Chef Boyardee Bringing Family and Friends Together (Win Free Groceries!)

Chef Boyardee has always been a favorite in our house, but usually we would just have it as a quick and easy go to meal.  But what if you could turn it into an entire meal for your family or entertain a houseful? Well, this weekend, I put that idea to the test.  We rounded up some of our favorite people and went to work in the kitchen!

I decided to invite my neighbors and their family over for a fun dinner and dessert.  One of their twin daughters loves to cook so she was very excited to come over and help.  We decided to make a top secret dinner for her Mom and Dad and brother and sisters.  So on party day we turned on some music, and put together a masterpiece for dinner.  To help us out we were sent all the right tools, aprons, chef’s hat, mixing bowls, baking dishes, and a timer.  I think everyone had just as much fun wearing the aprons and hat!

As part of our party, we had to create a Chef Boyardee recipe to share with everyone.  We chose to make the very tasty Pepperoni Spaghetti Bake and added some of our own little touches to the recipe.  We added some grated Reggiano and Romano cheeses and baked garlic bread on the bottom.  We made a side salad and the meal was complete!  Everyone had their own job in the kitchen, and the boys got a kick out of helping mom.  This has been a really wonderful opportunity for me and the kids, and the recipes offered really were not that difficult to prepare.  This made it easy for the boys and the other kids to participate and enjoy something that they made.  The end result was a really tasty meal, spending less time in the kitchen, and more time enjoying family and friends.

Right now through March 11, 2012, you can submit an original recipe that uses Chef Boyardee as an ingredient (anything you can dream up).  All you have to do is upload a photo of your recipe, and share why your family loves it.  A winner will be chosen based on creativity, all-family appeal, ease of preparation, and palatable appeal by an expert panel of judges.   You can win a $500 prize as well as $75 in Chef coupons or the grand prize of free groceries for a year!  I don’t know about you, but who couldn’t use a stocked fridge and pantry for the year to make delicious recipes like the ones offered by Chef Boyardee?   You can visit the facebook contest for your chance to win.

After all was said and done, everyone loved the meal that was prepared and we could hardly believe that it only took 30-40 minutes to prepare.  We loved throwing a party and I loved getting my kids involved in the meal preparation process.  It was a great learning experience and most kids like having a role in helping.  You can find some more really great Chef Boyardee Recipes on their site.  Don’t forget to enter to win free groceries from now until March 11, 2012!

 

 

“I wrote this review while participating in a In Home Party campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Chef Boyardee and received product samples to facilitate my party and review, and a promotional item to thank me for participating.”

 

Dark Raspberry Dove Chocolate Cupcakes With Raspberry Buttercream

February 14, 2012 by  
Filed under Featured, Food & Recipes, General

I was thinking of ways to wish you all Happy Valentine’s Day, or just wish you all a happy day.  So my taste buds decided to take over.  I have an addiction to thee new Dove chocolates that I found in the store one day while I was crabby, PMS’ing and needed chocolate.  If you haven’t tried them, they are the Dove Raspberry Dark Chocolate Promises.  They are the perfect ratio of chocolate to raspberry and I have to hide my stash in the house.

So I decided, what if I put these in a chocolate cupcake for Valentine’s Day, or any day for that matter?  So I came up with a little recipe to celebrate this day of love…love for your loved one, love for yourself, love of all things chocolate, or just plain old LOVE!

Cupcake Ingredients

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350°F.
  2. Line Cupcake pan with paper or foil liners of your choice
  3. In large mixer bowl, stir together dry ingredients.
  4. Add eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla; beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.
  5. Stir in boiling water by hand and then add the melted Dove Chocolates
  6. Pour batter into baking cups about 3/4 full or a little more if you are daring.
  7. Bake cupcakes 15-20 minutes  or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
  8. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan to wire racks.
Raspberry Buttercream Recipe
  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup fresh raspberries
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (16-oz.) package powdered sugar
  • Reserved Dove Chocolates for shavings

Preparation

  1. Be sure to wash and thoroughly dry raspberries before adding to frosting.Beat Raspberries, Butter, Vanilla and salt together at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.
  2. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended and smooth after each addition.

Top each cupcake with frosting and sprinkle some pretty decorations on top with a few shavings of Dove Chocolates and you have a very tasty Valentine or anytime treat!  Enjoy!!!!

 

 

Homemade Cheez Its!

