Baked Maple Mascarpone Sweet Potatoes

Baked Maple Mascarpone Sweet Potatoes

 

This dish is delicious and decadent. The perfect side dish for Thanksgiving or any special dinner. They bake in a rich butter sauce so they absorb all of the flavor with none of the fluff of the traditional Sweet Potato and marshmallow casserole. Try this as an elegant alternative this year.

Baked Maple Mascarpone Sweet Potatoes

3 large sweet potatoes peeled and sliced in 1/4 ” rounds

4 T butter

8 0z mascarpone cheese

1 t chopped rosemary

2 T maple syrup

1/2 c milk.

Preheat the oven to 350. Arrange sweet potato slices in layers in an oven proof dish ( I used a 8×8)

Baked Maple Marscapone Sweet Potatoes

 

In a sauce pan melt butter and mascarpone cheese together over medium heat. Add maple syrup, milk and rosemary and stir to combine.

Baked Maple Mascarpone Sweet Potatoes

 

Pour mixture over potatoes and cover with foil. Bake for 45 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Serve on the plate with a spoonful of the butter sauce from pan over the top.

 

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Festive Holiday Cocktail: Cranberry Ginger Royale

Cranberry Ginger Royale

 

Here is an easy drink for the holidays and one of my families favorites. Perfect for Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any time in between.

Cranberry Ginger Royale ( for each glass)

2 T cranberry juice

1t ginger liquor ( I used Stirrings)

Champagne ( or any sparkling white wine)

Fresh cranberries or a sprig of fresh rosemary for garnish if desired .

Add cranberry juice and ginger liquor to a  champagne flute and top off with Champagne. Garnish as desired.

Cranberry Ginger Royale

 

 

Frosty The Cheeseman, Performance Food Art

Frosty the Cheeseman

We always have a book club Christmas party, and the stakes are high. Not only can these girls read and have intelligent conversations, they are crafty, gourmet cooks and food connoisseurs. So when choosing a dish to bring you can’t resort to the usual stand bys. Last year I saw a picture of this cheese ball snowman and thought that’s it, food performance art. Now I know culinarily speaking it is not that exciting but it makes up for it in entertainment value.

Frosty The Cheeseman

1 large box and 1 small box of velveeta cheese any flavor

2 bricks cream cheese softened

green pepper

black olives

carrots

toothpicks

cut the velveeta into 3 pieces, like a snowman they should vary in size from large to small, using your hands roll them into ball shapes ( velveeta is like playdoh, its easy)

frost the balls with the cream cheese and stack them using toothpicks to hold them together.

cut arms, hat, and buttons from carrots ( be creative use whatever vegetables you have)

cut a bow out of a green pepper

use black olives for eyes

Heres the fun part, put frosty in a fondue pot or electric fry pan on low, watch Frosty melt into a puddle of goodness, and serve with chips.

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Christmas Entertaining: Bloody Mary and Hot Chocolate Bars

Hot Chocolate Bar

Hot Chocolate Bar

Holiday entertaining doesn’t have to be difficult, it just has to be festive and fun. A couple of years ago I had a Christmas Brunch complete with a Bloody Mary bar and a Hot Chocolate bar for the kids, (and adults too, just add some Baileys’).

For the Hot Chocolate bar, have hot water in a carafe, packets or a container of hot chocolate mix, marshmallows, chocolate chips, whipped cream, festive sprinkles, and candy canes for stirring. Let the guests make there own favorite concoction, this was a big hit with the preteens.

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For the Bloody Mary Christmas Bar, make pitchers of Basic Bloody Mary’s 3parts tomato juice, to 1 part vodka (have regular tomato juice on hand for those who don’t drink alcohol) Then set up the bar with ice, ¬†Worcestershire, celery salt, hot sauce, old bay seasoning, picked vegetables, lemon and lime wedges, celery, cooked shrimp, olives and any other topping or garnish you desire. Again let the guest play bartender, set out some pastries, breakfast casseroles and a salad and the party is complete.

