Year: 2015

Moscow Mule Cake // Peanut Butter & Dill Pickles Blog

Moscow Mule Cake

Kiddie cocktails to Moscow mules. Sippy cups to copper mugs. My transition in beverages has gone from sickly sweet to minty and tart.  Moscow mules are one of my favorite cocktails of all time.  Mint and lime might be the quintessential summer pairing and the spiciness of ginger beer make this cocktail a robust refresher. The cocktail is best served in a copper mug to keep the drink frosty cold.  One time I ordered  Moscow mule at a bar and it came in a standard pint glass.  It wasn’t the same.  Something about the chilled copper puts you in the mule mood and makes the cocktail just taste better. You know what’s just as good as a frosty mug? A sticky, sweet slice of cake. Mint, lime, and ginger also come together to make a pretty spectacular cake.  Reminiscent of a tart lemon cake, this one has flecks of lime zest, is soaked in a mint and ginger syrup, and served with a big dollop of fresh whipped lime cream. Cheers to that! PrintMoscow Mule …






Blackberry Mascarpone Crackers

Blackberry Mascarpone Crackers with Lemon Zest

My life changed during a baby shower in 1999.  No, I wasn’t celebrating a future sibling, I had a very specific cracker with mascarpone cheese and a tart blackberry.  That combo has been emblazoned in my mind and I’ve been enjoying it ever since. My mom was throwing the baby shower for her good friend who was celebrating her second son.  My mom had set out a tray of cheese, crackers, and fruit and I heard someone say, “You need to try the whole wheat cracker with mascarpone and a blackberry!” I think I ate about 20 of them that night.   The cracker is the critical part.  It HAS to be Carr’s Whole Wheat cracker.  It has a slightly sweet taste but is buttery and crumbly like a cookie.  It’s mandatory in this ensemble. It’s really a simple as it sounds–smear a cracker with mascarpone, top it with a blackberry, and lately I’ve been adding a little lemon zest. Crunchy, creamy, tart, and sweet.  Life changing, I tell ya!  






The Great Outdoors - Dinner & a Movie - Peanut Butter & Dill Pickles Blog-2

Dinner & a Movie: The Great Outdoors

Do you love John Candy as much as I do?  Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, Uncle Buck, and even Home Alone!  All so good but my favorite Candy movie has to be The Great Outdoors. This movie is so hilarious and epic for me on many levels: 1. John Candy’s drive to have the perfect family vacation rivals that of Chevy Chase in National Lampoon’s Vacation and epitomizes every American family’s vacation experience on some level. 2. Dan Akyroyd has some of the best one liners in this film–hands down. 3. Similar to #1, this movie is basically a compilation of experiences and stories of my own trips in the Wisconsin northwoods to our lodge. Here’s a brief summary from Google: It’s vacation time for outdoorsy Chicago man Chet Ripley (John Candy), along with his wife, Connie (Stephanie Faracy), and their two kids, Buck (Chris Young) and Ben (Ian Giatti). But a serene weekend of fishing at a Wisconsin lakeside cabin gets crashed by Connie’s obnoxious brother-in-law, Roman Craig (Dan Aykroyd), his wife, Kate (Annette Bening), and …






Blackberry & Elderflower Pimms - Peanut Butter & Dill Pickles Blog

Blackberry & Elderflower Pimms x18

I had fully prepared myself to explain to the officer why I had 18 bottles of booze in my back seat.  Luckily, I wasn’t pulled over on the way home. Why would I have 18 bottles of Pimms in my car?  First, you need to understand my Mom, sister, and I are a bit obsessed with Pimms.  If you’ve been to England, you know that Pimms is EVERYWHERE.  It’s the classic British drink that is served in every pub, restaurant, sporting event, royal baby watch party, etc.  Their slogan is “It’s Pimms O’Clock!” which is perfect because it’s always time for a Pimms.  It’s typical to order a “jug” of Pimms while out at the pub and my Mom and I became pros at polishing that off! My Mom became addicted and so did my sister and I.  While traditional Pimms No. 1 is our usual standby, they recently came out with a new Blackberry & Elderflower flavor.  Boy, that one is just as yummy.  Made with vodka and a French liqueur with blackberries and elderflowers, …






Photo Credit: Luke Chesser

Cooking Playlist: Solo

I need music when I’m cooking just as much as I need a glass of wine or bourbon.  I’ve got a collection of cooking playlists for every type of occasion and mood and will be featuring them monthly going forward. The first cooking playlist happens to be one of my personal favorites.  These songs are what I have cranked up when I’m home alone and plugging away in the kitchen.  Equally applicable when making a solo dinner when the husband is out of town or processing a bunch of jam or pickles on a Sunday.  Either way, I dance like no one is watching and sing like I’m in the shower. Enjoy!






