Beverages

Spiced Pear Smoothie

When cooking for one to two people leftovers are usually inevitable and since it is Single Serving Sunday I have a question for you: how long do you think is it okay to still eat leftovers? It seems that everyone has different scales from one day to a week or more, and then some people never eat leftovers (blasphemy). And while we’re on the subject how to you feel about eating yogurt past its “sell by date”? I will honestly admit that I’ve had yogurt a month past that date. More than once. So long as it hasn’t been opened yet of course. Basically if it doesn’t smell, look, or taste weird I’ll probably eat it and have also survived years of eating raw cookie dough and cake batters.

But anywho, let’s focus on this smoothie and it’s demise. Sometimes I do dumb things such a moving my patio furniture around for better lighting while a cup full of smoothie sits on it. And then I watch as it teeters over and crashes onto the ground. As a result I am down 1 glass and had to remake the smoothie. Wiping away all that smoothie was such a horrible waste too because it’s quite good. Even though I love pears I usually don’t reach for pear flavored things. This smoothie is an exception as the addition of cardamon and ginger really give it an unique flavor. And no I did not make this with rancid yogurt :-P.

Spiced Pear Smoothie

Two years ago: Breakfast Burrito
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Strawberry, Mango, and Yogurt Smoothie & Red Jacket Juice Giveaway

Everyone’s had apple juice, but have you ever had FUJI apple juice?Leave it to Red Jacket to create an entire line of fantastic juices including strawberry apple, raspberry apple, blackcurrant apple, grape apple, tart cherry stomp, apricot stomp, apple cider, and even spiced apple cider. And their company is close to where I grew up, so it’s great to support a local company!

RJJ Logo

Located in the beautiful Finger Lakes Region of New York State along the rolling hills of Seneca Lake, Red Jacket was originally planted in 1917.  Today, the orchard and juice company is managed by the second and third generation of the Nicholson family, who have spent over 50 years mastering the art and science of quality fresh fruit and juice production.

But what makes their juice so special? It is 100% juice, never from concentrate, cold-pressed, unfiltered (so it retains the fiber of the fruit), 50% more antioxidant activity than clear juice, and made right on the orchard in Geneva, NY. It’s as close to eating the whole fruit as you can get! And I’m giving away a 6-bottle variety pack and the end of this post! (US residents only – but they cannot ship to CA.)

5 Bottles

After thoroughly enjoying drinking a couple juices straight up, I decided to make a smoothie using the Fuji Apple Juice. I make green monster smoothies almost religiously, so it was fun to change it up a bit. The tangy-ness brought by the Greek yogurt and mango was well balanced with the sweetness of the strawberries and juice. I may need to add some of their juice to my green monsters!

Strawberry, Mango, and Yogurt Smoothie

One year ago: More Fudge Less Pudge Brownies

Two years ago: Coconut Chicken Salad with Apricot Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
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Red Velvet Hot Cocoa Mix & Cream Cheese Frosting Marshmallows

This is my fourth hot cocoa mix recipe. First I made a regular version, followed by Salted Caramel, then recently made Peanut Butter and now Red Velvet! In case that isn’t enough, since last time I made special peanut butter marshmallows to pair with the peanut butter hot cocoa, I decided to go ahead and make cream cheese frosting marshmallows to complete the full flavor of a red velvet experience. And I think I am now officially in love with homemade marshmallows. You’d think that would’ve been solidified when my first was the peanut butter version, but cream cheese marshmallows? Holy freaking awesomeness.

If you notice in the background, I packaged up single servings of hot cocoa and a marshmallow in mini red containers to give away as Valentine’s Day presents. It’s a present that warms the heart, body, and soul!

Red Velvet Hot Cocoa Mix

One year ago: Dark Chocolate Strawberry Shortcakes with Amaretto Cream

Two years ago: Guiltless Fettuccine Alfredo
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Review: OXO Mini Measuring Beakers & Funfetti Cake Shots

Until now, all the liquid measuring cups I owned were larger and the smallest volume they could measure was a 1/4 cup. But with the new 4 Piece Mini Measuring Beaker Set from OXO, I can now measure out more than one tablespoon at a time. The best part for my nerd-self is that they are shaped like little beakers and are designed specifically for measuring and pouring smaller amounts of ingredients such as food coloring, extracts, lemon juice and more. No more food coloring stained fingers – let’s rejoice!

