Happy Hour

End of Summer Recipe Inspiration + Other Fun Stuff

August 31, 2017

I hope you’ve been summering well. You know, checking off fun activities like camping, fishing, hiking, boating, traveling, or whatever it is you like to do in the heat. For me, its mostly morning and/or evening fires with a hot latte or glass of crisp rose, riveting conversation or reading material. I also like to spend time in the garden and take long evening walks when the air is still warm but not hot. For some odd reason that perfect temperature calls to memory some of my favorite years of summer fun. I just love it and it makes me feel forever youthful. We also managed to squeeze in the annual camp trip with the nephew and nieces, cast a couple lines, hike a mountain, clink a couple beer glasses in Ireland and cut loose at my little sister’s wedding celebration. So I’d chalk it up to another great summer. But I can’t help to notice that the days are getting shorter and the morning and evening temps are significantly dropping at sunset.  I hate to say it folks but we’re on the brink of Autumn. So I thought I would share a bunch of summer recipes with you before we move into a new season. Some I have been whipping up all summer and the others are on my list to try before the good summer produce vaniches. Let me know if you try any and which one was your favorite!

P.S. I also included a couple fun non-recipe links at the very end.


Crepes with Vanilla Bean Roasted Rhubarb. I have been making these for Sunday breakfast all summer. Instead of roasted rhubarb though I have been making more of a rhubarb compote and topping with strawberries and then raspberries as the summer progressed.

Peggy’s Coffee Cake. This is as good as the article makes it out to be. I’ve made it for the construction and ranch crew a couple times this summer. I tried it in a bunt pan and 8×8 baking dish and I think it tastes better in the baking dish!

Cold Brew with Coconut Creamer. I haven’t tried this creamer yet but its on my list while I am still drinking cold brews.

Healthy(ish) Truffles. I have been making variations of this sweet treat all summer and storing them in my freezer for a 10 o’clock snack. I use almond butter and about half as much as the recipe calls for and I add a generous amount of raw cocoa. Never have dates on hand? I buy a big container of fresh dates from Costco and they keep in the fridge. I am surprised how long they store.

Tartines. Fun idea for a quick and healthy lunch. Get creative with your own combinations. My go-to is homemade hummus and avocado with lemon pepper and sea salt flakes (not so creative but that’s what I like)!

Mexican Corn and Quinoa Salad. If you aren’t at the farmer’s market buying a baker’s dozen of fresh corn……you are crazy!

Four Bean Salad. I make this every summer. So glad my mom’s friend shared her recipe.

Tomatoes and White Bread Salad with Mayonnaise Dressing. You also need to make the pickled tomatoes ahead of time but don’t worry it’s really quick and easy!

Edamame Quinoa Salad. Use your fresh tomatoes and corn right now.

Chicken Avocado Cilantro Lime Soup and Minestrone Verde. This happens every year right about now. I start craving Autumn soups and its too darn early. Usually I make a batch of my corn chowder since corn is what I am picking but this year I switched it up.

Rice and Beans with Steak and Fresh Tomatillo Salsa. If you didn’t grow tomatillos than use a fresh red salsa or any salsa you fancy for that matter! Quick and easy dinner that is delicious.

Roasted Zucchini Pasta Bake. I tried this the other night, its super easy and who doesn’t like a pasta bake. I substituted sour cream for the creme fraiche, I added 2 c. of shredded zucchini to the pasta and roasted some sweet onion slices with the zucchini rounds.

Heirloom Tomato Cheddar Tart with Everything Spice. If this doesn’t make you drool than watch the video here. My tomatoes are ripening on the vine so I will be trying this out shortly! Puff pastry is the only ingredient you might have to run to the market for.

Potato Waffles. Okay, this is probably more of a Fall recipe but I don’t care it’s on my summer list.

Honey Mascarpone Tart with Figs and a Salty Graham Cracker Crust. I want/need to make this so badly but instead of figs I want to use ripe juicy peaches that you can find fresh right now. I read through the post and it seems like a simple tart with only 8 ingredients and shouldn’t take long since its a NO bake.

Whole Fruit Pineapple Peach Lemonade. Have not tried this but with fresh ripe peaches in season I think its a must try.

Honeydew Jalapeno Margaritas. Definitely need to try this recipe.

El Diablo Cocktail. I had know idea what sotol was. After a little research, I found that it’s tequila’s crazy little brother. Think I might like him!

Native Deodorant. Paraben Free, Aluminum Free and Non Toxic Ingredients plus its free shipping and retuns. The coconut vanilla smells like tropical heaven.

