December 14, 2013

Fall Salad with Cranberries, Squash, Pomegranate & Wheat Berries

For the past two months, I've been looking for fresh cranberries and they have finally arrived in South Florida!  There are quite a few cranberry recipes on Grains for Your Brain, which is the website I found this wheat berry salad recipe on.  I love the festive colors in this salad and it would be perfect to serve with a Christmas meal, especially for vegetarians.

There are quite a few steps to this recipe, but everything for the salad comes together while the squash and cranberries are roasting.  The smell of cinnamon and brown sugar coming from the oven will quickly convince you that this recipe is worth making.

The dressing quantity is perfect for this salad, the only aspect I didn't like was the addition of lemon juice because it was a little too tart when combined with the cranberries.  I really like the Arbequina olive oil from California Olive Ranch; it's a great olive oil for salad dressings!

I miss being able to buy olive oil at Oro di Oliva in Milwaukee and especially their 18-year balsamic vinegar, but I'm slowly discovering new favorites especially those that can be ordered online because traffic is such a nightmare here in Miami.

While I loved the flavor combination of this recipe, I plan to slightly alter the ratio of ingredients next time to add more spinach and less wheat berries.  I also think the addition of walnuts and goat cheese would be lovely.

Chris loved this salad cold, while I preferred it slightly warm (30 seconds in the microwave).  This is definitely a hearty main-dish salad that will leave you full for hours. 

Disclaimer: I received the California Olive Ranch olive oil at no cost to me.  Also, I'm currently participating in a sponsored social media campaign for the Grain Foods Foundation, however this post is not sponsored.

December 11, 2013

Coconut-Lime Sugar Cookies - Blogger Cookie Swap

Last year was my first time participating in The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap and I thought it was a great way to discover new bloggers and get some delicious cookies in the mail.  The swap is sponsored by Oxo who raises money for Cookies for Kids' Cancer

I made pecan sandies last year and decided I needed Miami flavor in this year's cookies, so I went with the tropical flavors of lime and coconut.  I followed a recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything that was definitely a winner.  Delicious chewy sugar cookies with a hint of lime and coconut.

I'm a big fan of cooking shows, but only recently got cable so I can now watch Food Network shows.  My favorite show is definitely Barefoot Contessa and I've been watching lots of her reruns lately (it's been on the air since 2002).

There are some things that are just easier to learn by watching someone else do them and for me, zesting was one of them.  I used to rub limes against the microplane grater instead of the other way around.  It makes such a difference, thanks Ina!

I recently received Glad MatchWare in the mail which ended up being perfect containers for shipping my cookies to Lisa, Jennifer & Krista.  Each shape is a different color and I thought the festive green color of the round containers worked quite well for the holiday season.

Getting packages in the mail is always fun, but especially when you know they contain cookies :)  I received old-fashioned ginger crinkles from Catherine at Kitty's Baking Time and chocolate-covered shortbread cookies from Ruthie at The Tasty tRuth

I should have received three total and am not sure what happened to the third package but that's ok because the two I received were delicious.  I love ginger cookies year-round and they're even better around the holidays, and crushed peppermint is an excellent addition to holiday treats.

Disclaimer: Glad MatchWare was provided at no cost to me.

Coconut-Lime Sugar Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 10-12 minutes per batch

Ingredients (5 dozen 2" cookies)
  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest of two limes
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice (from two limes)
  • 3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper (silicone baking mats don't work well for these cookies).
  • In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg, vanilla, lime zest and juice. Gradually blend in the dry ingredients and coconut.
  • Drop by spoonfuls onto parchment-lined cookie sheets (I use a small Oxo scoop which holds 2 teaspoons of dough) about 1 1/2 inches apart. Bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.
  • Let stand on the cookie sheet for 2 minutes before removing to wire racks.
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November 21, 2013

Quinoa Black Bean Burrito Bowls

I recently made burritos for the first time following a recipe from the October 2013 issue of Family Circle.  While they were very tasty, the tortillas felt unnecessary and I say that as a carb-lover.  So I made the recipe again, but this time a burrito bowl or a naked burrito as they would call it at Qdoba.

Both mini sweet peppers and regular bell peppers work well in this recipe.  The original recipe calls for green onions to be cooked with the peppers, but I prefer regular onions and to use green onions raw on top of my burrito bowl.

