Roses are red, violets are blue, Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, I’m ready--are you? Dinner reservations, store bought candy and jewelry are certainly appreciated and show us that you care, but nothing is sweeter than homemade cupcakes!
Do you remember the vanilla candied lemon post, and how beautiful those bright yellow lemons looked in the jar? Did you look at those vanilla candied lemons and think, "I should make those!"? Maybe you made them, and now they stare at you every time you open the fridge door. You wonder, "What in the world am I going to do with these?" I have just the solution: lucious mini-lemon cheesecakes with vanilla candied lemon slices.
Super Bowl Sunday brings many families together; it is the quintessential American holiday. Nachos sit happily with pizza and potato skins on the buffet table, vegetable platters are politely accepted and then placed discretely at the back of the kitchen counter. While the other snack foods are delicious, chicken wings always seem to be the star at any Super Bowl party. Sweet and spicy, sticky and delicious barbecue wings made with Tonga vanilla beans will become a staple in your house all year long. Our Tonga vanilla beans add a rich and smoky flavor to homemade barbecue sauce, your family and friends will beg you for more!
Edamame is not what comes to mind when you think about vanilla! Beautiful lemon coconut raspberry cakes, fresh fruit tarts smothered in rich custard fillings, and gooey chocolate fudge brownies seem much more suited to the vanilla bean, but I'm here to inform you that vanilla and savory are a match made in heaven.
Each species of vanilla bean has a unique flavor profile; for instance, the Ugandan vanilla bean has rich chocolate undertones that enhance any mole. Indonesian vanilla beans are sweet with a smoky undertone perfect for barbecue sauces and grilling. Tahitian vanilla beans have a rich floral and fruity undertone that pairs beautifully with demi glace for rich savory sauces. As you can see, the vanilla bean is very versatile and does not need to be limited to sweet applications.
There is nothing quite as bright and cheerful as a lemon. I often buy a bag of lemons as a centerpiece for the breakfast table. The addition of these bright little fruits can cheer up even the grayest day! They are also one of the most versatile fruits; they can be used in both savory and sweet applications. The lemon's bright and tangy flavor can liven up just about any dish from roasted chicken to a beautiful fresh lemon curd tart.
I am surrounded by runners -- not just your every-day-I-think-I-will-go-out-for-a-leisurely-jog runner, but hardcore I-think-I-will-run-a-marathon runners! I am not a runner. I try to get out there and run a few miles, but my boredom gets the best of me. I know there are many people who love the freedom it gives them to be able to put on a pair of shoes and leave the stress of family, work and financial obligations behind. I know the health and weight benefits that running provides, but as much as I want to be one of those people, I just can’t get past the monotony and boredom of a long run. But….. I live with a family of runners, and I am their biggest supporter. You will always find me on the sidelines cheering for them at their next big race. I will always be there with a water bottle of Gatorade and a Clif bar to congratulate them on their accomplishment. I will always be their biggest fan.
As a child, I spent a good amount of time at my grandparents’ home. One of my most vivid memories of my days spent with them was the crisp fall mornings and afternoons my grandmother spent canning. She would can dozens of quarts of home grown tomatoes, corn and grape jelly. The grape jelly was always my favorite, made from huge silver skin grapes that grew on vines along the back row of the garden. Not all of the grapes made it into the jars that lined her kitchen counter. A few were eaten by my brothers and I, and more than a few were used as projectiles.
It’s cold here!! Not quite Iowa cold (those of you who live or have lived in Iowa know what I am talking about), but it is still cold here! This is our first winter back in the Midwest after three very sunny and warm years in Southern California, and I just simply can’t get warm!
So, I have been making a ton of hot chocolate; warm, creamy, delicious hot chocolate. I think I’m finally thawing out!
It's cold here in Michigan, but that won’t stop me from bringing a bit of sunshine inside! Last year at this time, we were on our way from sunny southern California to live in snowy Western Michigan. Although I love living closer to family and friends, there are parts of California that I do miss, especially when the snow falls here and the temperatures hover near freezing.
Living in Southern California bring days full of sun and warmth, palm trees, the smell of the ocean and shaved ice! Shaved ice carts are abundant near the boardwalks of the ocean. You can choose from a multitude of syrups and holding the snow cone in your hand brings you back to the days of the Snoopy Sno-Cone Machine.
By Garrett McCord, author of Vanilla Garlic
When lemons come into season in the middle of winter I start to go a bit lemonade crazy. Yes, it may still be chilly outside and the car windshield may still require a scraping every morning, but I can never say no to a tall glass of sweet and sour lemonade. Enjoyed in front of a fire with a bowl of aveglemono soup, a favorite book you've read five times before, or a slice of almond cake lemonade always makes life a bit more enjoyable and lets you forget the world for a few moments.
I usually end up using the more common Eureka lemons for my lemonade as I think their intense citric punch is a good contrast against the sugar, but a sweet and orange-y Meyer lemon will be just as happy in a clinking glass filled with ice. I also always toss in the seeds and pod of a fresh vanilla bean - usually Tahitian for its creaminess - as it adds a floral, rich, decadent layer of flavor to the lemonade. Plus, who can resist the comely pinprick speckles of real vanilla dancing in their drink?