Dani's Blog: THE JUICE Recipe Inspiration

A Cookie and A Cookbook: A Mother’s Day Giveaway

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This past weekend proved to be an especially delicious one and after putting in a little extra time today at the gym, I’m excited to share some more recipe inspiration from the Seven Stars Cookbook. Either or both recipes would be perfect for Mother’s Day.

Almost every Friday night, is pizza night for us. Since we were having friends join us this past Friday, I thought it would be fun to make a special appetizer. While looking through the Cookbook I spied Chef Jason Carlisle’s recipe for the “Gulf Coast Bloody Mary” which features a shrimp and crab leg garnish! How fun! As much as I love crab legs, they can get a little bit messy to eat so I stuck with the shrimp and created a cocktail and appetizer in one!

First I made the cocktail using tomato juice, fresh lemon and lime juices, horseradish and lots of spices like pepper and old bay…

bloody mary with lots of spices

While the cocktail was chilling in the fridge, I used Ruth Reichl‘s tips for making better shrimp cocktail. I love her tips for making a custom “broth” to boil your shrimp in. So smart! Once they came to room temperature, I also chilled the shrimp which gives them that extra snap to each bite.

Just before our guests arrived I speared 3 olives per glass and chilled the glasses by filling them with ice…

glasses chilling with olives

Then I poured the cocktail into each glass and garnished with 5 shrimp per person…

Gulf Coast Cocktail Shrimp Cocktail
It's a little crazy and over the top but so delicious!
Christina samples cocktail
Our friend, Christina takes a sip- totes delish!

Everyone LOVED this appetizer cocktail! I will definitely make it again. Substituting chilled gazpacho for the bloody mary could also make for a delicious alternative. Either would be a fun  & fabulous starter for your Mother’s Day brunch or dinner!

Sunday was cold and stormy here in Weehawken, and I couldn’t have picked better weather for testing the Seven Stars recipe for Mac & Cheese. The recipe from Chef Eric Damidot of the much loved (but now closed) Nero’s just might be the cheesiest I have ever tasted (in a good way). The recipe called for pipette pasta but instead I opted for fusilli gigante since I love the way the cheese seeps in between each crevice.

Mac and Cheese with fusilli

This cheddar based sauce is decadent and plentiful. Since I was using my cast iron pan, I had to pour a bit of it out to fit the pasta. Not to worry, I will gladly freeze it for future use!

Mac & Cheese Sauce

I crisped up long strips of prosciutto in the oven while the pasta was boiling…

crispy proscuitto

I know there are some who do not like breadcrumbs on their mac & cheese- I am not one of those people! The recipe calls for a browned breadcrumb topping but since there was so much cheese to spare, I sprinkled the un-toasted breadcrumbs on top, with the prosciutto and placed the pan in the broiler for 5 minutes…

Mac and Cheese
Rustic, cheesy and delicious- the perfect comfort food dish!

Thanks to Total Rewards, I have another Seven Stars Cookbook to give away! In honor of Mother’s Day, I will gladly gift wrap it for the winner and include a Sweet Dani B signature packaged cookie as well!

Here are the rules and regulations…

Total Rewards/ Sweet Dani B Cookbook Giveaway: Share Your Foodie “JUICE” with “the JUICE”!

In the comment section of this post, please tell us about the best bloody mary you ever had (details please! who made it and where it was from? Was it spicy? Was there a cocktail shrimp garnish around the rim?!)… OR let’s talk Mac & Cheese! What is your favorite? Where is it from? Fresh made or a box? Cheddar or Provolone? Lobster or prosciutto?

Since we will be giving away 1 cookbook, you are welcome to share your thoughts on both topics but please comment only once.

Don’t forget to include your email address! We’d really, really appreciate it if you like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter and subscribe to “the Juice”, but we aren’t forceful kind of people so that is simply a sweet request.

We will be collecting “Foodie Juice” comments on this post up until midnight on Friday, May 4, 2012. The lucky winner will be chosen using random.com. International entries are welcome but you may be required to contribute to shipping costs.

I can’t wait to hear your latest and greatest “Foodie Juice”- YUM! …and what a great gift for Mom! Spread the love!  If you want to check out all the “juice” going on at Total Rewards click here…  Xo Dani

one last bite...
one last bite…




About the author



Sweet Dani B is my small business and my mantra is Life Is Sweet! Both my business and life center around celebrating life’s occasions and making those occasions amazing. We design one-of-a-kind cookies, invitations, paper goods and pull them all together to deliver fabulous parties and events.