I’ve been thinking about these sandals for awhile now. I really should just treat myself for working so darn hard this summer! 🙂

Have you heard about Tocos? It is suppose to act like a creamer but its non-dairy. You can add it your oatmeal, coffee and smoothies to name a few. It’s suppose to do wonders for your skin so I decided I had to try it.

Clarins Self Tanning Instant Gel. Bye bye baby oil hello self tanner.

I bought these sunglasses for my mother and they look awesome on her. So much I want to get the same pair but might do these instead.

I think I might finally break down and buy myself a Vitamix Blender. They are running a Labor Day sale. I really want to start making the Glowing Green Smoothie in the morning.

Read this fun little article 10 Things You Need in Your Kitchen According to a Parisian. I couldn’t agree more and also think it’s good entertainment advice. However, I have a wee problem with #9, a splash of full fat milk is a must!

Bourbon + Apple Cider + Kombucha

December 20, 2014


Christmas Cocktail

It’s really quite simple with only three ingredients. And to be honest, I make it often minus the kombucha. But with only two ingredients, be mindful in selecting a bourbon and apple cider. Quality is key here. I use the apple cider made with the apples from our trees each year. It’s fresh and unpasteurized.  So I often bring it to a boil with warm spices like cinnamon, star anise, and clove and let it simmer and perfume the kitchen for a bit.

Apple Cider Cocktail // 1 drink
1 oz. bourbon
1 oz. apple cider
1 oz. gingerade kombucha
Brown sugar

Place ice in a cocktail shaker. Add bourbon, apple cider and kombucha. Rub the orange peel around the rim of the cocktail glass and dip in brown sugar. Strain the drink into the glass. You can add more ice to the glass if you like. Garnish with a thin slice of orange peel.

Be Merry and Bright!

19 Questions with Shae Whitney, Owner of DRAM Apothecary (Plus a Giveaway)

October 6, 2014



I first met Shae about a year ago. Luke and I were en route back to Montana after a wedding weekend and stuck in the Sunday night rat race to Denver. I was eager to detour and recalled DRAM Apothecary as we passed a road sign reminder for Silver Plume. Anxious for a cocktail, we crossed our fingers in hope shop doors were open on a quite Sunday evening in a ghost like Colorado town.

Shae is the perfect combination of modern and vintage and her style is deeply reflected in her work at the Bread Bar, home of DRAM Apothecary. If not at shop, Shae is foraging for wild Colorado herbs for her craft bitters, syrups and teas.

Shae’s bitters are crafted using wild or organic botanical ingredients such as herbs, bark, roots, and/or fruit sought after for their flavor and medicinal properties. Bitters are known to help alleviate environmental and food allergies, upset stomachs, chronic IBS, skin problems, sooth and repair essential organs, and the list goes on. The simple and timeless labels for DRAM bitters include the ailments the bitters are said to cure. The Chamomile bitters are really good for allergies; and the Hair of a Dog is known to ease the ailments caused by an overindulgence of a good time. She has worked hard to bridge the gap between the earth and what we put in our bodies while maintaining a pure taste equally pleasing to tea and cocktail drinkers alike. Healthy living and tasty cocktails are equally important to Shae. It’s common for Shae to start her day with a cup of tea and end the day with a cocktail in hand, all enhanced with DRAM bitters!

Her organic handcrafted products can be found here for purchase if you are not lucky enough to win one of the five giveaways throughout the month.

This week we are giving away your choice of a syrup (Pine) or bitters (Black, Citrus Medica, Wild Mountain Sage, or Hair of the Dog). To enter the giveaway, tell us in the comments: What is your secret ingredient to healthy living? We’ll pick a winner by Monday October 13th.


Bread Bar

1. What’s your story and your training?
I have a degree in Food Science, Ecological Agriculture and Botany from the Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA. I’m completely self-trained in the making of bitters and I come up with all of the recipes myself, the most important part of this process is the understanding of flavor and palate.

2. What is your earliest memory of foraging?
My aunt had a Wild Rose bush in her front yard when I was a child. I spent a lot of time at her home and I would gather the flowers in the summer and stuff them into a little juice bottle, cover it with water and call it perfume.

3. DRAM, how did the name and imaging derive?
A Dram is a measurement used in the ancient apothecaries system. It is an 1/8 of an ounce which is roughly how much bitters you add to a drink. All of the imaging and design was done by me and my partner, Brady Becker.

4. Why Silver Plume?
Brady and I are both natives to Colorado but had blown past the Silver Plume exit at least 100 times in our lives. One winter day we decided to pull over and we were completely enchanted by the quaint and spooky historic town. We were both really surprised that it sits so close to Denver, yet seems completely untouched by time and we just fell in love with the place.

