10 Recipes to Make Bubbly: Extraordinary!

Here are my 10 recipe ideas to make your plain old bubbly extraordinary! Add sparkle, fun and flavor to your champagne glass - with my ten favorite recipes. Cheers! ..with any brand of bubbly...

If you want to go with a 'pricey bottle' of champagne - go for it! But trust me, it can be just as fun - and delicious - to turn a less expensive bottle into an extraordinary glass! Even a $10 bottle can be well-chilled and glammed-up into something super satisfying. (My general rule is anything over $20, and I drink it au natural.)

Now onto my list of bevies!...

10 Easy Drink Recipes to Make Your New Year's Eve Bubby Extraordinary!

1. The Pom-Secco - Pomegranate-Infused.
This has to be one of my favorite easy recipes for turning an ordinary glass of prosecco into something divine. It's easy. Fill your glass 3/4 full with a well-chilled average priced prosecco (a $10 bottle will totally work). Then crush or squeeze a fresh pomegranate for juice. Top off the remaining portion of your glass with fresh pom juice. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and optional mint.

2. The Fizzy Grape - Concord Grape Fizz.
For anyone who used to enjoy 'grape soda' as a kid - here is the adult version! Fill 3/4 of your glass with any well-chilled fizzy bevie (prosecco, cava, champagne or sparkling wine). Then top off your glass with a high quality, dark purple Concord Grape Juice. Garnish with sliced black grapes.

3. Sunset Rosé Mimosa - Cherry-Citrus Rosé.
We all love the classic OJ/champagne bevie, the Mimosa. Well here is a twist on the classic. Freshly squeeze 1 grapefruit and 1 orange. Set juice aside. Fill each glass just over half way with well-chilled rosé sparkling wine. Then top off with a splash of fresh grapefruit juice, a splash of fresh orange juice. Lastly, have a jar of cherries handy. Add a very small splash of the cherry juice from the jar. And garnish with a cherry at the bottom of the glass. Add an orange segment to the rim of the glass.

4. Fizzy Mojito - Sweet Mint and Lime.
This really does taste yummy! You basically muddle a bit of mint/lime/sugar just as you would for a classic Mojito. But instead of adding hard alcohol and fizzy water, you will be adding chilled sparkling wine/cava or prosecco. Garnish with a lime segment.

Cheers! Fizzy style...

5. Cran-Fizz - Cranberry Zing.
Easy and refreshing. Fill the glass 3/4 with your chilled fizzy wine and top off with a high quality cranberry juice. I like to add a few frozen blueberries to the glass for this one. Another nice garnish with this one is to ad chopped kiwis to the glass.

6. Blue Angel - Simple Frozen Blueberries and Citrus.
(pictured above) Blueberry lovers try this way-too-easy fizzy bevie. Sometimes my champagne is not as chilled as I'd like, so I will add frozen fruit to the glass. This adds the coldness of ice cubes without watering down my drink.

Fill your glass with chilled champagne and add about ten frozen blueberries. (I like to use wild blueberries for their deep rich color.) In a few minutes your champagne will turn light blue and has a very subtle chilled sweetness infused into each sip. You can also do this with frozen raspberries or strawberries. I also add a splash of cranberry or pomegranate juice and a squeeze of tangerine or satsuma. I like to sugar-rim my Blue Angel glass: squeeze citrus around the rim, then dip into sugar crystals. Citrus wedge too.

7. Quickie Sangria Champagne - Apple, Citrus, Berry.
I adore Sangria, so I crafted this easy recipe to make a quick glass using basic champagne instead of wine. First, slice an orange into small thin segments. Add to a large glass. Add a nice splash of cranberry (any berry juice will work) or grape juice as well as a splash of ginger ale. Then add a handful of sliced apples. A few chopped grapes would be nice too. Lastly, squeeze an orange into this glass as well as a splash of lime juice. I never measure - I just throw in these basic ingredients and it works. Then mix this mixture around a bit. Then for each glass I add 2/3 sparkling wine and 1/3 sangria mixture. Be sure to add a few slices of fruit to each glass as well.

