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Tuesday
Dec202011

Crayons + Cocktails: Cranberry Cordial

Massachusetts native Sheila Corcoran-Abraham, who is now making a life for her family in the far western 'burbs, has launched a stylish design and lifestyle website called Crayons + Cocktails. Here she shares a recipe for a drink that is about as pretty as it gets. She was inspired to make it by a trip back home.

 Visiting the Cape, I was able to find some local cranberries from P.J. Cranberries as well as a simple cocktail recipe from The Cape Cod Cranberry Growers’ Association to make a perfect (tasting and looking) holiday cocktail. I admit, I did not have the patience (or space in my refrigerator) to let this sit for a month, so to soften the taste a bit, I added some seltzer water and a sprig of mint.

Photos by Sheila Corcoran-Abraham.

Cranberry Cordial

Ingredients:
3 cups fresh cranberries
zest of orange
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1 cinnamon stick
2 cups vodka

Method:
In saucepan over medium heat, combine first five ingredients. Cook stirring occasionally, until sugar melts and berries pop. Reduce heat to low simmer 10 minutes. Cool. Remove cinnamon stick.

Pour into large jar along with vodka. Store in refrigerator one month, stirring or shaking once or twice a week. Strain through sieve before serving.

Note:
A few berries strained from the vodka can be used to garnish pudding or ice cream.

Source:
Massachusetts Cranberry Harvest Festival Recipes 1997 | Lorraine Carr

Monday
Nov212011

Crayons + Cocktails: New England Buck

Boston native Sheila Corcoran-Abraham, who has been writing about her transformation from a city mouse to a country mouse, has launched a stylish design and lifestyle website called Crayons + Cocktails. Here she shares a recipe for a drink I was very lucky to have her make for me: A New England Buck. I'm not being a brown noser when I say it was one of the most flavorful cocktails I've ever enjoyed!

Leading up to the last few days of packing to leave Boston for Chicago, the thought of crossing the Charles River to get over to Cambridge was out of the question. However there was one restaurant that would have been schlep-worthy. Craigie on Main.

Photo by Sheila Corcoran-Abraham.I had heard such raves about this restaurant, mainly the cocktails. I’ve taken a page out of their bartenders handbook by making a Craigie on Main mocktail fave, a New England Buck. Making the simple syrup infused with juniper berries and sage was easy, it looked like Christmas in a bottle, or maybe a taste home in a glass.

Mixmaster Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli was looking for a way to marry warming winter notes with classic New England flavors and combining sage-juniper syrup with apple cider did just that. The adding of ginger beer is to remind us of the winter months in the tropics, and also give a flavor that in and of itself is hot. Give it a try.

New England Buck

  •    4 oz. apple cider
  •    1 oz. sage and juniper syrup (see below)
  •    1 oz. fresh lemon juice
  •    2 dashes orange bitters
  •    Ginger beer
  •    Ice cubes
  •    Tools: shaker, strainer, barspoon
  •    Glass: highball

Combine all ingredients with ice except the ginger beer and shake briefly to integrate ingredients. Strain into an ice-filled glass and top with ginger beer. Stir and serve.

Sage + Juniper Syrup: 

  •    1 cup sugar
  •    1 cup water
  •     5 fresh sage leaves
  •    10 juniper berries

Heat ingredients in a saucepan until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and let sit 10 minutes, then strain into a glass container. Keeps refrigerated for up to a month.

Tuesday
Sep062011

Simple Dessert: No-Cook Ice Cream

One of our regular contributors, Edith Tarter, passed along this recipe for homemade ice cream. The weather has turned cooler recently, but you know we'll likely see the return of ice cream weather soon. (Oh who am I kidding? It's always ice cream weather in my world.) - Tara

Here's a simple recipe for homemade chocolate ice cream that requires no cooking! I use an ice cream maker attachment for myKitchenAid stand mixer that streamlines the process. (I store it in the freezer, so it's ready to use when I am). Readers should note that the recipe calls for WHOLE chocolate milk. I found such at Woodman's and Wal-Mart. (Check labels closely; most chocolate milk is made with lowfat milk.)

Today, I amended the recipe to make Strawberry Ice Cream, substituting plain whole milk and strawberry syrup for the chocolate milk and chocolate syrup. The possibilities for new flavor combinations are endless, given all the flavored sryups in the market today (maple, caramel, mint chocolate, cherry, raspberry, butterscotch, etc.). If your family likes crunch, throw in chocolate chips, nuts, chopped candy bars and such before you transfer to the freezer.

Since there are no eggs in the recipe, this would be great for anyone with egg allergies. My family gives this recipe 10 thumbs up!

NO-COOK ICE CREAM

Ingredients:

1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk

1 (5-ounce) can evaporated milk

2 cups whole chocolate milk (or plain milk if making a different flavor)

2/3 cup chocolate syrup (or other syrup flavor)

1 cup add-ins, (choc chips, chopped candy bar, etc.), optional

Preparation

Whisk all ingredients in a 2-quart pitcher or large bowl until blended. Cover and chill 30 minutes. Pour milk mixture into freezer container of a 1-quart electric ice-cream maker, and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. (Instructions and times will vary.) Stir in the optional add-ins, transfer to an airtight container, and place in freezer. Freeze until firm, about 2 hours.

