Showing posts with label holiday recipes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label holiday recipes. Show all posts

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Review of Hot Drink for the Holidays

Hot Holiday Punch Recipe Postcard
by mbgphoto 

Hot Drink for Cold Days

I love to entertain during the holiday season. When my guests come in from a cold winters evening a cup of hot holiday punch will make them feel warm and festive.

Over the years I have experimented with several combinations for hot drinks and have ended up using this one for the past ten years or so.  It has just the right blend of juices and spices and is great with or without alcohol added.  I always serve the alcohol on the side and let the guest decide how much to add or not.

Hot Holiday Punch

Ingredients


  • 1 Jar (48 oz) cranberry juice 
  • 1 can (46 ox) unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 3/4 teaspoon allspice
  • 3 sticks cinnamon
  • one orange cut into slices

Instructions

Combine all ingredients in large crockpot and heat.  I put a decanter of rum nearby for those who would like to add a bit of liquor.

At the beginning of this page I added a link to a recipe card for the punch that you can purchase on Zazzle.

Mugs for Hot Drinks

Here are some festive mugs I found on Zazzle.
The first one can be personalized with your name.

Watercolor Pine Tree Joyeux Noel Espresso Cup
I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a festive holiday season!!




Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Review of Favorite Christmas Cookies - Rosettes Recipe

Review of Favorite Christmas Cookies - Rosettes Recipe
Nothing says Christmas to me like my grandmother’s rosette cookies.  Coming together as a family during the holidays means making, and then inhaling, these Scandinavian treat delights (my highest dessert rating).

These lacy snowflake-like cookies are as much eye candy as they are absolutely the tastiest lighter-than-air, flaky pastry you will ever eat.  I don’t think there is a more beautiful holiday food than rosettes.  Just having a plate of these delicate cookies on your table will instantly make the season more merry and bright.

If you are looking for a unique gift for friends, family, neighbors, teachers, or co-workers, this is a delightful way to share the warm spirit of the season.  Simply create a gift basket filled with rosettes, or even better, offer a kit with the recipe, a set of rosette irons, and the mix.  You just might help someone start a treasured holiday tradition.

Ingredients:
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon granulated white sugar
  • 1 cup sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Directions:
  1. In a mixing bowl, whisk your eggs, sugar, and salt until blended.
  2. Use a sifter to mix in your flour.  Add milk and vanilla.
  3. Add three to four inches of cooking oil to a deep fryer or stove top pan.
  4. Use candy thermometer to heat oil to 365 degrees (Fahrenheit).
  5. Heat rosette iron in the oil for at least two minutes.
  6. Remove heated rosette iron from the oil.  Let excess oil drain off the iron.
  7. Carefully dip the hot iron into batter (leaving a 1/4 inch margin at top of iron).
  8. Immerse rosette iron into heated oil.  Fry batter until golden.
  9. Use skimmer to remove rosette from oil.  Drip off excess oil.
  10. Place rosette on drying rack.  Sprinkle with sugar (granulated or powdered) just before serving.
  11. Reheat rosette iron in hot oil for one minute and repeat the process.
Serves: 10     Prep Time: 15 Minutes     Total Time: 30 Minutes









Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Go Bananas! Reviewing Banana Treats & Toys for Banana Day

Source: Pixabay
Banana Day is held annually on the third Wednesday of April.  That makes April 18 Banana Day this year. 

Many colleges and universities celebrate 'Banana Day' with a variety of events, including games, trivia, a bunch of banana concoctions to eat and drink, and students dressing up as a banana or a gorilla.


West Chester University in Pennsylvania began an annual BANANA DAY in 1996.  That year 3,000 bananas were given to people on campus and over 50 hours of service contributed to the community. Since then it has become a morale and school pride booster for everyone. 



Banana Facts


Printable Kitchen Decor Print from SimplyGiftsOnline on Etsy
Bananas can give an instant and sustained boost of energy to your body.   It is the reason it  has become the number one fruit for today's leading athletes.  Three small bananas can provide enough energy for a strenuous 90-minute workout.  It's also good for many health reasons, making it the perfect staple in our daily diets.