These burrito bowls are very customizable with quinoa and the black bean pepper mixture just serving as a base.  I like to add mild salsa, shredded cheese and avocado.  Chris adds fresh tomato and spices his up with hot salsa.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Ingredients (4 servings)
    Burrito Bowl

    • 2/3 cup quinoa, rinsed
    • 1 1/3 cups water
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 2 large bell peppers (any color), diced
    • 1 cup chopped onion
    • 1 tablespoon chili powder (or taco seasoning)
    • 15 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
    • 1 tablespoon lime juice
    Optional Toppings

    • salsa or pico de gallo
    • grated cheddar cheese
    • sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
    • diced tomatoes
    • hot sauce or sriracha
    • sliced avocado or guacamole
    • green onions, chopped
    • In a small saucepan, bring quinoa and water to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer until water is absorbed, 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside for 5 minutes, uncovered.
    • After quinoa has finished cooking, heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add peppers, onions and chili powder; cook 5 minutes. Stir in bean and lime juice, cooking 1 minute more. Remove from heat and stir in the quinoa.
    • Divide quinoa black bean mixture among four bowls, then add desired toppings.

    Recipe adapted from: Black Bean and Quinoa Burritos - Family Circle, October 2013.
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    November 07, 2013

    Basil-Infused Longan-Lime Popsicles

    As I dealt with snow issues at work this week in South Dakota, I was reminded of just how different the climate is here in South Florida.  For my old CSA in Wisconsin, it's week 20 and members are receiving their final summer share this week.  Here in Miami, it's week 1 and the CSA season doesn't end until late May.

    Highs are still in the 80s, so I was excited to try a popsicle recipe provided by my new CSA, which utilized both basil and longan fruit from my week 1 box.

    As you can see below, Chianti and I were both excited to check out our first Florida CSA box.  Inside, we found arugula, basil, salad mix, tarragon, leeks, lemongrass, cucumbers, turnips and my favorite eyeball fruit - longan.

    My CSA's description of longan having the look of peeled grapes is probably more appetizing than my eyeball description :)  A storage tip I wasn't aware of until I read the CSA newsletter is that longan fruit can be stored in the freezer, whole with the peel on, which is handy.

    I've only attempted popsicles once before and it was a failure, which is embarrassing considering that popsicles are pretty dang easy to make.  This popsicle how-to-guide from Epicurious was really helpful this time around.

    Two things I did wrong last time were attempting to insert the sticks immediately after filling the molds (you need to wait 2 hours) and running the molds under water for too long which caused the sticks to come out of the popsicles.  My popsicle mold is from Progressive and now that I understand how to make popsicles, I'd recommend it :)

    This was my first time attempting to photograph popsicles, since my last batch was a disaster, and I discovered it's not easy.  My popsicles were melting really quickly because I was too anxious to eat a popsicle to take Epicurious' advice on a second freezing which helps with that issue.

    I love the flavor of these popsicles, which taste predominantly like lime with a hint of basil and a delicious sweetness from the longan fruit.  With year-round warm temps I anticipate many popsicle flavor variations in my future.

    Basil-Infused Longan-Lime Popsicles 
    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Ingredients (6 popsicles)
    • 1/3 cup water
    • 1 tablespoon sugar
    • 5 large basil leaves
    • 1 1/2 lbs longan
    • 1 lime (juice & zest)
    • In a small saucepan, combine water, sugar and basil leaves. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
    • Pour basil syrup through fine-mesh sieve into a blender. Discard basil. Add longans, lime zest and juice and blend until smooth. Pour mixture into popsicle molds. Freeze for 2 hours, then insert sticks and continue freezing overnight.
    • The next day, run the molds until warm water for 20 seconds or so until the popsicles can be removed. Transfer popsicles to plastic bags or a plastic container layered with wax paper and freeze again for at least 30 minutes. Store for up to one month.
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    November 06, 2013

    Pear-Gingerbread Upside-Down Cake

    This upside-down cake is perfect for the holiday season.  It combines fall fruit with gingerbread, which is a holiday staple.  Plus, I think it looks quite nice when flipped upside-down and would present well at a party.

    The recipe, which comes from Taste of Home, doesn't specify what type of pear to use.  So I used bosc, my favorite pear for baking.  I was storing the pears in a ceramic fruit bowl I bought because I'm trying to prove to Chris that it wasn't a worthless kitchen purchase :)

    This cake is quite easy to make, with just two layers needed.  The first layer has walnuts, pears, brown sugar and melted butter, which is topped with the gingerbread cake batter.

