All posts filed under: wine

new years eve appetizer and dessert ideas

Although there are many parties or events happening around the world, in my opinion, there is nothing more rewarding than celebrating New Year’s Eve with loved ones and  close friends, gathered in someone’s home. What I also like is when everyone is asked to bring a dish for the pot luck style dining. I think this is the only night I find myself munching into the wee hours of the morning (providing I am able to stay up that late anymore). So for this joyous occasion or celebration, I have included some quick appetizer and dessert ideas to consider, just in case you are either hosting a party or are invited to one where you are asked to bring a dish. Above photo: Antipasto sausage skewers, click here for the recipe Above: S’mores.  Recipe:  Graham crackers, chocolate piece, marshmellow and sprinkled with toasted coconut Above: Cupcakes in Fancy cups: Dark Chocolate cupcakes are recommended, white icing and silver or gold hard candy drizzled on top. Above: Various cheese and crackers  and dried fruits displayed on …

healthy holiday appetizers

While hosting a party at your home for the holidays, it is always best to include some items you have prepared yourself, unless of course the entire set up is catered, then it’s not an issue. Guests love circling a buffet table, while trying to figure out what each dish is made of or made by.  So, in light of playing host, I have included two appetizers which I found here, that I think are fun to make and will surely be a hit at  your gourmet buffet table set up during this holiday season. 1. BRIE TOASTS WITH SPICED SUNDRIED TOMATO COMPOTE pictured below – click here for the recipe 2. LE GRUYÈRE CHEESE PLATE WITH FIGS Pictured below – click here for the recipe

survival guide for holiday eating

Yes, this article is necessary and in my opinion very timely.  I actually considered raising this red flag Monday before Thanksgiving, but I figured since the traditional Thanksgiving meal consisted of mostly healthy eats, I let myself and my readers slide. Ladies and some gents, take note this holiday season when it comes to (over) eating, especially when over 40.  There is no excuse in my opinion to binge eating during the holiday season and it really doesn’t matter how pretty that five layer chocolate cake looks. Keep in mind, plans to diet after the holidays is a myth and losing the 5 – 7 extra pounds, you put on every holiday season, is almost impossible when you are over 40. Even those who are conscious and consider themselves most savy when it comes to food and nutrition, often tend to slip during the holiday season.  So, for the sake of a friendly reminder, consider the following: 1. The key to surviving temptation is self-control and discipline. 2. While at a holiday gathering or dinner …

healthy thanksgiving recipes – pumpkin pie

I must admit, I am not a fan of pumpkin pie. I prefer more of a fruit based tart if I am forced to eat a pie like dessert. I say give me fresh fruit any day. But just for traditional sake, I always bake a pumpkin pie for my guests. In light of trying to stay healthy and watching my family’s calorie intake, I, once again, have opted for the following recipe which I found here. pumpkin coconut tart INGREDIENTS CRUST 1 1/4 cups white whole-wheat flour, (see Ingredient Note) 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted (see Tip) 1 tablespoon sugar 1/2 teaspoon salt 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces 4 tablespoons cold reduced-fat cream cheese, (Neufchâtel) FILLING 1 1/2 cups canned unseasoned pumpkin puree 3/4 cup sugar 2 tablespoons dark rum 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves 3 large eggs 1 cup “lite” coconut milk GARNISH 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut chips, (see Ingredient Note) or flaked coconut, toasted (optional) PREPARATION Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 11-inch …

healthy thanksgiving recipes – stuffing

Not a shocker to anyone in the U.S. trying to make it through the holidays without over eating or avoiding eating things that are not good for you. Although if you think about it, the Thanksgiving meal in itself is pretty healthy, based on today’s healthy eating standards.  But just in case you are thinking about how to add more to the healthy Turkey, Cranberry, sweet potato or green beans dishes, I have included a recipe for  stuffing which  I have found  here, that I plan to incorporate to my menu this year. Pear, prosciutto and Hazelnut stuffing INGREDIENTS 3 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided 4 ounces prosciutto, thinly sliced, cut into ribbons 2 cups onion, chopped 2 cups diced fennel bulb 1/4 cup minced shallot 2 teaspoons minced fresh sage 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary 8 cups stale baguette, preferably multi-grain (not sourdough), cut into 1/2-inch cubes 2 Bosc pears, ripe but firm, chopped 1/3 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley 1/3 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted 1 14-ounce can reduced-sodium chicken …

montreal canada restaurants and cafes

Although, (my favorite cuisine), middle eastern and Armenian restaurants and delis are top-notch throughout suburbia Montreal, and most definitely beat the quality served in the greater Los Angeles area, I am always in search of the best of the best international cuisines most anywhere I travel. Of course, searching for international restaurants throughout the city of Montreal is not difficult at all. Every corner and street has multiple cuisines to choose from.  This brings up another reason to visit Montreal. If you consider yourself a  gastronome guru, then the choices are endless while in Montreal. Here are some of my favorites and most recommended, outside the middle eastern and Armenian cuisine.  

experiencing france through montreal canada

Outside of Paris, my second favorite place to visit in order to get my dose of French essence is Montreal, Canada. Although most of my visits there revolve around   family, I manage to sneak in a day to escape the norm and traditions just to reconnect with the city, in my own way. It isn’t difficult to feel as though you are in parts of France, while in Montreal, because every where you turn there is a reminder of the French culture. Whether in street signs or billboard advertisement, architecture and cobble stoned streets,  restaurants and cafes, bookstores and more, the make up of the city exudes a more Parisian feel than most any other place around the globe which is influenced (previously colonized) by French culture. One of my favorite times of the year to visit the city is in the Fall.  According to family, Montreal seldom sees sun and is often times more cloudy and rainy than the locals prefer. Plus the humidity in the Summer months is most unbearable outside air-conditioned …

french women manifesto – who knew

I know, I know you are probably getting sick of my French this and that, but if you are then please turn the page, otherwise sit tight and share with me cause there is plenty to write about. According to the book French Women Don’t Get Fat (website) there is a manifesto to follow. I actually laughed when I read the list because most of the items listed are a clear description of what I stand for and believe in. So I suppose I am truly French at heart. 🙂 . So here are some of my favorites French women eat for pleasure. French women eat with all five senses, allowing less to seem like more. French women enjoy going to market. French women do enjoy wine regularly, but with meals and only a glass (or maybe two). French women eschew extreme temperatures in what they consume, and enjoy fruits and vegetables bursting with flavor at room temperature, at which they prefer their water, too. French women get a kick from Champagne, as an aperitif …

chef at heart and gastronomy

I love food and admire anyone who is able to cook, and  although I consider myself a pretty good cook, I prefer watching others do it more.  With that said, one of my favorite French word  gastronomie (gastronomy: the art and science of good eating) is probably what I live by.  I do not like to rush through a meal and will spend a good amount of time making sure what I put together and where I eat satisfy my artistic pallete. I must admit, I have had the great pleasure of tasting some of the best cuisines around the globe and of course have followed some great chefs on television throughout my life. First my mother and aunts, then in the old and golden days I watched Julia Childs and Jacques Pepin on television, then thought Betty Crocker was the most amazing, and admired  Mrs. Fields Cookies founder (Debbie Fields) and loved  (still do) See’s Candies Chocolatier. But in the last decade or so gourmet cooking became the in thing to do and thanks to …