Blackberry Raspberry Sangria Popsicles

This post was sponsored by Skinnygirl® Cocktails. Thank you for
supporting the sponsors that help make The Sweetest Occasion possible!

Blackberry Raspberry Sangria Popsicles by @cydconverse

Every once in a while, I seriously blow my own mind. I know, I know. That’s probably completely uncouth of me to say, but it’s true. These blackberry raspberry sangria popsicles? Mind. Blown. Back when I was in New York with Skinnygirl® Cocktails in March, I had the opportunity to taste all of their wines. I was skeptical. Low calorie wine? How can this even be ok? Turns out, it’s not ok. It’s seriously really really good! Not surprisingly, the pinot grigio was one of my favorites, and a few weeks ago I decided I should use it as the base for sangria. (We all know I love a good sangria!) And then I decided to take it one step further and make that sangria into super refreshing and utterly delicious popsicles. Now, you get to the do the same! You can thank me later.

Blackberry Raspberry Sangria Popsicles by @cydconverse

Lest you should be intimidated about making popsicles, let me assure you. There is nothing complicated about this process. We’re talking about all of four ingredients including the wine, a popsicle mold (I have this one), a saucepan or two, your stove and your freezer. A couple of quick berry compotes, a bit of that awesome Skinnygirl® Pinto Grigio and some freezing time. Done and done! These are easy enough to make on a weekday or over the weekend so you have a stash on hand for a little weeknight treat. They’re also special enough to make for a party!

Blackberry Raspberry Sangria Popsicles by @cydconverse

Blackberry Raspberry Sangria Popsicles by @cydconverse

Blackberry Raspberry Sangria Popsicles by @cydconverse

Blackberry Raspberry Sangria Popsicles

Makes 10 frozen pops

Place the raspberries in a small saucepan and mash with the back of a wooden spoon. Add half of the sugar and heat slowly over medium heat just until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Repeat the process with the blackberries. Once the berry mixtures have cooled, gradually add 1/2 of the wine to each of the berries. Scoop into a popsicle mold, alternating berry flavors, until the mold is 3/4 full. Insert popsicle sticks per manufacturer’s instructions. Freeze at least 4 – 5 hours or ideally overnight. To release the pops from the mold, run warm (not hot) water over the backside of the mold for 15 – 20 seconds. Then gently pull on the popsicle stick until the pop slides out.

Blackberry Raspberry Sangria Popsicles by @cydconverse

Of course, you can play with the flavor profiles here however you like! Choose a different wine varietal, add in strawberries or fresh peaches. The possibilities are fairly endless! I am officially addicted to making (and, uh, eating) homemade popsicles now and have a feeling I’ll be playing with different recipes pretty much all summer long.

Blackberry Raspberry Sangria Popsicles by @cydconverse

You definitely need to put these bad boys on your must-make list this summer! While you’re at it, don’t forget to make sure you’re all signed up for the Skinnygirl® Cocktails Tastemakers program, too. When you get on the list, you gain exclusive access to special perks, discounts, rewards and exclusive behind-the-scenes info. You’ll receive monthly emails throughout the year giving you the opportunity to get yourself entered to join in on awesome promotions and win some amazing prizes! And we all love prizes, am I right?

post-line-before-credits

[Photos + recipe by Cyd Converse for The Sweetest Occasion.]

Skinnygirl® Cocktails is a registered trademark of Jim Beam Brands Co. (“Beam”) and is used with permission. The information, comments and ideas expressed on this website do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Beam, its affiliated companies or any of their directors or employees. Beam does not sponsor, authorize, or otherwise endorse this website. Read more about our editorial policies.

Skinnygirl® Wine Collection ©2015 Skinnygirl Cocktails, Deerfield, IL (Per 5 oz – Average Analysis: Calories 100, Carbohydrates 5g, Protein 0g, Fat 0g). Drink Smart®

5 comments

DIY Grocery Store Flower Arrangement

DIY Grocery Store Flower Arrangement by @cydconverse

Friends, you know I love grocery store flowers. They’re affordable, seasonal and readily available whenever you decide you need a few pretty blooms around the house or a need a hostess gift on the fly. That’s definitely why I keep trying to convince you that grocery store flowers are absolutely your best friend. (See evidence here and here.) Today we’re back at it, this time showcasing one of my favorite flowers from the super market and more tips for how to arrange flowers like a pro without even really trying.

