Best of 2014

Here were are again dear readers, at the close of another year.  Time to look back and reflect on our successes in the kitchen.  Mine are almost all recipes that add little nutritional value to your life.  So if you’re looking for help with your resolution, that’s another blog.  Sorry!

Click on the pictures to go to the recipes.

chocolate crunch bars.

banana walnut baked oatmeal.

funfetti cookies.

garlic and herb bread twists.

black bean burritos.

best chocolate chip cookies.

pounded cheese.

swedish pancakes.

chubby hubby cupcakes.

brown butter cherry bars.


toffee tiramisu.

cheddar tailgating bread.


chocolate peanut butter globs.

candy cane cookies.

And two non-recipe posts:

brownie taste test.


Want to know what else is good here?  Check out the best of 2013, and 2012.

Cocktails {sidecars}

All of you non-Type-A-ers out there know what you’re doing, don’t you?  At least, when it comes to summers.


In the past, my summer lists have been chock full of FUN THINGS that I MUST DO.  Pretty sure that making any sort of to-do list in the summer is illegal.  Or, any to-do list with FUN THINGS.  FUN THINGS shouldn’t be on to-do lists to be crossed off as fast as possible.  They should be done because the mood is right and because you intend to enjoy them fully. That’s more what I was going for with this year’s list.  I wanted to kick my Type-A tendencies to the side and see where the summer took me.  I wanted to set an attitude for the summer and see if I could keep it up all 10 weeks.

So far so good.

When my husband and I sipped blood orange margaritas on the fourth of July (a new annual tradition I fully embrace), I asked if we could spend the rest of our summer trying out new cocktails.  He was game.


I’m not counting that as adding to my list.  I just want to drink more cocktails.  No specific plans for what they are, what’s in them, or how many I have to make.

We started with Elsie and Emma’s take on the sidecar. I didn’t have sweetened lime juice, so I made a batch of simple syrup (you can do it, dear readers, it’s called simple for a reason…boil 1 C water, add 1 C sugar, stir till dissolved), and added a squeeze of the fresh stuff.  We don’t have mason jars at home, but I hoard Bonne Maman jam jars like, well, it’s my jam, so I shake my cocktails in those.

To make one drink, you need to:

Combine 3/4 ounce triple sec, 3/4 ounce bourbon whiskey, 1/2 ounce sweetened lime juice (make your own or buy one—I used Rose’s brand), a small squeeze of lime juice in a small mason jar seal, shake and pour over ice. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Pesto Week – Friday

Dear readers, welcome to pesto week here at A Glass of Milk.  I’m hoping your garden is bursting at the seams with basil, just like K’s.  Since she asked me what to do with all that green, we’re spending the week talking about my favorite herb, and my favorite sauce.  Which also means taking a trip down memory lane.  Enjoy the ride!

Except today isn’t about pesto.  Today is just about basil.  It’s Friday.  It’s my birthday!  We’re breaking the rules!  It’s time for a drink.

I dare you to slip some vodka into this baby.  It remains the beverage of my dreams.

You know the day you can smell spring coming?  When it has been too cold for too long and suddenly you walk outside and it just feels different?  The first day you roll the windows down in your car?

I call it a Dave Matthews day, because that’s the kind of mood I’m in.  I switch to my “Chill” playlist and need fresh flavors in the kitchen.

In the fall and winter, I drink milk, water, beer and wine.  That’s it.  I don’t drink juice, I don’t drink soda, I don’t drink coffee(!).  Empty calories.

In the spring and summer I break my rules for lemonade.  I cannot resist fresh-squeezed.  I played around with the perfect ratio of lemons to water to simple syrup (and the ratio of sugar to water in that) and then I found this.  Giada.  You have truly outdone yourself.  Many reviewers called for more water, and I got on board with that.  But if you watch Giada make this, you’ll notice the glasses into which she pours the finished product are almost completely filled with ice.  In my head, a happy place where Giada can do no wrong, she has the situation covered with her large, ice-filled glasses.

The basil simple syrup makes the lemonade (do you believe it?) even cooler and more refreshing.  It feels like a drink someone would offer you at a spa.  Definitely one worth sipping on the porch.

**Updated** Ummmmmm, this is pretty much destiny, folks!  Now back to the show…

Italian Lemonade

*adapted from Giada De Laurentiis…I did add more water, and only filled the glasses with a couple of cubes of ice.  I’m not trying to tell anyone how to live their life.  Lemonade is a matter of taste as well as personal convictions.  You may enjoy different amounts of water, sugar and lemons.  This was what worked for me.

  • 2 C lemon juice (12-15 lemons)
  • 4 C water, flat or sparkling (ooh la la)
  • 1C water
  • 2 C sugar
  • 1 bunch basil, washed and stemmed
  • Ice
  • lemon slices and basil sprigs for garnish (ups the glam factor)

First, you’re going to make basil simple syrup.  Simple syrup is sugar that’s heated up with water until it dissolves.  Basil simple syrup is sugar that’s heated up with water until it dissolves but also has basil added for infused flavor.  Don’t you want to be able to say you made a basil infused simple syrup?  You’ll be ready for Top Chef in no time!

