All Posts In Holidays

Green and Minty Milkshakes to Shake Up St. Patrick’s Day

by in Holidays, Recipes, March 12th, 2015

FNK-st-patricks-day-mint-shake This St. Patrick’s Day, honor the Emerald Isle by indulging in any one of these minty-green milkshakes. They’re refreshing and festive, and best of all, your blender will bear the brunt of the prep work. There’s never been a sweeter way to show off your Irish pride.

St. Patrick’s Day Mint Shakes (pictured at top)
A milkshake is only as good as its ingredients, which is why it’s worth splurging on high-quality ice cream for this indulgent treat. Combining peppermint extract with the vanilla ice cream gives the drink an extra-refreshing minty flavor that you wouldn’t get from using regular mint chip ice cream.

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6 Tasty Ways to Cook with Beer

by in Holidays, March 11th, 2015

Don’t limit beer to drinking — especially on St. Patrick’s Day. A splash here and there adds complex flavor to stews and braises, and it tastes especially delicious in cheesy foods. You may have heard about adding vodka or vinegar to your pie dough, but what about beer? Just a touch helps yield flaky results in Food Network Magazine’s recipe for beef pot pies with cheddar crust (pictured above). Beer is also a valuable ingredient in desserts. Stout and chocolate are a popular pairing: The dark brew’s rich coffee notes taste heavenly with cocoa-heavy treats. And darker ales tend to have a toasted caramel taste.

Not a beer drinker? No problem. Cooking with beer doesn’t mean your meal will taste like a hoppy pint. Think of beer as a flavor enhancer. It adds a “wow” factor that most people won’t be able to identify — they’ll just be begging you for the recipe. So crack open a bottle and get cooking! These recipes are perfect for St. Patrick’s Day, or for any night when the craving for comfort food strikes.

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Bake Hamentaschen for Purim (Even If You’re Not Jewish)

by in Holidays, Recipes, March 4th, 2015

HamentaschenIf a Jew has ever been jealous of a Christmas tree or an Easter egg hunt, think of Purim as the time the tables are turned. It’s the holiday that hinges on fun — and lots of it. Treated as the Jewish equivalent of Halloween, when you pull on a costume and take part in all kinds of, ahem, “revelry,” Purim marks a celebration of the Jews rising above the villainous ruler Haman during biblical times. Beyond all the partying, ringing in this holiday also calls for the baking of Hamentaschen: triangular pastries filled with traditional poppy seeds or jam. The name harks back to Haman himself, and each doughy pastry signifies the corners of his hat (or, depending on whom you talk to, his ears or his pockets).

Whether you’re Jewish or not, fold up your own filled cookies in honor of this joyous holiday, and remember that the custom of gifting food (mishloach manot) is a big one on Purim, so bake enough for fellow revelers — or co-workers, teachers and friends.

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You’ll Heart These Tiny Hamsters Eating Tiny Food on a Tiny Date

by in Holidays, News, February 14th, 2015

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How are you celebrating Valentine’s Day today?

You could cook an elegant meal for your special someone, your family or your sweet self. You could sit around and eat a big box of bonbons. You could go out to a fancy restaurant — or a not-so-fancy one. Or you could let two tiny hamsters do the celebrating for you.

Seriously, there is so much to love about this absurdly adorable video of tiny hamsters going on a tiny date, taking a tiny gondola to a place called Tiny Tony’s Restaurant. (“Tonight’s special: Perciatelli Pasta with Red Quinoa Meat Balls,” reads a tiny hand-lettered sign perched on a tiny easel.)

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5 Nontraditional Valentine’s Day Dining Ideas: No Reservations Required!

by in Holidays, Restaurants, February 13th, 2015

On most special occasions like birthdays and anniversaries, my husband and I look forward to splurging on dinners out at new or favorite restaurants. But not on Valentine’s Day. One too many overpriced set menus with boring choices (“free” glass of sparkling wine included!) ruined that for us. We usually plan an elaborate menu to cook at home, but enough people have wised up to staying in on Valentine’s Day that the scene in Whole Foods can be just as bad as a “romantic restaurant.” So this year, let’s try a new game plan. Maybe a romantic dinner doesn’t have to mean an expensive fixed-price menu or hours spent toiling in the kitchen. Maybe it’s just splurging (calorically) on a favorite comfort food together, something fun that satisfies at a low price, without a reservation made weeks or months in advance — and nobody has to wash dishes. Here are five ideas for nontraditional Valentine’s Day date nights. Read more

Your Weekender Recipe: Ina’s Chocolate Truffles (the Only Valentine’s Day Treat You Need)

by in Holidays, Recipes, February 13th, 2015

Chocolate TrufflesValentine’s Day means something different for nearly everyone. Some people send cards. Others plan lavish meals for their sweethearts. Still others give or receive gifts of chocolate or shiny baubles. And there are always a few who boycott the holiday (and often wear black in protest).

