Have Yourself a Merry Little Cocktail

Have Yourself a Merry Little Cocktail

The holidays are here, and celebration season is upon us. Can I pour you a festive drink?

Perhaps a Cranberry Mimosa?

Perfect for a holiday brunch, this recipe (from delish.com) is easy and festive.

Ingredients:

1 lime, halved

2 tbsp sugar

1 cup sweetened cranberry juice

1 bottle champagne

12 fresh cranberries

4 small sprigs of fresh rosemary

Make it:

  1. Rub rims of champagne flutes with lime and dip in sugar. Pour 1/4 cup cranberry juice into each glass and top with champagne.
  2. Use a toothpick to poke a hole through cranberries. Thread rosemary skewer through cranberries and garnish mimosas.

 

How about an Eggnog Martini?

A must for any holiday party, this recipe (from mccormick.com) takes only five minutes to make.

Ingredients:

4 ounces light cream

2 ounces white chocolate liqueur

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp rum extract

Make it:

  1. Fill cocktail shaker two-thirds full with ice. Add cream, white chocolate liqueur, nutmeg and rum flavor; shake until well mixed and chilled.
  2. Strain into a martini glass. Serve immediately.

 

And, one more. A cup of cocoa. Or in this case, Candy Cane – Kahula Hot Chocolate.

Sip this (recipe from delish.com) while dreaming by the fire, with visions of sugarplums dance in your head.

Ingredients:

1/2 cup whole milk

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 candy cane

3 tbsp sipping chocolate

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 ounces Kahula

whipped cream

candy canes

Make it:

  1. In a saucepan over low heat, warm whole milk and heavy cream.
  2. Add 1 candy cane and stir until melted.
  3. Stir in sipping chocolate and vanilla extract.
  4. Remove from heat, stir in Kahlua, and pour into glass.
  5. Garnish with whipped cream and candy canes.

 

Whatever you’re drinking, let’s raise a glass, and toast the magic of the season.

Cheers!

A Twist On Zucchini

A Twist On Zucchini

Last year for Amazon Prime Day, I invested in a fancy-schmancy vegetable spiralizer. You know, the kind of kitchen gadget that turns ordinary, healthy veggies into what looks like pasta. If you sauce it just right, you’d never even know you’re eating good-for-you-zucchini, instead of carb-loaded spaghetti noodles.

4 Blades to choose from, but I’ve only used one!

So I thought I’d share an simple 7-ingredient recipe featuring the zucchini noodles.

Zucchini Noodles Caprese
Pesto (I use store bought because it is easier and it’s a truth that I’m lazy)
Zucchini- spiralized and raw
Tomato Slices
Fresh Mozzarella Slices
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Fresh Basil

Yep- that’s it. Toss the noodles in the pesto, layer thick slices of tomato on top, then add a slice of fresh mozza. Drizzle with oil and vinegar, and spice it however you want. Top the whole masterpiece with a sprig of basil and dig in.

Bon Appetite!

Brownies: Reinvented

Brownies: Reinvented

It’s no secret that I don’t enjoy spending long hours in the kitchen. It’s also no secret that I like to eat healthy. But just because you’re eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to give up fun things like dessert.

What it DOES mean is that you might be substituting ingredients…and it’s not as scary as it sounds. Cooking is supposed to be an adventure, right?

Today, I’m sharing one of my favorite recipes with you — Brownie Batter Hummus. It’s so good! And it’s easy – from start to finish, you’ll have your dessert in five minutes.

(Yields 2)

What you’ll need:

  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed OR 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (You could probably also use garbanzo beans. I’m going to try that next.)
  • 1/2 cup cashew butter (Or nut butter of choice (I’ve also made this with natural peanut butter and natural almond butter. Use sunflower butter for a nut free option – but I find this one tastes a little more bitter.)
  • 1/2 cup cacao powder
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar (In a pinch, I’ve also used 1/2 cup of stevia powder.)
  • Water if needed, to reach desired consistency (I use about 1/3 cup.)

What to do:

  1. In a food processor, combine all 4 ingredients. Mix well.
  2. Add water if needed. Start with 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach a desired consistency.

(Recipe is courtesy of http://mywholefoodlife.com/2016/05/27/brownie-batter-hummus/)

It will get more solid as it sits in the fridge, so add a little more water than you think you need.

