Category Archives: desserts

Horse Bites: Drinks and Mocktails

Rain or shine, cold or blazing hot, it’s easy to host a casual Derby party at home for everyone. After all, getting a babysitter for Derby is harder than hitting an Exacta!

And if you’re planning on staying home with your kids anyway, have them invite all their friends! The parents will be so shocked they’ll offer to keep your kids for your anniversary, a long weekend, whatever you want. How do I know this? Because I used to do it for both my sons for New Year’s Eve. The kids had a blast, and I never go out on New Year’s Eve, anyway. Even if I’m not drinking that doesn’t protect me from all the other idiots on the road. Here’s my Pinterest Family-Friendly Derby Party Board – enjoy!

Whether you are planning a party for families or only for kids beverages are important. Recipes for the Oaks Lily, the Mint Julep, and the new-this-year Woodford Reserve Spires are all available on KentuckyDerby.com.

I’ll be honest – if I’m pouring simple syrup, cranberry juice, or lemonade over something I’m not using top-shelf alcohol. Straight? Sure. A specialty drink I’ve personally created? Absolutely! But for party mixes like these I’d save the budget for food and drop it a couple of rungs on on the snooty liquor scale. Anyone who’s displeased is officially elected bartender – they can run to the liquor and make their own and everyone else’s drinks. #mypartymyrules

Here are the kid-friendly versions (or the versions you give your guests who are getting too tipsy):

Lily: Cranberry juice, a splash of lemonade, and a splash or orange juice over ice. Garnish with a half-strawberry unless your kids like blackberries.

Julep: Green Kool-aid or Crystal Light (Bug Juice for you Scout Parents out there) over ice with a sprig of mint. They can eat it, rub it on their teeth to gross everyone out, throw it at each other, whatever. It cleans up easy. If you’re lucky the dog will eat it and have very fresh breath!

Spires: Lemonade over ice with a splash of cranberry juice for color. Garnish with a tiny wedge of lemon.

Nab a couple of “too cool for this party” teens and put them to work making the mocktails. Maybe show them a few scenes from “Cocktail” first (while you’re transferring everything into plastic bottles). They’ll be bragging about their bar-tending skills for a decade.

You’ve probably seen my Horse Bites series with Benedictine, Thurby Pie, Hot Brown, and Country Ham. But here’s another option: the YUMMY Mint Julep! This is one even the adults will want to try.

It’s super-easy. Peel a kiwi (Make a shallow cut around the circumference and use a spoon – trust me on this one!) Then slice it. Add half a strawberry (cut side down), a blueberry, and just a leaf of mint. Now make just a cup of simple syrup (sugar or Splenda dissolved in hot water). Once it cools, pour a tiny bit on every stack. Yes, sorry, this once takes toothpicks, too. None of these fruits will brown or shrivel, so they can be done well ahead of time. If you want an adult version put bourbon in the simple syrup. But in that case make sure there’s an Adult section of the Buffet Table and an Under-21 section!

For the Thurby Pie just don’t use Bourbon in the whipped cream, and perhaps not nuts in their pie (the bourbon cooks out of the pie.) The Hot Brown will be a hit – maybe use ramekins instead of shot glasses and put two sandwich quarters in each. Kids love to dip! Benedictine and Country Ham Horse Bites are fine as they are – maybe you can get some veggies into them along the way.

Posting this after twelve-noon EST since I don’t want to encourage day-drinking, even though my Neurologist says I should give it a try. Yes, seriously! And no, I’m not giving out his name. If I do I’ll have to wait two years for my next appointment. And I’m rather fond of the margarita machine in the waiting room. #justkiddingitsinthelobby

 

Horse Bites: Thurby Pie

There is one must-have dessert you’ll find at every single Derby event: Derby Pie. The “official” Derby Pie (the name is actually copyrighted and they take it very seriously) is made in Louisville by Kern’s Bakery and shipped world-wide. It tastes nice. But my aunt’s recipe is easily twice as yummy! I’ve often been told I look just like her. If my hair starts to go gray should I just do a Marilyn Monroe platinum?? It looked great on Beverly!
I’m going to call it Thurby Pie since last year the Thursday of Derby Week became the official day for locals to go to Churchill Downs. It used to be Oaks Day (Friday), but the celebs gradually realized Oaks Day was just as much fun as Derby. So now they come in a day early, and locals end up on blankets in the infield standing in line for port-a-potties. #ICK!
So locals make a day of it on Thursday, starting with Dawn at the Downs (and I do mean dawn) eating a fabulous buffet breakfast and watching the Oaks and Derby horses work out. It’s fantastic! Spend some time at the Derby Museum until it’s time for the first race and you’re all set! Many local restaurants sell box lunches to take to the track, including Panera (my personal fave).

Thurby Pie Bites:

Use this recipe but bake the pie in a brownie pan or a mini-muffin pan. I used a brownie pan because I was afraid mini-muffins would be too dry, but I may try that next time – it would be much easier!

Either way, bake the pie and let it cool. If you want to prep things early it can cool overnight. If you’re using mini-muffin pans leave out the crust and place a Nilla Wafer flat-side-down in the bottom of each muffin pan and pour batter on top. It will probably take a little less time to cook, so check it frequently.

If you’ve selected the brownie pan method this is when you cut out circles. I just happened to have a cookie cutter the right size. Don’t stress if you don’t. Just place a Nilla Wafer on top and cut around it with a knife. Make sure your circles touch so you get as many Pie Bites as you can out of each batch. Twenty-four is my estimated count for one batch.
My aunt’s recipe is moist enough that leftover pieces can be combined to make more circles. Or you can just eat them. Someone has to taste-test them!
Top them with whipped cream with a bit of Bourbon added. Plain whipped cream is fine too if there are youngsters attending. Or if it’s warm and you’re partying outside leave the whipped cream off completely. If it melts it doesn’t look as appealing. These can be completed and stored in the fridge the day before. Two days before without the whipped cream. What’s not to love?!

If you missed the first Horse Bite (Benedictine) click here!

Mann Cakes – I’ve Already Pre-Ordered Mine!

Seriously – who can resist a man who cooks well? Not me, that’s for sure! And I happen to know that the author’s sweetie not only cooks fabulous meals for her, but regularly paints her toenails. How sexy is that?!


Love makes men do desperate things, if desperate things means opening a rival cupcake shop to drive your ex-girlfriend crazy.

Twin brothers and Air Force vets, Tanner and Garrett Mann, return from deployment to find their thriving business burned to the ground. Time for Plan B: Move back to their hometown of Beach Pointe to start over.

But that means running into Paige and Morgan Baxter –gorgeous, curvy, and owners of Two Sisters Cupcakes.

There’s an old diner for sale across town, Garrett’s a great cook, and Tanner has an idea. They’ll make savory cupcakes that men would like. We’re talking bacon and Cheez Whiz. Even better? They’ll call it Mann Cakes. Problem is, they end up attracting an unexpected crowd.

Paige is furious. Every man in her life has left her behind, including Tanner. She’s sacrificed everything for her shop. She won’t lose it over some egotistical ex-boyfriend, even if he does have an Air Force-chiseled body. Her younger sister, Morgan, isn’t helping matters. She’s been gaga over Garrett since high school.

To hell with that. If it’s a fight Tanner wants, it’s a fight he’ll get. But how much is Paige willing to risk to win a cupcake war?

For fans of sweet, sexy romantic comedy in the same vein as Janet Evanovich, Lauren Blakely, Kylie Gilmore & Louisa Edwards. Bonus Mann Cakes recipe included! Pre-order it now for for the early bird price of $0.99!

 

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