Tag Archives: drink

Missing Pieces

Today is World Autism Awareness Day, and you may remember from last year that autism research is a cause I am incredibly passionate about.  Autism is the fastest growing serious developmental disability in the U.S. and receives less than five per-cent of the research funding of other childhood diseases.  There is no one single cause of autism, nor is there one single type of autism.  As you may remember from last year, Autism Speaks hosts an event for World Autism Day called “Light it Up Blue for World Autism Awareness Day.”  Various businesses and landmarks will be illuminated with blue lights today and tonight to shed light on autism spectrum disorder.

We have our blue light bulb ready to go on the porch for tonight, but I’m going to show my blue early today.  I considered various blue things I could make, but since there are very few naturally blue foods I decided on blueberries, because they at least have blue in their name (scientific selection process around here, I know).  A blueberry banana smoothie was a great start to my morning, and as easy as “dump it all in a blender, push button, and drink.” Okay, I recommend drinking this out of something other than directly from the blender, but I won’t judge either way.

blueberry banana yogurt smoothie

Blueberry Banana Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium banana, peeled
  • 1 C. frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 C. milk (anything from skim to whole)
  • 5 oz. blueberry Greek yogurt

Directions:

Place all ingredients into the jar of a blender.

Puree for about 30 seconds, until all ingredients are smooth and combined.

Pour into a drinking glass.

Makes 1 serving.

Source: Diana Dishes original

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New Year’s Eve at Home

As 2012 comes to a close tonight, I’m looking forward to celebrating with friends at home tonight.  I’ve enjoyed New Year’s Eve a number of ways in the past- sometimes visiting friends, sometimes hosting parties at home, and sometimes hanging out on the couch eating Chinese food and waiting to see the ball drop on tv.  This year, we’re enjoying the evening at home with M and O, and a dear friend of mine and her two girls.  I won’t be making fancy things, or coming up with signature drinks.  Instead, we’ll have some kid-friendly snacks (snacks as a meal are a New Year’s Eve guilty pleasure tradition for me), maybe in our pajamas, and see which of the grown-ups is snoring first.

I had a good year here at Diana’s Dishes, and it seemed fitting to celebrate that as I look forward to a better one in 2013.  A lot of posts were competing for popularity on here, but these are the top ten as determined by my readers.

soft pretzel#10 Soft Pretzels

I made these for day 6 of my Summer Olympics feature, showing foods from countries that have hosted the Summer Games.  These soft pretzels, for Munich, are easier than they look and incredibly delicious.

cannoli cupcake

#9  Cannoli Cupcakes

What happens when the birthday girl loves cannolis and the baker can’t find her cannoli forms?  These cannoli cupcakes, which made a delicious dessert for M’s eighth birthday.

barbecue sauce

#8  Homemade Barbecue Sauce

I made a huge batch of this and put it in jars for both of my dads, and for Lane as a Father’s Day gift and it met with rave reviews. Definitely man-approved.

monster cookies (1280x856)

#7 One Bowl Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chcolate Chip M&M Cookies

We had absolutely no trouble working our way quickly through four dozen of these easy one-bowl cookies.

waffle

#6  Basic Belgian Waffles

Ditch the boxed mix and make fresh waffles.  These are amazing with fruit and whipped cream or butter and syrup.  Make a big batch and freeze them for another day!

arroz con pollo

#5 Cheater’s Arroz con Pollo

An amazingly easy chicken and rice dish, simplifying a classic.

fomushrooms

#4 French Onion Stuffed Mushrooms

There are hardly words for how delicious these are.  Oh, and if you were wondering how “Lane” got his nickname, this would be an entertaining post to read.

baconlayerbark

#3  Milk Chocolate Whisky Marshmallow Candied Bacon Bark

There are hardly words for how absolutely amazing this stuff is.  I made it for a New Year’s Eve party last year, and a year later, we’re still talking about it.

smores bars

#2  S’mores Bars

When I ask if I can bring anything to a party, the answer now is almost always “yes, those amazing s’mores bars.”  Every bit as delicious as traditional s’mores, but without the open flame and sticks.

honey ginger chicken wing

# 1  Honey Ginger Baked Chicken Wings

Great for a snack anytime, super for a party and easy on your waistline since they’re baked, not fried.  Isn’t the Super Bowl coming up?

