Showing posts with label recipe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label recipe. 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


  • 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


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.


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Soft Foods: Sweet Potatoes Reviewed

When Cooked Sweet Potatoes Are A Great Option For Soft Foods

Image by Llez
Continuing in my series of soft foods for those who are going through the process of getting dentures, today we review the options of the wonderfully nutritious sweet potato. 

I have a couple of ways that I serve the tuber root that is naturally sweet in my home. I will share both ways with you in this article. One is extremely simple while the other takes a little preparation; both are really good!

Before we get to a couple of ways to enjoy the sweet potato, I thought you might be interested in the nutritional values of the sweet potato. It is a good source of simple starches, complex carbohydrates, fiber, protein, vitamin A, several of the B vitamins, vitamin C and vitamin E. It contains the minerals of calcium, iron, potassium and a few others. Did you know that a sweet potato has more potassium than a banana? 

OK, so one of the simplest ways to serve sweet potatoes to your family is to use a can of the item shown below. 

I know the can says "yams" but they actually use sweet potatoes. Many people interchange the words yams and sweet potato incorrectly. They are not really the same thing but that is another topic for another day.

I will tell you these canned sweet potatoes are seasoned so deliciously that all I do is just heat them up. The syrup has cinnamon, nutmeg and brown need for anything else! They are really tasty just as they are.

The darker the color of the pulp of the sweet potato ... the more beta-carotene (vitamin A) it has.

The Sweet Potato Recipe That My Daughters Love The Most

I've been fixing this Sweet Potato Casserole for about 36 years and my daughters just absolutely love it. I didn't make it for Thanksgiving one year and I was just about disowned by my oldest daughter. She now makes it for her family, too.

2 (15 oz) cans of sweet potatoes
1 (14 oz) can pineapple tidbits, (undrained)
4 Tbsp butter
4 Tbsp firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Drain the sweet potatoes and discard the liquid. Drain the pineapple tidbits, saving the juice from the can. 

Melt the 4 tbsp of butter.

In a medium sized bowl mash the potatoes with a potato masher. Add the melted butter and brown sugar. Stir until it is combined well.

Stir in the pineapple juice until you have the desired consistency. Fold in the pineapple tidbits and the marshmallows.

Butter a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish and spoon in the potato mixture. 

Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. 

You might not think that pineapple would be good with sweet potatoes but you would be incorrect. This is really a delicious addition to the typical sweet potatoes that have the melted marshmallows we are accustomed to. The pineapple adds a bit of tartness that works well with the sweetness from the brown sugar and marshmallows.

Whether you need soft foods in your diet or not, sweet potatoes are an excellent choice to include with your meals. In fact, the CSPI (Center for Science in the Public Interest) rated the sweet potato the most nutritious vegetable of all to eat.  

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


Monday, August 8, 2016

Couscous Salad for Summer

My couscous summer raspberry salad
It has been a hot and sultry summer.  A heat wave enveloped us for weeks.  I like to eat. It is safe to say that I like to eat way too much. But in this heat nothing sounded good to me.  Today I have made something that has satisfied my summer craving. I'm not very talented in the kitchen so I am not typically one to share recipes. But I have to share this couscous salad with you. If I made this recipe successfully, I am confident you will do even better. Couscous, raspberries, and feta - a delicious way to beat the heat.


I am not even 100% sure what couscous is. But years ago I had a friend who made a good amount of recipes that included hummus, couscous, and other foods that I might never heard of otherwise. She ate far more healthy than I ever have. 

nutritional information

Lately, I've missed some of those foods. Twice recently, while trying to address my cravings, I've purchased couscous in the deli section at the store. And twice I was very disappointed. Their idea of couscous was pouring huge amounts of vinaigrette over couscous and calling it done. Their version was far too much "dressing" for me. It was almost like sipping directly from the vinaigrette bottle. Yuck.

I bought some couscous and some feta and hoped I'd find a recipe that would satisfy my hunger.

Refreshing Raspberry and Feta Couscous Salad  

I found this Raspberry and Feta Couscous Salad recipe online.  It looked easy and delicious. As soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted it. But I didn't have pine nuts or mixed salad greens.  I thought I'd wing it and make my own version which is a risky proposition in my kitchen!

Fortunately, I had fresh raspberries on hand (for smoothies) as well as some raspberry vinaigrette.  I read the directions above for guidance then made my own version.  

If you need measurements and amounts, you'll want to follow the above recipe. But my version was as follows:
  • Prepare the couscous per instructions on the box.  When finished, fluff with a fork.  Add the smallest squirt of Raspberry Vinaigrette, stir gently, cover and refrigerate.
  • Place the following ingredients in a small bowl - cubed feta, thin slices of cucumber, a few fresh raspberries, a big pinch of very finely chopped onion, a big pinch of thinly sliced yellow pepper, a bit of coarsely chopped spinach. Cover and refrigerate.
  • After the couscous is chilled, add it to the other ingredients - Fluffing and mixing together gently
  • Add another small squirt of raspberry vinaigrette
In hindsight, the only thing I should have also added was mint from my balcony garden. Perhaps I'll make that tomorrow with couscous, watermelon, mint, blueberries, and feta... my version of this recipe.

