Sweetness in a glass: The date shake

April 17, 2015

Date shake

When I stumbled across this recipe on Epicurious last year, I immediately ran out to buy the ingredients to make the date shake. I guess I was craving something sweet and refreshing, because normally reading about what is basically a vanilla milkshake made with almond milk wouldn’t have been something that would have prompted an “I must have it now!” response from me. Whatever the reason, I’m glad it did, because this is now one of my favorite sweet pick-me-ups to have in the middle of the day.

I decided if I were going the route of almond milk, I might as well make this recipe dairy-free, so I picked up a pint of Coconut Bliss Vanilla Island instead of opting for the vanilla gelato called for in the recipe. (more…)

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Saturday Sippers: Sangria

June 7, 2014

Sangria

Summertime. Hot weather. Sunny days. Blue skies. Relaxing with friends. Fresh, juicy fruits. Sitting by the water. Sipping chilled drinks. And do I have one of the best chilled drinks for you. The classic sangria. You can whip it up by the pitcher or by the cooler, depending on how big your crowd is. Sit out glasses and an ice bucket, as well as a ladle for the fruit, and you’ve got a self-serve cocktail that packs enough of a punch to enjoy, but not so much that your friends will be teeter-tottering into the pool.

The wonderful thing about sangria is there are so many options, and you can make do with whatever you have on hand. Red, white, rosé, sparkling – all make a wonderful sangria. Pick your fruit, pick your juice, pick your liqueur, and pick your soda. Balance it out with a little pre-punchbowl taste test, adding a bit more of this or that to bring a harmony to the flavors – not too sweet, not too fruity, not too alcoholic, but Goldilock’s-approved ‘just right’.

This Goldilock’s has already found her ‘just right’ however for the classic red wine sangria, so she shall share her secrets with you forthwith. (more…)

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Apples & cinnamon oatmeal gets a grown up makeover

April 17, 2014

Grown up apples-n-cinnamon oatmeal

I’m sure you all remember the little Quaker oatmeal packets we’d have for breakfast back in the day (or, maybe you still stock your pantry with these guys). Undoubtedly you’d be somewhere, and instead of just having a box of your favorite flavor, they’d have the dreaded flavor variety box. And you were left hoping your favorite flavor was there. Or at least, there would be a flavor you could at least stomach. My favorite flavor was Apples & Cinnamon, and everything else was just a huge disappointment or downright inedible. It’s been quite a while since I’ve had Apples & Cinnamon oatmeal, but a couple of weeks ago I happened to have a plethora of apples and decided that was exactly what I was going to make.

I call this version grown up, because not only does it have huge chunks of apples and nuts in it, but I came up with this recipe while my husband and I were doing an elimination diet. That seems like something only a crazy grown up would do (more…)

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Brussels sprouts, two ways

November 19, 2013

Salt Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Salt-roasted brussels sprouts

I remember the first time I tried a brussels sprout; I actually didn’t know what it was. I happened to be in Sonoma county, and my husband and I had settled in at the bar of a crowded restaurant for dinner. The bartender was telling us the specials, but he couldn’t remember what vegetables were served with one of the dishes. I’ve forgotten what the dish was, but it sounded so divine I didn’t care what the vegetable was that came alongside, so I ordered it. When the dish was served, the brussels sprouts were covered with the dish’s sauce, and I still wasn’t sure what they were. They looked like some small, alien life form to me, and while I wasn’t put off by them, I also wasn’t thrilled by them. I never did ask the bar tender what they were. I ate a few, and that was that.

Fast forward a couple of years and I stumbled across the recipe that morphed into my spuds and sprouts. Upon prepping the sprouts, I realized that this was what I had at the restaurant bar in Sonoma. Luckily, this time I was in love with their flavor, as a huge dose of salt really helps tame any bitterness, and a little sweetness never hurt anything (this recipe contained bacon and golden raisins). So with that in mind, I give you two very easy recipes to make brussels sprouts that most any person will love, even if they’re not a proclaimed fan. Not to mention, for a Thanksgiving side dish, you’ll love that these are fairly hands-off recipes. (more…)

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Perfect pumpkin: Pumpkin and green lentil tagine

November 6, 2013

Pumpkin Tagine

A couple of weeks ago when I walked by a huge pile of sugar pumpkins at the grocery, I couldn’t help myself. I picked one up. In the back of my mind I had this tagine on my mind – green lentils, chunks of pumpkin, spicy harissa paste. Luckily these little pumpkins keep for a while, so it was my sole Halloween decoration for a week or so, before I gutted it and made it dinner.

Sugar pumpkins have a similar texture to butternut squash, which would work just as well for this recipe. I expected the recipe to turn out super spicy due to the harissa, but when I started cooking I realized only a minuscule amount was called for. Of course, I fixed that! (more…)

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