5. What is the history behind the Bread Bar?
In the late 1800’s it housed the Sopp and Truscott Mining Supply store which was then transformed into a bakery in the 1970’s. When we bought the place it was still a functioning (barely) bakery and we decided to make it the headquarters for DRAM.

6. How can you best describe your style?
Modern with a touch of antique whimsy.

7. Where do you shop?
Shopping is not something I enjoy, that being said I do most of my shopping online. For clothing I’ll frequent vintage and secondhand stores. The only time I enjoy shopping is when I’m out of town, and then it’s more like exploring.

8. What’s playing in the Bread Bar?
Hank Williams, Lee Hazelwood, The Grateful Dead, Kurt Vile, Diane Cluck, it really depends on the day.

9. Where is your favorite place in Colorado?
I love Pine, Ouray, Central City (minus casinos), Creede.
Where is your favorite place outside of Colorado?
I’m a really big fan of the PNW and would probably move back there if my business wasn’t heavily Colorado based.

10. What is your favorite season to forage?

11. What are your essentials for foraging?
Mineral sunscreen from Eminence, bug repellant from R.L. Linden, foraging knife, handkerchief, *good* boots, my foraging basket backpack and my mushroom ID guide.

12. What plant is the hardest to find? Identify? Or how about the rarest and most plentiful?
It depends on the season. For our concoctions that we sell we try to work with plants that can be found in great abundance almost anywhere in the Rockies like mountain sage, juniper, rose, pine, chamomile, nettles. We are both avid mushroom hunters and that can be much more challenging, spending the whole day looking for Chanterelles and coming home empty handed can really break you down!

13. Have you ever had a bad foraging experience? Allergic, Poisonous, Animals, Etc.
I’m severely allergic to the sage that we make our bitters out of, especially when the flowers are full of pollen. I have to wear long sleeves and pants, gloves and a mask. Sometimes I think I’ll be okay and I just tromp out to get some sage and it’s always a terrible rest of the day for me.
Outside of Boulder we’ve come across a few underground beehives which is rare but real! Brady is deathly allergic to bees and it’s always been scary to realize we’re standing on top of their home.

14. What is your advice to a novice forager?
Invest in a guide that’s specific to your area and read the entire thing before heading out. Don’t pick anything questionable and stay away from Wild Carrot as it’s a common lookalike of deadly Hemlock.

15. What is your favorite type of flower?
I love mountain poppies, roses and sego lilies.

16. What is your favorite DRAM product?
Black Bitters or Pine Syrup.

17. What inspires you and your cocktail combinations?
People, places, memories, songs, movies, food recipes.

18. What is your favorite DRAM cocktail and will you share the recipe?

I love the Citrine, I’m a big tequila fan and I also love spicy foods so it’s right up my alley.

The Citrine
1 1/2 oz good tequila
1 oz chokecherry juice, or tart black cherry juice (pure with no flavors or crap)
1/2 oz The Decc Citrus Clove Liqueur (made in CO)
1/4 oz grapefruit juice
pinch of cayenne pepper
few shakes Citrus Medica Bitters

19. Can you think of a fruit, spice, bitters, liqueur, (you get the picture) that seems to reappear in your cocktails? An essential ingredient for crafting cocktails, per se.
Grapefruit juice- I really appreciate the balance it offers between bitter and sour
Roses- I always have a bottle of Rose Hydrosol around, it makes the most drab things magical
Pine Syrup- the flavor profile works with any alcohol base or it can be used as a general sweetener without compromising the flavors of the dish or drink.
Black Walnut Liqueur (Nocino) lends a bit a sweetness without overpowering.
I hate St. Germain, we don’t use it in the bar. It’s synthetically flavored and colored and I think it’s complete trash.


Silver Plume

Watermelon Lime Margarita

July 8, 2013

watermelon lime margarita

My sister and I have officially dubbed Thursday evenings on the ranch as “thirsty Thursdays”. Summers in Montana are fleeting. And I’ve forgotten how busy things get on the ranch during these warm and enjoyable months. So, we decided to dedicate one night a week that we will slow down, relax, and concoct a tasty summer cocktail that we can enjoy on the deck. Last week I whipped up what I called a “strawberry slammer”. Check out my instagram page for the recipe.

This week is a watermelon and lime margarita. It is very refreshing and perfect for these hot summer nights we’ve been experiencing lately. I thought I left the sweltering heat behind in Sacramento. Not so. I had sliced a watermelon earlier in the week and so a good bit of the juices sat at the bottom of my container in the fridge. I strained the juice and squeezed some limes. Seriously. It was that easy. Just be careful that you don’t overpower the watermelon flavor with too much lime juice. Oh, and don’t forget the tequila!

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