Holiday Cocktails Ideas: Champagne Jello Shots

The holidays here, and these holiday cocktail ideas will add some cheer to your next holiday party! Includes champagne jello shots, crockpot sangria & more.

The holidays are here, and while it’s still 80 degrees in So Cal, we are all decorated for Christmas and I’m planning my menus for our big holiday dinner and Christmas morning brunch. One of my favorite things to plan are new holiday cocktail recipes, and I’ve got some good ones to share!

Holiday Cocktail Ideas

The holidays here, and these holiday cocktail ideas will add some cheer to your next holiday party! Includes champagne jello shots, crockpot sangria & more.

This recipe for Champagne Jello Squares got two thumbs up from everybody who tried them. All it takes is a great bottle of sparkling wine like Gloria Ferrer, some gelatin, and whipped cream vodka. Convivial, social, elegant, fun — the sparkling wines of Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards are a perfect match for any holidays and are arguably the most social beverage. Exuberant and fruit-forward, their wines are outstanding with holiday cuisine (and it doesn’t hurt that Gloria Ferrer wines have earned over 400 gold medals and 50 90+ scores in the last 5 years!)

Gloria Ferrer’s sparkling Blanc de Noirs is great for holiday cocktail recipe because it’s silky with a hint of sweetness. Add some Pop Rocks when you’re ready to serve and they really make the squares pop!

Holiday Cocktails Ideas: Champagne Jello Shots
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Ingredients

  • 1-1/2 cups Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs, or your favorite sparkling wine
  • 1/2 cup whipped cream flavored vodka
  • 2 packets unflavored gelatin
  • Pop Rocks (optional)

Instructions

  1. Add the sparkling wine to a small pan and stir in the gelatin. Let sit for 1 minute.
  2. Over medium high heat, bring the wine and gelatin to a gentle boil, stirring constantly. Continue cooking and stirring constantly until the gelatin is dissolved, about 5 minutes.
  3. Pour the mixture into a lightly greased 13x9 baking dish.
  4. Place in the refrigerator until the gelatin solidifies, about 3 hours.
  5. Cut into squares and keep in the fridge until ready to serve.
  6. Add the Pop Rocks for a pop of fun!

Notes

Do not add the Pop Rocks until you are ready to eat the squares! The sugar will melt the gelatin and it turns into a big mess.

http://mommyofamonster.com/holiday-cocktail/

What to do with that leftover sparkling wine? Why not make an Amaretto Mimosa or a Cranberry Mimosa!

The holidays here, and these holiday cocktail ideas will add some cheer to your next holiday party! Includes champagne jello shots, crockpot sangria & more.

Not into mimosas? This One Glass Sangria is a perfect way to use the sparkling wine!

The holidays here, and these holiday cocktail ideas will add some cheer to your next holiday party! Includes champagne jello shots, crockpot sangria & more.

Another holiday cocktail favorite is Sangria. There’s so many holiday variations to try! Since the holidays are all about cinnamon and homey spices, the Gloria Ferrer Carneros Pinot Noir is the perfect choice. It’s earthy and brambly with hints of black cherry, cedar, and spice and has a smooth mouthfeel and long finish.

The holidays here, and these holiday cocktail ideas will add some cheer to your next holiday party! Includes champagne jello shots, crockpot sangria & more.

It also goes great with a holiday meal. And make sure that when you open your wine, you use my favorite wine opener, the Rabbit Wine Opener which makes opening wine bottles a cinch! You can watch how easy it is to use here.

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Check out this recipe for Crock Pot Cranberry Apple Sangria that we’ll be having at our family holiday party (she’s got lots of other delicious holiday sangria recipes too!)

The holidays here, and these holiday cocktail ideas will add some cheer to your next holiday party! Includes champagne jello shots, crockpot sangria & more.

Wine not your thing? I’ve got more holiday cocktail recipes, too! Here’s a fun one…Candy Cane Vodka. It’s unique and fun and you can add it to warm hot chocolate for a kick. Or add it to my Chocolate Pudding Shots recipe!