8. Spicy Mimosa - Cayenne Accented.
Easy upgrade to the classic OJ + champagne Mimosa - simply add a dash of cayenne to each glass. This adds another layer of flavor.

9. Tropical Fizzy - Pineapple Lime.
3/4 well-chilled sparkling wine and 1/4 pineapple juice. A spritz of lime. I like to sugar-rim the glass and add a few grates of lime zest.

10. Golden Apple Fizz - Ginger and Apple.
Another really easy bevie! 3/4 glass on chilled sparkling wine, then add a dash of strong ginger ale and a dash of apple cider. I also add a few bits of diced apple to each glass. Fizzy, light and spicy from the ginger. Add a dash of cayenne for extra spice.

Other New Year's Recipes for you to peruse...

* Premium Red Sangria
* Fruity Sangria
* Spicy Carrot Mimosa
* New Year's Eve Tradition: Soba Noodles!
* Soba Noodles 101
* Soba Pad Thai with Spicy Peanut Sauce
* Hangover Helper: Coconut Water for Hydration!

I hope you all enjoy your bevies for New Year!

Cheers to the New Year! Spicy Carrot Mimosa...


Top 25 Vegan Recipes of 2010! HHL Year in Review.

Happy New Year 2011 is on the horizon!...
Since 2010 is coming to a close, it's time to look back on all the vegan recipes I've tasted, sipped, crafted and swooned over this past year. Here are the Top 25 Healthy. Happy. Life. Vegan Recipes of 2010. As well as a few more popular posts from the past few years. Check out what we've enjoyed and learned this year!...

2010 Lessons. Here is what I've learned about 2010 after viewing YOUR fave posts of the year...

* You guys love "pumpkin" anything.
* You guys love classic foods - veganized!
* You guys love decadent, ooey gooey, *yum* desserts and creative pasta!
* You guys love smoothies, shakes and basically anything frosty.
* You guys love an easy holiday pie! (*see the #1 post of the year below)

Cheers to the New Year! Spicy Carrot Mimosa...

Thanks for a great 2010 everyone! I can't wait to see what vegan culinary adventures unfold for me in 2011. Please join me for the ride! :) Happy 2011 wishes to you all. Now onto the countdown...

The Best of 2010 Top Posts...
*Ranked in order .. #1 is the most popular post of the year

25. Vegan Grilled Cheese

24. Herbed Vegan Cashew Cheese. Dry Baked.

23. Pad Thai with Spicy Peanut Sauce

22. Chive Cashew "Ricotta" Nut Cheese

21. Acorn Squash Alfredo Pasta

20. Tu-Nut Sandwich! Vegan Tuna Substitute

19. Almond Butter Banana Smoothie. Easy Energy!

18. Pumpkin Spice 'Cashew Cheese' Dip

17. Pumpkin Spice Orange Banana Bread Bars

16. Molasses Ginger Cookies

15. Vegan Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies

14. Nutritional Yeast Flakes 101. Love them!

13. Easy Vegan Spinach Alfredo

12. "Cheese" Peas & Pasta!

11. Embracing Pumpkin! 9 Recipes.

10. Vegan Spinach Dip. Make Popeye Proud!

9. Green Juice 101

8. Vegan Lasagna with Vegan cashew Ricotta "Cheese"

7. Pumpkin Spice Latte at Home (not from Starbucks!)

6. From Scratch Pumpkin Pie with Homemade Gingersnap Crust

5. Vegan Mac and Cheese Recipes

4. Vegan Thanksgiving Cornucopia

3. Best Vegan Blogs

2. 5 Holiday Smoothies (IPhone App Update)

1. 5 Ingredient Pumpkin Pie

And here are a few posts which were not published in 2010, but still remain very popular:

* Carrot Ginger Soup Two Ways

* Tempeh "Bacon" (Facon)

* Wii Active vs. Wii Fit vs. Life

* Eating at Chipotle: 5 Healthy Tips

* Kathy's Vegan Essentials Shopping List

* Vegan Cole Slaw

* Tofu vs. Seitan

* Agave Syrup 101

* Whoopi Calls a Healthy Cookie Monster Stupid. I Agree!