Pour 1 C flat water in a small sauce pan, with basil and 2 C sugar.  Stir, stir, stir, until the sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes.  Strain syrup through a fine mesh sieve.  Discard the basil leaves.  They’ve given you all they could.

From there, pour the lemon juice, simple syrup and water in a pitcher and give it a stir.  Serve in cute little glasses with ice and a lemon twist.  Get ready for spring.

*I am posting this under drinks as well as cocktails because it has serious potential.

The Way You Know About a Good Melon

You know what I’m talking about.

When I saw this, the most gorgeous video in the world, which I’ve since watched at least 8 times, I knew exactly what my evening would look like.  I just knew.

cheers to boozy milkshakes

Side note–my evening was already scheduled to involve Breaking Dawn, Parts 1 and 2.  Adding boozy milkshakes to the mix was the icing on the cake.  Or in this case, the whipped cream on the milkshake.

And so I went about my day.  I walked on the beach with Wooden Nickels and CV(D), I started a book I need to read, and I went to the grocery store.  I cuddled with Baby O.  I made dinner, much like I usually do.   I tried to eat my veggies.

boozy assembly

But all the while, there was this nagging thought in the back of my head.  Boozy milkshakes.

And so, in between (spoiler alert!) Bella becoming a vampire, Renesmee growing up at a frightening rate, and Baby O joining everyone who’s anyone on Team Jacob, my night became complete.

boozy aerial view

These milkshakes, quite simply, are the best things to come out of my kitchen in longer than I care to think about.  It’s not that anything I made was bad,  It’s not even that anything I made wasn’t good.  These are just in an entirely different category.

boozy milkshakeTo make them, you’ll want some quality homemade hot fudge.  You can make this as early as 10 days in advance.  Though I would venture a guess that if you make it 10 days before you want boozy milkshakes, there will be no hot fudge left.  The hot fudge is deep, and dark, and silky smooth.  I made mine while sipping on my first beverage of the day.  I’m on vacation.

hot fudge

To make a generous amount of hot fudge, you will need:

  • 2/3 C heavy cream
  • 1/2 C light corn syrup
  • 1/3 C dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 C cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 6 oz. dark chocolate, chopped and divided
  • 2 T butter

Place cream, corn syrup, brown sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and 3 oz. chocolate in small saucepan and bring to boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until just so slightly thickened.  Remove mixture from heat and stir in remaining chocolate and butter.  Use immediately, or let cool, and store, covered, in the fridge.

You’ll also want some whipped cream.  I find it works best if you ask a friend to make it, so you can focus on what’s most important.  Which booze should be a part of your boozy milkshake?

CV(D)'s whipped cream

Thanks for whipping the cream, so I could agonize about liquor, CV(D).  You’re a true friend.

To make whipped cream, you will need:

  • 1 friend who knows whipped cream tips and tricks, like putting the mixer beaters and bowl in the freezer in advance of needed them
  • 1/2 C heavy cream
  • 2 T powdered sugar (fun fact…CV(D) uses granulated sugar)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla (CV(D) won’t hear of this; she deems it unnecessary)

Beat all ingredients till you can flip the mixer or whisk over, and the mixture holds its shape.

When you’ve settled on the booze of your choice (Baileys, please), get things whipped up in your blender.

To make the milkshakes you will need (for each shake):

  • 3 scoops vanilla ice cream
  • 1 C milk
  • 1-2 oz. Baileys Irish Cream (or liquor of your choice)

Blend ingredients in blender till smooth.

Lace a drinking glass with hot fudge, pour in your milkshake, and top with whipped cream and more hot fudge.  Enjoy with vampires and werewolves.

team jacob

*If you, like so many, are wondering on which side of the Jacob/Edward battle lines your baby lies, may I suggest placing her in front of the television when one character appears alone.  If, five seconds later, she begins to wail like her life depends on it, she is likely not a member of said team.  Just a suggestion.

Detox Smoothies

When your night before looks like this:

glassesYour morning after should look like this:

pb2 monster

That’s a green monster right there.

pb2 monster 2Don’t let its verdant hue intimidate you.  It’s delicious.  And it doesn’t taste like green.  I don’t love green. It tastes like a peanut butter and banana sandwich.  Without the carbs.

I gorged on these, these, and these last night, and had plenty of champagne, too.  It was a night of old friends, and good food.

As such, I was looking for something a little healthier this morning, and knew what it had to be.  A green monster smoothie.  I made my first one about a year ago, using Gina’s recipe.  Since then, I’ve tweaked it to my tastes, and my pantry.  It uses PB2, this peanut butter powder, that’s processed in a way that lowers both the fat and sugar content.

