BHG Delish Dish

Stirring Up Ideas In The Kitchen

Posts by Jessica Merchant

It has been YEARS since I had a slushie.

Well, I guess only days, considering I had this one. And only a year or two, since I made mint julep slushies back in 2012. But I mean a legit slushie. Like a movie theater slushie or dare I say it: gas station slushie? Eeeek.

When I was a kid, the best slushies were at the concession stand of our local baseball fields. My brothers both played, so I spent what felt like hours at the fields but what was probably only an hour or so every few days. My slushie drug of choice?

Watermelon all the way. Or strawberry. But I almost always went for watermelon. And if I knew someone working at the stand, or heck, if we were working the stand (hello massive sugar rush), I’d mix a bunch of flavors because I could never decide.

One flavor I never got into even though everyone obsessed over it: blue raspberry. Also, grape. All things grape. I will forever be the person to eat all of the cherry, orange and lime popsicles, skittles and jelly beans, leaving all the grape ones behind.

These days, my slushie mixtures include a booze of choice apparently. I didn’t get into gin until a few years ago (I was firm in the camp of “this tastes like pine needles”), but now I find it refreshing and sort of even… like it. It’s wonderful mixed with fruit! Does this mean I’m old now?

Oh no.

Here is the ORIGINAL RECIPE. I modified it by:

-Using strawberry sorbet

-Pureeing the strawberries with a few teaspoons of water, and using that instead of the grapefruit juice

-Left out the vanilla ice cream

-Adding 4 to 5 cups of ice to the blender


One glance at this cocktail transports me to a hot summer happy hour, sitting on a patio with friends and occasionally dipping my feet in the pool. It’s dreamy, right? Sipping on iced tea outside until fireflies (do you call them lightning bugs?!) appear and the sticky air starts to cool down?

Take me there! I want to go.

I’ve never been a huge iced tea fan, but occasionally a glass of ice-cold sweet tea in the summer hits the spot. I can also be swayed by anything with bourbon. Plus, this whole iced-tea-is-a-regular-beverage thing really helps with the fact that you can totally spike it a tiny bit and have it with lunch.

Oh yes oh yes. Who doesn’t love that?

My husband, on the other hand, absolutely LOVES tea. He prefers it unsweetened with lots of lemon, so we are always brewing up a big pitcher. Which means I always have lots of cold tea on hand.. and that means that it isn’t too difficult to add a few drops of something boozy. Especially with friends in the summer.

This tea isn’t just spiked with bourbon – it has layers or lemon juice and orange juice and lots of fresh mint. Mint is currently overtaking my potted garden and I’m not complaining. I have enough for mojitos, minty lemonade and now minty tea! I adore the refreshing kick it brings to food and drink.

When the weather starts to get warm, I tend to reach for a margarita or vodka sodas with lots of lime as my cocktails of choice. But this minty tea is a new favorite and one that I just can’t stop thinking about. Pop a big jug in the fridge and I swear you won’t regret it.

Here is the ORIGINAL RECIPE. I made a few modifications:

-I removed 1 cup of orange juice.

-I added 1/2 cup of bourbon with the water and juice.

-I used tons of mint leaves! I like it super minty.


I’ve never met a sangria that I didn’t like.

There is just something about the cocktail – whether it’s sweet or dry, loaded with berries or apples, kissed by brandy or juice – that makes it appropriate for all seasons. I think what I love most about it is how highly customizable it is. While sangria purists usually only consider a hearty red wine as their base… I am no purist.

I will experiment with any and all wines, fruit of all kinds, seasonal flavors (like apple cider! Blood orange! Pomegranate vanilla! Pineapple!) and I kind of sort of wish that it was acceptable to have a pitcher of sangria in the fridge at all times.

I mean, it has fruit? Fruit it a major food group? So sangria is a snack?

That fruit. Let’s talk about that fruit. The way it soaks up the wine like a sponge is just dreamy. Is there any better drink – you can sip and sip during happy hour and then finish off with a few bites too? I dig it.

Cucumbers may not quite soak up the flavor like an apple would, but they certainly do their job. They infuse every beverage they land in – think of dreamy, icy, minty spa water – so you get the most refreshing, crispy flavor when the slices are added to the sauvignon blanc. Combined with the watermelon balls and a bit of pressed juice, lots of limes and mint, this is the ideal summer drink to serve on a sweltering day.

Here is the ORIGINAL RECIPE.

