Ideas for a Valentine’s Day Dinner at Home

Fondue

Chocolate Fondue is an easy and fun Valentine's Day dessert.

Looking to avoid cramped restaurants, predictable menus, and make this Valentine’s Day a truly memorable event? Then you’ll have to create a special meal with stellar ambiance at home. Fortunately, that’s easy.

For starters, you’ll have to set the mood. Dim the lights or replace your bulbs with lower wattage. You can also simply light some candles. A strategically-placed strand of holiday lights can also create a whimsical feel to any room.

Next, you’ll need to make your usual dining spot look like a romantic nook. Ever consider moving your table to a different part of your living room or apartment? Even turning the table to a slight angle can create a whole new look. Then find a solid color table cloth to give your placemat-friendly eating spot a facelift. If you have a lace tablecloth or runner, place it over your solid table cloth for an extra special touch. A few freshly cut flowers can instantly complete a look.

Now – the food. This is where it gets tricky, right? Wrong. Whether it’s a full meal or simply tantalizing dessert, we’ve got you covered….

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Holiday Cookie Tips from Everyday Food Magazine

Sugar Cookies from Everyday Food Magazine

Sugar Cookies. Recipe from Everyday Food Magazine

Sure, it takes a little more effort to make your own holiday cookies, but those who take the time to bake their own are rewarded with a warm kitchen, an assortment of irresistible scents, and batches of homemade treats that are perfect for giving as host gifts, swapping in cookie exchanges or offering as treats for holiday guests.

The baking pros at Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food magazine have assembled a group of holiday baking tips and tricks to help make sure your cookie creation is fast, foolproof and fuss-free.

Read on to learn more:…

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Getting Ready for the Holiday Cookie Swap!

Holiday Cookies

Holiday Cookies

I love the holiday season.  After all, it’s the season for giving and I love baking sweet treats to give away!

The cookie swap is one of my favorite reasons to get-together. Whether it’s with friends, family, co-workers, or neighbors, it’s a great excuse to bake my favorite cookies and come home with so much more!

When we asked on our Facebook page for our fans’ favorite cookie recipes, one fan mentioned Jam Thumbprints (a classic). I always bake sugar cookies for my nieces and nephews because they love all the decorations (like sprinkles) I add to them.

Here are 5 more simple and delicious cookie ideas for your holiday cookie swap:…

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Last-Minute Thanksgiving Tips from Everyday Food Magazine

Thanksgiving is just a few days away, so there’s no better time to pick up a few last-minute ideas to make the preparation easy for the feast of Thanksgiving sides, desserts and drinks.

Today, the experts at Everyday Food magazine offer a bounty of helpful tips for “everything but the bird.”

Mushroom Stuffing

More great Thanksgiving tips from Everyday Food Magazine.

Still need a little help to prepare the main course? See their list of foolproof Thanksgiving Turkey Tips, featured last week.

And don’t miss the holiday-ready Everyday Food recipes in our One-Click Recipe Thanksgiving section….

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Chocolate for Health!

Dark Chocolate fondue

Yes, this Dark Chocolate fondue is good for you...in moderation and shared with others!

Even if you’ve heard the news about chocolate and heart-health before, it still sounds almost too good to be true, right?

Halloween is near, and as our collective thoughts turn to sweets, it’s nice to know there are sweet treats out there that can also boost health.

Before we all get too excited, keep in mind 2 big caveats in order to truly reap the benefits of enjoying chocolate for health:

  1. Adding chocolate to your diet must be done isocalorically (a fancy way of saying, “without increasing how many calories you eat for the entire day”).
  2. Choose dark chocolate (sorry, but the milk, sugar, and other fats in some varieties cancel out possible benefits).

Now that that’s out of the way, on the to the good stuff….

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Easy Meal Ideas from Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery

Quark dip

Entertain with ease by making a quick dip of Fromage blanc, Quark or goat cheese with herbs.

There are many times when I realize I love my job. Sometimes it’s when a co-worker will offer me a cupcake (or two) to try. Other times it’s when I get to interview food enthusiasts like Top Chef Masters winner Floyd Cardoz.

Recently it was when work involved trying lots and lots of delicious cheeses, butters and other products from Vermont Butter & Cheese Creamery.

Cheesemaker Adeline Druart walked us through all of the tasty products whose ingredients are sourced from local family farms. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about these artisanal dairy products crafted in the European style.

The cheeses and butters are great on their own with crusty bread. But to amp up your breakfast, entertain with ease, elevate your dinners or whip up a sweet treat, check out these easy tips and ideas:…

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5 Easy Fall Recipes

Roasted Potatoes

Rosemary Garlic Roasted Potatoes are one of my go-to, easy-to-make Autumn dishes.

I love Autumn. The leaves turn from green to brilliant shades of yellow, red and orange. The weather is cooler. And I can happily turn on the oven to make hearty dishes my family will enjoy.

From rich squashes to crisp apples and savory sausages, Fall’s bounty fills my home with warm, welcoming scents.

Usually I like to keep dinner dishes simple and just roast chicken along with root vegetables (like potatoes, butternut squashes, sweet potatoes, carrots, etc.) in the oven. It’s so easy to toss the chopped vegetables with extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, and a few herbs (rosemary, Herbes de Provence, and oregano are some of my favorites) and then roast them in the oven….

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What’s the Best Apple to Make Apple Pie?

Apple Pie

Empire, Honeycrisp and Golden Delicious apples are some of the best apple types to use in Apple Pie.

It seems like a riddle, doesn’t it? After all, all apples look the same. So, does it really matter which apple you use to make a pie? Um, yes.

If you want your apple pie to be super tasty, you need to choose an apple with great texture that’s also tart and sweet. The apple you choose needs to hold its shape after baking, which means it needs to be just mushy enough but still melt in the mouth….

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5 Rainy Day Recipes

Fruit and Yogurt

Brighten up a rainy day with comforting macaroni and cheese.

Rain, rain, go away! Are you stuck inside because dark clouds are suggesting that a summer thunderstorm is coming your way?

When it’s rainy outside, I love to hide indoors with my loved ones, watch a movie or play board games and nosh on comfort foods.

Here are 5 tried and true recipes that are perfect to make when the weather outside is less than perfect:

What are you favorite rainy day recipes? Let us know on the FreshDirect Facebook page or via Twitter (@FreshDirect).

7 Party Tips for Kids with Food Allergies

Allergy Friendly Fruit

DIY ice pops are a good choice for kids who have one of the 8 most common food allergies.

I love to entertain – especially for kids.  My little nieces, nephews and cousins all get so excited when they see tables topped with colorful fruits, cupcakes and other goodies. Recently I attended a kids party and noticed all of the detailed food labels. The hostess told me that a handful of the kids had food allergies and this was one way to keep them safe.

Amongst my friends and family, it seems that food allergies in kids are on the rise. A recent study published by Pediatrics confirmed this observation. According to the FDA, the 8 most common food allergies are milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts (e.g. almonds, cashews, walnuts), fish, shellfish, soy and wheat.

I asked my friend (whose son has a soy allergy) to share her 7 party tips for kids with food allergies:…

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