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    Saturday, 30 August 2008
    7-Layer Fiesta Party Dip

    If you are lucky enough to bring home any of this from a party as leftovers, fill flour tortillas with the dip and fry them up as burritos. They're wonderful both warm and cold, and taste great for lunch!

    2 (16 oz) cans refried beans (nonfat, if you prefer)
    1/2 cup salsa
    1 (1 oz) package Picante Passion Dip Kit
    16 oz sour cream (lowfat or substitute, if you prefer)
    3-4 cups guacamole
    1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
    1 1/2 cups grated monterey jack cheese (or pepper jack)
    2 roma tomato, chopped
    2 (4 oz) cans of chopped black olives (small cans, about 3/4 to 1 cup)
    1/2 cup chopped green onion

    1.) In a bowl mix together the refried beans, half of the package of Picante Passion, the salsa, and 3 tablespoons of the sour cream.

    2.) Spread the mixture into a large rectangular glass lasagna dish.

    3.) In a separate bowl mix the rest of the sour cream with the remaining Picante Passion.

    4.) Spread the sour cream mixture on top of the refried beans.

    5.) Taking your guacamole, spread it carefully on top of the sour cream mixture.

    6.) Take care not to mix the two together.

    7.) Toss the two types of grated cheese together, then spread them on top of the guacamole.

    8.) Sprinkle with the tomatoes, olives, and green onions. Chill in refrigerator for at least an hour before serving.

    9.) You can make this recipe a day ahead and let it sit in the fridge overnight - let it come to room temperature before serving with round, restaurant-style tortilla chips. (The reason to serve it at room temp is so that when you attempt to dip your chips in they don't break!) Some people like to serve this hot instead of cold: bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes, if you'd like to do that.

    Tailgate Club Sandwich

    Easy to make to bring along to a tailgate party or to eat at home while watching the game. Try adding different meats or vegetables for additional flavors!

    1 loaf unsliced round bread (about 9" diameter)/Hoagie Rolls
    1 cup Ranch dressing
    crumbled bacon
    1 tsp Tomato & Parsley Vinaigrette
    1/3 lb sliced swiss cheese
    3/4 lb sliced cooked roast beef
    1/2 lb sliced cooked turkey
    1 large tomato, sliced

    1. Cut bread in half horizontally; hollow out center of each half, leaving 1/4 inch shell.
    2. Mix 1 cup of Ranch dressing with a handful of crumbled bacon.
    3. Spread 1/3 cup of the Ranch/bacon dressing mix into each shell.
    4. Line bottom of each shell with lettuce.
    5. Into the bottom of each shell layer cheese, roast beef, remaining dressing, turkey and then tomato and sprinkle with Tomato & Parsley Vinaigrette.
    6. Top with lettuce.
    7. Replace top shell.
    8. To serve, cut into wedges.

    Mint Chocolate Layer Bars

    1 jar Triple Chocolate Mint Brownie Mix
    4 eggs
    1/2 cup vegetable/canola oil
    1 tbsp water
    4 cups Confectioner's sugar
    1 tbsp Peppermint Sugar

    1. Beat the jar of brownie mix briefly with 2 eggs and vegetable/canola oil, until just blended.
    2. Press into a 9 x 13 pan, lightly coated with vegetable spray.
    3. Beat together confectioner's sugar, Peppermint Sugar, 2 eggs, and cream cheese.
    4. Spoon over top, spreading mixture evenly to edges.
    5. Bake 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes at 350 degrees, or until top is puffed and as cooked as you like.
    6. Cool and cut into bars.

    Here at Life's Necessities we are a group of people who love to travel, shop, cook and give. Due to our own hectic schedules, we feel a need to ease tension and save time, thus our product line is dedicated to convenience and the simple pleasures of life.

    As always the key to these and any of our products is to SMILE, RELAX AND ENJOY!

    Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 11:02 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Friday, 29 August 2008

    Pairing wines with food is fun, entertaining and downright tasty. Many of my 2007 milestones, memories and seasonal celebrations included great food and wine. Here are some of my favorite picks and pairings from last year.


