Food & Drink

Sparkling Margaritas

Sweet, tart, and bubbly fresh squeezed sparkling margaritas made with elderflower liquor (St. Germaine), cava or sparkling wine / champagne, tequila, and fresh squeezed lemon and lime juice (or sour mix). The recipe and other cinco de mayo margarita inspiration is available on The Wood and Spoon Blog // thewoodandspoon.com

These sparkling margaritas are so festive, so perfectly tart and bubbly, that I decided to write a little short story about them. I’ll let you read it if you promise not to laugh. You’ll catch on soon enough that I spend a lot of hours of my life reading children’s stories to my babies, and if you’re in the same boat as me, I bet you’ll be able to identify which story this little tidbit is inspired by. 

If you give a girl a sparkling margarita, she’s going to want some chips and queso. She’ll go to the store to pick up some cheese, and while she’s there, she’ll see some rainbow sprinkles. It will remind her of her favorite confetti ice cream cake, and she will end up wanting to make it. She’ll buy her queso and sprinkles and then head home to begin baking. While she’s waiting for the cake to bake, she will call a friend to come over for a visit. They’ll sit and chat, laughing over toasty mugs of coffee and cream. And because a cup of coffee isn’t the same without treats to enjoy it with, she will pull a few confetti scones out of the freezer for them to enjoy together. Of course, seeing the sprinkles will remind her of the cake in the oven, which by now has baked a few minutes too long. The girl will curse her oven and dump out the cake, saving a few crumbs to munch on (because even burnt cake is better than none at all, right?) All of those sweet bites will make her crave something salty so she will heat up some tacos from the night before. She’ll need lettuce, tomatoes, and maybe even a sprinkle of cheese, which will remind her of her chips and queso. And chances are, once she starts eating her chips and queso… she’s going to want a sparkling margarita. The end.

“Mercy, someone get this girl out of the house.” I can hear you all now. Yes, it’s probably a bad sign that children’s literature has infiltrated so deep into my thought processes, but the truth remains that if you give this girl some Mexican food, she’s absolutely going to require a marg. So let’s cut to the chase and chat about these sparkling margaritas.

Sweet, tart, and bubbly fresh squeezed sparkling margaritas made with elderflower liquor (St. Germaine), cava or sparkling wine / champagne, tequila, and fresh squeezed lemon and lime juice (or sour mix). The recipe and other cinco de mayo margarita inspiration is available on The Wood and Spoon Blog // thewoodandspoon.com

Sweet, tart, and bubbly fresh squeezed sparkling margaritas made with elderflower liquor (St. Germaine), cava or sparkling wine / champagne, tequila, and fresh squeezed lemon and lime juice (or sour mix). The recipe and other cinco de mayo margarita inspiration is available on The Wood and Spoon Blog // thewoodandspoon.com

This recipe was inspired by a menu item on one of my favorite local Mexican restaurants. Their cocktail menu spans an entire page, but there’s always a few standouts for me, namely their “St. Rita.” A blend of sour mix, St. Germaine, tequila, and cava, the St. Rita is indeed heavenly. Wanting to enjoy a sweet and fizzy beverage from the comfort of my own home, I started testing recipes and I am thrilled with the outcome.

These sparkling margaritas start similarly to your average marg. Fresh squeezed lime juice, tequila, ice… you know the drill. We add elderflower liquor for a sweet and floral punch before the whole thing gets shaken to oblivion in a cocktail shaker. Once everything is icy and suspended together in that frosty shaker, it gets poured into a salt-rimmed glass and topped with a  few ounces of sparkling wine. At first taste, these sparkling margaritas  are perfectly sweet and sour, with effervescent little bubbles that make each sip feel like a tastebud fiesta in your mouth. Pure magic. 

Sweet, tart, and bubbly fresh squeezed sparkling margaritas made with elderflower liquor (St. Germaine), cava or sparkling wine / champagne, tequila, and fresh squeezed lemon and lime juice (or sour mix). The recipe and other cinco de mayo margarita inspiration is available on The Wood and Spoon Blog // thewoodandspoon.com

I’m one of many bloggers who will be sharing margarita and tequila-filled recipes over the next few days for Margarita Week. Kate from ¡HOLA! JALAPEÑO has organized this boozy round-up of recipes to ensure that your Cinco de Mayo party is nothing short of delicious, so I hope you’ll check out the other sites involved. 

If you’re looking for an extra bougie (in case you’re wondering, Mom, that means bourgeoisie), South-of-the-border beverage, these sparkling margaritas are the way to go. Pinkies out and enjoy! I’ll be sharing an additional recipe this week on Friday along with a round-up of Mother’s Day breakfast menus, so love your mama and check that out! As always, you can sign up to receive blog posts straight to your email, so if you haven’t done that already, now is the perfect time to do so. Have a great week and Happy Cinco de Mayo!

