Boozy Orange Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Boozy Orange Cranberry Sauce Recipe

I used to hate cranberry sauce as a kid because all I knew was the canned gelatin sauce. Blech! I decided to try my hand at making a REAL cranberry sauce, and over the years have tried a few different recipes. Based on what I knew about making cranberry sauce, I whipped this concoction togather for the first time last month, and it was a big hit with my family for Thanksgiving! It would also be a great side dish for Christmas, and it’s pretty simple to make. My secret ingredient is the Cabernet Sauvignon. It makes the flavor a little more robust and interesting, I think! But if wine isn’t your thing (*gasp*), just replace it with equal parts water or orange juice. The cinnamon sticks add a lot of flavor as well, so leave those in until you’re ready to serve the dish!

Boozy Orange Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Boozy Orange Cranberry Sauce
Makes 10-12 servings

24 oz cranberries
One large orange, zested and juiced
2 cups sugar
1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon (I like CK Mondavi wines)
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground clove
1/2 cup cold water
pinch salt

In a sauce pan over medium heat, mix the sugar, OJ, and Cabernet until sugar is melted and mixture is simmering. Add the spices, salt, and cinnamon sticks and let simmer a couple minutes.

Add the cranberries (minus one cup; set aside for later) and the orange zest and mix well. Heat for 10-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the majority of the berries have burst.

Add the remaining cup of berries and cook for another five minutes or so. Remove from heat.

Add 1/2 cup of cold water and mix well. Let the sauce sit for about 10 minutes; it will thicken.

Remove the cinnamon sticks before serving. You can serve it warm, or chill it in the refrigerator before serving. I prefer it warm, but my family liked it cold!

Boozy Orange Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Boozy Orange Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Boozy Orange Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Boozy Orange Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Boozy Orange Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Yummmmm! I hope you enjoy this wine-tastic winter dish!

Related:
40 Cranberry Recipes Round Up

A True “Guest” Post – Renee and Diana’s Red and White Winter Disneyland Wedding

A True "Guest" Post - Renee and Diana's Red and White Winter Disneyland Wedding

This weekend I had the great privilege to be present at the Disneyland wedding for my friends Renee and Diana! They had a beautiful very subtle Beauty and the Beast themed wedding, with red roses everywhere and books in their centerpieces. Their ceremony at the Rose Court Garden at The Disneyland Hotel took place right as dusk was falling, and the gazebo archway was decorated with tiny lights, tulle, and red and white flowers. The aisle was also decorated with red and white rose petals and varying heights of (battery) candles. I was also pleased to see the couple had utilized my “reserved seating” printables! As guests were being seated, we were serenaded by a string quartet. They sounded beautiful.

A True "Guest" Post - Renee and Diana's Red and White Winter Disneyland Wedding

A True "Guest" Post - Renee and Diana's Red and White Winter Disneyland Wedding

A True "Guest" Post - Renee and Diana's Red and White Winter Disneyland Wedding

Their ceremony was very sweet. The couple walked out to “Kiss the Girl” from The Little Mermaid, and after exchanging their vows and rings, the officiant pronounced them “wifeys for lifeys.” Diana and Renee requested an unplugged ceremony so I don’t have any photos of the actual ceremony to share at this time! Hopefully their photographers will let me share a few photos when they are ready. I was able to grab a photo of their ring pillows – Marie and Pluto Tsum Tsums as a nod to their pets!

A True "Guest" Post - Renee and Diana's Red and White Winter Disneyland Wedding

It was a bit chilly outside that night, so the pre-reception was moved to the foyer of the Magic Kingdom Ballroom, right outside of the Sleeping Beauty Pavilion. The first thing I noticed was a fancy new bar set up! I think it’s LED and maybe they can change the colors to match the event’s theming? That would be so cool! The couple chose the standard cheese spread, and also some passed appetizers I had never even heard of before! They included tiny chicken drumsticks with a cinnamon citrus glaze, artichoke with tomato salsa, and potato fritters with Gruyere sauce. The string quartet also moved upstairs and played fun Disney tunes while guests mingled.

A True "Guest" Post - Renee and Diana's Red and White Winter Disneyland Wedding

A True "Guest" Post - Renee and Diana's Red and White Winter Disneyland Wedding

A True "Guest" Post - Renee and Diana's Red and White Winter Disneyland Wedding

A True "Guest" Post - Renee and Diana's Red and White Winter Disneyland Wedding

A True "Guest" Post - Renee and Diana's Red and White Winter Disneyland Wedding

Once inside the Sleeping Beauty Pavilion, we saw a twinkling scene of red and white, with red tablecloths, red roses with floating candles, and stacks of vintage Disney books. At each place setting was a chocolate Mickey favor to take home! This was just an indication of how much food there was to come!