    January is our favorite time to have a party. The holidays are over, everyone is relaxed and there is no better way to spend a snowy night than with good friends. Chinese New Year is a great seasonal theme and everyone likes Asian food. The higher acidity and tropical fruit notes of Rieslings and Gewurztraminers help offset the heat of this spicy cuisine.

    Picks: Chateau Ste. Michelle Eroica Riesling, Washington State, $18; Fitz-Ritter Gewurztraminer, Germany, $17.

    The comes February, and romance is in the air as we celebrate Valentine's Day. Start with an expensive French Champagne and finish with a port, paired with chocolate of course.

    Picks: Ruinart Blanc de Blancs Champagne, France, $60; Rosenblum Desiree Chocolate Port, California, $21.


    Just a hop or two away, Easter is upon us and the traditional Easter ham. We like to serve either a Chardonnay or a Pinot Gris.

    Picks: Trimbach Pinot Gris "Reserve" Alsace, France, $19; Tapestry Chardonnay McLaren Vale, Australia, $14; Elk Cove Pinot Gris, Oregon, $18.

    With the weather warming, we often serve Rosés. Lighter colored Rosés pair well with fish, salads and soft cheeses, while darker red Rosés can stand up to spicy barbecue and Asian cuisine.

    Picks: Chateau De Trinquevedel of Tavel, France, $16; Cabernet d'Anjou, Loire Valley, France, $9.


    As picnics and barbecues dominate July, we break out the Zinfandels, Syrahs and Shiraz. Their jammy and slightly sweet fruit is the perfect counter to barbecue's bold flavors.

    Picks: Rosenblum "North Coast" Zinfandel, Washington, $12; St. Francis "Old Vine" Zinfandel, California, $15; Cycles Gladiator Central Coast Syrah, California, $12; Mr. Riggs "The Gaffer" Shiraz, Australia, $24.

    The oppressive heat of August calls for Sangria. While a couple of pre-bottled varieties are available, nothing beats the taste of homemade Sangria. Shiraz is recommended for red Sangria, while Muscat, Riesling and Gewí¼rztraminer are all good bases for white Sangria.

    Picks for pre-bottled Sangria: Real Sangria, Spain, $8; de la Costa Sangria, California, $10.


    Autumn brings Oktoberfest. Riesling's low alcohol level and high acidity make it an ideal wine to pair with bratwurst, schnitzels and even sauerbraten.

    Picks: Ress Kabinett Riesling, Germany, $13; Dr. Loosen Riesling, Germany, $32; Studert-Prí¼m Riesling, Germany; $20.

    With our traditional Thanksgiving dinner, I serve the food friendly Pinot Noir

    Picks: A to Z Pinot Noir, Oregon, $18; Jigsaw Pinot Noir, Oregon, $17; Fiddlehead Pinot Noir "Oldsville" Reserve, Oregon, $42.

    Champagne Cocktails are a festive way to usher in the holidays. For a more affordable "champagne" cocktail, use either an Italian Prosecco or Spanish Cava. Just add a little of your favorite fruit juice, sweet liquor or aperitif to the sparkling wine and you have a grand start to your celebration..

    Picks: Zardetto Prosecco, Italy, $12; de Marques Gelida Cava, Spain, $13; Mionetto Prosecco di Valdobbiadene, Italy, $16.

    Bill Garlough is a Level 1 Master Sommelier and an owner of My Chef Catering in Naperville, the winner of the U.S. Chamber's 2007 Small Business of the Year award. For more from Bill's Perfect Pairings check out My Chef. Bill can be reached at

    Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 11:13 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Thursday, 28 August 2008

    What, you ask, is a Turducken....and why would I want or need to do Wine Food Pairing with it? The answer to these questions is not for the faint of heart!