There are almost 1000 varieties of bananas in the world, with the most well known one being the Cavendish banana, which is the one grown for export.  Bananas are grown in some 150 countries and produce about 105 million tons of fruit every year.  Did you know that bananas are botanically a berry?






Olivia Morris tells us all about National Banana Day in her article here on Review This!



Banana Costume


Banana Costume by The Costume Cafe

If you want to dress up as a banana for National Banana Day,  Sara Carter makes adorable costumes in many styles and sizes.  Here's her banana costume for kids.


Sara, a midwestern girl now living in Austin, Texas, loves to create unique costumes for kids that fit well and allow them to move freely.  She thinks most costumes should be able to come on and off easily and be layered over street clothes.  Her specialty is costumes that look good enough to eat... 

Sara's food-related costumes from infant size to adult can be found in her Etsy Shop she calls The Costume Cafe.

Banana Play Food


Besides being a delicious fruit to eat, bananas can be a fun play food for little ones. 



Plush Banana Fruit Playfood

This cute banana plush is all hand crocheted by Olivia Laws of Tennessee. It can be found in her Etsy Shop Olivia Laws Art

This little nanner doesn't have any removable parts, so it makes a good teething toy. It also makes a great unique stress ball plushy or decoration

Gorillas Love Banana Day


Baby Gorilla
When you think of bananas, one's thoughts naturally turn to gorillas and monkeys who love bananas.  My baby gorilla would love to eat a banana if he were real.  Instead, he'd enjoy joining a child playing with soft toy bananas at a playtime tea party.

Baby Gorilla is a plush toy version of a zoo or jungle animal from the family of apes. He is handmade in crochet using light brown and eggshell white acrylic yarn and filled with new soft fiberfill. His eyes and nose are plastic safety craft eyes.  His 'smile' is embroidered in yarn.

Baby Gorilla wears a blue bib with an appliqued yarn heart in pink. The bib is tied on with a bow and is removable.

Baby Gorilla measures 8 inches tall in a sitting position. His legs are about 3 inches long and his arms (always longer than the legs on gorillas) are 5 inches long.  He's available in my Etsy Shop Coastal Crochet Crafts.



Other Banana Days


April brings us National Banana Day, but that's not the only day we celebrate the banana fruit.

  • February 23 is National  Banana Bread Day.  With this delicious homemade banana bread recipe from Sylvestermouse, you don't have to wait until February every year to enjoy this tasty banana treat.
  • And Mary Beth of MBGPhoto here on Review This shares a different banana bread recipe using sour cream and frozen bananas.
  • March 2 is National Banana Cream Pie Day


  • And.... August 27 is National Banana Lovers Day


So be sure and enjoy bananas in ALL its forms on these special days.... and every day!










Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Reviewing Vegan Holiday Cookbooks

Jennifer Katzinger Vegan Holiday Cookbook
As a vegan cook, the holidays are especially tricky. Most holidays including Thanksgiving, usually center around a big meat dish. Here I'll give you my reviews of the vegan cookbooks I've used throughout the holidays.

Some are better than others, of course. Some give you menus to work from while others have given me ideas to get me started on my own menus for the various holidays. Whether you want to serve a full vegan holiday dinner, or just need some good ideas for vegan dishes for your guests, you can find the recipes and ideas you need in each of these vegan holiday cookbooks.

My Favorite Vegan Holiday Cookbook

Reviewing vegan holiday cookbooks
Gluten-Free and Vegan: Celebrating the Year

My favorite, the one that I turn to most often, vegan holiday cookbook is by Jennifer Katzinger titled, Gluten-Free and Vegan: Celebrating the Year with Simple, Satisfying Recipes and Menus. I've reviewed it more extensively in an article for Cooking for the Holidays site, so I'll just summarize here.

