Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Halloween Bark

Similar to the Cranberry almond bark I made last Christmas, I created this Halloween treat:

Melted white chocolate topped with peanuts, crushed pretzels, M&Ms, and candy corn. Not for the health-conscious but oh so yummy.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Dairy-Free Hot Chocolate

I like to occasionally make myself some homemade hot chocolate to drink on a chilly evening, but lately drinking milk has made me sneezy. So here's a recipe I made up using coconut milk instead! It was rich and delicious with a pleasant coconut aftertaste. Enjoy!

  • 2 cups coconut milk (one can's worth)
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of cocoa powder
  • dash of salt
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 3/4 tsp. vanilla extract

  • Mix sugar, cocoa and salt in saucepan; stir in water.
  • Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture boils. Continue boiling and stirring for 2 minutes.
  • Stir in coconut milk and heat.
  • Remove from heat, and add the vanilla.

If you find it's a bit too thick or rich for you at this point, simply add more hot water until it's to your taste! This was enough for two people.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Wine of the Week - Royal Oaks Niagara


I forgot to jot down any notes on this, possibly because I was enjoying it too much to care. Like concord wines, niagara are sweet and juicy. Enjoy as a dessert after dinner, not as a pairing with.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Butternut Squash Home Fries

This past Saturday, I was in the mood for a home fry breakfast, only to discover that I had no potatoes. But when I found some leftover butternut squash, I figured I could improvise something decent.


This meal consisted of cubed butternut squash, tomatoes, sliced carrots, and diced onions for that home fry feeling. Olive oil on the frying pan, medium-low heat, cook for about 15 minutes. I added some tofu to fill it out and provide a little protein. I spiced it with a mix of ground cayenne and cinnamon, and was very pleased with how well they went together. I may have added a bit too much cayenne for the first meal of the day, but otherwise this ended up being a tasty breakfast.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Harvest lasagna

I'm a pasta lover. Can't help it. So I've been thinking of a way to make a seasonal pasta dish and it hit me - an autumn-themed lasagna.

Based on my recipe for lasagna rolls, I chose a more harvesty-type filler:

Wheat lasagna noodles
1 cup shredded Red beets
1 cup shredded Butternut squash
1 cup shredded Sweet potato
Ricotta cheese
Mozzarella cheese
Spaghetti sauce
Pumpkin/squash seeds
Pecans, chopped

1. Mix together the shredded veggies. Add a bit of olive oil if it's too dry.
2. Lay out noodles and spread with cheese and the veggie mix.
3. Roll up and place in a casserole dish, with the bottom covered with spaghetti sauce.
4. Drop a few spoonfuls of sauce on top of each roll. Top with a bit of mozzarella cheese, and the seeds and pecans.
5. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees covered with foil, then for another 15 uncovered.

And enjoy with your favorite sidedish! I prefer a spinach salad with cranberries and walnuts.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Spider Cookies

So I haven't actually made these, (cause I just saw them on one of the artist blogs I follow) but they look ADORABLE!

You need to click through to see the full image/instructions

Friday, October 15, 2010

Wine of the Week - MGM 2009 Pinot Noir


If a wine was imported from France and it still only costs $5, perhaps you should take that as your first hint. This is a nearly flavorless wine. All acid. Drink with caution.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Iced Pumpkin Cookies

Here's my second installment of my month-long autumny goodness: A recipe I found on AllRecipes.com...

Made from pumpkin puree, flour, sugar, and spices. Makes about 18 cookies. A great holiday sweet. And my coworkers ate up the whole batch in less than an hour!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Mushroom Marinade

For a simple, delicious marinade, mix 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/4 cup sherry vinegar, 1/3 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons of honey, and a pinch of basil. Soak the chopped or sliced mushrooms 1-2 days while refrigerating. Then you can use them in any recipe or saute them as a side.

I sauteed most of mine with some fresh baby spinach and enjoyed it with some Alfredo pasta. The rest we used in a frittata the next day!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Wine of the Week - Bellwether Black Magic

Autumn is here, and the harvest is in; at Wine of the Week, that means checking out more apple cider wines. Last year, I sampled some ciders for the first time and found the tastes similar to white wine and champagne. (Click here to read.) This year, I'm going to try three more varieties plus a Halloween bonus, the latter of which is today's selection.


With its blood red color and festive flavor, Black Magic is Bellwether's offering for the Halloween season. The special ingredient is blackcurrants. Blackcurrant growth was banned in the U.S. in the early 1900s to help curb the spread of cronartium ribicola, which is not, in fact, a spell from the Harry Potter books but actually a fungus that was threatening the lumber industry. The ban was lifted in the 1960s, and blackcurrant is slowly making a comeback in the U.S.

The blackcurrant effect on Black Magic is immediately apparent. While most of the ciders I've tasted are dry and subtle, Black Magic is tart and tangy with a sour candy aftertaste; the perfect "candy" for the adults at the Halloween party. (And at only 5.2% alcohol, the adults won't have to worry about embarrassing themselves in front of the kids.)

I can enthusiastically recommend this wine for a fun, informal gathering. Still plenty of time to order some for this Halloween season.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Slow-cooked apples, just in time for Fall!

Happy October! My favorite time of year - and time for me to start my autumn-themed meals.
The first is a recipe I altered from the Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book.

Serves 2.

2 apples (I used granny smith)
Yellow raisins
1/2 cup apple juice
Nutmeg, cinnamon, brown sugar

1. Cut apples in half core out seeds. Place in standing position in a small crock pot.
2. Sprinkle with seasonings. Add raisins and juice.
3. Cook for 1-1/2 hours.
4. Serve in a bowl. Spoon leftover juice from the pot over the apples. Add ice cream and enjoy!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Wine of the Week - Overlake 2009 Sauvignon Blanc


This modestly priced white from Trader Joe's is a great value. Citrus fruits and honey on the nose, and all sorts of citrus flavors on the tongue. Simple, tasty, and enjoyable. Reminds me very much of the equally enjoyable and affordable Green Fin... and makes me suspicious that they're putting the exact same thing in two different bottles.

13.5% alcohol