The holidays here, and these holiday cocktail ideas will add some cheer to your next holiday party! Includes champagne jello shots, crockpot sangria & more.

And what better way to end an evening than with a cuppa? This Adults Only Coffee has Amaretto, Kahula, and is absolutely delicious!

The holidays here, and these holiday cocktail ideas will add some cheer to your next holiday party! Includes champagne jello shots, crockpot sangria & more.

And if you’re enjoying a night around a campfire or firepit, this Apple Pie Moonshine sounds delicious!

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Visiting So Cal? Visit Temecula Valley!

If you are planning on visiting Southern California, plan to visit Temecula Valley. There's so much to do and see for the whole family! And don't miss wine country while you're there!

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be invited by Visit Temecula Valley to attend the Temecula Valley Balloon and Wine Festival with several other local bloggers. It was a BLAST to say the least! We ate and shopped during the day, and were lucky enough to attend a private dinner at Wilson Creek Winery before heading to the Festival.

I’ve lived about an hour from Temecula for my entire life, and I had no idea of how much there is to do there (other than go to wine country!) Old Town Temecula is full of shops and restaurants and would be fun for the whole family.

What To Do When You Visit Temecula Valley

We visited several locations, and I can’t wait to spend another day there with the family. If you visit Temecula Valley, make sure to stop by these locations:

Temecula Lavender Company – It smells undescribably good in there. It was relaxing just walking into the little shop.

Old Town Spice & Tea Merchants – Spices. Teas. Samples. I could’ve spent all day in there sniffing (literally!) around.

Temecula Olive Oil Company – My favorite shop that we visited! You can sample a ton of different olive oils and vinegars. I bought several different oils, and can’t wait to go back.

Old Town Sweet Shop – Like an old fashioned candy shop! Make sure to try their Jalapeno Chocolate Fudge and Chocolate Covered Bacon!

Old Town Rootbeer Company – The kids would love this place! All kinds of different rootbeers from around the world. I’m not a huge fan of rootbeer, but the rootbeer they make (it’s an old family recipe) is definitely worth trying!

Crush & Brew – AMAZING food and drinks! One of my new favorite places.

I can’t wait to visit Temecula Valley again, especially downtown. I think it would be a fun way to spend a day out. And very soon I’ll be taking the kids to Temecula’s Children Museum, AKA PennyPickle’s Workshop. It’s hands on and intreactive and I know they would all enjoy it.

And after an afternoon full of fun, we headed out for wine tasting before going to the Balloon & Wine Festival.

If you are planning on visiting Southern California, plan to visit Temecula Valley. There's so much to do and see for the whole family! And don't miss wine country while you're there!

We visited Lorimar Winery for some wine tasting before heading over to Wilson Creek Winery for a tour and dinner.

If you are planning on visiting Southern California, plan to visit Temecula Valley. There's so much to do and see for the whole family! And don't miss wine country while you're there!

Wilson Creek is one of my favorite wineries, and if you ever have a lazy Sunday afternoon to spend there, it’s family friendly. There’s live music and more. And their food is delicious. Side Note: Try my Amaretto Mimosa recipe with Wilson Creek’s Almond Champagne. YUM!

And finally, we headed out to the Balloon & Wine Festival which everybody in So Cal or visiting should check out. It is so much fun! The last time I went was with the kids. This was a different experience because it was with friends. We danced, laughed, drank wine, and wished we had more room in our bellies to try all the food that is there, too. My friend Tonya describes the festival in detail and so I’ll send you over to read her thoughts on the Temecula Valley Balloon & Wine Festival.

FAM_on_bus

Thanks again to Visit Temecula Valley for inviting us to experience your incredible town!

Traveling Vineyard: Love Wine? Don’t Miss This Opportunity!

Disclaimer: I received no compensation or gifts for sharing this post about Traveling Vineyard. I think it’s an amazing opportunity for stay at home moms – and wine lovers in general – and wanted to share it with you!

If you are a stay at home mom or a wine lover who wants to make some extra money, Traveling Vineyard is a fun way to do it! Share your wine knowledge and introduce others to new wines. What a fun job!