January 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Featured, Food & Recipes, General

I was out and about surfing the web when I ran across a recipe for cheese crackers, that I knew I had to try. I almost always pick up a box of Cheez Its in the store. They have been around since I was a child and I still love them even today. So when I ran into a way to make my own baked crackers, I jumped at the chance to try and make a new family favorite. At first I had high hopes that these would taste just like the real thing, but to be realistic, that will never happen. I don’t have enough preservatives and ingredients I can’t pronounce in my baking arsenal. If I could find something that we like out of this, I prefer the natural, low preservative version.

The recipe is extremely simple to put together, and the end result is a cracker that is light and crispy. You could even turn these into twisted cheese straws, add some spices, and mix and match cheeses. For simplicity sake and for something that appeals to two 5 yr old little boys, I went with plain old sharp cheddar that I grated from a leftover brick of cheese that was just calling my name.

Recipe

Homemade Cheez-Its

(Adapted From: ReadyMade Magazine)

Ingredients:

  1. 8 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated plus a little parmasean reggiano
  2. Optional Seasonings (I used a little cayenne pepper)
  3. 3 Tbs of unsalted butter, room temperature
  4. 1 Tbs vegetable shortening (you can omit the vegetable shortening and use 4TBS of butter)
  5. ½ teaspoon salt
  6. 1 cup unbleached flour
  7. 2 Tablespoons ice water
  8. Coarse salt for sprinkling

Directions:

  1. Combine cheese, butter, shortening, optional preferred seasonings and salt in the bowl of your mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. The mixture will be crumbly.
  2. Slowly add the flour then the ice water.  Add a few extra drops of water to help it come together (this is just like making a pie crust) but be careful not to add too much.
  3. Pat the dough into 2 discs and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill for  30 minutes or overnight.
  4. Preheat oven to 375?F.
  5. Using parchment paper or a silicone mat roll each disc to 1/8 inch or less and cut into 1 inch squares (a pastry wheel or pizza wheel is easiest). A toothpick works great to punch a hole into the center of each square.
  6. If you have difficulty separating and transferring the crackers onto the baking sheet return the parchment paper/mat to the refrigerator for 10 minutes (while you roll out the 2nd dough disc).
  7. Bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until puffed and browning around the edges. If you pull them out too soon and the crackers don’t have the desired crispiness you want then simply return them to the oven for 2-3 more minutes.
  8. Move crackers to a cooling rack. Makes about 7 dozen crackers if you can keep them around that long!

The recipe is extremely easy.  I found the pastry cutter at Williams and Sonoma for around $10 but there are cheaper ones on Amazon.  You don’t have to be that fancy however, but I like the pretty edges on the cracker.  I will be trying some twisted cheese sticks with this recipe for the Holidays, I think they would be pretty and make a great snack even with a warm artichoke and spinach dip.  Yummy!

 

Hickory Farms Perfect Gifts For This Holiday Season

December 9, 2011 by  
Filed under Food & Recipes, Mom Central, Product Reviews

Christmas is in full swing at our house,  the tree is up, shopping is being done, and I am busy checking off my list of people that we have to buy for.  The kids are easy, because toys are usually at the top of their list for Santa to bring.  But I always seem to get stuck when it comes to getting things for the adults in the family.  I always struggle with gift ideas.  What do you buy for people who seem to have everything, who give you very vague ideas as to what they could want, and who tell you they want nothing but you insist on buying something for?

We recently received a wonderful Hickory Farms Gift basket, stuffed with yummy summer sausage, and smoked cheeses and we have already been enjoying its contents.  Hickory Farms, is one of my favorite go to gifts during the holidays.  I have loved Hickory Farms since I very little and remember when my Mom would bring home a gift basket from them, or we would buy some of their famous beef summer sausage and cheeses.  I have fond memories of the strawberry bon bons that they used to place in between all the wonderful tasting food goodies within the basket.  For us, our traditions would often involve a family movie night, and we would slice up the sausage and cheeses, and crab the crackers.

Every year around this time Hickory Farms sets up shop in our local mall and I always love to stop and get a few things for our travels back home.  My parents are always delighted to get Hickory Farms goodies, and the tiny mint meltaways are one of my mom’s favorite treats.

So, when it comes to giving, I like to give Hickory Farms.  There is something for everyone and you cannot go wrong with food.  It is a perfect general gift that can be given to family and friends and something that everyone can enjoy.   Hickory Farms has a wide selection of signature sausages and savory cheeses that are always packaged so pretty.

