mix it up {irish coffee milkshake}

When we were in Ireland I not only had the best Guinness ever (I mean, come on…it’s the Motherland), I also had the most delicious Irish Coffee ever.  Go figure, right?  Well, I have been wanting to recreate the Irish Coffee I had in Ireland in a summertime, frozen sort of concoction here at home and I finally did it.


You may be thinking that booze and ice cream is sort of, well, girly, but beware.  This tasty beverage is not for the weak.  I mean, if you are weak you can drink it, and I promise you will love it, you just might not remember it.  But hey, isn’t that what Instagram and Facebook are for?


This Irish Coffee Milkshake makes one:

About 1 1/2 cups vanilla ice cream
1 cup very cold, strong brewed coffee
1 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1 1/2 ounces Jameson (or any other respectable Irish whiskey)
Whipped cream
Chocolate syrup or chocolate covered espresso beans for garnish (I actually used chocolate covered espresso malt balls.  Thank you Wegmans)

Blend the ice   cream, coffee, sugar, and whiskey together.  Pour into your glass and top with whipped cream and garnish.




in season {grilled donut peaches}



On a whim, I decided to have oatmeal for breakfast yesterday.  Why is that important?  I never eat oatmeal in the summer…it is such a winter food to me.  But something told me, “Eat oatmeal.  And while you are at it, throw in some of those peaches from your CSA.  Maybe a little bit of unsweetened coconut too.”  I listened to that little voice in my head, had a fabulous breakfast, and then was inspired to make my breakfast into a dessert.

Let’s start with the peaches.  Not just any peaches, but donut peaches.  I had forgotten how wonderful they were.  Until aforementioned oatmeal.  Onward.  When sliced, grilled a little bit on the cut side, then topped with some toasted coconut, chopped white chocolate chips, and a dollop of whipped cream, we have a very indulgent-yet-not-so-bad-for-you dessert.donut-peaches

The fruit by itself is wonderful, so really it could be dessert all by itself.  But what fun would that be? Go ahead, throw on some toasty, nutty, sweetness for good measure.


I am pretty sure I will be eating this every night until they go out of season.


adventures in canning

Any person who may have seen me in my kitchen the week before I went to Ireland would think that I was crazy.  Among all of the other things I needed to do to get ready, I decided I also needed to use up almost all of my produce so that I didn’t end up throwing anything away.

One of the ways I used up things quickly was by making homemade drink syrups to freeze (like these).

Another way was to use up leftovers and veggies in calzones (like these).

The third way was to do some canning.  It may sound crazy to get into something like that with so little time, but it is actually easy to preserve in very little time.  Small batch all the way.  (disclaimer:  I am certain jams would take much longer, but fruits in some juices or liquor…super fast).  Now, I am supper excited to try these in a cocktail.  My husband had a Manhattan in Toronto a couple of months back, and it was garnished with an AMAZING candied, maraschino, soaked cherry of some kind and I have made it my mission to try and recreate it.  Thank goodness I have POUNDS of frozen cherries to experiment more with!


I found a recipe for Amaretto Cherries at My Kitchen Addiction, committed myself to using up my cherries, and in no time I was done.  I did even smaller batch (two jars) and it worked out quite nicely.



strawberry ice cream sandwiches {guest post with Mom}

For my last guest post this week, I introduce you to…wait for it…MY MOM! Now, she doesn’t have a blog and doesn’t necessarily get into the social media but I wanted her to share something for Circus Berry because, well…she is where I get my craziness, talents, obsessions, crafting, and food love from. She is the original domestic goddess in my life. SO excited she agreed to share!

So here she is, my Mom, Donna:

Sometimes, I feel the need to explain to folks, why I am the way I am. (No in-depth psychotherapy stuff here, I promise. Just a little story I like to tell.) One time, my mother wanted to make a jelly roll. She wasn’t content to make a homemade sponge cake base, slather on some Welch’s Grape and call it a day. Not my mother. She went to a local fruit and vegetable stand and got herself some Concord grapes, whipped up a quick homemade batch of Concord Grape Jelly (after straining the fruit through a hand-stitched cloth bag), and then baked and assembled the jelly roll. It was like nothing I’d ever had, before or since and I will never forget it. This story kind of explains it all… homemade all the way, baby!

For quite some time now, my lovely daughter has been after me to start a blog. “You know Mom, where you can post all your recipes, and your craft ideas and all that stuff.” I have not been able to commit to my own blog just yet, but when Anne asked me to create a guest post for CircusBerry, I happily said yes.

Recently I mentioned to Anne that I was planning on creating strawberry ice cream sandwiches with shortbread cookies. “ooooohh” she said, “that would be a great guest blog.” So CircusBerry fans, here is my contribution. I hope you enjoy it.

Strawberry-n-Shortbread Ice Cream Sandwiches


Make Shortbread Cookies, recipe below, and store in air-tight container until ready to assemble. Use a biscuit cutter or a glass to get the desired size cookie. I used an Ice-Cream Sandwich maker gadget thingy I bought from Pampered Chef years ago.


Make Strawberry Ice cream according to recipe below. Place the ice cream in the freezer until it is firm. You’ll want to be able to spread it on the cookies without it oozing all over.