I know that I’m extremely lucky to be able to work from home and that I love what I do. Being a stay at home mom, you can sometimes feel like you aren’t contributing financially, even though your job is a 24/7 job that never ends. So when my blogging friend and fellow wine lover Kirby reached out to me and told me about Traveling Vineyard, I was excited to learn more about it. And when I did, I was excited to be able to share the opportunity with you too! If you are a stay at home mom or wine lover, you won’t want to miss this guest post. I haven’t had a guest post in forever, but thought Kirby’s story was definitely worth sharing. Enjoy!

The Traveling Vineyard:

The Mommy Balancing Act

Being a mom is hard work. There’s no clocking in and out, and it doesn’t matter if you have one child or more kids than fingers – chances are, you’re exhausted.

In order to maintain your sanity, you must have some semblance of balance, and every website out there wants to tell you how to get it: five ways to be a better mother, three things parents of geniuses do every morning, how green tea will raise your kid’s IQ by 50 points.

Let’s be honest, though. Life isn’t a one-size-fits-all deal, and motherhood most certainly doesn’t have an instruction book. Every woman has to find her own path to her own sense of balance. We can learn a lot from each other as we search for our paths.

Kirby Maragulia, happily married mother-of-two, found her version of balance. But, as with most things worth doing, it took facing her fears and some major life decisions to get there.

If you are a stay at home mom or a wine lover who wants to make some extra money, Traveling Vineyard is a fun way to do it! Share your wine knowledge and introduce others to new wines. What a fun job!

She had a decent corporate career when she and her husband decided to start their family (easier said then done). When, after two years, Kirby finally became pregnant, she found her priorities had changed. “It was something I never thought was going to happen. When I had my daughter, all I wanted to do was stay home with her.”

So she did.

Kirby has never regretted that decision, but the need for some kind of balance became urgent after her second child, AJ, was born. Kirby was in serious need of some “me time” but was also starting to feel the pressure of being a single-income family. She was already trying to wear both the “full-time mommy” hat and her “full-time Kirby” hat. Adding a “gainfully employed” hat on top of it seemed impossible.

But Kirby took a deep breath and plunged in, unwilling to allow fear of the unknown to keep her in the status quo. And in the end, Kirby achieved her balance by managing to combine two of the hats. She found both a career and a chance to do something for herself when she started working from home as a Wine Guide for Traveling Vineyard, a direct wine seller.

She still got to be a mommy by day while becoming a successful Guide for in-home wine tastings by night. Not only did she have the satisfaction of contributing to the family budget, she was also having a lot of fun in the process.

Despite the elegance of the solution, this was a big change, and it took some getting used to. Kirby was still splitting her time between her kids, her husband, and her professional growth. Even working from home, “it was hard at first to try to find that balance, especially because kids need you all the time.”

Still, one of the advantages of being her own boss was the flexibility to set her schedule on her own terms and according to her own needs. Kirby soon discovered the balance she needed just started to creep in.

She still feels the guilt that she’s not doing enough, especially when she tries to get work done when her son is asking her to play. “As a mom, it’s always in your head. Am I doing enough? Am I teaching them enough? I shouldn’t guilt myself, but I think it’s just something that we do.”

Now, though, she’s thankful that she can witness major milestones she may have missed if her kids were in daycare. When her daughter first crawled, Kirby was there. When her son said his first word, she was there. “I have not missed a single moment of my kids’ lives and that is the best part.”

This is not to say that working from home is a universal solution for juggling the many needs a mom has to fulfill. It isn’t for everyone. But there is still wisdom to be found in Kirby’s example. No matter your path, Kirby recommends that you “do whatever you can to find the balance.” Push aside your fear, decide you won’t regret your decisions, and it’ll make finding your own balance that much easier.

If you are a stay at home mom or a wine lover who wants to make some extra money, Traveling Vineyard is a fun way to do it! Share your wine knowledge and introduce others to new wines. What a fun job!

Kirby’s story was written by Amanda Russell for Traveling Vineyard. I’m seriously considering becoming a Wine Guide so that I can introduce new wines and share wine knowledge with family and friends. Not to mention it would be a fun way to earn some extra money!

