Category Archives: Magazine Recipes

20 Days of Happiness Part 10 – Fruitcake Martinis

There’s a scene in A Muppet Family Christmas where Ernie and Burt (from Sesame Street) have a conversation with Doc (from Fraggles) and Ernie and Burt can’t help pointing out what letter every word begins with.  “Bunk beds: B words!” they say as Ernie chortles.  When Doc looks at them askance they explain, “Where we come from, this is small talk.”  My sister once said that the scene reminded her of our family — except that complaining, not letters, are our family’s small talk.  It’s not that we are unhappy people.  We just like to air our grievances.  But sometimes it’s good to air positive feelings too and that’s just what I plan to do.  For my next 11 posts, I’ll focus on the many reasons I have to be happy.



I love pretty much everything about the Christmas season.  For the entire month of December, I’m basically an overgrown child watching endless Christmas specials, listening to carols on repeat and stuffing my face with Christmas cookies.  Since I’m technically an adult, I get to pair the whole experience with the perfect holiday cocktail.  The recipe for this Fruitcake Martini came from the December issue of VegNews, which has an entire cocktail feature.  It combines cake flavored vodka, pineapple rum, triple sec and cranberry juice for a festive boozy delight.  (Veggie Husband pronounced it “really, really good.”)

Unfortunately, due to a series of back-to-back-to-back colds, my December was lighter on cocktails then I would have liked.  This weekend was my first opportunity to sip one while gazing at our tree.  Fortunately, my family tradition is to leave the tree up until January 6 (the Epiphany), so I have another week to have my fruitcake and drink it too.


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A Bit O’ The Irish Cooking

In honor of Saint Patrick’s Day, I thought of sharing my Irish grandmother’s secret mashed potato recipe (Boil potatoes, mash and serve.  Do NOT add milk, butter or salt.  As grandma would say, no one likes those “newfangled spices.”)  Fortunately, I didn’t inherit my grandma’s palate and my favorite Saint Patrick’s Day dinner is big on flavor.

For the past 5 years, I have made this Irish Stew recipe from the March 2008 issue of Vegetarian Times.  I omit the butternut squash and double the carrots and onions.  The stew only takes about 40 minutes to make, but thanks to the addition of stout, it has a complex slow-cooked flavor.


I serve the stew with the salad (sans eggs) from the same article.  For the dressing, I replace the buttermilk with soy milk and a splash of lemon juice.  With it’s sweet, tangy and creamy dressing, this salad is one of my absolute favorites.  This year, it looked extra pretty thanks to the multi-colored radishes I found at the farmers’ market.


Finally, I couldn’t resist these Chocolate Beer Cupcakes with Irish Cream Frosting from Chloe’s Vegan Desserts.   This was the first recipe I attempted from that book and I was pleased with the results.  The cupcakes were moist and light and the stout in the batter really accented the chocolate flavor.  I’m looking forward to more baking experiments using Chloe’s recipes.CIMG2520

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