DIY Christmas Presents : Eats & Treats

Merry Monday everyone! Christmas is coming quicker than I can handle, so while I shop online today, I’m also going to whip up a few homemade Christmas gifts that everyone on my list will enjoy.  I love giving and receiving edible gifts. Knowing the treats were made with love and care in someone’s kitchen makes them extra enjoyable.  If you still don’t have a present for me, here are a few suggestions 😉 liveseasoned_spring2015_hazelnutliqueur3-1024x889 liveseasoned_spring2015_hazelnutliqueur6

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Lemon Lemon Gin Fizz

Lemon is our ingredient of the season. You still have time to make some of lemon popsicles for the weekend!

With hot and humid days in the forecast, this Lemon Lemon Gin Fizz is the perfect refreshing drink for your holiday weekend. Trust us!

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Why “lemon lemon”? Because the recipe contains lemongrass infused simple syrup in addition to the lemon juice typically found in a gin fizz.

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Hazelnut Liqueur

Nuts are our ingredient of the season.  Dips, cookies, and snack bars, are just a sampling of our many nutty posts. Today, we’re finally combining them with alcohol!

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It’s been a long time since I’ve had Frangelico or any other hazelnut liqueur, but with nuts as our featured ingredient, it was high time that I tried making my own! While doing some research for this project, I came across a Serious Eats article that encourages anyone interested to make their own rather than buy, and I couldn’t agree more. The pure hazelnut flavor really shines through, and I really appreciate being able to taylor the sweetness to my liking, which is often less than store-bought liqueurs.

After liking what Serious Eats’ encouragement to make the liqueur, I clicked through to their recipe and also liked the simplicity of that, so I used it and that’s what you see reprinted below. Making this liqueur couldn’t be easier, it’s the waiting that’s hard. While I want to say it “only” involves three to four weeks of wait-time, that’s three (or four) too many, and I think you’ll agree once you see my new favorite treat below. I say four weeks, because I was supposed to go on to steps 2 and 3 while our family was in town, and I completely forgot! As a result, I had about an extra week of the hazelnuts steeping in the alcohol, but the flavor is that delicious and strong that I have no regrets… although I’m not sure if I’ll be able to wait that long the second time I make this.

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Tonic Water (& Gin)

I love, love, love gin & tonics! When I was pregnant with Luc, our friends in Boulder (a big brewery town) would ask me if I couldn’t wait to have a beer, and I would always so no, because all I wanted was a G&T. In fact, when I hit week 39 of my pregnancy, I stopped in a liquor store to pick up some gin… I’m sure it looked absurd that a hugely pregnant lady was buying gin with her two year old in the shopping cart, but other women get the urge to nest, and I got the urge for gin.

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Meanwhile, waiting at home for me was an awesome homemade tonic water kit that Calder’s sister gave me last July for my birthday. That was days after I became pregnant with Luc, and it killed me to have to sit on it for all those months! While Sarah was in town last month, we finally made the tonic water and broke open some new-to-us gins.

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Citrus Champagne Spritzers

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Cheers to citrus season!  Growing up, my mom would order a half dozen boxes of oranges from the marching band fundraiser, which meant orangeade all winter long.  I miss those big boxes and that orangeade so today I made something a little reminiscent of my childhood + alcohol 🙂  This citrus champagne spritzer has fresh squeeze oranges and lemons, but don’t fool yourself, it is still winter.

This bubbly and fresh drink turned my cheeks pink! It was the perfect pal for present wrapping today.  Do I sound like the loneliest person on the planet?! Wrapping presents with a drink that I’m calling pal? Don’t answer that. But hey, if your holidays are hectic and you need a mocktail, try this recipe sans champagne and cointreau.  Replace the alcohol with sparkling lemonade or use the sparkling orange and lemon soda as the base, but whatever you do, ENJOY IT!

Citrus Champagne Spritzer Ingredients:

  • Prosecco (1 bottle makes six+) refrigerated
  • Cointreau refrigerated
  • 3 TBSP orange juice
  • lemon or orange sparkling beverage refrigerated
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 12 sprigs of thyme rinsed and dried

Some notes:

  • I use a one ounce shot glass to measure the ingredients, but if you don’t, one ounce equals two tablespoons.
  • You can leave out the cointreau if you want.  The flavor is wildly different, but just as amazing.
  • You could use Korbel Brut or a riesling instead of Prosecco.
  • This is a perfect big batch cocktail because there is no ice!*

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 The how:

  • In a sauce pot, stir together a half cup of sugar and a cup of water.  Turn onto medium-low heat until the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat, add four or five sprigs of clean thyme and place a lid or plate on top of the pot. Let steep for ten minutes. After ten minutes passes, remove the thyme sprigs and strain simple syrup if necessary (all my thyme leaves were intact so I didn’t have to strain).
  • In a tumbler, mix 1 ounce thyme simple syrup, 2 ounce fresh squeezed orange juice, 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice and half ounce cointreau. Stir well.  Add prosecco (I didn’t measure, just pour accordingly)
  • Top with a splash of sparkling lemon or sparkling orange soda.
  • Garnish with a thyme sprig or two and serve.
  • *If you are making these citrus champagne spritzers for a crowd, stir up a big batch all at once.  In a large pitcher combine 3/4 + 2 tablespoons simple syrup, 1 + 3/4 cup orange juice, 1/3 cup lemon juice and a 1/3 cup cointreau. Stir well, add the champagne and top with one can of sparkling orange or lemon.

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These sparkling citrus champagne spritzers are perfect for a holiday party *ahem champagne toast ahem* or in my case a preholiday wrapping party.  Mix up a whole batch or put on Mixed Nuts and drink one by yourself 😉

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