Category Archives: Food

Stranger Things: Season 2 is Here – Have a Last Minute Binge Party!

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WOO HOO!

Anyone who loved the first season of Stranger Things knows that Season Two was released on Netflix today!  I’ve been reminded of this about 3 times a week for several weeks now by my son, who watched the first season at least 10 times.  So what is the only rational thing to do on an occasion such as this?  Throw a last minute binge party!

Being last minute means not a lot of time to prepare, create, sew, draw, etc.  And the point is that you are watching the actual SHOW, not spending hours preparing for a typical social event.  So for this, let’s stick with the bare bones ideas: snacks, drinks and a comfy place to watch the show for several hours.

SNACKS:

Ok folks let’s get real.  This is no time learn how to make – or hire a professional cookie maker to create – wonderful treats like these no matter how awesome they are:

STcookies

These are great, but mine would look like a hot mess or cost me $400 to have made. MOVING ON! (PS: Will happily give credit to whoever created these but I can’t find original source)

So what will you serve your fellow Stranger Things Fanatics?  A quick trip to the store can net plenty of great snacks that were available back in the last 1970s-early 1980s, so stick with those!  Starting with:

eggo

EGGOS, of course!  Create a waffle bar, where people can toast up some Eggos and create their own fun treats!  Topping could include:

  • chocolate chips
  • berries
  • whipped cream/Cool Whip
  • peanut butter
  • caramel syrup
  • ice cream
  • sprinkles

But check it out, even Eggo is getting into the Stranger Things action, go to their website and download a 1984 label you can put on a modern box!

Of course one cannot live on Eggos alone, so you could also grab some:

  • Pop Rocks
  • Twinkies
  • Devil Dogs
  • Jello Pudding Pops
  • pretzels
  • Doritos!

DRINKS:

Of course you have to have drinks you can get today that were around in the early 80s, but if you can grab a couple of pitchers (Tupperware pitchers get bonus points!), then fill them with Hi-C fruit drinks (add vodka or rum to make them even better!) – if you’re feeling creative, do something like this:

STdrinks

Love this! Also can’t find who to credit for this idea either, but they rock!

If you want some sodas, pick up some:

  • TAB (classic!)
  • 7-Up
  • Coke
  • Pepsi… if you can find any “Crystal” versions, I bow to you!
  • (add vodka or rum to make your sodas even better!)

DECORATIONS:

Now is not the time for overly fancy decorations, but if you want a quick and easy project that shouldn’t take too long, just do this:

  • From the store: grab a huge black Sharpie marker, a plain white shower curtain or plastic table cloth and a set of Christmas lights (if you don’t already have some at home, you KNOW the stores are already putting that stuff out)
  • At home: Tape the curtain to your wall and string up the lights in 3 rows.  Then under each light, draw out each letter, like so:
STlights

Bonus points for finding a shower curtain that matches her wallpaper!

 

THAT’S IT!  That’s all you need to make a great party with minimal effort and maximum fun while you watch the new season with your best mates.  Now… RUN!

5 Easy Harry Potter Drinks

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We are in the midst of two of my favorite topics – Halloween and Harry Potter celebrations!  There has been a surge of town-wide Harry Potter Days where businesses will specialize in all things HP (like this one for 10/28/17 🙂 ), and it’s the perfect time of year to do it.  Hopefully all you fellow PottHeads have one nearby?

Even if you don’t, you can still join the fun! I’ve compiled a short list of my favorite Harry Potter inspired drinks you can toast your favorite characters with.

But here was the challenge… finding recipes that not only tasted good and reminded me of specific HP characters or places, but also didn’t call for hard-to-find or bizarre ingredients (I found this drink, which uses squid ink – bless that mixologist, but…NO.) – there is nothing more frustrating than buying a bottle of liquor I’ve never heard of, to create a drink using only 1oz of it, only to realize I hate the taste and will never use it again.

Oh, and if you’re looking for a cool Harry Potter glass or mug to hold your concoction, I’ve posted a few at the bottom you may want to check out!

