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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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Sunday Brunch! Banana Muffins

By April 21, 2017 breakfast, Brunch and Bubbly, food, General, Recipies, Sunday morning brunch ideas

The smell of fresh baked banana bread is reminiscent of my childhood days. My mom would make several loaves. The riper the bananas, the sweeter the taste. And there is nothing like the taste of melted butter slathered on a warm slice. Keep scrolling for my spin on mom’s traditional banana bread recipe. Hint, I made them into muffins and sprinkled shredded coconut on them. Kick it up a notch and marinate chopped pineapple in spiced rum. Pour the marinade over the muffins just before serving.

banana bread muffins recipe

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large bananas, mashed
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup sliced almonds
2 Tbl shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups spiced rum (alternative)
1 can chopped pineapple (alternative)

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat muffin pan with non-stick spray. Sift together the four, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Combine bananas, sugar, egg, and melted butter in a large bowl. Stir in almonds. Fold in flour mixture. Add almonds and mix until smooth. Scoop into muffin pan. Top with granulated sugar and shredded coconut.

Bake: Mini Muffins for 10 – 15 min. Lare Muffins for 25 – 30 minutes.

Alternative
The banana muffins soaked in the pineapple rum marinate is something like a rum cake. It makes a wonderful dish for Sunday brunch. Simply marinate the pineapple in rum for at least 1 hour. Plate your muffins. Pour the rum and pineapple marinade over the muffins just before serving.

These are so good. I find it hard to resist eating more than just one muffin.

Invitation Design Update: I am now winding down from Easter and gearing up for summer and all of the fun festivities associated with the season. I know that summer is still a couple of months away. However, I couldn’t resist sharing with you my latest designs for editable text family reunion invitations. Be sure to check in often to see my latest designs.

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Instant download editable text red checkered family reunion invite $9

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Sunday Morning Brunch: Artichoke, Ricotta and Italian Sausage Frittata

By March 5, 2017 breakfast, Brunch and Bubbly, food, frittata, General, Recipies, Sunday morning brunch ideas
frittata artichoke italian sausage ricotta

Ever since I started writing my Sunday Morning Brunch installment I have had so much fun rounding up ideas for recipes to share with you all. Today’s recipe for an Artichoke, Ricotta and Italian Sausage Frittata is one that I developed over this past week.

frittata artichoke italian sausage ricotta salad

I love frittatas because they are easy to cook and versatile. You can customize your ingredients to include anything you like. I chose the ingredients for my frittata because I love how the flavors meld together to create a savory dish that you can have for breakfast, brunch or dinner. Just because frittatas are easy to cook does not mean that you should whip some eggs and ingredients together and hope for the best. The secret to a good frittata is the addition of dairy. They are best if you don’t skimp on the fat. So instead of skim milk, use cream. Or if you prefer to use yogurt for a more healthier option, go for the full fat version. Anything less will result in a spongy, lack luster frittata. And we don’t want that do we?

I have added some dollops of ricotta cheese and topped it off with some asiago cheese. The nuttiness of the asiago and the creaminess of the ricotta add a bit of specialness to this frittata.

Frittata’s are perfect if you are having a crowd for brunch. If it is just an intimate brunch, the leftovers keep well for dinner later on or to bring to work for lunch tomorrow. Keep scrolling to see my complete recipe.

Ingredients
1 tbl olive oil
6 eggs
1/4 Cup of Heavy Cream
Pinch of Sea Salt and Pepper
2 Italian Sausages
1/2 14 oz. Can of Quartered Artichoke Hearts
1/4 cup of Ricotta Cheese
1/4 Cup Grated Asiago or Parmesan Cheese
Sprinkle of Fresh Thyme

Directions
Preheat over to 350 degrees.

Grease a cast iron pan (or red copper pan…see my review) with olive oil and set aside for baking your frittata.

Cut Italian sausages into bit size pieces and sauté on the stovetop until cooked through. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl whisk together eggs until the yolks and whites are combined. Be careful not to whisk too much or your frittata will fall flat upon cooling. Stir in sea salt, pepper, yogurt, artichoke hearts and sausage. Pour mixture into greased pan. Add dollops of ricotta spaced evenly apart. Cook in the oven for 20-30 minutes. After 15 minutes check your frittata to make sure that it does not over cook. At this time sprinkle on some grated parmesan cheese and fresh thyme. Return to the oven and cook for the remaining 5-15 minutes. You want to be careful not to overcook your frittata. If it is browned, then it is overcooked and the consistency will be spongy.

Are you serving your frittata for brunch? Why not serve with a side salad like my blue cheese crumble and pineapple over a bed of baby kale with shaved celery hearts. I know what you are thinking. Pineapple and blue cheese? You wouldn’t think that pineapples and blue cheese would go together. However, they are actually a perfect pair. Go figure? Here is a link to learn how to make this salad. Blue Cheese Crumble and Pineapple Salad.

