The Start of the Christmas Countdown! (Click Below for Holiday Recipes!)

We are officially starting our Christmas Countdown! To get you guys prepped for the holiday season, it’s important to figure out what will be on your menu!

Easy Appetizers for Holiday Entertaining
Christmas Cocktail Recipes
No Cook Appetizers for the Holidays
Easy No-Bake Delectable Holiday Desserts
Simple Holiday Candy Recipes for Your Favorite Sweet Tooth
Christmas Cookies: Simple Recipes to Make Your Season Bright

christmas dinner table

Creative Ways to Serve Food & Drinks at your Wedding

There are many ways to create a memorable evening for you and your guests on your wedding day. Most couples like to throw in some unique details that stand out and make a lasting impression on friends and family.

Source: pinterest.com
Source: pinterest.com

Take it a step further by serving some delicious food in a non-traditional way. Instead of setting up tables with the food on them, take a look at these outside-of-the-box ideas that will make serving food look fun!

Source: indulgy.com
Source: indulgy.com

Appetizers
Finger foods are an important part of any get together! They are not only delicious but they keep your guests satisfied until the main courses come out. A fun way to serve your appetizers is to put your snacks of choice on a tower display with three tiers so you can add different kinds of food.

The towers can be set up all around your event which will allow your guests to keep going back for more! It also gives them the time to decide what they want, rather than having a waiter walk around with the food. You can even decorate the food displays to match your wedding theme by adding a nice floral arrangement to the top of each or lighting candles atop of them to set a romantic mood.

Need some appetizer ideas? Try out mini grilled cheeses with tomato soup, mini BLT’s, or tiny shot glasses filled with veggies and dip. Another creative way to use shot glasses for appetizers is to fill them with cocktail sauce and stick a shrimp or two on each rim!

Source: http://trulychicinspirations.com/
Source: http://trulychicinspirations.com/

Dinner
Now for the main course! The way you serve your dinner will affect the price so choose wisely. You can have it served by waiters and waitresses or you can set up a family style meal for each table. For starters, give out salad served in martini glasses, a wonderful way to present your food and every glass will have the perfect amount for each person.

After the martini salads, allow your guests to dig in on their family style meal. Doing it this way will add ambiance and will also help you save on table decor. Your guests will be able to take as much as they’d like and it will cause them to make conversation with others as well!

Cocktails
Set up a cocktail station with anything and everything you can think of! The station can act as your very own mini bar, but with all the essentials of a full size bar. Set up large drink dispensers labeled with different types of alcohol in each – beer, liquor, wine, etc. Stock the station up with different types of glasses as well, such as beer mugs, champagne flutes, martini glasses, wine glasses and shot glasses.

Source: http://www.marthastewartweddings.com/
Source: http://www.marthastewartweddings.com/

Another great way to serve drinks is to fill up a large tub with ice and throw some alcohol inside. Different tubs can be set up for all kinds of alcohol, with a sign above each to direct your guests to the drink of their choice. These tubs are especially great for outdoor weddings and don’t require a bartender which will put less strain on your wallet!

If your guests are mostly beer drinkers, set up wine barrel kegs with a different kind of beer in each. The wine barrels will make for a unique presentation and will look a lot nicer than regular kegs!

Source: www.Pinterest.com
Source: http://www.Pinterest.com

Dessert
A guest favorite, dessert is the icing on the cake, literally! Serve your dessert in a fun way by getting creative with your ideas. Fill up champagne glasses with milk and serve each with a big cookie on top. These are a great idea for the children that come to the wedding, and the adults will enjoy it too!

The large tubs can come into play with the dessert as well, use them to hold mason jars filled with ice cream! Place the mason jars in lots of ice so the ice cream doesn’t melt then have a table next to it complete with spoons, sprinkles, cherries and other delicious toppings.

Source: indulgy.com
Source: indulgy.com

Skewers don’t only have to be used for meat, create your own with any treats you’d like! You can do this with different kinds of fruit for a more healthier dessert or you can make strawberry shortcake on a stick! The skewers can be used for pretty much any treat you decide to serve, just cut it up into small pieces and stick it on!

Coffee & Tea
You may think there aren’t too many ways to creatively serve coffee and tea at your wedding, but there are! Even if you serve the hot drinks in regular tea cups or coffee cups, you can add your own personal touch to each. Add heart-shaped sugar cubes to each cup, for a hint of love!

Source: http://makingniceinthemidwest.com/
Source: http://makingniceinthemidwest.com/

Another fun idea is to have edible spoons, yes, edible! You can purchase chocolate spoons that your guests can enjoy while sipping on their tea or coffee. The molds can even be purchased so you can make them yourself to save some money! If you’re serving coffee in a more casual way, add a personalized sleeve to each cup, complete with the couple’s last name and wedding date.

