Category Archives: Food & Drinks

Roasted Carrots Recipe

roasted carrots If we don’t eat them fresh from the bag or garden, we roast them. Roasting caramelizes and browns them so nicely.

You will need:

  • 1 lb baby carrots or regular carrots
  • Extra virgin olive oil (Please do not use any other type)
  • Salt (I use Kosher)
  • Pepper

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

2. Slice the baby carrots in half, lengthwise, or if using regulars, then peel them and diagonally slice them into large-sized chunks.

3. Spread them in a single layer on a rimmed cookie-type sheet. Sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons olive oil over. Sprinkle salt & pepper over. Mix it all up with your hands right on the tray- messy but fun.

4. Place in the oven for about 15-20 minutes; stir once during roasting

5. With a spatula, scrape out onto a serving plate, or we just serve them from the tray on the stove.

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Poppy Seed Noodles

poppy seed noodles Serve this alongside something with a good “kick” to it, such as roasted sausages & peppers. Or, it works well as a lighter meal with salad. The poppy seeds add a wonderful crunch.

You will need:

  • 1lb box farfalle (bowtie) noodles
  • 4 tbs olive oil (extra virgin, if you can)
  • 3+ (to taste) minced garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp poppy seeds

Cook pasta according to package directions and set aside in a large serving bowl. Meanwhile, add the oil, garlic & salt to a small saucepan and heat the oil. Pour over the pasta and mix well, sprinkle the poppy seeds onto pasta and mix well.

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Sweeten Up Your Valentine’s Day with Chocolate Body Paint

chocolate body paint No matter what your plans are for this upcoming Valentine’s Day you can always make it a little sweeter and your sweetheart will be glad you did. This delicious chocolate body paint will have your honey clawing the bedsheets as you lick it off.

You will need:

  • 17.05oz high quality dark chocolate (semi-sweet or bittersweet) chopped
  • 13.5oz cream
  • 1/2 bunch mint, finely chopped
  • 1 chili pepper, finely chopped
  • double shot espresso

1. Divide cream into 3 indivdual pans.

2. Add mint into 1 pan, chili into the second pan and espresso into the third pan.

3. Slowly warm each pan to a near simmer and remove from heat allowing flavor to infuse for 15 minutes.

4. Place dark chocolate in a small bowl and set over a small saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir this constantly until chocolate melts.

5. Remove pan from heat.

6. Divide chocolate into 3 small pots.

7. Return pans of cream to heat and once hot, strain each pan of cream into 1 chocolate pot, creating 3 separate flavored chocolate body paints.

Get a soft paintbrush and let your imagination take over!

Garlic Pasta

garlic pasta If you like garlic, butter, and olive oil, then you’ll love this.

You will need:

  • 1 lb. box of pasta (we use spaghetti or angel hair)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (don’t use any other kind)
  • 2-3 tbsp. – or to taste – minced garlic
  • 6 tbsp. butter (NOT margarine)
  • 3 tbsp. minced parsley
  • 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Cook pasta according to package but before draining, reserve 1 cup of the hot cooking water – set aside. Place pasta back into pot.

2. While pasta is finishing cooking, in a small pot heat the oil, butter, and garlic until butter has melted.

3. Pour the hot oil mixture over the pasta and stir; add in the cheese and stir until well-mixed.

4. Add as much of the reserved hot cooking water as needed to keep pasta moist- it may not take the full cup.

5. Sprinkle in the parsley, and salt & pepper to taste.

6. Serve immediately. This also reheats well the next day, just zap it in the microwave.

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Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks? The Truth is Out!

Dunkin Donuts Starbucks Which do you prefer, Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks coffee? Well, if you’re like 54.2% of frequent (or obsessive) coffee drinkers, you would be shouting from the rooftops about just how much you love Dunkin’ Donuts. I mean, come on, there is absolutely nothing bad to say about Dunkin’ Donuts coffee (their flat bread sandwiches, however, well yes, there are a lot of negative things you can say about those) it’s insanely affordable and downright delicious and according to that 54.2% of frequent coffee drinkers, it’s better than Starbucks, not to mention more than half the price of what a Starbucks coffee costs.

