‘ Food’s That You Can Easily Make Yourself ‘

10. Vanilla Extract

Top 10 Food Staples You Can Make Better and Cheaper at Home

Pure vanilla extract is really easy to make—you just need vanilla beans and a cup of vodka, rum, or bourbon. Not only do you get a much better ingredient than the store-bought version (and more extract than if you bought the same amount), everything you use the vanilla extract in (cookies!) will taste better as a result.

9. Cheese

Top 10 Food Staples You Can Make Better and Cheaper at Home

Making your own American cheese, cream cheese, and other cheeses (homemade ricotta isamazing) is surprisingly easy with just a few basic ingredients. Besides having really fresh cheese, you can mix in other flavors if you like.

8. Buttermilk

Top 10 Food Staples You Can Make Better and Cheaper at Home

Most of us don’t have buttermilk around all the time, and when we do need it for something, the carton is often too big and we end up wasting the whole thing. Add a little vinegar or lemon juice to milk, though, and you can whip up some buttermilk in a few minutes on the cheap.

7. Spice Mixes

Top 10 Food Staples You Can Make Better and Cheaper at Home

Cajun seasoning, Old Bay, and other pre-packaged spice mixes are very easy to recreate on your own when you have the ingredients list. So instead of paying $5 for a bottle you might not use up before the mixes get stale, just stock up on the basic spices that are behind these mixes. And if you haven’t tried it already, you might want to make your own bacon salt too. (Who am I kidding? Go make some bacon salt.)

6. Stock

Top 10 Food Staples You Can Make Better and Cheaper at Home

When you make your own stock, you turn kitchen scraps—things you would normally throw away—into an awesome base for soups and other dishes. Make chicken stock like a pro and customize its flavor and healthiness to your liking. You don’t even need a recipe to make vegetable stock.

5. Alternative Milks

Top 10 Food Staples You Can Make Better and Cheaper at Home

Soy milk, nut milks, and nut butters are all cheaper to make at home, not to mention fresher. Our own Dave Greenbaum says he saved 20% on almond milk when DIYing it using organic almonds at home—plus the added benefit of getting almond meal, which you can use in other recipes.

4. Cocoa Powder and Instant Hot Cocoa

Top 10 Food Staples You Can Make Better and Cheaper at Home1

You only need three ingredients to make better-tasting, higher quality cocoa mix: powdered chocolate or cocoa, sugar, and a little salt. If you want your hot chocolate to be creamier and taste more chocolatey, add in a few more ingredients to your hot cocoa mix and you’ll be all set in these cold winter months.

3. Bread

Top 10 Food Staples You Can Make Better and Cheaper at Home

There really is nothing quite like freshly baked bread. Although some breads may take more time and effort than it’s worth, many breads can be made with just a minute or 5 of prep time. You don’t even need a breadmaker: a pressure cooker will bake a warm loaf in minutes or you can “bake” bread dough on the stovetop.

2. Peanut Butter

Top 10 Food Staples You Can Make Better and Cheaper at Home2

DIY peanut butter is worlds away from the commercial stuff. All you need is a food processor and five minutes (plus roasted peanuts, of course) to concoct your own better-tasting peanut butter. Let Alton Brown show you how to roast peanuts for it in a wok.

1. Salad Dressing

Top 10 Food Staples You Can Make Better and Cheaper at Home

When you know the formula for salad dressings, there’s no need to ever buy packaged dressing (which often has so much salt, sugar, and other ingredients you might not care for), since it’s so easy to combine simple ingredients into a great vinaigrette.
Photos by kavastudio (Shutterstock), Silanti (Shutterstock), Matthew Cole (Shutterstock).


‘ Great Christmas Drinks Just Right for Cold Winter Evenings ‘

#AceFoodNews – Featured Post:Dec.17 – These 21 hot and cold festive drinks just in time for Christmas. Enjoy.

♫ Oh the weather outside is frightful / And this booze is damn delightful ♫

1. Spiced Irish Coffee

Spiced Irish Coffee

Whiskey + coffee: a perfectly acceptable way to start a cold winter day. Get the recipe.