The beakers stand on their own, with fill lines below the very top, making it easy to set out ingredients before you start cooking or baking.  The funnel shape and spout on the top of the beakers make filling and pouring simple. They are also brightly colored, top-rack dishwasher safe, and nest together for compact storage – an extra bonus for my crammed micro-apartment kitchen. The set includes 2 oz, 1 oz, 1 T and 1 tsp beakers. And just a little knowledge for you: 1 oz = 2 Tbsp

OXO Mini Measuring Beakers

Now let’s talk about what I decided to make with these, and speculate on why the first thing I thought of was alcohol. Have you ever taken a shot by yourself? I would assume not as I had not either until I made this Funfetti cake shot. I didn’t think it through prior to it’s preparation, and mixed it up around 2pm… well now what am I supposed to do with it? So I shot one and dumped the other down the drain after feeling like an alcoholic drinking by myself. Although I felt a little guilty tossing a perfectly good cake-flavored shot down the drain. Somehow pineapple juice and vanilla vodka creates a yellow cake batter flavor, who am I to judge?

Funfetti Cake Shot

One year ago: Stromboli

Two years ago: Grilled Three Cheese Sandwich
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Homemade Eggnog

Upon returning from the holiday break I finally decided it was time to try baking something with Eggnog. Even though it’s not my favorite beverage to drink by itself, I was convinced it would be good cooked into something. However, the grocery stores were all out of eggnog. I suppose this should not have been a surprise but I had hoped there would be some leftovers on sale. Thankfully there are recipes to make your own at home, so I did! Who says you cannot have eggnog post-Christmas?

This recipe caught my eye because it uses lower fat milk and just the egg yolks in order to maintain the richness known to be associated with eggnog. Not that I truly have any standards in my eggnog since like I already said, I don’t drink it (unless it’s spiked). But I suppose that means it will work very well in any recipe I desire to make which calls for eggnog in the ingredient list.

Homemade Eggnog

One year ago: Lasagna Soup with Ricotta Bread

Two years ago: Pumpkin Pancakes

HOMEMADE EGGNOG

This delicious recipe can be found at In Jennie’s Kitchen

Signature

Homemade Peanut Butter Hot Cocoa Mix

The other day while digging through my ridiculously deep and narrow cabinets, I knocked over a zip-top bag of granulated Swerve sweetener and upon picking it up discovered that it wasn’t sealed. Insert mildly colorful words as I watched the sugar pour out over everything. Why I continue to stock all my flours and sugars in the very back of the cabinet remains a mystery (not another pregret, just stupidity).

That incident really has nothing to do with making hot cocoa mix, other than the fact that hot cocoa is a sugar explosion in a cup instead of my cabinet. But for awhile now, I have been wondering how to make a mix version of peanut butter hot cocoa. Mixing the peanut butter spread itself into the steamy drink works fairly well, but I wanted an easier method. Then I realized that the mix I have been making for a couple years now uses white chocolate chips, and could easily substitute for peanut butter chip! Could it really be that simple? Yup, it certainly is! I thought of being bold and replacing it all with peanut butter chips, but I really like the flavor white chocolate adds to this so I kept some of it around as a sidekick.

We also need to talk about the giant Reese’s cups that I found at Target. TWO HALF POUND CUPS! They are freaking beautiful, people. If I had had a cart I would’ve knocked over the entire display. Instead I modestly placed 3 packages in my hand basket. But it got me thinking… Since it is peanut butter lover’s month you should definitely buy those giant Reese’s cups and make this hot cocoa as the perfect gift for the peanut butter lovers’ in your life! I know such a combination would win me over, and I am definitely a peanut butter lover ;-).

Side note: I wonder if the Swerve powdered sugar (which did not have a release party in my cabinet) would work well in this hot cocoa? I shall try it out and get back to you. Speaking of Swerve, don’t forget to enter my Swerve baking kit giveaway! And my second blogiversary giveaway (including a jar of regular homemade hot cocoa mix) ends tonight.

In other semi peanut butter-related news, The Ohio State Buckeyes take on the Wisconsin Badgers today @ 3:30 eastern time! It’s an away game so we don’t have the home field advantage, but we already won our division last weekend even though we had a Bye (because Penn State lost). Unfortunately we won’t be able to contend our status in the B1G championship game, but we can at least enjoy the ride until then. And hopefully knock out Michigan (next week) on the way O:-).