Author Katzinger is a long experience vegan chef, but she's a baker by love. Her desserts are amazing. She shares her vegan and gluten-free versions of traditional holiday desserts. It's her Thanksgiving menu, with all of the simple recipes that I turn to most often to celebrate this holiday. Appetizers, main courses, side dishes and desserts are all combine to make a great Thanksgiving dinner.

reviewing vegan holiday cookbooks
Happy Herbivore Holidays

The Happy Herbivore Vegan Holiday Cookbook


Lindsay Nixon has made a name for herself as the Happy Herbivore. She has many cookbooks on the market, but her Happy Herbivore Holidays and Gatherings: Easy Plant-based Recipes for Your Healthiest Celebrations and Special Occasions is one of her best in my vegan opinion.

I was delighted at how easy her recipes are. Since I'm basically a lazy cook, I needed simple, yet tasty recipes. She has a wealth of them. And she doesn't require exotic ingredients in her recipes. That sure helps if ethnic markets are not close by.

Fair warning here. If you are already a Happy Herbivore fan and have others of her cookbooks, you will discover that she recycled many of her other recipes. But, these are organized for those big holiday celebrations.

The good news is that all of my non-vegan friends and relations enjoyed my vegan menus. Even my son-in-law didn't feel the need to rush to McDonald's for a McRib sandwich or two! Now that is a true compliment to the Happy Herbivore.

Planning Your Own Vegan Holiday Menus

Reviewing Vegan Holiday Cookbooks
But I Could Never Go Vegan

If you want to plan your own menus for the holidays or just looking for interesting vegan recipes, I have a favorite cookbook for you. But I Could Never Go Vegan, by Kristy Turner, is it. Forget boring standard fare, Turner gives you an amazing collection of unique and interesting recipes.

Avocado and Kale Florentine is one of those unique and interesting recipes. I've included it many brunch menus. Talk about a hit! Author Turner has plenty of these hits. Her vegan Cheesy Veggie Stromboli is usually part of my vegan Thanksgiving dinner. Savory Corn Cheesecake makes a stunning presentation of your holiday table.

Whether you want a full menu to make a vegan holiday meal, or just looking for something special to add to your table, any of these cookbooks could be your answer. Each one holds a special place in my cookbook collection.

You can always find more cookbook reviews at Review This! Books.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Reviewing July 4th Appetizers - Part III of the Review This 4th of July Menu

Ah, appetizers, the food teaser for any fun meal gathering. July 4th, in the heat of the summer brings many families and friends together for some great meals. That naturally includes appetizers. So it's time to review some of these. Be sure to check out Parts I and II in our 4th of July Menu reviews as well. Susan Depner brings us some delicious main courses and Sylvestermouse presents favorite red, white and blue desserts.

A Tasty Dip Appetizer

Deb Lindsey for the Washington Post

Although I've not enjoyed hot and spicy food, I did enjoy this take on a south-of-the-border favorite. is a tasty dip appetizer that combines pumpkin seeds (pepitas) and a flavorful variation on tomatoes (tomatillos). It's simple to make and can be prepared ahead of time. That's a big help for busy folks who still want to have a great gathering for July 4th.
Pepita-Tomatillo Dip

The Washington Post newspaper published this recipe with it's variation from Food editor Joe Yonan. Be sure to check out his delightful addition of a touch of honey to make this a great addition for your July 4th celebration.




Refreshing July 4th Appetizer


I was delighted to find one of my favorite chefs, Jacques Pepin, has created a delicious and refreshing appetizer to enjoy for any July 4th celebration. His Watermelon with Feta Cheese and Mint adds a bright spot of color to your table. It doubles nicely as a salad, too. And who doesn't love double duty recipes?

This is a simple to make dish. But, fair warning - make on the day of your celebration for the best presentation. Watermelon tends to lose its crispness when stored for very long. The good news is that it takes very little time to make Watermelon with Feta Cheese and Mint. So enjoy this refreshing appetizer.

And Speaking of Watermelon Appetizers 


Deb Lindsey for the Washington Post
As long as we are enjoying watermelon, we can't forget the delightful gazpacho as a July 4th refreshing appetizer. Worldlyvegetarian blogger Visi Tilak has created a delicious gazpacho from watermelon and tomato. 