And, to kick off the holiday gift giving season, Hickory Farms will donate $5 from each Party Planner gift box sold to Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry Campaign, a national nonprofit that is working to end childhood hunger in America. In addition, Hickory Farms provides free shipping on select products to APO/FPO military addresses across the globe, allowing loved ones overseas to share in holiday traditions.   I love when companies incorporate good causes into the items that they are selling and  Hickory Farms products taste so yummy, that it makes it easy to buy. Right now you can have Hickory Farms delivered right to your door in 3 days for just $3!

So if you are stumped as to what to buy family and friends and you don’t want to give them something they might not like.  Hickory Farms has some tasty gifts for everyone.

 

 

**“I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Hickory Farms and received a product sample to facilitate my review.”**

 

Weight Loss Update

September 19, 2011 by  
Filed under Food & Recipes, General, Health and Beauty

Recently, I mentioned that I was on a weight loss mission.  My ultimate goal is to lose 65lbs so I can go shopping for the cute clothes and just feel better in general.

I have been working hard for the past 4 weeks and I have lost nearly 20lbs in that time.  I am logging all of my intake, so I can be accountable for what I eat.  You would be surprised how much you can overeat without even knowing.  For instance, I love SunChips and this peach salsa.  When you “gasp” look at the bag you will see that a serving is only 15 chips or something like that.  When you sit there and physically count your chips one by one, you will realize that this seems like a meager amount.  Normally you would just reach in the bag as much as you want until you are satisfied.

I have had to adjust the way that I eat.  If I want something sweet, I head for the fruit before I go to my next step which is chewing gum.  I will admit that I do not deny myself treats.  In fact, I made a homemade chocolate cake with chocolate icing from scratch and had one piece nightly after dinner for a few nights.  The key is moderation.

I had not been used to eating healthy, so at first a piece of fruit tasted like crap to me.  But now it is something that I crave.  If I eat a piece of chocolate and go to fruit, the fruit doesn’t taste sweet, so try to avoid high sugar foods.

I have gone from walking between 5-10 miles per day, to starting to run.  I only made it ten full minutes, before I thought I was gonna die, but it feels good do it.

My favorite snacks so far:

Sliced white peaches with a Tbs of light whip cream

SunChips Garden Salsa flavor with peach salsa

Carrots drizzled with a half tsp of green goddess dressing

Apple with 1 tbs natural no sugar peanut butter

Cranberry Rush Trail Mix from Meijer and Nutrition Nut/Fruit Mix from Planters

Canteloupe

Chocolate graham crackers with light whip cream in between, and put it in the freezer for a mock ice cream sandwich

My favorite breakfast

Maple and Brown Sugar Outmeal with Flax by Three Sisters

As for dinner, I haven’t found a favorite meal, but I tend to eat whatever is made for the family but I measure out portions.  I will drink water but sometimes I want something else and I have found that I really like the regular Vitamin Water.

What are your favorite lo cal snacks?

 

 

Sargento Cheese Tasting

August 15, 2011 by  
Filed under Food & Recipes, Product Reviews

We love cheese in our house, but I will be honest and tell you that, I am not a cheese connoisseur and really don’t know much about cheese beyond picking up our family favorites at the grocery store.  One of my favorite late night snacks has to be cheese and crackers and my boys would have cheese at every meal if I let them.

Recently we had the opportunity to have a cheese tasting party and distinguish the differences in processed sliced cheese versus natural sliced cheese and how to taste cheese.  Let’s face it, eating is something us humans have to do every day and sometimes even that becomes very routine.  We grab quick meals and foods we are used to eating and pay little attention to their taste.


First thing was to educate our party attendees.  Before getting started I read over the cheese tasting tips that were provided to facilitate our party.

1. Look at the cheeses. Natural cheeses, like cheddar, come in many different colors, but in general an understated and non-glossy appearance.  Processed cheese is shiny in appearance even after the plastic is removed.

2. Touch the cheese to feel its texture.  Bend the cheese. Natural cheese texture can vary by the type and variety of the cheese but will break in authentic fashion.  Process cheese Processed cheese is characterized by a smooth, rubbery and artificially pliable texture, and can often bend and fold without breaking.

3.  Smell the cheeses like you’d smell a glass of wine. Natural cheeses’ aroma will vary by cheese type, and the range of smells span and can best be described as  earthy, nutty, and fruity. Processed cheese is usually lacking in a strong aroma, but can have cooked milk notes due to its heating process. what aromas do you pick up when you smell the cheeses?