2. Slow Cooker-Mulled Wine With Cranberries and Rosemary

 Big-batch slow cooker cocktails FTW. Get the recipe.

3. Orange Bourbon Tea

Orange Bourbon Tea

Get the recipe for this and two more easy cold-weather cocktails here.

4. Bourbon-Spiked White Hot Chocolate

Bourbon-Spiked White Hot Chocolate

Not a bourbon fan? Kahlua works too. Get the recipe.

5. Earl Grey Hot Toddy

Earl Grey Hot Toddy

Get the recipe.

6. Kahlua Hot Chocolate

Kahlua Hot Chocolate

A dozen mini-marshmallows on top are, in fact, mandatory. Get the recipe.

7. Hot Pumpkin Buttered Rum

Hot Pumpkin Buttered Rum

Butter rum > Butterbeer. Just saying. Get the recipe.

8. Mexican Hot Chocolate

More ideas here.

9. Maple-Bourbon Chai Tea Toddy

Maple-Bourbon Chai Tea Toddy

Get the recipe.

10. Winter Cranberry Martini

Winter Cranberry Martini

The homemade infused simple syrup — just cranberries, sugar, and water — is easy and delicious enough to make year-round. Get the recipe.

11. Cider Rum Punch With Thyme

Cider Rum Punch With Thyme

Unlike many cider punches, this one isn’t overly sweet — thanks to lemon juice and bitters that balance everything out. Get the recipe.

12. Homemade Candy Cane-Infused Vodka

When life gives you candy canes, spike ‘em. Get the recipe.

13. Stove Top-Mulled Wine With Brandy

Stove Top-Mulled Wine With Brandy

Get the recipe.

14. Christmas Sangria

♫ I’m dreaming of a white…wine to make sangria wiiiith ♫ Get the recipe.

15. Pumpkin and Pineapple Spiced Rum

Pumpkin and Pineapple Spiced Rum

Get the recipe.

16. Red Nose Punch

Red Nose Punch

With bourbon and beer. Get the recipe.

17. Bourbon and Citrus Sangria

This is technically dubbed “autumn sangria” but I’m just gonna drink it through the winter and ~don’t you dare~ judge. Get the recipe.

18. Sour Green Apple Margarita

Sour Green Apple Margarita

With jalapeno for warmth, obvs. Get the recipe.

19. Sparkling Apple Cider Sangria

Sparkling Apple Cider Sangria

With cognac or cava (or preferably both). Get the recipe.

20. Spicy Ginger Gold Rush

Spicy Ginger Gold Rush

Get the recipe.

21. Winter Old-Fashioned

Winter Old-Fashioned

A spiced take — cardamom, star anise, cinnamon — on a rightful classic. Get the recipe.

*And for garnish: Boozy Sparkling Cranberries

*And for garnish: Boozy Sparkling Cranberries

BRB, snacking. Get the recipe.

Minced Pies: ‘ Tried, Eaten & Loved by Me & My Foodies ‘

#AceRecipeNews – Dec.17 – Tried, tested and loved traditional recipe l have used year after year after year. Hope you will enjoy them too.
Mince pies

This crumbly, fruity mince pie recipe is a Christmas classic. Serve warm with lashings of brandy butter.


Preparation method

  1. Lightly butter a 12-hole pie or patty tin. Tip the mincemeat into a bowl and stir so that the liquid is evenly distributed.
  2. Place the flour, sugar, almonds and butter in a food processor and process briefly until resembling breadcrumbs, then slowly add the egg through the feeder tube. (Or rub the butter into the dry ingredients by hand and stir in the egg.)
  3. Bring the mixture together with your hands, wrap in cling film and chill for an hour or so. Thinly roll out the pastry on a floured surface. Cut out 12 circles with a fluted pastry cutter, large enough to fill the base of the prepared tin. Press gently into each hole, then fill with the mincemeat.
  4. Cut out another 12 slightly smaller discs and use to cover the mincemeat. Press the edges together to seal. Make a small slit in the top of each, then brush lightly with milk. Chill for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
  5. Bake the pies for 20 minutes until golden brown. Remove to a wire rack and serve warm.