I added in a cup or so of fresh watermelon juice. You can get this by pressing fresh watermelon through a fine mesh sieve or by blending watermelon chunks and straining the juice. Play around with how much you’d like to add based on your flavor preferences.

I added about 2 cups of watermelon balls (or chunks!) along with the cucumber.

I left out the honeydew melon.

I doubled the mint and limes. Enjoy!


Summahtime and the livin’s easy. Right? Totally!

I am so excited to be here for the month of June sharing some killah cocktails. Even more so, because last summer I had an itty bitty bun in the oven and wasn’t partaking in an adult beverages (obviously). I missed my favorites like salty-rimmed margaritas and mojitos, but one thing I really missed was an ice-cold, frosty mugged beer on a hot day. Weird for me. Normal for some.

The good news is that I am MORE than making up for it already this year, and technically summer hasn’t even started yet. Winning.

While my beer of choice usually includes some sort of fruity angle (think orange slices or even cider flavors), this homemade shandy might be my new go to.

It’s a little twist on a lemon shady. A ginger beer shandy, if you will. With sugared ginger. And if you scroll down a bit… ice cream.

Yep. I went there.

A ginger beer shady float.

I like ginger beer over ginger ale. It’s slightly spicier – it really has a kick! And it’s not quite as sweet. If you miss the sweetness of the ale but want to stick with the ginger beer, you can always add in a few ounces of lemonade!

Now THAT is summer.

Here is the ORIGINAL RECIPE. Below are my modifications.

  • I swapped ginger ale for ginger beer. It’s a big spicier and not as sweet!
  • I skipped the lemon juice.
  • I used an already fruity wheat beer. Like Shock Top or Blue Moon.
  • I added one big scoop of vanilla ice cream – before or after pouring works. Just be prepared for a little foam.

If you are looking for a chewy chocolate indulgent cookie… I have just the ticket.

 

 

For our final cookie before the holidays, I’m going with mocha and coconut. Only one of my most favorite combinations ever. To make this deliciousness, take this crinkle cookie recipe and add ½ teaspoon of coconut extract along with 1/3 cup of shredded coconut to the batter. I used finely shredded unsweetened coconut, but you can totally use good old sweetened flaked coconut. No biggie.

 

 

You mix the batter together just as the recipe calls for. Chill the dough for a bit – I chilled mine for around an hour – then roll the dough into 1-inch balls.

Seriously? I wanted to devour this batter.

 

 

Take another ¼ cup of the coconut and add it to the sugar and cocoa powder that you roll the dough balls in before baking. It’s that simple. When the cookies come out of the oven, you are more than welcome to sprinkle some extra coconut on top. Heck, you could even melt some coconut butter and drizzle that on top too.

Now how about THAT?

 

 

I can’t even.

I first discovered the mocha coconut combination back in college when Starbucks came up with a Frappuccino of the flavor. Like I needed one more indulgence my freshman year… but it was a combo that stuck. I’ve since made mocha coconut cupcakes, mocha coconut fudge and my own mocha coconut iced coffees. It is truly a knockout flavor for me. A weakness, if you will. It always wins over my willpower.

 

 

Buuuut… can you blame me?

Get the recipe for the dough here. 


Happy brown butter holidays!

 

Today, I’m shoving one of my favorite ingredients inside of a classic cookie. I’m so into it. Sugar cookies are gettin’ a facelift! Brown butter botox, to be exact.

 

 

I used this recipe for melt-in-your-mouth sugar cookies and instead plain old butter, browned my butter first. It’s one of my favorite things to do and I’m not sure if there is anything that doesn’t work with brown butter.

Wait, no. I am sure. There isn’t one single thing. Brown butter wins at life.

 

 

It’s super simple too: add your butter (salted or unsalted works, for this recipe I used unsalted) to a skillet over medium heat. As soon as it begins to melt, whisk constantly until you see brown bits appear on the bottom of the skillet. The minute you see those bits, remove the skillet from the heat and whisk for about 15 more seconds. You can find a super easy photo step-by-step tutorial here.

Now please go brown your butter for everything.

 

 

For the cookies, I poured the browned butter into a bowl and let it cool completely to room temperature, to the point where it was in solid form again. I found it was best to do this overnight. Once the butter cools, place a piece of plastic wrap over top and let it sit on your counter. In the morning, make your cookies as directed, scraping out all those delicious brown bits from the bowl. Easy peasy.

 

 

We enjoyed these classic cookies as is, dipping their crinkly edges into milk. But they would also be perfect with some frosting on top and of course, with tons of rainbow sprinkles. Can it get any better?


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