You can dip anything from pretzels to fruit, or eat it by the spoonful. 🙂

Enjoy! And let me know if you try it!

The next hot delivery restaurant: Your Kitchen.

The next hot delivery restaurant: Your Kitchen.

So, when I was researching for today’s post I stumbled across this video and it got me wondering about something.

 

Now I’m not going through all eleven food trends but the first couple included Home Cooking, Virtual Restaurants, and Home Delivery by Drone. But what if someone combined these three ideas into one concept.

Imagine choosing from a selection of home cooked meals off an app or web site.

 

 

 

 

 

The cook (at home) receives your order and cooks it to order.

Then loads it, hot and ready to eat into a drone, that flies the meal right to your front door.

 

 

 

 

 

 

All the deliciousness of a home cooked meal, and you didn’t have to even turn on the stove.

 

So, what do you think? Would you order from a place like this? Would you want to run a restaurant out of your kitchen? Let me know in the comments section below.

Sunday Brunch at Roscoe’s

Sunday Brunch at Roscoe’s

Howdy!

Did you take a look at the photo above and go ewww, or did it make your mouth water? If you said the latter, then you’ve either been to Roscoe’s or you’ve had chicken-n-waffles at some point in your rich, full life. If your reaction was the former, well…allow me to entice you over to the crispy side. [Read more…]

Popcorn has a day!

Popcorn has a day!

Today in my inbox I received a proclamation from the lovely folks at National Day Calendar. It’s National Popcorn Day. Popcorn has its very own day. And rightly so.

Hand to heart, popcorn is the one food I simply could not give up. I can resist (who am I kidding?). I even defriended it for a while, but I will always come crawling back to it. My favorite is movie theater popcorn, followed by the microwave stuff. Pop a bag of that salty, fluffy goodness and I’m eating the entire thing. Those 100 calorie snack bags are for underachievers.

I’m not a purist, although I do prefer my popcorn with just salt (definitely not a fan of anything sweet). In college, I had an air popper and my roommates and I would add brewers yeast or parmesan cheese to the snack. But recently, I’ve discovered several new flavors – Cilantro Lime, Garlic and Herb to name two.

Today I want to share a recipe I discovered from Shutterbean on Pinterest for Sour Cream and Onion Popcorn.

Photo courtesy of Shutterbean.com

SOUR CREAM & ONION POPCORN

makes enough for 2-4

recipe slightly adapted from Seriously Delish

  • 1/3 cup popcorn kernels
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons powdered buttermilk*
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons onion powder
  • 1  teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Place a 3 quart saucepan (or Whirley Pop) over medium-high heat. Add coconut oil and popcorn kernels to the pan. Close the lid and  move pot back and forth (or whirl around!) on the stove and pop the popcorn until you start to hear the popping slow down. Remove from the stove. Put popcorn in a large bowl and set aside. (I cheat and use lite microwave popcorn.)

Drizzle the popcorn with olive oil and toss it well to coat. In small bowl, whisk together dill, cheese, buttermilk, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Pour it over the popcorn and toss the popcorn evenly to coat it in the mixture. Taste the popcorn and season it additionally if needed.

* If you cannot find powdered buttermilk for this recipe, powdered milk can be used in a pinch. You might need to adjust to the salt level as the powdered milk is slightly sweeter and less tangy than the buttermilk.

Enjoy!

A New, Healthier Me

A New, Healthier Me

I’ve recently lost quite a bit of weight (Let’s talk again in six months to see if I’ve kept it off, okay?) and I managed the task by dieting and some occasional exercise. It seemed to take forever, so you can bet I’m going to go out of my way to try to keep it off. But along comes Autumn, a season when I typically want to get in my kitchen and cook up all the yummy comfort-style foods that I am nostalgic for. Meatloaf, lasagne, chicken and dumplings, homemade mac and cheese. Exactly the kinds of foods that adds the pounds on in the past.

So, I’ve started a new recipe file and I’ve titled it Keeping The Pounds Off (or Do Not Put That In Your Mouth). Every meal is an adventure in trying to find ways to make a recipe healthier, but still ensure the taste brings back good memories.

Recently, I tried a recipe for Healthier Chicken Pot Pie from AllRecipes and was pleasantly surprised. It was easy and tasty. Here’s a picture of the final product. I’ve copied the recipe for you below. If you try it, I hope it brings back memories of family meals and fall.

