Friday, September 30, 2011

Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries


Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries

For Valentine’s day, or any other special event, make these elegant romantic strawberries for someone you love.  

I love chocolate combined with fruit flavors, and especially with strawberry. If you're looking for something special to make for someone you care about, try these delicious little morsels. They look like they are totally work intensive and hard to make but, honestly, they are not.  It will only take you around 10-15 minutes from beginning to end and  the finished product is very impressive.                                             


2 ounces semisweet chocolate
1 tablespoon butter
9 large strawberries with caps or stems
1/4 cup cognac or orange juice
2 tablespoons honey                                                                                                   

Line a baking sheet with waxed paper; set aside. Heat the chocolate and butter in the top of a double boiler set over simmering water, stirring, until melted, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Let cool slightly. Holding the strawberries by the cap or stem, dip one at a time into the chocolate mixture, coating halfway. Gently place the berries on the lined baking sheet; let coating set.

Meanwhile, make the dipping sauce. In a small pan, simmer the cognac and honey until reduced slightly, about 5 minutes. Cool briefly, then fold the mixture into the sour cream in a small bowl. When the chocolate is set, arrange the strawberries on a serving plate. (Recipe from Grandma's Kitchen on line)

Tip: Always prepare strawberries within a couple of hours of serving them because she know that if the dipped berries were refrigerated, the coating would "sweat" and become mushy.   

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Friday, September 23, 2011

Blogging challenge

 Yes it's me, writing about blogging on my bed and breakfast/food/recipe/travel blog. I just thought that my blog needed to be infused with new energy and that this challenge would do the trick. I'm not very good at blogging on a regular schedule. In fact, I don't even have a schedule. I just post whenever I feel like it. And, fortunately, I feel like it most of the time. But sometimes, when life gets in the way, I become a little lax and more than a week or so will go by and I'll suddenly realize that I haven't written to my wonderful followers, and anyone else who might drop by, in a while.

So this is the first post of one new one every week for the next hundred days. I can't promise they will always be on the same day, but I'm gonna try to stick to the once a week thing. The challenge was originated by Julie Isaac, an author and content creation coach, who has a blog at: Blog.Writing Spirit.Com/ She has challenged anyone who blogs to commit to a certain number of posts on their blogs each week for a period of 100 days. The challenge begins today.

I know how much many of you like my articles on food and the recipes I include with a lot of my posts, so I think I will rely heavily on that type of post during the challenge. Of course, if something travelwise or B&B wise comes up, I'll be sure to let you know. Please feel feel to drop by and keep an eye on me to see if I'm living up to my commitment....Thanks, Nancy

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Soups, Chowders, and Stews

Every year, as fall approaches, I start thinking about soups, chowders, and stews. I love all three and there are so many possibilities when it comes to making them at home. One of the things I like most about them is that all three freeze really well. And you know what that means...right? You guessed it...easy lunch and dinner solutions. All you have to do is take a carton of whatever out of the freezer, defrost and heat, pop some garlic bread in the oven, make a salad and you're home free.

Another thing about these dishes, you can really get creative. You can take a basic recipe, like Vegetable soup for example, and create something really unique and delicious, something  you and your whole family will really love. And it may be a solution to throwing away those tomatoes or green peppers that have been accumulating in the frig, wilted and not looking so appetizing anymore but still edible. Just throw them in a pot of hot water with some sliced onions, diced potatoes, and carrots and maybe the rest of that chicken from last night's dinner. Throw that in too. Add some thyme, a bay, leaf, salt, pepper, and a couple of swigs of red wine and Voila! You have a tempting Chicken Vegetable soup for dinner...healthy, delicious, and easy to fix. And don't forget to freeze whatever is left over, or save it in the frig for tomorrow's.

There are so many ways to make any of these three dishes your own by adding the ingredients that you and your family love. You can choose your own vegetables; add rice, pasta, or beans; and a variety of herbs, condiments, and/or spices. Boullion is a good idea; it'll heighten the flavor (but leave out the salt if you use it). And don't forget a little wine (any kind) but be careful about sweet wines...probably dry are better. If you feel more comfortable using a recipe, use a basic one and then add your favorites to it. You can float french bread and cheese on top or croutons, of cheese alone, almost any kind will do. Experiment....that's half the fun of it. Try it on Onion or fresh Tomato soup. Grated Cheddar will also work on many stews.

Chowders are really healthy choices but usually are a little more work intensive. One of my very favorite dishes is Corn Chowder. I have to stay away from seafood chowders because of allergies, but I know they are delicious. And Gumbo, which is similar to a chowder, with rice, okra, and tomatoes is wonderful. I'm not a big fan of okra by it's self but, in Gumbo, it's fine.

And then there are Chilis, both red and white. Here are a couple of recipes I posted at an earlier time: Timothy's White Chili and Chili Con Carne Authentique (from Doctor's Inn Bed and Breakfast, Berea KY). Both are fabulous!

Pureed Soups
Broccoli-Cheese Soup
Pumpkin Soup
Butternut Squash,Cheddar, and Apple Soup
Tomato Soup (and puree)

Healthy warming soups and Stews

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