Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Sugared Cranberries

2 cups of water
2 cups of sugar
2 cups of cranberries
superfine sugar

Pour water and sugar in a sauce pan. Heat over medium heat  stirring until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a simmer and remove from heat. Add cranberries and pour mixture into a bowl letting it sit for at least 8 hours or overnight Drain cranberries, saving the liquid if you want ( see note below). On a cookie sheet pour some superfine sugar and roll cranberries in sugar to coat them. Let them sit on cookie sheet for a couple of hours until the sugar has hardened.

These make a great gifts and look beautiful in jars. They need to be kept in a cool place. Great for garnishes for mixed drinks as well.

* I like to save the liquid I soak the cranberries in and reuse it for several batches. After all the cranberries have been marinated I use the liquid for cocktails.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Salted Caramel Cranberry Ginger Martini

1 part Salted Caramel flavored vodka
2 parts Cranberry Liqueur (recipe on blog)
1 part Apple Cider
pinch of fresh grated ginger
sugared cranberries (recipe on blog)

Place sugared cranberries in martini glass. Add  the vodka, liqueur, and apple cider to a shaker filled with ice. Shake and pour into martini glass.Garnish with fresh ginger. Enjoy xo

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Classic Ceasar Recipe

Rim glass with rimmer salt. 
Add ice 
1 shot of vodka. 
 2 dashes of hot sauce
 4 dashes of Worcestershire sauce
 4oz of clamato
 Garnish with celery and lime wedge. Some even put a cooked cold shrimp on the glass too but that's an option. 

A very special thank you to Colin Bird  for this. you follow  him on twitter at @TravelZippy 

Easy Spicy Apple Cake by Carrie Ann

I wanted a dessert that was low in calories, I had a Spice cake mix & apples. So I sliced up the 3 apples, put them in a 9x 13 pan, dumped the spice cake on top and added 12 oz of Pellagrino sparkling water and baked at 350 for 35-40 min.  I wasn't sure at first about it but it was so good!  Crunchy top with a cakey inside with warm apples!! 1/12 of the cake mix is 170 calories add in about 1/2 an apple, about 200 calories!!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cranberry Liqueur

2 cups of sugar
1 cup of water
12 oz. bag of cranberries
3 cups of vodka

Mix the sugar and water together and heat til the the sugar dissolves making a simple syrup. Cool completely. In a food processor chop the cranberries and add to the simple syrup. Stir in the vodka and place mixture in clean glass jars secured with a lid. Store in a dark, cool place for 3 weeks, shaking the mixture every day. Strain the liquid through a cheese cloth and pour liquid into small bottles or glass jars. The cranberry liqueur can be stored in refrigerator on counter at room temperature for up to a year. Use in Cranberry Cosmopolitans below.

Cranberry Cosmopolitans

Place ice in a martini shaker and add ½ cup Cranberry Liqueur, ¼ cup Cointreau, 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice. Shake and shimmey and pour into 2 martini glass. Top with sugared cranberries( recipe to follow)

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Lime Jalapeno Grilled Chicken with Cucumber Yogurt Dill Sauce

6 Chicken breasts
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup fresh lime juice
1-2 sliced jalapeno's

Marinate chicken over night. Remove chicken and jalapenos from the marinade Discard the marinade. Grill chicken and jalapenos and serve with Cucumber Yogurt Dill sauce.

Cucumber Yogurt Dill Sauce

2 cucumbers, peeled, seeded and coarsly chopped
8 oz Greek yogurt
1 clove garlic
1/2 cup fresh dill
1 teaspoon white vinegar or lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth. This also makes an excellent salad dressing or dip for crackers. Personally I could drink the stuff :)

Quinoa So Good

1 ½ cups quinoa
1 pound ground beef
1 ½ teaspoon Montreal Steak Seasoning Salt
16 oz good spaghetti sauce
8 oz sour cream
8 oz cream cheese, softened
½ cup milk
1 small onion, chopped
10 oz frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Grease a 2-quart casserole. Cook quinoa according to package directions. Meanwhile brown beef and drain off fat. Add the Montreal seasoning salt and spaghetti sauce. Let simmer, uncovered for about 5 minutes.

In mixing bowl beat together the cream cheese and sour cream until smooth. Stir in the milk and onion. Place half of the cooked quinoa in the greased casserole dish, half of the meat mixture, and half of the cream cheese mixture, and all of the spinach. Repeat layers and top with cheddar cheese.

Bake at 350 until its heated through and cheese is melted on top - about 20 minutes.  Enjoy with a good glass of red wine.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


1 ounce cake vodka
2 ounces PAMA  liqueur
2 ounces chocolate liqueur
pomegranate seeds

Add all the ingredients except the pomegranate seeds to a shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously then pour into a martini glass. Top with pomegranate seeds. Cheers xo. 