    About 4 years ago I was watching a Thanksgiving cooking show and perked up my ears when I heard something about stuffing your turkey with a duck and then stuffing the duck with a chicken…..hence Turducken. Holy Cow, my new Thanksgiving tradition was born! I really didn’t get all the particulars, but I knew the internet wouldn’t fail me, and it didn’t…….I found several methods and recipes for putting this mouth watering treat on my table. The main focus for preparing this delight is de-boning everything …. everything, that is, except for the turkey drumsticks which gives you a lovely presentation! Well, I can tell you that I had never done this before…. fortunately life has blessed me with an Austrian man in my life that seems to be able to do almost anything….including de-boning various fowl!

    The key to all of the preparation is to start very early in the morning and to begin drinking immediately XanGoSecco’s! This refreshing beverage is champagne with mangosteen juice. YUM! OK, now that you are “fortified” you can begin with all the bone removal mess. In addition, prepare whatever stuffing you choose (and there are many!). We chose bread crumbs, mushrooms, onions, celery with some tasty herbs and then a sprinkling of cooking sherry between the birds. Did I mention that you must continue to sip your XanGoSecco’s lest your courage fail you!

    This procedure really does require at least 2 people to stuff, hold and sprinkle. Our best time is 2 hours and 15 minutes, but we are looking to shave 5 minutes off that for next Thanksgiving by opening two bottles of champagne before we begin the prep.

    Now that the birds are de-boned, stuffed, sprinkled and sewn together….did I forget to mention the sewing part? You MUST remember to have your turkey needle and string ready to stitch those bad boys up or you will really have a mess! Next you pop the whole thing into a 225 degree oven for about 10 to 12 hours….give or take depending on the weight of the turducken.

    While waiting patiently for the “birth” of our meal, friends and neighbors begin to arrive…..Turducken’s serve a lot of people so plan for a full house. My Austrian carved 1” slices and placed them on the platter…the aroma was mouthwatering and the presentation of the layered, marbled bird was second to none.

    We chose a Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon and a Pinot Grigio from Italy to pair with our meal….both were wonderful compliments to the poultry! Once again personal tastes enter in to your choices.

    As I always say, Wine Food Pairing is an adventure and a challenge that you need to meet head on…. so, go forth brandishing your carving knife, be brave and tackle a turducken for your next Thanksgiving dinner! CHEERS!

    Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 10:41 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Tuesday, 26 August 2008

    1/4 cup sugar
    1 tbsp Russian Mulling Spice
    1 sheet puff pastry, defrosted
    1/4 cup Maple Sugar

    1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

    2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Mix the sugar with the Russian Mulling Spice in a small bowl and set aside.

    3. Sprinkle some of the Russian Mulling/sugar mix on your work surface and place the puff pastry in an even, single layer on top.

    4. Brush the pastry lightly with water and sprinkle generously with Russian Mulling/sugar. Flip the pastry over and repeat on the second side.

    5. Cut the pastry into 1/2 to 3/4-inch wide strips. Place them on the prepared baking sheet, twisting the ends of each strip so it looks like a corkscrew.

    6. Bake until they're puffed and golden brown, 20 minutes and set aside to cool completely.

    7. Mix Maple Sugar with 1/3 cup of Cool Whip to make a delicious dip.

    Sweet and Hot Mustard Dip

    Serve with pretzels, chicken fingers or sausage at a party, or give jars as gifts!

    1 1/2 cups honey
    1 cup Rosemary, Hot Pepper & Garlic Vinegar
    3 eggs
    2 (1 3/4 oz) containers ground mustard
    1/2 tsp salt

    pretzels, cooked chicken tenders or sausage, slices

    1. In a blender, combine the first five ingredients; cover and process until blended.

    2. Pour into a saucepan; cook and stir over low heat until mixture thickens and reaches 160 degrees.

    3. Pour into small jars. Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week. Put fancy labels or decorative ribbon on the jars to let your guest know what ingredients are in it and to give it your own unique touch!

    Here at Life's Necessities we are a group of people who love to travel, shop, cook and give. Due to our own hectic schedules, we feel a need to ease tension and save time, thus our product line is dedicated to convenience and the simple pleasures of life.