If you like these sparkling margaritas, you may also like:

Honey Basil Margaritas

Honey Basil Margaritas

Grapefruit Tejitos

REcipe for grapefruit tejitos / tequila mojitos

Grapefruit Moscow Mules

Grapefruit Moscow Mule

Vegan Coconut Lime Ice Cream Pie

vegan coconut lime ice cream pie

 

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Sparkling Margaritas

Sweet, tart, and bubbly fresh squeezed sparkling margaritas made with elderflower liquor (St. Germaine), cava or sparkling wine / champagne, tequila, and fresh squeezed lemon and lime juice (or sour mix). The recipe and other cinco de mayo margarita inspiration is available on The Wood and Spoon Blog // thewoodandspoon.com

Sparkling margaritas are a sweet and bubbling version of the classic cocktail, flavored with elderflower liquor and champagne.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Total Time: 5
  • Yield: 1 1x
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 ounce lime juice (about 1 lime)
  • 11/2 ounce elderflower liquor (like St. Germaine)
  • 1 ounce tequila blanco
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup (optional-see notes)
  • 2 ounces sparkling wine ( or cava/champagne)

Instructions

  1. Combine the lime juice, elderflower liquor, tequila, and simple syrup (optional)in a shaker and fill with ice. Shake vigorously for about 30 seconds. Pour the contents of the shaker in a tall glass and top with the cava. Stir gently and enjoy!

Notes

  • Serve with a salted and sugared glass rim, if desired.
  • I prefer a dry sparkling wine for this recipe.
  • If you prefer a sweeter cocktail, add the 1/2 ounce of simple syrup. This is optional and should be used according to your taste.

Nutrition

  • Calories: 152
  • Sugar: 4
  • Sodium: 19
  • Fat: 0
  • Saturated Fat: 0
  • Unsaturated Fat: 0
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 12
  • Protein: 0
  • Cholesterol: 0

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Cheddar Cornmeal Chicken Pot Pie

Cheddar Cornmeal Chicken Pot Pie recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate wood. Adapted from ina garten's recipe, this pot pie is made in a skillet or dutch oven and it super simple. The pie crust has cheddar cheese and corn Meal, thyme, rosemary, and other herbs and is flaky from butter and shortening- it ends up tasting like a cheese straw! The filling has peas, pearl onions, and carrots and is thickened by a roux made of flour and butter. Find this comfort food recipe to serve for a cold weather family dinner on thewoodandspoo.com . pastry, pie.

Full disclosure- it’s 65 degrees outside. I can almost promise that there’s not a single person in the state of Alabama that is actually interested in eating this cheddar cornmeal chicken pot pie right now. But sometimes we do weird stuff on this blog, so let’s not shy away from it. Let’s just go for it.

Growing up, I can remember eating those personal pot pies that came frozen in a tiny foil pie pan. I’d pick out the peas and hide them under the rim of my bowl until the dog got close enough to eat them out of the palm of my sticky little paw. Now, as an adult, I appreciate pot pie for its comfort. A thick and buttery stew, bubbling with chunks of chicken and diced veggies, all topped with a flaky pie crust, somehow feels cozier than a cable knit sweater. Pot pie dinners feel like home.

Cheddar Cornmeal Chicken Pot PieCheddar Cornmeal Chicken Pot Pie

This, my friends, it not your average pot pie. This cheddar cornmeal chicken pot pie is the sexy, Southern cousin of the regular ole’ pot pie that swoops in from out of town, steals your boyfriend, and sends everyone running to the store for cheddar cheese so that they can be cool like the new kid. 

The filling, adapted from Ina Garten’s famous recipe, is unassumingly delicious. Carrots, peas, chicken, onions, and enough butter to grease up Danny Zuko and the rest of the T-Birds, comes together in one pot to make a thick and creamy filling. The surprising part of this dish- the part that would make you slap yo mama and sing the Hallelujah Chorus- is the crust. Cornmeal and sharp cheddar cheese are the stars of this show, providing a crunch and creamy tang with every bite. Spiced with black pepper, garlic, and a few savory herbs, the crust on this cheddar cornmeal pot pie is like a pie crust meets Southern cheese straw. If that doesn’t shoot this dish to the top of your dinner menu, then I don’t know anything, apparently. 

Cheddar Cornmeal Chicken Pot Pie

Since coming up with this dish, my somewhat critical eater of a husband has said that this is the single best dish in active rotation at our house, so I tend to make it quite a bit. Thankfully, this is a dish that requires little active cooking time, and the cheddar cornmeal crust can be made (or even frozen!) ahead of time. I haven’t tried freezing and reheating a whole pot pie yet, but I have high hopes that there’s potential there. If anyone tries this out, please, do inform. 

