Monday, October 27, 2014

Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Have you ever had cranberries that did not come out of a can?  If not, you are missing out!  This cranberry sauce has only three ingredients including water, and is a delightful and easy way to enjoy a classic fall flavor.  Gone will be the days of cranberries being a side dish for only Thanksgiving!  Serves 8.

1 12 oz. bag fresh cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Put all ingredients in a medium saucepan.  Make sure there is room in the saucepan for sauce to 'bubble up' once it gets cooking.  Put over medium-high heat.

Allow sauce to boil.  After a while, you will hear the cranberries start to pop.  Wait until the popping dies down, and continue to boil for 3 more minutes.  Remove from heat, and allow to cool.

Cranberry sauce can be enjoyed hot or cold.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Back-To-School Caramel Apple Dip

Back-To School time!  One of my favorite back-to-school memories was, usually the first week of school, apples with this delicious and easy caramel dip for an after-school snack.  After the search for new back-packs, all the school supplies on the list (where can we find Duo-Tang folders??!!), and nervously meeting my new teacher, this snack was a sign that summer was over and the school year was finally starting.  This can also be a great after-dinner dessert.

1 bag (11 oz.) plain caramels
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
4-6 apples, cut into small slices, for dipping


Unwrap caramels and place in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.

Heat and stir occasionally with a wooden spoon until caramels are melted.  Add vanilla and stir to combine.

Remove from heat, spoon into ramekins and serve with apple slices.  Keep in the fridge for up to a week.

Hint:  This can be a good way to get younger kids to try several different kinds of apples, and hence create a lesson in healthy eating.  :-)

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Ice cream sodas for summer

I'm back!  Excited to be blogging again.  Some lovely ladies in my family have expressed interest in being guest contributors, so be on the lookout for that as well.

Right before an amazing trip to San Francisco (technically for a conference, but tons of fun!!), I hosted a teambuilding cookout for some employees of my department.  For a fun and interactive dessert, we made ice cream sodas (got the idea from my hands-down favorite food network star.  However, I added one minor twist - a vanilla ice cream soda made with a homemade vanilla syrup and vanilla bean ice cream.

Serves 6.


For the vanilla syrup:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 Tablespoon vanilla

For the sodas:
1 quart vanilla bean ice cream
1 liter plain seltzer

To make the syrup:

Heat sugar and water over medium-low heat.  Stir occasionally until dissolved.

Scrape the bottom of the pot with a spoon.  When the sugar has dissolved, there will be no grains of sugar on the spoon.  If the spoon looks like shown below, the sugar still needs to dissolve.

When all the sugar has dissolved, add the vanilla.  Continue to heat for 3 to 5 more minutes, or until syrup has thickened.

Remove from heat and allow to cool.

To make the ice cream sodas:

Put 2 to 3 Table spoons of syrup in a medium sized glass.  While stirring with a fork, fill the glass to 2/3 full with seltzer.

Gently level a generous scoop of the ice cream into the glass. Be careful, as it can easily foam.  Serve with a straw or spoon.

Note:  Be sure to tell your friends what the vanilla syrup is, because it looks a lot like honey.  Later, I got creative with the leftover vanilla syrup and made a vanilla berry sundae.  IT also tastes great stirred into your morning coffee!