While I completely enjoyed every one of the things in my top ten as determined by my readers, there were a few things that were my personal favorites that didn’t make the list.  I’d like to take a moment and give these ten recipes the love they deserve, in no particular order.

high heel cupcake 2

The high heel cupcakes I made for my birthday.  Time consuming? Yes.  Worth it? Absolutely.  We’re still talking about these!

cookiepuss

The homemade Cookie Puss ice cream cake replica I made for Lane’s birthday.  This was worth the effort, and I solved the mystery of how to make amazing ice cream cake cookie crunchies.

perry the platypus cake

The Perry the Platypus cake I made for O’s birthday.  Perry starts out as a pound cake!

fettucine alfredo

Fettucini Alfredo, for my grandmother’s 80th birthday.  It turned out to be her final birthday, and I’m glad I got a chance to make her one of her favorite dishes.

chickensandwich

The chicken sandwich that was so good, it changed my life.

bacon roses

Roses, made out of bacon.  I’m sure no further explanation is necessary.

blue moon cupcake

Blue Moon beer cupcakes to celebrate the blue moon we had in August.  Hope you made it count!

apple crumble pieApple crumble pie we made after apple picking.  It was the first project I took on with Chef M and Chef O, and I can still hear O declaring his love for the “apple peeler machine.”

cranberry apple sangriaCranberry Apple Sangria.  This delicious (and easy) beverage saved my sanity this holiday season.

cheesecake3Classic cheesecake.  I brought this for dessert the first time I met Lane’s family and it was enjoyed by all.

Looking through the twenty posts above has provided me with a great look back at 2012, and I can’t wait to share the excitement of 2013 with all of you.  Happy New Year!

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Sweet Sangria

In addition to the turkey and sides, which I can’t wait to post here, we did offer several beverage options at our Thanksgiving dinner. One of the beverage options for adults only was this apple cranberry sangria. If you missed the sangria I made earlier this year, it bears mentioning that part of the idea behind sangria is taking a cheaper wine and mixing it up with other ingredients to turn it into something truly terrific.  In keeping with the season, I decided that apple and cranberry hints were really the best way to dress up some Merlot-by-the-gallon for the holiday.  This drink was very popular with our guests, and so easy to make.  I do suggest making it a day ahead so that the flavors have time to blend.  Also, I did not add ice to this because I mixed it ahead of time and it was plenty cold when I took it out of the refrigerator the next day at serving time.  If you feel this will need ice, I strongly suggest filling some ice cube trays with cranberry juice or wine so the sangria isn’t diluted when the ice melts.  Ordinarily, I’d add chopped up fruit to the sangria but in my haste to put everything together, I forgot to and no one missed it.

Apple Cranberry Sangria

Ingredients:

  • 2 (750 ml each) bottles of red wine (I used Merlot)
  • 1 C. Triple Sec
  • 2 C. cranberry juice (can use cranberry juice cocktail, or any cranberry juice blend)
  • 2 C. apple cider

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher and stir to combine.

Place the pitcher into the refrigerator and allow to chill for at least 8 hours or overnight (unless you want to serve it with ice).

Makes about 11 (1 C. each) servings.

Source: Diana Dishes original

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Rio

The 2012 London Summer Olympics are down to the Closing Ceremonies (which are underway in London as I write this post, but won’t be aired on tv for a few hours here).  All 302 victory ceremonies have taken place, with the last gold medal of these Games being awarded to Laura Asadauskaite of Lithuania in the modern pentathalon.  At the close of these Olympics, Team USA lead the overall medal count, winning 104 medals with forty-six of them gold.  China followed with thirty-eight gold medals (eighty-seven medals in total), and Great Britain followed China with sixty-five total medals (twenty-nine of them gold).