Consider it a Bargain: ‘ The Worlds Largest Truffle Sells for $61,250 but Far Less than the Owner – he Wanted a Cool Million ‘

#AceFoodNews – Dec.17 – Consider it a bargain: The world’s largest white truffle sold at auction Saturday for $61,250 — far less than the cool $1 million its owner reportedly had hoped for.

The largest white truffle in the world on display at Sotheby's New York on Thursday© AFP Timothy A. ClaryThe largest white truffle in the world on display at Sotheby’s New York on Thursday

The White Alba’s Truffle weighed 4.16 pounds (1.89 kilos) when unearthed last week in the Umbrian region of Italy, making it by far the largest ever found.

Sotheby’s said it was purchased by a gourmand from Taiwan, who had placed his winning bid by telephone.

Bidding started at $50,000 for the record-breaking fungus.



Our Winner…Jackie Heaton

Shivaay Delights


Shivaay Delights Facebook members chose their Tefal Optigrill winner! JACKIE HEATON from Manchester. For her stunning text santa cake which she herself had made for charity and raised £120! One good turn deserves another definitely!

A really BIG CONGRATULATIONS to Jackie! We all hope you enjoy your Optigrill, especially for Christmas with yor friends and loved ones!

Thanks to all those who participated and for all Shivaay Delights friends who took the time to vote!

Here’s Jackie with her #Optigrill Selfie…A very well deserved winner x


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Pintade et crème de châtaignes

Bonjour à tous 🙂

La recette que je vous propose m’a été très largement inspirée par Jennifer Taieb, que j’ai rencontré à deux reprises en décembre et notamment lors d’un atelier de dégustation Cointreau dont je vous reparle très vite, avec deux recettes de cocktail de Noël 😉

J’ai la chance cette année encore, d’être en partenariat avec Carré de boeuf, pour réaliser des recettes de fête à base de leurs produits. L’année dernière je vous avais proposé une pintade aux trompettes de la mort ou encore du foie gras fait maison avec sa gelée de figues ! Aujourd’hui, j’utilise une nouvelle fois leur pintade, fondante à souhaite, pour tenter de reproduire la recette préparée par Jennifer Taieb. Comme je n’avais pas sa recette, je suis partie des sensations et des goûts dont je me souvenais pour créer ce plat, on y retrouve donc de la pintade, de la…

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‘ Health Benefits of Walnuts & Their Versatility ‘

#AceFoodNews – Dec.10 – According to (Health Castle ) These wrinkly lobes surely are popular and versatile! Walnuts have a long history as food, having been around from as far back as 7,000 B.C., and were popular as food for the royals in ancient Persia. Nowadays, the US is a major producer of walnuts, with the bulk of the nuts coming from the state of California. Among all nuts, walnuts pack significantly higher amount omega-3 fatty acids ALA! They are rich in fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, and antioxidants such as Vitamin E. Indeed, walnuts are one of the best plant sources of protein!

Health Benefits of Walnuts

Heart-Health Benefits: 

More than a decade of scientific evidence shows that incorporating walnuts in a healthy diet reduces the risk of heart disease by improving blood vessel elasticity and plaque accumulation. Walnuts have also been shown to aid in the lowering LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and the C-Reactive Protein (CRP). CRP was recently recognized as an independent marker and predictor of heart disease.

Diabetes Benefits:

A study published in Diabetes Care in 2010 found that 2 ounces of walnuts per day improve blood flow in people with type 2 diabetes.  A previous study also found that a diet supplemented with walnuts help type 2 diabetes patients lower their LDL cholesterol by 10%.

Nutrition Tidbits for Walnuts

1 oz (14 halves) of shelled whole walnuts contains:

  • Calories: 185 kcal
  • Fat: 18.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 3.9 g
  • Protein: 4.3 g
  • Fiber: 1.9 g
  • Glycemic Index (GI): Low (below 55)

FDA Approved Health Claim for Walnuts

In 2003, the FDA recognized the benefits of nuts and their role in heart disease prevention by approving a health claim for 7 kinds of nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, some pine nuts, pistachios and walnuts). These seven nuts were approved as they are the only kinds that contain less than 4 grams of saturated fats per 50 grams.