DIY Grocery Store Flower Arrangement by @cydconverse

DIY Grocery Store Flower Arrangement by @cydconverse DIY Grocery Store Flower Arrangement by @cydconverse

DIY Grocery Store Flower Arrangement by @cydconverse

The star of today’s show is stock. Stock is super budget-friendly, comes in a ton of gorgeous colors and I can almost always find it no matter what grocery store I wander into. It’s easy to work with, almost impossible to mess up and you can use it alone or mix in other blooms. I’m showing it to you both ways here. The co-star here is a white pitcher. (Those of you with eagle eyes may note that this is the same Target pitcher that we went ahead and marbled with nail polish.) Pitchers pull double duty as awesome vases so I like to keep at least a few around the house with interesting shapes.

DIY Grocery Store Flower Arrangement by @cydconverse

DIY Grocery Store Flower Arrangement by @cydconverse DIY Grocery Store Flower Arrangement by @cydconverse

DIY Grocery Store Flower Arrangement by @cydconverse

DIY Grocery Store Flower Arrangement by @cydconverse

To get started you’re going to work with the stock first. Strip off excess leaves along the bottom of the stems and then roughly measure against the side of the pitcher for height before trimming. Make sure no leaves will fall below the water line to help with the life of your flowers. (See more of my easy tips for how to keep flowers fresh!) Then it’s time to start placing the stems into the pitcher. I do this pretty randomly, just checking every so often to make sure everything looks balanced. You can rotate the pitcher or walk around it as you work to make sure everything is looking good. And don’t overthink it! So much about flowers is just letting them do their thing.

DIY Grocery Store Flower Arrangement by @cydconverse

Keep working with the stock until your pitcher is nice and full. At this point you can call it good! I particularly love the way white stock looks in this white pitcher with just the touch of greenery. This is quite possibly as easy as flowers get and you’re left with an arrangement that is perfect for adding a little something pretty to your kitchen or dressing up the table for brunch. You can also mix in multiple shades of stock for a more colorful look that is still super budget-friendly. It’s all up to what you love!

DIY Grocery Store Flower Arrangement by @cydconverse

DIY Grocery Store Flower Arrangement by @cydconverse

DIY Grocery Store Flower Arrangement by @cydconverse

In this case I decided to take things one step further by mixing in bold blue delphinium. Delphinium as a rule is a bit more expensive so mixing it with the stock is easier on the wallet, plus the two together looks gorgeous. I tend to be the one called on to do flowers for any kind of party or shower among my circle of friends and this is my secret for putting together flowers quickly and inexpensively when I need multiple arrangements. Stock in one or two colors, one other accent flower, and a whole bunch of pitchers or mason jars. Done and done.

DIY Grocery Store Flower Arrangement by @cydconverse

The end result is so pretty, don’t you think? I just tucked the delphinimum in among the stock so everything looks really full and balanced, but without worrying about perfection or symmetry. Also (*wink wink*) this blue and white combination is particularly striking with the 4th of July coming up this weekend!

post-line-before-credits

[Design + styling by Cyd Converse | Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]

The fine print: Please link with love! As with all of our posts, DIY projects featured on The Sweetest Occasion may not be copied, distributed or reproduced without express written permission. Love and links are always appreciated! If you’d like to share this post, please link to this post directly for the DIY tutorial and do not include the instructions in your own post. Thanks so much! xoxo

8 comments

DIY Trellis Herb Garden

This post was sponsored by Valspar. Thank you for supporting the
sponsors that 
help make The Sweetest Occasion possible!

DIY Trellis Herb Garden by @cydconverse for @valsparpaint

If ever there were a project I was excited to tackle, this one was it, friends! Between cooking and crafting up cocktails, we use a crazy quantity of fresh herbs during the summer months so we always love to plant a bunch once the weather warms up. Especially basil! We use a lot of basil. This year there’s a chance we’re moving (more on that soon) so I wanted to come up with a renter-friendly way of planting herbs that would also be easily transported should a move end up happening. Enter the DIY trellis herb garden! Add a pop of color with Valspar’s ultra-durable Aspire Exterior paint in Tropical Paradise and we’re in business.

DIY Trellis Herb Garden by @cydconverse for @valsparpaint

Wanting to keep things fairly inexpensive, I made use of some old scrap wood my dad had lying around his garage, but I made sure to detail out what we used so you could easily swing by your local home improvement or hardware store and grab the same lumber. Keep in mind, a lot of places will cut wood to size for you free of charge these days! Then we just nailed everything together using a finish nailer, sanded it lightly and gave it two good coats of the prettiest coral paint color you ever did see. The Valspar Aspire paint (which you can pick up at your local Ace Hardware) is perfect for this project because it’s super durable and weather resistant, plus the coverage is really fantastic. All in all, with B helping me out, construction, painting and dry time took approximately three hours.