    As always the key to these and any of our products is to SMILE, RELAX AND ENJOY!

    Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 10:57 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Monday, 25 August 2008

    The giving of wedding favors is a long established custom. For many years it has been traditional for a small, personalized gift to be given to each of the wedding guests as a token of thanks from the bride and groom. This also serves as a memento of the happy occasion and can be kept as a keepsake by the guests. In the past one of the more usual wedding favors has been a small and elegantly wrapped gift of sugared nuts. More popular these days is to give wine bottle wedding favors.

    Many companies have established an agreement with the bottlers of wines, and sometimes spirits, to purchase individual serving bottles without labels. They can then print their own labels according to the bride and grooms request and provide these wine bottles as wedding favors. The type of wine can be specified by the couple and the labels chosen from a selection and then personalized.

    Although it may sound like a very expensive gift when you bear in mind the number of guests that may be attending the wedding reception, they are actually quite affordable, especially if you would be supplying wine to accompany the meal anyway. If you give wine bottles as wedding favors the guests will have an individual bottle of wine to drink and then will be able to keep the personalized bottle as a keepsake and reminder of the day.

    Most companies will give you a reasonable wine list to choose from. Take into consideration the menu that you will be serving and try to tailor your choice of wine to the meal. You may want to give people a choice of red or white wine or perhaps you will allow two bottles, one of each, per person. If you do decide to give both red and white to each guest it will mean that they can have one with their meal and take a full bottle home with them to keep.

    Companies who produce wine bottle wedding favors will often also supply individual serving bottles of champagne. These make wonderful favors and can be used to toast the happy couple. The sound of a champagne bottle being opened is such a wonderful sound at a wedding; imagine lots of them being opened at the same time!

    The labels for your bottles can be either designed by yourselves or, more often, chosen from a selection of templates and then personalized. As a rule you will have your names and the date of the marriage included and then a choice of other elements. Some will have space to include a photograph so you could use a photograph of your engagement for example. Another idea is to have the groom's family crest printed on the label. Companies that offer this usually offer the service of researching the heraldic crest and arranging the artwork for it. You would be wise to check what the crest looks like before agreeing to this. If you have never seen it before you may not want to wait until the day of the wedding to discover that you do not like your new heraldic emblem! Wine bottles as wedding favors do give tremendous scope when it comes to the labelling. Some people take a more humorous approach and have a comical logo on the bottle. Remember, however, something that you find amusing now may not be so funny in years to come when you look at your keepsakes. Often it is better to stick with a more traditional choice.

    Whichever wine you choose and however you word the label, you can be sure that having wine bottles as wedding favors will be a hit with your guests and will be a romantic keepsake for years to come.

    Gary Pearson is an accomplished niche website developer and author.

    To learn more about wine wedding favors visit Official Fine Wine for current articles and discussions.

    Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 03:22 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Thursday, 14 August 2008

    If you are interested in French cooking or if you are traveling in France, you may find yourself confused by the proliferation of crèmes in French desserts. You will find crème anglaise, crème patissière, crème brulé, crème frangipane, and crème fraiche to name just a few.

    Here's a short list to help you tell those different crèmes apart so so that you will know what you are getting when you order dessert.

    Crème anglaise - This translates literally as English cream. It is made by heating milk, adding it to beaten eggs, and than reheating the whole mixture until it thickens. It is frequently flavored with vanilla although other flavorings are possible. The result is a a fairly liquid dessert cream that is served cold, usually as an accompaniment to other things. A classic use of crème anglaise is in the confection of Ile Flottante (Floating Island) where you'll find islands of meringue floating on crème anglaise.

    Crème Brulé - Arguably the most delicious of all French desserts, crème brulé is a symphony of contrasts. The cold, smooth, sweet crème, which is similar to a custard, sits under a crackling, hot, almost bitter caramelized topping.

