Posts tagged ‘Drinks’

April 6, 2011


by Sandy Pollock

Michael and I recently took a long, out-of-town weekend trip to Syracuse, New York, to see our friends Kelly and Patrick.  While there, we got to watch the mighty Syracuse Orangemen play some b-ball!  The game was a total blowout and tons of fun.  We stayed at Kelly and Patrick’s adorable house and simply had the best time.

K and P are great hosts, so we wanted to be sure and take a little gift to thank them for what we knew was going to be a fantastic time.

As usual, the first gift option that popped into my booze-focused brain was booze.  I thought about wine (which is always good), but I wanted it to be more special.  Then I remembered that I had given homemade limoncello to my friends for Christmas a while back and it was quite a hit.

Limoncello is the perfect gift for a few reasons.  First, making limoncello requires some forethought.  You can’t just whip it up and serve it in an hour — people will know that love, time, and thought were put into their gift.  Secondly, most people don’t have this delightful liquor on hand and would probably not think to make it for themselves.  Lastly, they will drink the heck out of it and maybe even offer you some!

Here’s how it went down:

Zest 6 to 8 lemons.

You can do this by cutting away the zest with a knife (like I did above) or by using a vegetable peeler which works like a charm.

Keep going…

and going…

I julienned my lemon zest, but that really isn’t necessary, as the lemon rind will later be discarded. I just freaking love a good julienne, plus mama gotta keep up her knife skills.

Place the zest in the bottom of a glass container with a tight lid.  I used a mason jar.

Add the booze!  A 750ml bottle of vodka to be exact.

I love you so much!

Cover the jar and place it in a cool dark place for at least 2 weeks, but go for as long as you can.  I know it will be hard.

This is what the mixture will look like after sitting for 2 weeks.  The longer it sits, the more lemony goodness will be infused.

When two weeks (or longer) have passed, then combine 2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water in a suacepan (will look like picture above at first).

Over medium heat, cook until the sugar has dissolved completely (approx 5 minutes).  Syrup will look like picture above when ready.  Allow syrup to cool.

Strain the lemon vodka through a strainer to remove all the lemon zest.  Discard the zest, but thank it for its service before doing so.

This is what it looks like before adding the simple syrup.  Feel free to start drinking it now.  It’s lemon flavored vodka.  Hell yeah.

Add enough simple syrup to the strained vodka to create a sweet and delightful concoction (I used around 2 cups of simple syrup).  Now this is an important step and it will require quite a bit of taste testing to ensure that the gift is to your liking.  I am sorry.

Find some great cocktail recipes that highlight Limoncello.  Print them on small cards then attach them to the neck of the jar with kitchen twine!

It’s a great gift for great friends!  Thank you Kelly and Patrick!

November 6, 2010

Tailgating with Casseroles

by Casserole Queens

With cool weather settling in and football season in full swing, we wanted to help you bring your tailgate to the next level with a few tips and ideas from the Casserole Queens.

While hamburgers and hotdogs are usually a tailgate staple, there’s no reason not to bring something new to the game with a new recipe, or of course, a casserole!  Because casseroles are easy to transport, easy to heat up, and easy to serve a lot of people, they are a no-brainer for your next tailgate.  Check out these crowd pleasers that will make your tailgate the most popular pre-game party place.


Kick-off with a Kick Casserole

1 ½ cups of dried elbow macaroni
2 cups of broccoli florets
1/3 cup dried tomatoes (not oil pack)
1/3 cup sliced green onions
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons dried basil, crushed
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 ¾ cups milk
1 1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/4 cup shredded Gouda cheese

Cook macaroni. Add broccoli; drain. Set aside. Meanwhile, snip dried tomatoes. Place tomatoes in a small bowl; add enough warm water to cover. Let stand for 10 minutes or until softened; drain well. Set aside. In a medium saucepan cook green onions in hot butter over medium heat until tender. Stir in flour, basil, cayenne pepper, and salt. Add milk all at once. Cook and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly. Add cheeses, a little at a time, stirring constantly after each addition until melted. Stir in macaroni-broccoli mixture and softened tomatoes. Transfer to an un-greased 1 1/2 –quart casserole.

Bake, uncovered, in a 350° oven about 30 minutes.

casseroles are a perfect complement for every tailgate.  To go with your game day casseroles, here are some ideas for decorations, drinks, tailgating games, and even some kitschy outfits to support your favorite team.

A great way to incorporate a casserole into your game day menu is to heat up your casserole at home then pack it in a cooler where it will stay warm until you arive on -site. Once there the Queens recommend disposable chafing dishes.  They are easy to set up, and the wire frame/holder can be reused and really do a great job at keeping food hot.  A sample is at the link below but you can find these at any party supply store.

Disposable Buffet Serving Kits

For more tailgating recipes, check out


Food Network


Be Prepared

Pre-pack food (make a list the night before of items to pack in the morning, as well as items to pick up on the way to the tailgate, like ice.), prepare for weather (make sure you have covers for your dishes, and a place to store things in case of a downpour), check regulations (from alcohol to barbecue pits, check with the school website before bringing these items to your tailgate)



Have a fabulous tailgate while showing your team colors with these easy tips.  If you don’t already own your own table cloth and plates with your teams logo, there are plenty of sites you can order them from.  Most party supply stores also have paper plates in cups in a plethora of colors, so you are sure to find everything you need in your team’s colors there.  Here are some helpful sites:

Tailgater Zone

Tailgating Party Supply

Visiting your team’s official website is also a great place to start looking for inspiration and unique items.

A couple helpful hints when buying your decorations: First, set a budget. Try to buy items that can be used all season to help cut down on costs. Next, scout out your tailgating spot so you can know how much room you have, and so that you can take full advantage of your surroundings (surrounding trees, shady areas, and good places to set up tables and chairs.)



Since just beer isn’t enough at the Queen’s tailgate, impress your guests with some of these must have beverages for game day:




Even if you can’t dress in an apron and heels, try these sites for retro inspired t-shirts and outfits with your team’s logo

Distant Replays

The Original Retro Brand


Watching the game at home

Even if you can’t make it out to tailgate every week or your team is playing away, watching the game can be just as fun.  Get out your decorations, and dress in your teams colors. You can even set up your favorite tailgating games in the backyard or in the living room.


The Casserole Queens

Crystal and Sandy


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