Cucumber Basil Lemonade (2 of 3)

Cucumber Basil Lemonade

I got thirsty this afternoon and I thought you might be thirsty too.  I’m always here to help! I was picking cucumbers out of the garden this morning and then I saw my basil and then I got inspired.  Cucumber basil lemonade, it is! Nothing fancy or difficult here.  Just all you need is a blender and 5 minutes to throw together a simple syrup. Yummy summer in a glass. PrintCucumber Basil Lemonade Ingredients2/3 c. sugar 2/3 c. water 1/4 c. basil leaves, packed 1 c. fresh squeezed lemon juice 1 5-6″ cucumber, chopped with seeds removed 2 c. water (sparkling or still)InstructionsIn a small saucepan over medium high heat, bring the sugar and 2/3 c. water to a boil. Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from the heat and add the basil leaves. Stir and allow to cool to room temp. When the simple syrup has cooled, strain out the basil leaves. Meanwhile, blend the lemon juice and cucumber in a blender until totally pureed. Strain the mixture to remove any pulp. In a …






Dinner & a Movie logo-compressed

Dinner and a Movie

Decisions. Decisions. What to make for dinner?  What movie to watch tonight?  Which email to read first?  Which bottle of wine to open?  Which section of Williams-Sonoma do I start at first? Let’s just focus on the first two for now but in case you’re wondering on the rest… The oldest, the Sauvignon Blanc, and the clearance section. I’m a straight up movie junkie of all sorts; action, drama, rom-com, documentary, kid movies, classics, psychological thrillers (NOT slasher thrillers!), etc. Sometimes I can’t remember what I walked into a room for, but I can recite most lines to my favorite films and rattle off the actors’ names like it’s my job. At the ripe age of 12 I could recite the entire script Steel Magnolias–still can. I’m constantly picking movies to watch and thinking up what to nosh on.  Sometimes it’s food mentioned or eaten in the movie and other times the region or time period inspires me.  Either way, it’s a blend of two of my favorites–food and film. Starting a week from today, I’m kicking off …






A Night at the Supper Club // Peanut Butter & Dill Pickles Blog

The Time We Drove Four Hours Round Trip for a Supper Club Dinner and Survived a Hail Storm

Parents who moved to Connecticut. Sister and brother-in-law two hours away in Madison. A legendary supper club tucked away on a quiet lake. A Friday night when we’re all free and in the same state. Those stars aligning equaled a four hour drive through a hail storm just to have dinner. My mother happens to be quite the supper club connoisseur.  If you’re not familiar with supper clubs think relish trays, prime rib and potatoes, a brandy old-fashioned, and ice cream drinks.  Stepping into a supper club is a bit like stepping back into time but unfortunately Frank Sinatra isn’t serenading you while you glance over the menu. A few years ago, we promised to take my mom to Ishnala in the Wisconsin Dells as a gift for Mother’s Day.  The supper club is tucked away down a winding, wooded road and situated on a quiet lake.  You really feel like you’re stepping into a remote forest when in reality you’re only 5 minutes from water parks and an outlet mall. I’m not joking when I say that …






Mason Jar Citrus Juices with Herbs // Peanut Butter & Dill Pickles Blog

A Facelift with a Side of Mason Jar Mimosas

You’re not crazy.  You’re at www.pbpickles.com.  The site got a facelift! The blog is now more streamlined, less busy, and formatted to highlight images (rather than my previous kooky green polka dots!) Welcome to the NEW Peanut Butter & Dill Pickles site!  Take a tour with me… At the top, notice the Featured and Recipe drop downs.  By clicking any of these, you’ll display only posts within that topic or recipe category. Into social media?  The buttons to follow me are on your right. Interested in exploring?  Click on “Go Exploring” just under the main drop downs and filter content by date/year, categories, or tags. I must say, I’m loving the simplicity of the black and white layout now so the images pop.  A huge thanks to my guy for not only overhauling this site but for the weeks and weeks of “a woman’s perogative to change her mind” that infiltrated our conversations along the way.  You’re the best.  Mean it.  Love you. Today feels very much like a juxtaposition.  Now that I’m done touting the simple beauty of …






Dude Sandwiches // Peanut Butter & Dill Pickles Blog

Dude Sandwiches & Leaning Water Towers

A small town in Texas has something strangely in common with Pisa, Italy. My husband hails from Groom, Texas and I bet you’re formulating all sorts of jokes in your head that would match what we heard on our wedding day.  “The groom is from Groom!” and so on and so forth. Groom is situated on good ol’ Route 66 and one of the most recognizable landmarks is the leaning water tower next to the freeway.  According to Mr. Wikipedia, the tower was originally slated to be demolished but Mr. Britten purchased it as a fixture for his truck stop.  While the truck stop is no longer there, the water tower still stands. Given the really flat landscape of the panhandle of Texas, seeing that water tower on the horizon means we’re almost home and can finally stretch our legs after a 17 hour excursion. While the water tower is definitely a symbol for me, most wouldn’t recognize it unless you’d stopped in Groom or cruised that section of Route 66.  Imagine my surprise when …