Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Pineapple Coconut Mojitos and a Staycation at Woodlands Resort

pineapple coconut mojito recipe ... SO good!  #cocktail #cheers
Ah, does anything say summer like a cocktail sipped poolside under a big umbrella?
{Recipe at the end of the post.}

When the resort in your town asks if you'd like to stay for the weekend as a family staycation, you first contemplate letting them know you can stay ALL SUMMER, then you decide that you don't want to scare them off, and just answer with a, "yes, please."

The Woodlands Resort, just outside of Houston, TX
The Woodlands Resort...I've been to wedding receptions here, school fundraisers here, Thanksgiving dinner here, but I've never actually stayed here.  Now that the resort has undergone a 60-million dollar renovation, it seemed like the perfect time.

The Woodlands Resort, just outside of Houston, TX
With multiple pools, waterslides, and a (brand new!) lazy river, it's easy to forget that you're in the suburbs of Houston...it feels like you're someplace tropical.  (The heat helps, too.)

The golf course looks beautiful, too, although we didn't play.  I took golf in college and it ended up to be my lowest grade from all 4 years.  Ugh.  Just thinking about it makes me shudder.  I would love to go out and WALK the course, though.  OK...enough about golf.

The Woodlands Resort, just outside of Houston, TX
My favorite moments from our stay:
  • a welcome as soon as we checked in: big chocolate chip cookie, ice cold milk, and Texas beers delivered to our room,
  • getting up and out to the pool early.  It's quiet and peaceful, and a great time to take in the beautiful grounds,
  • eating breakfast and lunch poolside...we were really impressed by the food from the poolside Cool Water Cafe,
  • a massage at the Spa.  Probably the best massage I've ever had,
  • watching kiddo and a friend go down the waterslide,
  • late night spins around the lazy river with the boys,
  • totally "getting away from it all," but still being close to home.

Where are the photos of us in our bathing suits?  Well, if you must see...

wr vintage swim photo wrvintageswimpic.jpg
(F J Mortimer/Getty Images)

I also fell in love with a cocktail while there.  I knew at first sip, I'd have to try to recreate this at home.  Join me for a Pineapple Coconut Mojito, won't you?  I think it's a fitting way to cheers a happy summer!

pineapple coconut mojito recipe ... SO good!  #cocktail #cheers
print recipe photo printrecipe.jpg

Pineapple Coconut Mojito

{makes 1}

flaked, sweetened coconut
fresh mint leaves
1 lime slice
1/4 cup coconut rum
3/4 cup coconut-pineapple juice (or regular pineapple juice if you can't find it)
splash sparkling water or club soda

In a small pan, toast up the coconut until lightly browned.  Pour onto a cutting board and let cool.  Chop into smaller pieces and set aside.

Place 2 mint leaves and the slice of lime in the bottom of a pint glass.  Use a muddler or the back of a spoon to twist the leaves and lime a few times until the mint is fragrant.  Don't mash it to bits.

Top the muddled mint/lime with ice about 2/3 up the glass.  Spoon 1 TBSP of the chopped, toasted coconut on top of the ice.

Pour the rum and juice into the glass and stir.  Top with a splash of sparkling water or club soda. Garnish with mint, pineapple chunks, tiny umbrellas, and a straw...or not.  Cheers!

The Woodlands Resort, just outside of Houston, TX
If you're staying in the Houston area, or live here already, check out the The Woodlands Resort.  Love pools, spas, golf, cocktails?  I think you'll like it!

{Disclosure: My family and I were treated to a weekend at The Woodlands Resort free of charge.  All opinions are my own.} 

Monday, August 25, 2014

Blueberry Cream Pie ...for those last days of summer

easy blueberry cream pie with a no-bake filling
It's true.  I've already moved on from summer a bit.  There have been soft pumpkin cookies, and back-to-school cookies, but this week, it's the last hurrah of summer.

{Actually, around here, summer seems to last until about November 3rd.}

easy blueberry cream pie with a no-bake filling
Today's recipe is for Blueberry Cream Pie.  The filling is a no-bake filling made with sweetened condensed milk, Greek yogurt, and lemon.

 photo blueberrycreampie2of8.jpg
The only baking you'll do is a quick bake of the graham cracker crust. 

 photo blueberrycreampie5of8.jpg
The way the blueberries are scattered throughout, I thought about calling it Polka Dot Pie.

This Blueberry Cream Pie is just about the easiest pie to make EVER.  It's the perfect end to summer, using up the last of summer's juicy blueberries. Bring it along to a Labor Day cookout!

easy blueberry cream pie with a no-bake filling
I'm sharing the recipe over at Imperial Sugar.  Come and get it! 

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Sweet on Trader Joe's Saturdays: Ginger Cats Cookies

First, let's address the burning question here.  Yes, these cookies are for people, not cats.  The cookies are shaped like cats.
trader joe's ginger cats cookies review

So, today's review is of Trader Joe's Ginger Cats Cookies (for people).  They are labeled as "lowfat" with no artificial flavors or preservatives.

A 16-ounce tub of cookies will set you back $2.79.

trader joe's ginger cats cookies review
A mom's (my) take: Well, these are certainly cute, especially if you're a cat person like I am.  I enjoyed the flavor of these cookies quite a bit...they have a very strong ginger and spice taste...and a little heat.  The ingredients list on the package lists "ground red pepper;" I love the spice, but I wonder if little ones would.  The texture is what I wasn't crazy about.  They were so crunchy, I felt like they were over-baked.  I was expecting, and would prefer, that Teddy Graham-type texture here. 
Overall rating: 3 of 5 stars

A teenager's (kiddo's) take: Of course, I love the cats (having two myself), and the taste is that of a home-baked, authentic gingerbread cookie. I italicized ginger because it is spicy. Really spicy. It does take a minute to deliver the kick, so you have a bit to enjoy the buttery, well-baked taste.
Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars

trader joe's ginger cats cookies review

Trader Joe's Ginger Cats Cookies: spicy!

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