One year ago: Pumpkin Kissed Gingerbread Brownies
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Review: Campo Viejo’s 2010 Tempranillo

If someone asks me to review a wine it’s probably going to be answered in the affirmative, especially if it is a red wine. When told I would be sent a sample of Campo Viejo’s 2010 Tempranillo I thought surely it would be a small, single-serving bottle. Turns out I was provided with a full-sized bottle which ended up going to Nashville with me two weekends ago for a visit to one of my best friends from back home (who is currently living in that area).

Most of the time when I drink wine, it is not with a meal. So Becky and I decided to take the light cheese pairing suggestion on the bottle quite literally and drank this up with a platter full of crackers and mild white cheeses while watching a movie (and yes this was our dinner). Pairing with these mild cheeses was definitely the right choice because the wine itself does not have a particularly strong flavor, and may have been lost behind the flavors of a sharp cheese. That doesn’t mean it didn’t have good flavor, but for me I like having a wine that can stand alone (again going with my typical fashion of drinking wine by itself and not with a meal). In my limited experience with wine varieties, I tend to prefer Cabernet Sauvignons.

The makers of Campo Viejo also have created a three-course tasting menu which is designed to be enjoyed with the 2010 Tempranillo. The menu was inspired by survey results showing that cheeses, meats and pies were the most preferred winter foods. I actually wish I had made any one of these menu items to go along with the wine, since I may have cut it short by only sampling it with a platter-full of cheese. One of these days I will learn the art of wine-and-food pairings.

Overall I wasn’t blown away by this wine, but I did enjoy trying a different red for a change.

A versatile table choice. The deep cherry hues and intense red fruit notes make this young wine incredibly approachable, while hints of vanilla, cocoa and spice make this bottle an ideal choice for the indoor months”

THREE-COURSE TASTING MENU

First Course: Truffle Mac and Cheese

The truffles reflect the earthy undertones in the Tempranillo, and the richness of the cheese is balanced by the wine’s modest acidity.

Ingredients:

1-16 oz. box elbow macaroni

1/2 tsp salt

Olive oil

1 quart whole milk

4 Tbsp unsalted butter

4 Tbsp all-purpose flour

1 tsp rosemary, finely chopped

2 Tbsp white truffle oil, divided

12 oz. Comté cheese, grated

8 oz. white cheddar cheese, grated

3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs

Salt and pepper

Shaved truffles for garnish, optional

Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 10×13 baking pan.
  2. Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Add salt and a drizzle of olive oil to boiling water. Add pasta and cook al dente (slightly underdone is better than overdone). Drain, rinse briefly under cold water and set aside.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, heat the milk over low heat until hot, but not boiling.
  4. Meanwhile, heat 4 tablespoons butter in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat until melted. Reduce heat and add the flour, whisking constantly to form a smooth paste, about 2 minutes. Add in rosemary, continuing to mix.
  5. Gradually whisk in the hot milk and cook, stirring constantly, until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and add 1 tablespoon of the truffle oil, then mix the Comté and cheddar until melted. Season with salt and pepper (to taste).
  6. Add the pasta to the sauce, stirring to coat, and pour into baking pan.
  7. Top with the Panko bread crumbs and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and the crumbs are golden brown.
  8. Before serving, drizzle with remaining truffle oil and shaved truffles (if desired). Serve hot.

Second Course: Moroccan Lamb Meatballs in Spicy Tomato Sauce

Tempranillo and lamb are a classic pairing, and the spices found here share the spotlight with those of the Tempranillo.

Ingredients:

1-1/2 lbs. ground lamb

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 small onion, diced

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup raisins, soaked in hot water and drained (optional)

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp paprika, divided

Salt

Olive oil

1-28 oz. can diced tomatoes

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Sauté onion in a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet until soft. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly combine ground lamb, egg, onion, raisins (if using), cumin, cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon paprika and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Form mixture into one ounce balls, about the size of ping pong balls.
  4. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in the skillet over medium heat. Add meatballs (in several batches if necessary) and sauté for about 8 minutes, until golden brown. Transfer to a baking sheet and place in oven to keep warm.
  5. In the meantime, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add garlic, cayenne and remaining paprika and sauté for about a minute until fragrant, making sure not to burn. Add crushed tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5-7 minutes, until slightly thickened. Season with salt to taste.
  6. Remove meatballs from oven and add to sauce. Cook for another five minutes until meatballs are cooked through. Serve with couscous or rice.