    Crème Caramel - The crème portion of this desert is very similar to a crème brulé. Here, however, the caramel is cold and liquid. If the caramel is on top of the custard, it is also known as a crème renversée.

    Crème Patissière - This translates as pastry cream. You will find it used in all sorts of fashions in French desserts: as a layer in a cake, on the bottom of a fruit tart, or as the filling in puff pastry. Crème patissière is made in a fashion similar to crème anglaise, but flour or corn starch is added to the crème, so the result is considerably stiffer. This is basically what we call custard in English.

    Creme d'Amandes - This is made from butter, powdered almonds, sugar, eggs and flour. It can be flavored with rum. It is used as a filling in various French desserts, notably a Pithiviers, which is a puff pastry pie.

    Crème Frangipane - This is a mixture of crème d'amandes and crème patissière. It is used to fill various cakes and tarts, most famously the Galette des Rois, which is a cake eaten on and around Epiphany in France. Note the distinction between a pithiviers and a galette des rois.

    Crème Fraiche - This is considerably different from the other crèmes I have mentioned, as it is a specific milk product used as an ingredient in many French desserts as well as other French recipes. Crème fraiche is obtained by skimming off the cream that naturally forms on the top of milk. It has a wonderful feel in the mouth and a taste that you might describe as nutty.

    Crème Glacé - You know this as ice cream. The French make the distinction between glace, which is ice cream made from milk, and crème glacé which is ice cream made from cream.

    Ready for dessert? I know I am! You can find simple French dessert recipes on my website if you want to get started.

    Are you interested in learning more about French food and culture? You'll find lots of easy French recipes and fun food facts at I've been living and cooking in France for the past 17 years and would love to share with you my love of simple good food. Don't forget to enjoy your food today. A bientôt!

    Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 11:53 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Wednesday, 13 August 2008
    The most nutritious as well as tasteful recipes can be made from fruits. As we all know fruit cake is an important delicious recipe and liked by all. You know it is also full of nutrition and other valuable vitamins. Take two oranges and peel them off. Make a paste of 6oz of orange peel. Chop 8oz black resins, 8oz of dates and same amount of cherries. Chop 4oz nuts and same amount of pineapple into bite size pieces. Now combine all the nuts, dates, resins, cherries and pineapple in a bowl. Make a good combination and add one fourth cup of flour over the mixture. Beat three tablespoon of sugar and five eggs and add half cup of honey. Mix in a bowl 6oz of orange peel with half teaspoon of cloves and half teaspoon of nutmeg, then add one and three cups of flour into it and mix it well by pouring the orange juice alternately. Into this smooth paste add the fruit slices and mix it well again. Now bake the mixture in a oven at 275 degree for about four hours. If you have a liking for cold desert then try to make mixed berry popcidle which will give a different taste from your regular pudding or ice cream. What you have to do is to mix three cup berries with one third cup of apple juice and three tablespoon of honey. Then place this mixture in a food processor and blend smoothly, pour the mixture into molds and insert a stick in the mid of every mold. Freeze it until solid and serve it with some pear sauce.

    The pear sauce is not very difficult to make, in a sauce pan combine two cup cranberries, one apple finely chopped with two ripe pears and one tablespoon grated orange. Now add somewhere around one teaspoon of cinnamon and one cup of orange juice with one cup of raw sugar into it and heat the pan for ten minutes and few minutes more unless the mixture thickens. So now your topping for your desert is also ready.

    If you feel that this cake recipe is time consuming, and then try to make short cut recipes from fruits to add nutrition in your diet. Try to make fruit medley. It is very easy to make, what you have to do is to wash and dry all fruits which are available in your house like for example grapes, pineapple, mango, peach and berries and make them dry. Now add some slices of apple with these fresh cut fruits. Sprinkle little salt, pepper and lemon juice and taste the raw highly nutritious fruit medley.

    Jennifer is an expert Internet marketing professional with years of experience in various industries such as: Business, Food, Recipes, True Fruit, Web-Design, Health & Medicine and many more.

    Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 10:46 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Friday, 08 August 2008
    Do you bring out your crockpot and put it back to work when falls arrives? I find that many people don't even think about using their crock pot during the summer. That is a mystery to me.

    Crockpots can make summer foods or the accompaniments to a grilled meal even easier. If you are going to grill chicken, why not make a pot of red beans and rice as a side dish? How about crockpot roasted summer vegetables or a big batch of taco or burrito filling? Taco meat is great for a summer salad. You can plan ahead and freeze leftovers.

    Forget the grocery store rotisserie chicken. Put a whole chicken in the crockpot with a few seasonings before you leave for work in the morning and come home to a healthier, tastier version of the store cooked chicken.

    An outdoor picnic with pulled pork sandwiches and coleslaw is standard fare for summer. Or maybe, a french dip sandwich with peppers? The crockpot is perfect for cooking meat in seasonings to that tender fall apart stage.

    And why not soup in the summer? Sometimes, I want a less filling meal. A crockpot of a broth based veggie soup with a crusty bread is an excellent light meal for the summer time. It is also a great way to use the wonderful fresh summer veggies.

    Do you ever go to an Italian restaurant and order spaghetti or lasagna even in the summer? Why not put the ingredients in the crockpot and dinner can be ready when you get home from work.

    B-B-Q beans to go with the ribs - yummy out of the crockpot and you haven't stood over a hot stove for hours stirring and watching. That crockpot will also keep them at serving temp and can be plugged in outside (use proper electrical outlets please!).

    One more consideration - your crockpot doesn't heat up the house. It saves you time and reduces your energy costs. It costs about 2 - 3 cents an hour to use your crockpot. It costs 50 - 60 cents an hour to use your oven. Even if your crockpot cooks for 8 hours that is considerably less than one hour in the oven.

    There are so many resources for excellent crockpot recipes suitable for summer. So pull your crockpot out of the back of the cupboard and bring it back into your kitchen for tasty summer meals.

    Judy Ferril is a freelance writer in Minneapolis. Are you a stranger in your own kitchen? Do you think eating healthy means no fun or flavor in your meals? Judy is the self-trained executive chef for the Ferril family and loves to share her passion for cooking and healthy foods with others. Join Judy Ferril at Baking With Lemons. What does baking and lemons have to do with fun, flavor, and health? Come see, stretch your imagination and enjoy new tastes and flavors at Baking with Lemons and Local Food Connections for fun and healthy local food options. Judy Ferril

    Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 11:28 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Thursday, 07 August 2008
    My niece is expecting a baby. Our family is extremely excited. This is the first baby to be added to our family in a long time. You can guess my delight when she asked if I would host her baby shower. I quickly and enthusiastically began the preparations for this event: guest list, invitations, decorations, appropriate party games. However, when I thought about what refreshments to serve, I was stumped. Tired of the ordinary (and boring) cake and ice cream, I decided to serve something quite different...cheesecake.

    We love cheesecake. Its smooth flavor is satisfying for our sweet cravings as well as filling our desire for desert. It is a rich, creamy combination of teasingly refreshing goodness, and it is tastefully distinct. I am sure cheesecake will make a delightful refreshment choice for our niece and her baby shower guests.

    Cheesecake is very, very easy to serve. Simply slice into any shape and portion size and scoop onto the plate. It can be eaten with either a fork or spoon. My favorite utensil to use when eating cheesecake is a "spork" know...the spoon/fork combination. It is not messy, nor does it have many crumbs, so clean-up is a breeze. Cheesecake can be kept frozen until the time it is desired or it can be stored in the refrigerator for several days ahead of time; thus eliminating last-minute preparations.

    Cheesecake, itself, comes in a variety of flavors. Chocolate cheesecake is a deliciously rich treat that fulfills both sweet and chocolate cravings. Key lime cheesecake gives a tart, tropical flair and is very enjoyable, as well. My favorite, though, is turtle cheesecake. The luscious combination of caramel and chocolate topped with nuts is a divine cheesecake taste sensation. It is memorable as well as satisfying.

