Chocolate Liqueur


English: Roasted cocoa (cacao) beans

English: Roasted cocoa (cacao) beans (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here’s a quick recipe for a liqueur that can be used for any special occasion.  I’ve found it an easy recipe to make and it is can be enjoyed after things have settled down after your holiday meal.

CHOCOLATE LIQUEUR

1 CUP LIGHT CORN SYRUP
3/4 CUP SUGAR
2 CUPS VODKA
3 TABLESPOONS CHOCOLATE EXTRACT
2 TEASPOONS PURE VANILLA EXTRACT

In a saucepan, mix together the sugar and corn syrup, stirring occasionally.  Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, being careful not to burn it.  Remove from heat and let stand for 30 minutes.  Mix in the vodka; stir in the

vanilla extract

vanilla extract (Photo credit: craftapalooza)

vanilla and chocolate extracts.  Pour finished liqueur into glass bottles with corks or into other fancy glass containers.  Cover and let stand for 2 or more days for the flavor to develop.

YIELD: 1 QUART

This is good served with a shortbread cookie or Biscotti’s.

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HALLOWEEN AND THE DRUIDS (with recipe)


The March 1909 edition of The Druid, the magaz...

The March 1909 edition of The Druid, the magazine published by the Ancient Order of Druids. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Halloween Costumes

About 2000 years ago in what is now the green lands of Ireland, the nation of France, and the United Kingdom, the new year was celebrated on November 1st.  It was the beginning of the cold, dark weather in those lands.  The winter season was synonymous with death.  The Celts lived in those lands and they held the belief that on October 31st, the night of Samhain, that the ghosts of all the dead came back to life.  n that night, the spirits played pranks and tricks, causing problems by damaging the harvest and reeking havoc in many other ways.  Celtic priests believed that these spirits had come back to earth to ease the Druids’ attempts to predict the future.

To solve this, the Druids built large bonfires to burn sacrifices.  The populace observed this day of the dead by wearing costumes in the form of animal skins or animal heads.  Fortune telling was also done on this night.  When the celebration was done the hearths were relit from the bonfires to usher in a mild winter season.

When the Romans conquer most of the territory in the year 43 A.D., they held rule for over 400 years.  During this time two holidays were merged into one creating the Celtic celebration called Samhain.  One holiday was Feratia, held in late October and the other was name after the goddess Pomona, goddess of trees and fruit.  It is believed that apple bobbing originated with this goddess because she was symbolized by the apple.  Today, children at Halloween parties held throughout the world bob for apples.  The custom more than likely originated in those ancient times.

By the seventeenth century, Christianity had spread to Celt lands.  Pope Benedict IV, in the 1600’s, deemed November 1st as All Saints Day, trying to replace the practice of the pagan festival of  the dead with a Christian replacement.  This day of All Saints was also known as All-hallowmas or, alternately, All-hallows.  The night before it, which once was known as Samhein began to be know as All Hallows Eve. and, as the years went by the night became known as Halloween.

To this day bonfire are lit, in some places, on Halloween night.  Children and adults alike dress in devilish costumes as ghosts, goblins, favorite characters and all manner of ghoulish, frightening dress.  The populace in many nations delight in door to door trick-or-treating and festive, spooky parties.  Little know the true meaning of Halloween night, but all delight in the ghastly activities.

Below is my recipe for Druid Stew.  No one knows from whence this stew came from, but it could have come from the burning hearths somewhere in the land of the Celts.

DRUID STEW

2 pounds stewing beef, cut in cubes

5 potatoes, skin on, chopped into one inch cubes

1  1/2 cups cut up celery, slice diagonally

5 Tbsp. quick cooking tapioca

6 carrots, cut diagonally

1/2 cup beans (northern, pea bean, kidney) – canned

1 package onion soup mix

1 Tablespoon sugar

2 cups tomato juice

4 cups water

two bay leafs

teaspoon parsley

1 teaspoon salt

pepper to taste

In layers with beef at bottom, place all ingredients except tapioca , juice and water, one on top of another (in layers) into a deep oven-proof pot with lid.  Pour liquid on top of dry ingredients and then sprinkle with tapioca.  Put lid on tightly or use tin foil.

Bake at 350 degree for 4 hours.  Do not open the oven door or take lid off pot.  Do not stir the stew – leave the lid on.

Serve with puff pastry pumpkins, witches and ghosts made from Halloween cookie cutters and frozen puff pastry sheets, or with your favorite ghostly bread. (Puff pastry can be found in your supermarkets’ frozen department).

Happy Columbus Day


  • Today is Columbus Day.  This is usually not one of my great celebratory holidays, but it is worth mentioning  There are usually no major parties or events for today, at least not here in Massachusetts, but it is a good day to catch up on some chores and to relax if you happen to be lucky enough to have a day off from work.

I am looking forward to this Halloween at the end of October and am already making plans for a small celebration while handing out goodies to young holiday revelers.  In the meantime, I have been checking out exchange lists for both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to go along with some sugar-free appetizers and snacks that I’ll be whipping up.  I’ll be feeding other persons with a variety of dietary problems and will need a small and varied assortment of goodies to go along with the special beverages.

Below is a listing of alcoholic beverages and their calorie and carb counts.  I do not condone of condone of the  overimbibing of adult beverages when  suffering from diabetes and ask that you please contact your  dietitian or physician for  advice on whether they are part of your diabetic meal plan.  Also, when stricken with diabetes, you probably suffer from related maladies requiring potent prescriptions.  imbibing alcohol can greatly interfere with the potency of these medications and bring on a list of  alarming symptoms in a diabetic than in a healthy individual.  That being said, the chart below gleaned from The Joslin Guide to diabetes  by  Richard S. Beaser, M.d. with Joan V.C. Hill, R.d., C.D.E. should be extremely helpful.

BEVERAGE                      AMOUNT (ounces)                  CALORIES         CARBOHYDRATES (grams)          EQUAL TO:

Beer                                    12                                                  150                          14                                                  1 bread starch &  1 1/2 fats

Light beer                           12                                                  100                        6                                                    2 fats

Nonalcoholic beer             11                                                    50                       10                                                    1 bread/starch

Distilled spirits:

86 proof(gin, rum             1.5                                                  105                       trace                                              2 fats

vodka,whiskey,scotch

bourbon)

Wine:

Red table or rose’               4                                                      85                      1.0                                                 2 fats

Dry white                             4                                                     80                        .4                                                  2 fats

Sweet wine                           2                                                     90                       6.5                                                1/2 bread/starch & 1 1/2 fats

Light wine                            4                                                     55                       1.3                                                 1 fat

Wine coolers                        12                                                   190                     22.0                                               1 1/2 fruit & 3 fat

Champagne                           4                                                    100                       3.6                                               2 fats

Sherry                                      2                                                      75                      1.5                                                1/2 fats

Sweet sherry/port                2                                                       95                       7.0                                               1/2 bread/starch &

1 1/2 fats

Vermouth

dry                                             3                                                  105                        4.2                                                2 fats

Sweet                                         3                                                  140                       13.9                                               1 bread/starch & 2 fats

  • This should suffice to show nutritional values and correct exchanges for the most popular beverages.  Personally, I forego partaking of the alcohol in favor of the fake versions.  There are several that have left a nice impression and the low alcohol Arbor Mists are a good choice.  Again, check with your health care practitioners and enjoy the upcoming holidays.