    I was amazed at how easily the cake flipped out, and I was thankful it fit perfectly on one of my large square dinner plate.  I wish I was as lucky when flipping pineapple upside-down cake.

    This cake is perfect when topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.   


    November 03, 2013

    Cruising to The Bahamas

    We returned early this morning from our first cruise.  It was a great experience and we're looking forward to a longer cruise next time.  Being first-timers, we booked a very short 2-night cruise (about 36 hours) to The Bahamas on the Carnival Glory to determine if we liked cruising.

    In Wisconsin, I knew of very few people who had been on a cruise ship and the vast majority were over the age of 50.  However, here in Miami cruising is very popular among all ages.  It's really handy living so close to the Port of Miami.  We disembarked our ship at 8:00 am and were back home at 8:30 am.
    The process of boarding the boat was slightly cumbersome, but definitely no worse than an airport.  The first line was to get our passports checked.  Then we stood in line to get our luggage scanned and then one final line to get our room keys.

    We quickly dropped our luggage in the cabin and headed out to explore the boat while it was still in port.  I get extremely motion sick, so I wanted to get the lay of the land before the boat started moving.  As it turns out, I only felt queasy a few times during the cruise which was quickly remedied by finding fresh air or laying down in our cabin.

    Due to the brevity of our cruise, we had just one port stop which was in Nassau.  Reading port reviews on (a first-time cruiser's best friend), words used to describe Nassau include dirty, poor and raw. 

    Even knowing this, Chris and I were still taken aback.  Walking the streets of Nassau reminded us of our time in Egypt.  Locals harassing you to buy their goods and services, and not taking no for an answer.  Our cruise ship in the background of the photo below is a reminder of how heavily dependent The Bahamas is on tourism.

    I'm so thankful I read reviews on TripAdvisor too because that's how I found Bites of Nassau Food Tasting & Cultural Walking Tour with Tru Bahamian Food Tours.  Chris and I both loved the tour and would highly recommend it!

    We visited seven places on the tour and the food at each stop was superb.  Our favorite was Pepper Pot Grill & Juice Bar, where Chris had jerk chicken and I had steamed cabbage (the guide was awesome at providing vegetarian options!).  We also had rice and beans, a fried plantain and freshly squeezed tropical fruit juice at Pepper Pot.

    My favorite part of cruising is how easy it is to relax.  We had the option of hanging out on our cabin balcony as we cruised through the Atlantic Ocean, however there are places all over the ship both inside and outside to have a drink and read a book, or just people watch. 

    Cruising isn't perfect though.  Our cabin was near a bar that blasted music into the early morning hours, which felt like sleeping in a frat house during a party.  However, the positives definitely outweighed the negatives and now we just need to decide where to go on our next cruise!

    October 30, 2013

    Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

    You pretty much can't go wrong with the combination of a pumpkin baked good and cream cheese frosting.  I make these every year at this time, as they're a perfect fall or Halloween treat, and I hope Chris' co-workers like them as much as we do!

    The recipe comes from and it's definitely a winner.  I follow the cupcake recipe exactly but have made a couple changes to the frosting.

    I like to pipe the frosting (Wilton 21 tip) and decorate with candy corn and Wilton micro leaves.  Are you a fan of candy corn?  I like it in very small quantities, but unfortunately Target only had jumbo bags, so I used some extras as a plate decoration :)

    Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
    Prep Time: 15 minutes
    Cook Time: 25 minutes

    Ingredients (24 cupcakes or 96 mini)
      • 4 eggs
      • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
      • 2 cups sugar
      • 15 oz can pumpkin
      • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
      • 1/4 cup corn starch
      • 4 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
      • 2 teaspoons baking powder
      • 1 teaspoon baking soda
      • 3/4 teaspoon salt
      • 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
      • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
      • 2 teaspoons vanilla
      • 4 cups powdered sugar
      • Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners.
      • Add eggs to stand mixer bowl and beat slightly. Then, blend in the oil, sugar, and pumpkin. In a medium bowl, stir together dry ingredients. Then, add to pumpkin mixture and beat until well blended. Portion cupcake batter into lined muffin tins, filling about 2/3 full (a large Oxo scoop works well).
      • Bake for 25 minutes or until center springs back when touched. Reduce to 23 minutes if using foil liners or 12 minutes for mini cupcakes. Place muffin pan on a wire rack to cool for about half an hour before frosting (mini cupcakes will cool more quickly).
      • Beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add remaining ingredients and beat until smooth. Spread over cooled cupcakes and decorate as desired.
      • I use a Wilton 21 tip to pipe the frosting and to decorate, I add candy corn or sprinkle Wilton's micro leaves.
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      October 27, 2013