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Leave a Reply to Michelle Conviser Cancel reply

  • My favorite macaroni & cheese is my mom’s, of course! : ) Spiral macaroni, gooey on the inside, crispy on top, with a little breadcrumb sprinkled on top….YUM! : )

  • I’ve never had a bloody mary, so I’m going to go with mac and cheese 🙂 I don’t do seafood, but I’ve heard over and over that the very best lobster mac and cheese is at The Continental in Philadelphia. From personal experience, I’d say the best homemade (from a restaurant) is a tie between Jones in Philly and Misconduct in Philly (you can create your own flavor combo…..I love the pesto version!). The box used to win me over until the day I poured milk on top of the orange powder and it just beaded off and the powder stayed dry! Thanks for the fun and entertaining blog entries!!

  • Hey Daniele!! Both of those recipes look amazing…and I can’t wait until my next visit to try them both!! Although I am really intrigued about utilizing Crab Legs!!

    My favorite recipe…which of course I can’t share…for Mac and Cheese is a variety of Giada’s Farmer’s Pasta that I modified and improved upon…completely awesome!!

    Looking forward to winning the give-away…



  • That mac and cheese looks fantastic! Sadly I have grown up with the Velveeta kind (which is better than the powdered Kraft version!). Keep up the good work!

  • Hey! Chris told me about your blog! My favorite mac and cheese is my mother-in-law’s. So simple but delicious and a family favorite- in fact its even requested on birthdays. I think all she does is take cooked egg noodles, poor a beaten egg or two over them, cut up hunks of cheddar cheese & place on top & then a little S&P. Its a tad crunchy & a whole lot of yummy! 🙂

  • i Love mac/cheese dishes. i make mine homemade i use large shell’s(Barilla) to capture all that lush velvet cheeze sauce that consists of a bechamel sauce and to me its all in the cheese i add in a combo of Gruyere,Asiago, Sharp white cheddar.and sprinkle in a bit of nutmeg Then i take tomato slices and top them all over and final i take a mixture of bread crumb and add melted butter to form the crumb mixture to have that crispy,crunchy topping.s&p to taste. Num,Num. Enjoy!

    • Did Chris put you up to this? 😉
      He is welcome to come work on the baking business I already have going!

  • Mac and Cheese!!! My favorite recipe to make is courtesy of the Barefoot Contessa…but my favorite guilty pleasure mac and cheese is made by my mother-in-law…elbows and velveeta, dark top! 🙂

  • I’m a sucker for a good bloody mary! The best bloody marys I’ve had are always the ones garnished with a crispy, delish piece of bacon! nom nom nom 😉

  • I guess I have to talk about Mac and Cheese because I’ve never had a bloody mary! I don’t tomato juice and I don’t like alcohol so the combo just doesn’t work for me.

    The best mac and cheese is a recipe that my husband and I came up with. It’s a variation on what my Mom used to make when I was kid except we’ve experimented with different cheeses.

    Now that I’ve changed my eating habits for the better I don’t get to have it very often. 🙁

  • Those recipes sound awesome! My favorite mac n cheese has to be a gourmet recipe I found… it uses a blend of 5 cheeses (fontina, blue cheese, gruyere, white cheddar and parmesan). A lot of butter and a lot of cream are also used… so a lot of time at the gym afterward is a must! Haven’t had it in years because I can feel my hips expand a little with each bite. 🙂

  • I’d have to say the best mac & cheese I ever had was at a work Christmas party when I lived in Opelika, AL. I was working at a Verizon Wireless call center as a customer care agent and the team I was on “Heather’s Heroes” had a little Christmas party during our lunch break. One of my co-workers, Taiwana, a true southerner and soul food cook brought in a red velvet cake (also deliciously outstanding) and a pan of her homemade mac & cheese. In the seven years I lived in Alabama hers was the BEST I ever tasted. I wish I would have taken a plate home with me.

    my email is: josephmatthew79@gmail.com

    P.S. Winning a cookie in addition to the cook book would be amazing! I’ve admired your work for a while now. 🙂

  • My fave mac ‘n cheese recipe is from Martha Stewart’s “Favorite Comfort Foods” book – yummy, creamy and cheesy with a crunchy fresh breadcrumb topping! Ultimate comfort food!