Sparkling Sidecar

Well it’s my last post of 2010! Hard to believe a new year will begin in a few hours. It’s been quite a year for most of us and we’ve made it. Let’s hope that everyone has a wonderful, safe, healthy and prosperous New Year in 2011! Just be careful tonight if any of you are venturing outside into the ice and snow. Even if you are in warmer climates like I am please be careful and responsible if you go out tonight! I don’t want to lose any readers!! Enjoy and be merry but be safe!

So who isn’t going to be drinking champagne tonight? I know I will be sharing a bottle or two with my husband. Probably while in the hot tub! But try something a little different with this recipe. It sounded really cool and it’s got champagne in it! So how bad can it be! As someone once told us, don’t just have Champagne for the special occasions! Champagne is for every day of your life so drink it whenever you want! We do! So now on to the recipe so you can all go get any last-minute items you need and get ready to celebrate! I will be back next year! (Ha! corny I know!) And if cognac is not your thing try adding a little Chambord to your glass instead! Very tasty and festive!

Look how pretty this is!

INGREDIENTS:

2 ounces orange liqueur (such as Cointreau)

1 ounces Cognac

8 ounces chilled Cava (Spanish Sparkling Wine) If you can’t find Cava use any champagne or sparkling wine.

Lemon twist for garnish

DIRECTIONS:
Pour the orange liqueur and Cognac into 2 champagne glasses or flutes equally. Top with the Cava and squeeze the lemon twist over the glass and drop it in.

Makes 2 drinks. Adjust as needed!

Sassy Steak Bites

Ok I can’t take the credit for this recipe. It’s another great recipe from my favorite, Hungry Girl. It’s from her newest cookbook Happy Hour. (I did change the title of the recipe however) A great little book with tons of yummy snacks and cocktails! All low-calorie! She even gives Weight Watcher points for all the recipes! How cool is that! She’ll have a new TV show on the Cooking Channel in January. I can’t wait! So I was looking for something different that we could actually serve for a party snack. I like easy recipes that are really delicious that I will make more than one time. This is one of them. I love steak. Could eat it all the time! But this recipe uses it cut into little bites. The best part is it’s cooked in a slow cooker! Yep, just throw the stuff in there and forget about it for hours! Or until you need it for the party!

This recipe is a little more substantial for a party snack. It’s more filling therefore everyone won’t fill up on too much else! This makes 5 servings so if you need more just double the recipe. The serving stats I got from the Hungry Girl website with all her photos of all her recipes. Check it out! I am trying to get back into healthier eating again now that the holidays are almost gone and the New Year is upon us. My New Year resolution is to start going to the gym in my community’s clubhouse. I didn’t say how much I would go but I am going to go. I’ll keep everyone posted. Once I start that and get in a routine it’s back to Weight Watchers for me! But for now try this easy snack and enjoy!

Photo courtesy of Hungry Girl

INGREDIENTS:

1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple packed in juice, lightly drained

1/3 cup sweet Asian chili sauce

½ teaspoon reduced-sodium soy sauce

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or more if you like it spicier

1 pound raw lean beefsteak filet, cut into about 30 bite-sized pieces

1 onion, finely chopped (a medium size onion is good)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Place pineapple, chili sauce, soy sauce and crushed red pepper in a crock pot. Mix it well.

2. Add the beef and onion and stir well to coat.

3. Cover and cook on HIGH for 3-4 hours or on LOW for 7-8 hours.

4. Serve with excess sauce and toothpicks.

Per Serving: (about 6 bites with sauce) 196 calories, 4.5g fat, 254mg sodium, 18g carbs, 0.5g fiber, 15g sugars, 19.5g protein. Weight Watchers PointsPlus Value: 5

