Archive of ‘Eat & Drink’ category

Raspberry Cupcakes a la Vodka

This cupcake recipe is for adults only. Dark chocolate, raspberries and flavored vodka. Perfect for Valentine’s Day or your next (adult only) gathering. I promise, they are as good as they sound.

cupcakes

I prefer to make mini cupcakes because you can get all the flavors in one bite, they are smaller (which I like) and well, they are just plain cute. This is my Babycakes maker. I can whip our 8 mini cupcakes about every 6 minutes. I put in red paper liners.

mini cupcake maker

Next, I filled the liners 1/2 way full with my dark chocolate vodka cupcake batter (top secret recipe below).

Six minutes later, this delicious chocolaty creation emerged.

cupcake recipe

Then I whipped up my raspberry chocolate vodka flavored icing. Another top-secret recipe I’ll share with you below.

raspberry cupcakes

And then I created this work of art. A dark chocolate cupcake infused with chocolate vodka and iced with a raspberry chocolate vodka icing. Topped with a fresh raspberry.

cupcake recipe

Or fluffy pink heart shaped marshmallow. You pick.

Top Secret Cupcake recipe:

-Your favorite chocolate cake mix. Substitute part of the water for the chocolate vodka. I used a dark chocolate mix that called for 1 1/3 cup water — so I used 1 cup water and 1/3 cup chocolate vodka (I used Godiva).

Top Secret Icing Recipe:

-Your favorite jar of whipped icing. Add in a drop of red or pink food coloring and half a shot of raspberry chocolate vodka (I used Godiva). Whip it up.

What do you think, do you want one?

For more (alcohol-free) Valentine’s Day cupcake ideas, click here.

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Vodka Soaked Berries

Want to know how to make chocolate covered strawberries even better? Try soaking them in chocolate vodka overnight before you dip them!

how to make chocolate covered strawberries

First, rinse your strawberries. Then place them in a jar. Pour in chocolate vodka until they are submerged. Seal and refrigerate for 24 hours. *Note – you really need to let them soak. I ate one after only 6 hours and your could note yet taste the vodka.

chocolate covered strawberries recipe

After 24 hours (or so), remove the strawberries from the jar of vodka and pat dry. Then dip into your favorite melted chocolate (I chose white chocolate).

chocolate covered strawberries recipe

Then arrange your vodka-soaked dipped berries onto a cute cake stand or platter. Your loved ones will be oh-so-thankful!

Chocolate Covered Strawberries Recipe

-Large Strawberries

-Chocolate infused vodka (such as Godiva)

-Chocolate for melting

*Rinse berries and soak in a jar of vodka for at least 24 hours. Remove berries from jar and pat dry. Dip berries into melted chocolate and let dry on wax paper. Plate and serve!

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Valentine Desserts: Cupcake Ideas

Valentine’s Day is the perfect time of year to brush off your dusty apron and get baking some cupcakes for your sweets! It’s all about the love and thought behind your baked works of art, so why not try something new? Your loved ones will love you just as much if your culinary creations are photo worthy– and I’ll bet they will still taste amazing! Here are some of my favorite Valentine cupcake decorating ideas. Get inspired!

What a simple touch….tie a ribbon around the base of your cupcake for some festive flair! This cupcake has no icing, instead it is dusted with powdered sugar. This fabulous treat was (and the recipe) found on BHG.

This sweet cupcake design if simple enough for anyone, have your kiddos help you! Simple decorate your cupcakes with conversation hearts! For a yummy cupcake recipe visit Bakerella, she is the cupcake goddess behind this creation!

Again, a simple ribbon tied around the cupcake is such a simple touch. The roses on top of these cupcakes were made by rolling colored fondant. Check out Bakerella for the simple cupcake decorating steps and make them yourself!

I hope you feel inspired to whip up some sweets this valentines day! What do you plan on making for your loved ones?
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Simple Appetizers For Your NYE Entertaining

Here are two simple and impressive appetizers you can do in a snap! Having guests? Try these!!!

Grilled Beef Tenderloin on Focaccia Toasts & Spitfire Shrimp

Grilled Be ef Tenderloin on Focaccia Toasts

Cook Time 1 hr 10 min
Enough for a crowd! 30 plus servings
Ingredients

2 pounds cherry tomatoes
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 heads garlic
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 lemon, juiced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cups good quality mayonnaise
2 tablespoons hot chili paste
1 whole beef tenderloin*, about 6 to 8 pounds
2 loaves focaccia bread , sliced and toasted
Baby arugula, for garnish