That said, let’s move on to the drinks!

VERY Low Calorie Butterbeer!

Glasses_of_ButterbeerI’ve been to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida, and I was lucky enough to get to the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London.  The Butterbeer served is DELICIOUS, but will give you sugar shock! I needed to find a way to make it lower in sugar and calories, but also simple enough that I won’t blow too much money.

First, the non-alcoholic recipe (keep the kids happy!):

  • 12 oz of Diet Cream Soda
  • 1 T of Imitation Butterscotch Extract
  • Cool Whip
  • Drizzle of Walden Farms Calorie Free Caramel Syrup (usually found near the ice cream toppings)

Start with the Butterscotch Extract and then add the Cream Soda to mix, top with some Cool Whip and let it get a little “relaxed” to look like beer froth.  Drizzle a bit of the Caramel Syrup on top and you’re good to go!

Now for the ADULT version:

  • 12 oz of Diet Cream Soda
  • 1-2oz of Butterscotch Schnapps (to taste)
  • Cool Whip
  • Drizzle of Walden Farms Calorie Free Caramel Syrup (usually found near the ice cream toppings)

Start with the Butterscotch Schnapps and then add the Cream Soda to mix, top with some Cool Whip and let it get a little “relaxed” to look like beer froth.  Drizzle a bit of the Caramel Syrup on top and you’re on your way to a lower-calorie drink.  Accio Butterbeer!!!

Photo credit to harrypotter.wikia.com

The Half-Blood Prince Potion

By now you should know that our favorite potions master was also a master of manipulation and lies – for the good!  In honor of Severus Snape’s ability to hide the light within the dark, I present one of the most gorgeous drinks I’ve ever seen!  With it’s lime flavoring (green for Slytherin!), black color and silvery sparkles when you swirl it, you will look more than ready to take your NEWT level Potions exams!

  • 2.5 ounces Black Vodka
  • 3/4 ounce Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice (2/3 – 1 Small Lime)
  • 1/2 ounce Simple Syrup
  • Ice
  • Wilton Edible Pearl Dust in White (Find at craft store in baking aisle or HERE on Amazon)

Instructions:

Into a cocktail shaker add in your simple syrup, lime juice, and black vodka. Fill with ice until the liquid line. Give it a hard shake for 30 seconds. Add a dash of pearl dust to the bottom of a martini or coupe glass. Pour cocktail into your glass and serve. Add more pearl dust if it’s not shimmery enough and stir it with a bar spoon to combine it.

Photo and drink recipe credit to elletalk.com!

The Order of the Phoenix

OrderofPhoenixIn searching for a recipe to honor the many fierce and determined witches and wizards – many of whom perished fighting You-Know-Who and the Death Eaters, I found this drink to pack the right punch!  Don’t consume too many of these, or it’s a trip straight to St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries!

  • 1 oz Vodka
  • 1 oz Triple Sec
  • 1 oz. Blue Curacao
  • Lime juice to taste
  • Black Sanding Sugar for coating the glass
Instructions:
Pour equal portions of the alcohol into a shaker over cracked ice. Shake, then strain into a chilled martini glass that has been rimmed with black sugar.
Photo and basic recipe from RecipesJust4U.com, tweaked by me.

The Goblet of Fire!

GobletofFireThis one is a FUN one to make AND to look at!  I found several recipes out there with similar ingredients and think this one is the best. Astound your friends with your potion skills with this one and sip while reminiscing on the past Tri-Wizard Tournament Champions!
  • 1 1/2 ounce blue curaçao
  • 1 ounce orange-flavored vodka
  • 1/2 cup orange-flavored sparkling water
  • 1/2 ounce 151 proof rum
  • Cinnamon

Instructions:

 

In a goblet, pour the blue curaçao, vodka, and sparkling water.Carefully spoon a layer of rum over the drink. You can also pour the rum over the back of the spoon. Using your wand, cast the fire-making spell to light the drink. If Ollivander’s was closed when you went to buy your wand, you can just use a long-stemmed lighter. If it doesn’t light right away, pour a little more rum on top and try again. Sprinkle with cinnamon to create those sparks. Put out the flame by blowing on it or covering the drink with a plate before drinking.
Photo and recipe from Spoon University.

