4th of July Shooters

Celebrate this 4th of July with this flight of three tasty red, white and blue shooters, or as some call them, shots!

America.  Land of the free, because of the brave.  We are a country that certainly has our issues, but we always manage to bond together and work through them.  Always united.  All of our blemishes and accomplishments are what make us the great country that we are.  Always growing, always changing.

The fourth of July is less than a week away! Oh how that crept up on me.  These three shots are not only festive, but also taste delicious!  They take tequila, vodka, and silver rum to a whole new level.  The best part about them is that they can also be made into drinks too if shooters aren’t your style.

The Red

1oz Vodka

.5oz DeKuyper Watermelon Pucker

1oz Cranberry Juice

Pour all ingredients into a shaker with ice.  Shake and strain into a large shot glass. This shot tastes like a gummy bear!

The White

1oz coconut Rum (I prefer Malibu but if not available, Bacardi Coconut)

.5oz Lime juice

1oz Sprite

Pour all ingredients into a shaker with ice.  Shake and strain into a large shot glass. This shot is super refreshing

The Blue

1oz Patron or Jose Cuervo Silver Tequila ……Silver, not Gold!!!

.5oz Lime juice

.25 (literally a splash) of Simple Syrup …..Not Maple, Simple Syrup. Its clear and specifically for drinks.

.5oz DeKuyper Blue Curacao

Pour all ingredients into a shaker with ice. Salt the rim of shooter glass. Shake mixture and strain into salted glass. This shot is probably the strongest of them all but the salt, lime and simple syrup help take the edge off the tequila.

Enjoy and remember, Drink Responsibly!

X-out E-Cig Reliance

X-out E-Cig Reliance

vapor

The terrible health and social consequences of being a smoker are convincing more and more people to make the switch to smoking electronic, or e cigarettes. E cigarettes provide smokers with a means to avoid the agonies associated with nicotine withdrawal, without the harmful side effects caused by tobacco usage. Unlike using snuff, chewing tobacco, pipes, cigars, or other ways to obtain nicotine without smoking cigarettes, e cigarettes completely free former smokers from the toxic and carcinogenic effects of tobacco smoke. Within a few weeks of switching to e cigarettes, smokers find that they stop coughing, regain lung capacity, and generally feel much healthier. Even though the carcinogenic effects disappear, the carcinogen matter doesn’t. A recent study claimed hidden high levels of the carcinogen formaldehyde were found in e-cigs, potentially increasing lifetime cancer risk by 5 to 15 percent.

People using, or considering using electronic cigarettes should acknowledge that they are not healthy for you. Using them entails inhaling a highly addictive, somewhat toxic compound – nicotine – into your lungs. Hence, just like cigarettes are highly addictive, so are electronic cigarettes. As a result, all of the side effects associated with nicotine use are associated with electronic cigarette use.

That said, electronic cigarettes are certainly preferable to traditional tobacco products, because even if they contain nicotine and entail its side effects, they do not contain the thousands of other toxic compounds in tobacco that cause other health issues. For instance, nicotine, on its own, is not known to be a carcinogen. This means that nicotine alone does not cause cancers; the many other tobacco compounds found in cigarette smoke, as well as additives that cigarette manufacturers add, cause cancers. Cigarettes contain over 4000 chemicals, including 43 known cancer-causing carcinogenic compounds and 400 other toxins.

Chemicals in a Cigarette

So, though electronic cigarettes are admittedly, somewhat negative for your health, it seems that they are far less risky or unhealthy than using tobacco. Some doctors and researchers even suggest that switching from tobacco use to e cigarettes is an effective implementation of a strategy known in the medical world as “harm reduction”.

The idea behind harm reduction is that though addiction (such as that of a smoker’s to nicotine) and other issues will lead some people to participate in behavior that is detrimental to their health, that these people should be encouraged to engage in those behaviors that are of the least harm to themselves and others as possible. Harm reduction only reduces, but does not cure nor put an end to habit.

 

Therefore, a smoker switching to e cigarettes does not help he individual quit the habit of smoking or addiction to the nicotine or tobacco, but ONLY represents harm reduction for two reasons:

  • It minimizes the smoker’s exposure to toxic and carcinogenic compounds while satisfying their physiological and psychological cravings for nicotine.
  • The switch to e cigarettes also reduces the health impact that smoking has on bystanders near a smoker.

while a smoker will pollute the air around them with side stream and second-hand smoke, a person using an e cigarette inhales harmful products, but exhales a harmless vapor that dissipates nearly instantly. Though this vapor looks like smoke, it is odorless, and contains none of the chemicals that are so harmful in secondhand smoke via cigarettes. As a result, bystanders have nothing to worry about whenever someone smoking an e cigarette is nearby. If more people switch to e cigarettes, the negative public health effects of secondhand smoke will be reduced, but the harm done to its host and addiction does not completely disappear.