Directions

Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Toss the tomatoes into a roasting pan, drizzle with some olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the tomatoes have collapsed, about 30 minutes. Remove them from the oven and let them cool.
Drizzle the garlic with olive oil, wrap it in foil, and bake it until soft, about 30 minutes. When cool enough to handle, squeeze the soft garlic onto a cutting board. Strip the needles from the rosemary, add them to the garlic, and chop them together. Pour 1 cup olive oil into a small bowl; add the garlic and rosemary mixture and lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper and mix well. Set aside until ready to grill.
Char the outside of the pepper under the broiler or over a gas flame. Put it into a bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. When cool enough to handle, peel, seed, and chop and put it into a blender. Add the mayonnaise and chili paste; process until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper; refrigerate until ready to use. (Can be made the day before.)
Heat the grill. Remove the meat from the refrigerator about 1/2 hour before you are going to grill it. Brush it with some of the flavored olive oil and season it generously with salt and pepper. Grill the tenderloin, turning frequently, until the meat is rare or medium rare, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove to a platter and let it rest for 5 minutes, brushing it with the flavored olive oil. Cut the beef into thin slices.
To serve, put some of the flavored mayonnaise onto a piece of focaccia toast. Top it with a thin slice of the beef and spoon on some of the roasted tomatoes. Garnish with some arugula leaves and serve.

*Cook’s note: Have your butcher clean the fat and silver skin from the tenderloin and tie it.

Spitfire Shrimp

Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 5 min
Serves: 6 to 8 servings for snacking
Ingredients

Seasoning:
1 lime, juiced
2 ounces (1/4 cup) hot cayenne pepper sauce
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon crab boil seasoning
Shrimp:
4 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
2 shallots, chopped
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
2 pounds jumbo shrimp peeled and de-veined*
12 to 15 blades fresh chives, chopped, for garnish

*Ask for easy-peel raw deveined shrimp at seafood counter of market

Directions

Preheat large nonstick skillet over medium high heat.
Combine lime juice, hot sauce, cumin, red pepper flakes and seafood seasoning blend.
Quickly saute garlic and shallots in oil and butter for 1 minute, add shrimp and cook 3 minutes, tossing and turning frequently. Dump pink, firm, cooked shrimp from hot pan into hot seasoning blend and toss in seasoning mixture to coat shrimp evenly. Garnish with chopped chives. Serve warm or chilled.

Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence photos from Food Network

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Holiday Appetizers

I have been a fan of celebrity chef LuLu Powers ever since I read her book Food to Flowers. So when she sent me these easy appetizer recipes for the holiday season, I knew they’d be great — and they are! Below she shares her recipes for Apple Cheddar Rye Puffs and Parmesan Pea Dip, both recipes would make perfect holiday appetizers.

Before we get to the recipes, I wanted to share this simple tip from LuLu:

  • Cocktail Ornaments: Store cranberries in the freezer and use them to adorn cocktails. These frozen delights will give any gathering the holiday spirit.

And now for the recipes!

Apple Cheddar Rye Puffs

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Yield: 30 appetizers

Ingredients

1/2 Granny Smith apple (cored, peeled and finely chopped)

1 cup Sargento Artisan Blends Double Cheddar shredded cheese

3 tablespoon mayonnaise

1 tablespoon honey

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds

1 loaf of mini rye bread

Fresh ground pepper

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

2. Cut rounds out of rye bread using a 1- 1/2 inch cookie cutter. Bake 10 minutes or until lightly toasted.

3. Combine remaining ingredients. Spread on toast and bake for 10 minutes more. Serve warm.

Helpful Hints

Bake only one side of bread and then apply mixture on other side.

Parmesan Pea Dip

Prep time: 10 Minutes

Yield: 2 cups

Ingredients

2 cups frozen petite peas, thawed, divided

1 cup frozen shelled edamame beans, thawed

1 cup mint

1/2 cup parsley

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 cup Sargento Artisan Blends Parmesan Shredded Cheese, divided

Salt and pepper to taste

Optional: 1 teaspoon maple syrup or a dash of hot sauce

Directions

1. Put 2- 1/2 cup peas and all other ingredients except oil and ½ cup cheese in food processor and process until consistency is mostly smooth.

2. Add oil and then remaining 1/2 cup peas. Process until mixture is slightly chunky. (If you prefer the dip smoother, process longer.)

3. Spread on rice crackers and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Helpful Hints

This pea dip can be served over pasta or on top of cooked fish or chicken. Sprinkle with additional cheese.

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5 Holiday Pie Ideas

Are you looking for Thanksgiving pie recipes? Here are five takes on the holiday pie for you to consider. They all look yummy to me…. can’t you can almost smell the holidays?

From Top Right: Pumpkin Creme Pie, Cheddar Crusted Apple Pie, and Pumpkin Whoopie Pies.

These two pies {Cranberry, Almond & Cinnamon Tart and this Ultimate Pumpkin Pie} would also work well for a Christmas dessert.

{images via Martha Stewart, Rachel Ray, and the Food Network}

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