We hope these suggestions can help you during your planning journey and that you get to use some, or all, of these creative ideas on your big day! Remember, you can add your own personal touch to pretty much anything and you can get creative with not only ways to serve the food, but what you put the food in as well. Good luck!

Fun Recipes for Taco Tuesday!

Taco Tuesday has arrived and it is something you’ll look forward to all day! Bored of the traditional taco recipes? Check out these tasty ideas to help spice up this week’s Taco Tuesday!

mango chicken tacos

  • MANGO CHICKEN TACOS:
    Ingredients:
      2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
        1 1/2 c. mango salsa, plus extra for serving
        dollop of sour cream
        medium flour tortillas
        Mexican blend or colby jack cheese, shredded
        chopped lettuce

Instructions: Place the chicken in the crock pot. Pour 1 1/2 c. mango salsa over the chicken. Cook on low for 4 1/2 hours, shred the chicken inside the crock pot, then add a dollop of sour cream. Allow the chicken to sit for about 15 minutes more before serving. Mix together and serve in the flour tortillas with additional toppings. I like to add a little more mango salsa on top of the lettuce for a little extra flavor!

Source: http://www.julieseatsandtreats.com
Source: http://www.julieseatsandtreats.com
  • TEXAS TACOS:

Ingredients:
1 1/2 lbs ground beef
1 medium sweet pepper, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 1/3 c. frozen corn, thawed
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
2 Tbsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 (8.8 oz) ready to serve brown rice
20 taco shells

Optional toppings:
Tomatoes
Shredded Lettuce
Sour Cream

Instructions: In a large skillet cook ground beef, red peppers, and onion over medium heat until beef is cooked through and no longer pink. Drain grease. Mix in tomatoes, corn, tomato sauce, chili powder and salt. Bring to a boil and then add rice. Heat mixture through. Serve in taco shells and top as desired.

Source: http://www.aroundmyfamilytable.com
Source: http://www.aroundmyfamilytable.com
  • STREET TACOS:
    Ingredients:
    2 lbs flank steaks or 2 lbs skirt steaks, trimmed of excess fat
    8 (taco sized) uncooked flour tortillas, cooked according to package
    crumbled queso fresco (or shredded monterey jack cheese)
    2 limes, cut into wedges
    pico de gallo Marinade:
    6 garlic cloves, minced
    2 jalapenos, minced
    1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, finely chopped
    1 tsp kosher salt
    fresh ground black pepper
    3 small limes, juice of
    3 oranges, juice of
    2 tbls white vinegar
    1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil Instructions:
    Combine marinade in a large ziptop baggie (note: if you have a good blender or food processor feel free to use it to combine ingredients instead of chopping). Add steak to baggie and refrigerate at least 1 hour, but no more than 8 hours.

    Prepare grill with a medium-high heat. Remove steak from marinade and season both sides with a little additional salt and pepper. Grill over direct heat for 10-15 minutes for a medium consistency. Remove from heat and allow to rest for about 5 minutes.

    Cut against the grain in to strips or into bite sized pieces. Serve as tacos, burritos, or fajitas with queso fresco, limes, refried beans and pico de gallo.

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with these Mouth-Watering Margarita Recipes

Celebrate Cinco de Mayo with friends and family by adding these delicious margarita recipes to the party menu!

Cinco de Mayo is a well known celebration held on May 5th and commemorates the Mexicans’ victory over the invading French back in the 1800’s. The holiday is approaching which means party plans are underway!
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Make your Cinco de Mayo celebration a festive one by including a few different types of margarita recipes. Having a variety of flavors is a great idea so all your guests can be left satisfied! Along with delicious Mexican foods, vibrant colors and fun music, margaritas are a popular part of the Cinco de Mayo traditions.

Classic Lime Margarita
You can’t go wrong with a Classic Lime Margarita! Every ideal Cinco de Mayo celebration must have these traditional drinks that will have your guest’s begging for more!

Ingredients:

  •     12-oz. can of frozen limeade concentrate
  •     ¾ cup gold tequila
  •     1.2 Cointreau or other orange liqueur
  •     4 cups of ice
  •     Lime
  •     Coarse salt or sugar

Instructions:
1. Place limeade concentrate, tequila and Cointreau in a blender. Cover and blend to combine.
2. Add ice cubes gradually through the opening in the blender’s lid until the mixture becomes slushy.
3. Rim each glass with a lime wedge and dip into a shallow dish of salt or sugar.

