Sparkling, bubbly cocktail packs a punch – French 75 recipe

To treat myself after my half marathon a couple weeks ago, I celebrated with a glass of champagne and a French 75. I never really drank champagne much until visiting the Chandon winery on a trip to Napa a few years ago. Since then I often keep a bottle chilled in my frig to sip on after a long day.  I  like drinking mimosas on holidays but my favorite champagne cocktail is the French 75.

It is a mixture of fresh lemon juice, simple syrup or sugar, and gin topped with champagne. It is so light, refreshing and crisp with the tangy taste of citrus from the lemon balanced with the earthy flavor of the gin then finished off with the bubbly champagne. Don’t drink too many of these though – they are quite powerful!

Simple ingredients for French 75.

Simple ingredients for French 75.



Here is my recipe for a French 75:

2 ounces gin

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon simple syrup or sugar

Shake these three ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into a champagne glass or coupe glass then top with champagne.

French 75 cocktail.

French 75 cocktail.

I think it’s best for brunch but I drink French 75’s whenever I like!

Linking up this week: DIY by Design, Wake Up Wednesday, Wine’d Down Wednesday, Share With MeShare Your Cup Thursday, The Pin Junkie, You Link It-We Make It, Weekend Retreat Link Party, Friday Features Linky Party, What To Do Weekends,  Chain Linky Climb, Totally Terrific TuesdaysOver the Moon Link Party.







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Simple recipe for delicious banana nut bread

One of my favorite treats is banana nut bread. I enjoy it in the morning with a cup of coffee and I also enjoy it in the afternoon with a cup of coffee. So when I had a few overripe bananas lately I whipped up a tasty loaf.

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The first thing I did was peel 3-4 of the overripe bananas and mash them up.

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Next, I mixed together 1 1/4 cups sugar and 1/2 cup softened butter before adding 2 eggs and blending well. After this, I added the bananas, 1/2 cup buttermilk and 1 teaspoon vanilla and beat with a mixer until smooth. Once this was done, I combined 2 1/2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1 teaspoon salt until well moistened. The final step involved  folding in 1 cup of chopped pecans. Pour batter into an 8 inch loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for about an hour.

Let cool then enjoy! Yum.

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P.S. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can make your own by adding 1 tablespoon of white vinegar to 1 cup of milk.

This week I’ve linked up with Friday Favorites at, Foodie Friends Friday at, Made by you Mondays at, The Pin Junkie Pin Party at and LouLou Girls Fabulous Party at


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Spaghetti with a twist

This month is May Fitness Challenge for my bootcamp group. In addition to the regular bootcamp workouts, this involves extra cardio sessions and low carb eating. This week I tried making spaghetti substituting roasted cauliflower in place of the pasta. It was surprisingly good! I’ve tried spaghetti squash before and didn’t really like it much. I found this much tastier.

To start with I took 1 pound of seasoned, ground axis meat (you can use regular ground beef), mixed that with some Italian breadcrumbs and made meatballs. I put those in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes until they were cooked through.

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For the sauce, I chopped up an onion, bellpepper, fresh mushrooms and fresh spinach and sautéed this in olive oil until veggies were soft. I chopped up the mushrooms and spinach really fine. I then added a 15 ounce can of tomato paste, a can of water and sautéed that for a while. I also put in a 15 ounce can of tomato sauce and simmered for about 3 hours before cutting up a fresh basil leaf to throw in along with enough salt and pepper for my taste. Finally, I added the cooked meatballs to the sauce.

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Throughout the cooking process, I added water to keep the sauce at a consistency that I like.

To roast the cauliflower, I cut up a head until I had small, thin cauliflower florets. I put those into a Ziploc bag along with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon garlic salt and tossed it around for a while. Lastly, I put the cauliflower on a baking sheet, sprinkled with black pepper and baked at 425 degrees for 35 minutes.

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Once it was done, I put some cauliflower in my plate and poured some sauce and meatballs on  top with freshly shredded Parmesan cheese. I served this with a green salad but… no bread!

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It was delicious!

This week I’m linking up with the Swing into Spring party at and Friday Favorites party at

Sincerely, Paula

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Chili on a chilly day

Well, my kids did not have school Tuesday because of expected rains with freezing temperatures which were going to cause ice to form on the roads. It did drizzle and it was cold but there wasn’t enough rain or cold enough temperatures for any icy roads. Needless to say, we did enjoy the random day off – sleeping in, watching movies and staying in our comfy clothes all day. I even cooked my chili which I usually only make for Halloween. I got the delicious, award-winning recipe from my mom who found it in a magazine (not sure which one) years ago. She used to cook it and freeze it to take with us on our snow skiing trips.

Making this chili is a process and it takes three hours of cooking time but trust me, it’s worth it.

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2 1/2 pounds boneless chuck roast diced (I split evenly chili meat and stew meat)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

4 cups water

1/4 cup diced onion

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon red pepper

4 whole jalapeno peppers

2-3 tablespoon chili powder

2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground oregano

1/8 teaspoon ground bay leaf

2 beef flavored bouillon cubes

1- 8 ounce can tomato sauce

2-3 tablespoon chili powder

2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon red pepper

1 teaspoon garlic powder

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Next, add the water, onion, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, salt, red pepper and jalapeno peppers. Bring that to a boil then simmer uncovered for one hour. Add water as needed to keep liquid 1/2 inch above the meat throughout the cooking procedure.

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Remove the jalapeno peppers and strain the liquid from the peppers. I do this by putting the peppers in a strainer, holding the strainer over a bowl and using a fork to smash the peppers. Discard the peppers after you have done this.

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Add the pepper liquid, 2-3 tablespoons chili powder and next five ingredients. Stir well. Simmer uncovered for 1 hour and 45 minutes. Add the remaining 2-3 tablespoons chili powder and remaining ingredients then simmer for 15 minutes. Serve with shredded cheese and Fritos. Enjoy!!

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This entry was posted in Food.