Cheddar Cornmeal Chicken Pot PieCheddar Cornmeal Chicken Pot Pie

If you’re somewhere cold or in need of a dose of comfort food, you should definitely give this cheddar cornmeal chicken pot pie a try. Although, if you’re reading this from Alabama, maybe just wait until we’re back to the regularly scheduled January weather. Or not. No one is judging, so if you make it now, I won’t care. Cheers to you and Happy Tuesday!
Cheddar Cornmeal Chicken Pot Pie
 
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Cheddar Cornmeal Chicken Pot Pie

Cheddar Cornmeal Chicken Pot Pie recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate wood. Adapted from ina garten's recipe, this pot pie is made in a skillet or dutch oven and it super simple. The pie crust has cheddar cheese and corn Meal, thyme, rosemary, and other herbs and is flaky from butter and shortening- it ends up tasting like a cheese straw! The filling has peas, pearl onions, and carrots and is thickened by a roux made of flour and butter. Find this comfort food recipe to serve for a cold weather family dinner on thewoodandspoo.com . pastry, pie.

This cheddar cornmeal chicken pot pie is a traditional chicken pot pie, filled with chicken, carrots, peas, and buttery onions, all topped with a cheddar, cornmeal, black pepper, and herb crust.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Cook Time: 120
  • Total Time: 120
Scale

Ingredients

For the cheddar cornmeal crust

  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder (optional)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 1/3 cup shortening, cold and cubed
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I prefer sharp cheddar)
  • 24 tablespoons ice water, more if needed

For the pot pie filling (adapted from Ina Garten)

  • 21/4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 11/2 cups chopped yellow onion
  • 6 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 31/2 cups of diced cooked chicken (I use cooked breast meat)
  • 1 cups small diced carrots
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley leaves (you can substitute a reduced amount of dried parsley)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 egg

Instructions

To prepare the cheddar cornmeal crust

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, whiz together the cornmeal, flour, salt, sugar, pepper, and dried herbs and seasonings for about 30 seconds. Add the butter and shortening and pulse in the processor until marble sized clumps form. Add the cheese and pulse a few more times until well combined and the pea sized clumps forms. Add 2 tablespoons of the ice water and pulse until the dough begins to come together, adding an additional tablespoon of water or two if needed. Do no over-process.
  2. Dump the dough crumbles out on to the counter and form into a round, flat disk. Cover in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least an hour, or up to three days.

To prepare the pot pie

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a small saucepan, warm the chicken stock and bouillon cube over medium heat, but do not boil. In a large dutch oven or pot, add the butter and onions, cooking over medium heat and stirring frequently until the onions are translucent (about 10 minutes). Add the flour and cook for 2 minutes, stirring all the while. Add the chicken stock mixture and continue to cook while stirring for an additional minute. Once the sauce has thickened, add the chicken, carrots, peas, parsley, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Mix well and turn the heat off.
  3. Pour the pot pie filling into a 10″ cast iron skillet, or another glass/ceramic baking dish that the pot pie can nearly fill to capacity. Whisk the egg with a tablespoon of water and brush the mixture on the lip of the pan. This will help the pot pie crust to stick to the pan, but is optional and may not be necessary depending on your pan.
  4. On a floured surface, roll your crust out until it is 2 inches wider on all sides than the size of your pan. Be sure to keep your surface and pin well floured to keep from sticking. Transfer the crust to the skillet (I roll the dough loosely back on to the rolling pin and then gently roll it back out on top of the pan), trimming the edges, and crimping them as desired. Brush the top of the pie with the egg wash and cut a few vent slits on the top of the pie. Place in the oven and bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the filling is bubbling underneath. If the crust or edges are golden or burning before the filling is bubbling, cover loosely with a piece of foil. Allow to set for about 20-30 minutes before serving.

Notes

Notes

  • The herbs and seasonings in the dough are optional but highly recommended as they add tremendous flavor!
  • I have tested many variations of this dough, and this is the one I was most pleased with. I have attempted using all butter, and while the taste is terrific, the texture is not as preferable to me. It’s quite delicate and may be somewhat crumbly crye shaping it for the pot pie lid, but the taste is worth the effort.

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Honey Basil Margaritas

Honey Basil Margaritas

At the end of April, my mom and I created a summer bucket list- a list of projects and goals we wanted to complete before fall came rolling through. Initially, I was determined to tick each and every item off that list. I’d finish sewing a few quilts, piece together George’s baby photo album, and shed the remaining pregnancy pounds, among a number of other tasks that I was sure I’d finish with ease. 

I was wrong.

Had my summer bucket list included eating an entire ice cream cake by myself, binge watching every episode of “Naked and Afraid” on my DVR, or successfully maintaining a sports bra/t-shirt hybrid of a farmer’s tan, then this summer would have been crowned an all out success. Instead, my biggest success of the summer was keeping two humans alive (three, if you count my husband), and finally sleeping through the night myself without an extra kick in the pants from my good friend, melatonin.    