    Cheesecake is certainly the best choice to serve at our baby shower. Our guests, as well as the proud mother-to-be, will be delighted by this refreshment choice. I'm sure it will meet all of their expectations and their taste needs. Cheesecake...a delightful refreshment choice for all baby showers and, actually, any occasion.

    The author is a writer, who loves parties. She often serves sugar free cheesecake. She is also a proud aunt.

    Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 11:36 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Wednesday, 06 August 2008
    The whir of the beater grinds the metal bowl. My mom dumps in two boxes of Betty Crocker white cake mix. It is my birthday. Crack, one egg, two eggs-thirty three years. She has made the same cake every one of them. Betty Crocker white cake mix, oil, and eggs. The beater grinds.

    With precision, up swoops the Kitchen Aid. A quick twist and the silver bowl springs into action. A floured sheet cake pan awaits the gooey concoction; I await the drippy bowl. My mom pours and shakes the pan to even the batter. She spreads the top with a spatula; with an index finger I swipe Betty Crocker to my lips. The joy of adding another year is in the mix.

    Rattle. The metal on metal of the pan as it hits the oven rack in a preheated 350-degree oven. The midday sun shines through the kitchen. I await the cutting of the top and my afternoon birthday snack-hot cake and freshly mixed icing.

    Nothing fancy around our house. Crisco and box frosting- mom says that Crisco is the secret; butter is a little too strong. Pour the powder into a Pyrex bowl. Stir with a spatula. The warmth of the cake fills the kitchen. Only fifteen minutes left.

    Timing is everything; let the frosting set. Get four bowls down. One for yellow, one for red, one for blue, and one for green; it isn't a Birthday cake if it isn't nice and colorful. This year will be a big locomotive; Andy loves his trains.

    The aroma is unbearable as the buzzer goes off. Two oven-mits from the drawer and out it comes, onto the tile. I pour a glass of milk and the top is carved as promised. I politely borrow from the vat of white frosting with a knife. Ah, birthdays, you are never too old.
    Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 11:01 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Tuesday, 05 August 2008
    The best ever Cupcakes made by you. What's so hot right now?........CUPCAKES!!!

    Are you CUPCAKE Crazy like me? Ever wanted to make the best ever Cupcakes?

    Like the ones you see in Specialty Shops or at Markets? Be the envy of all your friends?

    Well now you can with these tried and tested recipes!

    Cupcakes should taste delicious, look irresistible and smell divine. At first glance a cupcake should make you excited, your mouth should water from sight alone, textures and tastes complete the cupcake experience.

    I have been baking Cupcakes, Cakes and sweets for years, and people have always asked me how come my Cupcakes taste so good and how I get them to look so special, so I thought why not make the recipes available to everyone.

    Many Cupcakes are too buttery or too dry, NOT these, they are moist, soft, fluffy, sweet...divine actually. So take a look and see for yourself.

    Do you go crazy over Cupcakes that can cost as much as $90 for a dozen here in Australia?

    Why not make your own?

    With a little effort and with big rewards earned, Cupcakes are very high-end, fashionable party treats, edible stylish and beautiful, a boutique desert that transports you back to warm childhood memories.

    Want to make your own Wedding Cupcakes/Birthday/Special Occasion? I suggest you have a couple practice runs ahead of time so you are very confidant and don't make any mistakes

    How often do you see Cupcakes as the CAKE of the day/event these days? They are everywhere, they are so "Hot" so "IN" right now.

    I often crave them as comfort food, so let's eat Cupcakes! Let's go Cupcake Crazy

    Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 11:16 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
    Monday, 04 August 2008
    I am eagerly anticipating the arrival of summer, especially after such a cold, dreary winter. Summertime is a wonderful time to get together with my family and friends. I am looking forward to hosting barbecues and pool parties for my friends, as well as going on family picnics. Believe me, all of these activities involve food. I can't think of a better summertime treat than cheesecake.

