Bourbon Chocolate Marshmallows

Grab your mug of hot cocoa! These Bourbon Chocolate Marshmallows are the perfect topper for any of your favorite warm holiday drinks!

  Bourbon Chocolate Marshmallows | Fake Food Free

Growing up, marshmallows were the underdog in a box of mixed chocolates. They ranked just one level above that strange fruity nougat. Marshmallows covered in chocolate weren’t so disappointing to cause one to return a half eaten selection to the box, but they evoked a sigh and thoughts of something more glamorous like a caramel or toffee.

Things changed when homemade marshmallows gained popularity. That’s probably because they are ten times better than any marshmallow I’ve had from a chocolate box or a bag from the store. They are every bit as glamorous as caramel and toffee.

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Holiday Gift Ideas

It has been a year of cool finds around here which leads to a great list of holiday gift ideas! Whether you are buying for a cook, a runner or a traveler, I have a few ideas that will simplify your holiday shopping. 

Holiday Gift Ideas 2014 | Fake Food Free

 

It’s the holiday season and what kind of blogger would I be if I didn’t share a few holiday gift ideas. Fortunately, compiling a list has been easy. I’ve come across so many things this year that fit every hat I manage to wear on a regular basis. If you happen to have a traveler, cookbook lover, runner or food blogger on your list, look no further. I have no doubt they will love these gifts as much as I do. 

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Krakow Christmas Market

Our holiday visit didn’t stop in Vienna. The Krakow Christmas Market in Poland was equally as exciting with one of a kind food experiences!

                                     Krakow Christmas Market | Fake Food Free #travel #christmas #Poland 

As I stand in the town center of Krakow, I wonder why a visit to Poland had not been higher on my travel list. It was always there, but tucked beneath what I thought were more intriguing destinations.

I take my first steps into the market and I see a stand selling pierogi. No surprise there. I am in Poland after all.

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Spiced Honey Nut and Seed Snack Mix

This easy nut and seed snack mix can be made ahead of time for your next party. Serve it during cocktail hour or make it a special addition to the dessert table. 

Spiced Honey Nut and Seed Snack Mix | Fake Food Free  

I had my fair share of store-bought, flavored nuts before I realized just how easy they are to make at home. A little of your favorite sweetener, some butter or coconut oil and a few spices, plus some relatively low maintenance time in the oven, and you have a holiday gift for friends or a party snack. 

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Bosc Pear, Walnut and Gorgonzola Holiday Stuffing

 Add a twist to your holiday stuffing! This recipe takes my favorite combo of pears, walnuts and Gorgonzola and turns them into a delicious version of one of my favorite holiday sides.

Bosc Pear, Walnut and Gorgonzola Holiday Stuffing | Fake Food Free

Friends of ours hosted a Thanksgiving potluck and I was put on the stuffing list. Since mine was stuffing number 2 at the dinner and stuffing number 1 was straight up traditional, I was given free reign to get creative. So I volunteered to bring this.

I made this recipe before…in 2009! 2009?! To be honest with you, I can’t believe I’ve been blogging that long. But there that post sits, with some pretty ugly photos and in need of some revision.

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Spicy Cilantro-Lime Michelada Recipe

Spicy Cilantro-Lime Michelada Recipe | Fake Food Free

Our local Mexican restaurant makes the best Micheladas. In fact, I’d never had a Michelada before my husband convinced me to try one during a meal there less than a year ago. The spicy original flavor is delicious, but they make about eight or ten flavored ones, too. The guava version is darn tasty as well.

I had an easy description of the drink in my head, ready to type, but then a little research showed me that explaining it was going to be more difficult than I had anticipated. That’s because I’ve learned there is a bit of controversy about whether you call this drink a Michelada or a Chelada.

In their book, Beer Cocktails, Howard and Ashley Stelzer say that the Michelada is the drink that contains no tomato juice (just lime, beer, salt and Worcestershire or Maggi seasoning). It’s the Chelada that has the added tomato or Clamato juice. But they also say that there are many others that believe it’s the exact opposite.

Last night we watched the Mexico episode of Parts Unknown and wouldn’t you know it, Anthony Bourdain had a Michelada. From what I could tell, it didn’t look like there was tomato juice added.

But our local restaurant has something different to say about it. The menu states that Micheladas became popular in Mexico in the 1940s when people started mixing beer with hot sauce or salsa, and it must include lime and salt to be a true Michelada.

Since my first experience with a Michelada was with tomato juice, that is what I’m going with here.

A few weeks ago, I was sent a sample of Tecate Light and that is really how I decided that this year’s Cinco de Mayo post would be a Michelada. After tasting it, my husband and I both thought it would be perfect mixed in with the tomato juice, lime and spicy seasonings.

Instead of using a prepared tomato juice, I decided to juice fresh tomatoes for a raw juice and add seasonings. I used a centrifugal juicer to make the juice and I fed through a handful of cilantro with the tomatoes. I spiced it up with hot sauce, garlic powder, black pepper and salt and added plenty of lime juice. The one thing I didn’t have was the Maggi seasoning. That is sometimes substituted with Worcestershire sauce, but I didn’t have that either. If you have either on hand, you can add a splash to make it more authentic.

