Watermelon Spritzer Star of Al Fresco Fun

thefitfork watermelonThe summer season takes too long to get here and then leaves so fast.  I’ll personally miss the extended daylight to get in all my outdoor activities and wearing running shorts, flip flops and a ponytail 24/7! At least in Texas, we have a few more weeks (make that months) of warm weather to pack in some farewell picnics and patio dining. I don’t know about you, but I adore al fresco dining – something about eating outdoors makes me eat slower, savor the actual taste off food and linger a little longer over good conversation. With Labor Day weekend coming up, my family, friends and I will have plenty of opportunity to bond in the back yard and down at the boat dock.

Watermelon White Sangria Spritzer

Spritzers are always a favorite with the adults in my family – and since I’m not a big drinker (full disclosure, I’m a lightweight who might fall on her face after one full drink — but I can have “half”), I appreciate a cocktail that has a lighter touch of alcohol. Beso Del Sol White Sangria made such a delicious base for my Watermelon Spritzer, I’m so glad I had the big box because I had to go inside mid-party and stir up another batch!  Beso Del Sol White Sangria is made from 100% Spanish wine blended with fruit to create a refreshing and sweet drink that is ideal for any warm weather get-together. While my Watermelon Spritzer recipe adds extra fresh fruit and flavored sparkling water, this wine is also delicious on its own merits served chilled or over ice.

Beso De Sol White Wine Sangria is perfect for a spritzer!

To make the Watermelon Spritzer, simply add a glass one-third full of your favorite seasonal fruit (I used watermelon, grapes and peaches). Next, add chilled Beso Del Sol White Sangria to approximately the half-way point, more or less to taste and tolerance. Top with cold lemon-lime sparkling water, stick a sugar cane swizzle stick in it and enjoy!

Since it’s still pretty hot, I’ll want to make sure EVERYONE has a cold drink in hand – I am the coolest mom in town, after all! The kids will love a virgin alternative where I’ve swapped in lemon-lime soda for the wine – I also have rounded up a few other fun, fruity and thirst-quenching drinks that are perfect for your Labor Day al fresco dining.

These five fruity drinks are perfect for your next party and there are options with alcohol and virgin.

Blackberry Nectarine Margarita (with smoothie option)

Watermelon Sangria Spritzer (today’s feature, see recipe above)

Watermelon Coconut Cherry Sippers (non-alcoholic)

Mojito Mint Iced Tea (non-alcoholic)

Raspberry Acai Sipper (non-alcoholic)

What are you drinking this weekend?! Please share in the comments below – XOXO, Jennifer

This post was sponsored by Beso de Sol, all opinions and recipes are my own.

 

DIY Popcorn Shakin’ Cups – Mess Free Mix-ins – Pop Secret Popcorn

Enjoy family movie night with Pop Secret popcorn and this genius container hack for serving up the snack!

The end of summer is especially bittersweet this year, not just because our leisure time is coming to an end (well, the kiddos’ respite anyway), but my oldest is heading off to college. Yup, that’s right – this mama bear is letting go of a cub and even with my stoic sensibilities, I’m getting a little choked up just typing out the words. With the Big Boy literally leaving the den in 10 days, our family movie nights seem even more special this summer.

Add your favorite ingredients to customize Pop Secret Popcorn flavors.

Movie night is a great excuse to hang out together (an increasing rarity in the teenage years), have some laughs, engage in some invaluable pre and post movie discussions – and, naturally, share some yummy Pop Secret popcorn and sensible snacks together!

Popcorn with Chocolate Chips and Almonds makes a healthy salty-sweet snack!

Now, over these last 18 years of watching movies with my kids, I’ve learned a several things. First, my lone female vote in a house with four male people means I don’t have a say in what we watch – we’ve made the natural boy progression from non-princess Disney productions to action and shoot-em-up flicks. Not a lot of romantic comedies and historical fiction in the DVR queue – of all the guy movies we watch, I like the superhero stuff best – that’s why I’m pretty pumped to have just watched the 2005 version of “Fantastic Four” in preparations for the reboot coming to theaters. By the way, if you Buy any 3 Pop-Secret items between 7/31 – 8/31 and get a Free ticket to the Fantastic Four movie (up to $5) while supplies last

Make these DIY Popcorn Shakin' Cups for your next party or family movie night.