The Hogsmeade Special!

Organic Apple Cider with CinnamonWhen strolling down the street in Hogsmeade during the height of snow season, despite the warmth of your Hogwarts cloak, the only thing you want is something toasty to sip next to the fire.  This super-simple recipe is great when ice-cold in the summer, but OUTSTANDING in the winter!

Instead of cursing the snow and using your wand to try melt it away, embrace it gratefully with this drink in hand. Honestly, I don’t think I could have made this recipe any easier unless it was literally already bottled at the Hog’s Head ready for pickup!

  • Apple Cider
  • Honey Mead
  • Cinnamon stick (or a few sprinkles of ground cinnamon)

Instructions:

Mix one part each in your favorite mug, heat to preferred temperature in the microwave or in a small pot on the stove, add cinnamon stick (or ground cinnamon) and ENJOY!

Need a special drinking cup for your favorite recipe?  Check these out!



lovemagic

Recipe: Chicken Pot Pie (that is light enough to have seconds without guilt!)

My continued absence from here is annoying even me, so pushing myself to share something.  This is my new favorite recipe that I have been busting out all week, and it’s a variation on the Bisquick Chicken Pot Pie recipe found on the box (I actually found it online since the box I have didn’t actually have it).  The hardest part is the chicken, the rest takes all of about 5 minutes to throw together.  First, here’s the recipe:

  • 1 Cup of Chicken
  • 2 Cups of Vegetables
  • 1 Can of Cream of Chicken
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/2 Cup of Milk
  • 1 Cup of Bisquick mix

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Mix the chicken, veggies, soup and spices in a casserole dish, flattening it out when done.  Mix the egg, milk and Bisquick and then pour over the top of the chicken and veggies, spread it out as evenly as possible.  Put it in the oven for 30 minutes (or until the top is browned), makes 6 servings.

I had leftover chicken from the weekend so I started with that, however, I wanted to make more and ended up springing for a rotisserie chicken from the store.  This provided me with at least 3 cups worth of chicken – I pulled one serving from the breast, and finished assembling the dish.  While it was baking, I pulled the rest of the chicken off, shredded it, and put the leftovers in the fridge for next time.  It’s also just as easy to bake a couple of chicken breasts and dice/shred them.

How to make this dish HEALTHIER…

Grab the lower-fat version of the Cream of Chicken (Heart Healthy line of Campbells was even better than the store version of low fat cream of chicken), use low-fat milk, and bulk up on the vegetables – last night I used a can of corn niblets as 1 cup of veggies, and frozen peas and carrots as the other cup, however the corn was a bit abundant, so I will likely go with frozen mixed vegetables next time.

ENJOY!

My favorite is Agent Coulson

A must-have for anyone with roommates!

I see this making them a mint!

Bento break!

Time for a few more bento pictures!  I’ve been so incredibly busy with projects and research that I realized I hadn’t updated in a week – bad me!  What better way to start the day than a little bento break!

Weird Hobby # 581: DEPRESSION ERA COOKING!

Quite a while ago I stumbled upon a YouTube video starring this 90+ year old lady named Clara making a dish called the Poorman’s Meal.  It may sound boring, but I absolutely fell in love with her and her storytelling.  Much like TV chefs, she will spend time telling you what goes in the recipe, but will also throw in anecdotes and memories she had from the Great Depression.  After watching the Poorman’s Meal video, I proceeded to make it myself, and was really surprised by how tasty it was (I did modify the recipe a little… less oil, and it looks like she uses vegetable oil where I used olive, things like that).

