Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016: Review and Reflection

As 2016 comes to a close, I'm reflecting back on the past twelve months. What a magnificent year for Joyously Domestic it has been! This past summer, I entered my fifth year blogging here at JD. I say it every year when I compose these end-of-the-year posts, but I truly am blown away that I get to make blogging my "work." I just love sharing my love of food with all of you guys and creating this community along the way. I've gotten to know so many awesome people and I'm just so thankful that this is the job that I get to do on a daily basis.

Below you'll find links to my top TEN recipe posts from 2016. I truly appreciate all of the comments and emails that so many of you provide when you've made one of my recipes. I just love getting feedback (even when some of it at times isn't particularly positive) from my readers. And, it's helpful for other visitors when feedback is given after you've tried a recipe. If you haven't already, check out the most-popular recipes from the past twelve months.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Cheese Tortellini Party Appetizer

Especially during the holidays, it seems that we're all looking for simple, no-fuss appetizers that go over well with a crowd and can even travel easily. This Cheese Tortellini Party Appetizer totally meets the criteria. Kids and adults alike enjoy these. And, they work great when you have a vegetarian in the mix. They can be served cold or at room temp. And, the sky is kinda the limit with regards to what you'd like to include. I like a mix of cheese chunks, olives and tomatoes with the tortellini.

Store-bought cheese tortellini (frozen or refrigerated) is used in this recipe. Just follow the package instructions regarding cooking. Be sure not to overcook them or they will fall apart when you try to skewer them. And, be sure to rinse them thoroughly under cold water after boiling to stop the cooking process immediately.

I dress my skewers with a good-quality bottled Italian-style vinaigrette. Of course, you could make something similar from scratch if you prefer. But, taking some help from the supermarket during the hectic holidays is a real timesaver.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Holiday Hot Cocoa Chocolate Stir Sticks

I'm always looking for fun, simple and unique DIY edible gifts during the holiday season. These Holiday Hot Cocoa Chocolate Stir Sticks totally fit the bill. They are inexpensive to make, fun to have the kids help with and make great little gifts. They'd be awesome tucked into a new Christmas mug along with a candy cane and a small packet of hot cocoa for gift-giving.

These little chocolate stirrers totally amp up the flavor and richness of a basic mug of hot cocoa ... the result is like, next level hot chocolate.

To put these together, you'll need an ice cube tray (I used a square-welled silicone one) or a mini muffin tin. You'll need, also, to decide on some type of "handle" to insert (I used striped paper straws that I cut in half). Popsicle sticks or lollipop sticks would work great, too.

Then, you'll melt down a bag of chocolate chips and spoon the melted chocolate into the tray wells. Once your "handle" is inserted, embellish with whatever you choose (crushed candy canes, chopped chocolate mints, sprinkles, finishing sugar, etc.) Once the chocolate hardens in the fridge or freezer, you're all set to serve them up or package for gifting.

If you look closely in the photo above, you'll notice that I placed one stirrer in a small, clear bag along with some mini marshmallows. I finished the package with some festive ribbon.

Note that the number of stir sticks you'll get will fully depend on the size of the wells of your ice cube tray or mini muffin tin. One twelve-ounce package of semi-sweet chocolate chips yielded twelve stir sticks in the tray that I used (size shown in photo above).

Monday, December 12, 2016

Holiday Gift Giving with UncommonGoods

It's such a fantastic, fulfilling feeling to find and give the perfect gifts to our loved ones during the holiday season. Something unique. Something memorable. Something that you just know suits them. Something they will cherish. And, something that will just make their eyes lights up.

Whether you're needing something special for the moms on your list, that crazy uncle of yours, your helpful neighbor or the hard-to-buy-for women in your life, one such company can help with all of your gift-giving needs.

I've partnered up this season with UncommonGoods, a company offering beautifully-designed, mostly-handcrafted and uniquely creative products. Based in Brooklyn, New York, UncommonGoods is an online marketplace that brings customers a vast array of fun, artisan items that are often made by hand and often crafted using recycled/upcycled materials. They meet a high standard on a number of issues - as a B Corporation - including environmental impact, wage levels and community involvement. You can read up on their history and story on their website.

From their Christmas Gift Collection, I've selected several products that I think you'll go crazy for. Take a look at what I'm showcasing here, but then hop on over to their site to browse through their entire selection of items that I'm sure will inspire you as you make your way through your list of gift recipients this year.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Roasted Spiced Pears and Cranberries

Pears are a favorite in our household. Any time I utilize them in my cooking and baking, I know I'll be in the good graces of my family. This recipe is one that takes little effort to prepare and only requires a handful of ingredients. The aromas that will fill your house while this is roasting are so cozy and delightful ... a truly intoxicating holiday scent.

Once roasted, the pears and cranberries can be served up with whipped cream or ice cream. They, also, can be mounted atop waffles, pancakes or oatmeal. (A good dusting of powdered sugar to top everything off once plated won't hurt anything either.)

And, to note ... even if you'd like to omit the cranberries, the roasted pears are fabulous all on their own. But, the cranberries do lend the perfect amount of tartness that really compliments the sweetness of the dish ... especially if pairing with sweet whipped cream or ice cream after cooking.