Holiday White Wine Sangria

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This time last year: Mexican Hot Chocolate (2013)

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Friends, it is Day FOUR of “6 Drinks that aren’t Eggnog.” My how time flies. I hope you have been enjoying this series as much as I have!

(If you have no idea what I’m talking about, scroll through the last there days of posts, because this week is all about fun drink recipes! You don’t want to miss it!)

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A few nights ago my family went to dinner with some family friends of ours. They were providing the entree, so we offered to bring a drink and some dessert as a contribution.

This is when having a food blog gets tricky.

Due to the fact that I am coooonstantly trying new recipes, and looking for new scrumptious dishes I can share with you all, anytime I have the opportunity to try out a new recipe on a crowd- I do! Crowds provide the best food blog feed back. You can tell if something is a total hit or if it’s not the most popular dish in the room.  It’s like having a bunch of food blog guinea pigs, which is super helpful!

Despite this obvious benefit to me and my blogging efforts, constantly cooking new recipes for parties is a high-risk, high-reward way to live. Sometimes I find myself bringing new dishes to a social setting and being a little nervous about how they will go over!

Last night was one of those situations.

Although I do love sangria, I will admit this was my first time ever making it! Thus, as I stirred together these delicious ingredients I started to get anxious that it would be a bust- there would be too much fruit, or people would find it too sweet, or find the wine too bitter, etc.

I carried the pitcher into our friend’s home with lots of apologies and excuses that I had yet to try it, and it really might not be all that great! (Such a human move, am I right?)

However, to my delight, every member of the party drank a large glass with nothing but compliments! The fruit was the perfect amount, the wine was fresh and crisp, and the drink was a wonderfully festive fit.

For my first round of sangria, on a group of food-blog guinea pig testers, I got lucky. This recipe is delicious. It’s so easy to make, and was a total crowd pleaser!

Give it a try yourself! I am confident you will love it.

And make sure you come back tomorrow! More drink recipes on the way!

XO Sarah

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Ingredients:
  • 1 granny smith apple, chopped into small bite-size pieces
  • 1/2 red apple, chopped into small bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup fresh/frozen cranberries
  • 1-2 sprigs fresh Rosemary (+ sprigs for garnish- optional)1 bottle white whine
  • 2 cups ginger ale
  • 1 cup sparkling apple cider
  • 1/3 cup sugar
Directions:
  1. Add your apple slices and cranberries to a large pitcher.
  2. Bruise your rosemary to allow the flavors and juices to escape the leaves more. Do this by laying your rosemary on a cutting board, and using the backside of your knife blade, press down on the leaves.  Add the sprigs to the pitcher.
  3. Pour in the wine and stir. (At this point, you can put the pitcher in the refrigerator, and allow the fruit to marinade in the wine, or if you’re impatient like I am, you can skip to the next step!)
  4. Add the ginger ale and sparkling cider, and stir well.
  5. Optional garnish: Dip a few rosemary leaves in the wine, and then roll in a thin layer of granulated sugar. Place one in each glass, drink, and enjoy!
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Notes and Tips!:
  • Serving recommendation: Best served chilled as an appetizer drink.
  • Source: Picture the Recipe
  • Like this recipe? Make sure you don’t miss this week’s other posts for “6 Holiday Drinks That Aren’t Eggnog” (Recipe links below photos):

 

Spiced Pumpkin Pie Dip

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Hello Wonderful People!

If you are reading this it is either because:

  1. You’re my friend and thought you’d look into how I have been spending all my free time this week. (Haiiiii guys)
  2. You really love pumpkin and found this page courtesy of social media or a search engine. (I love pumpkin too! Linger a while- I got some yummy recipes headed your way!)
  3. You’re lost. (Look at all the chocolate though! Why leave now?)

Regardless of the reason, I’m glad you’re here and reading this page. Today brings us to day three of Pumpkin Week, which means yet another delicious pumpkin recipe to add to your collection.

I made this pumpkin dip over the weekend and somehow managed to kill an entire box of ginger snaps and two apples with this dip- All. By. Myself.

Wooooops.

I share this confessional to attribute to how absolutely incredible this dip is! You are going to become addicted- I’m warning you! Perfect for potlucks, holiday parties, or a healthy snack with an apple, I highly suggest adding this to your regular collection of recipes! With only one mixing bowl, a few minutes of your time, and an incredible flavor- you’ve got nothing to loose!

Dig in! And Come back tomorrow for more of A Rented Kitchen’s Pumpkin Week!

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Pumpkin Week

Day One- Pumpkin Recipe Review!

Day Two- Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Day Three- Pumpkin Pie Dip

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Ingredients:

  • 6 oz Vanilla Greek Yogurt
  • ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 can (15oz) pure pumpkin puree
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • 4 oz Cool Whip
  • Serve with ginger snaps and apple slices!

Directions: 

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and whisk together until smooth and blended.
  2. Refrigerate for one hour to allow the flavors to blend.
  3. Serve with apple slices, graham crackers, and ginger snaps!

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Source: Shugary sweets
  • Stores well in a refrigerated air-tight container for several days!
  • Like this recipe? Check out these other delicious treats from ‘A Rented Kitchen’ (Recipe links found below photos):

 

Fall Harvest Vegetarian Stuffing

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It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving was already over a week ago. This time last week I was at home with my family, decorating our Christmas tree, going on long walks, and enjoying the company of my favorite people.

I am so grateful for that time, and for the gift that holidays bring many of us every year.

For those of you curious about my vegetarian Thanksgiving, it was filling and delicious- a huge success! My mom and I spent most of the morning Thanksgiving day in the kitchen together, whipping up my all-time favorite Sweet Potato Casserole, roasted Brussels sprouts, homemade rolls, baked fruit, a homemade apple pie, and this fantastic homemade stuffing.

