Tag Archives: Valentine’s Day

Winter Vegetable Soup

Winter Vegetable Soup l Pook's PantryThis post is sponsored by Idaho® Potatoes. As always, all opinions are my own.

It’s winter.  That means comfort food.  But, we’re also trying to eat a little healthier too, right? We’re making an effort to eat more vegetables because we want to get more bang for our buck in the nutrition department.  I’ve got you covered.  This soup is nearly fat free, it’s low in calories and contains a ton of vitamins, minerals and fiber.  While you are cozied up in the house, it’s the perfect time to put on a pot of this hearty winter vegetable soup.

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White Wine Blood Orange Spritzer

2.1One of my favorite memories from childhood is having my grandfather’s siblings and their spouses at our house.  There were 10 of them  (including my grandparents) and they would get together regularly.   We would rearrange the living room to accommodate everyone,  kitchen chairs lined up beside the sofa and I would find myself seated on the floor at their feet.

This “mini-reunions” are where I learned about my grandparents and great aunts and uncles,  I heard stories about their childhoods and often I heard the same story re-told by someone else with a slightly different perspective than the original storyteller.  It was incredibly entertaining to see this group of elders challenging each other and trying to convince the other that their recollection of the same event was rather skewed.

My all time favorite story was one my grandfather told about the farmer and the watermelons.  He worked for a farmer when he was a kid and made 10 cents a day.  He gave half of that to his mother and the other half he kept for himself.  This was during the depression, so although it wasn’t much money,  he was lucky to have anything at all.  Somehow, my grandfather and one of his brothers got the bright idea that they would go to the farmer’s field at night and take a watermelon.  This was stealing, and they knew it, but they were hungry and didn’t really figure the farmer would miss one melon…  They were wrong.

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Blushing Valentine

I know it may seem a bit early to start thinking of Valentine’s Day, but it’s only a few short weeks away.   If you like to make a special treat on Valentine’s Day, this is the cake.  
It is a towering 4 layers high and lovingly encased in the most delicate rose-scented buttercream.  It is outrageously good and worth every. single. calorie.  

This is also the type of cake that could easily become adorned with say a few candles for a little celebratory birthday party?   The colors could be swapped out for any, the flavor of the buttercream could be adapted to whatever you’d like it to be.  Using a vanilla base for both cake and buttercream allows you the flexibility to change colors and flavors to suit the occasion or intended recipient. Continue reading

Hibiscus Champagne Cocktail for Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day Hibiscus Champagne Cocktail

With Valentine’s Day upon us,  I wanted to do a special drink for those of us who will not be amongst the throngs of people in crowded restaurants with overpriced dinners and less than stellar prix fixe menus.

I had been given a jar of  hibiscus flowers in syrup as a sample at a food show and I’ve been dying to try them out in something,  but I needed to exercise restraint and wait for just the right thing…  Well friends, today is the day!

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