DIY Trellis Herb Garden by @cydconverse for @valsparpaint

DIY Trellis Herb Garden by @cydconverse for @valsparpaint

SUPPLIES

  • Valspar Aspire Exterior Paint (semi-gloss) from Ace Hardware in Tropical Paradise
  • (2) 1×3 pieces cut to 64″
  • (2) 1×3 pieces cut to 36″
  • (1) 1×1 piece cut to 64″
  • (3) 1×1 pieces cut to 36″
  • Tape measure
  • Finish nailer or heavy duty staple gun
  • Drill with multi-purpose bit for wood and/or metal
  • Mini paint pots or other small pots
  • Screw-in hooks rated for at least 10lbs
  • 220 sandpaper
  • Paint brush

DIY Trellis Herb Garden by @cydconverse for @valsparpaint

DIY Trellis Herb Garden by @cydconverse for @valsparpaint DIY Trellis Herb Garden by @cydconverse for @valsparpaint

DIY Trellis Herb Garden by @cydconverse for @valsparpaint

The construction of this is pretty easy! We cut (2) 64″ lengths of 1×3 for the tall vertical supports and attached 36″ sections of 1×3 along the top and bottom to form the frame. We then added a 64″ length of 1×1 down the center for additional support. Next, we finished up the trellis by adding the 36″ lengths of 1×1 at even intervals. We then pre-drilled holes for the screw hooks, spacing them somewhat randomly across the trellis. There’s even room to add more plants later if we want to do so! For potting the plants we used the same mini paint pots as in this project, simply drilling a couple of holes in the bottom of each for drainage and one in the back for the screw hook to fit through. Keep in mind that the edges of the metal may be a bit sharp after drilling the holes so a light sanding is a good idea as is wearing gloves! I went with the Tropical Paradise color because I loved how the fun, peppy coral shade looks paired with the greenery of the herbs. I also considered a bright yellow or a bold magenta, but in the end, coral owned my heart with this one. I think it was a pretty great choice!

DIY Trellis Herb Garden by @cydconverse for @valsparpaint

DIY Trellis Herb Garden by @cydconverse for @valsparpaint

That’s it, friends! Then all you have to do is quickly plant the herbs or plants of your choice and you have a really awesome garden that’s perfect for renters and home owners alike. I recommend lots of basil for making fresh caprese salad all summer long and mint for mojitos, of course!

post-line-before-credits

[Photos by Cyd Converse for The Sweetest Occasion.]

13 comments

PB&J Chocolate Truffle Sundae

This post was sponsored by Seattle Chocolates. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that
so generously allow The Sweetest Occasion to keep on keepin’ on!

PB&J Chocolate Truffle Sundae by @cydconverse

I’m glad I have never shied away from admitting to you guys that I have a life-dominating sweet tooth, because I’m about to bring all the sweetness today. A couple of months ago, the awesome sweet-loving people at Seattle Chocolates reached out about working together on bringing you a few awesome recipe ideas this summer. I was immediately intrigued, but one look at their amazing packaging and one taste of their amazing chocolate and I was hooked. So today we’re highlighting one of their summer bars, the PB&J Dark Chocolate Truffle bar with this over the top ice cream sundae. I told you. Bringing all the good stuff.

PB&J Chocolate Truffle Sundae by @cydconverse

PB&J Chocolate Truffle Sundae by @cydconverse

INGREDIENTS

  • Seattle Chocolates PB&J Dark Chocolate Truffle bar
  • Vanilla ice cream
  • Peanut butter
  • Jelly

Begin by scooping vanilla ice cream out onto a silicone cutting board or a chilled pastry slab. You’ll want 2 – 3 scoops per sundae, or adjust as you prefer. Fold 1 – 2 tablespoons of each peanut butter and jelly into the ice cream, depending on your taste. I found that a heaping tablespoons of each per 3 scoops of ice cream was the right ratio for me. After everything is folded and swirled together well, transfer the ice cream back to a bowl or other container and return to the freezer until it’s firm again, about 1 hour. Five to ten minutes before serving, melt a Seattle Chocolates PB&J Dark Chocolate Truffle bar over a double boiler. Separately, chop up a second truffle bar. Scoop the peanut butter and jelly swirl ice cream into a bowl, sprinkle chopped chocolate over top and follow with a big fat drizzle of melted truffle bar. Sprinkle more chopped chocolate on top and enjoy! You’re welcome.

PB&J Chocolate Truffle Sundae by @cydconverse

PB&J Chocolate Truffle Sundae by @cydconverse

In addition to their PB&J bar, I am also loving Seattle Chocolates’s other summer bars in the Lemon Ice and Campers’ S’mores flavors. They are so so good! Make a sundae, make s’mores or just nibble on them straight out of the package. You can’t go wrong either way. Also, should you happen to be planning a wedding or a family reunion, these have fun party favors written all over them, because the packaging is just that good. In the meantime, definitely indulge in one of these sundaes! Peanut butter, jelly and chocolate. Yes, yes and yes!

