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America’s favorite seasonal hot beverages

Nothing says winter weather quite like cuddling up on the couch in your flannel and fuzzy socks and a mug full of your favorite warm beverage. But, give the choice, what do you like to fill that mug with? Of course coffee and tea are welcomed any day of the year, but what seasonal drink do you go for around the holidays? An online poll recently asked Americans to share their favorite seasonal drink, and these were the top eight favorite drinks. So, do you agree? What drink would you add to the list, and which ones have you already crossed off the list this holiday season? 8. Mulled wine On a cold day, spiced wine is the perfect way to warm up. Make your own in a crock pot with bold red wine, spices, fresh fruits and some cognac. 7. Hot Buttered Rum This decadent drink will help you…

Queen Elizabeth’s pastry chefs share her favorite gingerbread biscuit recipe

Mince pies and Christmas pudding aren’t the only sweet treats served at Buckingham Palace, of course. Luckily for those of us not dining with the Royals this holiday, a palace pastry chef has revealed (via the Official Royal Family Website) another one of the Queen’s festive favorites — gingerbread biscuits. And the secret recipe has been shared online for you to try. With only a few ingredients, it’s the kind of recipe you can whip up last minute with ingredients you already have if you’re behind on your holiday baking. Of course the decoration on the biscuits at Buckingham Palace will be the definition of perfection, while the rest of us are left to struggle with keeping the lines straight, but none-the-less, it will be fun to have a taste of one of the things the beloved monarchy loves most at her Christmas table. One tip offered by a royal…

A Perfect Christmas Punch

Every holiday party needs a pretty drink to pass around. This punch is festive and so delicious — it will be gone in no time. It’s the holiday season, so splurge on the good stuff — Skip the juice “cocktails” and get 100% cranberry and pineapple juices. Cocktail juices tend to have tons of unnecessary added sweeteners and other flavors. Also, be sure to keep your liquids cold prior to mixing up this punch. This will keep the ice from melting right away and watering down your punch. Another tip: use frozen cranberries and lime wedges instead of ice to help keep your drink cool. A Perfect Christmas Punch Ingredients 3 liters cold ginger ale 6 cups cold cranberry juice 3 cups cold pineapple juice 1 12-ounce bag of fresh or frozen whole cranberries 2 limes, thinly sliced ice (optional) 1 liter of vodka or rum (optional) Directions Pour ginger…

Loaded ranch snowman cheeseball

You’ll win at Christmas Eve when you set this ranch snowman cheeseball on the table. Seriously, cocktail shrimp, who? Everyone will be talking about the cute — and delicious — snowman dip! Plus it’s loaded with turkey bacon, green onions, and tons of flavor, so you know everyone is going to love it! Ranch Snowman Cheeseball Ingredients 2 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese, softened 1 packet of dry ranch seasoning mix (1 ounce) 2 cups shredded white cheese (I like white sharp cheddar, but mozzarella works too), divided in 2 4 strips turkey bacon, cooked until crispy and then crumbled 3 green onions, chopped 1/4 tsp finely ground fresh black pepper 1 small carrot 10 whole black peppercorns Cooking spray or oil (for greasing hands) Serve with: crackers, carrots, celery sticks, broccoli florets, bell pepper strips or anything else you like to dip in delicious ranch cheese! Directions In a…

How to tell if your edible glitter is actually safe to eat

This time of year, we’re up to our elbows in cookie dough. While decorating the finished product has always been the most fun part of baking, the Food and Drug Administration has warned that some products we use to decorate our holiday cookies aren’t actually edible. It turns out that the dust and glitters you find at the store — yes, even in the food aisles — aren’t always edible. So if you’re shopping for sparkles for your Christmas cupcakes or shimmer powder for your NYE disco ball cookies, you’ll want to take a closer look at the packaging. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to figure out what’s edible and what’s purely aesthetic once you know what to look for. Companies that make edible decorations including glitter and twinkle dust are regulated by the FDA and, just like any other food, are required by law to list the ingredients on the…

