Holiday Goodies

eggnogpancakes.jpgI made eggnog from scratch once for a party, during college. It was positively amazing. It consisted of sugar, brandy, heavy cream, eggs and a pinch of nutmeg. It ought to have been called devil's nog. The stuff was pure evil! But tasty.

Sadly the eggnog you buy at the store is nothing like the eggnog I made. It's not fluffy and boozy, just cloying and thick. Every year I forget this and buy a quart. So this year after my first disappointing cup I decided to cook with it instead of drinking it. For years I've seen recipes for eggnog pancakes. But when I went to make them my printer wasn't working and I was too lazy to write down the ingredients. So I made up my own version. It turned out surprisingly good.

Eggnog is really not much different than a custard. You could use it in all sorts of recipes. You can make milkshakes out of it or use it in french toast, bread pudding, pot de creme, ice cream, and maybe even crepes. If you have a favorite use for leftover eggnog let me know about it.

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diet_plans.jpgJanuary is the traditional month for new diets. I get kind of amused reading this week's Time magazine which chose 3 of the new diet books to review. The first one disallows wine, salt, sugar and artificial sweetener. The second forbids carbonated drinks, coffee, gassy foods including cabbage. The third forbids dairy, white rice, and processed foods. And the last one forbids volume. Eat anything you want but just choose small portions.

Are you beginning to see a pattern here? Why does every new diet start off by telling you what you cannot eat?

People have had problems with excess weight ever since mankind began to grow food. The hunters and gatherers weren't fat. They spent a lot of time just searching for food and were grateful for what they could find. And the game and berries they found also spent time searching for nourishment and water and didn't store fat either.

But that was then. This is now. We are besotted with food, drink, choices, and chance. What on earth can we do?

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fudge.jpgStill looking for the perfect Christmas gift that is easy, inexpensive, and loved by all?

Your problem is solved: give the gift of fudge! That's right. Mix up a few batches, pop them in some festive foil baking cups, and nestle them in decorative tissue paper and tins. Then kick back with a hot chocolate and enjoy your favorite Christmas movies while everybody else kills themselves looking for a parking space at the mall.

No baking is required. None. Zip. It can be made ahead and refrigerated, so it saves you time. Plus, each batch costs only a few dollars and can be made in less than 10 minutes.

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From the Huffington Post

easyappetizers.jpgWith the holidays near -- er, here -- holiday party season is in full swing. We're sure you've already labored over festive meals and decadent desserts to serve to your loved ones when entertaining at home. If you're still hosting, for New Year's Eve, perhaps, you deserve to take a break. Or at least appear to in front of your guests.

These awesome appetizers require almost no moment-of work or attention. Some need to be pulled out of the oven or gently reheated, but other than that, they're purely make-ahead. For the most part, they're easy too, requiring no more than a few hours of work a day or two before.

That means when you throw a finger food party, all you've really got to do is relax, dip your pita into some hummus, and toast to the new year with friends.

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shavuot.jpgIf you peek into the kitchens of most observant Jews you will see a double sink. Don’t ask me how over 2,000 years Jews took “don’t cook a calf in its mother’s milk” and created a set of rules that necessitates at least two sets of dishes, crockpots, and strainers, but there you have it.  Meat and dairy products are kept strictly apart under Jewish dietary law.  To ensure that never the twain shall meet, usually one side of the sink will be dedicated to dairy dishes and the other to utensils used for meat.  And that’s where you can learn a lot about how a family likes to eat. 

One of my closest friends uses both sides for dairy.  She likes meat, but she doesn’t like to cook it.  My grandparents only had one sink.  Let’s just say that once my grandmother proudly waved a single spoon in front of my newly married mother’s face shouting proudly “See!  I do have dairy dishes!” Being ever so balanced, my sink usually has a few dishes stacked in both sides.

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