PB&J Chocolate Truffle Sundae by @cydconverse

PB&J Chocolate Truffle Sundae by @cydconverse

post-line-before-credits

[Design, styling + photos by Cyd Converse for The Sweetest Occasion.]

This post was sponsored by Seattle Chocolates. Read more about our editorial policies

4 comments

DIY Marble Pitcher

DIY Marble Pitcher by @cydconverse

I know I’m not alone in being totally into the marble craze that’s kind of sweeping the craft world at the moment. Rarely a day goes by that I don’t see a new project hit Pinterest that I just adore. The technique is so super easy that I wanted to give it a go transforming a simple, white ceramic pitcher that I picked up at Target. The clean, modern shape was already really cool, but I figured a dipped indigo marble look was only going to make it even cooler. Turns out, my instinct on this one was right! So today I’m showing you the pretty ridiculously easy way to rock this DIY marble look on just about any ceramic or glass thing you may happen to own or pick up for cheap at a yard sale this summer. All you need is nail polish and water. Yes, seriously. Let’s do this!

DIY Marble Pitcher by @cydconverse

DIY Marble Pitcher by @cydconverse DIY Marble Pitcher by @cydconverse

supplies1

  • Ceramic or glass pitcher, vase or similar
  • Nail polish (the cheaper the better)
  • Wooden skewers or toothpicks
  • Warm water
  • Disposable pan or bucket (it will get stained)
  • Nail polish remover
  • Cotton balls

DIY Marble Pitcher by @cydconverse DIY Marble Pitcher by @cydconverse

DIY Marble Pitcher by @cydconverse

To get started you’re going to need a disposable pan, dish or bucket. The nail polish will stick to it and pretty much ruin it, so something you don’t mind getting covered in nail polish is the way to go. I find that disposable pans work great! Next up, fill your pan or bucket with warm water so there’s at least a couple of inches in the bottom. Then it’s time to play! Grab your nail polish (I was all about this deep indigo color) or polishes and drizzle them over the surface of the water. You can use multiple colors to create more dimension.

DIY Marble Pitcher by @cydconverse

DIY Marble Pitcher by @cydconverse

Once you’ve added the nail polish to the water, you’ll need to move quickly as it will start to dry to the surface of the water and get a bit clumpy. That said, when the nail polish color (or colors) are added to the water, grab a wooden skewer or tooth pick and drag it through the polish, which will give it that cool marble look. You can swirl it around a bit to create an effect that you like best, just being sure to work quickly.

DIY Marble Pitcher by @cydconverse

DIY Marble Pitcher by @cydconverse

Then it’s time to dunk! (Dunk, by the way, is a very technical term.) There’s no right or wrong way to dunk so don’t obsess over the process. Just grab your pitcher, dip it into the water and then rotate it so all or most of the surface gets a wash of marble. Then just pull it out of the water and marvel as the nail polish swirls stick to your pitcher! Allow it to dry for several hours, being sure not to rub it or wipe it dry with a cloth. If there are a lot of water drops, you can gently press a towel against the pitcher to blot dry, but I find that air drying is best.

DIY Marble Pitcher by @cydconverse

DIY Marble Pitcher by @cydconverse

Ahhh isn’t it the prettiest? Because this is a pitcher, I went back after it had dried and cleaned the edges and lip with nail polish remover so that anything that is poured from it won’t be in contact with the nail polish. Keep in mind that this is definitely nothing  that you should run through the dishwasher, because the marble effect will start to wear off, but gentle hand washing with a super soft cloth should do the trick just nicely.

DIY Marble Pitcher by @cydconverse

DIY Marble Pitcher by @cydconverse DIY Marble Pitcher by @cydconverse

DIY Marble Pitcher by @cydconverse

Of course, with that indigo color and the 4th coming up next week, I couldn’t resist styling up a big tray of lemonade! I think that’s my favorite thing about this marble look. It can adapt to nearly any occasion or season just by pairing it with different pieces. And that marble look. It’s just killer! Ok, so, who’s ready to marbleize everything in sight? I am!

post-line-before-credits

[Design + styling by Cyd Converse | Photos by Alice G. Patterson for The Sweetest Occasion.]

The fine print: Please link with love! As with all of our posts, DIY projects featured on The Sweetest Occasion may not be copied, distributed or reproduced without express written permission. Love and links are always appreciated! If you’d like to share this post, please link to this post directly for the DIY tutorial and do not include the instructions in your own post. Thanks so much! xoxo

23 comments