An independent taste test was conducted by A&G Research Inc., under the counsel of claims test advisor Al Ossip, of coffee drinkers across ten major US markets last May and June. The US markets included Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, and Starbucks’ own home of Seattle. The taste test included 476 adults, all of which had consumed regular, brewed coffee within the past week.

A&G Research served each of the participants fresh packaged coffee in the most popular flavor purchased in each brand’s stores, Dunkin Donuts Original Blend and Starbucks House Blend. The coffee was brewed using the exact equipment recommended by each brand and was served black.

The independent taste test results clearly showed where each coffee brand stood when it came to consumers because among all participants, 54.2% preferred Dunkin’ Donuts coffee compared to just 39.3% who said they preferred Starbucks and 6.3% expressed no preference.

Dunkin Donuts was founded in 1950 and with a little under 60 years in the coffee-making business, this taste test has proven that no other coffee chain, sofas, music and ambiance included, can be matched by Dunkin’ Donuts, which is proven with the fact that nearly 1.5 billion cups of coffee are sold each and every single year by Dunkin Donuts.

Above all, this taste test has proven that America really does run on Dunkin.

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Visit Dunkin’ Beat Starbucks to see how Dunkin’ Donuts unmistakably delicious coffee is made and also for hot deals going on at Dunkin’ stores near you!

Stay Warm with Chicken Noodle Soup

chicken noodle soup Whether we like it or not, winter is pretty much upon us. In fact, where I live there is currently a snow storm going on outside and with the entrance of winter, comes the colds and the flu. What better a way to stay warm and also ward off illness than to indulge in some savory chicken noodle soup!

You will need:

  • 5 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts – parboiled, cut into chunks
  • 1 quart canned or boxed chicken stock
  • 1 large white onion
  • 3 minced garlic cloves (from the jar)
  • 3 large peeled, carrots, cut into coins
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • Thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Kosher salt and pepper
  • Uncooked egg noodles, or ditalini – that’s good, too

1. Place the chicken stock and 1 quart of cold water into a large pot and bring to a boil.

2. Add all the veggies and spices. Simmer about 20 minutes.

3. Add about 1/2 the bag of egg noodles and bring to a boil. Add the chicken chunks. Lower heat to a good simmer and cook until noodles are done.

4. Remove bay leaf, check seasonings. Serve.

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Relieve, Refresh and Revitalize with Cabaret Brewed Chocolate

brewed chocolate Cabaret Brewed Chocolate is probably unlike any other drink you’ve had before. Made by brewing whole raw cocoa beans in water, sweetened with organic evaporated cane juice and reduced into a concentrated syrup, brewed chocolate is a light, chocolate drink with the same consistency as tea.

Taking inspiration from the ancient Mexicans, the makers of Brewed Chocolate realized quickly why the ancient Mexicans valued it so much. Adding a teaspoon of Brewed Chocolate to just 4oz of water, after about 20 minutes you realize something…different. You realize that all of your stress is gone, the day before melts away and you are calm, content and refreshed. Brewed Chocolate is the ultimate treat to have about an hour before bedtime.

This calm and relaxed feeling comes from something called theobromine, a cousin of caffeine, but without the jittery side effect; in fact, theobromine has significantly different effects from caffeine–Theobromine is a long-lasting stimulant that cause a mood enhancement and that feeling of overwhelming calmness; a feeling I had very seldom before Brewed Chocolate came into my life.

As a freelance web designer, developer and writer, my life is very hectic and because I work at home, I never really get to say ‘Okay, I’m done with work for the day.’ Instead, it’s more like ‘Okay, I can’t stay awake any longer and need to go visit the bed for about 8 hours before I get up and do this all over again.’ Because my life tends to get a bit hectic every day, it’s great to have Brewed Chocolate to look forward to during the day and enjoy after a relaxing bath and snuggling up on the couch before I head to bed.

I was personally taken a little aback by the taste of Brewed Chocolate, but like the ancient Mexicans, I value this drink for what it makes me feel and to be honest, I think most of us out there would drink gasoline straight from the pump if it was healthy and brought out the feeling that Brewed Chocolate does and when you try it, you will know what I mean. The unique taste of this drink is caused by the fact that it contains very little fat; only 24 calories and less than a half gram of fat per teaspoon.