* Blender Review

* Blackstrap Molasses 101: Goo that's good for you!

* Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cake

See last year's "2009 Best of" HHL here


Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson Broadway Cupcakes!

Broadway show over. Curtain down. Lights up. The crowd exhales. Back to planet earth. Hair blown way back.

Climbing out of a front row, I-can-touch-the-stage seat after a Broadway show is a rush. And it's as close as I will ever get to experiencing the feeling of actually being on stage. So last Sunday when I was lucky enough to see Broadway's Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (tag line: history just got all sexypants) from the front row, I was thrilled, to say the least.

And my post-show energy and inspiration turned out some killer cupcakes... In honor of the show I decided to make Bloody Bloody, no, sorry... Berry Berry Raspberry Glazed Cocoa Cupcakes. These are for you Mr. President Sexypants!... (UPDATED w/ a few new pics!!)

UPDATED!! A few photos added 1/2/11 (from the FINAL show!!)

Ticket Lotto...crazy!

Red lighting is soo fantastic!..


My Berry Berry (Bloody Bloody inspired) cupcakes...

Inside, raspberry jam is a sweet surprise...

For me, there's a story behind every recipe. Here's this one!..

Have a Broadway Fling. Yes, you! There have been a few Broadway show's that I have fallen in love with: Phantom, Billy Elliot, A Tale of Two Cities, Chicago (just to name a few). My most recent Broadway fling is Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.

..Now don't let the name scare you off. There are no vampires, dull bloody war scenes or 'history book' style scripting about AJ, the 7th President of these United States. I won't drone on and on about the spectacular lighting, witty scripting (my aching cheeks from laughing so hard) and genius casting. But I will say this: if you can catch the show before it closes on Jan 2nd. (boooo) Do it!

Benjamin Walker who plays the title character is pretty much perfect in this star-making roll.

I had already seen BBAJ from Mezz seats, but Front Row tickets meant it was my lucky day.

Theater-Lover. My post-show Facebook status. "Well that was fun." That was all I could get out at the time. The show was energizing - yet exhausting to be so close to the stage action.

You can see the sweat dripping, hear the actors breathing after an intense scene, see the scuffs on the shoes, spit flying, the stage shaking during each gritty dance number and then there is that constant worry, "wait, I turned my cell phone off, right?!" I've heard rumors that President Andrew Jackson is not too fond of cell phones and even stopped mid-show to chew out a noisy cell owner. All in good fun of course...

Front row vs. Mezz tix in the BBAJ show... (but really, this theater doesn't have a bad seat in the house!)

How-to, for Front Row Tickets. There are a few experiences in life I wish everyone could have. One of them is sitting front row for a Broadway show. And it's easier than you think to do! You see many shows have something called a ticket lottery (some of them are only open to students, FYI) which occurs every show day, a few hours before curtain. These seats are considered "partial view" since you are so incredibly close to the stage. So yesterday my husband and I tried the lottery and won two front row tix for BBAJ (only $20 each!!) As one theater-goer said, IT WAS #EPIC. I agree. Here's a taste via YouTube...

trying for lotto tix again. no luck! Glad I won once though!..

...ahh I just love theater. Gimme a Spotlight. I'm one of those girls: quiet, thoughtful, polite and introspective around new people. But stick me in a spotlight (in front of a camera, on stage, a microphone, on a soapbox..) and I burst into animated, dramatic, "where's-my-spotlight?" bliss. Showtime.

The show transported me. I can't even imagine the intense high the actors must feel after each performance. How do they come down from that??

Not Broadway-Bound? Try Regional Theater. I know everyone can't make it out to NYC to get the true Broadway experience. So don't forget to embrace those regional shows that stroll into town! Many of them were born on Broadway stages!

..So home from the adrenaline-boosting show, I had to do something to chill out. So I baked! In staying with the Bloody Bloody theme, I decided to make Berry Berry Raspberry Glazed Cocoa Cupcakes. Red raspberries oozing throughout. And I give a big Berry Berry Cupcake toast to the cast of BBAJ. Bravo. Standing ovation to you all.