    I love hosting backyard barbecues in the warm summer months. My friends bring a variety of "dishes to share" and I supply the meat and dessert. Cheesecake is my dessert of choice and it is always the highlight of the meal. Of the different cheesecake varieties from which to choose, I usually opt for Key Lime cheesecake because its tangy, tart flavor enhances the flavor of the usual barbecue fare. Because it's not too heavy, it seems to be the perfect choice for a summertime dessert.

    I thoroughly enjoy having my friends over to swim in my backyard swimming pool on a hot summer day. We splash and frolick just like little kids. Swimming in the cool, refreshing water is a great way to work up an appetite. There is no better refreshment to serve my friends than a glass of freshly brewed iced tea and a slice of New York style cheesecake, topped with juicy strawberries. The rich, bold flavor of the cheesecake combined with the sweet berries is a filling taste sensation that satisfies everyone's hunger. There is no other summertime treat as refreshing and delicious!

    Going on picnics with my family is a much anticipated activity during the summer months. Enjoying a picnic basket of delicious food in the open, fresh air and appreciating the beautiful, sunny weather with my loved ones is truly an unforgettable experience. This time of fellowship ends deliciously with a decadent dessert of rich, creamy chocolate cheesecake; my family's favorite flavor. It can be transported to the picnic location easily, serves well, and is a wonderful dessert choice which compliments the other picnic foods. Chocolate cheesecake is a treat that can't be beat.

    Cheesecake is a versatile refreshment of choice for all of your summertime activities. It is easy to eat and serve as it does not melt or drip. Its flavor can compliment a meal and enhance it. It can be a healthy, light snack or a decadent, heavy dessert. No matter what your summer activity is, cheesecake is definitely a delicious summertime treat.
    Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 11:49 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
    Friday, 01 August 2008

    One of the most popular types of pizza in the United States and Canada as well as in other parts of the world is Chicago style pizza. Through the years more and more people have taken to ordering and enjoying Chicago style pizza.

    Chicago styles pizza is distinguished by a number of different factors. For example, Chicago style pizza is a particularly deep dish style of pie. In this regard, Chicago style pizza contains a base or a crust that is formed up the sides of a deep dish pan. (It is cooked in a pan and not directly on the bricks or other baking surface.)

    Another of the unique features of Chicago style pizza rests in the fact that this type of pizza actually reverses the order of the ingredients. When it comes to the more common combination and ordering of toppings on Chicago style pizza, the base or crust (obviously) remains on the bottom. However, from there the cheese is placed on the base or crust. This is followed by "filling" or toppings. (There can be a variety of other toppings used on a Chicago style pizza to taste.)

    The sauce (which normally is spread directly on the base or crust) ends up being placed on top of everything else that is placed the Chicago style pizza.

    There is another version of the Chicago style pizza this sometimes is referred to as a stuffed pizza. This variation of the Chicago style pizza utilizes two layers of crust, with sauce and toppings or filling on both.

    There are a variety of variations on the deep dish pizza theme in this day and age. Generally, it is agreed that the invention of the deep dish pizza occurred in the United States. With that said, the deep dish pizzas that are seen in different locations today actually transcend a single ethnic group.

    Most pizza historians attribute the actual invention of the first deep dish pizza to Ike Sewell and Ric Riccardo. It is believed that the first deep dish pizza was served at the Pizzeria Uno bistro in 1943. This iconic pizzaria is still in operation today.

    When all is said and done, there are many different types of pizzas available today. Moreover, people who consider themselves connoisseurs of pizza believe that the development of new versions of the pizza pie hardly is at an end. Indeed, with each passing year, there seems to be new, tasty additions to the more universal family of pizzas. In the end, it seems that the types of pizzas that will be seen in the future is only confined by the imagination of people the world over.

    Ray Freeman is the author of "How To Start A Restaurant Business Following A Profitable System". If you would like to learn more about Chicago style pizza and similar topics, please visit:

    Posted by: Gourmet Grocery Online AT 05:22 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email


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