Bloody Mary Christmas Bar

Bloody Mary Christmas Bar

Chipotle Maple Acorn Squash

 

Chipotle Maple Acorn Squash

2 acorn squash, peeled and cut into 1″ pieces

1/3 c maple syrup

1 canned chipotle pepper chopped plus 1 T adobe sauce (canned chipotle peppers in adobe sauce can be found in your supermarket in the latin/mexican section)

1T olive oil

1/2 t salt

Preheat oven to 400.Mix together maple syrup, olive oil, adobe sauce and chipotle pepper in a medium sized bowl. Add squash and toss to coat. Place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil, bake for 20-30 minutes(or until fork tender), turning once.  Serve.

 

Spiced Rum Cranberry Sauce

 

Mmm homemade cranberry sauce, I refuse to eat the canned stuff and why when it is so simple to make your own. Since you are making your own, why not make it a drunken cranberry, your turkey deserves a drink too.

Spiced Rum Cranberry Sauce

1 bag fresh cranberries, washed and drained

1/2 c spiced rum

1 c sugar

1/2 c orange juice

1/2 t orange zest

1/4 t ground ginger

1/4 t salt

Heres the easy part, add all ingredients to a saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. pour into a bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready.

 

Spiced Pear Sangria

 

I usually don’t try out recipes before an event, yes I know I live on the edge, but when it is a delicious cocktail, well reserch is important. I was trying to think of a festive drink for Thanksgiving, I’ve done cranberries and pumpkin in the past so I was thinking of something new and different. Apples? hmm too boring how about pears? So I came up with a spiced pear sangria. It’s very yummy and I am glad I practiced first.

Spiced Pear Sangria

2 pears sliced

1/2 apple sliced

3/4 c pear nectar (found by the fruit juices in the supermarket)

1/4 c ginger liquor

1/8 t nutmeg

1/4 t cinnamon

2 c ice

3 c champagne, prosecco or sparkling wine.

Add all ingredients to a pitcher and stir.

 

Garnish with cinnamon sticks and or sliced pears.

Roasted Vegetable Orzo with Parmesan Cheese

This is a yummy side dish or a meatless main meal, would also be a lovely side for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Roasted Vegetable Orzo with Parmesan Cheese

1 package orzo pasta cooked and drained

I cup chopped eggplant

I cup chopped and peeled acorn or butternut squash

1/2 cup carrots chopped

1/2 cup chopped bell peppers, I used yellow and red

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes

1/2 c chopped onion

2T olive oil

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Toss all chopped vegetables with 1 T olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread on a sheet pan and put into the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until vegetables are fork tender.

Add vegetables to a large bowl and add in cooked and drained pasta, 1 T olive oil, lemon juice, parmesan cheese and salt and pepper. Serve.

*Use what you have on hand this is a great way to use up leftover vegetables, be creative.

5 Minute Craft: Frosted Pumpkins

I love crafts but often don’t have the patience to finish them. This one is so easy that even I can do it. It’s cheap too and makes a perfect Halloween centerpiece. This method is easy and I already have ideas for Christmas to use pears and persimmons.

Frosted Pumpkins

1 bag epsom salts (so much cheaper than glitter, and has a nicer subtler effect)

2 T white glue

2 T water

paintbrush

small pumpkins or gourds

Mix glue and water together, I used a disposable cup for easy clean up. Paint pumpkin with glue mixture.

Sprinkle with epsom salts. I did it over a paper plate for faster clean up.

Let dry and arrange in group on table, I scattered some fall leaves around first, I would use real ones but I’m in Florida so I went with the silk ones. This would be fun with kids too as a party craft.

Pinspired: 4th of July Chocolate Covered Strawberries

This was one of my very first pins on Pinterest, I think I saw it on my sister in laws page. The original idea as far as I can tell came from Three Sisters Cafe, you can see their version here. This was an easy and fun project for me and my son and although some came out better than others, there was really no way to fail on this one. Try it for the upcoming holiday, I think I will make them for Christmas too just switch the blue sugar to green.

Wash and let whole strawberries dry completely.

Dip 2/3rds of the strawberry into melted white chocolate (we used the kind in the cup and microwaved it for easy clean up), then dip the bottom third into blue colored sugar.

Set on parchment or wax paper to dry.