Blackberry Margarita
Enjoy this fruity margarita for a unique taste that your party will absolutely love!

Ingredients:

  •     1-1 ½ cups of tequila
  •     1-1 ½ cups of Triple Sec or other orange liqueur
  •     ¾ cups of blackberry brandy (optional)
  •     ¾ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  •     ½ cup of superfine sugar or powdered sugar
  •     16-oz. package frozen unsweetened blackberries, thawed
  •     Ice
  •     Fresh blackberries
  •     Salt or sugar
  •     Lime

Instructions:
1. Combine tequila, Triple Sec, lime juice and sugar. Stir until sugar is dissolved.
2. If desired, replace half of the Triple Sec with blackberry brandy.
3. Chill until ready to serve.
4. Place the package of blackberries in a blender, cover and blend until smooth.
5. If desired, strain to remove the seeds.
6. Add blended fruit to tequila mixture then pour over ice cubes and garnish with fresh blackberries.
7. Rim each glass with a lime wedge and add salt or sugar around the rim, if desired.

Sparkling Margarita
Add an unexpected twist to your margaritas this year by adding some sparkling wine or champagne for a unique taste!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup blanco (white) tequila
  • 2/3 cup of lime juice
  • 1/3 cup of agave nectar
  • 1-1/2 cups sparkling wine or champagne
  • Lime peel strips or thin lime slices
  • Salt or sugar
  • Lime

Instructions:
1. Combine half of the tequila, lime juice and agave nectar in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice.
2. Shake for 5 seconds and strain the mixture into three glasses.
3. Repeat with remaining tequila, lime juice and agave nectar.
4. Top each serving with sparkling wine and add a lime strip for taste.
5. Rim each glass with a lime wedge and add salt or sugar around the rim, if desired.

Pomegranate Margarita
A drink that all pomegranate lovers will enjoy! Your guests are sure to ask for the recipe after they try it out!

Ingredients:

  •     ¼ cup pomegranate juice, plus seeds for garnish
  •     1/3 cup Tequila Blanco
  •     1/8 cup Triple Sec
  •     ¼ cup fresh lime juice
  •     12 ounces of ice cubes
  •     Salt or sugar
  •     Lime

Instructions:
1. Combine all ingredients, except salt, in a blender and blend until combined.
2. Rim each glass with a lime wedge then dip in salt or sugar (whichever you prefer)
3. Drop some fresh pomegranate seeds in the bottom of the glass and pour margarita mix over the top.

Passion Fruit Margarita
Just the sound of this yummy drink can leave your friends wanting more! Add some passion fruit nectar for  the perfect taste.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of tequila
  • 1 cup passion fruit nectar
  • ¼ cup of orange-flavored liqueur
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • Salt
  • Lime

Instructions:
1. Combine the tequila, passion fruit nectar, liqueur, sugar and salt into a cocktail shaker.
2. Shake well then pour into glasses filled with crushed ice.
3. Rim each glass with a lime wedge and add salt or sugar around the rim, if desired.

These delicious margarita recipes are sure to be a hit at any Cinco de Mayo celebration! The fun doesn’t have to stop there either; these recipes are wonderful for any party and can be a great summer time drink while relaxing in the sun!

Tasty Apps & Snacks for Super Bowl Sunday

Check out my latest article on LongIsland.com:

Try a new Super Bowl appetizer this year and have your guests begging for the recipe!

