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Some Holiday Liquid Cheer (Recipes)

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By Debbie Gregory.

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We want to share some easy and delicious cocktails to serve during the holiday season.

We want to include a disclaimer and say this because we care.   The holidays are a time to party and often when some party, they consume too much alcohol.   This can create some awkward table talk but more importantly, we want to emphasize not to drink and drive.   Not only do you place yourself and your loved ones in physical jeopardy but others as well.   If the police cite you, you can be looking at legal costs of at least $10,000 or more depending on the city and state.  It is the best way to ruin your holidays and your lives so do not drink and drive.

Today, there is not any excuse with services such as UBER and LYFT.  Please put their apps on your phone and use them if you need to be somewhere and had a few drinks even if you think you are fine.  There is the solution of one person who does not drink that day or at all to be the “designated driver”.

 

Enjoy your holidays but be safe and care about yourself and others.

 

Below are two cocktails to enjoy.   Let us know what you think and send your own drink recipes to info@vamboa.org

 

Hot Toddy – serves one but you can double and triple depending on how many and use a small tea pot

 

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 Cup of Hot Water
  • 1/4 Cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Brewed Hot Espresso
  • 2 Tablespoons Bourbon
  • 2 Tablespoons Honey
  • Dash of Cinnamon in a mug

 

Directions:

  • Stir all of the above together (your cinnamon is in the mug already)
  • Add 1 Chai Tea Bag
  • Let Steep for 5 minutes
  • Discard Tea Bag
  • Garnish with a slice of lemon and a cinnamon stick

 

Cranberry Cosmo – Serves one but you can mix for more

 

Ingredients:

  • 4 Lime Wedges
  • 5 Tablespoons of Vodka
  • ½ Tablespoon of Simple Syrup
  • Splash of Cranberry Juice

 

Directions:

  • Muddle you 4 lime wedges in a cocktail shaker
  • Fill the shaker with ice
  • Add rest of ingredients and cover and shake for approximately 30 seconds
  • Strain into a martini glass
  • Garnish with fresh or frozen cranberries

As you can tell by the various recipes I share, my goal is to spend the most time with friends and family and not be chained to the kitchen or work so hard preparing meals that I miss out on the true experiences of sharing this time with the people I love the most.

 

Wishing everyone the best of the holidays and a happy, healthy and prosperous 2020.

Debbie Gregory

Hot Cocoa Cheesecake Minis Recipe

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By Debbie Gregory.

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Here is another wonderful holiday recipe for Hot Cocoa Cheesecake Minis.   These are a simple no fail mini cheesecake that anyone can make.  You might even be inclined to add a splash of Irish Cream liqueur too or skip it if you are making for children.  Please let us know if you enjoyed this and send us your favorites.

 

Ingredients:

  • 10 Oreo (or other chocolate sandwich) cookies, crushed finely in a food processor
  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
  • 2 pkg (8 ounces each) Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened at room temperature for 20 minutes
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
  • 1/4 cup plus 1/2 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder, divided
  • 1/4 cup Bailey’s Original Irish Cream Liqueur (optional if no children)
  • 2 large eggs

For Decorating: 

  • 2 ounces semisweet chocolate(for the chocolate handles
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup mini marshmallows

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 325°F with a rack in the center position. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners and set aside.
  2. Combine the cookie crumbs and melted butter; press onto bottoms of 12 paper-lined muffin cups. Bake for 8 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
  3. Beat cream cheese, 1/2 cup sugar, and 1/4 cup cocoa powder in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or using a hand-held mixer) until blended. Mix in the Bailey’s Irish Cream, if using. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed after each just until blended. Do not over mix. Distribute the batter evenly among the cookie crust cups.
  4. Bake for 22 to 25 minutes, or until the centers are almost set. Place on a rack and cool completely. Refrigerate for two hours.
  5. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the semisweet chocolate in a heatproof bowl and melt in the microwave using 30 seconds intervals, stirring with a spatula after each interval. Spoon the chocolate into a resealable Ziploc bag. Cut a very small piece off one bottom corner of the bag; pipe the chocolate into 12 small ‘C’ shapes, resembling cup handles, onto the lined baking sheet. Freeze until solid and ready to use.
  6. Remove the liners from the cheesecakes. Beat the cream and remaining teaspoon of sugar in a separate medium bowl with a mixer on high speed until soft peaks form; spoon onto the cheesecakes. Dust with remaining cocoa powder; top with marshmallows. Gently press the chocolate handles into the side of each cheesecake.