Honey Basil Margaritas

Honey Basil Margaritas

One silver lining of those summer nights and my struggling bucket list are the cocktails. Ohh, the cocktails.

I have honey basil margaritas to thank for a lot of my summer nights. Made with classic margarita ingredients and the added bonus of a honey simple syrup and fresh basil, these honey basil margaritas are incredibly refreshing and the perfect mix of sweet, sour, and salty. This is a cocktail made for sunset-watching on the beach, summer barbecues, or (if you’re like me) when the witching hour is strong and mama just needs a little something to take the edge off.  

Honey Basil Margaritas

The honey simple syrup is made like any other simple syrup, by boiling equal parts water and sugar (in the form of good quality clover honey) until it’s dissolved. After being chilled, the syrup is muddled with the basil before being shaken to oblivion with the lime, tequila, and orange liquor. You can store your syrup in the fridge for two weeks and I highly recommend shaking it up with some of your other favorite citrus-based cocktails (French 75, anyone?)

Honey Basil Margaritas

I’m sharing this recipe for honey basil margaritas in participation of #DRINKTHESUMMER , a virtual cocktail party being hosted by Sherrie of With Food + Love . Even though summer is short, it is always plenty generous with a bounty of produce that is worthy of celebration, so be sure to check out her post where she will be sharing the names and recipe links of the other bloggers involved. 

If you made a summer bucket list and failed to complete it, don’t fret. Just drink up what’s left of the summer and look forward to all that fall has to offer. 

To see more of #DRINKTHESUMMER , click to the host site here .

 

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Honey Basil Margaritas

Honey Basil Margaritas

Made with fresh basil and a honey simple syrup, these honey basil margaritas are a refreshing, summery take on the Mexican classic.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Total Time: 15
  • Yield: 1 1x
Scale

Ingredients

For the honey basil margaritas

  • 3/4 ounce honey simple syrup (recipe below)
  • 4 medium sized basil leaves
  • 2 ounces tequila
  • 1/2 ounce orange liquor
  • 1 ounce lime juice

For the honey simple syrup

  • 1/2 cup good quality clover honey
  • 1/2 cup water

Instructions

To prepare the margaritas

  1. In a shaker, muddle the basil leaves with the honey simple syrup. Add the remaining ingredients and fill the shaker with ice. Shake for 30-45 seconds. Pour into a salt-rimmed glass and enjoy!

To prepare the honey simple syrup

  1. Combine the honey and water in a saucepan over medium heat. Stirring occasionally, bring to a boil and then remove from the heat. Allow to cool on the stove or in a heat-safe container in the fridge. Store in the fridge for up to two weeks.

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Grapefruit Moscow Mules

Grapefruit Moscow Mule Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. Made with fresh grapefruit and lime juice, spicy ginger beer, and vodka. These are a refreshing summer mule that you can sweeten up with simple syrup or sugar. Increase or double the recipe to make a pitcher for a crowd. Find the recipe for this variation of the mule on thewoodandspoon.com.

Greetings, earthlings. I am writing to you from a distant and remote place called motherhood. The land where sleeping hours are few, the air smells of sour milk, and tiny people undo every household task you attempt to accomplish. For example, that laundry you just folded? It’s now stuffed in the back of the toy box. Oh, and that diaper you just changed? Yeah, you’re gonna want to strap on some latex gloves for what’s going on in there now. And those new shoes you just bought? Well, they’re filled with puddles of spit up that poured off you shoulder, dripped down your back, and finally squished its way under the soles of your feet. 

Don’t even get me started on nursing bras. Nothing says “I’m feeling sexy” like covering your utilitarian lady parts with thicks mounds of flesh-toned fabric that’s all rigged up with elastic and plastic hardware. Doesn’t that sound so attractive? Come at me, boys.

Don’t get me wrong- I am honored to identify as a mother. It’s the greatest and most triumphant joy I’ve ever known. But sometimes, Stella just needs to get her groove back, okay?

Grapefruit Moscow Mule

Almost a year ago, Brett and I were supposed to travel to Mexico. Refresh your memory of the tragic traveling disaster here if need be, but the CliffNotes version is that we lost a passport and had to cancel our trip the night before we were scheduled to leave. Thankfully, as luck would have it, yours truly and her no longer passportless hubby are leaving today for a redemptive trip to Mexico. Solo. No chi’rens. Hallelu-yer.

The glorious thing about this trip?

NO SPIT UP. NO DIAPERS. NO 3 AM WAKEUP CALLS. NO GRANNY PANTIES.

Just me, my man friend, the Mexican sunshine, and maybe one or four cocktails (before noon). 

Yes, I will most certainly cry when we hug the babies goodbye. There may  be some moments of homesick at night before bed. And let’s be honest, there’s no way I’ll be able to escape my bestie, the ever-present Medela breast pump. But I have the nasty habit of putting my marriage on the back burner for the sake of wearing my mama hat full time, so I need this trip. We need a breather.