4. Taste the cheese. Natural cheeses have an incredible array of flavors – from savory to fruity to spicy and sharp. the dominant characteristic in processed cheese is often described as salty. take note of the characteristics of the cheese, the intensity of the flavor, the saltiness, sharpness or fruitiness of the cheese. how does it finish? does the taste linger?

After setting the stage for our cheese tasting party, I let my husband, kids, and neighborhood friends go to work on our cheese and fruit spread. At first, they grabbed whatever was in front of them, but I quickly noticed that they only went back for the Sargento Natural Sharp Cheddar Cheese slices vs the unnamed processed slices. When I closed my eyes and tasted the different cheeses, I noticed that the flavor was richer in the Sargento cheese and the texture was much more appealing. The processed cheese seemed to feel slimy when it hit my tongue, and lacked a definite distinguishable flavor, it just tasted like salt and had no real cheese smell. There is a clear difference in taste of natural cheese versus processed cheese and also a difference in ingredients.  I cannot believe I never payed this close attention after so many years of taking out a processed cheese slice and plopping it on my sandwiches!  Clearly, I have been missing out.

(You can see the difference in cheeses here)

Processed pre-packaged cheese slices go back to my fond childhood memories of grilled cheese sandwiches, but during this cheese tasting, I learned a little something about my processed cheese that I always loved.  Most often times, processed cheese can sit on store shelves without refrigeration and are often times pumped into their packaging and rolled out to form it into a square and is cooked into a liquid before it is formed into a slice.  After reading this, all I could say was eww!  No more shiny cheese for me!

Hands down, the natural cheese beat the processed floppy stuff and everyone could honestly tell the difference immediately just by looking at the different cheeses as well as, the difference in taste.  After really sitting down and tasting the difference, I don’t think the processed stuff will be my go to choice for our favorite grilled cheese because good cheese should make your taste buds do a little dance when you first take a bite, and although I like shiny things, but my food doesn’t have to have bling to taste good.

 

**The Motherhood and Sargento provided the cheese tasting supplies to help facilitate or cheese tasting party and my post, the opinions expressed are strictly that of my own.**

 

Blackberry Pound Cake With Vanilla Custard Sauce

August 8, 2011 by  
Filed under Food & Recipes, General

I am a fruit picking fool lately.  There is something about going out to a farm and out in the fields and picking your own personally selected berries and fruits.  For me, I get a real sense of peace being out there and picking fresh berries with my family or just by myself.  Recently, I decided to go blackberry picking because I had simply never been.  It was a challenge finding a place to go, and then I found a place about 20 miles from me and off we went!  I actually frequented the blackberry patch twice in the last two weeks.  The first batch went to make seedless blackberry jam and the next was to get more and find some things to make with them.

My first recipe was a blackberry pound cake with a vanilla custard sauce that was simply to die for! So, I thought I would share the recipe I used.  I de-seeded the blackberry puree because I didn’t like the seeds in it, but you can do either way.

Blackberry Pound Cake

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for buttering the pan
  • 6 ounces blackberries (1 1/3 cups)
  • 1 1/4  cups plus 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tspkosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream, room temperature

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly butter a 5-by-9-inch loaf pan and line it with parchment paper and butter the parchment paper too, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides; butter parchment. In a food processor or blender, puree blackberries with 3 tablespoons sugar, I de-seeded the mixture before adding to the recipe. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder.
  2. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together butter and 1 1/4 cups sugar until light and fluffy, 5 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla and beat to combine, scraping down bowl as needed. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture.
  3. Transfer half the batter to pan and plop a dollop of about a 1/2 cup blackberry puree. Repeat with remaining batter and puree. With a skewer or thin-bladed knife, swirl batter and puree together. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.  Let cool in pan on a wire rack, 30 minutes. Lift cake out of pan and place on a serving plate; let cool completely before slicing.

Vanilla Custard Sauce

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1 1/2  tsp vanilla
Bring milk and sugar to a simmer in a saucepan without stirring. Whisk yolks in a bowl until blended, then gradually whisk in hot milk mixture. Return to saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens enough to coat back of a wooden spoon and registers 170°F. on an instant-read thermometer. PS. This step happens relatively quickly if you wait too long you will have scrambled eggs. 

Immediately pour sauce through a fine sieve into a metal bowl and place bowl in a large bowl of ice and cold water. Stir in vanilla and whisk custard occasionally until cool, then cover surface with a piece of wax paper to prevent a skin from forming.

Chill until cold.

