}]; Noreen's Kitchen: 12/01/2013 - 01/01/2014

Monday, December 30, 2013

In The Spirit for Spirits? How to Make a Classic White Russian Cocktail and a Little History on Where It Came From!

Today we are starting our new series of Classic Cocktails!  We are excited to share these simple recipes for grown up drinks with you.  A little secret that you may not know about Rick and I is that we enjoy a well made cocktail from time to time and believe that there really is no substitute for a well made, libation with excellent spirits and mixers and shared in excellent company.

That in mind, we would love to share our love of the classic cocktail with you.  We are beginning with one of Rick's favorites, the White Russian.  This one is a simple and delicious drink that has three ingredients.  It is simply poured together and then the drinker will stir to mix.  You mix 2 ounces of vodka, 2 ounces of Kahlua or coffee liqueur along with an equal part of heavy cream and you have a White Russian.  The way you mix this drink will render you a different result.  If you pour the liqueur in first then float the vodka then float the cream there will be distinct separation and a lovely presentation.  If you did as I did and pour the vodka and then the liqueur and then float the cream, it will be a beautiful black and white drink.  Serve with a stir straw and a few chocolate covered coffee beans on top for a great service.

Some interesting history and background on the White Russian cocktail that you may or may not know include the fact that the cocktail is actually a derivative of another precursor known as the "Black Russian" which is a similar drink sans the cream.  It appeared around 1949 when some smart bar back added the cream and the rest is, as they say, history!  There is nothing Russian about these cocktails except for the fact that vodka is known to be a Russian spirit and thus the origin of that name being associated with the cocktail    

Many variants of the cocktail exist, both localized and widely known, such as a White Canadian (made with goat's milk), a Blind Russian (made with Baileys Irish Cream instead of cream – the “Blind” comes from the drink being made with all-alcoholic ingredients), a White Mexican (made with Horchata), an Anna Kournikova (made with skim milk, i.e. a “skinny, low-fat White Russian”), a White Cuban (made with rum instead of vodka), a White Belgian (made with chocolate liqueur instead of coffee liqueur), and a Dirty Russian (made with chocolate milk instead of cream). This is one of the things that makes cocktails so much fun!  If you don't like one thing or another, you can change it to suit your own tastes or available ingredients and you have created a whole new libation!

I hope you will enjoy these videos as much as we are going to enjoy making them for you.  Being a grown up has it's perks.  One of which is enjoying well made distilled spirits in the way they were intended.  We hope that you will always remember to drink responsibly and never over indulge, and if you do happen to do that, be responsible and don't drive home.  Call a cab or call a friend.  The safest way to ensure that you don't hurt yourself or others is to be your own mixologist in the privacy of your own home.  

Be safe, be well and Happy Sipping!

If you would like to see how we made a classic White Russian, you can take a peek here:

Sunday, December 29, 2013

New Year to Bring New Changes!

The new year will be upon us in a day or two and with the dawn of a fresh, new, squeaky clean slate, comes the realization that we actually have to work for our successes!  That being the case with my Noreen's Kitchen website.  I was notified by my website hosting company that they would be phasing out the current website builder that I have been using for the last three years and that I would have to begin using the new and improved version.  Why can't things be easy?  I can't simply migrate the over 300 pages that I have already published to the new version, I have to put my current website into a holding pattern while I rebuild it in the newer version of their builder.  Messy, messy, messy!  What a phenomenal waste of my time, you might say, if it were you and I would tend to agree.  However I cannot change how this is going to work and since they didn't ask me first, I will simply have to acquiesce and deal with it in my own way.

The way we will be dealing with this is that I will be rebuilding Noreen's Kitchen website from the ground up.  I will be hopefully going back through my YouTube videos and posting all the recipes I have done videos for so that you can refer at any given time to make the recipes that I have demonstrated.  I have wanted to do this for a while, but simply could not find the time.  Now I have no choice.  I have also wanted to revamp the visual and graphic aspects of the website and make it more pleasing to the eye and streamlined.  I am hoping that I can achieve that as well and make your experience while visiting very pleasant and make you want to come back on a regular basis!  All these things are positive approaches and the changes will, no doubt be positive as well.  I have learned a lot over the last 5 years of having my channel and 3 years of my website and I am going to implement the things I have wanted, to make everything easier to deal with.

All of this is going to take time.  I estimate, if I really work hard at it, and still keep up with my channel uploads, it will take me between 6 and 8 weeks to totally revamp the site from start to finish.  I ask patience from all of you who rely on the site to download and print my recipes.  No worries, though, the current version of the site will remain the same until the new version is available to be published.  You will still be able to access the site for printing out your favorite recipes until the new site is done.