What about you? Would you be interested in becoming a wine guide for Traveling Vineyard? Make sure to visit their website (don’t miss their wine pairings!) and follow Traveling Vineyard on Facebook. It may not be the right time for you now, but you never know what the future may bring!

Ultimate Breakfast Recipe Ideas: From Casseroles to Muffins to Mimosas

I am a big fan of breakfast…especially casseroles and muffins. You’ll find lots of those kinds of recipes here. So if you are looking for quick and easy (some you can even make in advance!) breakfast recipe ideas, you’ve come to the right place!

Most of these breakfast recipe ideas can be served for either breakfast or brunch, and the egg based recipes are super versatile – feel free to change the meats and veggies to suit your family’s tastes.

Breakfast Recipe Ideas: From Casseroles to Muffins

If you are looking for breakfast recipe ideas, I have several of them here. From casseroles to muffins to mimosas, many of these versatile recipes can be made in advance!

Breakfast Pizza Cups

If you are looking for breakfast recipe ideas, I have several of them here. From casseroles to muffins to mimosas, many of these versatile recipes can be made in advance!

The kids think it’s fun to have pizza for breakfast!

Tater Tot Breakfast Casserole

If you are looking for breakfast recipe ideas, I have several of them here. From casseroles to muffins to mimosas, many of these versatile recipes can be made in advance!

This one is always a crowd pleaser and can be made ahead of time.

Egg Cups

If you are looking for breakfast recipe ideas, I have several of them here. From casseroles to muffins to mimosas, many of these versatile recipes can be made in advance!

I make these and freeze them. Pop them in the microwave for an on-the-go breakfast!

How To Cook Perfect Sausage and Bacon

If you are looking for breakfast recipe ideas, I have several of them here. From casseroles to muffins to mimosas, many of these versatile recipes can be made in advance!

After reading this, you’ll never cook sausage and bacon any other way!

Banana Oatmeal Muffins

If you are looking for breakfast recipe ideas, I have several of them here. From casseroles to muffins to mimosas, many of these versatile recipes can be made in advance!

These will fill you up and keep you full. I have been meaning to throw some other fruit in (maybe apple?) just to switch it up.

Almond Poppyseed Muffins

If you are looking for breakfast recipe ideas, I have several of them here. From casseroles to muffins to mimosas, many of these versatile recipes can be made in advance!

This is one of my top three favorite recipes EVER! And the kids love them as much as I do.

Ham and Swiss Rolls

If you are looking for breakfast recipe ideas, I have several of them here. From casseroles to muffins to mimosas, many of these versatile recipes can be made in advance!

I love this recipe because it’s a good brunch recipe that feeds a lot of people and can be kept warm in a crock pot.

And every good breakfast or brunch needs a mimosa! Here are some breakfast recipe ideas for mimosas…with a twist.

Cranberry Mimosa

If you are looking for breakfast recipe ideas, I have several of them here. From casseroles to muffins to mimosas, many of these versatile recipes can be made in advance!

I get asked for this Cranberry Mimosa recipe every time I make it!

Amaretto Mimosa

If you are looking for breakfast recipe ideas, I have several of them here. From casseroles to muffins to mimosas, many of these versatile recipes can be made in advance!

If you are looking to add some oomph to a regular mimosa, this Amaretto Mimosa does just that.

Coffee Cake – This isn’t my recipe, but it’s a regular in our house. Jason requests it!

And if you are looking for more breakfast recipe ideas, you’ll find them on my board Breakfast on Pinterest.

What are some of your family’s favorite breakfast recipe ideas? Do you prefer hot or cold? I know a lot of people aren’t big breakfast fans, so I’m curious what recipes you do crave if you attend a brunch.