I have found that I could purchase the same brand of couscous from Amazon at a substantial savings. When I purchased the couscous from the store, I thought it was a bit pricey and thought I'd have to make it as a rare treat. But with the cost savings on the bulk amount on Amazon (same brand) I think I'll have to add this to my regular meal rotation. At least for the remainder of this summer.

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


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Mark the Date: March 19th Zeppole Day!

For many of you who just read the title of this piece, you probably think I meant to write March 17th.  After all, that is the day the whole world turns Irish, but I assure you I meant March 19th!

After all the green beer and shenanigans that went on just two short days earlier, we find ourselves again celebrating another  Great Saint's Feast Day.

This one is St. Joseph's Day.  He traditionally was known as the Foster Father of Jesus Christ.  So from this auspicious beginning comes the Italian way of celebrating Father's Day.

Now St. Joseph's Day isn't celebrated like St. Patrick's, with parades and lots of drinking, but, as with any celebration, there is food!  You cannot celebrate anything without some special culinary delight!

The Italians have this lovely pastry called Zeppole di San Guiseppe.  If you have never tried one, I recommend that you make your way to the nearest Italian Bakery and ask for this lovely concoction. Traditionally it was only made for March 19th, but, as with anything that becomes successful, many bakeries now make this famous treat available at least a month in advance of St. Joseph's Day and some even make them all year round.

Here is my recipe for these delightful Zeppole, and I bet once you try them, you will be hooked forever.  You will have another reason to celebrate the month of March.  It will become the St. Patrick's, and St. Joseph's Day feasting.  By the time you are done with that, it will be great to return to the practices of Lent and do a little fasting....because you know that Easter is on the way.

To Make the Pastry:

1 cup of water
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3  cups of cake flour
5 eggs
6 to 8 cups of good quality oil for frying

To Make the Cream Custard

3 1/4 cups of whole milk
Rind of one lemon
8 egg yolks
2/3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup cornstarch
3 1/2 tablespoons of all purpose flour
4 tablespoons butter cubed.
Brandied Cherries for decoration and taste.


Pastry:  In a saucepan, bring the water, butter, sugar and salt to a rolling boil.  Make sure the butter is in small cubes as it will melt better and combine with the water, salt and sugar mixture.  Add all the flour in one movement.  remove from heat and using a wooden spoon blend in the flour until it is all incorporated.  Put back on the heat and stir the mixture over medium, heat for about 5 minutes.  Do not let the mixture dry out.  Remove from heat and after allowing the mixture to cool completely put into a mixing bowl.  There you can begin to add one  egg at a time mixing well after each egg is introduced.

Place all of this mixture into a pastry bag with a star shaped tip (the tip should be at least 1/2 in diameter)  Cut squares of foil or parchment about 4 inches square.  If using foil you must spray oil on the foil before immersing in the deep fryer or frying pan.

Pipe out a circle of 3 1/2 inches around on each piece of foil or paper.  Fry the zeppole on each side for about 4 minutes, removing the paper or foil after flipping them over. Do only two or three at a time and drain them on paper towels.

Let them cool thoroughly.

Custard:  Place the milk and the lemon rind in the  pot, leave for 20 minutes and then bring the milk to a boil. Remove from heat.  Let the lemon rind steep in the milk of 10 minutes and then remove.  In another bowl, whisk together the sugar and egg yolks until the mixture is fluffy.  Add the cornstarch and flour and whisk to combine.

Once the milk has been cooled it can be added to the egg mixture .  Return it to the heat and whisking constantly, cook for 2 minutes or more until it is thickened.  Add the cubed butter to the custard and mix well.  Remove from heat and place in a glass bowl covered with plastic wrap .  Make sure the wrap is touching the top of the custard or it will develop a skin and we don't want that.  Cool thoroughly.  Place the custard into a pastry bag and pipe either on top of the pastry or the way I like it, in the middle of the pastry......

Traditionalists will fill the center of the Zeppole with the custard and place a brandied cherry on top and then dust it with icing sugar.  

Some Bakeries do it the way I like them best, they slice the Zeppole pastry in the middle, add the custard to the inside, add brandied cherries on top of the custard and then replace the top part of the pastry, dusting all with icing sugar.

By Lucas81 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Traditional Zeppole, ready just for you!

Pictures: The top picture comes from my favorite bakery in Toronto, San Remo's ( and the picture at the bottom comes from Wikimedia.

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