The second important thing I’ve learned is that no matter the age, boys are just messy – and this includes my husband to a degree. Sharing one big bowl of popcorn means crushed kernels left all over the floor and greasy finger being wiped off on the couch. Hello, napkin? And, of course there will always be a bit of sibling squabbling over who gets to hold the bowl, who’s hogging all the food and exactly what toppings are put on the popcorn. To resolve these irritating movie-time issues, I came up with this a great popcorn-eating hack that will rock your socks off – Popcorn Shakin’ Cups!

These Popcorn Shakin’ Cups allow 1) everyone to have their own portion of popcorn, 2) customizable “mix ins” to be added and neatly shaken up to combine, and 3) the popcorn to be eaten straight from the lid opening to mouth (meaning no messy fingers)! Yes, I know – GENIUS!

Putting popcorn and custom mix-in ingredients into cups with domed lids is an easy and mess-free way to make and eat!

It’s easy to put together your own Popcorn Shakin’ Cups -purchase tall, clear plastic cups (mine are 20-ounce but I’ve seen them larger) and domed lids (usually found at an industry or party warehouse or sweet talk your convenience store for some shake/slurpee lids). Next fill with popcorn and your favorite mix-ins – I did almonds and chocolate chips, but Parmesan cheese and garlic salt, or cinnamon sugar and pecans are other yummy popcorn ideas. Add a cute label if you like –and that’s it! Eat, enjoy and toss – no clean up! Great for a party!Popcorn is perfect for family movie night -- you'll love these DIY popcorn cups.

I picked up my mom-of-teenage-boys-sized haul of Pop Secret at Walmart – I got the Sea Salt flavor for movie night plus an extra box of the Pop Secret 100 Calorie Pop 94% Fat Free Kettle Corn for me to keep on hand for sensible snacking in the afternoon. Also, note to self – perhaps I should buy Pop Secret popcorn flavors by the cart full because a variety of boxes would be great to slip into oldest son’s college care packages since he has a dorm microwave.

Have you seen any good movies this summer? What is your favorite popcorn flavor or mix-in?

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Pop Secret, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #pop4Fantastic4 http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV

Appetizers: 10 Easy and Elegant Ways To Top Crackers

Make a a quick and healthy appetizer platter with these 10 Easy and Elegant Ways to Top Crackers.May and June are party season at our house, maybe even more so that the winter holiday months! With my son’s graduation party and a Father’s Day cookout book-ending a couple family birthday celebrations, book club, and a baby shower, I need lots of easy but elegant entertaining ideas! Plus, you know me – I always want to put a healthy spin on all my appetizer recipe creations.

Finn Crisp Crackers are baked with whole grains and fiber, making them a nutritious foundation for all sorts of toppings.

Nothing more beautiful and brimming with good taste and nutrition than topping FINN CRISP crackers with healthy toppings like low-fat cheeses, fresh fruits and veggies and nuts. I used these delicious thin crispbreads, which are baked with whole grains and fiber, as the foundation for ten different flavor combinations. Choose a sweet topper, a savor topper or a sweet-savory topper – there is a well-dressed cracker for everyone at your party.     

Top Row (left to right)

  • Aged White Cheddar Cheese, Sliced Dried Apricots, Balsamic Syrup
  • Peanut Butter mixed with Soy Sauce and Sriracha, Matchstick Carrots, Minced Red Onion, Shredded Chicken
  • Low-fat Cream Cheese, Halved Blackberries, Fresh Mint
  • Avocado Slice, Garlic Salt, Pickled Jalapenos, Sriracha Sauce
  • Low-Fat Herb Cheese Spread, Marinara Sauce, Roasted Garlic Cloves

Top Row (left to right)

  • Low Fat Cream Cheese, Red Onions Pickled in Beet Juice, Pistachios
  • Mozzarella, Pepperonis, Italian Herb Seasoning
  • Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chips, Granola, Sea Salt
  • Low-Fat Cream Cheese, Pesto Sauce, Sliced Grape Tomatoes
  • Lemon Curd, Blueberries, Mint

These Next Level Cracker Toppings are an easy yet elegant appetizer for a party, celebration or just snacking!The fruit-topped crackers where some of my favorite, but every appetizer was good and not a single one left!

Easy Appetizer -- Crackers with spread and fruit toppings.

Cream Cheese, Blackberries and Mint on Whole Grain Crispbread Blueberry Lemon Curd Crostini

FINN CRISP provided me products to create these recipes, however all content and opinions are my own.

What are your great ideas for creative cracker toppings?