Spicy Cilantro-Lime Michelada Recipe | Fake Food Free

The combination of the raw tomato juice with the cilantro and Tecate Light made this Michelada light and refreshing with a pleasant, lingering burn from the hot sauce. As tomato season gets into full swing, I have a feeling this may become our go-to summer cocktail. Cheers and ¡Salud!

Spicy Cilantro-Lime Michelada Recipe

Servings: 4

5 small tomatoes (I used Romas)
¼ cup packed cilantro leaves
1 ¾ oz. fresh lime juice
1 oz. hot sauce (I used Cholula)
¾ tsp fine ground sea salt
½ tsp garlic powder
¼ tsp ground black pepper
2, 12 oz. cans light Mexican beer, cold (I used Tecate light)
Ice

To rim the glasses
3 tsp fine ground sea salt
Zest of 1 lime
Large pinch of ground cayenne pepper

Lime wedges

Make the juice by processing the tomatoes and cilantro in a centrifugal juicer. Stir in the lime juice, hot sauce, ¾ teaspoon of sea salt, garlic powder and ground black pepper. Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour. You can also speed this up by popping it in the freezer for about 15 minutes.

On a plate, stir together the 3 teaspoons of salt, lime zest and cayenne. Rub a wedge of lime over the top edge of each serving glass and rim with the spicy lime salt.

Fill each glass half full with ice. Pour 3 ounces of tomato juice into each glass. Top with 4 to 6 ounces of cold beer. Add a lime wedge and serve.

Spicy Cilantro-Lime Michelada Recipe | Fake Food Free
Disclosure: The Tecate Light used in this recipe was sent to me for review purposes. I was not required to post about it and received no compensation for doing so. 

Easy 4 Ingredient Homemade Peanut Butter Cups Recipe

Easy 4 Ingredient Homemade Peanut Butter Cups Recipe | Fake Food Free
When a holiday occurs on the same date every year, I’m usually pretty good at being prepared. But Easter? Easter gets me every time.

 

As seems to be the tradition, it snuck up on me once again. I just hate to miss making something for a day that can be celebrated with chocolate, so I got busy and put together some super simple, 4 ingredient peanut butter cups.

 

A little while back, I was sent these colorful, BPA-free silicone baking cups from The New York Baking Company. These flexible little guys turned out to be a candy cup making dream. They are oven safe up to 475 degrees F as well as freezer, microwave and dishwasher safe. I used them to form and freeze my peanut butter cups and they peeled off so easy for a perfectly ridged edge. They are such a great thing to have around for both baking and candy making.

 

Easy 4 Ingredient Homemade Peanut Butter Cups Recipe | Fake Food Free
I tried to keep these peanut butter cups as simple, clean and unrefined as possible for a better treat. While they only contain four ingredients, I do want to note that natural peanut butters can vary widely in texture. If your jar is brand new, you may have some extra oil to deal with, but if it’s been in the fridge a few days it will likely be firmer. Textures can vary by brand as well.

 

Right now I use the natural crunchy Kirkland brand peanut butter from Costco – just peanuts and sea salt. My peanut butter was thick after being refrigerated. If you are using a just opened jar, you might need to add a little more powdered sugar when making the filling. You want it to be like a thick cookie dough that you can form into a small disk.

 

These cups are large and super rich so one can easily serve two people. But I promise not to judge if you eat the whole thing.

 

Easy 4 Ingredient Homemade Peanut Butter Cups Recipe | Fake Food Free

Easy 4 Ingredient Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

Makes: 8 large peanut butter cups

 

Ingredients:
1 cup dark chocolate chips (I use Ghirardelli® 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips)
2 tsp virgin coconut oil
½ cup crunchy natural peanut butter
2 tbsp powdered sugar (I use Trader Joe’s Organic)

 

Prep:
Place the chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl and add the coconut oil. Microwave on high until melted, about 2 minutes, but be sure to stir it every 30 seconds.

 

Arrange 8 silicone baking cups on a baking sheet. Transfer 1 tablespoon of melted chocolate to each cup. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for 5 minutes.

 

In the bowl of mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add the peanut butter and powdered sugar. Mix on high until combined, about 45 seconds. It should resemble a firm cookie dough that can be shaped by hand.

 

Form the peanut butter into 8 small flat disks. Place a disk in each cup over the bottom layer of chocolate.

 

Pour 1 tablespoon of the remaining chocolate over the peanut butter disks. Go back with any remaining chocolate and fill the cups so that the chocolate covers all of the peanut butter.

 

Gently tap the baking sheet on the countertop to smooth out the surface of the peanut butter cups and release any air bubbles. Freeze for 15 to 20 minutes, or until firm.

 

Peel away the baking cups and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

 

Disclosure: The silicone baking cups mentioned in this post where provided by Rizzi from The New York Baking Company for review purposes. I was not required to write about them and received no compensation for doing so.
Thanks for reading! All images and content are the property of Fake Food Free unless otherwise stated. Please do not republish full recipes and images without written permission. What is okay? Feel free to Pin images, share links to my posts or share the photo in a round up post with the title of this recipe and a link back to the post. Confused about copyright and food blogs? Here is some helpful information on Recipe Attribution. If you want to use a photo or full recipe, just ask. I’m sure we can work something out.

