Bloody Merry Shrimp Cocktail


  • 1 lemon, juiced, plus lemon wedges for garnish
  • 16 jumbo shrimp, cooked and cleaned
  • Salt
  • 1 (28-ounce) can chunky style crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons horseradish
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire, eyeball it
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce, eyeball it
  • 2 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 4 shots ice cold vodka
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper


Squeeze half of the lemon over the shrimp and sprinkle them with a little salt. Mix together the remaining lemon juice, tomatoes, horseradish, Worcestershire, hot sauce, celery, vodka and pepper in a small pitcher. When ready to serve, pour the sauce into martini glasses. Hook the shrimp, 4 per glass, around edges. Make garnish wedges of lemons to hook on the edges of the glasses and serve.

TIP: Chill some martini glasses in your freezer the morning of your holiday party to serve these cocktails.

North Pole Quesadillas
Blue Cheese and Brie Quesadillas with a Pear and Brown Sugar Compote


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 pound cooking pears, such as Bartlett, cored, quartered and small diced
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water

For the quesadillas:

  • 1/2 pound blue cheese, crumbled (recommended: Maytag Farms Blue Cheese)
  • 1/2 pound Brie, thinly sliced
  • 16 small flour tortillas
  • vegetable oil, for pan frying

For the walnuts:

  • 1 cup walnut pieces
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon and 2 tablespoons sugar, combined


In a large saucepan, over medium heat, melt the butter. Stir in the sugar and cinnamon, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the pears and salt. Mix well. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Dissolve the cornstarch in the water. Stir the cornstarch slurry into the pears and continue to cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool completely.

Place 1/2-ounce of the blue cheese and 1/2-ounce of the Brie over half of each tortilla. Fold the tortillas over and press firmly. In a large saute pan, over medium heat, add 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add a few of the quesadillas and pan-fry for a couple of minutes on each side until golden brown and the cheese is melted, making sure not to crowd the pan. Pan-fry the rest of the quesadillas in small batches.

Fry the walnuts for 1 minute. Remove and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture. Drain on paper towels. Slice the quesadillas in half and serve with the pear compote and walnuts.

Manna from Heaven pizza

Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese Pizza Bites


  • Basic Pizza Dough (we recommend a store-bought, ready-to-bake crust)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 6 ounces goat cheese
  • 8 ounces smoked salmon, thinly sliced
  • 2 ounces salmon roe
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots or green onions
  • Fresh sprigs of dill, garnish


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly grease a large baking sheet and set aside.

Remove the dough from the bowl. On a lightly floured surface, knead briefly. Let rest for 10 minutes. Roll out into a rectangle, about 16 by 10 inches, and cut into six squares, about 5 inches each. Lightly brush each square with olive oil, leaving a 1/4-inch border. Bake until starting to turn light golden brown, about 6 minutes. Evenly cover each square with goat cheese and return to the oven until the crust is golden brown and slightly crisp and the cheese is melted, 2 to 4 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Cut each square in half diagonally. Arrange smoked salmon on each pieces and top with a dollop of salmon roe. Sprinkle with shallots, garnish with a small sprig of dill, and serve immediately.

Twinkie Sushi


  • 3 Hostess Twinkies
  • assorted dried fruits
  • assorted fruity decorative candies
  • 2 green fruit leather
  • dried mango (looks like pickled ginger)


Slice Twinkies into pieces about an inch tall. Slice fruit rollups in strips to be long enough and wide enough to wrap around the Twinkie pieces. Place dried fruits and candies into the cream filling. Place Twinkie rolls on a plate or in a Bento box. Garnish with strips of dried mango to resemble pickled ginger if you wish. Serve with chopsticks.


  • 2 oz. pear schnapps 
  • 1 oz. heavy cream  or half-and-half
  • Pinch Cinnamon 


Mix all ingredients (except cinnamon), with ice in a shaker or blender. Sprinkle ground cinnamon on top.

Snow Job Martini

Photo courtesy of Red Bull

Red Bull Unlocked Nashville

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Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville

Rumble Boxing Gulch, Nashville

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Post-Covid travel planning

Who would have thought that we would have to get through a pandemic in order to appreciate the small things we have, such as the ability to simply pack our bags and hit the road?

For two years, there’s been nothing left for us travel junkies to do but sit at home and try to find new destinations that we will conquer once we defeat what appears to be the biggest villain of the 21st century. But once that happens, hold your bags tight because we will be up for some of the most interesting travel experiences. Take a look at some ideas for your post-COVID traveling plans:

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