I do not mind eating regular peanut butter, a hugely fatty food, in the slightest.  I eat it in some capacity almost everyday, whether it be with an apple, or in a sandwich.  Peanut butter (if you know which brand to buy) is a healthy fat.  I’m going to try not to get too technical here, but the fat in peanut butter occurs naturally.  It is supposed to be there.  It wasn’t added by a factory to boost the flavor, it was in the peanut all along.  This means two things.  One: Peanut butter will keep you full.  Two:  The fat in peanut butter falls into the easier-to-digest category.

Done.  Off my soap box.

This post isn’t about peanut butter, it’s about PB2.  I don’t mind consuming the real stuff, but I’ve been hearing so much about PB2, that I had to grab a jar on my last trip to Whole Foods.  I’ve made green monsters with peanut butter, and green monsters with PB2 and I can’t tell a difference.  So if this version saves me some calories, you can count me in.

To make a green monster, you will need:

  • 1 banana, broken into small pieces
  • 2 T PB2 (or chocolate PB2)
  • 3/4 C milk
  • 1/2 C plain yogurt (or greek)
  • 2 C (or more) spinach leaves

Blend all ingredients till smooth, and enjoy.

You Could Use a Drink

When Wednesday hits, its annoying little sister, Midweek Slump, always comes right along with it.  In case you need a pick-me-up dear readers, swing by Whole Foods on the way home and grab what you need to make this little cocktail, the Pom Pom Fizz.

Three items.  That’s it.  Vodka (which happens to be something I always have in stock), pomegranate soda (I found this at Whole Foods), and lime.  Really, it’s only half a lime, so mix drinks, and whip up some guacamole while you’re at it.  Bam.  Feels like the weekend now, doesn’t it?

I found the recipe for this gem in a recent West Elm catalog.

To make a Pom Pom Fizz, mix 2 oz. vodka, 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice, and 4 oz. pomegranate soda* in a glass.  Add lots of ice, give your cocktail a stir, and garnish with a slice of lime.**

*You can absolutely use pomegranate juice here.  Pomegranate soda is some hard stuff to find.  You’ll just have to take the “Fizz” out of the title.  Or, add 1 oz. club soda and 3 oz. pomegranate juice instead.

**Now I have leftover pomegranate soda/juice.  What the heck do I do with it?  Great question, dear readers.  You have two options.  1.  Make more drinks!  2.  Add it into your next mimosa, either with, or without OJ.

Summer Cocktails

With Memorial Day come and gone, we are heading straight into the thick of summer.  While talking to my Ex the other day, I was saying how I try not to drink during the week.  It’s just empty calories, and honestly, I’d rather spend them on desert.  I drink on the weekends, at happy hours, and tailgates and barbecues.  Except in the summer.  When I have a habit of slipping liquor into unsuspecting fruit juices everywhere.  Every day.  Case in point, strawberry basil mojitos.  Because sometimes you need a drink on Sunday at 4:00.

I made this one, and next time I think I’ll try this one.


Strong to the Finich

Know what this post is going to be about?

Look up at the title.

It’s about spinach!

And how everyone who’s anyone says you can add it to a smoothie and not notice it’s there.

Dear readers,

they’re telling the truth.

I didn’t want to believe it; didn’t see how it could be.  But I was too intrigued not to try it for myself.  I added a small handful of spinach to my favorite August smoothie, peach-blueberry, and blended things for a little longer than usual (I had visions of stringy spinach getting stuck between my teeth if I didn’t), and bam.  A smoothie to tide me over between breakfast and lunch, and no spinach taste.  How that’s possible, I have no idea.  But every book I read on nutrition sings the praises of Popeye’s favorite leafy green vegetable.  So incorporating a little more into my everyday can’t be so bad.

To make a leafy green blueberry peach smoothie for 1, you will need:

  • 1 small container yogurt (or a couple of large spoonfuls from a larger tub)
  • a couple of handfuls of blueberries (somewhere between 1/2 and 2/3 C)
  • 1 peach, peeled and sliced
  • 1 small handful spinach
  • 1 glug OJ (no more than 1/2 C)
Place everything in the blender and whir away.

Week in the Life, Wednesday

Last Wednesday was super low key, but I ended up taking as many pictures as I had on my busier days.

I also used that watermelon I cut into for lunch to make some Watermelonade.  Which I kept wanting to call waterlemonade.  See how they’re different but confusingly the same?  I can’t believe I haven’t made a single batch of lemonade yet this summer; it was long overdue.  This was my post-run, cool-down drink, but I wouldn’t be opposed to adding a splash of you-know-what if you used your watermelonade as a pre-dinner cocktail.

Blend 4 C watermelon in a blender.  This took some stopping and stirring on my part, and I have a good blender.  I did lots of pre-wedding blender research like a good desperate housewife.  Pour through a strainer and into a small container.  Pull together your favorite lemonade recipe (I wouldn’t judge if it came from the grocery store), and add 2 or 3 tablespoons of watermelon juice to each glass.  Serve over ice.


*No idea what you just came across on your favorite cooking blog?  Last week, inspired by Ali Edwards, I took my camera everywhere to document a week in my life.  Read more about the project here.