Blue Velvet Cupcakes

June 20, 2011 by  
Filed under Food & Recipes, General


Blue is my favorite color.  I was at the Farmer’s Market when I ran across this little hole in the wall cupcake shop and I decided I must go in.  Prominently displayed in just four simple glass dome cases perched on crystal cake stands were one of four flavors for the day.  They had the obligatory chocolate, vanilla chocolate, and something else which I forget, then my eyes were drawn to these pretty little blue velvet cupcakes with white icing.  I had to have that one!  Not only is it my favorite color, I wanted to see just how good could a blue cupcake be?

I didn’t have time to eat it on the way home, so I tossed it in the fridge till I could savor the moment.  The husband was gone with the boys and I decided to give it a try.  I took a bite and the flavors danced on my tongue like the most beautifully indulgent serenade.  I found my blue heaven, these things were to die for!  I quickly began to scour the internet for a recipe because the Farmer’s Market is only once a week, and well I wanted to see if I could replicate.  I ran across a few variations when I stumbled across a recipe I liked.

Humming the song “blue belvet”  popular in 1950 and, written by Bernie Wayne and Lee Morris (can’t get the song out of my head now), I made a few variations, because I was a little timid about using all this blue food color, I like vanilla so I added a smidge more.  I only halved the recipe for the cream cheese frosting because I only made half a batch.  The result was a very blue, and very yummy blue velvet cupcake.  I was rather impressed.  My kitchen on the other hand looked a little like a visit from the Smurfs.  A little secret about me, is I like to spread out in the kitchen, which results in a big old mess, if it’s my first time baking a new thing.  What I did for the cocoa and coloring gel was I mixed it as per instructions then added only about half of what was there.  The violet color is so your cupcakes don’t turn out to bee turquois.

Here is the Recipe

For the cupcakes:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • ½ pound (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp Wilton royal blue gel food coloring or if you can find the paste you can just use two tsp)
  • 1 small dab of violet gel food coloring (just a little bit on a toothpick will do)
  • 2 ½ cups cake flour (Swans Down is the best hands down)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar

the frosting:

  • 1 pound cream cheese, softened
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F and line cupcake pans with liners
  2. Cream sugar and butter in mixing bowl till light and fluffy, then add eggs one at a time, mixing well after each egg
  3. Mix cocoa and food coloring together to make a paste — this takes a while and patience  to mix thoroughly with all gel (looked a bit like a science experiment), but it came together nicely; add this paste to sugar mixture and mix well again
  4. Sift  flour and salt, and add to creamed mixture a bit at a time, alternate with buttermilk, then mix in vanilla
  5. Combine baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl and add to cake batter; mix just to combine
  6. Scoop thick batter into cupcake liners, filling about 2/3 full, and bake for probably 20-25 minutes, but start checking at 18 minutes — mine were done at about the 20 minute mark; watch for toothpick inserted in center to come out clean, watch your edges they can brown very quickly (trust me I know from my first batch  lol)
  7. Remove cupcakes from oven and allow cool completely on a wire rack

How to make the frosting

  1. Beat cream cheese, butter and vanilla with electric mixer until nice and smooth
  2. Add sugar gradually and beat on low till combined, then beat on high speed until very light and very fluffy

If you like red velvet cake, this would be a great twist on a classic!  They taste just like red velvet but ate a wonderful, beautiful blue.  Give it a try and let me know what you think.  My boys got a kick out of them and gobbled every last one up!

Raspberry Fudge

June 15, 2011 by  
Filed under Food & Recipes, General

I have never before in my life made fudge of any kind.  In fact, I have never really eaten it.  Over the weekend I tried some raspberry fudge at one of the vendors and I instantly had to buy some.  They were completely out of it with the exception of two small blocks, and I told them to discount it and I bought them.  I took them home with the idea that these tiny blocks of fudge would last me a few weeks, but sadly they were gone in two days  LOL.  Since the farmer’s market is only on Saturdays, in my desperation I decided to make my own.  I scoured the internet and came up with several recipes and decided to give it a try.  This is the raspberry fudge recipe I used but I changed the amount of sugar to 2 cups instead of 2 and 3/4.  To me fudge is rather sweet, so I wanted to experiment and it came out ok as far as I can tell, you can go all out with the sugar or experiment.  I also added a little more of the raspberry flavoring because I like it.  I would recommend using an oil which I found at a cooking supply place.  The imitation stuff at the store is too liquidy (is that a word?).