So I went on to watch the rest of her videos.  What a treat!  There’s plenty of easy recipes, and if they aren’t quite appealing, just substitute with a different ingredient and chances are you’ll have something great to eat.  Clara is such a doll, and it’s wonderful to know that she’s been making these videos for 5 years and she’s still going strong!

Here’s the first video I watched (but check out her YouTube channel, which has everything!):

Perspective

In the past couple of weeks I’ve cut down quite a bit on my soda intake (even diet and “zero” versions) and tried increasing my water intake.  This picture helps remind me why I should!

Product review: Lunch Pot by Black + Blum

The Lunch Pot, assembled. Click for a detailed view.

About a month ago, I reviewed the Lunch Box by Black + Blum, and since then I have had the opportunity to test drive the Lunch Pot by the same company.

Although the shape is completely different, it is nonetheless very obviously of the same family.  The Lunch Pot is simplistic, but versatile and very functional.  Let’s break down the 6 pieces…

When the Lunch Pot is assembled, the first thing you encounter is the strap that holds the entire unit together.  The strap is attached to two rings: one centers the bottom pot into place, the other snaps gently onto the top pot, securing the two.  Simply pulling the strap on one side will loosen enough to allow you to pop off the top ring, and start taking it apart.

But wait!  There’s the one item you MUST have in order to eat your lunch (unless it’s all finger foods) – a utensil!  Black + Blum decided to go with a spork for this container set, and it slides neatly into a sleeve on the strap, making it easy transport.

Once you have the strap removed, you can take the two pots apart.  The larger pot has a clear lid, the smaller pot lid matches the color of the pot, and each are easily removed with a simple twist.  The lids also have a ring inside to ensure that the pots are leak-proof.  After lunch is done, the smaller pot can be put inside the larger one for even easier transportation.

In various stages of assembly.

So how does the Lunch Pot do in everyday situations?  Here’s the breakdown…

I absolutely love that they went with a spork for the utensil as it fits the theme of the container.  The Lunch Pot works great for noodles, soups, stews, oatmeal, fruit salads, rice dishes, and so much more, and the spork works for all of them all.  And having such a convenient and simple way to keep it with the pots is great!  The only downsides to the spork is that the tines of the fork are on the shorter side, so you won’t get many noodles on it, and the spoon is actually quite deep.  I love spoons with depth, but it does sometimes feel strange when it’s so deep that your upper lip can’t naturally help clean the spoon.  It was definitely noticeable by my daughter, who obviously has an even smaller mouth than me.

Like the Lunch Box, you should make sure not to microwave for more than 2 minutes to help avoid warping, but the pots are not so large that whatever you pack should require more than that anyway.  And the same care you take with the Lunch Box should be applied here.  Not having a dishwasher, I can’t say how they would hold up (though I know top-rack is advised for those that do), but I have yet to find a food that causes me trouble with these.  They clean effortlessly with the soft side of a sponge.

Daughter's first lunch with the Lunch Pot.

My daughter still loves it, despite the deep spoon, and uses it just as much as the Lunch Box I previously reviewed.  In fact, here’s a picture of her first lunch with it: sushi rice and sauce (her favorite), and a fruit salad (more variety at the bottom, they just got covered).

My ONLY suggestion to improve this would be to include a pair of chopsticks that could be held in a pocket on the strap opposite the spork.  That way you have utensils that will help with noodles the spork can’t handle.  Overall I definitely give the Lunch Pot a big thumbs up!  It’s cute, stylish and can easily transport in a messenger bag or tote, and again, perfect for people who are watching portion sizes.

ENJOY!

Two free e-cookbooks available right now!

Got a tip from Frugal Girls that Amazon currently has two e-books for slow cooker recipes up for free right now.  I love my slow cookers, so I snapped up my copies!  The books look like the same one because the cover photo is the same, but they aren’t!

If you don’t have a Kindle, don’t worry, Amazon has free e-reader programs for nearly any device too – iphones, androids, PCs, etc…  Download for the reader you want for free here and then get your free cookbooks!

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