My recipe...

Berry Berry Raspberry Glazed Cocoa Cupcakes
vegan, makes 18 cupcakes

1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup applesauce
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp baking powder
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup raspberry jam
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup crushed berries (blackberries or raspberries)

Raspberry Cream Cheese Glaze Frosting:
1/3 cup vegan butter, softened
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup raspberry jam
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp corn starch
dash of cayenne
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
8-10 ounces vegan cream cheese
1 Tbsp whisky (optional - in honor of BBAJ, of course)

Topping: vegan sprinkles
Cupcake Filling: red raspberry jam

* I used sweetened cocoa powder in first batch, but second try I used unsweetened and though they were better that way. ..Do you want a sweeter cupcake or not?
* I really enjoyed the dash of cayenne in the frosting. You can remove it if you don't like spicy-sweet flavors.
* If you want these cupcakes extra "red" "berry" you can add in a few drops of food coloring to the frosting. I just decided to keep them pink and light though.
* You could easily replace all the raspberry jam references with another red fruit jam: cherry or strawberry or even cranberry.


1. First, I prepared the frosting. For extra-fluffy frosting use a beater. Otherwise, simply whip very well with your spoon. Set in fridge to chill.

2. Preheat oven to 375 and line/oil your cupcake tins. Mix up your batter.

3. Pour one Tbsp of batter into each tin. Then follow with a dollop (about 1 tsp) of red raspberry jam. Then cover the jam with another heaping Tbsp of batter.

4. Bake for 25 minutes (or until edges of cupcakes brown).

5. Cool cupcakes completely or overnight. Dip each cupcake in frosting them a bowl of sprinkles (optional).

Cooling Cupcakes...

6. Serve or chill in fridge until served.

Serving Note: If you truly can't wait to serve these cupcakes, you can easily coat the warm cupcakes in chilled frosting. This will create a melted glaze, but still be quite fabulous.


Snow in New York City 2011! Photos & Snow Recipes.

The first real snowstorm of the season in New York City is always an interesting experience. The crazed, taxicab-packed streets filled with holiday shoppers, honking horns and gleeful tourists were hushed this weekend as over 20 inches of snow muffled the city. The churning sounds of city life were replaced with the scraping of snow shovels and roaring engines of snow blowers.

How to Spend a Snow Day?
I started off today in debate. Should I go out and frolic in the downtown NYC winter wonderland and risk a frozen face and soggy cold toes, or should I surrender to the "snowed-in" feeling and snuggle under my robe all day? Well it looks like I squeezed in both activities. And of course, as I ventured out to survey the snowy landscape, I brought my camera. Here are my snow in NYC 2010 photos (and a few snowy-recipes)...

At the end of my photos I'll share with you my fave snowed-in recipes.

Destination? Snow. So just where did my husband and I venture out to? We arrived a few blocks away at Le Pain Quotidien, which was "thank goodness" open! Hooray for hot soy lattes, farro porridge and a bowl of fresh berries. Here are my shots of the Greenwich Village/Washington Square Park/downtown Broadway area of the city...

Snow in New York City 2010 Photos

Snowed-In Recipes...

waffles. please...

Hot Cocoa? YES!...

steamy cranberry muffins. oh yea...

Minty Creme Cocoa? Most refreshing chocolaty, warm sip ever..

Homestyle Pea Soup? Perfectly cozy (and healthy!) fare...

Homemade Vegan Chili. Yummy...

Cheezy Peas & Israeli Couscous? Lovely...

A to-go falafel salad from One Lucky Duck? Since they are open, I so wanna be there..

Cinnamon Roll Apple Dumplings? Oh ya..

Lasagna Verde? Mmm..

More Mac 'n Cheez & Peas? Double MMmm..

Grilled Cheezy Vegan Fire/Ice Panini? Want!..

Perfect Day to Bake a Pie (with a from scratch crust!)..

hot pea soup? don't mind if I do...

Classic Pasta Marinara with Tempeh? Perfect.

Happy snow day!...

BTW, here's a look at Washington Square Park (before the snow)..