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Margarita Jello Shots in Lime Wedges for Cinco de Mayo

By April 21, 2017 Cocktails, Dinner Party, food, General, Party Ideas, Recipies
tequila jello shots

Whenever there is an occasion that calls for margaritas, I am all in. Cinco de Mayo is an occasion that is worthy of margaritas! With the holiday quickly approaching, I thought it would be fun to plan a party with the girls. May 5th falls on a Friday this year, making it the perfect night for a little get together. I will be serving up plenty of my pretty Margarita Jello Shots in lime wedges. Scroll down for the recipe.

tease me tequila

I found this wonderful hand crafted blanco tequila at my local liquor store in Florida. The name is Tease Me and it features an image of a mermaid on the label. Whenever possible, I like to use ingredients from local vendors. However, you may use whatever tequila you like. Blanco (or silver) is the best tequila for this recipe because it is clear and won’t give your jello shots a funny yellow/brown color that you might get from a gold tequila.

Ingredients
2 Packets of Unflavored Gelatin
1 1/2 Cups of Simply Limeade (or any brand of limeade you prefer)
1/2 Cup of Blanco (silver) Tequila
5 Limes
2 TBL of granulated sugar

Directions
Cut limes in half and scoop out the insides. Sprinkle a little granulated sugar inside each lime. Heat the limeade in a pan over medium heat and stir in the packets of gelatin slowly until they dissolve. Add the limeade and gelatin mixture to a pourable container. Pour in tequila. Stir until combined. Place lime halves into a muffin tin to keep them upright. Pour in the liquid until each half is full and refrigerate for 4 hours or until set. Slice into slices right before serving.

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Baby Kale Salad with Pineapple and Blue Cheese Crumble

By March 5, 2017 blue cheese, Brunch and Bubbly, Dinner Party, food, General, pineapple, Recipies, salad, Sunday morning brunch ideas
pineapple blue cheese crumble salad

Who would have ever thought that blue cheese and pineapple would pair up so nicely? I first discovered this unlikely duo while reading an article some years ago about food pairings. With blue cheese being my favorite of all fromages, this duo inspired me to create my baby kale salad with pineapple, crumbled blue cheese, and shaved celery. I lie to shave the celery because it give the salad a nice hint of celery flavor with out the obviousness of it. It is super easy to make. Read on to learn how.

pineapple blue cheese crumble salad

Ingredients
1/2 Cup Crumbled Blue Cheese
1 16 oz Can Chopped Pineapple (reserve the juice)
1-2 Stalks of Celery
4 Cups Baby Kale
1 Tbl Olive Oil

In a large bowl toss the kale and olive oil. Arrange on serving dishes. With a potato peeler shave the desired amount of celery on each dish. Top with blue cheese and pineapple. Drizzle a little pineapple juice over the top.

Serves 4

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S’more Thanks – Healthy and Decadent Chocolate Recipe Hostess Gift Idea

By February 25, 2017 chocolate, Desserts, Dinner Party, General, Party Ideas, Recipies
home made chocolate recipe

Are you looking for a sweet DIY hostess gift to bring to a dinner party? I have created this fantastic recipe for healthy and decadent chocolates. Best of all this is an easy gift to put together. All you need is twine, a mason jar (found at Micheal’s), the ingredients (found in the recipe below), and the printable recipe card. Crafting a hostess gift from scratch is a wonderful way to make your host feel special. Handmade gifts are more personal, and the fact that they cannot be found in a store makes this a unique and memorable sentiment.

home made chocolate recipe

Once you have everything you need, tie the recipe card to a mason jar which has all of the dry ingredients layered on top of each other. Make a note to “just add wet ingredients” and add the recipe card to it with some twine or a ribbon. If your hostess loves red wine, pair the chocolate with a bottle of Pinot Noir and add it to your gift. Wrap the bottle with a matching “Thank You” wine sleeve (as seen in the image above) to tie the complete look together. You can even make these chocolates ahead of time and bring them for desert. Information on where to download a free “Just Add Wet Ingredients” card and “Thank You” wine sleeve can be found at the end of this article.

This decadent chocolate recipe uses all natural raw organic CACAO Nibs which is a Mayan super food that helps to boost energy and burn fat. No guilt there! In addition to the rich dark coco taste, they are high in antioxidants, magnesium and phenylethalaine. I like them because their texture adds an enjoyable crunch to this recipe.

Ingredients
1/2 cup CACAO Nibs (Found in health food stores)
3/4 cups almonds (or desired nuts)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut
1 tsp cocoa
2 cups grain sweetened non-dairy chocolate chips
1/4 cup hemp milk
Dried cherries or cranberries
30 mini paper cupcake liners

Directions
Pulse the almonds in a food processor. Add CACAO nibs, coconut, and cocoa. Pulse a few more times. Add brown rice syrup and pulse until completely blended, scraping down the sides as necessary.