Here is the Cast of Characters

Recipe

  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) margarine or butter
  • 1 5-ounce can (2/3 cup) evaporated milk
  • 1 7-ounce jar Marshmallow Cream
  • 1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam
  • 2 cups or 2  3/4 cups sugar(depending on personal preference)
  • 1 12-ounce package semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped nuts – optional
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 10 drops Raspberry Flavoring

Lightly grease a 13-x9-inch or 9-inch square pan.

Mix margarine or butter, sugar and milk in a heavy 3-quart saucepan; bring to a full rolling boil on medium heat, stirring constantly.

Continue boiling 5 minutes on medium heat or until candy thermometer reaches 234°F, stirring constantly to prevent scorching.

High Altitude: Decrease recommended temperature (234°F) 2 degrees for every 1,000 feet above sea level. (Who pays attention to this?)

Gradually stir in chocolate chips until melted. Remove from heat.

Add all remaining ingredients and mix well.

Pour into prepared pan.

Cool at room temperature.

When cooled, cut into squares.

Makes about 3 pounds

ENJOY!!!

This is the end result and it turned out pretty yummy for my first go around.  The nice thing about fudge is it will last you an eternity if you exercise self control.  I am personally trying to diet, so just a tiny piece of it, is enough to curb my chocolate cravings so I don’t fall off the wagon.  What is your favorite chocolate recipe or fudge recipe?

Ice Wine Better Than Whine

January 7, 2011 by  
Filed under Featured, Food & Recipes, General

I have never been a wine drinker, and often I have a hard time with most alcoholic beverages, because I somewhat allergic to it.  I am also not a big fan of the strong taste of wine or alcohol in general.

I started to investigate the world of wine after reading numerous articles about the health benefits of drinking wine.  Well over half of the wines that I tried, just weren’t my style because of the stronger taste and since I really don’t drink, not much appealed to me.  If it is alcohol, it shouldn’t remotely taste like it for me to actually enjoy drinking it.

I am a white wine girl, and although most of the health benefits of wine come from the “red wines”, I figure I could start here and possibly work my way into the red stuff.  According to this article by the Mayo Clinic:

“Red wine, in moderation, has long been thought of as heart healthy. The alcohol and certain substances in red wine called antioxidants may help prevent heart disease by increasing levels of “good” cholesterol and protecting against artery damage.”

After my recent check up at the doctor, I found out my good cholesterol was a little low so I went looking for ways in which to help the process along.    This doesn’t mean we all go out and become alcoholics, but an occasional glass of wine is a good thing and may help the old ticker!

Although the wine I have discovered isn’t red, I thought I would mention how delightful this stuff is.  It’s called Ice Wine and it is considered a sweet dessert wine.  It is more like drinking grape juice, it is just that sweet.  After discussing with my neighbor that I liked a sweeter taste to my wine, she suggested a Moscato, which I tried and likes, but Ice Wine is even better.  What makes it so sweet?  According to good ole Wikipedia:

Ice Wine is produced from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine. The sugars and other dissolved solids do not freeze, but the water does, allowing a more concentrated grape must to be pressed from the frozen grapes, resulting in a smaller amount of more concentrated, very sweet wine.

With ice wines, the freezing happens before the fermentation, not afterwards. Unlike the grapes from which other dessert wines, such as Sauternes,Tokaji, or Trockenbeerenauslese, are made, ice wine grapes should not be affected by Botrytis cinerea or noble rot, at least not to any great degree. Only healthy grapes keep in good shape until the opportunity arises for an ice wine harvest, which in extreme cases can occur after the New Year, on a northern hemisphere calendar. This gives ice wine its characteristic refreshing sweetness balanced by high acidity. When the grapes are free of Botrytis, they are said to come in “clean”.Due to the labour-intense and risky production process resulting in relatively small amounts of wine, ice wines are generally quite expensive.

Canada and Germany are the world’s largest producers of ice wines. About 75 percent of the ice wine in Canada comes from Ontario.[1]


My husband was “sweet enough” to get me a bottle for Christmas. The name Inniskillin Vidal Ice Wine, from a supposedly good year (2005). We were eager to try our first glass, and I had mine while soaking in the tub. I fell in love at first drink and I could hardly tell I was drinking wine. The nice part is, I still experienced the mellowed out effects of a nice glass of wine without me wincing from the strong taste that, comes from me being unaccustomed to drinking wine.    I think I have found a new favorite!  You can find out more about Inniskillin Ice Wine, I know I would love to be invited for a tour to experience the process first hand!

Next Page »