This martini was made  for the author and my  friend S.L.Scott and her soon to be published book Naturally Charlie. Visit her blog for more -

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Pineapple Jalapeno Martini


½ jalapeno pepper, 
seeds removed
1 ½ oz Simple Syrup
2 oz Pineapple vodka
1 oz pineapple juice

Place jalapeno and simple syrup in a shaker and muddle together. Add the rest of the ingredients and ice and shake well. Pour into a martini glass and top with a mint or basil leaf. This recipe is dedicated to some dear friends of mine who know they are sexy, spicy and warm me from the inside out. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Cheesy Potato Beef Pie

1 lb ground beef or turkey
1 onion, chopped
16oz bag mixed vegetables
1/2 cup red wine
4 cups mashed potatoes
2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
salt and pepper to taste

Brown beef or turkey with onions. Add the mixed vegetables and wine and simmer until the wine is almost gone. Stir in 1 cup of cheese into the meat mixture. Spread the mashed potatoes over the meat mixture and top with remaining cheese. Place under a broiler until top is nice and brown. Serve with a nice Shiraz

Peanut Butter Cream Sandwich Cookies

Preheat oven to 350

1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
11/4 cups flour
Peanut Cream with Chocolate Chips Filling

Mix peanut butter and shortening until creamy. Add the sugar, egg, and vanilla.  Mix in the baking soda and salt with the flour and add to the mixture beating until combined. Using a small cookie scoop or teaspoon form dough into balls and place on an un-greased cookie sheet or silicone baking mat. Using a fork make the crisscrossed pattern  peanut butter cookies are known for, dipping fork in sugar if it gets to sticky. Bake for 7 minutes. After they have cooled spread the filling on and our yourself a glass of milk or coffee and enjoy.

Peanut Cream with Chocolate Chips Filling

3/4 cup chunky peanut butter
3/4 cup marshmellow fluff
3 tablespoons milk or almond milk
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mix all the above together and lavishly spread on cookies.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Lemon-Ginger Martini

2 parts Ginger-Lemon Syrup
1 part vodka

 Rub the rim of a martini glass with a cut lemon and dip in sugar. Place  the syrup and vodka in a shaker add ice and shake it baby! Pour in glass and top with a lemon slice. Cheers x

Ginger-Lemon Syrup

1 cup of sugar
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup chopped fresh ginger
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice

Boil sugar, water, and ginger together for about 7-10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Pour mixture through a sieve pressing hard on the ginger pieces. Discard the ginger. Store in a glass jar in refrigerator.

Cheeseburger Soup

1lb ground beef
1 medium onion ,chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons flour
28 oz of beef broth
2 medium potatoes, chopped or diced 
14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
6oz tomato paste
1/4 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons whole grain mustard
1 cup whole milk

Cheeseburger toppings like pickles, avocado,  onions, bacon, toasted hamburger buns, etc

Brown beef, onions, garlic. Drain off any excess fat. Sprinkle flour over the mixture and cook for a couple of minutes stirring the whole time. Add broth and potatoes, cover and reduce heat, stirring occasionally. Cook about 10 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Stir in tomatoes, cheese, tomato paste, mustard, ketchup, and milk. Cook until it comes to a boil and cheese is melted. Serve with toppings of your choice. psssst it was so good with pickles :)

Monday, July 9, 2012

Quick Easy Popsicle

When your jam or jelly jar gets low its time to make popsicles. Pour some milk into the jar, shake it up and pour into a popsicle mold.

Fruit Salad with Balsamic Syrup

1 pint strawberries, sliced in half
1 cup cherries, pitted
4 kiwi, peeled, halved and cut into ¼ in slices

Balsamic Syrup

¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup sugar

Mix until sugar is dissolved.

Place fruit in bowl. You can either drizzle the syrup over the fruit before serving or place the syrup in a small pitcher on the side.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Roasted Tilapia with Herb Pesto

6 Tilapia fillets
3 Tablespoons flat leaf parsley
3 Tablespoons fresh rosemary
3 Tablespoons fresh dill
3 Tablespoons fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic
¼ a lemon
¼ to ½ cup good olive oil

Rice or Harvest Grains already cooked

Preheat oven 450

Lightly oil pan and put fillets in pan. Take the herbs, ginger, garlic, lemon and olive oil and place in blender or food processor. Pulse until all of its finely ground. Coat the fish with the herb pesto, salt and pepper, reserving half of the pesto. Place the pan in oven and roast until fish flakes ( I usually wait until I can smell the fish cooking to check. Usually they are done by this time). Take out and let rest on stove.

Stir the remaining pesto into the rice or Harvest grains while the rice/grains are still pretty warm.