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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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Sunday Morning Brunch: Cranberry Lime Mimosa

By February 26, 2017 breakfast, Cocktails, General, mimosa, Party Ideas, Recipies, Sunday morning brunch ideas
brunch ideas, cranberry lime mimosa, mimosa ideas

What is better to serve with my breakfast sliders than my cranberry lime mimosas made with prosecco. If you are not familiar with prosecco, it is an sparkling wine similar to champagne, but is made in Italy. Recently I read an article that drinking prosecco is good for your health. So bottoms up! …in moderation of course.

You might enjoy reading this article for more information on prosecco. 11 Things You Didn’t Know About Prosecco.

mimosa idea, sunday morning brunch idea, mimosa recipe, cranberry lime mimosa

Ingredients Cranberry Lime Mimosa
Prosecco
Cranberry Juice
Sliced Lime

Directions for Cranberry Lime Mimosa
The directions are simple. Pour the bubbly. Splash some cranberry juice. Garnish with a lime. Enjoy!

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Sunday Morning Brunch: Egg, Ham and Cheese Sliders

By February 26, 2017 breakfast, Brunch and Bubbly, food, General, Party Ideas, Recipies, Sunday morning brunch ideas
ham egg and cheese sliders brunch ideas

Today’s Sunday brunch recipe is a fresh spin on your traditional breakfast sandwich. Everyone is sure to love the egg, ham and cheese on a homemade herbed mini roll. It is a flavorful dish that is perfect for mid morning to early afternoon brunches.

ham egg and cheese sliders brunch ideas

Who knew that bread dough was so easy to make? I am an early riser so I whipped mine up this morning. One batch makes about 12-16 rolls. I like to make 6 rolls at a time and set aside the remaining dough to make a pizza during the week. For my easy bread dough recipe >>CLICK HERE

Ingredients For Homemade Rolls
Victoria’s Easy Homemade Bread Dough
1 tsp Fresh Thyme
1 tsp Fresh Rosemary
3 tbl Olive Oil
1 tbl Raw Sunflower Seeds

Directions For Homemade Rolls
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Separate Victoria’s home-made bread dough into small sections. Knead the dough a tiny bit more and let rise for about 10 more minutes.

Meanwhile, combine olive oil, thyme and rosemary in a small dish. Set aside to allow the flavors to infuse a bit. The longer you can marinate the herbs in the olive oil the better the taste. If you have 24 hours, fantastic! If you only have ten minutes, that is fine too. Your rolls will still taste amazing.

Next dry sauté sunflower seeds in a frying pan until they begin to turn a golden brown and the nutty aroma is released. Remove from heat.

Brush each roll with the olive oil mixture and sprinkle with sunflower seeds. Bake at 375 degrees on the middle rack for 12 to 15 minutes or until a golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool.

ham egg and cheese sliders brunch ideas

Slider Fixings Ingredients
6 Eggs
3 Slices Thinly Sliced Ham
2 Slices Baby Swiss Cheese
1/2 Cup Baby Kale
3 Thinly Sliced Red Onion
1 tbl Olive Oil

Slider Fixings Directions
Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a non stick frying pan. Cook eggs over-easy.

Cut the ham and cheese into 2 inch squares. Place 1-2 slices each on your home-made buns. Top with cooked egg, baby kale, and thinly sliced red onion.

You can use whatever ingredients you like for your slider fixings. For this recipe I am partial to the flavors of the herbed rolls combined with the eggs, tavern roasted ham, and baby Swiss cheese topped with baby kale and thinly sliced red onion. This dish goes well served with my cranberry lime mimosas.

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Victoria’s Recipe Box: Easy Bread Dough

By February 26, 2017 food, General, Recipies

home made bread dough recipe

Don’t you just love the smell of freshly baked bread? It reminds me of being a kid and going down to Water Street with my dad on Sunday mornings. The aroma of fresh baked bread from Whitman’s bakery while spending time with my father is a memory that I will cherish forever.

If you are afraid of making your own home-made bread dough, don’t be. This recipe is super simple. I like to use it to make pizza and rolls for my breakfast sliders. I also keep a fresh batch on hand to whip up some flat breads when unexpected guest arrive. Here is my recipe:

Ingredients:
3 cups of all purpose flour
1 tbl dired yeast
2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup warm water
2 tbl melted butter

Directions:
Combine flour, yeast, sugar, and salt in a large glass bowl. Make a well in the center. Add water and butter. Using a wooden spoon, stir the mixture until well combined. Use your hands to knead the dough together. Move the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Brush a large glass bowl with olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl and cover with a damp towel. Set aside in a warm place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until the dough has risen double in size.

Punch down the center of the dough with your fist. Knead for an additional 2 minutes or until the dough is elastic and has returned to its original size.

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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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