Smoked salmon crostini bites with mustard butter and dill

This elegant appetizer is easy enough to prepare, you’ll whip it up party after party. Pour your guests some Chardonnay and snack on these salmon bites to get the engagement going! Notes: Substitute Italian bread if that’s what you have on hand. Also, you can use goat cheese instead of butter, or chives or capers instead of dill — all delicious alternatives. Smoked salmon crostini bites with mustard butter and dill Ingredients 1 stick butter, softened  1 tbsp stone ground mustard 1 tbsp Dijon mustard 1 tsp lemon juice 1/2 tsp lemon zest 1 tbsp chopped fresh dill + 1 tbsp chopped dill for garnish 1/8 tsp salt Freshly ground pepper 1 long, thin French baguette, sliced about 1/4-inch thick About 10 ounces of best quality smoked salmon, thinly sliced and cut into 1-to 2-inch pieces Lemon wedges (for serving) Directions Preheat oven to 375ºF. Position baguette slices in a…

10 things you never knew about eggnog

It’s that time of year when people all over the world get a hankering for holiday eggnog. You already know it’s delicious, but did you know it was responsible for a riot at West Point? Or that it was prescribed as medicine by doctors in the 1800s? Read on to learn more about everyone’s favorite way to imbibe during the holidays. 1. Americans love of eggnog adds to its waistline. According to Indiana University, Americans consume over 135 million pounds of eggnog every year — almost all of that between Thanksgiving and New Years. Recipes will vary, but a one cup serving of eggnog has approximately 210 calories and 11 grams of fat. Some eggnog brands can cram as many as 450 calories and 58 grams of sugar into a single serving. Add rum and whipped cream and you’re basically drinking dinner. 2. George Washington left us his favorite eggnog recipe.…

Winter white hot chocolate with cinnamon

Living in Pittsburgh, it seems hot chocolate is everywhere — and that, in my opinion, isn’t always a good thing. Those watered-down styrofoam cups at freezing cold football games or the overly sweet stuff handed out after cold weather 5Ks, are really consumed out of a need to stay warm, more so than for the enjoyment. It had been a long time since I had a cup ‘o chocolate that I actually enjoyed. But I was feeling a bit Christmassy decorating the house, so I thought I’d whip up something warm and delicious to sip on as we watch holiday movies on repeat. This Winter White Hot Chocolate has a dash of cinnamon to give the cup some complexity. You can add more or less, if you like. Even some nutmeg would taste pretty good. The best part of making drinks like this is always the extras, so if you’re going…

What’s the most popular Christmas candy in each state?

Halloween has come and gone, but with Christmas right around the corner, we’re still living in the season of sweets. This month of the year we’re more about chocolate Santas than Snickers and candy canes than candy corns, but preferences vary from state to state. Online retailer Candystore.com recently asked 30,000 of its customers to vote for their favorite Christmas candy in order to see how America’s sweet too varies state to state. And the results show that where you live definitely plays a part in your Christmas candy tastes and traditions. Source: CandyStore.com. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups gets love from 10 different states, but others are all about Christmas exclusive candies like peppermint bark and chocolate Santas. Eight states pick candy canes as their favorite Christmas candy. Six chose holiday-colored M&Ms, and five preferred red, green, and white “reindeer corn” — the holiday version of candy corn. PEZ was…

8 Best Subscription Gift Boxes for food lovers

Subscription boxes are so much more than just Jelly-of-the-Month-Club nowadays. If you’re not sure what to get that hard-to-buy-for someone, why not leave it to the pros? Each of these subscription boxes is curated by a team of experts in the category, to deliver just what your snack-loving sister or healthy-eater husband need. So give everyone with a big question mark next to their name one of these gifts and have them be thankful for you all year long. https://www.instagram.com/p/Bb923u_jXp7/ For the coffee obsessed: Mistobox Cost: $20 per month What you get: When you sign up for Mistobox, you’ll tell the company your coffee preferences and an expert coffee curator will get to work selecting the coffees that best match your tastes from over 300 fresh-roasted blends. Then, every 30 days you’ll get to open a new 12-ounce bag of whole beans. More info here: Mistobox.com https://www.instagram.com/p/BjpiLq7HXWI/ For the snacker:…