Today is a great day for a guest post, right!? We all need a cocktail right now and I’m thrilled to introduce you to Mike! We met in college and I fondly remember wearing a shirt to a conference that said “Have you met Mike?”. He has always been one to bring people together so cocktails in these strange times seems ohh-so fitting. Mike has been posting FAN-TASTIC cocktails and I asked if he’d share one here. Woohoo! Bottoms up! Meet Mike:
My name is Mike Lawlor, and I am the AGM for two different restaurants in Dorchester, Ashmont Grill & Tavolo Ristorante. I come up with seasonal cocktails for each establishment with the help of my bartenders. When the governor and mayor decided to move restaurants to take out only I decided I would post cocktail recipes that were delicious and approachable for the every day person with ingredients they may have in their pantry and liquor cabinet. I am fortunate enough to manage two bars where I have endless resources. Some cocktail recipes I will offer an easy suggestion for a replacement.
When we closed the doors at Ashmont Grill we let our staff do some grocery shopping on items that wouldn’t last through all this craziness. We are a tight knit family so we wanted to make sure everyone had some food to last through these hard times. I grabbed some bananas and decided to freeze them. My roommate came home night with a bottle of Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey…ding ding! Who doesn’t love a peanut butter and banana sandwich? I sure do! Growing up my favorite sandwich was a PB and banana on cinnamon raisin bread.
Peanut Butter & Banana Old Fashioned
2 oz. of Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey
1 oz of Banana Puree
2 Dashes of Chocolate Bitters
1 Cup of water and sugar
2 bananas Chopped
1 tsp of ground cinnamon
Bring water and sugar to a boil and let the sugar dissolve. Add the bananas and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 10 minutes, or so.
Take off heat, let cool. Blend and then strain.
LETS MAKE THE COCKTAIL!
Grab your cocktail shaker. Add the ingredients and stir with a bar spoon. Add some ice, stir again. Grab a glass of your choice and drop in some ice (I recommend a large whiskey cube so it doesn’t dilute the drink) strain the cocktail and cheers!
I hope you’re inspired and mix up a cocktail. I’ve had multiple virtual happy hours and will have to mix up a cocktail instead of wine for my next one!!
What a weird time. We’re coming up on 2 weeks of physical distancing. It is very strange. We’re adjusting and we’ll continue to adjust. Some moments feel easier than others. Yesterday I felt grumpy but today feels like a whole new day. I’m hyper focused on each day having a workout and ensuring I do something to feel productive beyond getting work done and playing with the little ones.
I created some weekday themes to keep our days feeling different. Theme is occasionally a stretch. My take on this home-time for T is that he should color, cut, or write each day and read a ton. C goes with the flow so we aim that she gets to read and sing her kind of songs, like wheels on the bus (T is into How Bizarre.) To me, a theme is 2+ things- Space day: craft & space books & an “astronaut” pouch; Rainbow day: chalk & sprinkles on yogurt & a rainbow book.
I made Caramel Coconut Coffee just using coconut almond milk and coconut syrup – all very quarantine friendly!
This Copycat Cracker Barrel Meatloaf is so good. There’s cheddar mixed in! The topping is really addicting too.
My birthday feels like a year ago but it was great!! We had a bagel breakfast party which was perfect and went out to dinner for Chinese food!
I plan to still post a little bit. Ingredients are sometimes hard to come by right now but I also think normalcy is desired too. If I could ever convince you for a second to write a guest post, now is the time! It is fun to share food and I’m tell you, hobbies are crucial to our sanity (nap time is also a key to my sanity)! Comment or shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get you going!
The Preschooler Guy:
He’s having fun and also missing school. We’re having pretend circle time to talk about the day of the week, the weather, what the theme is, and maybe a song. His pre-k program was truly amazing and I don’t pretend I’m replicating it! He loves blanket forts and bike rides.
