Trick or Treat: Caramel Apple Cocktails

Happy Halloween!

Things are a little different this year without the kids at home for this fun holiday. Trick or Treating went by the wayside years ago, but you’re never too old for a bonfire or holiday themed food with teenagers.

But here we are; our first empty nest Halloween!

And Audley and I plan to treat ourselves!

One of my favorite fall highlights is apple season. This year I didn’t get to pick my own, but I still made a trip up to my favorite north Alabama orchard with Momma. Crow Mountain really has the best apples!! It’s always fun to decide how to use them, and this year I changed it up from dessert to a delectable and over-21 grown-up Halloween treat ….

Caramel Apple Cocktails

The ingredient list is short: large apples (I love a Granny Smith) that you’ve hollowed into a “glass”, melted caramel to rim your apples, apple cider (try to find local), Crown Royal Vanilla, Ellington Reserve Salted Caramel Whisky (use airplane bottles), and brown sugar.

Wash and dry your apples, then slice the tops off and hollow out the inside of the apple. Don’t go all the way to the bottom or your cocktail “glass” will leak. I used a spoon for hollowing out the apple.

Rim the edge of your apple with melted caramel. Since you will be working around juicy apples, this works best when spooned around the edge. Sprinkle with brown sugar. Also sprinkle a little brown sugar inside the apple.

To mix the cocktail (for 2) heat 5 ounces of apple cider, then add 1.5 ounces of the caramel apple whisky, 1 ounce vanilla Crown, and stir. Pour into the apples you’ve made into glasses.

Pour into the apple glasses, garnish with a cinnamon stick and enjoy!

These take just a few minutes to prepare; keeping you in a Halloween frame of mind while toasting an empty nest!

And don’t waste your apple! When you’ve finished your drink, slice the apple to eat for a spiked caramel apple treat!

Christmas Eve Hot Chocolate

There is something about having hot chocolate on Christmas Eve that has become such a special tradition for us, even if it is nearly 70° in certain parts of the south!

While it is so easy to rip open a pack of Swiss Miss, I love the rich, creamy deliciousness of this homemade hot chocolate.


{Printable Version Available christmas-eve-hot-chocolate}

hot-chocolate-ohfiddledeedee-comIf you are serving Santa tonight as he stops while making rounds at your house, leave the whipped cream off and have it on a coffee mug warmer for his convenience.

And from our family to yours –

a very merry Christmas!


Fit Friday: Fruit Infused Water

Ah water ….  We clean with it, cook with it, use it in our yards, wash in it & swim in it, but for some reason we seem to avoid drinking it….. at least as much as we should.

 There are many advantages to drinking water:

**The biggie is of course hydration, but drinking water regularly also helps to keep your energy levels up and the achy dragging along feeling at bay.  Fatigue is often the result of mild dehydration which can make our days feel even longer than they are.

By the way, drinking sodas, coffee (I am an addict), tea and alcohol all dehydrate your muscles, so for each cup/glass I have, I always add an extra glass of water for good measure.

**Staying hydrated helps keep you looking younger. Our skin is actually the largest organ in our body and regularly drinking water can actually improve the color and texture of your skin. Hydrated skin glows and looks supple, where being dehydrated leaves us looking older and drawn.

**Drinking water aids in curbing your appetite.  Sometimes when we think we are hungry, we are actually dehydrated and need water!  FYI, being dehydrated can actually make you gain weight as your body will begin hanging onto any and all fluids trying to keep the body functioning properly.  Water will also keep you feeling full, helping you not eat so much in a sitting.

**Drinking water can ease joint pain as it aids in keeping the cartilage soft and hydrated.  Who doesn’t want to feel less achy?

**Water flushes out waste and bacteria.  Our body need water to function properly.  If we aren’t putting it in, it can’t properly flush out the things that are bad for us.  If it is holding on to waste, we are putting ourselves in danger for problems down the road.

**Prevention of headaches.  Many headaches come on as a result of dehydration (I experienced that my first day at the Kentucky Derby last week), so drinking water can help end or ease that annoying head pain.

**It puts you in a good mood!  When your body is functioning at its best, you will feel great making your days much more productive and happy.

So, now we all know why we need to drink more water, especially as the days continue to warm-up, but how can we get in enough water to benefit us when we also know just how boring drinking water can be!

Yes, there are Crystal Light packets that you can use to flavor your water, (they seem to leave my mouth dry) but they contain artificial sweeteners and have no nutritional value to them.  I try my best to limit artificial sweeteners or contain them to natural sweeteners or stevia just for health’s sake.

So, how do you keep water from being so boring?

Why dress it up of course!

fruit infused water

Fruit infused water is fresh, clean and a great way to flavor your water without fake anything.  It is also super easy to create fruit infused water as well as many possibilities that can incorporate seasonal flavor all spring and summer long!  These aren’t sweet waters, but with the infused subtle flavors you really won’t miss the sugar.

This is how I have managed my water intake for nearly 3 years now!  Believe me, it works.

To assemble infused water is really quite elementary.  I choose my favorite combinations of fruit; slice, dice or chunk, add to a pitcher of water and allow to steep for an hour or so.  I also use fresh herbs from time to time like lavender, lemon thyme, rosemary, mint or chocolate mint…. options are limitless depending on your taste.

Easy enough?

While you can use frozen or canned fruit (in natural juice), I prefer using fresh fruit as the flavors seem to taste so much better.  Purchasing what is in season (right now berries are a great option) helps with the budget.

There isn’t really a wrong way to assemble your fruit infused water.  You can spend money for a pitcher that is specifically made for this or just use what you already have at home.  I prefer the latter.