I have never made a homemade stuffing, so that was my goal this Thanksgiving, the most delicious stuffing I could possible create!

Good news, I found it.

This recipe is absurdly good. With the fresh apple slices, cranberries, sage, and onion- this dish is bursting with flavor.

Usually I really only care about the sweet potato casserole on the table, however this year, I hesitate to admit that this was just as good as my favorite Sweet Potato Casserole! (Those words have never been uttered.) Try it yourself and see!

Also, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I must reiterate you all that I am so grateful for you all. You bring my life joy, and that is a gift.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks salted butter
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh, chopped sage
  • 1 large, white onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 3 stalks celery finely chopped
  • 2 apples, chopped (with skins)
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 loaf day-old French bread*
  • ½ cup Craisins or dried cranberries
  • Salt (~ ½ teaspoon)
  • Pepper (~ ¼ teaspoon)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  2. In a large frying pan, melt your butter.  Once the butter is completely melted, add one Tablespoon of the sage, the chopped onion, celery, and carrot.
  3. Sauté, stirring regularly, until the onion becomes translucent.
  4. Add the garlic, apples, salt, and pepper to the pan (salt and pepper to taste!). Cook for about two minutes, and then add the vegetable broth to the pan.
  5. Add the cayenne pepper, and allow to simmer for another few minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, tear the bread into small squares and place in a large bowl. Add the cranberries and sage, mix well.
  7. Remove the liquid mixture from the stovetop and pour over the bread. Stir thoroughly, so that the bread is evenly moist.
  8. Transfer the mixture into a 2-3/4-quart casserole dish and bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes to an hour.
  9. Enjoy!

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Notes and Tips!:

  • Instead of ripping a loaf of bread into squares, you can often buy bags of day old bread at the grocery store that is already torn and dry.  This just saves you a step!
  • Yield: Serves 6 people
  • Source: Epicurious
  • If you like this recipe, check out these other seasonal favorites from A Rented Kitchen! (Recipe links below).

Graham Cracker Crumb Fruit Dip

Sometimes you just need something simple and delicious.  I try and eat a couple servings of fruit a day, but sometimes feel as if I’m getting in a rut. It’s easy to get bored of being healthy and to want to eat that muffin or donut instead. (Raise your hand if you’re with me!) Well I have good news; this fruit dip is the answer to that health rut! With sweet vanilla and graham cracker crumb flavors you’ll feel as if you’re eating something luxurious and rich, when in reality you’re enjoying the benefits of a very healthy snack! This dip is light, easy to make, and good enough that your friends will be begging for the recipe- seriously! Enjoy this dip as an appetizer, afternoon snack, or for a healthy dessert! You’ll be so glad you made it. I know my house was!

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. cool whip
  • 1 small package of Vanilla pudding
  • 2 cups plain yogurt
  • ½ cup graham cracker crumbs
  • Fresh fruit of your choice- apple slices, strawberries, cantaloupe, blueberries, bananas, etc.

Directions:

  1. Whisk together the cool whip and vanilla pudding in a medium sized bowl
  2. Fold in the cool whip with a wooden spoon or spatula.
  3. Stir in the graham cracker crumbs.
  4. Chill until ready to serve and enjoy!

 

Notes and Tips!:

  • If you want to make this recipe a little lighter, try using fat free cool whip, sugar free and fat free vanilla pudding, and fat free yogurt! You won’t feel guilty at all about this treat.
  • This dip keeps well in a covered container in the refrigerator for several days! Enjoy it all week long!
  • For another healthy fruit recipe- check out my fruit salsa! It’s addictive.
  • Source: A Rented Kitchen

Whole Wheat Apple Spice Pancakes

Last summer I had the privilege of working at Montreat Presbyterian Conference Center,  in the midst of the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains. I lived in a house with 38 other college students on the summer staff, meaning I shared two ovens and five refrigerators with 38 of my closest friends. Cozy. Although the kitchens were not the shining jewels of that summer, there were some wonderful memories made in those rented quarters- one of which involves pancakes.

My good friend Skip had this delightful habit of making late night pancakes. It became a popular joke, because in the morning there was always a distinct wake of clues that let us know Skip had been making late-night pancakes once again. In honor of those nights and traditions, this recipe goes out to Skip and the men of Sylvan.

Now this pancake recipe is probably one my friend Skip did not try. It’s a little unique in that it calls for unsweetened apple sauce, wheat flour, and flax seed- resulting in a delicious tasting pancake that is also diabetic friendly, low in fat, and low in calories. These pancakes will have you feeling strong and healthy all morning long and are nutritious enough to ask for seconds, and thirds. So eat up! Another wonderful day has begun.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons ground flax seed
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ½ Tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup nonfat buttermilk*
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Cooking spray
  • Sugar-free maple syrup (optional)
  • Fresh fruit slices (optional)

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the whole wheat flour, baking soda, salt, and ground flax seed.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, applesauce, and vegetable oil, and mix well.
  3. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until the dry ingredients are thoroughly moistened.
  4. Coat a nonstick griddle or nonstick skillet with a thin layer of non-stick cooking spray over medium heat.
  5. Using a ¼ cup measuring cup, pour batter onto the griddle and spread into a circle.
  6. Cook pancakes until bubbles begin to form and pop on the top of the pancake.  Flip and continue cooking on the other side for an additional few minutes.

Notes and Tips:

  • *If you do not regularly keep buttermilk in your refrigerator, have no fear! Neither do I. There is an easy solution to this problem. Place 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup. Add milk up to the 1-cup line and set aside for five minutes. After five minutes, you may use the milk mix as the recipe calls for. It’s magic
  • Inspired by: Health 
  • 2 Tablespoons of toasted wheat germ can be used instead of ground flax seed if you are out of flax seed.