Slushy Blush Cocktails (recipe)

Since I've been sharing a lot about hospitality lately, I thought I'd share a quick little recipe for one of my favorite party drinks.

I'm a huge fan of doing as much as possible in advance of a party, so I love making these slushy cocktails in small mason jars a few days beforehand and place them in the freezer.

SLUSHY BLUSH RECIPE:

. 1 can frozen concentrated pink lemonade (thawed)
. 36oz pineapple juice (instead of mixing concentrate with water, use the juice)
. Vodka to taste.

. Combine into large mixing bowl, then with a ladle, spoon into individual jars (I used these from Walmart). Then place into the freezer. The alcohol doesn't freeze, but the juice does...making it slushy!

Serve in a basket or bucket with spoons or brightly colored paper straws!

That's it!!

Told ya it was easy!! They're a hit every time I serve them...bet they will be for you, too!

When (not if!!) you do have a little get together for some friends or neighbors, post your pics on Instagram and tag me on my hashtag #letspartylikegirls!! I can't wait to see your photos!!

TAKE JOY,

TERESA

Ladies who Lead + ChariTea

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A month or two ago my sweet friend Brandi invited me to have lunch with an incredible group of women here in Colorado called, Ladies Who Lead.

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As I sat at lunch hearing their mission and stories, I thought "I should not have been invited, what am I even doing here?! This is so cool."

I mean these women are legit. They're all passionate, Jesus loving women who are doing major world changing things.

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Things like founding their own organizations in empowering the marginalized and formerly enslaved (check out Beautiful & Beloved's shop) and working in Uganda empowering women (especially single mamas and widows) to reach long-term sustainability for their families (Beauty for Ashes Uganda), and a dozen other things.

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You know who I also met??

This girl.

Courtney Skiera-Vaughn...the visionary behind a.k.a. HOPE and ChariTea.

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Shortly after getting married, she and her husband Chris traveled to Uganda serving the less fortunate. The life-changing experience helped open their eyes to how they could help and decided to partner together to found both organizations.

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Their hearts beat deeply with the aim in assisting a specific group of children in the Naguru slums on the outskirts of Kampala. Mostly orphaned and many displaced as refugees, they have been driven from their homes and largely forgotten by the Ugandan government and foreign aid-workers.

These kids have fought to survive civil wars with terrorists, genocide, death, and trafficking, as well as the tough life living on the streets and in the slums. Their mission is to help provide security, meals, education, love, and hope of a better life for them.

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There is so much about Courtney that I adore...her mission, vision, her passion.

And knew I had to work with her.

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After a few texting conversations about some fun events I have up my sleeve, sweet, {{ sweet }} Chris brought by a crazy generous sampling of the tea that Courtney had sent him over with.

We tried it for the first time at June's Evening to Nourish.

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We poured several varieties and ohmygosh...each one is phenomenal.

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And gorgeous. I mean, this spiced hibiscus one is PINK!

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Smelling this Jasmine Rose tea totally reminds me of all the Blooming Night Jasmine growing in our garden when I lived in California as a little girl.

Isn't it fun how scents just take you back?

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I'm saving all these others for Imani's birthday party next month.

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Because she wants to have a Tea Party birthday party.

I can't wait to show you all I've collected for it!

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We did decide to have a little tea party today though while I took all these pictures.

We just couldn't resist.

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tea

With so many varieties of tea to choose from, not to mention all the health benefits, it's time to take tea to a new level.  Tea is the perfect beverage to take on adventures whether that be a weekend camping trip, a bike-riding excursion, a day surfing, or even to the library for a late night cram session.
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You have an activity?  We have a tea for that.  Show us where you take your tea with #teaontop.
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Tea has been around for 4000 years, but we believe now is the time tea can help change the world. And you can be a part of that! 100% of the proceedsfrom your purchase goes to a.k.a. HOPE Inc.  Check out Our Cause to read more about how your purchase directly affects children across the world.

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All our teas are Specialty Teas and USDA organic certified because you deserve only the best ingredients.  Our black tea blends are fair trade as we partner with local farmers in India to bring this quality tea to your cup. Any questions about a specific tea?  Check out the circle markers for each of our teas in the Our Tea section.
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take joy-signature-new-pink

throwing a simple + do-able dinner party (recipes)

Earlier this week I shared with you my dinner party I called An Evening to Nourish. Well, today, I'd love to give you the recipes from that evening.

I love throwing parties. Kid parties, dinner parties, play dates, it doesn't matter.

BUT...it's the food part that always puts me over the edge.

I didn't want to be that flustered hostess!

I didn't want to be in the kitchen with final details and timing meats and vegetables to come out together and stressing about well, stressing out about the whole thing.

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So I spent a good while on Pinterest (do you follow me on Pinterest? click here if you want to!) brainstorming a menu that was simple and yet beautifully hearty enough to serve for dinner.

Everything I made was simple + had the ability to be (almost entirely) made ahead!

In the future, I'll likely begin to do it more Potluck style. But for this particular evening, I simply asked the ladies to bring either a bottle of wine or an appetizer/tapas type dish.

appetizer

Now remember, I asked all my guests to bring either something to drink or an appetizer so this isn't the only one for the evening. I'd recommend maybe perhaps 3 different items for a party of 10ish people.

(need more ideas? click here.)