I like to acknowledge Valentine’s Day, but I have always preferred a more homemade approach. When I was in school, I always insisted that I make individual cards for my classmates instead of buying the preprinted ones from the drugstore (heart-shaped doilies were almost always involved in my craft projects).

Later on, I’d gather up friends for a home-cooked dinner designed to celebrate our collective community. The promised cheese fondue would always draw a big crowd, regardless of whether my friends were in relationships.

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5 Ways to Eat Chocolate for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner on Valentine’s Day

by in Holidays, Recipes, February 12th, 2015

 

Valentine’s Day is on a Saturday this year — which means if you haven’t made a dinner reservation by now, you’re pretty much screwed. But fret not: A homemade candlelit meal is always more intimate than the prix-fixe menus and forced romance served at neighborhood restaurants. And since it’s a weekend day, you’ll have plenty of time to prep, whether it be for breakfast in bed, a lingering brunch or a multicourse dinner extravaganza.

Chocolate shares equal billing on Valentine’s Day with red roses, but most often rolled into truffles or tucked into assorted boxes of candy. But why wait till dessert (or, err, whatever time of day you happen to open your gifted sweets) to indulge in the heavenly ingredient? Incorporate chocolate into your celebratory meal — breakfast, lunch or dinner — to infuse your dishes with either sweetness or bitterness, complexity and subtle spice.

Kick-start your day with endorphin-boosting Chocolate Waffles (shown above). Mixing chocolate syrup into the waffle batter ensures consistent cocoa flavor without compromising the texture of the breakfast treats. Top them with additional chocolate syrup and red berries to give them that Valentine’s vibe. Read more

Melt Hearts with Handmade Chocolate Sweets — Comfort Food Feast

by in Holidays, Recipes, February 12th, 2015

Chocolate-Covered StrawberriesWhether you’ve got yourself a sweetie or you’re going for a more “all my single ladies” approach, these chocolatey sweets are just what St. Valentine called for. Instead of swinging by the drugstore for a sorry box of chocolates, give your valentine handmade chocolate treats that are a sure-fire way to melt hearts.

It may be the go-to move, but there is something to be said for biting into plump, juicy Chocolate-Covered Strawberries (pictured above). Not only are these fruity treats romantic through and through, they’re also completely effortless to make. Plus, rolling each melted chocolate-dipped strawberry in crushed pretzel sticks or almonds makes for a crunchy complement that proves that opposites attract.

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11 Ideas for a Red Hot Valentine’s Day

by in Holidays, How-to, February 11th, 2015

In the early 1930s, the Ferrara Candy Company created the famous Red Hots cinnamon candies using the cold panned candy method. The inventors probably never imagined that the candies, which have become a Valentine’s Day staple, could be used in so many ways. All of these ideas utilize one 6-ounce theater box of the candies. Browse the full gallery for all 11 spiced-up homemade Valentine’s Day treats.

Red Hot Strawberries
Red Hots melt perfectly into a smooth syrup that can be incorporated into a variety of recipes, including these candy-coated strawberries (pictured above). Boil 1 box of Red Hots with 1 cup of water and 1/2 cup of sugar to 300 degrees F (hard crack stage). Use a candy thermometer to monitor. Carefully dip skewered strawberries into the candy. Let cool completely.

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The 8 Sweetest Valentine’s Day Treats for Kids

by in Family, Holidays, February 10th, 2015

The 8 Sweetest Valentine's Day Treats for KidsFrom super sweet to pretty darn healthy, I’ve got your kids’ Valentine’s Day treats covered. Every one of them is doable for busy parents, and many are so easy the kids can help. So whether you and the little ones are celebrating at home or school, these adorable ideas say nothing but love from the oven.

1. Heart of the Batter CupcakesAs if a moist cupcake loaded with chocolate frosting wasn’t enough, what kid wouldn’t be delighted to bite into a cupcake to find a heart-shaped strawberry inside? I’m practically clapping myself about these too-cute treats from Food Network Magazine.

2. Chocolate-Covered Mini Pretzel Sticks: For small kids, a pretzel stick — loaded with chocolate and sprinkles — makes the perfect serving size. Bonus: Your little ones can help make a batch with you.

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