Dublin Lobster

While I was reading through all the food emails I get on a daily basis (and I get a ton of them) I came across this one from Mr. Food. I know many of you have seen his TV spots on news shows or other places Foodies gather. He’s been around for years. Well this recipe caught my eye. Whenever I see lobster I get excited. Maybe because living down here in Florida they only have the warm water ones WITH NO CLAWS! Crazy huh! And I don’t care how many people try and convince me otherwise, they are NOT, I repeat NOT the same as lobsters from up north or colder waters. Nope, there is just no comparison. So stop trying to pass your spiny creatures off as what lobster is supposed to taste like and look like! Where was I now? Oh yeah, Mr. Food’s recipe for Dublin Lobster. He did a series of cooking segments in Ireland and was inspired by their version of this. If you ask me this version sounds incredible and I may just try it if I can find inexpensive lobster! HA! I may have to opt for the frozen kind. I know I know…nothing like fresh. But once again living in south Florida getting fresh lobster that won’t break the bank is a rare but beautiful thing. Either way this recipe doesn’t seem too hard and it looks fabulous!

Photo is courtesy of Mr. Food, I haven't made this yet.

INGREDIENTS:

¼ cup (½ stick) butter
1/3 cup Irish whiskey (NOT BAILEYS)
1/3 cup heavy cream
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1½ pounds cooked lobster meat, cut into 1-inch chunks (see Note)

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat, making sure it does not burn.

2. Stir in whiskey, heavy cream, salt, and pepper; heat until mixture comes to a boil. Add cooked lobster meat, reduce heat to low, and simmer until heated through. Serve in a casserole dish.

NOTE:

You can use either cooked fresh lobster meat that you buy at the fish store or seafood counter of your supermarket; frozen lobster meat, thawed; or you can cook up a 3-pound lobster and remove the meat yourself. It’s your choice!

Southern Bourbon Sweet Mashed Potatoes

Today’s recipe is courtesy of The Wave Restaurant at the Contemporary Resort in Disney World in Florida. Once again mixing food and booze, always a good thing! I don’t know if I have mentioned it before but I love Disney World. Don’t worry though I am not one of the fanatics who have their entire being transformed into Disney. Disney house, clothes, car, tattoos, etc. No, I am not like that. But Disney World is my happy place. I love going anytime of year and just wandering around the parks checking out all the new stuff as well as the old. Living in Florida I have become spoiled. We are only a little over 2 hours away by car so we can make the trek a couple of times a year at least. Plus Florida residents get a really awesome discount on annual passes. My goal is to stay at all the resorts on the property. I’ve done most of the Value and Moderate resorts and a few of the deluxe but the Contemporary has still eluded me. One day…So instead I came across this recipe for their version of mashed sweet potatoes. I have not made this yet but it looks incredible.

Don’t these look delicious!

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups diced sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons heavy cream
2 teaspoons brown sugar
pinch of salt
pinch of black pepper
3 tablespoons Jim Beam Bourbon
DIRECTIONS:
1. Steam the sweet potatoes until well cooked. 

2. While the potatoes are cooking place butter, sugar, cream and bourbon in a small pot and heat up. Don’t boil it.

3. When potatoes are done, place them in the oven for 5 minutes or so at 350º to get some of the moisture out of them.

4. Place potatoes in a large bowl and add a whip attachment to an electric mixer, whip until desired consistency. If you don’t have a whip attachment just use a regular mixer attachment.

5. Add cream mixture and then season with salt and pepper to taste

6. Re-season with more salt, pepper or Jim Beam if you think it needs more.

Serves 4

Shrimp w/Sour Cream and Onion Dip

Well back to somewhat of a normal week. Christmas is over but we still have New Year’s coming up. So this recipe today is a redo of a dip I posted some time ago. Originally the recipe called for the shrimp to be chilled in it for at least 8 hours. This time I just cut the recipe in half and used it in place of the usual cocktail sauce. Nothing against regular cocktail sauce but it gets boring. When I served this dip with the shrimp last week it was a huge hit! Everyone loved it. The small amount I had left over also turned a little bit pink from the red onion in it. Festive! So make up a batch for New Year’s Eve and enjoy!

INGREDIENTS:

¾ cup light mayonnaise

¼ cup light sour cream

3 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons sugar (or Splenda)

¼ cup finely chopped red onion

1 tablespoon dried dill

1 pound medium-large cooked shrimp, shelled and deveined

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a bowl combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, sugar, onion, and dill. Mix well. Chill to set up at least an hour.

