Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Caramel Kiss & Nut Cookies Recipe

We live right outside of Hershey Pennsylvania and within a few minutes of the Hershey's Chocolate Factory. Every time we go down to Chocolate World, I like to pick up a few bags of the Hershey's Caramel-Filled Kisses and use them in this particular cookie recipe. If you are allergic to nuts, simply omit them from the recipe.

Tip: If you don't have any of the caramel-filled kisses, try some of the regular ones, the Hershey's Hugs, cherry-filled kisses, etc. They all work great with this recipe!

Caramel Kiss and Nut Cookies Recipe

15 caramel-filled Hershey's kisses, unwrapped
1 roll of refrigerated sugar cookie dough
1/4 cup chopped nuts
nonstick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease up a baking sheet or spray it lightly with nonstick cooking spray.

Remove the sugar cookie dough from the refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 20 minutes. It will be easier to work with. Once it has warmed up, rip it a part into smaller pieces.

In a large mixing bowl combine together the torn pieces of sugar cookie dough with the chopped nuts. The batter will be extremely stiff so use your hands! Separate the dough into 12 different piles. Take one pile at a time and form a ball with the unwrapped caramel kiss inside the center of the ball. If the dough sticks to your hands, grease your hands up with a little soft butter or shortening.

Place your cookie balls onto a lightly greased baking sheet at least 2 1/2" a part. They will expand during the baking process. Place baking sheet into the oven and bake for 12 to 13 minutes or until they are done. Remove and let cookies cool on a wire rack. Store them in an airtight container.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Spiked Cranberry Lemonade Cocktail Recipe

Looking for a great cocktail to make and serve to your party guests this holiday season? If so, check out this festive cocktail recipe from the great folks over at Sparkling ICE. I bet this would be equally as good with cherry juice or strawberry juice too! I see all kinds of great possibilities with this recipe!

Spiked Cranberry Lemonade Recipe

3 oz. Sparkling ICE Lemonade
1 oz. cranberry juice
1 1/2 oz. vodka
Fresh Cranberries and mint for garnish

Directions: In a shaker, combine Sparkling ICE Lemonade, cranberry juice and vodka
Pour into glass and garnish with fresh cranberries and mint spring.

Disclosure: This recipe and photo is courtesy of Sparkling ICE. You must be 21 years of age or older to consume alcohol. Please drink responsibly.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Poinsettia Punch Recipe for the Holidays

The holiday season is here and many of us will be attending a holiday party or hosting one in our own homes. I love all of the seasonal beverages during this time of the year...delicious cocktails, punches and then of course the famous eggnog! Today I am sharing a holiday punch recipe with all of you courtesy of the great folks over at Cascade Ice.

Poinsettia Punch Recipe

Cascade Ice Pomegranate Berry
Club Soda
Fresh Mint

Pour 4 parts of Cascade Ice Pomegranate over ice. Mix the Fresh Mint, Juice of one lime and 1 part of Club Soda together. Stir until everything is combined and serve immediately.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas 2014 Holiday Decorations Part 2

Two weeks ago I shared some of our indoor and outdoor holiday decorations with all of you. You can read that post on Christmas Decorating to refresh your memory. We are getting close to the big holiday and I decided to put out a few more decorations and wanted to share those with all of you today.

First up, My new holiday wreath which I hung on our front door. I just love this fresh wreath and it is full & lush! We got this wreath from Creekside Farms and just love it. Right out of the box you can hang it up and it welcomes all of your guests this holiday season.

About 10 years ago I picked up this handcrafted wooden snowman from a local craft show. He stands about 1 1/2 feet tall and while he is plain...I think he has a lot of personality. I usually place him indoors but this year he is outdoors on my porch near the front door. Before I put him out there, I sprayed him with 2 coats of clear sealer to make him weatherproof. I love where I placed him and all of our guests think he is adorable...I do too!

Last summer I found this adorable very large outdoor house flag at the local flea market for $3.00. I quickly snatched it up and brought it home. It features a design of penguins out playing in the snow. We have it hanging from a wooden flagpole right above our second porch (yes, we have two porches!). I had seen very large flags like this in the store but they were always $20 and up, so getting a brand new one for $3.00 at the flea market was a treasured find!

About 3 years ago I got a little wrought iron black shepard's hook and as the seasons change, I change out my garden flag on that. This year I decided to put a snowman garden flag on that so that I have something different than the penguin one listed above. This is near our smaller front porch and right beside it I have the solar snowman light that I featured in the previous post (see link above).

I really love decorating for Christmas and every year I like to move things around and add new things to my holiday decor. I hope you like the items I featured today!