Grapefruit Moscow Mule

Grapefruit Moscow Mule

Today I’m sharing a cocktail recipe with you. By the time this get posted, I will  most certainly be on a beach with a cocktail in my hand, and since it’s Monday, I’m thinking you’re going to want to get in on this beverage action too.

Grapefruit Moscow mules are the drink of the minute in our house. My husband and I have been making these all summer, and I just can’t get over the spicy freshness that is the ginger beer and citrus combo. My summertime requirement for alcoholic beverages is lime and effervescence so grapefruit Moscow mules are on the money. 

Once you know a good base recipe for a mule, you can create any number of beverages. My standby recipe is 1.5 ounces of liquor (traditionally vodka), 3/4 ounce of lime juice (about half of one big and juicy lime), and 4 ounces of ginger beer. From there, you can add fruit juice, trade out the vodka for flavored liquor like blood orange vodka or even bourbon like in this recipe, or add infused simple syrups to amp a sweet and subtle flavor.

These grapefruit Moscow mules have the summery addition of some grapefruit juice and just a touch of simple syrup so that those ginger beer bubbles don’t completely light you up, however, if you prefer ultra spicy mules, you can skip the syrup. This recipe can easily be doubled, tripled, or even multiplied by 24 for a crowd (I’ve tried it!).

Grapefruit Moscow Mule

I hope you all have a terrific week, and take the chance to make some grapefruit Moscow mules this evening as a reward for making it through Monday. You’ve probably earned it.

 

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Grapefruit Moscow Mules

Grapefruit Moscow Mule Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. Made with fresh grapefruit and lime juice, spicy ginger beer, and vodka. These are a refreshing summer mule that you can sweeten up with simple syrup or sugar. Increase or double the recipe to make a pitcher for a crowd. Find the recipe for this variation of the mule on thewoodandspoon.com.

Grapefruit Moscow mules are a spicy and refreshing take on the traditional mule, containing fresh grapefruit juice and a little sweetness from simple syrup. Make this recipe for one, or a little extra for a crowd!

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Total Time: 5
Scale

Ingredients

  • 11/2 ounces vodka
  • 1/2 ounce fresh grapefruit juice (the juice of about 1/4 of a grapefruit)
  • 3/4 ounce lime juice (about 1/2 lime)
  • 1/4 ounce simple syrup
  • 4 ounces ginger beer

Instructions

  1. Combine vodka, fruit juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker and fill to the top with ice. Shake well, about 30 seconds, and pour into a mule mug or highball glass. Add ginger beer and stir gently to combine. Garnish with grapefruit peel.

Notes

  • You can substitute bottled grapefruit juice here if you’d like. Just give it a taste prior to serving as it may need less simple syrup.

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Texas Hot Sauce

Texas Hot Sauce Recipe BY The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a meaty hot dog topping / chili sauce for New York Style hot dogs. The recipe combines ground beef / meat, tomato soup, herbs, spices, onion and tobasco to make the best hot dog topping for your summer barbecue / cook out/ hot dog bar. Find the simple recipe at thewoodandspoon.com.

So have I told you all that I’m a dietitian?

I know, crazy right? Worst career choice for a recovering sugar addict.

Being a dietitian that’s kinda obsessed with food is sometimes a sticky situation. I’m not that dietitian who is super holistic or eats clean or vegan (although I’m seriously okay with vegan ice cream pie and almost paleo cookies). My hat goes off to those you who are – you’re a stronger man/woman than I.

Pretty much my days are inundated with educating people on what types of foods will keep them healthy. I literally tell people what to eat all day long. So let me throw out a disclaimer- do as I say, not as I do.

Texas Hot Sauce 

At our wedding, our caterers insisted upon serving up versions of our favorite foods. So Brett got warm chocolate chip cookies, beef short ribs, and crispy catfish steamed buns (don’t judge until you’ve had it), and I got….. hotdogs. No, you didn’t misread. Hotdogs was my snack of choice. And these were not your run of the mill ballpark dogs, although I’m totally not hating on those. These were the perfect hat-tipping to southern culture and no-frills food: Pimento cheese chili dogs on sweet potato buns.We opted to serve this as a “late night” option for our guests along with truffle French fries and mini burgers topped with bacon jam. Mercy.

Let me go ahead and lay it out there: I ate two of said hotdogs when Brett and I arrived at our honeymoon suite that night. We rehashed the wedding day, laughed at the stories we already had to share, and I bravely powered through two of the best versions of my favorite food ever. We were married and he was stuck with me no matter the outcome of that meal so I went all in and I have no regrets. Let’s slow clap for my husband, probably the only man on the planet who could ever be attracted to a woman who can out-eat him just moments before consummating a marriage. TMI? Yeah, you’re right. Sorry. 