If you are usually high strung at the end of the day or crave relaxation in the form of a tea-like drink that you can relax with in front of the television or while reading a book before bed, you need to try Brewed Chocolate.

Top 10 Produce You Should Buy Organic

USDA organic Ideally, everyone would be eating the freshest and safest foods possible–Everyone would be eating 100% organically, however, budgets are tight and a great deal of people simply cannot afford to purchase a great deal of organic foods. That’s completely understandable, I can’t afford to eat all organically, but it is important to make sure you’re purchasing some organic foods, mainly produce.

Produce, as many may know, contains a great deal of pesticides if not grown organically and more than 80% of the most common pesticides are potentially carcinogenic, meaning that they contain an agent directly involved in the promotion of cancer or in the increase of its propagation. Scary, right? I know! Luckily, the Environmental Working Group has put together a downloadable wallet guide containing the worst and best produce, in terms of pesticide levels.

For your immediate attention, here is a list of the top 10 produce you should most definitely be buying organic, every time.

1. Peaches – pesticide load: 100
2. Apples – pesticide load: 96
3. Bell Peppers – pesticide load: 86
4. Celery – pesticide load: 85
5. Nectarines – pesticide load: 84
6. Strawberries – pesticide load: 83
7. Cherries – pesticide load: 75
8. Lettuce – pesticide load: 69
9. Grapes (imported) – pesticide load: 68
10. Pears – pesticide load: 65

But can’t you just wash or peel your produce to get rid of pesticides?

While you may think that washing or peeling your produce can effectively remove pesticides from your food, the truth is that while these tactics may reduce levels of some pesticides, it does not eliminate them. The best option is to eat a varied diet, wash all produce, and choose organic when possible to reduce exposure to potentially harmful chemicals.

Healthy Three-Pepper Pasta Topping

bell peppers Bell peppers are great for you, yet not so many people eat them as much as they should. They contain high levels of vitamin C which can act as an anti-inflammatory to decrease symptoms of arthritis. They also contain carotenoid compounds, which may enhance vision and decrease the risk of cataracts.

So here is a recipe for a delicious pasta topping using three peppers to help your health.

You will need:

  • one yellow, red and green bell peppers
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • whole wheat pasta

1. Cut yellow, red and green bell peppers into thin strips.
2. Saute 1 cup of peppers in 2 teaspoons of olive oil.
3. Toss peppers with cooked whole-wheat pasta (2 ounces dry).

Extra-virgin olive oil is rich in polyphenol compounds, which help increase good HDL-cholesterol levels and decrease bad LDL levels.

Get in the Mood for Fall with Pumpkin Butter

pumpkin butter The chilly nights and mornings are here and with that, we’re noticing the climate change as it becomes Fall here. Fall is my favorite season; the leaves change and everything is just beautiful and I tend to get in the mood for fall a lot sooner than I should. I’m already thinking of pumpkins, pumpkin patches, and children trick or treating. It’s just a beautiful time and the weather is perfect. So while I’ve been ready for fall since August, it is finally time to really get in that spirit and it’s time to mix things up a little bit and get your taste buds in the mood too!

Here is a fabulous recipe for pumpkin butter; perhaps a recipe to save for after Halloween and you have all of those extra pumpkins laying around. Don’t throw them away, use them in your cooking!

You will need:

  • 2 pounds peeled, seeded, and diced sugar pie pumpkin (substitute canned if needed)
  • 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • Pinch of salt

1. In a stainless steel pot, combine pumpkin, sugar, brown sugar, and salt; bring to a simmer. (If using fresh pumpkin, stir until it’s tender, about 20 to 30 minutes.)

2. Continue simmering until the mixture starts to thicken, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a blender; blend until smooth. Return mixture to pot and heat for 10 minutes on low until it reaches desired thickness. Remove, cool, and serve.

And that’s it! You can do a few things with this butter and probably a lot more if you start to think out of the box a little. Of course it can be used on top of breads and toast and also on top of bagels, muffins or even in muffins or in between layers of a vanilla cake; just cut the pastry in half, layer pumpkin butter on the bottom and put the top back on! Have fun!