Happy Holidays!!!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Coconut Eggnog Recipe

Every year during the holiday season my daughter and husband go gaga for all kinds of different eggnog. Frankly, I am not a fan of it but they absolutely love it! This recipe for homemade eggnog is courtesy of Coco Joy Coconut Water.

Coconut Eggnog Recipe

4 cans Coco Joy Coconut Water
6 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
8 ounces spiced rum
Coconut flakes

Bring coconut water to a simmer in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Whisk together egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla in a bowl until smooth and pale. Gradually whisk half the hot coconut water into the egg mixture, then pour into pot with remaining coconut water. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until thick and mixture nearly coats the back of a wooden spoon, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour through a fine strainer into a bowl. Stir in rum, and refrigerate at least 3 hours and up to overnight. Pour into a pitcher, and serve over ice, garnished with coconut flakes and cinnamon.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Pumpkin Cremeux Recipe

The holiday season is fast approaching, and there’s no better time to try out a new recipe. Audrey Enriquez, pastry chef at Scottsdale’s renowned Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain, has created some sweet treats with an autumn twist, just in time for seasonal dinners and celebrations.

Pumpkin Cremeux Recipe

3 1/4 cups roasted pumpkin puree
5 cups cream
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cups egg yolks
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
9 sheets gelatin, bloomed in ice water

- In a large sauce pot, combine puree, cream, salt and spice
- Place over medium heat and bring to a scald
- In a large bowl, whisk together yolks and sugar
- Temper hot cream into yolks, then pour the mixture back into the pot
- Cook to 170 degrees, then add gelatin and stir until dissolved
- Pour the mixture through a chinois
- Pour the mixture into desired molds or glasses and place in refrigerator
- Let cool until completely

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Christina Milian's Winter White Sangria Cocktail Recipe

I love sipping on a good sangria...especially during this time of the year. Now that the holidays are approaching I am gathering up all of my delicious cocktail recipes and making plans to mix them up & serve them at the various holiday parties we will be hosting this year.

One of the recipes I am looking forward to trying is Christina Milian's Winter White Sangria. Here is the recipe for you to enjoy too! What kind of cocktails do you enjoy making during this time of the year? Got any favorites?

Winter White Sangria Cocktail Recipe

2 Parts Viva Diva Peach Moscato
1 Part Malibu Coconut Rum
.5 Part Triple Sec
1 Splash Peach Orchard Punch

Stir Rum and Triple Sec in with Fresh cut Orange, Peach, and Apple Slices. Stir in Tropicana's Peach Orchard Punch. Finish with Viva Diva Peach Moscato. Add Ice and Serve.

Disclosure: You must be 21 years of age or older to consume alcohol. Please drink responsibly. The photo and recipe is courtesy of 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Protesting at Family Christmas Tree Lighting Events

Just like most people in the United States I have been following pretty closely the issues surrounding Ferguson and New York when it comes to these protests and outrage regarding white law enforcement officers and the black community. For the purpose of this blog post & rant...I won't state what my personal feelings are on that specific topic.

I first want to state that I am all for the Freedom of Speech and the Right to Demonstrate/Protest when it is done in a peaceful way and in a way that doesn't interrupt the lives of those who are not participating. With that said, let's get onto why I am pissed off and angry today.

Last evening we went as a family to a local tree lighting event. This was to be a happy occasion and something fun to do with the family.These types of holiday events attract people of all ages...from little kids through seniors. They are to be HAPPY events for the family and the community to enjoy.

However, after being at this particular outdoor event for 20 minutes a slew of protesters marched right on in with their signs, chanting and yelling. What the hell? They were frightening people, especially the little kids who were in attendance. That just isn't right!!!

As I stated, I am for FREEDOM of SPEECH and the RIGHT to DEMONSTRATE but come on now, bringing that bullshit to a family-friendly, outdoor tree lighting event is totally uncalled for. You have NO RIGHT to ruin a family-friendly event and to scare the little kids who were in attendance. This was NOT an all-adult event...tons of little kids were there and were frightened by your behavior and you totally ruined this holiday event for families who were in attendance. Shameful if you ask me!

Please get some common decency and go protest, march, yell, chant and do the things you do at locations where families are not gathering together for the holidays. You had NO RIGHT to ruin that event!!! NONE!

On top of that....get off the damn roadways! Go protest & march on sidewalks and in parking lots but you have NO RIGHT to disrupt traffic flow for others who are not participating. It should NOT take normal citizens 1 hour to go 2 blocks in their cars because YOU want to protest and march in the middle of city streets.

Well, I am stepping off my soapbox right now but damn it, that totally pisses me off that people can't have common decency and respect for their fellow citizens. Thanks for ruining our family night out!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Santa's Sparkler Holiday Mocktail Recipe

The holidays are almost here and many of us will be celebrating the season by attending a holiday party or hosting one in our own home. Today, I am sharing a delicious mocktail recipe with all of you that doesn't contain any alcohol so the kids can enjoy it too. It only takes a few ingredients and is super easy to prepare. The perfect "apple" mocktail for the season. The recipe and photo is courtesy of Cascade Ice.