 

Smoke by gorky

The nicotine that is contained within electronic cigarettes is known to have certain side effects. But first, a few facts about nicotine: first, it is highly toxic. Doses over 30 mg have the potential to be fatal to human beings, who have a fairly low nicotine tolerance (however, ingesting this much nicotine at once would require smoking at least a pack of cigarettes simultaneously, affixing dozens of nicotine patches to the body at once, or drinking the fluid from e cigarettes – as a result, death by nicotine poisoning, like many other substances, is a very difficult thing to achieve by accident). In the lower doses that are administered by tobacco products (measured in single milligrams), nicotine has various effects. It is a mild stimulant, and like most stimulants, it affects the cardiovascular system. It elevates heart rate, and constricts the blood vessels in the body. As a result, the use of nicotine is strongly related to the development of heart disease, high blood pressure, and vascular diseases. Given that coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death of people within the United States, this is certainly a serious concern to be aware of.

In addition to nicotine, the liquid that is used by e cigarettes contains two or more other compounds: the base compound (propylene or vegetable glycol), and one or more food flavoring compounds (which give the vapor a flavor). The base compound, usually propylene glycol, is listed by the United States Food and Drug administration as a compound “generally recognized as safe” for use in products that humans use. Hence, it’s used in foods, medicines, cosmetics, and other products quite regularly without ill effects. The food flavor compounds used are the same compounds that one would find in candies and other processed food products on a regular basis, and as a result, are recognized as safe. Neither is known to cause side effects.

So regardless of the much popularity amongst potential quitting smokers, electronic cigarettes are not intended to be used as a smoking cessation aid. Some people find that it is helpful to kick the tobacco habit before working on kicking the nicotine habit so don’t expect to rely on E-cigs to do the job of quitting smoking. Cigarettes may have been an addiction you are fighting to quit, but E-cigs can become your next.  X-out E-Cig reliance.

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Samantha Jonas-Rongo

Ruby Red Cranberry Syrup and Margarita Recipe

Makes ~ 3-4 cups syrup (great holiday gift!). Store in refrigerator for up to one month.

Learn to make, and enjoy this beautiful homemade ruby-red cranberry syrup. Use it for cocktails, margaritas, daiquiris, etc. or also over pancakes and waffles. This recipe makes approximately 3 to 4 cups of syrup, and can be stored in the refrigerator for up 6 weeks.

In a shaker over ice, mix 2-3 T cranberry syrup, 3 T silver tequila, 2 T orange liquor (not triple sec!) juice of 1 lime and a squeeze of agave nectar. Pour into chilled martini glasses. Cheers!

INGREDIENTS:

For Cranberry Syrup Recipe:

  • 4 Cups of cranberries (frozen or thawed)
  • 1 1/2 Cups of sugar
  • 3 Cups of water

For Margarita Recipe:

Use all of the ingredients listed above for cranberry syrup, including:

  • Agave syrup
  • 5 tablespoons of white tequila, I prefer Patron, but any blanco tequila of your choice is fine.
  • 4 tablespoons of orange favored liquor, (Not a triple sec)  I prefer Bacardi O.
  • Limes

DIRECTIONS:

  • Combine cranberries, 2 cups of water and sugar in a large saucepan over high heat.

Combine cranberries, water and sugar in a large saucepan over high heat.

  • Cook, stirring frequently with wooden spoon, for 10-15 minutes. Cranberries will burst naturally due to heat. If you press against pot with back of spoon, it will release more fruit, and mixture will thicken.

Cook, stirring frequently, for 10-15 minutes. Cranberries will burst (press against pot w/ back of spoon to release more fruit), and mixture will thicken.

  • Strain cranberry mixture through fine mesh sieve, adding up to 1 cup additional water to make more syrup. Press and stir cranberries against sieve to extract as much syrup as possible.

Strain cranberry mixture through fine mesh sieve, adding up to 1 cup additional water to make more syrup. Press and stir cranberries against sieve to extract as much syrup as possible.

  • You will end up with this beautiful ruby-red cranberry syrup!

You will end up with a beautiful ruby-red cranberry syrup! I use mine for cocktails (margaritas, champagne, etc...), but this syrup would also be good over pancakes or waffles.

  • Makes 3-4 cups of syrup. Store in refrigerator for up to one month.

Makes ~ 3-4 cups syrup (great holiday gift!). Store in refrigerator for up to one month.

NOW FOR THE DELICIOUS CRANBERRY MARGARITA:

  • In a shaker over ice, mix 3 1/2 cups of cranberry syrup, 5 tablespoons of white tequila, 4 tablespoons of orange liquor (not triple sec), juice of 1 lime and a squeeze of agave nectar.
  • Pour into chilled martini glasses.
  • Enjoy!!!