A True "Guest" Post - Renee and Diana's Red and White Winter Disneyland Wedding

A True "Guest" Post - Renee and Diana's Red and White Winter Disneyland Wedding

A True "Guest" Post - Renee and Diana's Red and White Winter Disneyland Wedding

A True "Guest" Post - Renee and Diana's Red and White Winter Disneyland Wedding

A True "Guest" Post - Renee and Diana's Red and White Winter Disneyland Wedding

Renee and Diana were introduced and started their first dance. Now, this was a total first for probably everyone in the room … but a bee landed on Diana’s face during their dance! We couldn’t quite tell what was happening at first … I thought maybe it was a spider, and Diana told me she thought a leaf fell on her at first! The bee jumped down to her chest and then Diana swiped it off and stomped on it, and everyone cheered and applauded. It was quite amazing! I hear that having a bee land on you during your first dance is good luck … let’s just go with that! The rest of the dance went smoothly and was beautiful to watch.

A True "Guest" Post - Renee and Diana's Red and White Winter Disneyland Wedding

After the first dance, the meal service started! To start we had the Cesar salad with lemon dressing – so good!

A True "Guest" Post - Renee and Diana's Red and White Winter Disneyland Wedding

The main course was a filet mignon and salmon duo, with mashed potatoes and steamed veggies. Mmmmm! The vegetarian dish was a portobello mushroom veggie stack, and my friend said it was very good!

A True "Guest" Post - Renee and Diana's Red and White Winter Disneyland Wedding

A True "Guest" Post - Renee and Diana's Red and White Winter Disneyland Wedding

After dinner we were treated to a special surprise – Donald showed up to help cut the cake! The cake looked wonderful! It was movie themed, decorated with chocolate film strips showing Disney movie scenes, and a light-up marquee as the topper!

A True "Guest" Post - Renee and Diana's Red and White Winter Disneyland Wedding

A True "Guest" Post - Renee and Diana's Red and White Winter Disneyland Wedding

A True "Guest" Post - Renee and Diana's Red and White Winter Disneyland Wedding

After posing for a couple pictures with the couple, Donald left and the dance floor opened while cake was being served. We received a slice of vanilla cake with chocolate chips. So good! I guess I was excited because I forgot to take a picture of it!

After a little more dancing, the DJ made another announcement, this time introducing Mickey and Minnie! They were there for a special “meet and greet” with guests. There was a backdrop set up near the entrance to the Sleeping Beauty Pavilion. First Mickey and Minnie took a few photos with the brides, then some with families and special requests of the brides. Then guests were able to meet and take pictures with Mickey and Minnie. It was so fun! I had never experienced this “meet and greet” set up before, and I think it works really well.

A True "Guest" Post - Renee and Diana's Red and White Winter Disneyland Wedding

A True "Guest" Post - Renee and Diana's Red and White Winter Disneyland Wedding

A True "Guest" Post - Renee and Diana's Red and White Winter Disneyland Wedding

After Mickey and Minnie said good-bye, we were treated to a late night dessert … by this time I was pretty full but I couldn’t pass up this chocolate and caramel bite-size piece of heaven. And the little salted caramel macaron on top was so cute. They even had mini chocolate film strips to match their cake.

A True "Guest" Post - Renee and Diana's Red and White Winter Disneyland Wedding

I danced a little more to work off all that food before saying good night to the beautiful couple. What a fun and beautiful wedding! Thank you to Diana and Renee for inviting me to witness the start of your happily ever after.

Marsala Inspiration Boards – Pantone’s 2015 Color of the Year

Marsala Inspiration Boards - Pantone's 2015 Color of the Year
Image from Pantone

It’s that time of year, when all of the designers and wedding bloggers cry out with joy. I’m talking of course about the announcement of Pantone’s Color of the Year. For 2015, it’s Marsala, a rich, earthy tone hovering somewhere between brown and red and purple. Marsala is also named after a wine, so what’s not to love?!? I’m a little bit surprised, to be honest. After last year’s lovely Radiant Orchid, I thought they would move to the other side of the color wheel. Perhaps a blue or a yellow. And while I didn’t love Marsala immediately like I did with Radiant Orchid, it’s starting to grow on me. Even more so after putting together these inspiration boards. Marsala’s muted tone makes it more like a neutral, so it pairs with many other colors very well. After looking through all the images on the Disney Weddings Inspiration Gallery (it’s a tough job but someone has to do it), I settled on three color combos: Marsala and Teal, Marsala and Gold, and Marsala and Baby Pink. Which is your favorite?