Third Course: Apple Turnovers with Maple-Mascarpone Glaze

Maple and cinnamon inspire homeward bound thinking, while the apple embraces the Tempranillo’s fruit-forward notes.

Ingredients:

PASTRY AND FILLING

4 cups Granny Smith apples (about 4 medium apples), peeled, cored and chopped

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1/2 cup sugar

2 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp cornstarch

1 Tbsp water

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1-17.3 oz. package frozen puff pastry sheets – thawed

1-2 egg whites, lightly beaten

GLAZE

1/2 cup mascarpone, at room temperature

2 Tbsp maple syrup

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place apples in a bowl and drizzle lemon juice over them, tossing gently to coat.
  3. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add apples to skillet and cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes. Add sugar and cinnamon and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Mix together cornstarch and 1 tablespoon water in a bowl. Pour into the skillet and mix well. Cook for another minute or until sauce thickens. Remove from heat to cool.
  5. Unfold puff pastry sheets and trim each sheet into a square. Cut each one into 4 smaller squares. Spread apples onto the middle of each square, then fold each square in half to form a triangle. Press ends together to seal. Place the triangles 1-2 inches apart, on a slightly greased baking sheet, lined with parchment paper. Lightly brush the top of each turnover with beaten egg whites.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until turnovers are puffed and lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool completely.
  7. To make the glaze, mix together the mascarpone and maple syrup in a small bowl. Drizzle glaze over the cooled turnovers and sprinkle with cinnamon to taste.

Source: Recipes and recipe photos provided to me by Nicole from The Thomas Collective via e-mail.

Disclaimer: I received one bottle of Campo Viejo’s 2010 Tempranillo to sample. I was not compensated for this review, and the thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Nutella Recipe Roundup

Are you ready to indulge this Sunday for the Superbowl? I bet you didn’t know that it will also be World Nutella Day!! In case your Superbowl party menu is lacking in this other fabulous food occasion this Sunday, I have taken the time to compile all of the recipes that include Nutella on my blog. You’re welcome :-).

And stay turned for a new Nutella recipe, to be posted on Sunday!

One year ago: Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts

Breakfast

Appetizers

Desserts

Nutella Smoothie

Am I posting too many breakfast recipes lately? For some reason I have been splitting at the seams with things I want for breakfast and it definitely shows on here. Even with World Nutella day on the horizon (which is the same day as the Superbowl this year) the spirit of breakfast still has yet to cease. Let’s just compromise for this momentous holiday by pre-gaming with a Nutella smoothie, mmk? You really cannot argue with someone telling you to have Nutella for breakfast.

One year ago: Buffalo Chicken Nachos

NUTELLA SMOOTHIE

Serves 1

Ingredients:

2 Tbsp oats

1/2 frozen sliced banana

2 Tbsp Nutella chocolate hazelnut spread

1/2 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt

1/2 cup 2% milk

Directions:

  1. In a rocket blender, add all ingredients and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

Source: The Spiffy Cookie original

Green Monster Spinach Smoothie

If you haven’t yet, vote for my Funfetti Truffle Chocolate Cupcakes in the “So You Wanna Be a CakeSpy” contest! I’m not sure at what time, but a winner should be announced sometime today:

While we are on the topic of food contests, I entered a chili contest on Saturday and came in second by 2 votes! Want the recipe? It’s the spiced up version of my dad’s chili recipe, found HERE.

But wait, there have been other battles going on lately. As you know I’ve already tackled my fear of adding spinach to a smoothie with the berry detox smoothie, but next was the green spinach smoothie affectionately named the Green Monster – you cannot hide from the spinach-green color of this one! Despite the green-ness, my reaction to this smoothie may have even been better than to the non-green spinach-containing smoothie. It was creamy and slightly sweet without a single sign of spinach, other than the color.

This was the first combination I tried, with a little pineapple in there. Second time I tried with mango and couldn’t taste much of a difference. But I have seen many other additions floating around other blogs and I plan to test them out as well. For now I was very pleased with this one and plan on making it again. Spinach, for the win!

GREEN MONSTER SPINACH SMOOTHIE

Serves 1

Ingredients:

1/2 frozen sliced banana

1/4 cup frozen pineapple or mango

1/2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter

1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt

1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

2 cups baby spinach (or more, or less)

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Source: Adapted from Iowa Girl Eats.

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