Category Archives: Recipes

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!



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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!

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!):

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!

Bento Books Arrived – Full Reviews to Come but Here’s a Preview…

I was SO excited to see my bento books arrived in.  I have been looking to expand my lunch packing and meal-making skills, so I found some good deals on three books that got good reviews on Amazon…

I’ve had a chance to check out all three and thought I will be happy to provide more in-depth reviews, I can share my initial thoughts.

The first book I really looked through was Hawai’i’s Bento Box Cookbook by Susan Yuen.  The bentos are ADORABLE.  They are perfect for small children who would certainly delight in opening their lunchboxes to find whimsical scenes.  I love that it’s in a spiral-bound book, which makes it VERY easy to lay flat and go through the steps without having to struggle to keep the book open.  The book is broken into two main sections: the artistic bento hints and the recipes.  The artistic bento IS indeed artistic, and for the most part extremely easy to do provided you have the right tools.  The AMOUNT of tools you need in order to do them, however, can be a overwhelming.  Nori punches or scrapbooking punches, cookie cutters (butterfly, cat, bear, bunny, pig, chick, fish, flowers, leaves, not to mention the plain circles, ovals, hearts, stars, etc), straws, sausage cutters, musubi (rice) molds, and a WHOLE lot I didn’t even mention.  I would estimate that if I wanted to create the bentos in the book, I would need about $150-200 worth of tools in order to do them.  On the other hand, I certainly appreciated the recipe section, which offers a variety of dishes that can be used in bento boxes, most of which need only a few “fresh” ingredients and then usually spices you would normally have around the house.  I found several recipes that I would LOVE to try and do not seem intimidating to someone without a great deal of culinary finesse.  Overall, the book is great to offer some fun ideas for your young child, just be aware you’ll need to designate a special drawer in the kitchen for all the accoutrements.

The second book I was reading was Yum-Yum Bento Box by Crystal Watanabe (aibento.net) and Maki Ogawa (cuteobento.com).  This book is a bit more in depth than the Susan Yuen book, includes a bit of history behind bento, and a more comprehensive list of items one might use to create bento.  Again, make sure you have a drawer designated for your bentomaking tools, but I got less of an overwhelming feeling from this book than the previous book, and I think it is due to how it is presented.  There’s five full pages dedicated just to the tools used, and short explanations of what they are, how to use them best and where you might even find them, but I didn’t feel particularly pressured to acquire EVERYTHING.  They even include two pages of different ways to create aspects of characters… for instance ears can be represented with deli meat cut outs, cheese cut outs, meatballs sliced in half or even two fried noodles.  Once they move into highlighting their bento creations, the recipes are right there, along with estimated time it takes to make them, and tips for alternatives if you do not have all the ingredients or tools.  Lastly, they offer a great deal of reference – a lot of websites to learn more about bento as well as places to purchase items you might not find locally, etc.  As with the Susan Yuen book, the recipes look fairly easy to follow and create myself.  Overall, I think the bento from this book would definitely appeal to not only my 11 year old daughter, but many dishes would definitely appeal to my husband (minus some of the cute faces).

The last book I picked up was The Just Bento Cookbook, Everyday Lunches To Go by Makiko Itoh, who also runs the website JustBento.com.  This book is much different from the first two, in that there are no cute faces or characters – this book is dedicated to creating meals that are healthy portions, include healthy ingredients, are tasty, and are aesthetically pleasing.  The recipes are almost stupid-easy, and Itoh is kind enough to mention how long something will keep in the fridge or freezer (this point is a real bonus for me!).  The recipes are not just traditional Japanese foods, either.  One group of recipes focuses on lamb or beef koftas, baba ghanoush and hummus, all of which look and sound incredibly tasty.  There is also a section of bento staples to keep in your pantry and fridge, as well as a detailed description of many typical Japanese ingredients and where you can find them.  Overall, aside from not being spiral bound, this book is just about perfection!

All three books offer something to me – I did not feel I wasted my money on any of them.  I am eager to try recipes and ideas, and see how they go over with my family.  As time permits to put each of these books through their paces, I’ll be doing a more detailed individual review.  Enjoy!

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