Whole Grain Chocolate Cookie and McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream Sandwiches

This hearty, whole grain chocolate cookie is best served with a delicious ice cream. One of my new favorites is McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream based in Santa Barbara, Calif. 
 
Whole Grain Chocolate Cookie Recipe | Fake Food Free

My first New Year’s Eve in California was spent in Santa Barbara. It was just last year and we were on the fourth day of our five day cross-country move. Knowing that we didn’t want to spend that particular night in a roadside hotel, we drove a few extra miles to the beach.

It was a short trip with two pugs along so we didn’t see much of the city, but since that little taste, I’ve wanted to return. I thought I had plenty of reasons for wanting to go back, but a few days ago I found one more.

This ice cream…

I was introduced to it through the Winter Fancy Food Show that I attended last month. You can order it online, but I fully support using it as an excuse to visit California.

Despite my endeavors to make most of the foods we eat, occasionally you come across something that you simply cannot master as well. You can’t make it any more delicious or natural. This ice cream is that for me.

McConnell’s has been making their ice cream since 1949, but I have yet to come across a company that uses such great ingredients or creates a product that tastes as good as this. I know. It’s ice cream. But the texture and flavor of McConnell’s is truly outstanding.

The ice cream is made from raw milk and cream from California grass-fed cows that is pasteurized and homogenized in-house. It’s then combined with cage-free organic eggs, some pure cane sugar and all kinds of natural, local ingredients like organic fruits and nuts.

I got four varieties to try:

Olive Oil & Salted Almonds – Mild and creamy. Vanilla lovers will enjoy its simplicity.
Milk Chocolate & Raspberry Jam – Smooth chocolate meets fresh raspberry swirl.
Eureka Lemon & Marionberries – It’s like California and the Pacific Northwest came to a party in my mouth.
Oaxacan Chocolate – A flavor so rich and complex (with hints of cinnamon) that you’ll keep taking bites just to analyze it some more.

While I was completely intrigued by the Oaxacan Chocolate, I decided that the Eureka Lemon & Marionberries was my favorite. It was tough to choice!

This ice cream needs nothing more than a spoon, but I thought I would use it in a Valentine’s Day dessert. I tested out a cookie recipe with whole grains, raw cane sugar and California butter to complement all the natural ingredients in the ice cream. The goal was a mildly flavored cookie that’s sweetness or flavor wouldn’t overpower the ice cream. These were perfect.

Whole Grain Chocolate Cookie Recipe | Fake Food Free

Whole Grain Chocolate Cookie and McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream Sandwiches

Makes: 6 ice cream sandwiches

½ cup unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup raw sugar
1 large egg
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp cream of tartar
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 ¼ cup white whole wheat flour
½ cup raw sugar for rolling the cookies
1 pint Eureka Lemon & Marionberries McConnell’s Fine Ice Cream (or your favorite flavor)

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed, and increase the speed to medium-high. Beat for about 2 minutes or until well combined.

Reduce the speed to medium and mix in the egg. Mix in the cocoa powder. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.

Mix in the cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Slowly add the flour, a little at a time. Mix just until all ingredients are combined.

Scoop out the dough and roll into generous golf ball size portions. Roll in the raw sugar and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Place only 6 to 9 cookies on each baking sheet. Press the cookies slightly flatten them.

Bake for 12 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned and centers of the cookies are somewhat firm. Cool for 1 minutes and transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Once cooled, allow the ice cream to soften at room temperature for about 5 minutes. Place six of the cookies bottom-side up on a flat surface.

Top with a generous ¼ cup of ice cream. Place the remaining six cookies on top, bottom-side down, to create the sandwich. Gently press the cookies so that ice cream spreads to the edges. Depending on how generous you are with the ice cream. You may have some leftover. I suggest eating it.

Wrap the sandwiches in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.

Whole Grain Chocolate Cookie Recipe | Fake Food Free
 
 
 
 
If you are looking for more ways to use McConnell’s Ice Cream, check out Salty Sweet Life’s Pear, Gorgonzola and Thyme Galette!
 
 

Disclosure:  I received this product for review purposes. I was not required to blog about it and I received no compensation for doing so. All thoughts and content here are my own. It’s really good ice cream!

12 Favorite Recipes for Game Day

 
It’s that time of year again — the time that makes football fans, commercial watchers and puppy lovers happy. And let’s not leave out those of us who can’t get enough of everything food. I think we have the best deal of all – the challenge to come up with the most coveted snacking spread of the year.

In case you are short on ideas, I’ve gone back into the Fake Food Free archives and put together a collection of some great options. Unfortunately, there are no foods shaped like footballs and tiny helmets, but there are plenty ideas for meat eaters and vegetarians who want to keep the focus on real, homemade foods.

Enjoy the game!

(Clicking on the title will take you to the recipe.)