Spread the ice cream on one cookie, about an inch thick. Cover with the second cookie, and even the edges with a spreader. Place the assembled cookies on a parchment covered cookie sheet, cover with plastic wrap and freeze until firm. The finished ice cream sandwiches can be wrapped individually.

Scotch Shortbread
(adapted from Betty Crocker’s Cookbook – Copyright 1969)
Yield depends upon size of cookies…. 2 dozen 1 ½” cookies

¾ cup butter or margarine, softened (use butter… butter is better)
¼ cup sugar
2 cups all purpose flour

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter and sugar. Work in flour. If dough is crumbly, mix in 1 to 2 tablespoons soft butter.

Roll dough ½ to 1/3 thick on lightly floured board. Cut into small shapes (in this case, I cut the dough into 2 ½ circles.) Place ½ “ apart on ungreased baking sheet. Bake about 20 minutes or until set. Immediately remove from baking sheet.

Strawberry Ice Cream
Williams Sonoma “Ice Cream”
Makes 1 1/2 quarts

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup (185g) sugar
pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups (250g) fresh strawberries, stemmed and coarsely chopped, plus more for garnish

In a large bowl, combine the cream and milk. Add the sugar and a pinch of salt and whisk the mixture until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the vanilla. Let the mixture sit for 20 minutes so that the flavors begin to blend together. Cover and refrigerate the mixture until chilled, from 3-8 hours.

In a medium bowl, using a fork, mash half of the chopped strawberries until they break down into small chunks, then add the remaining coarsely chopped strawberries to the bowl. Cover and refrigerate these strawberries for an hour.

After an hour, pour the milk/cream mixture into your ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When nearly frozen and the mixture looks like thick whipped cream, add the strawberries. Churn just until blended. Transfer the ice cream to a freezer-safe container. Freeze until firm, about three hours, or up to 3 days before serving.


Thank you to my Momma for guest posting! And let me say, I got to enjoy these little sandwiches and they were great!

Maybe we will see more from Donna soon!?!?!


eggplant parmesan dip {guest post with Peggy}

I am super excited to introduce to you Peggy from Spiced Peach, a great blog full of all things yummy.  I connected with Peggy through the North East Bloggers Network and am inspired by her love of good, healthy, real food.  Seriously, her website is chock full of recipes and food articles, incorporating great flavors, spices, and in-season ingredients.  If she didn’t live so far away, I might just be sneakily knocking on her door around dinner time.  Here we go…

Are you looking for inspiration on something fabulously tasty and easy to create with the sliced Mozzarella, Tomatoes, and Basil leftover from the party you hosted with some friends the day before?


In very little time, your party leftovers can transform to creating a lighter version meal of Eggplant Parmesan, even an eggplant parmesan dip of sorts by combining the same ingredients but instead chopping the roasted eggplant slices, once roasted and baking in a smaller dish served alongside thin slices of the remaining baguette on your counter.


Slice one large or two medium sized eggplants into circles, toss with a little bit of olive oil, salt and pepper then roast on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees until tender which will take about a half hour.


Meanwhile, chop a couple cloves of garlic; your leftover tomato slices from the day before, adding in a couple of extra chopped tomatoes (even soft ones) to provide a couple of cups in all, along with any remaining fresh basil, parsley, oregano, or any other fresh or dry herbs you want to add in.


Heat a small sauté pan with some olive oil; add in your chopped garlic, tomatoes, and fresh or dried herbs, and salt and pepper. Cook until your tomato mixture begins to break down, about five minutes, and then pour in your wine. Continue cooking on low until most of the liquid is absorbed but still juicy.


Chop your leftover fresh mozzarella slices into small pieces and transfer it to a bowl, mix together with some Parmesan cheese.


Your eggplant should be done by now.

Lightly grease a round heatproof dish, a large dish if you are making a light Eggplant Parmesan and a small crock if you are making a dip.  Spoon a little tomato sauce around the bottom, top with a layer of roasted or chopped eggplant.


Top the eggplant with more spooned tomato sauce, and then a layer of the leftover fresh mozzarella mixed with the Parmesan cheese.


Finish the dish with one more layer of eggplant, tomatoes, and mixed cheeses.


Cook your Fresh and Light Eggplant Parmesan or dip for about twenty minutes in a 350-degree oven.

Third-Photos-026Serve your transformed leftovers with a glass of chilled wine. Relax and reflect on the great party you threw just the day before.

Peggy Gilbey McMackin is the creator and author of Spiced Peach Blog, a food blog along the spice road of friendship with an open table to all. A recipe based Blog; Feature Posts include Cultural Home Cooking, Cookbooks, Artisans, Farms, and Chefs to Team Family Tailgating. Peggy grew up in the family food business, cooked professionally at upscale restaurants in Philadelphia; she has additionally catered business and private functions.  Early in her career, Peggy wrote food columns for a regional newspaper and provided freelance articles for a variety of food and agriculture publications, her degree is in agribusiness. http://www.spicedpeachblog.com

Thank you Peggy!  Go visit Spiced Peach and bring a napkin.  You might drool a bit!