In response to a petition filed by the California Walnut Commission, the FDA further endorsed the health benefits of walnuts by approving the following health claim in March 2004.

Supportive but not conclusive research shows that eating 1.5 oz of walnuts per day, as part of a low saturated fat and low cholesterol diet, and not resulting in increased caloric intake may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

Adding Walnuts in a Healthy Diet

Nuts in general are high in calories, so moderation is the key. The best approach is to reap the health benefits of eating walnuts but not add excessive calories to your daily intake. Therefore, instead of just adding walnuts to your current diet, eat them in replacement of foods that are high in saturated fats (such as cheese and meat) and limit your intake of these tasty treats to the recommended 1.5 oz per day. That is about 20 walnut halves.

Walnuts add a flavorful crunch to dishes. Here are some simple ideas to incorporate walnuts in your diet to reap their health benefits:

  • instead of snacking on cookies, crack some walnuts open and eat them as snacks
  • instead of using meat, toss toasted walnuts in your salad or pasta to add some crunch
  • instead of layering pepperoni, use chopped walnuts in your pizza
  • instead of eating bacons or eggs, use walnuts as a protein choice by sprinkling chopped walnuts in your oatmeal or breakfast cereal


QUICK RECIPE: ‘ Pork with Cherry Juice Glaze or Fresh Cherries ‘

#AceRecipeNews – Dec.10 – What makes this quick (35 minutes or less) dish inviting is a sweet and tart pan sauce/glaze. Pan sauces or glazes can enhance the flavour of just about any protein, especially pork. They can also mask an overcooked piece meat — especially pork, which is easily overdone.

For the sauce/glaze in today’s recipe frozen tart cherry juice concentrate is used(though you can get fresh cherries and blend your own).

The juice is blended with the pan juices from the cooked pork. Because the concentrate flavors are intense, a small amount goes a long way. You can the use fresh concentrates and mix with water to your taste or use 100% juices. But keep in mind the mixture will cook down some and the flavour will intensify.

With this recipe you can use other juices too, such as pomegranate and blueberry. Like cherry juice, they are loaded with antioxidants and make terrific pan sauces.


Pork with Cherry Juice Glaze

Serves: 4 / Preparation time: 10 minutes / Total time: 35 minutes

If using fresh juice for the glaze, omit the water and use more fresh juice.


■ 2 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil

■ 4 boneless, center-cut pork loin chops (about 5 ounces each and 1-inch thick)

■ ¼ cup all-purpose flour

■ Salt and black pepper to taste

■ All-purpose seasoning to taste

■ ½ teaspoon dried thyme

■ ¼ teaspoon garlic powder to taste

1/3 cup brandy or sherry or chicken broth

■ ½ cup frozen tart cherry juice concentrate, thawed, or substitute 1 cup fresh juice

■ ½ cup water

■ Caramelized onions, optional

■ Cooked basmati rice, optional


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. In a large ovenproof skillet, warm the oil over medium-high heat. Trim excess fat from the pork chops. In a shallow dish or pie plate, combine the flour, salt and pepper, all-purposing seasoning, thyme and garlic powder.

When the oil is hot, dredge the pork chips in the flour mixture, shaking off the excess. Place in the skillet and brown on one side, about 5 minutes. Turn the pork chops over and place the entire skillet in the oven. Cook the pork chops until the internal temperature is about 145 degrees, about 12 minutes.

The skillet handle is hot so carefully remove the skillet from the oven. Transfer the pork chops to a plate, and cover with foil to keep warm.

Meanwhile, place the skillet back on the stove and bring the pan juices to a boil. Add the brandy to the pan and deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom. Add the juice concentrate and water. Bring to a boil again and cook until the mixture reduces slightly and is of a glaze consistency.

If desired, serve with the pork along with caramelized onions and toasted basmati rice.

From and tested by Susan Selasky for the Free Press Test Kitchen.

303 calories (34% from fat), 12 grams fat (3 grams sat. fat), 12 gramscarbohydrates, 31 grams protein, 57 mg sodium, 88 mg cholesterol, 28 mgcalcium, 0 grams fiber.


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