In a shaker over ice, mix 2-3 T cranberry syrup, 3 T silver tequila, 2 T orange liquor (not triple sec!) juice of 1 lime and a squeeze of agave nectar. Pour into chilled martini glasses. Cheers!

Samantha Jonas-Rongo

Moscato Pairing

“In need of a quick, inexpensive, romantic dinner without having the time to get ready, cook, or make last minute reservations? Stay home, pop in a movie, pair a bottle of wine along with your favorite pizza, set the lights dim, light some candles and relax”…..Samantha Jonas-Rongo

Moscato Pairing  

Samantha Jonas-Rongo

With notes of apricot, white peach and sage, a wonderful sweetness,
and its vibrant and refreshing quality, it’s no wonder I, along with America loves
Moscato. It pairs well with many dishes and different food combinations. A glass is delicious alongside of green salads, seafood, poultry, fruit and cheese plates, sweet desserts and spicy dishes. Here are some pairing subject suggestions that I enjoy myself and I hope you will too. This is referenced and originated from my latest post, “My Love for Moscato”. Click Here To View “My Love for Moscato”.

Enjoy pink, red or white moscato during any of these enjoyments:

  • BRUNCH – If you’re looking for a brunch wine, Moscato pairs well with breakfast pastries, eggs, pancakes and other brunch foods such chicken or even fish.
  • COCKTAIL MUNCHIES – Crackers, cheese (hard or soft), and olives provide a salty counterpoint to the slightly sweet wine. Simple bruschetta is also a perfect pairing along with these snacks.
  • FRESH VEGTABLES – The crispness of raw vegetables pairs well with Moscato.
  • CHICKEN & FISH  – Moscato is delicious with lighter chicken and fish dishes.
  • CREAM SAUCES – Mild cream sauces pair well with Moscato.
  •  DESSERT – While moscato is far less sweet than other dessert wines, it has enough residual sugar to work with many desserts such as cheesecake or strawberry shortcake.
  • FRUIT – A snack or dessert of fresh fruit, or a fruit pie is an occasion for Moscato. Peaches are a perfect match with this peachy wine.
  • HAM – Here’s another fine sweet-and-salty pairing, whether it’s a baked dinner ham, a ham sandwich or ham-based brunch..
  • PICNICS & POOLSIDE – Moscato is an ideal wine to sip poolside or relaxing at a picnic while cooling off from the heat.
  • SALADS – Want a glass of wine with your lunch or dinner salad? Grab the Moscato.
  • SHELLFISH – Sweeter wines like Moscato are a favorite pairing with crab, lobster, shrimp, scallops and sushi.
  • SPICY FOODS – The slight sweetness of Moscato complements the heat and spice to pair with Asian, Indian and other hot cuisines, along with spicy favorites such as Spaghetti, pizza and garlic based dishes.

In need of a quick, inexpensive, romantic dinner without having the time to get ready, cook or make last minute reservations? Stay home, pop in a movie, pair a bottle of wine along with your favorite pizza, set the lights dim, light some candles and relax.

Samantha Jonas-Rongo

pizzawine

My Love for Moscato

“Call it Muscat in French or Moscato in Italian, regardless of its pronunciation, I absolutely loved my gift. I love this wine,…..”- Samantha Jonas-Rongo

 My Love for Moscato                                                                              

Samantha Jonas-Rongo

Last Night my fiancé and I had attended his job’s company Christmas party and I was given a bottle of Moscato as a gift from his co-workers, our friends. Call it Muscat in French or Moscato in Italian, regardless of its pronunciation, I absolutely loved my gift. I love this wine, not only because I am a wine fan and am not a heavy drinker; but because Moscato offers a sweet taste that goes down smoothly and pairs well. After a long hard day of being fabulous, I like to relax with a glass of wine, but I don’t want it to bite me back. It is also yummy with salads, seafood, poultry, fruit and cheese plate, spicy dishes.  As I now sit, sip on my glass of delicious white Moscato and update my site, I figured why not share my knowledge and opinion of this wonderful drink so others can be inspired to either start or continue to enjoy it as well. I will also share my Pink Moscato and Red Raspberry Sangria recipe with you later in my recipe section of my website.

Moscato or Muscat is a white wine grape. The wines, slightly sweet and low in alcohol, are often served with dessert.

First things first:

There are three types of Moscato and they include:

  • White Moscato (My Favorite)- Crisp, fruity and bursting with flavors of peach, honey, and citrus.
  • Pink Moscato- Light-bodied and bursting with citrus and peach, with a hint of red berries
  • Red Moscato- Sweet red wine bursting with red berries and hints of citrus.

Moscato also is available in a variety of Bubbly, other flavors and is produced by many different brands.

In the U.S., wine drinking has held its own during these hard economic times. Moscato, the Italian dessert wine, has gone from relative obscurity to the toast of the town.