It is that time of year again, sports fans! Super Bowl Sunday is quickly approaching, and if you’re hosting a get together this year, one of the things that is probably on your mind is figuring out the perfect appetizers to serve your guests. In many households, the delicious appetizers are a Super Bowl tradition and are a huge part of this big day.
If you’re interested in trying out something new this year, take a look at these great recipes that will have your friends and family begging for more! Whether you are hosting the party or attending it, these simple and tasty dishes are ideal for the perfect Super Bowl celebration. We have also included some healthy snacks as well, for those of you looking to stick to your clean eating plan.
Mini Potato Footballs
Get creative with potatoes this year by turning them into mouth-watering fully loaded footballs with cheese, bacon, sour cream and herbs placed on top.
Ingredients:
  • 20 small red potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon virgin olive oil
  • Toppings of your choice (bacon, cheese, sour cream, chives, etc.)
Directions:
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Place potatoes, salt and olive oil in a large bowl until potatoes are thoroughly coated.
  • Bake the potatoes on a rimmed baking sheet for about 20 minutes or until soft.
  • Let them cool down slightly before cutting a small slit in the top of each and scooping out a portion of the inside.
  • Place toppings of your choice inside each potato and serve while still warm.
Red Velvet Cheese Football
Red velvet mix isn’t just for cake! Score a touchdown with this unique dish, served with assorted crackers and cookies.
Ingredients:
  • 1 box of red velvet cake mix
  • ½ cup of butter
  • 8 oz. cream cheese (at room temperature)
  • ½ cup of sugar
  •  2 tbsp. of brown sugar
  •  ¾ cups of mini chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp. white chocolate chips
  •  Assorted crackers and cookies
Directions:
  • Beat the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the sugar, brown sugar and cake mix until well blended.
  • Turn the mixture out onto a piece of plastic wrap and form into a football shape. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  • Un-wrap the cheese football and place on a serving tray. Use the white chocolate chips to make the laces on the football and cover the rest with mini chocolate chips.
  • Serve with your choice of cookies or crackers.
Buffalo Chicken Wings
Chicken wings play a main role on the appetizer list for the Super Bowl. Here is a delicious recipe that will be sure to score a touchdown with your guests! 
Ingredients:
  • 2 pounds of chicken wings, rinsed clean
  • ⅔ cup hot pepper sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • Salt and black pepper for taste
Directions:
  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Use aluminum foil to cover an entire sheet pan. Be sure to wrap around the edges also. Then spray the pan with non-stick vegetable oil.
  • Spread the wings out evenly on the pan and lightly sprinkle salt and pepper over them. Place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes.
  • After 20 minutes, turn the wings over and let cook for an additional 20 minutes.
  • While wings are baking, prepare a saute pan at low-medium heat. Combine the butter, salt, garlic pepper, cayenne pepper, hot pepper sauce and paprika in the pan. Allow the butter to melt then whisk for about 5-7 minutes.
  • Once the wings are finished cooking, remove from oven and dump into the large bowl with the chicken wing sauce.
  • Make sure to coat all the chicken with the sauce and allow the wings to sit for about 5 minutes before tossing again. After second toss, serve warm and enjoy!
Healthy Roasted Bell Peppers
If you’re looking to be brave and stay healthy on Super Bowl Sunday, this bell pepper recipe with goat cheese filling will be the ultimate appetizer for you and your friends.
Ingredients:
  • 1 box of mini bell peppers
  • 1 log goat cheese
  • 1 bunch of fresh basil
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. of balsamic vinegar
Directions:
  • Cut the tops off of the mini peppers and remove the insides.
  • Place them on a baking dish and sprinkle with olive oil (optional)
  • Roast at 400 degrees F for about 5-10 minutes or until peppers are browned
  • Remove and let cool.
  • Mix the goat cheese, basil and balsamic vinegar into a bowl.
  • Stuff the peppers with the mixture and enjoy!
Spinach Pinwheels
Don’t feel bad about indulging in this spinach dish because it too is a healthy appetizer! This hearty recipe will be sure to catch everyone’s attention, whether they enjoy eating healthy or not!
Ingredients:
  • 20 oz. frozen chopped spinach (thawed & drained)
  • 8 oz. softened cream cheese
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 1 envelope ranch dip mix
  • 1 jar bacon bits
  • 4 chopped green onions
  • 10 inch flour tortillas
Directions:
  • Combine sour cream, cream cheese and mayonnaise into a mixing bowl.
  • Beat in dip mix.
  • Add bacon, spinach and green onion then mix thoroughly.
  • Spread the mixture onto the tortillas, leaving a ½” space around the edge.
  • Roll up each tortilla tightly and wrap each in plastic wrap.
  • Chill for a couple of hours, or overnight.
  • Once finished chilling, cut off the ends and cut into ½” slices before serving.
Whether you choose a healthy recipe or one with some more calories, these dishes are sure to satisfy your guests. You can make these tasty appetizers for other kinds of parties as well, along with Super Bowl Sundays for years to come!
If you don’t have time to cook for the big celebration, no problem! We’ve got you covered. Check out some of the great catering companies that can dish up some great eats for your get together, and help make your day stress-free!

The Cost of Healthy Foods

So, I just went to Shop Rite and need to vent a little bit. And no, not about the people that cause me to get road rage with my shopping cart. I bought organic grapes and once I went to pay for them they came to $15.00! Is it just me or does that sound crazy? I’ve heard that regular grapes are part of the “dirty dozen” and that you shouldn’t eat them. I would do this, if they didn’t cost a small fortune. It just doesn’t make sense to me, a lot of America is overweight and people wonder why? Maybe it’s because healthy foods cost so much while McDonald’s and other fast food places are so cheap. A lot of people are struggling financially right now and fast foods are so much easier to get which is unfortunate. We shouldn’t have to pay more money just to be healthy!

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