Monthly Archives: November 2014

Cranberry Calvados Ginger Fizz

FullSizeRender-15-1Zingy, bright, sweet, and spicy, this cranberry calvados ginger fizz is the perfect antidote to the cold, gray winter days ahead. Spicy ginger beer perfectly balances the sweet tang of calvados, and fresh cranberries and thyme provide bright and herbal notes. Make up a big batch of these for your next holiday gathering; these are a surefire hit!

For the recipe, visit Robyn Moreno’s site.

Ingredient Note: I was lucky enough to receive a bottle of Boulard Calvados V.S.O.P. to taste, and it definitely raises the bar. Crafted since 1825 in France, Boulard offers a full range of Calvados varieties for all your cocktail needs. The V.S.O.P. in particular tastes of vanilla, wood, and sweet apples. It draws flavor from time spent aging in French oak, lending it a distinct flavor hard to come by in other calvados brands. It tastes delicate and velvety on your palate, works beautifully with the cranberry and ginger in this recipe. Enjoy it straight to really appreciate the flavor nuances.

Lightened Up Spinach & Artichoke Dip

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Last week I was lucky enough to host a healthy cooking webinar for the fantastic group of people at Next Step in Boston. A non-profit charity founded by the late, great Paul Newman, ‘Next Step’s year-round programs provide in-person support, education and resources for young people coping with chronic life-threatening diseases during their transition to adulthood.’

If you’re interested in learning more about this fantastic charity, visit their site, and maybe consider donating some of your time or funds to this worthy cause.

We made this lightened up version of the classic spinach artichoke dip, and it was a hit all around. Perfect for the holiday season, this appetizer is quick, delicious, and can be made ahead and baked whenever you need it. Greek yogurt and skim cheeses stand in for the usual mayo and sour cream, and the addition of kale sneaks in some extra nutritional power. But don’t worry, nobody will be the wiser! Serve this dip as a starter this holiday season, and feel free to double it if you’re expecting a crowd. If you have any leftovers, consider layering them with lasagna noodles and your favorite tomato sauce for new twist.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion, peeled and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 of a 10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry (should yield about 1 ½ cups)
  • 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and roughly chopped
  • 5 leaves kale, stems removed and leaves finely chopped
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, 1 tablespoon reserved
  • 1 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon reserved
  • 1 (8-ounce) package 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • Pinch of salt and pepper, to taste
  • Carrots, tortilla chips, and/or crackers, to serve

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 500, or broil.
  2. In a medium size sauté pan over medium heat, add the olive oil, onion, and garlic and cook until starting to soften and turn golden, about 5-7 minutes, stirring often.
  3. Add the spinach, artichoke hearts, and kale, and stir well. Cook for another 3-4 minutes until everything is warmed through and the kale is wilted.
  4. Transfer your mix to a large bowl, and mix in the mozzarella cheese, Greek yogurt, Parmesan cheese, and cream cheese until well blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and transfer to an oven-safe baking dish.
  5. Smooth the top of your dip, and top with the reserved mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese. Broil in the oven for 3-4 minutes, until the cheese is melted and golden brown in parts. Watch the dip carefully, as the line between deliciously golden brown and indelibly burnt is a fine one under the broiler!
  6. Serve your dip with carrots, tortilla chips, and/or crackers. Also good cold the next day, and great as a sandwich spread!

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Thanksgiving Recipe Ideas

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Thanksgiving is absolutely my favorite holiday. The crisp fall weather, the start of the holiday season, and a whole day spent cooking for friends and family makes it my favorite day of the year. Whether you’re a guest at someone’s table, or starting up new traditions around your own table, I’ve put together a collection of some of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes that are sure to be a hit. I hope you have a wonderful holiday celebrating with your nearest and dearest.

Cocktails:

  1. Calvados Ginger Fizz
  2. Vanilla Pomegranate Ginger Fizz

Starters & Salads

  1. Smoked Salmon Crisps
  2. Duck Fat Latkes with Sour Cream & Pumpkin Butter 
  3. Raw Brussels Sprout Salad 
  4. Kale, Cranberry & Pecan Salad with Corn Bread Croutons 
  5. Arugula Salad with Marcona Almonds, Grapes & Pumpkin Vinaigrette 

Sides:

  1. Cornbread Stuffing with Pecans & Apple Sausage 
  2. Roasted Acorn Squash with Truffled Mushroom & Lentil Stuffing 
  3. Sweet & Spicy Chipotle Sweet Potato Mash with Maple Pecan Crumble

The Turkey

  1. Quick Roast Turkey Breast 
  2. How to Carve a Turkey 

Dessert:

  1. Salted Caramel Vanilla Pumpkin Pie
  2. Mini No Bake Pumpkin Pies 

Lightened Up Chicken Schnitzel

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This Czech version of chicken schnitzel is a traditional meal usually served at dinnertime. Normally fried in oil, this lightened up baked version gives you the same crispy, crunchy crust, without all the extra calories. Heart healthy olive oil helps the crunchy coating along, and provides beneficial monounsaturated fats. Serving these Szriskes alongside a peppery and fresh arugula salad, rather than the traditional potatoes, lightens and brightens the whole dish, and adds a boost of vitamins and antioxidants. The leftovers make excellent sandwiches the next day!

For the recipe, visit GeoBlue’s Healthy Travel Blog, or their site Travel Well Worldwide.

Smoked Salmon Crisps

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This shortcut version of the classic salmon blini appetizer couldn’t be quicker or simpler. In less than ten minutes, you’ll have an elegant and delicious bite to enjoy with cocktails, perfect for all your holiday entertaining!  Potato chips have never looked so fancy. For a more elevated option, top each of these crisps with a dollop of caviar.

For the recipe, visit Robyn Moreno’s site. 

Baba Ghanoush {vegan}

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When you translate Baba Ghanoush from Arabic, it literally means “Spoiled Father.” Whomever you make this creamy delicious dip for will certainly feel spoiled; it’s a healthy dish that tastes like a treat. Naturally low in calories, eggplant contains numerous beneficial phytonutrients and vitamins A, B, and C, and potassium and magnesium, working to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and protect against cancer. Eggplant is also a great source of fiber, keeping digestion regular, and blood sugar stable. Make this recipe for a quick and delicious start to any meal, and keep it on hand in your fridge for a healthy and delicious snack anytime of the day.

For the recipe visit GeoBlue’s Travel Well World Wide site.

Roasted Acorn Squash with Truffled Lentil & Mushroom Stuffing

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Savory, hearty, and satisfying, this dish makes for the perfect vegetarian entrée. Nutty acorn squash, meaty mushrooms and lentils, creamy Parmesan, and aromatic truffle oil combine to make a truly satisfying meat-free entrée.  It feels festive enough to serve as a stand-in for the standard turkey on Thanksgiving, and smells so delicious that the carnivores around the table will clamor for a bite.

For the recipe, visit Robyn Moreno’s site.