Please sign up for email notifications through this blog and you will get an email each time I upload and post a new entry and/or recipe.  All of this is part of my goals for the new year.  One of which was to post a blog entry to coordinate with my video upload as well as post the recipe on my website and pay more attention to all my other social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram.  In time I will get a good schedule going and a checklist.  

In the last year, I have learned a lot.  As many of you know, I left a mainstream job about a year ago when my boss was elected as a judge and my office closed.  My husband Rick and I decided to try making my YouTube channel, website and blog our business.  So far it is working and we see great things in our future,  but we know we cannot rest on our laurels and we have to keep working very hard to get where we want to go.  We have you to thank for our continued success.  Without your support, feedback and love, we would definitely not be as successful as we have been and hope to be in the future!

It is our hope that you stick with us through this transition, which should be relatively painless.  Just look here on this blog for recipe posts.  I am uncertain if I can post PDFs, but I will find that out in good time.  If not, you will have to copy and paste for a short period of time.  

Thanks in advance for your understanding, continued support and constant participation in making our online community a wonderful place to be!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Nice & Easy Pizza Roll-Ups! Perfect for New Years Eve Snacking!

Greetings!  Let's start this one off by saying, I am tired!  This holiday season has simply wiped me out!  I can't remember a year when I was this tired.  We worked very hard this year for some reason to get the holiday pulled together.  I don't know if it was the fact that we work a lot or the fact that pay schedules did not allow us to do our holiday shopping as early as we would have liked, but in the end, Christmas was wonderful and now that we are through it, we are focusing our sights on the coming new year.  

With that in mind I thought it might be nice to do a couple of videos featuring fun foods that you can serve to guests as pick ups or appetizers.  I am also planning on doing a couple other special things for the grown ups, but this one will be for anyone who loves a pizza!

I made this pizza roll up a couple of weeks back for Rick so he could try it out for lunch one day and he loved it.  I used what I had on hand and it turned out lovely.  This goes together quickly with ingredients that you probably already have on hand and this idea can go a long way.  If you want to take this in a different direction you go right ahead!

A large burrito sized tortilla is where we start and then I layered on about a half cup of shredded Italian blend cheese.  Topped that with a layer of thin sliced, good quality pepperoni and a sprinkle of both pizza seasoning and Parmesan cheese.  Popped that in the microwave for about a minute just until the cheese was melted and then rolled the whole thing up tight.  

When I made this for Rick, I just sliced it in half on an angle but if you are making these for a crowd as an appetizer or a pick up finger food, then you may want to slice each one in to four or even six slices.  I would not recommend slicing them too thin though because they will unravel and fall apart while eating.  You don't want your guests to ruin their party clothes.  I served this with some marinara sauce on the side for dipping.  Voila'!  Easy appetizers!

You can easily change this up and make it into any type of pizza you like, vegetarian, ham and pineapple, meat trio, even layer in some ham and swiss cheese and serve with some honey mustard for dipping.  Simply delicious.  This is the perfect quick and easy appetizer that you can make at the drop of a hat.  Any time you have people drop by you will be ready to greet them with a love warm platter of this quick and easy treat.

I hope you consider give this a try and  I hope you love it!

You can watch how I made these here!

Happy Eating!

Friday, December 27, 2013

A Holly Jolly Vox Box Unboxing! Influenster Comes on Christmas Eve!

Greetings! Hope you are having a lovely holiday and that you were treated ultra well this Christmas.  The day after is always my favorite day of the holiday season.  It's quite, toned down and we are all in a relaxed mode.  After all the busy preparation for Christmas day and all the cooking, wrapping, shopping, shipping and anticipation it is nice to settle down and enjoy all we have been blessed with.

!It is usually what I refer to as my "do nothing" day , but seldom ends up being a day where I actually do nothing.  It is my own fault because I cannot stand to be still for long.  With that in mind, I thought it would be fun to share with you the Influenster Jolly Vox Box I received in the mail on Christmas Eve. 

If you are not familiar with Influenster, it is a website where you can go and sign up and take surveys and qualify to do product testing and reviews.  You then complete tasks and put the word out on your social media and earn points to qualify for more boxes.  I have received three this year and thought it would be fun to share this box.  I plan on sharing more boxes in the future and you can go sign up to qualify to get your own boxes.

This box had some fun stuff, like Skinny Cow candy, Rimmel lip laquer, NYC eye shadow, Mini Duck Tape and Puffs Plus with lotion tissues.   I have also received other boxes that included cereal, insoles, mac and cheese, Pond's BB cream (one of my faves) and high end facial serum that was just lovely.

