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Cranberry BBQ Sauce

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I really wish I had this recipe growing up, when my mom and I used to make tons of cranberry sauce for the holiday season. It's a great way to use leftover sauce that totally works, given that cranberry sauce (at least, how I make mine) is typically spiced, as well as sweet and tangy—just like barbecue (BBQ) sauce. Skeptical? Don't be! The cranberry flavor isn't as pronounced as it would be eating cranberry sauce on its own.

Tips and Tricks for an Intimate Holiday Brunch

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Brunch is probably my favorite thing to make for the holidays. It's easy, delicious, and doesn't leave everyone with a stuffed-feeling that typically comes with eating dinner late in the day by the time all of the cooking is done. What you serve, or how you serve it, can also help elevate the experience to make what you are eating feel even more special. Continue reading for fun ideas for a Christmas weekend or New Years Day brunch for two or a small group.

Festive Mulled Wine

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I call it mulled wine. Dave jokingly calls it "hot sangria." And he's not wrong. A classic, mulled red wine does remind me of a holiday sangria only, well, hot (or at least, a drinkable, warm temperature.) Take out the extra spices with the exception of the cinnamon stick, which looks nice as a garnish, and yes, it could all just be poured into a large pitcher of ice and served over ice in wine glasses!

Whatever you call it and however you serve it, I'm hopeful that the warming spices, extra kicks of pear vodka and ginger liqueur, and jewel-like red color will bring some cheer to your holiday table!

Classic Spiced Cranberry Sauce

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The season for holiday eating starts and lasts in my home well into January, since my birthday happens to fall on January 6th, just after the Christmas and New Year holiday stretch and on the day celebrated by some Christians around the globe as Three Kings Day. One of my favorite things about going grocery shopping at this time is how easy it is to find fresh cranberries. It wouldn't be the holidays in my house without cranberry sauce, which I have made every year for Thanksgiving since I was a kid.

In its fresh, not dried and sugar-coated, form, the cranberry is a controversial fruit: some love it, some hate it. I'm definitely on Team Cranberry and growing up, it was a contest each year between my mom and I to see how many bags of cranberries we could make for our sauce, which we did on Thanksgiving day. One year, we made six or seven bags worth of sauce, which we gave to family members in plastic containers along with festive tins of homemade cookies for their holiday celebrations.

I happen to think the cranberry is underrated. A lot of people don't like them because although they are round, like blueberries, they are mouth-puckeringly tart. Blueberries start off small and tart, ripening and getting sweeter as they mature. Not a cranberry, which is why I think of them as the blueberry's sassier cousin.

Happy Thanksgiving

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With the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday today, and other holidays following in swift order over the coming weeks, this season will be undeniably different for many families this year. Tables may be emptier. Friends and families connecting virtually instead of in person.

KitchenAid stand mixer attachments: The good, bad and ugly

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This is not a sponsored post or endorsement made in coordination with the brands or products mentioned here. 

Remember my story about how I used to religiously watch the FoodTV Network as a kid? (and still love to...)

Growing up, the KitchenAid (KA) stand mixer was one of those kitchen "toys" that the chefs always had on the FoodTV Network (aka the Food Network, as we all know it.)

One year for Christmas, I think I may have been 8 or 9 years old, my grandparents, together with my mom, decided to buy me a stand mixer as a Christmas/birthday present. My mom said she picked it up from Macy's, which I'm sure was at the height of the Christmas shopping rush, and lugged it through the store to her car.

I don't remember how I reacted to receiving the mixer for the holiday that year but to this day, it was probably one of the best gifts I've ever received.

Since we have Dave's KA mixer, mine is still at my mom's house, but it has served me well over the last two decades. It feels so strange to say that it has been "two decades" of using that machine. I couldn't tell you how many things I've made in it or hours I've put on it and it still runs great (knock wood.)

On the flip-side, I think some of the attachments for the KA mixer are gimmicky. Based on my experiences, here is a quick run-down of the good, bad, and ugly of the KA mixer attachments to watch out for if you are doing any holiday shopping for yourself or friends and family members that love cooking.

Fresh Old Fashioned Cocktails

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I made these Old Fashioned cocktails over the summer with fresh cherries and clementine. The drink, from muddling the cherries with the sugar and clementine, turned a lovely ruby color and was punch-like from the sweet bing cherries that I used.

It reminded me a lot of bottled fruit punch, actually—but in a good way.