mix it up {cherry berry shandy}

Here at Circus Berry, we (the adults) are big Shandy fans in the summertime.  So yummy, refreshing, and straight up wonderful.  I know it isn’t for everyone (Mom), but we love it.  Ever since my friend Leanne texted me a picture of her homemade shandy, it has been on my list of things to make before summer came to a close.  And since there are so many wonderful fruits in season and I LOVE all of those berry/cherry/lemony beers on a hot day, I decided to go with a cherry shandy.  No, wait, a berry shandy.

Oh, heck.  Why not a Cherry Berry Shandy.


Don’t be fooled men, it isn’t all that feminine to drink.  This fruity beer is more tart than girly-sweet.

This concotion comes in three parts…each able to stand on its own without the addition of what comes after it.  So if you do decide to make this, just know you won’t be wasting anything.

Part One:


Cherry Berry Juice (use for lemonade, soda, or cocktails)
makes about 2 cups of juice

3 cups mixed fresh (or frozen) blackberries, raspberries, pitted sour cherries, and pitted sweet cherries  (I did about 1/4 cup blackberries, 1/2 cup raspberries, and the rest cherries)
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Combine berries, cherries, sugar, and water in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.  Bring to a simmer and continue to simmer until berries and cherries are soft and sugar is dissolved.  Pour through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl, pressing on the fruit with a spatula to release all of the liquid.  Discard solids and allow to cool.  Store in an airtight container in your fridge.

Part Two:


Cherry-Berry Lemonade Cooler
Makes about one 2-quart pitcher

2 cups fresh-squeezed lemon juice (about 14-15 lemons)
3/4 cup Cherry Berry Juice (see above)
Pitcher full of ice
2 cups soda water
2 cups ice water
1/2-3/4 cup sugar

Fill the pitcher with ice.  Add the soda water, water, lemon juice, cherry berry juice, and 1/2 cup sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved.  Add more sugar to taste.

Part Three:


Cherry Berry Shandy
Makes one

Fill a pint glass half way with ice cold Cherry Berry Lemonade (see above)
Top remaining half with your favorite ice cold lager or wheat beer
Sip away.  And when your drink starts to go down, go ahead and top it off with the rest of your beer.

I used Buffalo Lager from Buffalo, NY’s very own Flying Bison Brewing Company.  Loving local.


You will notice how the ice has melted and the pitcher is sweating…it is 85 degrees in the shade…at sunset…which makes this drink perfect.




life in general {just one more snow cone?}

The temperatures have risen, finally if you ask me.  This weekend was filled with fun, sun, and…snow cones.

moira-snowcone ronan-snowcone

The family spent Saturday at a soccer festival, complete with barbecue, bounce houses, and snow cones.  It was a full day of all things summer and soccer in memory and honor of my father-in-law, who dedicated much of his time, love, and energy to developing opportunities for sportsmanship, respect, self-esteem, fun, cooperation, and countless other positive experiences for children in the city of Buffalo through his soccer program, the Buffalo Soccer Club.

Moira and Ronan did not play any soccer on Saturday…they actually didn’t watch any either (which I heard about all the way home as Moira reminded me over and over, “I missed the game!!!”)  They did indulge in several snow cones, some barbecue chicken…and Moira conquered her fear of the big, terribly scary bounce house.  Once her (and Ronan) got their first go at it, there was no stopping them.  It was fun to watch.


Here they share their food.  Wait, don’t be deceived by the barbecue chicken dinner.  They ate the rolls.  Then it was on to the snow cones again.


Mommy's Monday

food with friends

I am back to posting on Circus Berry, again, and excited to share a whole new world of craziness with you.  Starting with…food.  Of course.

Every month, a group of lovely ladies I went to college with and I get together for dinner and drinks.  This month’s regular dinner/gathering happened in my new home.  I was thrilled to have everyone see the new house, have a couple of laughs, and to indulge a bit.  Among the dips, spreads, breads, sushi, and champagne, there was my feature for the evening:

Butternut Squash, Leek, and Gruyere Galette

Inspired by a galette I made a couple of years ago and one posted on Three Clever Sisters, it turned out wonderfully.  I love squash.  LOVE squash.  I also love the sweetness of sautéd leeks.  And cheese.  LOVE cheese.  My house smelled like heaven (in the form of pastry and fresh herbs, of course).  The tricky part was the crust.  I do not do well with crusts, unless it is of the pizza or graham cracker persuasion.  I will work on that.  

To top it off, we had some yummy treats.   I mean, how do you have friends and food without dessert…chocolate dessert at that?  My answer is, you don’t.  At least you shouldn’t.  I am an advocate for dessert.  Anyone else with me on that?  

I purchased some brownies (Mokka, Razz-a-ma-tazz, and Turtle) and icebox cookies from Ohlson’s in Clarence, NY.  

The brownies were nothing short of amazing…chocolatey, chewy, and great the following day.  The cookies were perfectly sized little bites of joy…yes, joy.  Great texture, not to sweet, would kick butt with a cup of tea, and also good the day after.  The local bakery and cafe also features anything else your baked-good-craving little heart could desire.  Cupcakes (that were HUGE), more gourmet brownies, cakes (including wedding cakes), pastry, load of cookies, local faves, and ethnic offerings.  I have had their Kringles before–someone brought it to work or something like that–delicious.  I myself had never actually purchased anything from them before.  Can’t say that anymore.  I will surely go back.  Probably for coffee and pastry.

And now the recipe.  Try it.  Enjoy it.  We did!

Butternut Squash, Leek, and Gruyere Galette 

adapted from Three Clever Sisters

1¼ cups all-purpose flour1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage leaves
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
4 to 6 tablespoons ice-cold water

1-2 pound or medium-sized butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and sliced into 1/4″ pieces (about 4 cups)    
    *I used 2 small squashes and saved the remaining slices for a different recipe
½ teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 leek, white and pale green parts only, thinly sliced
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon allspice
Kosher Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper
½cup shredded gruyere1 egg white, beaten with a fork

Cut flour, butter, sage, and sea salt together with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles a coarse meal with a few small (pea-sized) clumps of butter.  Work in ice water with your hands, starting with 4 tablespoons and adding more as needed, until the dough just forms a ball.  Gently press dough into a disk and chill, wrapped in plastic wrap, until firm.

Preheat oven to 475°F.Toss squash with sea salt and 1 Tbsp olive oil and arrange in 1 layer in a shallow baking pan.  Roast, stirring once through roasting, until the squash is tender and golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove squash from oven and allow to cool slightly.  Reduce oven temperature to 375°F.

While the squash is roasting, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil in large skillet over medium-low heat.  Sauté garlic, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add sliced leeks to pan and cook until softened, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes.  Add nutmeg and allspice and stir until coated.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, remove from heat, and allow to cool.    Gently stir the squash into the leek mixture.  

Lightly flour a surface, place the dough on top, and flour the top of the dough lightly.  Roll the dough into a 13-inch round and transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Arrange squash filling in the center of dough, leaving a 2- to 3-inch border around the outside. Sprinkle evenly with gruyere.  Fold dough in on itself to cover the outer rim of filling, pleating dough as necessary.  Brush pastry with beaten egg white.  Bake until crust is golden on edges and cheese is melted, 35 to 45 minutes.  Cool on baking sheet for about 10 minutes before serving.  Slice and serve.