Marsala + Teal

Marsala-teal-wedding-inspiration

Dreamy Details:

Marsala Inspiration Boards - Pantone's 2015 Color of the Year

Okay, maybe I’m biased because these are my friends Becca and Mike! They were certainly a head of the style curve when they chose maroon and teal for their wedding. This confetti toss is amazing. Photo by D Park Photography.

Marsala Inspiration Boards - Pantone's 2015 Color of the Year

What a cute little DIY favor! Looks like a burlap bookmark with a painted Hidden Mickey. With a guest and table name, these could also double as escort cards.

Marsala + Gold

Marsala-gold-wedding-inspiration

Dreamy Details:

Marsala Inspiration Boards - Pantone's 2015 Color of the Year

I really love how they paired the gold chiffon(?) with red pomanders for this ceremony archway. It looks very regal!

Marsala Inspiration Boards - Pantone's 2015 Color of the Year

This is the Grand Ballroom at The Disneyland Hotel, and it is named appropriately! I love this ballroom, and the gold & red decor makes it even more grand. The gold chargers and gold Chiavari chairs really make a classy statement.

Marsala + Pink

Marsala-pink-wedding-inspiration

Dreamy Details:


Marsala Inspiration Boards - Pantone's 2015 Color of the Year

Such a gorgeous bouquet of mums! Love the pink, red, and purple color combo. The darker colors make the light pink flowers really pop.

Marsala Inspiration Boards - Pantone's 2015 Color of the Year

Yeah, I had to include macarons in my inspiration board! The color may not be exact but it’s close enough. I wish I could have had Mickey macarons at our wedding. I love the raspberry ones at Jolly Holiday inside Disneyland!

What do you think of Marsala, Pantone’s 2015 Color of the Year?

How to Create a Hot Chocolate Bar for Your Wedding

How to Create a Hot Chocolate Bar for Your Wedding

When the weather outside is frightful, there’s nothing better than a nice warm cup of hot chocolate … you might even say it’s delightful! I super love the idea of a hot chocolate bar at a wedding reception. I love it so much that we almost had one! Well, at our dessert party, technically. Have you had the hot chocolate at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel? It’s next-level insanely good. Like drinking a chocolate bar.

How to Create a Hot Chocolate Bar for Your Wedding
Hot Chocolate from Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel. Personal photo.

Ultimately we cut the hot chocolate to save money (we felt the ice cream sundaes, churros, cotton candy, and champagne was plenty, and we were right). But I think an end-of-reception hot chocolate bar at a wedding is one of the best ideas ever. If you’re having a Disney themed wedding, how cute would it be to set out Disney mugs all the guests can take home as a favor?

I’ve compiled some topping ideas and supplies you may need/want for your hot chocolate bar. Try not to drool on your keyboard while you scroll through it!

How to Create a Hot Chocolate Bar for Your Wedding

MIX-INS:
Obviously you would need milk (nonfat, whole, half and half, non-dairy) or flavored coffee creamers
Creme de Menthe syrup
Peppermint extract
Chocolate or Vanilla powder
Hot fudge
Chocolate dipped spoons (swirl your chocolate-covered spoon in the hot chocolate and let it melt!)

MIX-INS FOR THE ADULTS:
Baileys
Kahlua
Grand Marnier
Amaretto
Frangelico
Peppermint Schnapps

TOPPINGS:
Whipped cream
Marshmallows
Chocolate chips
Orange zest
Cinnamon
Crushed graham crackers
Crushed Oreo cookies
Peanut butter chips
White chocolate chips
Caramel sauce
Candy canes
Rainbow or chocolate sprinkles
Coconut shavings
Sea salt
Toffee
Crushed up candy bars
Marichino cherries
Cinnamon sticks (double as stir sticks)
Candy canes (double as stir sticks)

SUPPLIES
Spoons
Stir sticks
Straws

If you’re planning a Disneyland wedding, here’s what you need to know about having a hot chocolate bar:

- I haven’t spoken with any Disney wedding couple who has actually had a hot chocolate bar set up with all the toppings and add-ins and such. It doesn’t mean they can’t do it, I just can’t confirm it.