One of the things I love most about hot dogs is that it’s a food that practically begs for toppings. I’m not a purist when it comes to my dogs- the more toppings, the merrier. If I order a hotdog at anywhere and I’m listed a number of potential toppings, my response is always, “YES PLEASE.” All in, always.

Texas Hot Sauce 

This recipe for Texas hot sauce that I’m sharing with you was made popular to me by my Mimi. She received the recipe from the family of a couple who ran a drive-in in Yorkshire, NY, and has since made it famous within our family. Mimi makes this Texas hot sauce to top hotdogs, but I will tell you that it also tastes delicious on burgers or even just in a bowl served under cheese and green onions. If you want to do it super upstate New Yawker style, purchase all beef dogs (in the casing, of course) and top with spicy yellow mustard and chopped onions. YES. I’d recommend making the full recipe and freezing whatever you don’t get around to eating the first or second day, as it will keep in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Take this recipe for a test run at your pool party or outdoor barbecue this weekend. I promise it will be worth any residual bad breath or chili stained lips that you will undoubtedly have. But let’s be honest- if I can pull it off on my wedding night, you’ve totally got this.

Texas Hot Sauce

 

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Texas Hot Sauce

Texas Hot Sauce Recipe BY The Wood and Spoon Blog by Kate Wood. This is a meaty hot dog topping / chili sauce for New York Style hot dogs. The recipe combines ground beef / meat, tomato soup, herbs, spices, onion and tobasco to make the best hot dog topping for your summer barbecue / cook out/ hot dog bar. Find the simple recipe at thewoodandspoon.com.

Texas hot sauce is a chili topping for hotdogs that originated in upstate New York. I recommend serving on dogs, burgers, or straight from the spoon.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb ground hamburger
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 can tomato soup
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 11/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 5 shots of Tabasco sauce
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Brown hamburger and onion in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat and allow to simmer on low heat for 15 minutes, or until thickened slightly.
  3. Serve immediately or freeze for up to 6 months.

Notes

  • Add additional Tabasco for extra heat, if desired.
  • Ground turkey can be substituted.

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Grapefruit Tejitos

Grapefruit Tejitos / Tequila Mojitos Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by kate Wood. This is a tangy, delicious boozy take on the classic mojito, made with tequila and lemon juice, fresh mint, and citrus grapefruit juice. Shake this fun summertime cocktail in a shaker or make a pitcher full for a crowd. Recipe at thewoodandspoon.com

There should’ve been margaritas. 

White sand, the smell of Coppertone, fish tacos, yes. But mostly, margaritas.

Don’t underestimate the amount of tequila a small woman can put away when it’s appropriately mixed with lime, salt, and a little bit of sunshine. On tropical vacations, I always feel like I’m in some weird Bermuda Triangle of alcohol tolerance where my upper limit for liquor is  suddenly similar to that of like, a 250 lb. Irish biker dude that hangs out in bars and takes his coffee with two shots of Bailey’s. I shudder to think of what the cabana boys must think of my poor liver at that point in time, but what is that saying about “work hard, play hard?” Yeah, let’s do that.

Our flight to Mexico last fall was to land mid-morning, giving us ample time to travel to our resort, check-in, and wiggle a pasty body into last summer’s bikini. By noon, I would be (over)due for a margarita.

Grapefruit Tejitos

This is, at least, what was supposed to have happened. 

At 5pm the evening before our 5am flight to Mexico, my husband announced that he could not find his passport. We spent the next several hours plowing through stacks of papers, pulling sweaters off of shelves, looking through all of our luggage, bags, and purses, and even lifting up the coffee table for a peek. I looked between every book on my bookshelf, in the back of that weird, tiny cabinet that is above the refrigerator, and in the medicine drawer.

Spoiler alert: we never found it.

I can’t really articulate the things going through my mind at that point, nor would my thoughts at that time be appropriate to share on the Internet with you kind folks. You come here for recipes, not to read about the evil torture I was plotting for my husband. Although I was mega-bummed, my frustration and disbelief was outweighed by the look of devastation on Brett’s face. He works so hard for our family and he had earned every second of that vacation. We were both equally disappointed and discouraged.

Eventually, we decided to throw in the towel and I called to cancel our flight. I spent the next hour on the phone with the airline and I think we can all agree there is nothing worse than that. Forty minutes of automated conversation with a smattering of elevator music, all endured  in hopes of finally talking to a REAL PERSON?? And then, can you even be sure it’s a real person? I’m convinced they’ve hired robots, which would actually be impressive if some scientist has already figured out how to create machines that are even more annoying that any human being I’ve ever met.  I submit that a superior option to these world-dominating telephone robots would be Siri or even Scarlet Johannson from that movie “Her”. Or maybe they could hire Matthew McConaughey or Morgan Freeman to do the voice prompts? These have got to be better ideas than what we’re currently working with. 