The Toddler Girl:
She loves life and has so many words now! Help and open are my favorites! She likes the play kitchen and driving trucks around the house. I’m ever so grateful she loves the stroller- also since getting outside is good for all of us!
This Year’s Goals:
Year of beauty/selfcare! Ehh. Nothing has caught my eye.
Prep intentional sides and veggies: All bets are off right now. We’re eating well but I’m not stressing
Eat more fish: We had crispy fish tacos last night!
Blog some series: I did a lunch one of “Outside the Lunch Box”!
Focus decluttering/organizing to an area: Hmm. Not quite, but I’m on it!
Share more books on instagram: I’ve been sharing the kids books we’ve been reading.
Prioritize workouts: I did a core/kickboxing one called Core de Force and now I’m onto a cardio one called T25. We’ve been super active also getting outside and running around and taking walks.
What I’m reading: I read The Lost Girls of Paris and thought the history was fascinating and I liked the time jumps. I read Mrs. Everything and found it page turning.
What I’m listening to: my usual podcast favs like: Be there in Five’s episodes about babysitting had me cracking up out loud! (also the bridesmaid ones and sorority ones). I blew through The Dream season 1 about multi-level marketing- fa-cin-at-ing!
What I’m watching: Mr. J and I started watching Tournament of Champions and I love it!
These strange times call for jazzed up home coffees! Social distancing isn’t really a coffee change for me. I tend to not spend $4 on a fancy coffee, but LOVE to whip up fun drinks at home. There’s still joy in sipping this while playing legos or putting shapes into the correct shaped hole. I’m aiming to post when I can, depending on what we an access. We’ll see!
Plus, you can order all these ingredients for groceries delivered.
Caramel Coconut Coffee
1 cup coffee
1/4 cup coconut almond milk
1 teaspoon caramel syrup
Warm the milk just to take the chill off. Then froth the milk (either with a milk frother or shaken vigorously in a glass jar).
Drizzle caramel sauce onto the sides of the cup then add in the coffee. Spoon the foam onto the top.
The coconut is subtle and not as creamy as real milk but it foamed well! I have this one and it is the best treat $12 can get you!
P.S. I have some other ideas for your leftover caramel syrup: Caramel Apple Smoothie; or Salted Caramel Cider French Toast; or Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Salted Caramel; or Turtle Hot Chocolate.
While I’m not a connoisseur of Cracker Barrel’s meatloaf at the restaurant, the copycat recipes have circulated for years and I like so many aspects there: the cheddar in the meatloaf, the butter crackers, and the jazzed up ketchup on top make this a winner. I put my spin on it, most notably using pork but go for meatloaf mix or pork as you like. Raw meat isn’t the most photogenic, but this is very worth it.
The ketchup topping probably makes this even more kid-friendly. We all like this at our house!
Copycat Cracker Barrel Meatloaf
1 sleeve of club crackers (~30ish), crushed
2/3 cup milk
~1 1/2 pounds ground pork (or meatloaf mix)
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard
Sautee the onion in olive oil/butter until cooked through.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Mix the crackers, eggs and milk, then add that to a big bowl with the ground pork, cheddar, sauteed onion, worcestershire sauce, garlic, salt, and pepper. Then mix well until totally incorporated.
Spoon the mixture into a loaf pan sprayed with non-stick spray.
Bake for 40 minutes.
Mix together the ketchup, brown sugar, and mustard.
Spoon half over the meatloaf and cook for another 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and spoon remaining ketchup mixture over the top and let rest for 5 minutes.
This is really juicy and flavorful. I served it with some roasted butternut squash (that could have roasted a bit more) and some peas or arugula salad choice. I’m not into peas, and the kids aren’t into arugula, and J could go either way, so everyone got something green! I should really do 2 veggie sides more often! This came after my birthday celebration of a bagel brunch and cake so we probably all appreciated some colors and more varied foods that day!
It reheats very well too so enjoy the leftovers. If making in advance, I’d skip the ketchup topping until the day you’re eating it!