      Weekend: Apple Galettes, Williams-Sonoma, Kale Chips

      While it's fun to travel, I also love relaxing weekends at home.  This weekend I spent time making mini apple galettes, reading books on the Bahamas (we're cruising there next weekend), shopping at IKEA, Trader Joe's, Kohl's and The Container Store, attending a cooking class at Williams-Sonoma, making kale chips and playing Family Feud on Wii.

      I recently started following Williams-Sonoma's blog, which is where I found the apple galette recipe and learned about the cooking class.  The recipe was a winner, the cooking class not so much.

      This was my first class at Williams-Sonoma and I had low expectations due their classes being free, but it was still worse than I imagined.  First, classes are held at the checkout area.  Imagine 25 people crowded around the counter, making it difficult for other customers to checkout.  Advance registration is required, but their attendance cap is too high given the size of cooking class space.

      Being crowded would have been fine if the content of the class was worthwhile, but it felt like an ad for KitchenAid. On a related note, the KitchenAid rep was in the store last week. I understand the purpose of the class is to sell Williams-Sonoma products but it would have been nice if items related to pies (the topic of the class) had been the focus.
      Williams-Sonoma's Photo - Technique Class: Classic Crusts
      This weekend was our first trip to Miami's brand-new Trader Joe's.  We went early this morning, arriving 2 minutes after they opened, in an attempt to beat the crowds.  However, the people of Miami seem to love Trader Joe's as much as the rest of the country because it was packed!

      I love that Chris is just as addicted to the store as I am.  He was running low on his favorite tomato & roasted red pepper soup, so it was his idea to visit just one week after the store opened.  We're now fully stocked on our Trader Joe's favorites and we picked up some new items which I'm anxious to try.

      I was intrigued when I saw America's Test Kitchen's recent video on how to microwave kale chips, so I picked up one bunch of lacinato kale while grocery shopping this weekend.  I highly recommend this method for making kale chips!  I ate the entire bunch of greens in 2.5 minute intervals while standing in front of my microwave.

      Each batch sounded like microwave popcorn which had me concerned, especially when I saw kale flying around the microwave, but eventually each batch settled down and I didn't see any flames as one video commenter mentioned, which would really be scary.

      So the moral of this post is, have full faith in Williams-Sonoma's recipes, but be wary of their cooking classes.  Before fall passes us by, I recommend getting yourself some apples and making these cute little galettes. 

      Apple Galettes
      Prep Time: 1.5 hours
      Cook Time: 35-40 minutes

      Ingredients (serves 6)
        Pie Dough
        • 2 cups all-purpose flour
        • 1/2 teaspoon salt
        • 1 tablespoon sugar
        • 3/4 cup cold butter, cut into pieces
        • 1/2 cup ice water
        Apple Filling
        • 3 large (4 medium) apples such as Gala or Pink Lady, sliced 1/4-inch thick (peeled or unpeeled)
        • zest of 1 lemon
        • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
        • 1/4 cup sugar
        • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
        • In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, salt and sugar. Sprinkle the butter over the top and pulse for a few seconds. Sprinkle water over the flour mixture and process just until the mixture starts to come together. Dump the dough into a large Ziploc bag and press into a flat disk. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 1 day.
        • In a large bowl, toss together the apples, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon. Then line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
        • Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and cut into 6 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 5" round. Transfer the dough rounds to the lined baking sheet, spacing them evenly.
        • Divide the apples between the dough rounds, spring them into an even layer, leaving a 1-inch border of dough. Fold the edge of the dough up and over the apples, pinching the dough to prevent filling juice from escaping during baking. Refrigerate the galettes for 30 minutes.
        • Heat oven to 400 degrees and bake the galettes for 35-40 minutes until the crust is golden brown. Let cool on the baking sheet on a wire rack.
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        October 20, 2013

        Fruit & Spice Park and Miami Dolphins Game

        This weekend we checked out GrowFest at Redland Fruit & Spice Park and attended our first professional football game.  Both experiences were fun, but could have been so much better with cooler weather. 