I was moments away from a mental break when Brett announced we still just needed to get away. We had airline credit now, a babysitter lined up for the weekend, and a few days off work; we might as well spend those days on the road to somewhere else instead of sitting at home, salivating over the margaritas that should have been.

Grapefruit Tejitos

The following day, we were poolside in Scottsdale, Arizona, which I’m now pretty sure is is the birthplace of cactuses (cacti?) and delicious, over the top breakfast and brunch options. The trip was perfectly splendid, but I was definitely missing my margarita.

When we got home, I made a margarita for Brett and a cocktail for myself that was almost too good for words. I was really proud of this creation until just recently when I discovered it was not ingenious and, in fact, was a near dead-ringer for Mexico’s most popular cocktail: the Paloma. 

Have you all tried one of these? If my research serves me well, a traditional Paloma consists of tequila with a splash of grapefruit soda and a wedge of lime. In light of a margarita, I have unknowingly turned a blind eye to this delicious beverage for years! No longer.

grapefruit tejitos

The version I mix up for myself contains fresh grapefruit and lemon juice, tequila, simple syrup, and a few mint leaves muddled in for good measure. I told Brett they were called Grapefruit Tejitos because in my mind, I was drinking a flavored mojito made with tequila instead of rum. These cocktails are refreshing, tart, and multi-faceted in flavor. With a salt-rimmed glass, they make me feel like we never missed that flight to Mexico last fall and we’re laying on the beach right at this very moment. Sigh. Maybe this fall.

I think these tejitos (it has a ring to it, doesn’t it?) would be a perfectly unique way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in a couple weeks, or, at the very least, to celebrate the start of this weekend. Give them a try and let me know what you think!

grapefruit tejitos

 

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Grapefruit Tejitos

Grapefruit Tejitos / Tequila Mojitos Recipe by The Wood and Spoon Blog by kate Wood. This is a tangy, delicious boozy take on the classic mojito, made with tequila and lemon juice, fresh mint, and citrus grapefruit juice. Shake this fun summertime cocktail in a shaker or make a pitcher full for a crowd. Recipe at thewoodandspoon.com

If a mojito had a love triangle with a grapefruit and some tequila, these grapefruit tejitos would be the outcome. This beverage is refreshingly balanced in flavor, offering both sweet, tart, and floral notes.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 5
  • Total Time: 5
  • Yield: 2 1x
Scale

Ingredients

  • 6 large mint leaves
  • 2 ounces tequila blanco
  • 1 ounce Cointreau or another orange flavored liquor
  • 1 ounce simple syrup
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1/2 large grapefruit
  • Salt (for rimming glass)

Instructions

  1. Muddle mint in the bottom of a martini shaker.
  2. Add tequila, Cointreau, simple syrup, and fruit juice.
  3. Fill shaker up with ice and shake vigorously for at least 30 seconds or until ice has begun to dissolve.
  4. Serve in a salt rimmed glass with additional ice, if desired.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2
  • Calories: 181
  • Sugar: 13
  • Sodium: 92
  • Fat: 0
  • Saturated Fat: 0
  • Unsaturated Fat: 0
  • Trans Fat: 0
  • Carbohydrates: 24
  • Protein: 1
  • Cholesterol: 0

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Butternut Squash Soup

butternut squash soup recipe by the wood and spoon blog by kate wood. this is a creamy fall and winter time soup make from roasted butternut squash, cream, onions or shallots, garlic and savory herbs like thyme, rosemary, and more. This recipe feeds a crowd and is great to make ahead. Find the recipe for this delicious one pot dutch oven broth soup on thewoodandspoon.com

I’m starting to realize that we will never stop learning.

Years out of college and a decade from high school, I can tell you that my learning here on earth has only just begun. In school, our studies were a series of numbers, punctuation rules, and a seemingly endless list  of things to memorize. I can still tell you the name and order of all of the planets in our solar system, and I can even pronounce the word “onomatopoeia”, both things my seventh grade teacher tricked me in to thinking would somehow be helpful in my adult life.  

Today my studies are vastly different and infinitely more practical. I study my daughter as she explores with her tiny fingers, eyes, and feet and as she so innocently discovers new things like wind or the sound of a train. I pour over new recipes and study my husband’s reaction while he taste tests for the first time. I study fabrics when I’m preparing to quilt a new project, gas prices when I’m choosing a pump station to fill my tank, and  my best friend’s face when I’m looking for her approval as I try on a new pair of jeans.

butternut squash soup recipe

I also spend more time than I’d care to admit studying other women. I tell you this with equal parts shame and fear, but only in hopes that you would be able to hear my honesty. 