Until about a decade ago, the ancient Italian wine could have been described as obscure — what one wine expert called “a little backwater grape.” Now the words used about the rise of moscato are “breathtaking,” “phenomenal”. Industry watchers say they’ve never seen anything like it. It is the fastest growing varietal wine in the country.

At a time when complaints are that wines from all over the world are growing more alike, the original Moscato with origins in Piedmont, Italy, Moscato d’Asti is something of an anomaly. It is low in alcohol, sweet and slightly fizzy, all hardly the qualities most wine drinkers or critics seem to be looking for these days. A few years ago, Moscato d’Asti seemed to be headed for questioning in the wine industry. Then Moscato d’Asti was discovered by hip-hop artists.

Hip-hop singer/rapper and producer, Drake, in his song “Do It Now,” gives it a shout-out. It’s also the wine Kanye West orders, and it’s the wine Real Housewife of Atlanta, NeNe Leakes sells under the label “Miss Moscato”.

Moscato, the slightly sweet, fizzy, low alcohol and inexpensive white wine, has become the hip-hop community’s new favorite drink. Hence, it has cropped up in so many music artists vocabulary. For example, thereafter, the rapper Drake calls for a “glass of Moscato for the girl who’s a student and her friend who’s a model”; in a song he featured in with R&B singer, Trey Songz.

Soon, Moscato was being served at parties in New York and Los Angeles.

Sales of Moscato surged. Imitators sprang up around the globe, trying mostly unsuccessfully to match the signature taste of the Piemontese original but became delicious enough for many creditors, such as myself to enjoy. Jugs of Barefoot moscato are sold at BJ’s Wholesale Club, most local wine outlets, and is even on the menu at Olive Garden and other fine dining restaurants.

Moscato is inexpensive, generally $8 to $20 a bottle. It’s low in alcohol and has a lightly sweet, fresh flavor with hints of peaches, apricots, pears, orange blossoms and rose petals. Sweet wines are selling big, especially to the under 40 crowd, who grew up enjoying and appreciating sugary drinks.

It is being called a gateway beverage for new wine drinkers and an all-time favorite by others. Then there’s the whole hip-hop, edgy thing: Drink moscato and you’ll be cool like rapper Waka Flocka or Drake. Even many woman are now drinking wine rather than traditional hard or malt liquors because it’s classy and, sophisticated presence and it’s now recognition in the hip-hop and R&B world. All it took was a few shout-outs in a song to spread its presence as the same happened with Cristal champagne, Hennessy cognac and Patron tequila.

For years the drinks most associated with hip-hop were distinctly aspirational. Busta Rhymes rapped about Courvoisier, Jay-Z about Louis Roederer Cristal and later, Armand de Brignac Ace of Spades champagne, and Nas rhymed about vodka Grey Goose.

These were expensive symbols of the high life.

Now that Moscato, the fairly inexpensive but compelling wine is popular, it is a symbol that maybe times are starting to change and that you do not have to spend an extreme amount of cash to have something of greater value. However, Moscato is not just for nightly fun or night caps. These are yet more reasons why I enjoy this wine.

  • BRUNCH – If you’re looking for a brunch wine, Moscato pairs well with breakfast pastries, eggs, pancakes and other brunch foods such chicken or even fish.
  • COCKTAIL MUNCHIES – Crackers, cheese (hard or soft), and olives provide a salty counterpoint to the slightly sweet wine. Simple bruschetta is also a perfect pairing along with these snacks.
  • FRESH VEGTABLES – The crispness of raw vegetables pairs well with Moscato.
  • CHICKEN & FISH  – Moscato is delicious with lighter chicken and fish dishes.
  • CREAM SAUCES – Mild cream sauces pair well with Moscato.
  •  DESSERT – While moscato is far less sweet than other dessert wines, it has enough residual sugar to work with many desserts such as cheesecake or strawberry shortcake.
  • FRUIT – A snack or dessert of fresh fruit, or a fruit pie is an occasion for Moscato. Peaches are a perfect match with this peachy wine.
  • HAM – Here’s another fine sweet-and-salty pairing, whether it’s a baked dinner ham, a ham sandwich or ham-based brunch..
  • PICNICS & POOLSIDE – Moscato is an ideal wine to sip poolside or relaxing at a picnic while cooling off from the heat.
  • SALADS – Want a glass of wine with your lunch or dinner salad? Grab the Moscato.
  • SHELLFISH – Sweeter wines like Moscato are a favorite pairing with crab, lobster, shrimp, scallops and sushi.
  • SPICY FOODS – The slight sweetness of Moscato complements the heat and spice to pair with Asian, Indian and other hot cuisines, along with spicy favorites such as Spaghetti, pizza and garlic based dishes.

Samantha Jonas-Rongo