Kenwood Vineyards Wines: The Perfect Addition To Your Holiday Table! #ShareYourTable

Disclaimer: I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Kenwood Vineyards wines. I received product samples and a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Kenwood Vineyards wines are perfect for a holiday meal or a casual night in. They will be donating $25,000 to WhyHunger to give back this holiday season. Learn how you can help. #ShareYourTable #MC

It’s no secret that I am a huge fan of wine. I write about wine on my blog and have a Pinterest wine board, too. So to have a meal with family and friends…especially the one that I look forward to all year long (Thanksgiving!)…without wine is unthinkable. When I was sent three bottles of Kenwood Vineyards wines to try at my sister’s (it’s my sister Angie who is sharing her best recipes here now) Friends Thanksgiving get together (10th? 11th? 12th? year..we’ve lost count), I couldn’t wait to get everybody’s opinions!

Kenwood Vineyards wines are perfect for a holiday meal or a casual night in. They will be donating $25,000 to WhyHunger to give back this holiday season. Learn how you can help. #ShareYourTable #MC

About Kenwood Vineyards wines…

A little about Kenwood Vineyards wines…you’ll find the vineyard in the heart of Sonoma Valley, California. Kenwood Vineyards sources grapes from dozens of vineyards- many farmed sustainably. They also use natural soil amendments and pest controls whenever possible rather then chemicals, which automatically makes them a winery I want to support. And while Kenwood Vineyards wines is sourced from various vineyards, each lot from each vineyard is kept separate throughout the winemaking process, enabling the winemaker to bring it to its fullest potential. These “small lots” or “cuvee” style of winemaking (See? You’re learning something here!) also enables the winemaker to create wines that showcase classic character, subtle complexity and balance. And you’ll taste it the first tip you take.

Kenwood Vineyards wines are perfect for a holiday meal or a casual night in. They will be donating $25,000 to WhyHunger to give back this holiday season. Learn how you can help. #ShareYourTable #MC

My favorite by far was the Zinfandel. It was big, bold, and with a smooth finish – exactly how I like my wine. And other red wine fans loved it too. This is one of the Kenwood Vineyards wines that will be a staple on my “to drink” list! I also really liked the Pinot Noir. It was perfect with turkey and all the fixin’s! And while I’m not a huge fan of white wines, the Chardonnay is one I would definitely buy again…especially in the spring and summer!

At my sister’s Friends Thanksgiving get together, she decided to create a new tradition. We all wrote down what we were grateful for…big and small…and she’s going to keep them for next year so we can see them again. I love this idea, and hope that others will include this simple tradition with their families.

Another think important in our family is giving to those less fortunate. Whether it’s giving a homeless person a few dollars on the side of the freeway or donating food to families in need, we are very supportive of efforts to “pay it forward. And so is Kenwood Vineyards. This Thanksgiving, Kenwood Vineyards will be donating $25,000 to WhyHunger in
support of ending hunger and giving back during the holiday season. WhyHunger is a leader in building the movement to end hunger and poverty by connecting people to nutritious, affordable food and by supporting grassroots solutions that inspire self-reliance and community empowerment.

WhyHunger an amazing cause, and along with Kenwood Vineyard wines, they are doing amazing good for those who need it, and I fully support it and have donated to the cause! I urge you to do the same, if you are able. Visit the Kenwood Vineyards WhyHunger donation page where you can donate a small or large portion of your own Thanksgiving meal along with Kenwood Vineyards.

Even if you are unable to support Kenwood Vineyards and WhyHunger financially, you can help spread the word! Share a Facebook post or a tweet and make sure to let them know you are helping! I’ve included some that you can copy and paste. So easy!

Facebook:
Please help @KenwoodVineyards and @WhyHunger support ending hunger and giving back during the holiday season! http://bit.ly/11yaZFn
If you can’t donate financially, please share to help spread the word! #ShareYourTable #MC #sponsored

Twitter: 
Please RT -Show your support for @KenwoodVineyard ending hunger this holiday season! http://bit.ly/11yaZFn #MC #ShareYourTable #sponsored

And while you’re at it, make sure to follow Kenwood Vineyards on Facebook and also follow Kenwood Vineyard on Twitter.

We will be having Kenwood Vineyards wines (those reds are superb!) on our Thanksgiving table this year. What wines will be on your table?