Women- we are brutal, both to one another and to ourselves. We compare thigh gaps and complexions and wardrobes. We size up one another’s weaknesses and often feel small in the shadow of someone else’s strengths. We put a tremendous amount of pressure on ourselves to keep up with the Jones’, our neighbors, and every social media personality whose curated life seems so effortless and perfect from the view of our iPhone screen.

Let me be clear: no one has it all. Furthermore, no one does it all. Hands that  wash piles of soccer uniforms and scrub finger paint out of tile grout and wipe little five year old noses don’t always have perfectly manicured nails. Bodies that are strong from hard labor or from caring for a debilitated family member do not always fit in skinny tailored pants and blouses. Women who work long hours at two jobs to get through grad school, or who spend their evenings tutoring middle schoolers with homework, or who stay a little late at Starbucks to talk to a friend who needs a pair of listening ears and a dose of fresh perspective are not the women who have time to prepare nightly 5 course meals out of “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”.

Let’s all just chill. Let’s cut ourselves a break. Who cares if the laundry basket gets a little full or if your two year old goes a day without eating the recommended  four servings of vegetables. No one needs to know if we haven’t shaved our legs yet this week or that the real reason we don’t wear the popular-at-the-moment high-waisted jeans is because it makes our butt look like the offspring of a muffin and a hippo. No one has it all.

butternut squash soup recipe

So this is what I propose: Identify your strengths and work them. Own it. And if something isn’t your thing, don’t get discouraged. Either work hard and figure out how to get whatever it is you want or smile, shrug, and keep doing your thing. You probably have a lot going for you already.

Likewise, celebrate the talents you see in others. Tell people when they’re killin’ it. What if we spent a little less time dwelling on jealousy or judgement and a little more time sharing appreciation for the beauty and skill we see in others? What if we took captive every negative thought and tried to turn it into a word of encouragement for someone else? 

This is something I’m desperately needing to work on. I want to be more of myself and less of what I feel pressure to be. Even more so, I want to be happy with the person I am and joyful towards the people around me. I kinda feel like things would be better that way.

 

Things are also better with this soup. It tastes like fall and reminds me of chilly days, cozy socks, and sharing lunch with your best friend while sitting cross-legged on the couch.

You should make this soup. When you do, invite someone over for a bowl and casually interject some kind words. Make someone’s day with words and with food. 

Also, if you make this soup and want to invite me over, I promise to bring lunchtime appropriate wine and loads of compliments for whoever gives me a bowl and a spoon. (Cough… Anyone?)

butternut squash soup recipe

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Butternut Squash Soup

butternut squash soup recipe by the wood and spoon blog by kate wood. this is a creamy fall and winter time soup make from roasted butternut squash, cream, onions or shallots, garlic and savory herbs like thyme, rosemary, and more. This recipe feeds a crowd and is great to make ahead. Find the recipe for this delicious one pot dutch oven broth soup on thewoodandspoon.com

A creamy and delicate butternut squash soup perfumed with sautéed onions, rosemary, thyme and smoky bacon.

  • Author: Kate Wood
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 1 hour
Scale

Ingredients

  • 2 butternut squash, appx. 5 lb total weight
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 12 garlic cloves
  • 4 whole sprigs plus 1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
  • 4 whole sprigs plus 1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme
  • 6 slices of applewood smoked bacon, browned and chopped with grease reserved
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 large onion, chopped (about 11/2 cup chopped), or 1 cup chopped shallots
  • 4 cups unsalted chicken stock
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup of whipping cream

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and lightly spray with cooking spray.
  2. Cut each squash lengthwise into two equal halves. Drizzle each half with olive oil and stuff the cavity of each with one sprig of rosemary and thyme. Distribute the unpeeled garlic cloves among the cavities of each squash half and sprinkle everything with salt and pepper. Carefully turn each squash half, flesh facing downward, on to the lined baking sheet.
  3. Roast in the oven for about 45 minutes, or until the squash is tender. Allow to cool.
  4. When squash is cooled, use a spoon to scoop out the flesh and set it aside. Squeeze garlic from its peel and reserve it with the squash. Discard herbs.
  5. Heat a large pot over medium-high heat. Combine the reserved bacon grease and butter. Add chopped onion to the pot and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes or until onions are soft and fragrant.
  6. Add squash and garlic to the pot and toss together with the onions. Add chicken stock, white wine, 2 teaspoons of salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, chopped rosemary, and chopped thyme. Stir to combine. Mash any large clumps of squash until broken up. Reduce heat to medium and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
  7. Once simmering, remove from heat and stir in the cream. Carefully, puree the soup using an immersion blender or in batches using a standard blender. Once smooth, add salt and pepper to taste (I used 2 teaspoons of salt and another 1/2 teaspoon pepper).
  8. Garnish soup with chopped bacon bits and serve with croutons or sliced baguette.

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Share a photo and tag us — we can't wait to see what you've made!

Recipe Adapted From: Chuck Williams