National Popcorn Poppin’ Month

PopcornBlog.pngOctober is National Popcorn Poppin’ month and there is no better way to celebrate it than with popcorn and a movie. I have found some really fun popcorn recipes and paired them with appropriate films. Get your popper out and get ready for an evening at home with some great tasting popcorn and a movie.

Chocolate Almond Popcorn
In the mood for something sweet? You might think the perfect movie for chocolate almond popcorn would be Chocolat with Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche.  But let’s go in a different direction and honor the late Gene Wilder by watching Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Enjoy your chocolate popcorn as Charlie discovers a world of pure imagination. Continue reading

Preheat Your Oven: 6 Crowd-Pleasing Holiday Recipes

I love to bake, and the Holiday Season gives me the perfect excuse to be in the kitchen and bake a batch of cookies to take to work or a holiday party. I mean, what’s the point of baking if you’re not going to share? Below are some of my favorite holiday treats.

Pumpkin Bakes
To me, it’s not the holidays without pumpkin. So, I am always looking for good pumpkin recipes. However, most of my family doesn’t like pumpkin. (What is wrong with them?)

The winner for my whole family is Pumpkin Chip Cookies, which taste enough like Chocolate Chip Cookies to fool my father and my nephew. The pumpkin makes them extremely moist, so they remain gooey on the inside, and the subtle pumpkin flavor combined with the cinnamon gives these cookies a nice holiday zing.IMG_0032

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Holiday Cocktails & Mocktails: 7 Recipes for Entertaining

From now till New Years Eve, there are several occasions to break out the cocktail shaker and raise your glass.  For all your holiday gatherings and entertaining, here are some festive recipes – 4 cocktails, 2 mocktails and a (spiked) punch – to bring your party good cheer.

Alexander Baby
4-5 ice cubes
2 measures dark rum
1 measure cremé de cacao
1/2 measure double cream
grated nutmeg

Put the ice cubes into a cocktail shaker and pour the rum, cremé de cacao and cream over the ice. Shake the drink then strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Sprinkle grated nutmeg on top. Serves one.

– Recipe from All Shook Up: Party Drinks and Cocktails by Hamlyn

Christmas Punch
2 cups chilled pomegranate juice
1 cup chilled cranberry juice
8 oz. (1 cup) vodka
8 oz. (1 cup) Cointreau or other orange-flavored liqueur
1 cup chilled club soda
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from 6 lemons)
1/2 cup simple syrup

Combine pomegranate and cranberry juice, vodka, Cointreau, club soda, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a punch bowl. Fill glasses with cranberries frozen in ice cubes, and serve. Garnish with lemon slices if desired.

– Recipe from Martha Stewart Living magazine, December 2009.

Mulled Cranberry Sipper
32 oz. cranberry juice
2 qt. water
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
4 (5-inch) cinnamon sticks
1 tbsp. whole cloves

Bring all the above-listed ingredients to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Discard solids, stir in 1 cup of orange juice. Serve warm or cooler. Garnish with lemon rind twists. Makes about 3 1/2 quarts. Non-alcholic.

– Recipe from Southern Living magazine, November 2012.

Hot Dixie Chocolate
2 oz. bourbon
2 oz. good-quality semi-sweet chocolate
1 cup whole milk
2 tbs. heavy cream
1/2 tbps. vanilla
1 tsp. sugar

Finely chop the chocolate and set it aside. In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the milk, heavy cream, vanilla and sugar, stirring until the sugar has dissolved and the milk is very hot but not boiling. Remove from heat, pour the milk mixture over the chocolate pieces in a bowl, and let stand for a minute or two or until the chocolate has melted. Add the bourbon, stirring well to combine. Serve steaming hot in a heat-resistant glass.

– Recipe from Cocktail Parties with a Twist: Drinks + Food + Style by Alexandria and Eliot Angle

Sweet -N- Sassy
powdered sugar
2 oz. white cranberry juice
1 oz. lemon juice
1 oz. raspberry syrup
3 raspberries for garnish

Rim a martini glass with powdered sugar and set aside. Pour juice and raspberry syrup into a mixing glass and shake. Strain into the martini glass. Garnish with raspberries on a skewer. Serves one. Non-alcholic. 

– Recipe from Preggatinis: Mixology for the Mom-to-Be by Natalie Bovis-Nelsen

Coffee Amaretto
hot black coffee
1/2 measure Amaretto di Saronno
1/2 measure Tia Maria or Kahlúa
whipped cream
amaretti biscuits, to serve

Put some very hot, black coffee into a mug or heatproof handled glass and add Amaretto and Tia Maria or Kahlúa. Stir well then spoon whipped cream on top. Serve with amaretti biscuits. Serves one.

– Recipe from All Shook Up: Party Drinks and Cocktails by Hamlyn

Sunset Tea
200 ml / 7 oz. freshly-brewed Indian tea
1/2 measure golden rum
1 measure Cointreau
2 measures fresh orange juice
orange slices stuck with three whole cloves
cinnamon sticks

Pour the tea into 2 heatproof glasses. Put the rum, Cointreau and orange juice into a small saucepan. Place it over a low heat and bring the mixture to just under a boiling point, stirring constantly. Pour immediately into the glasses with the tea. Garnish with a slice of orange stuck with 3 cloves and a cinnamon stick. Serves two.

– Recipe from All Shook Up: Party Drinks and Cocktails by Hamlyn

Next time you’re at your local HPB, check out the magazines and cookbooks for many more tempting recipes to take home and try.  Happy holidays!

Meredith is Associate Creative Director at Half Price Books Corporate.
You can follow her on Twitter at @msquare21.

Framed Art in Honor of a Famed Chef

This American pioneer of French cooking taught us that anyone can cook, to savor each flavor and butter makes every dish sing. Today, we celebrate what would be Julia Child’s 100th birthday! In honor of her centennial celebration, we created three art prints of her witty words that capture her delicious “joie de vie” in the kitchen. Julia will always remind us to have fun in the kitchen, enjoy every bite and always to have a “Bon appétit!”

Have you ever baked any of her famous french recipes?

– Stephanie

17 Books that Sizzle: National Grilling Month

Fire up the grill with books that sizzle — July is National Grilling Month! And, let’s not forget: Independence Day is this week. Two great reasons to find inspiring new recipes for a summer cookout. Here are some staff picks of 17 outdoor cooking books for mouth-watering barbecue and celebrity chef grilling tips. And just for kicks, our list also includes a couple vintage cookbooks published before 1960.

Happy 4th of July! — Meredith