December 2010 archive
Not sure where the month of December went, as I planned on having this post up before the holidays! What food gifts did you get/give over the holidays? I’ve really gotten into canning this past year and decided to make an assortment of goodies to hand out. The peppers and the mustard were tied as favorites, so here are the recipes for both.
Hot Pepper Mustard
35-50 hot peppers, depending on size. (I used mostly banana peppers but added a few jalapenos and habaneros from the garden for extra kick.)
4 cups yellow mustard
4 cups Apple-Cider Vinegar
5 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. salt
Combine the water and flour together in a separate bowl. Seed (optional) peppers and using a food processor or blender, chop them very,very fine. In a large stock pot combine the peppers, mustard, vinegar, salt, sugar, and flour mixture. Stir to combine and bring to a boil for 5-10 minutes until mustard thickens. Ladle into hot jars and can using a water bath method for 10 minutes.
I love really hearty sandwiches and I think these are the perfect condiment. They ARE packed in oil, so just drain as much oil off as you want before using them. Sometimes I take day old french bread then pile on the vegetables and these peppers. The oil helps to soften the bread without making it soggy and act as a vinaigrette dressing for the sandwich.
40-50 Hungarian wax peppers
If you have access to a food processor with a slicing blade you are going to want to use it. I can’t imagine how sore my hands would be after slicing 50 hot peppers!
Seed (optional) and very thinly sliced the peppers using a mandolin or food processor. In a large bucket/pot add the peppers and enough white vinegar to cover. Cover the bucket/pot and let sit overnight.
To make the peppers: Drain off most of the vinegar. In hot jars, add 2 heaping tbsp. of oregano and 2-4 tbsp. of minced garlic. Add the peppers so they are lightly packed. Pour enough oil into the jars to leave 1/4″ head space. Can using a water-bath method. These taste best if they are able to sit for a few weeks before using, so plan accordingly!
It’s almost that time of year where we say goodbye to exuberant holiday fan-fare and hello to new diets and new promises. I’m not sure what percentage of people actually make New Year’s Resolutions, but I’m willing to bet that most of them fall into a self-improvement category. More than likely it’s a new diet or other weight-loss plan.
While I think goal-setting is an important part of any weight loss program, falling prey to fad diets and quick gimmicks won’t get you to where you need to be. Weight loss is about eating less, moving more, and practicing intuitive eating skills.
Unfortunately, we tend to gravitate towards low-carb diets, cookie diets, and master cleanse programs because they promise quick and effective weight loss. While I don’t doubt that you can quickly lose ‘weight’ (I use that term lightly, as you are not shedding pure ”fat” with any of these plans), I also don’t doubt you will gain it back as quickly as it went away. Why? Well for one, very few of these infomercial plans are backed by any real science and studies. That’s important because while weight loss research may seem complicated, there is no magic food that is just going to come in and zap your love handles away. Not even grapefruit or cabbage soup! The main reason these plans don’t work is because they don’t teach you how to actually eat. Eating 3 cookies a day might seem easy the first few days, but what happens when you get tired of the them? Fad diets don’t teach you what to do when the diet is over. Maybe that’s why most people have tried more than one “diet” over their lifetime. Lose a bit here, gain it back, and then try the diet your best friend’s sister is on.
If you are considering a cleanse diet for the new year, check out my post on detoxing and cleanse diets. I can’t help but find some of these plans comical; as if there are all these poisonous compounds running a-muck in your body which will be removed by fasting for three days.
If your resolutions include incorporating more whole, plant-based foods into your diet, good for you! Making meaningful changes over time is better for long-term weight loss and health.
And lastly, If you need help in making changes, seek out a registered dietitian for their services. Be wary of those who claim to be a ‘nutritionist’ and/or sell you supplements for weight loss. You don’t need any education or credentials to call yourself a nutritionist, and I wouldn’t trust my health with those who get their information off the internet.
Here’s to a happy and healthy new year!
Holidays are here! While you may have already planned your holiday meal, here are DK’s favorite holiday drink ideas. Some are low-cal, some are decadent but they are all delicious. Ring in the new year with one of these adult beverages!
Ingredients: Serves about 6-8 glasses
1 carton silk egg nog
1 cup pumpkin puree (pure pumpkin, not pie filling)
3/4 cup spiced rum (or less, feel free to play around with how strong you like it!)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
nutmeg and cinnamon to garnishand
Place pumpkin puree in a mixing bowl and gradually wisk in egg nog. Stir until there are no more pumpkin lumps. Add in rum and vanilla extract. Serve in glasses and top with nutmeg and/or cinnamon to garnish!
*Also delicious as a non-alcoholic drink, just skip adding the rum
Warm Cranberry Martini
3 cups cranberry juice
1 cup vodka
2 cups orange juice
1/2 cup sugar
Orange zest from 1 orange
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Fresh cranberries, for garnish
In a medium sauce pan add the orange juice, cranberry juice and sugar, heat over medium until sugar has dissolved stirring often. Remove from heat and add vodka, cinnamon, orange zest and lemon juice. Stir. To serve: Place a few cranberries in the bottom of a martini glass. Pour the warm-tini over the cranberries and enjoy! * Can also be served cold and/or non-alcoholic.
Mulled Chai Cider
4 chai tea bags
1 orange, zested
1 coffee filter
1 gallon apple cider
Rum for topping, optional
Place the zest in the bottom of a coffee filter and add the tea bags. Tie a piece of string or tea bag string around the coffee filter to make one large “tea bag” Heat the apple cider over medium-high heat, stirring while bringing the cider to a simmer. Add the coffee tea bag, lower the heat to medium-low and let steep for 30 minutes. Pour into cider mugs and top with 1 oz. rum if using. Cut the pith away from the orange used to zest and add a half moon to the rim of each glass.
What are your favorite holiday drink recipes? Share them here!
I recently made this version for a ‘Healthy Holiday’ recipe presentation. Colorful, delicious, and a great idea to take to a party.
Winter Flat bread
This recipe was inspired by http://www.ChefChloe.com ’s creation
1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 apple, peeled and sliced thin
1 large handful arugula (or baby spinach)
1/2 onion, sliced into half moons
3 red potatoes, diced small
Pre-made pizza crust (I used whole wheat)
Sage Cream (recipe follows)
Rosemary & Sage Cream
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2-3 garlic cloves
1 large lemon, zested and juiced
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
handful fresh sage
3 tbsp. olive oil
3 tbsp. vegetable broth
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. salt
In a food processor or blender, combine the beans, juice, garlic and puree until smooth. Add the herbs and spices. While the blade is running, pour in the oil and broth. Depending on how spreadable you like it, you may need to add more/less broth.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss potatoes, squash and onions with 1 tbsp oil and salt/pepper. Roast for 20-30 minutes.
Prepare dough according to directions (do not cook). Spread the rosemary-sage spread on top of the dough. Top with the potato mixture, sliced apples and arugula.
Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes until crust is completely cooked and golden brown.
Check out Chloe’s blog- it’s great! I’ve also made these bean sliders from her site.