Sierra Mist Natural mocktail/cocktail recipe idea (it doesn’t have to be exact…for example, you can write, “I would love a cocktail with Sierra Mist, vodka and a splash of pineapple juice”)

I will choose one comment/winner using random.org.  Giveaway ends Friday, December 30 at midnight.  The winner will be announced on Saturday, December 31st.  US residents only.

Be sure to check out Sierra Mist on Facebook and submit your recipes on the Sierra Mixolgy tab!!

Disclaimer: I have partnered with Sierra Mist for this giveaway post. They provided me with the prize as well as compensation. The photos, recipe and opinions are my own.

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Yesterday Erik and I had friends Deanna and Nick over for brunch.  I thought it would be the perfect time to test some Sierra Mist cocktails/mocktails.  Sierra Mist is partnering with food/party bloggers in December to promote cocktail/mocktail recipes that are perfect for holiday entertaining (or anytime really).

To be honest, Sierra Mist never really came to mind when I was thinking of mocktails during this pregnancy.  And after a while, I have become really tired of ginger ale and cranberry juice.  Now I have a couple delicious go-to recipes for mocktails, which is great because I still have about three months to go before the baby is here.  And because of this post, I realized I actually really like Sierra Mist.  It’s caffeine free, (I’m avoiding caffeine for the most part this pregnancy), is made with real sugar, no artificial ingredients and has 100% natural flavoring.

Pictured above is a cocktail and mocktail called Frost Bite. More on the drinks below.
I made an easy, delicious raspberry coffee cake for brunch.  Also on the menu; french toast muffins (from Whole Foods), bacon, scrambled cheesy eggs, fresh fruit and roasted potatoes. 

Fresh berries, yum.
You would think one sweet item is enough for brunch right?  Wrong…I want as many sweets as often as I can get my hands on them!
Medium-sized mason jars with cinnamon sticks make an easy, seasonal-appropriate centerpiece.  And it smells amazing.
This cocktail and mocktail is called Meet Me At The Mist-letoe.
I LOVED the mocktails.  They are perfect brunch drinks; bubbly, fruity and delicious (but not too sweet).  And best of all, they are so pretty.  I felt like I was having a champagne cocktail and not missing out on anything.   

My favorite of the two was the Meet Me At The Mist-letoe.  I think it was the most festive of the two and just looks like the holidays. 

Erik, Nick and Deanna tried the other two cocktails.  Meet Me At The Mist-letoe was their favorite as well.  I think the Frost Bite cocktail may have been a bit much for a brunch cocktail but would be great for a cocktail party or later in the evening drink. 

Don’t miss the great recipes below (note a couple modifications I made) and check out Sierra Mist on Facebook and “like” their page!

Which Sierra Mist Natural cocktail/mocktail would you like to try? And if you’re pregnant like me, or just not a big drinker….you must try these mocktail recipes, they are awesome!  Stay tuned for a great giveaway from Sierra Mist next week as well as my own personal cocktail/mocktail creations that I’ll be sharing!

Frost Bite (Cocktail)

Ingredients:

• 3 oz. Sierra Mist Natural
• 1 oz. Blue Curacao
• 1 oz. Coconut Vodka
• Fresh mint
• 1 oz. Pineapple juice
• Fresh blueberries (optional)

Directions:

1. In a shaker filled with ice, mix coconut vodka and pineapple juice
2. Add blue curacao, fresh mint and blueberries (optional)
3. Shake all ingredients well and strain into a large glass filled with ice
4. Top with Sierra Mist Natural
5. Garnish with fresh blueberries for a holiday twist (optional)

Modifications, I am not a huge fan of coconut so I used regular vodka.  I also used only a splash of blue curacoa, instead of 1 oz.

Frost Bite (Mocktail)

Ingredients:

• 3 oz. Sierra Mist Natural
• 2 oz. of White grape juice
• Fresh blueberries
• Fresh mint
• 1 oz. Pineapple juice

Directions:

1. In a shaker filled with ice, mix fresh lime juice and pineapple juice
2. Add white grape juice, mint and blueberries
3. Shake all ingredients well and strain into a large glass filled with ice
4. Top with Sierra Mist Natural
5. Garnish with fresh blueberries for a holiday twist (optional)

Meet Me At The Mist-letoe…Martini (Cocktail)

Ingredients:

• 2 oz. Sierra Mist Natural
• 1 ½ oz. Raspberry Vodka
• 3 Leaves fresh basil
• ½ oz. Fresh lime juice
• 1 oz. Blueberry juice

Directions:

1. In a glass, muddle two basil leaves and lime juice, then add to shaker
filled with ice
2. Add raspberry vodka and blueberry juice to the shaker; shake well and
strain into a martini glass
3. Top with Sierra Mist Natural
4. Garnish with a basil leaf for decoration (optional)

Modifications, instead of using raspberry vodka, I used regular.  I added 4 raspberries to the basil and lime juice and muddled them altogether for fresh raspberry juice/puree.  Yum.

Meet Me At The Mist-letoe…Martini (Mocktail)

Ingredients:

• 2 oz. Sierra Mist Natural
• 1 ½ oz. Raspberry juice
• 3 Leaves fresh basil
• ½ oz. Fresh lime juice
• 1 oz. Blueberry juice

Directions:

1. In a glass, muddle two basil leaves and lime juice, then add to a shaker
filled with ice
2. Add raspberry and blueberry juice to the shaker; shake well and strain
into a martini glass
3. Top with Sierra Mist Natural
4. Garnish with a basil leaf for decoration (optional)

Modifications, instead of using raspberry juice I added 4 raspberries to the basil and lime juice and muddled them altogether for fresh raspberry juice/puree. Yum.

Disclaimer: I have partnered with Sierra Mist for this sponsored post.  They provided me with recipes as well as compensation.  The photos and opinions are my own. 

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