Irish Whiskey Salted Caramel Corn

Irish Whiskey Salted Caramel Corn

How’s about a little sweet treat to go with your St. Patrick’s Day eats?  This caramel corn is freakishly easy to make and only takes about 8 minutes to prep!!  With a hint of warm cinnamon in the boozy caramel sauce and a sprinkling of course sea salt, it’s hard to resist this salty-sweet Irishy treat!

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Vegetarian & Vegan Shepherd’s Pie Potato Skins

Shepherd's Pie Potato Skins (Vegan & Vegetarian versions)

St. Patrick’s Day is almost here and every year my husband and I throw a party to celebrate the awesome food, music, and jovial spirit of the Irish!  Some of our favorite musicians (Imelda May, The Tossers, The Pogues, Glen Hansard) will fill the air of our house as we join in merriment with our dear friends.  And of course, one of my favorite parts about it is the food!  I love to come up with variations on Irish dishes and this year I’ve turned the quintessential Irish dish — Shepherd’s Pie — into an appetizer.  I did a vegetarian version (topped with Irish cheddar cheese) and a vegan version (topped with mashed potatoes)…they’re both insanely delicious and will have you tapping your toes to an Irish jig!

Whole-Clementine Poppy Seed Pound Cake with Earl Grey Glaze

Clementine Poppy Seed Pound Cake with Earl Grey Glaze

Little cuties, clementines, mandarin oranges, tangerines…they’re all (nearly) the same thing.  They’re small, sweet, often seedless oranges.  My family eats quite a few when they’re in season – during winter – so I try to use them in a variety of ways, from sweet to savory, sauces to beverages, zest to juice.  For this recipe, I experimented and used the whole fruit.  ALL of it.  No separate zesting, juicing, or dividing segments; you just puree the whole dang thing.  The flavor is incredible!!

Crock Pot Refried Beans

Crock Pot Refried Beans

Lately, I’ve been falling back in love with my crock pot.  I tend to use it in cycles – I go for months without thinking about it and then all of the sudden it becomes a near-permanent fixture on my counter top.  I decided to lug it out recently to get better at using the many pounds of dried beans I have, one of my New Year’s cooking goals.  The wonderful thing I’ve discovered is that there’s no need to pre-soak the beans!

I’ve been cooking different kinds of beans overnight in the crock pot, then leaving them in the garage until I get home from work (it’s been cold enough for that lately!).  When I get home, I use them in soups, salads, or to make veggie burgers.  This recipe came about in a slightly different way…snow days!!  Stuck inside for days, I was craving chips and dip.  I wanted something hearty, warm, easy, healthy, and spicyish.  Refried beans sounded perfect, and would make a dent in the 5 lb. bag of dried pinto beans I’ve got…bulk buying!

Baked Chocolate-Espresso Donuts with Blood Orange Glaze & Candied Blood Oranges

Baked Chocolate-Espresso Donuts with Blood Orange Glaze & Candied Blood Oranges
Valentine’s Day this year falls on a Saturday, so I’m using that to my advantage and treating my sweetheart to a sweet breakfast in bed!  These vegan chocolate-espresso donuts are light and fluffy and covered with a blissfully pink blood orange sugar glaze (no need for food coloring!).  And to make them extra special, they’re topped with candied blood orange slices for an extra kiss of sweet citrus!  Cupid would totally give me a high-five!

Chocolate Chip Coconut Oat Muffins

Chocolate Chip Coconut Oat Muffins

If there was only one muffin recipe I could make for the rest of my life, this would be it!  These are so SO good and filling but not too dense and perfectly moist and sweet but not too sweet and the topping…THE TOPPING, is beyond.  Loaded with heart healthy oats, shredded coconut, and a smattering of chocolate chips, this muffin is substantial.  One will fill you up – it’s like a bowl of oatmeal in delicious muffin form!

Citrusy Kale Salad with Avocado, Chickpeas and Cashews

Citrusy Kale Salad with Avocado, Chickpeas and Cashews

Folks, I need lots of salad these days.  Though I always go into the holiday season with the best intentions of not over-doing the sweets, the drinks, and the fatty carbs, I still consistently manage to wake up in late January wondering why none of my jeans fit.  I usually try to blame it on the dryer – they shrunk! – but I know that’s not the case.  It’s time to face reality and get back on track.  This salad is here to set me straight!

Shredded Carrot Salad with Cilantro and Lime

Shredded Carrot Salad

Happy 2015!  I took a few weeks off of blogging – spent time with family and friends, enjoyed the holidays, read a few cookbooks, relaxed a lot – and now I’m back in the game with this super simple and majorly delicious carrot salad!  I’m tempted to say this is for a New Year’s healthy eating resolution, but it’s not.  It just happens to be a healthy salad that came about from me getting a new vegetable peeler that I’m in love with.  It’s got a super sharp blade, is light and easy to hold and really fun to use…plus it’s very inexpensive!  I did make one resolution this year, though, and that was to give more high fives.  Yeah!

Apple Sage Sparkler + Holiday Cocktail Roundup

Apple Sage Sparkler
It’s time to celebrate!  The holidays are here and New Year’s Eve is next week!  Whaaaat!?!  I can’t believe another year has flown by!  As we say goodbye to 2014 and “Hello” to 2015…let’s celebrate with homemade cocktails!  This Apple Sage Sparkler is simple yet elegant; perfect for a party. Plus, I’ve rounded up 20 other delicious cocktail recipes within 4 categories: herbs, spice, citrus, and punch.  Let’s drink!