2016-11-06-17-18-09

 

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  2. Combine chicken, carrots, peas, and celery in a saucepan. Cover with water. Boil until chicken is no longer pink in the middle and vegetables are fork tender, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and set aside.
  3. Cook and stir onions in butter in a saucepan over medium heat, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, and celery seed. Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick, about 5 minutes. Stir in parsley and remove from heat. Set aside.
  4. Place chicken mixture in bottom pie crust; pour hot liquid mixture over. Cover with top crust, seal edges, and cut away excess dough. Make several small slits in top to allow steam to escape.
  5. Bake in preheated oven until pie is golden brown and filling is bubbly, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

Gemma Sig-1

The Food Debate

The Food Debate

womenI have an ongoing food debate with myself. At forty-six, and no longer having that kick-ass metabolism I had a twenty -six, or even the reasonably robust one I had at thirty-six, I seem to be constantly caught in the love myself as I am vs. get back into shape dilemma.

In the blue corner, and weighing the accumulated heft of being pretty much a constant companion, is my “not good enough” voice, reminding me I need to be thinner, look younger, look prettier. Facing off against that, in the red corner, is my newly emerged 40-something sense of self that really doesn’t give a crap about being anybody else’s version of me.

I have two wardrobes, one for each point of the pendulum I am on at any given moment. Compounding my confusion is my love of food. I’ve never been one of those “food is fuel” types. Perish the thought! I love to eat. Eating good food is a sensual treat for me, and I really think life is too short to forego great food for the rest of it.

Then you add the good health debate into the mix and things really start to mess with my head.

unknown-1The nearest I can come to an answer, is to constantly strive for balance. Somewhere in between “I want to eat my face off every day” and “I need to be a Barbie” there is a happy middle ground. But my middle ground might not be yours. For me, and at this point in my life, I am prepared to forego certain foods for the sake of my shape. My size, rightly or wrongly, impacts how I feel about myself and I need to keep my self-esteem in the positive spectrum. I don’t need to be perfect, but there is a certain size where maintenance is a bit of work, but not all consuming, and I am happy with what I see in the mirror. And it’s not anybody else’s idea of what is right for me, but mine.

Conversely, I am not prepared to make the sort of sacrifices it would take to have the body I did at eighteen. I simply don’t want to spend that much time in a gym, or crying into my kale.

I’d love to say I look in the mirror and love what I see all the time. And I wouldn’t even be writing this if I did. I can blame society, I can blame mass consciousness, I can even blame my mother, but at the end of the day I have to take responsibility for how I view myself. I have allowed all these factors to take up rent-free space in my brain and until I can oust my unwelcome tenants, I need to find a balance that works for me. And as importantly, find a balance that releases my teenage girls from this tangle.

sarahsig

 

Labor-intensive Dessert for Labor Day

Labor-intensive Dessert for Labor Day

Labor-intensive

I love watermelon. And I’ve volunteered to bring one to a Labor Day picnic. But I can’t show up with one as-is. No, it needs to be impressive. And so I ask you, Spice Aisle readers, to help me decide…

 

Do I make a dolphin fruit party?

dolphin

 

Do a fish filled with fruit?
fish

 

Go for the top of the ocean food chain, and create a shark?

shark

 

Maybe something sharp?

porcupine

 

Something slow-moving?

turtle

 

Or something stunningly feathered?

peacock

 

Or is there something else I should sculpt? Let me know your favorite!

I’ve never attempted to carve anything other than a pumpkin before, so tips and tricks are appreciated.

And so, if all else fails, here’s my back-up plan:

pops

 

 

Happy Labor Day!!

Susan-Sig

Food Trucks – Yum.

Food Trucks – Yum.

This summer in my town (Sheboygan, Wi) we’ve got a new Monday night attraction.

Food Trucks!

AdobeStock_97007340-[Converted]

Each Monday night about a dozen or so food trucks show up at one of the local parks. There’s also a DJ offering music.

People bring chairs or blankets and the place really rocks.

College students sitting in the park

A picnic in the park and you don’t have to pack anything.

And the food? Amazing.

I great variety of ethnic foods, burgers, all-American favorites, and deserts to choose from, and best of all, everyone gets what they want. We arrive, set up our chairs and spread out to look for whatever catches our eye.

Fun!

Do you have food trucks in your town?

Let me know in the comments below.

Steve