2. Serve with shrimp!

Gingerbread Cookie Martini

Well it’s Christmas Eve and I’m actually doing the blog before noon! I know! As far as cookies go I think Gingerbread People cookies are always associated with Christmas. So what better cocktail than a gingerbread martini! Once again this recipe uses Goldschlager so if you still have some left from the other martini recipes then you are good to go! This recipe calls for Van Gogh Espresso vodka but if you by chance have some Patron Coffee liqueur I am sure you can use that as well. So mix and be merry! Hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas weekend! Remember the reason for the season is not about the presents or the food or the drinks…but for being with family and friends and celebrating the true meaning of Christmas. If it were up to me I’d leave my tree up 24/7/365!

Merry Christmas everyone!

INGREDIENTS:

3 ounces Van Gogh Espresso or Double Espresso Vodka (or any other brand)

1 ounce Goldschlager Cinnamon Schnapps

3 ounces Irish Cream (Baileys)

DIRECTIONS:

Pour all ingredients into cocktail shaker with crushed ice. Let it stand for a few seconds. Then shake vigorously for about 5 seconds and pour into chilled martini glasses!  Garnish with a gingersnap or gingerbread cookie if you wish!

Makes 2 drinks

Brownie Holi-Pops

Well tomorrow is Christmas Eve! Wow where did the time go to? As a kid Christmas could not get here fast enough and now many years later, ok decades later, Christmas appears as if out of nowhere! It was just Halloween! My house is decked out, inside and out, and it is certainly festive looking! The weather is cooler, in the 50s and 60s so it’s not so hot that we do forget it’s winter here in south Florida. And I am still sticking with my no dieting till after the New Year. Weight Watchers can wait a little longer for me!

So here I am putting together the last “cookie” blog for the  year. These cookies are actually brownies, but also a lollipop. But hey, I’m using it anyway. I am not really a big brownie fan. Never was. Love making them but not eating them. The only ones I truly LOVE are my friend Debbie’s. They are little bitty ones and she puts frosting on them! I swear they must also have some kind of booze in them or something. They are so moist and just down right addicting! I could eat a dozen no problem! But these are not those. Sorry. I will have to get her recipe another time! These are just too cute not to include them and the kids will love them also. I have not actually made these as of yet but I think I will soon!

I actually got this recipe from Land-o-Lakes. Aren’t they just adorable!

BROWNIE MIXTURE:
¾ cup LAND O LAKES® Butter, divided

3 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened baking chocolate, divided

1 cup sugar

¾ cup all-purpose flour

2  eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

¼ teaspoon salt

½ cup powdered sugar
COATING:
16 ounces vanilla or chocolate flavored candy coating (almond bark)
40 lollipop sticks
DECORATIONS:
Holiday nonpareils, jimmies, sprinkles and/or decorator candies. Your choice!

DIRECTIONS:
1. Heat oven to 350°F.

2. Combine ½ cup butter and 2 ounces chocolate in 2-quart saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until melted (3 to 5 minutes). Add sugar, flour, eggs, vanilla and salt; mix well.

3. Spread batter evenly into greased 8-inch square baking pan. Bake for 23 to 27 minutes or until brownies just begin to pull away from sides of pan. Cool completely.

4. Melt remaining ¼ cup butter and 1 ounce chocolate as above.

5. Finely crumble cooled brownie into large bowl. Add butter mixture and powdered sugar; mix well.

6. Shape mixture into 1-inch balls; place onto waxed paper-lined jelly roll pan. Cover with plastic food wrap; refrigerate until firm (at least 2 hours or overnight).

7. Melt candy coating according to package directions; keep warm.

8. Remove 1/3 of balls from refrigerator; insert lollipop sticks. Dip balls into melted coating, swirling or tapping off excess; press coated balls into desired decorations. Push lollipop stick into craft foam or place coated balls onto waxed paper. Repeat with remaining balls. Let stand until coating is set.

Makes 40 pops