In a double boiler melt chocolate chips. Add hemp milk and stir until completely mixed. Add about 1 tsp of melted chocolate to mini cupcake liners. Layer with about a tsp or less of almond mixture. Don’t worry if the almond mixture doesn’t spread evenly. No big deal! Then add another layer of melted chocolate until the almond mixture is completely covered. Top with a dried cherry (my favorite) or dried cranberry. Refrigerate for one hour. Then enjoy after a long day with a nice glass of red wine.

Makes 30 Chocolates

home made diy chocolate recipe

If you would like to download the recipe card used in this article it can be found on Etsy at VG Invites or by clicking on this link >> Home Made Chocolate Recipe Card

FREE printable “Just Add Wet Ingredients” card and “Thank You” wine sleeves can be downloaded at www.VGInvites.com or by clicking on this link and scrolling to the bottom of the article. >> S’more Thanks I have repurposed this article from my S’more Thanks Bridesmaid Gift Ideas because I thought that it would make a lovely hostess gift as well.

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The Perfect Wine Pairing with New England Clam Chowder

By February 22, 2017 Cocktails, Dinner Party, Party Ideas, Recipies, wine
white wine pairing with new england clam chowder

Above photo courtesy of Frank “The Bald Guy” Donnino www.mybaldphotographer.com

Have you ever wondered what wines pair well with a hearty bowl of New England clam chowder? As you may already know, I am partial to the reds when it comes to wine. While a nice red will pair perfectly with a Manhattan chowder, it’s best to look to lighter styles of wine to compliment a cream- or broth-based chowder. That is why I consulted with the experts on perfect pairings. Best of all, these wines are in the $15 to $20 range.

Ashley, who is a wine expert at Wegman’s in Massachusetts, has suggested Decoy’s Sauvignon Blanc as her number one choice for this dish. According to the winemaker’s notes “This inviting wine combines bright citrus aromas with richer layers of kiwi and honeysuckle. On the palate, a perfectly balanced mouthfeel underscores pure flavors of Key lime, orange zest and Honeycrisp apple, all of which carry through to a long and lively finish.”

If you feel that a Sauvignon Blanc is a little to light for your taste, perhaps you would like a medium bodied white like a Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Gavi or Riesling, as Charles from wine.com suggests. If you prefer to place your order for wine online, wine.com has a wonderful pairing guide to help you choose the very best wines for your dish. Here is the link >> www.wine.com/v6/aboutwine/pairingfoodwithwine.aspx

Chateau Ste Michelle’s 2014 Chardonnay wine pairing with New England clam chowder

If there is an award winning white wine in my book, it will have to be Chateau Ste Michelle’s 2014 Chardonnay. While I am not one for Chardonnay, the first time I tasted this at a wine tasting with some dear friends on Federal Hill in Rhode Island, I fell in love and bought a whole case. This fresh, soft style of Chardonnay is an appealing, food-friendly white wine. It displays a bright apple and sweet citrus fruit character with subtle spice and oak nuances. It is sure to be a hit at your next dinner party.

If you are looking for a wonderful New England clam chowder recipe, look no further. I love to cook and this is my very favorite recipe that I have cultivated and perfected over the years. To try my chowder recipe CLICK HERE.

Are you throwing a wine lover party or wine tasting? Why not send your guest a paper invitation in the mail. You can order either printed or printable invites if you are short on time. Order yours through Victoria at VG Invites

wine lover party invitation

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Victoria’s Recipe Box: New England Clam Chowder In a Bread Bowl

By February 20, 2017 Dinner Party, food, General, Party Ideas, Recipies
New England Clam Chowder In Bread Bowl

 

Even though I am now officially a Floridian, I still have wicked cravings for New England Clam Chowder, or as we like to call it, chowda. This recipe is one of my very favorites because it is served in a bread bowl. The first time I made my chowder in a bread bowl was for a 4th of July party some years ago. After my friends and family oohed and aahed over the buttery, creamy, and savory dish, they then delighted in eating their chowder-seeped bowls. It was both fun and comical to watch. I miss those days. If you are intimidated by the thought of making bread bowls, don’t be. They are quite easy. I will explain how in my recipe below.

I am making this for my girl’s night in this Thursday. My Floridian girlfriends are sure to love this dish. Some have never even had New England clam chowder before, so it is sure to be a treat. I will be pairing my dish with some wonderful wines all under $20. But first I must consult with Ashley who is a wine expert at Wegman’s back home. So be sure to check back for the perfect wine pairings to compliment my dish. Update! Here is a link see my selection of the perfect wines to go with my New England clam chowder dish. Your guests will agree.