This is one simple recipe. (Hmm, I guess you might be noticing a theme in these appetizers - simple, easy.) Literally just run everything through a blender and serve. Tilak adds a topping if you want to do that. Frankly, I was just delighted with how delicious the base recipe was. But, you can make a nicer presentation with her basil, avocado, and red onion topping. And yes, this recipe works nicely to make ahead and store in the fridge.

More July 4th Menus from Review This


Be sure to check out more of Review This July 4th menus. Start with main dishes reviewed by Susan Depner. She offers up some fun, interesting and unique options for your celebration.

Then get all the patriotic dessert ideas you want from Sylvestermouse. She presents some of the most beautiful looking and delicious desserts.

Enjoy your 4th of July celebration and keep it safe.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day: A Review of the Fun Side

Since this is Valentine's Day, it's time review a few of the fun and interesting things about this holiday. Some history, some cooking, even some romantic ideas. Along with some not-so-romantic ideas as well.

Historical Valentine's Day


Ever wonder how this tradition of Valentine's Day got started? Turns out to be a religious feast day, originally. There really was a man named Valentinus who was later cannonized in the Christian faith. Seems St. Valentine was known for performing illegal marriages. Of course, there is more to the history of Valentine's Day. But, it's fun to see how it's origins really happened.

Offbeat Holiday Traditions


Mind-floss.com pulled together a fun collection of offbeat Valentine's Day traditions (www.mentalfloss.com/article/61624/offbeat-valentines-day-traditions-around-world). Some are interesting, some are funny, while others are just plain strange.

My favorite is the tradition from Finland. They don't celebrate with romance but with friendship. Then there is the humorous, while traditionally romantic Valentine's Day custom in Taiwan. The meaning of the number of roses a guy gives a gal can change their lives significantly.

Valentine's Day Food Under Review


Certainly, modern day traditions include plenty of food for this celebration. Chocolate, of course. But, there are other fun options. Cooking for the Holidays author Cynthia gives us a fun collection of easy ways to decorate cupcakes for Valentine's Day.

Here on Review This, you can find a great review of other Valentine's Day food treats. Do we ever have enough heart-shaped goodies? Not in my view.

As long as we are celebrating Valentine's Day, why not celebrate with all kinds of love, whether the romantic kind or the friendship kind.


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Food Review: Southern Good Luck Foods for the New Year


Set the table for a down-home New Year's Eve party. Give your family and friends the best of wishes with these Southern good luck foods for the New Year.

The Deep South of the United States is filled with good people, good times, and good food. Along with this goodness is an air of superstition and food symbolism. And, the New Year is no exception. On New Year's Eve, Southerners have three favorite dishes that are more than just good luck charms. These foods are plentiful and inexpensive.

Here are the three foods you'll find on a Southern table for New Year's Eve dinner. Serve these dishes to your party guests in the hope that y'all will gain wealth, health, and happiness in the coming year.

Serve black-eyed peas to grow your wealth

Don't go making the mistake of calling these dried packages of protein beans. Any Southerner will tell you that these are not beans, these are peas. Black-eyed peas, in fact, and they symbolize good luck.

It is believed that eating black-eyed peas will help expand wealth because the peas swell up and expand when cooked. Also, black-eyed peas can endure the rough spots. These peas grow in the harsh southern summer sun when many other plants wither and die.

Black-eyed peas are served often at our house. It's easy to cook black-eyed peas and there are so many ways to prepare these staple foods.  We make a simple black-eyed pea and vegetable soup with onions, carrots, and collard greens.

Patrick and Gina Neeley, from Down Home with the Neeleys on the Food Network, have an awesome recipe for Black-Eyed Peas with Bacon and Pork. Their recipe calls for chicken stock. If you are looking for a low-sodium and vegetarian soup stock, save your vegetable scraps and make your own homemade vegetable soup stock instead.