As these Games come to a close, there will be a nod to the next Summer Olympics, which will be hosted in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  Following tradition, tonight’s Closing Ceremonies will see the mayor of Great Britain hand over the Olympic flag to the mayor of Rio, and Rio’s Olympic Organizing Committee has designed approximately eight minutes of tonight’s festivities to show the world what they can look forward to in Rio.  The Rio Games will be the first held in South America, and only the third held in the southern hemisphere (the only time this has been done other than two previous Games in Australia).  Windsurfing will be removed from the 2016 Games and replaced by kitesurfing.  In addition, rugby sevens and golf will be added to the events, replacing baseball and softball (which were removed in 2005).

I figured it was only fitting to celebrate Rio and the end of this series with a drink.  Enter the caipirinha, a drink made with cachaca, lime, sugar and ice.  Cachaca is possibly the most popular distilled beverage in Brazil, and is mainly produced there.  It is made from fermented sugarcane juice and shares attributes in common with rum (except rum is typically made from molasses).  The caipirinha is simple to make, if you can get your hands on the cachaca.  Only about one per-cent of what is made in Brazil is exported from Brazil, and most of that typically goes to Germany.  Lane found a bottle at Stew Leonard’s as they were featuring drinks from around the world in honor of the Olympics.  A well-stocked liquor store should carry it, or there’s the option of mail order.  If none of these are an option, rum can be substituted, but the drink won’t be exactly the same.  The recipe below is for one drink.  It’s easy to make a pitcher full for a crowd, just multiply how many drinks you’ll need and follow the same instructions.

Caipirinha

Ingredients:

  • 1 lime
  • 2 oz. cachaca
  • ice (crushed is preferable, I used cubes)
  • 2 tsp. sugar

Directions:

Cut the lime into eight wedges.

Place four of the wedges into a rocks glass, pulp side up, and sprinkle the sugar over them.

Using a muddler or the end of a wooden spoon, smash the limes and sugar together for about fifteen seconds.

Fill the glass with ice.

Pour the cachaca over the ice and drink cold.

Makes 1 serving.

Source: Maria-Brazil

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Hold On

The final film in the 12 Days of Oscar series this year is nominated for two Oscars. Bridesmaids stars Kristin Wiig as Annie, whose life has become something of a mess following the closure of her bakery.  Yet, when her best friend, Lillian (Maya Rudolph), gets engaged, she agrees to serve as maid of honor.  This pits Annie against Lillian’s friend Helen (Rose Byrne), who had also been vying for the title.  Much comedic activity ensues as Annie, Lillian, Helen, and the rest of the bridal party try to put together a bachelorette party, shower, and wedding. Bridesmaids is nominated for Best Writing, Original Screenplay and also for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for Melissa McCarthy, who plays Megan.  I am really hoping this film wins, as I have been a fan of Melissa McCarthy since her Gilmore Girls days and I think this film managed to take “chick flicks” and make them appeal to a male audience on a scale no other such film has managed to do.

If you’ve seen this movie, you can’t forget the scene where Annie brings the girls to Churra Chi, the Brazilian restaurant.  Actually, there are many unforgettable scenes in this movie, but this one stands out especially.  I decided that, considering what happens after the girls leave the restaurant, Brazilian food might not be the best thing to post here.  The sangria the ladies start out with there did seem like a great thing to make and post, and I was right.  This sangria could have used a little Triple Sec, but other than that it was the right mix of sweet and dry and fruity and, like Bridesmaids, did not disappoint. The real trick to sangria is that you don’t need to use expensive wine.  Sangria is a way to take a cheaper wine and make it pretty delicious.  That said, I advise against using something you wouldn’t drink on its own, because the addition of juice and sugar doesn’t work that much magic.  Some magic, yes, but not that much.

Sangria

Ingredients:

  • 1 (750 ml) bottle of red wine (I used Merlot)
  • 1/4 C. sugar
  • 3 C. apple cranberry cocktail juice blend
  • 2 apples, sliced thin
  • juice of 1/2 an orange
  • 1 orange, sliced into thin wedges
  • ice (I froze cranberry juice so it didn’t water down the sangria)

Directions:

Stir the wine and cranberry juice together in a large pitcher.