Source: Southern Living, AUGUST 2004

Wednesday
Mar302011

Simple Breakfast: Honey Nut Granola

We’re changing it up today, featuring a breakfast recipe from one of our regular contributors, Edith Tarter, instead of one of our “Weeknight Dinners.” 

Here's an easy, inexpensive and relatively low-fat granola that is very tasty!  I found the base recipe onAllRecipes.com and modified it, based on reviewers' comments.  I used chopped walnuts in my batch today. Once the granola is cooled, I add in dried cranberries, raisins and even chopped dates and store it in an airtight container.  I hope it lasts a few days before being gobbled up a bowl at a time.  This is a great breakfast cereal, with milk poured over, and works as a crunchy nutty topping to yogurt and ice cream.  Enjoy!

Honey Nut Granola

Ingredients:

•          3 cups old-fashioned cooking oats (not instant!)

•          1/2 cup chopped nuts (your choice)

•          1/4 cup wheat germ

•          1/3 cup honey

•          1/3 cup brown sugar

•          1/4 cup vegetable oil

•          2 tablespoons warm water

•          1/2  teaspoon salt

•          1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

•          1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

1.         Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet.

2.         In a large bowl, combine oats, nuts, and wheat germ.

3.         In a separate bowl, combine honey, brown sugar, vegetable oil, water, salt, and vanilla. Stir well; then pour into the oat mixture, and stir. Spread out on a cookie sheet.

4.         Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven, and cool before serving. 

Wednesday
Feb022011

Simple Recipes: Lentil Soup Keeps New Year's Resolutions Cooking

In place of one of our quick "Weeknight Dinners," today we have a recipe for a delicious lentil soup that is very simple to make but takes a bit of time to come together. It's from one our favorite contributors, Maria Balice. -- Tara

Photo by Emily Barney on Flickr.Eat more healthily. Save money. Cook more meals at home. Check. Check and check.  If these were your New Year’s resolutions, the recipe below for lentil soup fits the bill – it’s cheap, easy to make and exceptionally healthy.  A package of lentils is about a buck, as are most of the other ingredients (besides the olive oil), and the legumes packs a powerful nutrition punch, providing protein, dietary fiber and folate. In fact, southern Italians eat lentil soup at midnight on New Year’s eve because it’s supposed to provide prosperity in the year to come – probably a nod to how economical it is to make the meal. And since one of my resolutions was to write more for Go West Young Mom, this recipe comes at the perfect time.

Ingredients:

1 16 oz. package of dried lentils

1 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes

12 cups of water

3 celery stalks – chopped

2 large carrots – chopped

3 garlic cloves – crushed

2 bay leaves

3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Feb012011

Recipes for Snow Cream and Snow Slushies

I’m starting to think that there was a huge hole in my childhood: I never got to make snow ice cream! Well, with the amount of snow we’re forecast to get over the next few days, I figured it’s a great time rectify that slight and have some fun in the kitchen with my 2-year-old daughter as well.

Photo by Overduebook on Flickr.Actually, it was Go West reader Crystal Rutherford who got me thinking about snow ice cream yesterday when I asked on Facebook if any of you were doing anything special to prepare for the storm. Crystal said she’d be putting out a bowl to collect snow for ice cream and slushies. She was so nice to quickly type up her directions so that I could share it with you all here, but of course we'd love to hear about any variations you make in your house. -- Tara

Here are Crystal's notes and directions: 

When we were little, we mixed sweetened condensed milk and snow together, but I didn't have any on hand a few weeks ago.  I took this recipe from allrecipes.com, and modified it just a little by adding more milk.

 

Snow Ice Cream

Place a large bowl outside to collect fresh snow

Mix together with the snow ...

About 1 cup of sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

About 2 cups of milk (I used 2 1/2 cups; can use chocolate milk instead, if you want)

Stir together.  Add sprinkles or syrup (or both)

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Jan012011

Getting Kids to Eat Veggies in the New Year

This post was written by the editor of Local Fun for Kidsa new website that is helping bring more attention to locally run parenting sites across the country, including Go West Young Mom. The blog has lots of recipes, crafts and fun ideas, too. You should definitely check it out. -- Tara

Photo by Tara BurghartIt's the New Year, and so many Moms are vowing to get healthier and exercise more.  Since I recently lost about 20 pounds, it's really important for me to keep the momentum going.  I wish I had a magic wand that would make me only crave salad and oatmeal, and push my chocolate cravings aside.  But, since I don't, I'm constantly thinking of creative ways to get myself and my family healthier.  One thing that really helps is getting my kids to eat healthier with me. That way, we can snack together. Here are some things that work for us, and might work for you, too:

  • Frozen onions, peppers and spinach might not sound very appealing, but they are some of the easiest veggies to sneak into food.  You can mix it in with pasta & parmesan, sneak it into eggs in your breakfast burritos, or add it to your stuffed chicken breasts.
  • I also always have a variety of canned beans in the pantry.  My two year old absolutely loves bean salad -- seriously.  You can easily make your own by mixing up some canned beans and light Italian salad dressing, but if you have a Trader Joe's nearby, you have to try their canned bean salad.  I think my two year old could eat an entire can of that bean salad by himself!

Click to read more ...