- I can confirm Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel has amazing hot chocolate and yes, you can have it for your wedding reception (or possibly pre-reception, or rehearsal dinner, or welcome party, or dessert party, or farewell brunch?).

- I haven’t been able to confirm if receptions at the other two hotels, The Disneyland Hotel and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel, can serve hot chocolate.

- I know Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and The Disneyland Hotel offer ice cream sundae bars, with various toppings such as rainbow sprinkles, whipped cream, and hot fudge, just to name a few. I suspect they could perhaps pull out these toppings for a hot cocoa bar also, but I don’t know for sure! You would have to check with your DFTW planner.

How to Create a Hot Chocolate Bar for Your Wedding
Sample toppings for ice cream sundae bar. Personal photo.

If the hot chocolate bar is a total no-go for you, consider sending guests home with “hot chocolate in a jar!” Fill a sealed mason jar with hot chocolate powder and marshmallows, and tie a chocolate & peppermint dipped spoon around each one!

How to Create a Hot Chocolate Bar for Your Wedding

Have you ever been to a wedding with a hot chocolate bar? What toppings would you pick for your mug?

Top image from masatoshi_ on Flickr, used and modified under CC 2.0
Toppings image from Chef Kelly’s Kitchen
Bottom image from Seeking Shade

Blogging Report – November 2014

Blogging Report - November 2014

Hello everyone! Welcome to my Blogging Report for November 2014. I have to start the post off with a confession. I’ve been putting off and putting off and putting off writing this because, well, I didn’t have a very good month! I realize the term “good” is relative, and I realize the reason I didn’t have a very “good” November is because I kicked so much booty in October!! I had some crazy amazing stats in October thanks to my Halloween post. So that post going viral in October, coupled with November generally being a little slow due to the Thanksgiving holiday and the start of the Christmas season, means my November stats look really pathetic! My November numbers were even lower than my September numbers. BUT, compared to November of last year, I’m doing really well, and I know I need to be focusing on long term growth, not short term setbacks. Still, this report is going to be a bit of a pity party; I hope that’s okay with everyone. On to the report!

Blogging Report – November 2014

Staring with my goals from last month, which were to stay on track with writing my usual 10 posts a week, which so did not happen, thanks to the craziness of the holiday and coming down with food poisoning, knocking me out for nearly a full week. It was awful!

Numbers

Budget Fairy Tale

Blogging Report - November 2014

Like I said, my stats went down … down … down … like Alice down the rabbit hole. My only saving grace this month is my bounce rate reduced drastically! If you don’t know, your bounce rate measures how quickly someone “bounces” away from your site. The lower the bounce rate, the better. My average bounce rate (according to Google Analytics, and there’s lots of discussion about the accuracy of their calculation in this area) is around 80% which isn’t great. I blame Pinterest, where people see an image, want to learn more, click through to your post, then leave, all within a minute. So, I’m not quite sure what happened in November to lower my bounce rate so much, but I’m not going to question it.

Blogging Report - November 2014

Nothing shocking in my traffic sources last month. My top 5 were Google, Pinterest, direct traffic, Facebook, and Yahoo (look at Yahoo, still hanging in there!).

Inspired By Dis

Blogging Report - November 2014

Down down down … you can really see the dip (in blue) where I didn’t post for over a week due to illness. Le sigh. Not much else to say about it.

Blogging Report - November 2014

My top five traffic sources in November were the usual suspects: Feedburner/Pinterest, Pinterest, Google, direct traffic, and old URL referral traffic.

Other November Happenings

So one cool thing happened in November … I won a ticket to the blogging conference Affiliate Summit West in January! I’m so excited to attend this conference for the first time. I’m still searching out some roomies or else I won’t be able to afford to go, but I’m thinking positive. (And apparently I really need to go, because ….. )

Monetizing

Even though Black Friday is usually one of my strongest sale days, I was down compared to October with all but one network/affiliate. Is it officially okay to say WTH now? Because seriously, WTH, November? What did I ever do to you?

Ad Networks

Google Adsense
Media.net

Affiliates (some of the links below contain my affiliate code)

Amazon
Share-a-Sale
Commission Junction
Pepperjam
ShopSense
Skimlinks

Things I need to work on:

For the month of December I need to focus on maintaining my sanity. And getting a few posts prepped and ready to publish while I’m on holiday vacation with Mr. BFT’s family. And making a plan to get back on track for January.

That’s it for now! Have a wonderful December and Happy Holidays!