Dairy-Free, Drinks, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian

Tart & Spiced Holiday Moscow Mules

IMG_5678Another tasty take on a Moscow mule — a (Christmas) Cranberry Moscow Mule. The copper mugs are just so fun, they’re begging to be used after making the lovely Apple Cider Moscow Mules. A splash of diet ginger beer and cranberry juice give the classic drink a balance between spice and tart. Omit the vodka for a tasty mocktail. If you’re feeling exceptionally festive, garnish with fresh cranberries and a sprig of rosemary. While Christmas has passed, at least you have another option to ring in the New Year. Cheers!
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Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Salad, Side, Vegan, Vegetarian

Craving a Cranberry Quinoa Salad

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This Cranberry Quinoa Salad is vibrant, fresh and intensely colorful. Something about citrus and cranberries screams the holidays. This salad is a fresh take on the classic dish of cranberries and oranges. The sweet pomegranate seeds and orange wedges balance the tart cranberries. The quinoa adds sustenance, while the fresh mint adds flavor. Pair with a roasted chicken (we had orange-citrus and rosemary marinade with this salad and fresh butternut squash), add in nuts for more of a meal, or enjoy with a cup of soup. This salad is a perfect addition to your holiday entertaining — even the colors beckon you to add this to your entertaining arsenal, lunch rotation or just as a fun, colorful and delicious side to any meal.

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Breakfast/Brunch, Dessert, Snack, Vegetarian

Crazy for Scones

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I love scones. I may or may not be still in a cranberry pistachio phase, which inspired this Orange Scones with Cranberries & Pistachios recipe. (if you’re not convinced, see my Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Pistachios & Cranberries). I usually bring scones as a hostess gift, as a “thank you” or just because. I made this today as a special thanks for someone, who has helped me do some medical soul searching over the years. For those of you wondering, scones are a traditional English baked good that are both lightly sweetened and served with tea. Making scones from scratch are not as difficult as one may believe. There’s three basic butter rules that must be followed to ensure you’ll have perfectly delicious scones:

  1. The butter must be chilled.
  2. The butter must be “cut in” the dry ingredients with a pastry blender (easiest — like one here), a fork or even two knives (I think this is the hardest way). A pastry blender gives you the most leverage, it’s efficient, and prevent the butter form melting.
  3. The butter must resemble pea-sized pieces once cut in.

“Cutting in” the butter ensures the fat will be evenly distributed amongst the dry ingredients. It almost creates pockets of butter throughout the dough. I lightened up the traditional recipes and replaced heavy cream with unsweetened vanilla almond milk, cut the flour 50/50 with whole-wheat, and substituted egg whites for eggs. The orange zest adds in such an unique freshness, the fresh cranberries a tartness, and the pistachios a salty, yet nutty perfection. As breakfast or brunch, as a holiday treat or with a cup of coffee or tea, these Orange Scones with Cranberries & Pistachios are sure to please.

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Gluten-Free, Salad, Side, Vegetarian

Breezing through a Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad

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Bet you can’t guess where I found my inspiration for my Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Pistachios and Cranberries recipe — Pinterest (obviously). I’ve come to like Brussels sprouts. For Thanksgiving at my dad’s parents’ house, I would go to their garden, bursting with late fall veggies, and my task would be to pick the Brussels sprouts to have for Thanksgiving dinner. Of course I would painstakingly pick them, but I would never eat them; I didn’t even get to enjoy my labors then, but I love this salad; it’s light, different, innovative and totally tasty. I made a few changes — I served this raw instead of cooking everything in a skillet. I like the crunch and flavor of the Brussels sprouts this way. Plus, transforming them from their solid form to a shaved one, you wouldn’t know you’re eat Brussels sprouts. For some color, my mom thought shredded carrots would make a nice addition. The pistachios are a decadent and unusual crunch, the parmesan — flavor and the craisins and fig balsamic (a local purchase from Ithaca) — a needed sweetness to combat and balance the salad’s earth tones.

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