        GrowFest kicked of the growing season here in South Florida and was held at a 37-acre park which according to Wikipedia contains more than 500 varieties of fruit, nut and spice trees.

        That includes 80 banana varieties, 125 varieties of mango, more than 40 varieties of grapes, 70 bamboo varieties plus guava, jackfruit, canistel, sapodilla, longan, lychee, mamey sapote, coffee beans and other exotic edibles.

        By far the strangest looking fruit we saw was growing on South African sausage trees.  The fruit hangs from rope-like stalks and grows 2-feet in length weighing 15 pounds! 

        It's widely planted as ornamental trees in tropical areas outside Africa, however I've been told the falling fruit can severely harm people or damage vehicles. Chris and I were also mindful of the coconuts which littered the ground and hung heavy in the trees. 

        Sausage tree fruit is inedible to humans but is often used as in ingredient in making beer, as it is said to speed up the fermentation process. Also, many animals such as monkeys, elephants and giraffes really enjoy munching on the fruit.
        GrowFest had many heirloom tomato and vegetable seedlings for sale, as well as fruit trees.  We have no plans to buy a house here, but it was still fun to imagine a yard full of avocado, banana, mango, papaya and star fruit trees.

        I was really tempted to buy some seedlings to grow on our balcony, but unfortunately two little plant munchers named Merlot and Chianti make that too difficult right now.  However, screened-in balconies are uncommon here, so I'm guessing they won't be roaming free at our next place and I'll be able to start a small container garden next year.  I miss basil most of all and the ability to easily make pesto.

        GrowFest also had food trucks and Chris got to try conch fritters, which are a Key West speciality he didn't get to try during our recent visit there.  He thought there was too much breading but otherwise he liked them.  I found myself wishing they were fried cheese curds which don't exist down here.

        Don't let hit sausage tree smile fool you, Chris was not impressed by the Fruit & Spice Park.  However, I reminded him a couple times that I had agreed to a football game in exchange.  We each thought each other was getting the better end of the deal.

        We were able to attend today's game thanks to Chris' company which has four season tickets.  Free parking and tickets is an ideal way to attend a game because it helped us not feel guilty about spending $36 on two frozen drinks. 

        Frozen drinks were essential due to crazy hot weather today (heat index of 99 degrees).  I can say that because even the locals were complaining about the heat. 

        We were excited to tailgate until we arrived and realized almost everyone had a canopy except us, which was essential in blocking the sun.  We looked like weirdos, but we ate our grilled black bean burgers in the car with the air cranked.  Chris made our favorite guacamole (Alton's recipe) to have with chips and that completed our short but tasty tailgating menu.

        October 10, 2013

        Caramel Apple Dip

        This past week I was reminded of a caramel apple dip my mom frequently made when I was a kid, and once something gets in my head I find it hard not to make it :)  Plus, this dip was the perfect opportunity to try out a new piece of pottery I bought at a craft fair in Middleton just before leaving Wisconsin.

        The pottery bowl came with two 8 oz plastic containers which rest on top of ice to keep the dip cool.  Alternatively, you can microwave water and use it for warm dips too.  There's one handle on the bowl which holds a little spreader, which is very convenient for dips.

        When slicing apples for this recipe, I like to dip them in pineapple juice to prevent them from turning brown.  Lemon juice works too, but I prefer pineapple juice and after a weekend of tropical drink making, we had pineapple juice on-hand :)

        I saw a cute idea on Taste of Home using cookie cutters on the apple slices, but despite my massive 100-plus cookie cutter collection, I didn't have any fall or Halloween shapes that were small enough for the apples I bought.

        One batch of this dip fit perfectly in the 8 oz container. The recipe comes from Kraft, with the only change being that my mom always added chopped peanuts (just before serving the dip).  

        Caramel Apple Dip

        Prep Time: 10 minutes
        Cook Time: N/A

        Ingredients (1 cup)
        • 8 oz cream cheese
        • 1/2 cup brown sugar
        • 1 teaspoon vanilla
        • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
        • 6 medium tart apples
        • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat cream cheese until creamy. Add brown sugar and vanilla, beating until well blended.
        • Transfer to a serving bowl, add chopped peanuts and serve with apple slices for dipping.
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        October 08, 2013

        Riki Tiki Cocktail

        This past weekend, I finally checked out a local farmer's market.  This led to tropical fruit purchases and riki tiki cocktails.  The October issue of Saveur had an article on Hawaiian cocktails, specifically Oahu happy hours, which contained this wonderful recipe. 