It's fun to get to try things and give your feedback.  So go and sign up to give this a try!


Rimmel London Show Off Lip Lacquer @RimmelLondonUS / #ShowOffLipLacquer

NYC New York Color HD Color Trio Eye Shadow@NYCNewYorkColor / #HDColorTrio

Ducklings Mini Rolls Duck Tape @TheDuckBrand / #MiniDucklings

Puffs Plus      @Puffs / #PassthePuffs

Skinny Cow Candy    @TheSkinnyCow / #IndulgeWithSkinny

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas, New Year's, Channel Plans and Influenster! Oh My!

Hi everyone!  Today is the day after Christmas and I am sitting here going through all of my stuff, having a bit of a relaxing day after all of the prep work and fun of yesterday.  I am pooped!  I don't know about you, but getting ready for Christmas just gets to be busier and busier every passing year.  My girls are bigger now, but they are no less active.  In the end, my favorite part of the holiday seems to be the late evening hours of peace and quite that come when everyone is settled in for a holiday movie munching on freshly popped corn and sipping spiced cider.  That is when I am the happiest.  The gifts and the food and the family visits are all nice and meaningful, but it is the quiet of an evening with my children and my husband that make Christmas special for me.

I always call the day after Christmas my "Do nothing day".  It doesn't always turn out to be a day filled with nothing, because I need to be doing something all the time and not much will keep me down.  Even when watching a movie I need to be doing something, like crafting or crocheting.  Drives my husband up the ever, loving wall.  So it goes, my do nothing day is turning into a day filled with answering emails, going over comments and planning the first month of the new year for my YouTube channel.  I can feel the promise of the new year upon me.  This year, more so than in years past, I am hoping that is a good sign.  I know that I am motivated to make this coming year an amazing one in the kitchen and garden for myself, my family and for all of you!  

With that in mind, I recently began receiving boxes from Influenster which are filled with great samples of new products to try.  I plan on sharing some of these boxes with you today and in the coming weeks whenever I receive one.  I want to share my thoughts and feelings about what they send me.  I have only received on box so far, in 2013 and it was filled with some amazing products that I would not have known about which I cannot live without now, it also included some tried and true favorites.  

Today I wanted to share with you a product that I was sent to sample.  Meaningful Beauty Creme' De Serum.  This is from super model Cindy Crawford and you may have seen this advertised in one of those late night infomercials.  I have to tell you that I am usually very skeptical and suspect and would most likely not go out of my way to purchase such a product for any number of reasons.  When I got the opportunity to try this serum, I did not have high hopes.  I really kind of chuckled at the thought to be quite honest.

Well, as with lots of other things in life,  I was totally wrong about my initial approach to this product.  This serum is quite simply, delicious!  It only took one try for me to be hooked on it!  It is a tiny little bottle, that packs a powerful punch!  I have dry skin and being almost 50, whether I like to admit it or not, I am beginning to see signs of aging.  YUCK!!!!!  Under eye circles, fine lines and some dark spots that have been with me since the birth of my youngest daughter, 14 years ago.  Even though most people would not notice them, I do and while I don't mind for the most part, there are days when they bother me a lot.  

One little pump of this serum glides over your freshly washed face like a light silk veil.  It absorbs into your skin and helps it to remain soft and supple.  I was really surprised that there was not oily or greasy residue.  My skin tends to be dry but I have an oily T-zone.  This serum is wonderful and since I began using it about three weeks ago, my dark spots started to fade as well as the circles under my eyes and the fine lines I spoke of are starting to go away.  In short, I am really impressed with this product.

If you are interested in learning more about meaningful beauty you can find them here:

You can also sign up to be an Influenster of your own!  I love participating in these trials and maybe you will too!  You can find Influenster here:  http://www.influenster.com/  You have to fill out some surveys to find out what you like and where you fit as far as what is appropriate to  your lifestyle, but after that you can start to qualify to receive your box of fun filled samples to try and review!

So, I hope you don't mind if I pop in from time to time to share my "Vox Box" with you and let you know what I think about what I get to try!  Let me know what you think about what I think, I think that will be a lot of fun!  

My goal for the new year is to post a whole lot more here on my blog and let you into a little more of my life besides the kitchen.  I have plans to possible start a crafting channel, raise the bar on my kitchen channel and get the ball rolling on Rick's home improvement channel.  Blogging is just a natural progression for us.  This gives us an opportunity to check in or pop over for a quick snippet of our life maybe that we don't want to share on video or to enhance what we have done on video.  We hope you like what we have planned for the new year and as always love your input, suggestions and feedback!

Here is hoping that this holiday season has found you well and happy and that the new year will be filled with amazing awesomeness for all of us!