Place fish on a platter and enjoy.

I like to serve a white Lambrusco with this.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Helpful Hints

 So we have all had the dream of neat squares of brownies only to have them stick to the knife as we are cutting them resulting in a crumbly mess . Well no more! A plastic knife will not stick to the brownies as you are making those cuts.  The knife that works best for me is one that started out as a play-dough knife toy. Viola!!!

Chocolate Buttery Nipple Brownies

1lb butter
1lb plus 12 oz dark chocolate chips
6 oz unsweetened chocolate
6 eggs room temperature
2 ¼ c sugar
2 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1/8 C butterscotch liqueur
1/8 C Irish cream
2 Tablespoon instant espresso coffee granules
2 Tablespoon salt
1 ¼ C flour, divided
2 teaspoon baking powder

preheat over to 350
Raw brownie batter in jelly roll pan
Melt butter and chocolate together over a double boiler. Set aside to cool.
Beat eggs and sugar until mixture has lightened to a pale yellow.
Add vanilla, butterscotch, irish cream, coffee, and salt. With mixer on medium speed add the melted chocolate to the egg mixture.

Mix 1 cup of flour with the baking powder. Stir into chocolate mixture. In a ziplock bag place the chocolate chips and ¼ c flour. Shake together and dump the mixture into the batter. Stir with a spoon just until the chips are mixed throughout the batter.

Butter and flour a jelly roll pan ( basically a cookie sheet with sides :). Pour the brownie mixture into pan. You might have to spread the batter with a knife as it will be quite thick.

Bake for 10 minutes. Take pan out of oven and bang it on counter a couple of times. Return to oven and bake for another 10 to 20 min. depending on how well done you like your brownies. I like mine quite raw so once the top has firmed up I take them out and let them cool.

See helpful hints for a easy way to get the brownies cut :)

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Dill Lemon Butter

2 sticks of butter, room temperature
¼ -1/2 c of finely chopped dill
1 clove of garlic, minced
zest of ½ lemon
juice of ½ lemon
Salt to taste

Place all the ingredients in a food mixer and whip til butter is creamy. I like to freeze the butter in silicone muffin liners. That way I can make up big batches while the dill is in season. This is delicious on bread, pasta or place a small dab on grilled salmon.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

1 stick room temperature butter
11/2 c sugar
11/2 c brown sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 18 -ounce chunky peanut butter or almond butter
6 c uncooked oatmeal
1 bag of chocolate chips
2 ½ baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream butter and sugars together until creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla and peanut butter. Slowly add the oatmeal and baking soda. Mix in the chocolate chips with a wooden spoon,

Drop by large spoonfuls on a cookie sheet and flatten with fork. Bake for 8-10 min.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Couscous Avocado Salad

2 cups cooked couscous
10 grape tomatoes, cut in half
½ cucumber peeled, seeded and diced
1 avocado, diced
¼ c chopped almonds

Place all the ingredients in a bowl. Drizzle dressing over it and enjoy.

the juice of 2 lemons
¼ c olive oil
2 Tablespoons whole grain mustard
pinch of salt

Whisk it all together. This dressing also makes a great marinade for chicken.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ginger Lemon Crock-pot Chicken

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp minced garlic
½ c soy sauce
¼ c. fresh lemon juice
¼ c. grated ginger
½ c. sliced green onions
1lb. Button mushrooms
4 boneless chicken breasts
3 boneless chicken thighs

Trader Joes Harvest Grains
Place the ingredients in the order listed above into the crock pot. Cook on low for 5 hours stirring once or twice if you can. Cut chicken into chunks. I like to serve this over Trader Joes Harvest Grains.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Roasted Lemon Dill Shrimp

1 lb shrimp ( I like to peel the shrimp myself but unpeeled is just as good )
2 whole lemons thinly sliced
whole bulb of garlic top cut off
olive oil
kosher salt
Fresh dill

Place shrimp single layer on a heavy bottom baking sheet. Place lemon slices on shrimp and top with dill. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle of salt and pepper. Bake at 375 for about 7-10 min depending on size of shrimp. 

So I cooked some fettuccine and while the pasta was still warm I  rubbed the pasta with the roasted garlic bulb from the shrimp tray.

 I mixed the Spring in Pan veggies with the shrimp and lemon slices and tossed it all with the pasta. Delicious!! 

helpful hints

For an easy breakfast I like to freeze my muffin mixture raw in the paper muffin cups in the tin. After they are frozen I place them in a freezer zip-lock bag ( 12 will fit in a gallon bag) and keep them in the freezer. To serve just place them in the muffin tin, bake and you have hot muffins for breakfast with no mess.