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As you'll see, I had plenty of kid-help for our dinner.

Don't kick them out of the kitchen...teach them! Make it fun!

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What I decided to make has been a big favorite since traveling to Italy and realizing tomatoes aren't disgusting:

Caprese Skewers with balsamic reduction.

Don't be scared off by the idea of making reduction. I thought I would screw it up, but it was fantastic.

caprese skewers

INGREDIENTS:

Cherry tomatoes, halved

Fresh mozzarella balls

Fresh basil

Toothpics (and washi tape to make flags, if desired)

DIRECTIONS:

Using tooth pics, skewer mozzarella, tomato, and basil (fold leaf in half and poke stick through). Make sure you're arranging them in a way they can stand on their own after being put together.

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Balsamic Reduction:

1/2 cup balsamic venegar

2 tbsp brown sugar, packed

Add balsamic vinegar and brown sugar to a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a slight boil and reduce by half, for around 6-8 minutes; set aside and let cool. It will thicken after cooling.

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salad 1

Because I wanted something I could make ahead, I tossed together several bowls of my own variation of nicoise salad.

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I love using these rainbow potatoes (which I simply find at our neighborhood grocery store) and slice them thinly and place them into a pan in a single layer.

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Now don't hate me, but I don't measure. I just pour olive oil into a ramekin or small bowl and crush a clove of garlic into the it, along with some fresh rosemary, and a bit of salt and pepper.

And then I (or the kids) simply brush it on both sides of each slice of tomato.

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Then, sliding the pan into the oven at 400 degrees, I roast them for 2o minutes, checking them all the while to make sure they're not getting too dark.

At the 20 minute mark, I flip each slice so the other side can bake, again still keeping an eye on them every few minutes.

Super simple. Promise.

salad

TERESA'S NICOISE-ISH SALAD

INGREDIENTS:

Pre-packaged kale + brussels sprouts salad (I don't use all the other fixings in the bag, just the greens)

Pitted kalamata olives

Sliced heirloom tomatoes

Rosemary Roasted Potatoes (recipe above)

Pine nuts

Capers

 DIRECTIONS:

Just dump a bunch of it in. Whatever ratio looks good to you...that's right, just toss it in!

NOTE:

You'll notice this is a vegetarian option since I wasn't sure how all of my guests ate. Some rotisserie or roasted chicken would also be fantastic in here, as well!

dressing

SALAD DRESSING:

Now don't freak out, I didn't make all these myself. I just wanted to try my hand at one. And goodness, why don't I mix my own more often?! It was so crazy easy.

The others however, are simply re-packaged. Because truly, how much prettier does this look than a bunch of boring 'ol grocery store salad dressings?!

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NOTE: Those dressings which I did not make were purchased in the chilled salad section at our neighborhood grocery store, as well as Trader Joe's. That Cilantro Garlic dressing? Trader Joe's. And you seriously need it. I use it on everything (not just salad).

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GARLIC BASIL VINAIGRETTE:

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup tightly packed basil leaves (roughly chopped)

1 clove garlic

1/2 cup olive oil

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

1 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS:

Put it all into a jar and shake together. I know...whew! Super hard.

NOTE:

I double or tripled this recipe. So pay attention to how much you're making and how much you need for your party!

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dessert

I envisioned using my grandma's tea cups for some sort of chocolate something, so when looking around, I knew chocolate mousse would be the perfect make-ahead dessert!

And it's SO CRAZY SIMPLE!

All you use is water + chocolate...and it takes FIVE minutes!

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FIVE MINUTE CHOCOLATE MOUSSE:

INGREDIENTS:

9.35 oz  bittersweet chocolate (preferable 70% cocoa), chopped

1 cup water

4 tbsp sugar, optional

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DIRECTIONS:

1.

Place a large mixing bowl on top of another slightly smaller one, filled with ice and cold water (the bottom of the large bowl should touch the ice). Set aside

2.

Put chocolate and water (also sugar and/or liquor if you're using) in a medium-sized pan and melt the chocolate over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

3.

Pour the melted chocolate into the mixing bowl bowl sitting on top of ice and water, and start whisking with a wire whisk (or an electrical hand-held mixer) until thick. Watch the texture as you whip and make sure not to over-whip as it will make the mousse grainy. If it does become grainy (which is possible at your first try), transfer it back into the pan, reheat until half of it is melted, pour it back to the mixing bowl and whisk again briefly.

4.

Divide into four serving cups and either chill for later or serve immediately

NOTES: I recommend using a wire whisk when whipping together + since this recipe serves 4, I tripled it!

(recipe originally found here)

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drink

Though we enjoyed wine through dinner, I usually make a fun cocktail when friends come over.

I'm calling it Champagne Lemonade.

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INGREDIENTS:

1 bottle champagne or prosecco

1 can frozen pink lemonade concentrate (thawed)

1 cup vanilla vodka (chilled)

fresh lemon + raspberries for garnish (optional)

NOTE: this time I used raspberry lemonade and it was too sweet! don't make the mistake I did!

lemonade

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Remember, this is supposed to be fun! Forget about the gourmet something you want to serve if it makes you a stressed out mess before the event!

This is about gathering with friends...it is NOT about the food!

Though they might leave remembering how wonderful things tasted upon their palate, it's not what they'll remember weeks from now.

What will your guests remember?

The experience, the togetherness, the conversation.

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