A few words of wisdom on this recipe:

  • You can top with a dollop of whipped cream , mini marshmallows and a light dusting of cocoa powder to make them festive – when in doubt add a topping
  • You will need to set aside 2 hours for chilling in the fridge but the actual assemble and bake time is less than one hour
  • Bring your cream cheese to room temperature by leaving it out for 20 minutes or so on the counter before mixing
  • Before you add the eggs, beat the cream cheese and sugar until there are not any lumps
  • Add your eggs slowly and mix just until combined being careful not to over mix
  • You can make a lower fat version substitute low fat cream cheese with it being softer

ENJOY!

Debbie’s Breakfast Casserole Recipe

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By Debbie Gregory.

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This is a wonderful meal to make for the holidays, especially Christmas brunch.   There is just something about lazy mornings when you can stay in your pajamas, sip coffee or tea and be together with the ones you love.   You can put in the ingredients you love and do the preparation the night before, refrigerate and then let your oven do the heavy lifting.

 

You will need a 3 Quart  Pyrex Glass or Corning-ware Casserole (2” deep – 9” x 13”)

Spray with cooking spray or butter it so nothing sticks.

 

Ingredients:

  • Eggs – 8 to 12 non-hormone cage free eggs are best or 4 to 6 eggs and a small carton on Egg Beaters
  • 1 Cup Onion – you can use red, sweet vidallia, white or mix and match
  • Peppers –  5 Cups – Green, Red, Yellow, Orange – mix and match your favorites
  • 1 package frozen hash brown patties – with 8 to 12 in the package
  • One fourth to one half cup milk for mixing
  • Sausage, Ham, Bacon – your preference or mix and match
  • Cheese – 16 ounces of graded cheese – cheddar, jack, pepper jack or any you like and you can combine favorites
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder and the seasoning you enjoy in egg dishes
  • If you must have it with a kick and spicy – you can add sliced jalapeños and hot sauce but taste it without first

 

Preparation:

  • In a skillet lightly saute onions and peppers until they are a bit soft – then set aside
  • In a skillet brown your choice of bacon, sausage or ham or combine them
  • In a mixing bowl beat your eggs, add your seasonings, egg beaters and milk and set aside
  • Take your greased casserole dish and place 8 to 10 hash brown patties on bottom to cover it
  • Place a layer of your meats
  • Place a layer of your onions and peppers
  • Place a generous layer of your cheese
  • Add another layer or combine the ingredients if your casserole dish is filling allowing room for egg mixture
  • Pour you egg mixture over layers
  • Wrap in foil and refrigerate overnight or not

 

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Put a large tray or cooking dish under your casserole dish to catch any drippings and this helps maneuver as your casserole dish is heavy.

Before you pop in oven, add one more generous layer of cheese.

Cover tightly with foil.

Bake for 30 minutes and then check and uncover and bake another 15 minutes.

Let it cool at least 30 to 45 minutes before serving and cut generous servings.

 

I like to serve this with a berry salad with strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries (and you can add any other fruits you enjoy along with cinnamon coffee cake or buns) and maybe your favorite champagne or mimosas with orange juice.

 

This is ever so delicious and filling.   The rest of the day you will not be too hungry and will eat lightly.

 

Bon Appetite!

Share Your Favorite Holiday Recipes & Win a Gift Card!

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By Debbie Gregory.

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My last blog article addressed sharing experiences of joy during the holidays with our friends and family.    Food is a joy and much more than survival.  We make friends with food, court lovers and count our blessings.   Sharing food has always been part of the human story.   During the holidays, each of us has special dishes and desserts that we enjoy.     