Bread Bowl Ingredients
Frozen Bread Loaf

Directions For Bread Bowl
Thaw the bread loaf. Cut 1 loaf into 4. Let it rise according to package instructions. Arrange on a cookie sheet and bake according to package instructions. Let cool. Cut off the top of each loaf and scoop out the center to make it into a bowl. Set aside.

Chowder Ingredients
4 slices of bacon, diced
1 stick of butter
1 onion, chopped
1-2 tbl of flour
1 10 oz can of Chicken of the Sea whole baby clams, drained and juice set aside
1/2 cup water
1 chicken bouillon cube (Knore is my favorite)
2-3 russet potatoes, cubed (I like to keep the skin on)
sprig of rosemary, chopped
sprig of thyme, chopped
3 cups of half-and-half, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
ground black pepper to taste

Chowder Directions
Cook bacon and set aside.

In a large stock pot over medium-low heat melt butter. Add onions and cook until slightly translucent. Sprinkle in flour and stir creating a roué. Slowly stir in clam juice from canned clams, water, and bouillon. Add potatoes, rosemary, and thyme. Cover and bring to a simmer. Lower heat and simmer until potatoes are tender. Approximately 10 minutes. With a fork, break apart the potatoes. Slowly stir in half and half and clams. Cook until chowder is heated through. Be sure that you don’t bring it to a boil because you don’t want the half and half to curdle.

Ladle chowder into bread bowls, top with bacon and a sprig of rosemary or thyme for a garnish. Serves 4.

What wines would you pair with this dish? Leave your comments below. The Do Tell A Belle audience would love to hear them.

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Victoria’s Recipe Box – Nutty Lemon Lime Rumba Cocktail

By February 20, 2017 Cocktails, Dinner Party, General, Party Ideas
Captain Morgans Rum Cocktail Nutty Lemon Lime Rumba

 

If you’re looking for a refreshing cocktail for your weekend party, this Nutty Lemon Lime Rumba is one to try. Inspired by my dear friend Leslie, you will love how the lemon and lime aids compliment the coconut flavor of the coconut rum perfectly.

I like this spiked lemon/limeade cocktail because it uses fresh citrus fruits, which is a great alternative to the sugary sour mix. If you don’t want to squeeze lemons and limes to make the simple syrup recipe, a quick and easy route is to combine equal parts lemon and lime-ade. It saves time for when you are in a crunch.

Ingredients
5 lemons
5 limes
5 1/4 cups water
simple syrup to taste
Captain Morgan’s Parrot Bay Coconut Rum

Juice the lemons and limes. In a small saucepan combine the sugar and 1 1/4 cups of water. Heat and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved into a simple syrup. In a large pitcher combine juiced lemons and limes, simple syrup, and remaining water. Chill the lemon lime aid for about 45 minutes (or longer).

Place ice, 1 1/2 oz of coconut rum and 2 1/2 oz of lemon lime aid in a Boston Shaker. Shake and strain into a serving glass with ice. Garnish with fruit and serv.

download rum cocktail recipe

Are you having friends over for a night of cocktails? Perhaps you would like to send them home with this fun cocktail recipe card. It is easy to download and print on cardstock. >> DOWNLOAD YOURS HERE

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Cheesecake Filled Strawberries

By February 16, 2017 breakfast, Brunch and Bubbly, Desserts, Dinner Party, food, General, Recipies

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The other day I made my Pineapple Coconut Carrot Naked Cake and I had some left over cream cheese frosting. If you have found yourself in the same predicament, then you will love this recipe. It is simple. First cut the tops and tips off your strawberries, scoop out the center, and fill with cream cheese frosting. You will want to sprinkle some graham cracker crust (or cinnamon works nicely as well. I am in love with cinnamon and cream together) over the top to finish it off. Arrange on a platter. I do a little volunteer work at my local art center. I brought these in to share with the group and they absolutely LOVED them! If you are making this recipe from scratch read on for directions on how to make the cream cheese filling.

cheese cake filled strawberries

Ingredients

1 bushel of strawberries
5 graham crackers crushed
1 package of Philadelphia Cream Cheese (or any cream cheese you like) softened.
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Directions

Cut the tops and the tips off of your strawberries so that they won’t topple over when placed on a serving tray. Scoop out their cavities.

Beat cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla extract together in a bowl until smooth. Spoon into a piping bag. Fill the cavities of the cored strawberries with the cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle with crushed graham crackers.

Arrange on a dish. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Bon Appétit!

Have you tried these? What do you think? Share your comments below.

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