Add a side of collards to have hope for better things to come


Collard greens are the color of money, the color of hope, and the color of new growth. How can you go wrong with the triple crown of good luck?

This West Coast girl had never heard of collards until moving to the South. The bitter taste and tough texture weren't to my liking. Then we started growing collards in our garden and picking the young leaves for our dinners. The flavor is much milder and the leaves are much easier to eat.

Another popular Southern cook, Paula Deen, has a simple dish for a Quick Collard Green Saute that is delicious. If you don't like collard greens, you can substitute any of the cooking greens such as spinach, mustard greens, bok choy, or Chinese cabbage.

Clean your plate with cornbread to keep your good fortune

Leqenik by Violetamyftari. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
As my best Southern Gentleman would say, "Gotta slop up all those peas and collards, can't let the good luck go to waste." And a slice of golden cornbread is just the way to save your good fortune. The golden yellow of the cornbread symbolizes riches and because the cornbread rises as it cooks, it is a symbol of increasing wealth.

Add a touch of golden happiness to your New Year's meal with this Buttery Corn Bread Recipe from Taste of Home. This is a simple recipe that just takes a few minutes to mix together and 30 minutes to bake.

Sit back and enjoy your holiday get-together


After dinner, sit back and enjoy the Southern hospitality. Spend quality time with your family and friends. Share some laughter. Sing some happy songs. And, have hope in a prosperous new year.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Halloween Sandwiches: Part IV of Halloween Recipes on Review This!

This year's Halloween celebration will be just a bit different than I normally have. I'm doing a sandwich spread for some of my family. Therefore I needed some good options for great Halloween sandwiches. And did I find some. Children and adults will be included in this event which means recipes appropriate for both.




Finger sandwiches from Pillsbury

Halloween Finger Sandwiches, Literally


Finger sandwiches are always worth doing and at Halloween we have sandwiches that look like fingers. I love this recipe, it's easy and adjustable for any variety of ingredients. Pillsbury came up with idea and uses meats, but I want to do a vegetarian version.

That turned out to be easy, by just replacing the meats with cheeses and vegetables in the sandwich and using triangles of red pepper instead of the pepperoni for the fingernails. Yep, simple.

Coffin Sandwiches


Coffin Sandwiches from Kraft
Kraft Foods came up with a cute idea as well. Coffin sandwiches are prefect for a fun Halloween treat. The easy part is cutting the shapes. Kraft even gives a template for the coffin shape. A sharp bread knife is a must for this. Getting the shape to come out makes a big difference.

The hard part is deciding on the sandwich fillers. Many, many options can work. With the kids involved, peanut butter and jelly will one of the choices, but I also like the idea of fillers such as egg salad and cream cheese spreads (www.whimsicalteapotsandcups.com/recipes/cucumber-dill-spread).

Personally, I love the idea of adding the R. I. P. onto the top of the sandwiches. Kraft suggests using decorating gel, mustard, even ketchup. Be careful about stacking coffin sandwiches with the message. You need to keep those with a message from sitting under another sandwich.

Halloween Sandwich Cutters


When you want to make interesting shaped Halloween sandwiches, you can easily use a cookie cutter. Wilton has a fun set that includes that coffin shape for finger sandwiches. But, I also love the idea of the bat for some fun food additions.



Mummy Pizzas


Let us not forget pizza, one of those family food staples. Mummy pizzas are crazy easy to do. And you can add any and all pizza ingredients that you want. The trick is to layer thin slices of white cheese on top to create the mummy wrappings. Then add two slices of pitted black olives to make the eyes.

Food.com gives us a fun option using English Muffins for the pizza dough. Any crust style that you like will work out perfect for mummy pizzas. This is the time for you to use your favorite crust and your favorite ingredients.


Getting ready for Halloween, whether a big party, or a fun family dinner like mine, Halloween sandwiches make an easy menu option. There's plenty of choices for both kids and grown-ups alike. Review This has more Halloween recipes, too. See our appetizers, desserts and beverages to round out your Halloween menu.



Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article.