When assembling my waters I like to use a 2-quart or gallon pitcher.  I add my fruits and herbs the night before to water, then place in the refrigerator to allow the flavors to mesh overnight.  If you would like, you can bruise the fruit & herbs with a wooden spoon or pestle to strengthen the flavor of the water.

Releasing the fruit juice into the pitcher using a wooden pestle

Releasing the fruit juice into the pitcher using a wooden pestle

When I do this, I usually pour my water through a strainer.  The next day I just refill my glass of ice with water as needed all day long.

You can also flavor a single glass of water with just a few slivers of fruit in the bottom of a glass full of ice.  Add the water last and let sit a few minutes.


Here are a few of my favorite combinations ….

1.  Lemon water.  This is the easiest and most common was to dress up water.  Slice a lemon, squeeze into a glass of ice-cold water and drink up.  I also do this same thing with a lime.  It’s quick and the tangy splash of  citrus really wakes me up!  Top it off with mint for added flavor.

2.  Lime, cucumber and mint.

cucumber & lime with mint

Add 6 slices of lime to a 2 qt. pitcher with half a seedless cucumber.  Add ice and press with a wooden spoon (I used a pestle) to release the juices and fill with water.  Let sit for 30-60 minutes and serve over ice.

3.  Strawberry-Kiwi.

strawberry kiwi infused water

3 or four kiwi (depends on how well you like the flavor of kiwi) thinly sliced added to 5 large strawberries, sliced.  Cover with ice, release the flavor, fill with water and allow to sit in the refrigerator for about 45 minutes.

Layering of my fruit and ice

Layering of my fruit and ice

4. Cucumber-Melon.

cucumber melon infused water

Honeydew & cantaloupe chunks mixed with several slices of cucumber keep this water light and refreshing.  I like to mix this up single serving and continue to use the glass for a little while.

5. Berry Splash

berry splash

By the glass I mix 6-8 blackberries, 8 raspberries and 10 blueberries, cover with ice and use the pestle to press on the ice and help release the juices.

6.  Raspberry-Lime

Raspberry Lime Infused Water

By the glass I use 10 raspberries, and 2 slices of lime.

cucumber melon in a sports bottle with an infuser.... my 17 year old loves to use this at school!

cucumber melon in a sports bottle with an infuser…. my 17 year old loves to use this at school!

What makes these flavored waters even better is the fact they are so pretty.  With the subtle flavors these are a perfect accompaniment to a cookout or pool party as the flavor doesn’t clash with most cook-out favorites.

So how much water do we need?  I recommend at least half your body weight in ounces.  So if you weigh 150 pounds, you need 75 ounces of water a day; a little more if you live an active lifestyle.  Me?  Because I work out five days a week I try to get in a gallon a day because I lose so much through sweat.

Try a few of these simple flavored waters and let me know what you think!

And if you have a combination you like better,  share it and let me know!  I’m always up for trying something new!


Have a fabulous weekend, and don’t forget to drink your water!


Fit Friday: Easy at Home Circuit & Skinny Iced Coffee

Sometimes, even though I work in a gym, I just can’t get my workout in.  Let’s face it, after a day of working with  clients there are times I just want to get home.  I try to get something in everyday whether it be weight training or cardio, so easy at home workouts are always welcome.  I found this quick circuit to be quite effective and perfect for using I at home in the evening just so I know that I did something productive during the day.

Fitness at home in just 20 minutes (unsure of the graphic credit)

Doing this little circuit three to four times is honestly a great series of exercises that really targets your core area, as well as touching on your legs, chest and arms.  Even with several round of the exercises, you can knock out a productive workout in under 30 minutes.

There are times after a workout, I love to treat myself (with healthy options of course).

I’ve never been much of a coffee drinker, but thanks to the many influences I have at work, Iced Coffee has become a most enjoyable treat for me.  Unfortunately with the syrups and additives in a commercial iced drink, they really aren’t that healthy, even if they are “light”.  While playing in the kitchen last weekend, I put together my own Iced Coffee drink that totally skips on the calories as well as the corn syrup additives, AND it tastes wonderful!



3 cups brewed coffee (I brew two K-cups on the largest setting), chilled

1 cup organic skim milk

2 Tablespoons Organic Vanilla Extract (make sure it is Corn Syrup free)

1-2 Tablespoons Stevia (depending on how sweet you like your drink)

Sugar-Free Whipped Cream

SImple ingredients .... You have to love simplicity!

SImple ingredients …. You have to love simplicity!

Making your coffee:

Whisk together the coffee, milk, vanilla and stevia. Pour over ice and top with the whipped cream.  You can garnish your drink with any flavor from cinnamon to grated dark chocolate (just a touch).  One thing I liked about making this at home is that you can change-up the vanilla flavoring with Caramel, Hazelnut, or Vanilla Butter & Nut extracts which is absolutely fabulous, or instead of plain coffee you can make it with scrumptious Godiva Chocolate laced coffee.


Refreshing, Easy AND Healthy.... Oh how I love those words!

Refreshing, Easy AND Healthy…. Oh how I love those words!

I love these iced drinks as they make a wonderful dessert or serve up oh-so-pretty for company.


This skinny iced coffee really does taste great, and with 55 calories, 1 gram fat, 0 sodium and o sugar you have a much better product than Starbuck’s version with 20 grams of sugar or  Dunkin Donuts version with 25 mg of sodium and laced with high-fructose corn syrup!

Skinny Iced Coffee

Fitness Friday

Have a wonderful weekend!