 

To move things to a lighter note, our blog will share your favorite recipes and I will kick it off with one of my own in the next article.   I encourage you to send us your favorite recipes with the ingredients and instructions and we will share it on the VAMBOA blog with everyone and attribute this joy from you.  If you have a photo, please send it too.     

 

I’m thinking that we will make this a contest of sorts and you can vote on VAMBOA’s Twitter  – www.twitter.com/vamboa and Facebook – www.facebook.com/vamboa for your favorites and we will award the winner a gift card and acknowledgement at the end of January. 

 

Please email your recipes to info@vamboa.org and tell us a little about you and your holiday culinary joys.  

 

Stay tuned for my forthcoming recipe to share.   A little about me and food.    I am not a baker so if you are looking for cookies, pies or other desserts, someone else will need to contribute them to our blog.     

 

The recipe that I am going to share is a compromise for me as 90 percent of the time, I only do fresh foods with nothing processed, frozen or canned.  I eat meat rarely.   I do enjoy fish, chicken and fresh ground turkey as well as lots of sashimi and ahi including different kinds of ceviche. 

 

 I’m known as the “Salad Queen” and spend hours shopping, washing, chopping to make amazing salads.   I also enjoy making healthy soups, chili and spaghetti but later today I am going to share a recipe that my family loves during the holidays that is not too healthy but so delicious.   We all need to indulge once in a while.   

 

Our family has changed some holiday traditions.   Instead of because a huge traditional dinner, we do this amazing breakfast casserole and breakfast often extends into the afternoon.   We don’t rush and linger over crazy Christmas stocking gifts, playing games, watching sports and movies and even go to the movies (it is a great day to go to the movies without tons of people).  Sometimes we will do a sports game or go for a hike together.  The point is we eat like queens and kings early and then lightly the rest of the day and it makes for a different type of holiday that focuses more on spending quality time with each other.   It also is much more enjoyable and lower stress as you prepare my breakfast casserole the night before and then just put it in the oven.     

 

Stay tuned on the VAMBOA Blog for Debbie’s Amazing Breakfast Casserole….. 

 

Debbie Gregory 

CEO, VAMBOA 

Experience the Joy of the Holidays

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By Debbie Gregory.

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VAMBOA, the Veterans and Military Business Owners Association and our staff want to take this opportunity to wish everyone a happy and healthy holiday filled with joy.

 

We have the highest regard for those who serve, past and present.  The men and women who have worn our nation’s uniform and their loved ones have made many sacrifices so that the rest of us can live well and prosper.   They have written a blank check up to and including their lives for our country and are courageous patriots.

 

Those who have served are uniquely suited to be entrepreneurs.   Veteran and Military Business Owners have a keen understanding of how to execute a plan to achieve their goals.   Veteran and Military Business Owners have the know- how to build and manage teams.     They are disciplined and understand that success might come after numerous challenges and even a few failures.

 

We salute you and the families that support you.   We hope that all of you will take time out during the holidays with all the extra demands upon you to experience the joy of these special days with your friends and family.

 

VAMBOA wishes everyone the best of the holidays in December including Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Winter Solstice, Las Posadas, Diwali and Chinese New Year.   Each one has special joys including meanings, traditions and foods to experience.  Our holiday wish for you is to please give yourself some much-deserved time to take it all in and enjoy the moments with those people who mean the most to you.

 

Many holidays are commercialized and often we are focused on gifts and all that we must do instead of people.   Let’s think of the true meaning and magic of these special times.    The time and experiences with those people who mean the most to each of us are the real gifts and are irreplaceable.

 

We all can be kind and perform random acts of kindness.  The holidays and the beginning of a new year are a wonderful time for kind acts and continuing them into 2020.    There is much more that unites us as Americans than divides us.

 

Joy to America and to the World!

 

Sincerely,

Debbie Gregory

CEO, VAMBOA

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