        The Yellow Green Farmers Market in Hollywood (just north of Miami) is open year-round under what they call an "outdoor roof," which seems to be a common concept around here.  Apparently doors and windows are unnecessary when the average high is in the 70s and 80s year-round.

        I bought lots of produce, including a few things I had never seen before like prickly pears, longan and dragon fruit.  The vendors were awesome when we would ask what something was.  They would reach for knife, cut it open and hand us a piece to sample.

        Longan was by far the strangest fruit I bought.  It is native to Asia and the name translates to dragon eye, which makes sense because it resembles an eyeball not only in look but also in texture.  Tastes great, but it's hard to get past the creepy appearance and feel of it.

        Prickly pears got the best of Chris who handled them at the market and ended with up several thorns in his hand.  I got cocky in the kitchen and also ended up with thorns in my hand, which is when I finally put a glove on.

        Ok, back to the cocktail.  Saveur included a homemade sour mix recipe that was perfect for the lemons and limes I picked up at the market.  It was easy to make and lasts for 2 weeks in the fridge.

        Riki Tiki Cocktail

        Prep Time: 10 minutes
        Cook Time: N/A

        Ingredients (1 cocktail)
          • 1 oz fresh mango puree
          • 1 oz sour mix
          • 2 oz coconut rum
          • 2 oz pineapple juice
          Homemade Sour Mix
          • 1/2 cup superfine sugar (add 1/2 cup granulated sugar to a food processor)
          • 1/2 cup boiling water
          • 1 1/2 cups lime juice
          • 1/2 cup lemon juice
          • Cut up one mango and puree in blender. I got approximately 6 oz of mango puree from one large mango.
          • If using homemade sour mix, stir superfine sugar with boiling water in a one-quart heatproof jar until sugar dissolves; let cool. Stir in lemon and lime juice. Refrigerate for up to two weeks.
          • Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, add all cocktail ingredients and shake vigorously. Strain into a martini glass.
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          October 04, 2013

          Pumpkin Ice Cream Sandwiches with Chewy Ginger Cookies

          Flipping through October's issue of Martha Stewart Living, I came across delicious looking fall-inspired ice cream sandwiches.  Surprisingly, the recipe calls for 24 store-bought ginger cookies and 1 quart store-bought pumpkin ice cream. 

          I figured I could make at least one of the two from scratch and after finding some really tasty pumpkin ice cream at Whole Foods, I decided to make ginger cookies from a Taste of Home recipe.

          Both these cookies and the ice cream from Whole Foods are mildly spiced and the flavors work so well together.  Such a perfect fall treat!

          During the move, I decided it was time to change up my spice organization and I'm loving the new Libbey spice jars I bought.  I added clear spice labels to the top, since lack of cupboard space has forced my spices into a drawer.

          These ice cream sandwiches were easy to make.  Just place 12 cookies, flat sides up, on a pan that will fit in your freezer.  Then add some ice cream to the center of each cookie.  Place remaining cookies, flat side down, on top of ice cream and gently press down until ice cream spreads to edges of cookies.
          Freeze until ice cream is semifirm, about 2 hours.  Sandwiches can be frozen until firm, about 4 hours more, and then stored in a freezer bag for up to 2 weeks.  To serve, transfer to refrigerator until ice cream softens slightly, about 30 minutes.

          If you don't want to mess around with making ice cream sandwiches, I suggest two cookies and a scoop of pumpkin ice cream in a bowl. Super easy and just as tasty!

          Chewy Ginger Cookies

          Prep Time: 15 minutes
          Cook Time: 10 mins (per batch)

          Ingredients (24 cookies)
          • 3/4 cup butter, softened
          • 1 cup sugar
          • 1 egg
          • 1/4 cup molasses
          • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
          • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
          • 1 teaspoon baking soda
          • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
          • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
          • 1/4 teaspoon salt
          • additional sugar
          • Heat oven to 350 degrees.
          • In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and molasses. In a medium bowl, combine flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Gradually add dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and mix well.
          • Add about a 1/3 cup sugar to a small bowl. Roll dough into 1 1/2-inch balls (I used a medium Oxo scoop), then roll in sugar. Places 2-inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until puffy and lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.
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