Santa's Sparkler Cocktail Recipe

4 oz. Cascade Ice McIntosh Apple
2 oz. Apple Juice
Small Apple Wedges
Cinnamon Stick

In a glass mix together the Cascade Ice McIntosh Apple and apple juice. Stir in some ice. Garnish with fresh apple wedges and a cinnamon stick. Festive and delicious!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Tips for Giving Your Body What It Needs to Fight Illness

Why are the Holidays So Hazardous to Our Health? Physician Shares Tips for Giving Your Body What It Needs to Fight Illness

It’s a sad statistical fact: The holidays, from Christmas to New Year’s, are a treacherous time when it comes to our health.

“There’s a spike in heart attacks and other cardiac issues,” says Dr. John Young, a physician specializing in the treatment of chronic illnesses through biochemical, physiological and nutraceutical technologies, and the author of “Beyond Treatment: Discover how to build a cellular foundation to achieve optimal health,”

“The incidence of pneumonia cases spikes – in both cold and warm climates. And deaths from natural causes spike. In fact, more people die of natural causes on Christmas Day than any other day of the year!”

While those numbers are well-documented, the cause(s) are not.

“Stress plays a role, particularly if your immune system is weakened,” Dr. Young says. “If you look at how most of us eat from Halloween through New Year’s, it’s easy to see how the immune system takes a beating and otherwise healthy people become more susceptible to illness during the holidays.”

It’s basic biochemistry, he says.

“We eat a lot more refined sugar, for instance, which is a carbohydrate that’s been stripped of all the vitamins, minerals and proteins that make up a complete carbohydrate,” he says. “Our bodies can’t use that, so the cells in our digestive organs work overtime, burning up a lot of energy, vitamins and minerals to digest it, and they get nothing back. So, eventually, they grow weak.”

So – can we have a little sugar, and good health, too? Dr. Young says we can.

“The occasional slice of pumpkin pie is fine as long as you’re also feeding your cells with the nutrients they need – the minerals, vitamins, good quality protein, amino acids, essential fatty acids – to stay healthy.”
He offers these tips for staying healthy through the holidays and throughout the year.

• Get your vitamin D!
Vitamin D is actually a hormone, not a vitamin, and one of our best sources for it is sunshine. Unfortunately, many people work indoors all day, so they get little sun exposure. When they do go outside, they wear long sleeves and sunblock to protect against skin cancer. And, of course, in the wintertime, people in cold climes tend to stay inside. As a result, many of us are vitamin D deficient, and should be taking supplements.

“Vitamin D is crucial to many physiological systems, including our immune defenses,” Dr. Young says. “It helps fight bacterial and viral infections, including the flu. It supports our cardiovascular system; optimal vitamin D levels can reduce hypertension, heart attacks and stroke.

“If I feel I’m coming down with a cold, I’ll take 40,000 units of vitamin D at bedtime,” he says. “The next morning, I usually feel like a new person.”

• Eat your protein – 1 gram for every 2.2 pounds of body weight daily.
In this country, we think a healthy diet means eating a lot of fruits and vegetables. We’ve forgotten protein, Dr. Young says.

“Our immune system is made up of proteins – our bones are 40 percent protein,” he says. “We need protein.”

When calculating your protein intake, consider: an egg has about 8 grams, and 8 ounces of fish, chicken, beef or pork have about 30 grams.

Dr. Young does not give any of his patients more than 100 grams of protein a day.

• Get a good night’s sleep, exercise, and manage your stress.
Yup, some doctors’ orders never change. Rest, exercise and finding effective, healthy ways to cope with stress are simple ways to pamper your cells.

“One of the many cellular benefits of exercise is that it increases the oxygen in our bloodstream. Every cell in our body requires oxygen, so consider exercise another means of feeding your cells.”

It’s also important to manage stress during the holidays. With unchecked stress, our body releases large amounts of cortisol which, among other things, suppresses the immune system.

“Take time out to meditate, listen to music, or take a walk in the woods,” Dr. Young says. “It feels good – and it’s good for you!”

About John Young, M.D. - Dr. John Young, (, is a medical doctor with more than 15 years’ experience working in emergency rooms and pediatric burn units. He’s the medical director of Young Foundational Health Center, specializing in treating patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes by addressing the physiological issues and not just the symptoms. He's also medical director of Young Health Products, which incorporate the latest biochemical, physiological and Nobel Prize-winning protocols for optimal cellular nutrition. Dr. Young is the author of “Beyond Treatment.”