Stir in the sugar until it is dissolved.

Add the orange juice and stir to combine.

Refrigerate overnight.

Add the ice cubes and fruit slices before serving.

Makes 8-12 servings.

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Scarlett Gets Tipsy

Today’s selection for 12 Days of Oscar is the 1939 classic Gone with the WindGone with the Wind cleaned up at the 1940 Academy Awards, winning 8 Oscars: Best Actress in a Leading Role, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Best Art Direction, Best Color Cinematography, Best Director, Best Film Editing, Best Writing, and Best Picture. It also received an honorary award, the William Cameron Memzies Award for achievement in the use of color to enhance the dramatic mood, and a technical achievement award as well.  It was the first color film to win Best Picture, and Hattie McDaniel was the first black actress to win an Academy Award (for Best Supporting Actress). 

Based on Margaret Mitchell’s 1936 novel, Gone with the Wind follows Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) as she grows from young adulthood into a woman in the South preceding, during, and following the Civil War.  She wants to be like her mother, regarded as a great lady in the community, but she makes poor decisions that routinely cause a scandal instead.  Scarlett meets the rogue Rhett Butler (Clark Gable) at the home of her love interest, Ashleigh Wilkes (Leslie Howard).  She spends a great deal of time with her sister-in-law, Ashleigh’s wife, Melanie (Olivia DeHaviland) and is scornful of her.  Rhett finds that no matter where he travels, or how many times Scarlett marries another man, he can’t get her out of his head.  Meanwhile, Scarlett frequently plots to remain close to Ashleigh.  It’s a great love story, set against the backdrop of the Civil War and Atlanta during Reconstruction.  Even if Clark Gable did denounce it as being a “woman’s film,” it’s worth a viewing.

There is plenty of food in Gone with the Wind.  In the beginning of the film as Scarlett dresses to go to a barbecue, Mammy (Hattie McDaniel), implores her to eat before she goes, because ladies don’t stuff themselves in public.  There’s a scene involving Christmas dinner during the war where the butler is chasing a chicken around the yard in a rainstorm, and Aunt Pittypat advises her guests to enjoy the wine slowly, because “it is the last.”  Rhett and Scarlett honeymoon in New Orleans, and Scarlett is shown at a restaurant there, stuffing in food as though she’ll never eat again.  This is because during the war, she and her family almost did starve, until the night Scarlett went out to the garden, dug up a root vegetable and announce, “As God is my witness, I’ll never be hungry again.”

Of course, there are drinks abound in Gone with the Wind as well.  The first time we meet Rhett Butler, he’s holding a drink at the bottom of a staircase.  Scarlett is seen drinking after her second husband’s funeral and attempts to hide it from Rhett by gargling with perfume before seeing him.  Rhett enjoys a drink with Mammy when Scarlett gives birth to their daughter, and later throws a drink at a huge portrait of Scarlett in anger.  So it only seems fitting that each character has their own drink named for them.

The Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler drinks both start out with Southern Comfort.  Scarlett’s drink is sweeter, with the addition of cranberry juice, than Rhett’s which has a more bitter, citrus flavor to it.  In 1939, Southern Comfort created the recipe for some promotional material for the release of Gone with the Wind.  The Scarlett O’Hara isn’t very popular by that name, even Southern Comfort is now advertising it as “SoCo and cranberry.” 

Scarlett O’Hara and Rhett Butler Cocktails

Ingredients:

for the Scarlett O’Hara:

  • 2 oz. Southern Comfort
  • 6 oz. cranberry juice
  • squeeze of lime juice

for the Rhett Butler:

  • 2 oz. Southern Comfort
  • 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. orange curacao

Directions:

To make either cocktail, put its ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.

Shake several times and then strain into a glass.

For the Scarlett O’Hara, the suggested garnish is a lime wedge.  For the Rhett Butler, suggested garnish is a lemon wedge or a twist of lemon peel.

Source: Mix That Drink

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