Pumpkin Chocolate-Chip Muffins

3 eggs
1 ½ c sugar
1 can pumpkin ( not pie filling)
2 t. baking soda
2 t. baking powder
3 c. flour
½ t. salt
1 c. oil ( you can also use half applesauce )
1 T. cinnamon
¼ c. wheat germ
12 oz bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

Mix eggs and sugar together. Add cinnamon, salt, and pumpkin. In a small bowl mix the baking powder and baking soda together with 1 cup of flour with a fork. Add to the pumpkin mixture. Alternating between the oil and remaining flour mix into the pumpkin ending with the flour. Stir in the chocolate chips and wheat germ. Place in muffin cups and bake at 350 for about 12-15 min. or until you can smell them. You can also make mini muffins with this recipe. * see helpful hints for a great make ahead idea :)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Louys Tabouleh Salad

Cracked Bulgar Wheat
4 cups cracked Bulgar wheat ( Whole Foods has it in bulk)
1 cup oil
2 cups of lemon juice ( I like to use half fresh and half from the bottle)
1 English cucumber, diced
1 pint grape tomatoes, cut in half
1 bunch parsley or dill, chopped

Place wheat in a large bowl and add all the ingredients. Give it a good sitr. Cover and place in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning after stirring and tasting you might need to add more lemon juice.

There is always that one dish that whenever the family is going to be together everyone asks “ are you making..?” Well for us this the dish. It is a staple at graduations, holidays, weddings etc. This is a great salad for summer picnics , out door concerts, or tailgating  if your hockey team actually makes the playoffs. A nice crisp sparking wine finishes this dish off. I love J Cuvee but sometimes its a hit or miss in the stores. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

French Onion Soup

3oz butter
11/12lb onions, sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp plain flour
7 oz dry white wine
1 3/4 pints hot vegetable stock
bouquet garni
salt and ground black pepper
1 small baguette, cut into slices (1/2 in) thick
2 oz Gruyere or Cheddar, grated, to serve

Step 1

Melt the butter in a large pan. Add the onions and cook slowly over a very low heat, stirring frequently, until very soft and golden brown; this should take at least 30 minutes. Add the garlic and flour and cook, stirring for 1 minute.

Step 2

Pour in the wine and let bubble until reduced by half. Add the stock, bouquet garni and seasoning. Bring to the boil, transfer to a slow cooker, cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours until the onions are soft and tender.

(Without a Slow Cooker) bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes. Complete the recipe as below)

Step 3

Preheat the grill. Lightly toast the slices of baguette on both sides. Reheat the soup and adjust the seasoning. Discard the bouquet garni.

Step 4

Divide the soup among four ovenproof soup bowls. Float two or three slices of toast on each portion and sprinkle thickly with the grated cheese. Stand the bowls under a hot grill until the cheese has melted and turned golden brown. Serve at once.

A little about our contributor - 
Paul Doussay
BA (Hons). Dip. HSM PG. Cert Clinical Risk Management MA
As a home cook, festivals organizer and care-giver, Paul has an appreciation of good food. He has cooked and managed a restaurant in the city of Leicester, UK, and has been a patron of many restaurants in London, Paris, Italy, Southern Spain & North Africa. He attended University in the UK and possess both bachelor and master of arts degrees, in addition to professional management post-graduate certificates & diplomas.

Monday, April 2, 2012

helpful hints

When chopping vegetables save all the throw away pieces including the onion skins and throw them in a zip-lock bag and in the freezer. Next time you are making chicken stock or just boiling chicken for a dish throw in the stuff from the bag and you will have awesome flavor added.

Spring In a Pan

2 large red bell peppers, cut in large pieces
2 yellow squash , cut  2 in. slices at an angle
2 zucchini, cut  2 in. slices at an angle
3 stalks celery, cut 2 in. slices at an angle
3 carrots, cut 2 in. slices at an angle
2 whole bulbs of garlic top sliced off
5-6 green onions
2 large sprigs of dill
olive oil
kosher salt

Preheat over to 400.
Line a heavy cookie sheet pan with foil. Place vegetables in pan and drizzle olive oil over all the vegetables. With your hands toss the veggies so they each have coat of oil on them. Brush dill with olive oil and place on top of veggies. Sprinkle a generous pinch of kosher salt over them. Bake until you smell the vegetables and they have some color on them. When the garlic bulbs have cooled squeeze the garlic out and toss with the vegetables. Chop the dill and sprinkle over the top. These are so good alone or served over pasta with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Grapefruit Pomegranate Martini

2 oz. fresh red grapefruit juice mixed with 1 to 2 tsp of super fine sugar
1 oz. pomegranate juice
1.5 oz vodka

Fill shaker with ice. Pour ingredients over ice. Shake counting to 20. Pour into martini glass.