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Archive for January, 2010

RECIPE: Brandy Alexander

January 31st is National Brandy Alexander Day. We look at it as a transition out of Healthy Food Month at THE NIBBLE and to gird ourselves for Valentine’s Day carbs. The creamy cocktail was a favorite in our teenage years: When we turned 18, it was the legal drinking age in our state, so this was legal teenage drinking.

It’s dangerously good—like a spiked milkshake.

According to the Classic Cocktail Club of Milan, Italy, the Brandy Alexander was created in 1922 in London, “at the time of” the wedding of Mary, Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood to Henry, Viscount Lascelles (later, 6th Earl of Harewood).

So why is it called Alexander? It’s a variation of an earlier, gin-based cocktail called the Alexander.

Who was that Alexander? No one related to royalty, and an New Yorker to boot.

According to, one of the earliest known printed recipes for the Alexander dates to 1916. The cocktail is believed to have originated at Rector’s (est. 1899), a seafood restaurant in the New York theater district. The bartender there, one Troy Alexander, created the eponymous concoction in order to serve a white drink at a dinner celebrating Phoebe Snow.

Of course, in 1916 the singer Phoebe Snow (1950-2011) was not around. This was a fictitious advertising character Phoebe Snow, a railroad traveler who wore a snow-white dress. She graced an advertising campaign for the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad. The railroad was trumpeting that it powered its locomotives with anthracite, a clean-burning variety of coal—that would not in any way shed coal dust on that white dress.


Ingredients Per Drink

  • 1-1/2 ounces brandy
  • 1 ounce dark crème de cacao*
  • 1 ounce half-and-half
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
Brandy Alexander Cocktail

Nutmeg Brandy Alexander

Top: A Brandy Alexander cocktail. Photo courtesy Bottom: With a rim of nutmeg and sugar. Photo | IST.

*The original Alexander recipe would have used white crème de cacao, for a snow white drink.

Preparation1. Fill a shaker halfway with ice cubes.

2. Add brandy, creme de cacao and half-and-half; shake well.

3. Strain into a martini glass and garnish with grated nutmeg. Or, rim the glass with a mixture of nutmeg and sugar.


Add a scoop of chocolate or vanilla ice cream and serve in a globe wine goblet or other alternative to a martini glass.


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TIP OF THE DAY: Low Calorie Party


This barbecue pork loin saves many calories
with a sugar-free blackberry sauce. Here’s
the recipe. Photo courtesy The J.M.
Smucker Company.

Want to throw a get-together but fear for your strict diet? Have a pot luck diet lunch or dinner.

Everyone brings his or her best low-calorie dish, along with copies of the recipe to share and, if it’s a buffet, an index card to set in front of the dish, with the name of the dish and the cook, the ingredients and, if possible, calories per saving.

For more party fun, everyone can rank their top three dishes, and winners can be named.

The prizes?

Something low-calorie, of course! Or something no-calorie, like fancy brands of mineral water.

It’s a great party idea: Less cooking for you and the opportunity to try lots of new low-calorie recipes with your friends—who will be very thankful for all the new recipes they’ll be taking home.

This party concept works with any dietary restriction—fat-free, sugar-free, gluten-free, low carb, vegan, etc.


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FOOD HOLIDAY: National Egg Month

It’s the last day of National Egg Month. So:


Eggs are an inexpensive and delicious source of nutrition. Think of how to integrate them into your menus—such as this mushroom and smoked salmon frittata. You can substitute sausage or other favorite meat, or make it all vegetarian.


These are real chicken eggs—no retouching.
They come from different breeds of heritage
hens. Photo by Hudson Bedell | IST.

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TIP OF THE DAY: Sugar-Free Jigglers


Make Diet Jello-O a fun diet food with Jello-O
Jigglers molds. Photo courtesy Kraft Foods.

Our next-to-last diet tip for Healthy Food Month at THE NIBBLE:

If you’ve ever made Jell-O brand Jigglers for kids—Jell-O poured into egg-size molds that are particularly popular at Easter—those molds make colorful and tasty diet food when you fill them with Sugar-Free Jell-O, and are a treat any time of the year.

Choose your favorite flavors and make up a batch—we love cranberry, strawberry banana, orange, lemon and lime. You can serve the eggs whole or cut them with an egg slicer.

If you don’t have a mold, you can prepare the Egg Jiggler recipe in a 9″x13″ pan and then cut shapes with cookie cutters.

Serve Sugar-Free Jiggers with fruit, yogurt and cottage cheese, for light meals, snacks or dessert. Fun food takes the sameness out of dieting; and at just 10 calories a serving, Sugar-Free Jell-O is a caloric bargain.

  • To buy the Jigglers mold: There’s a plain egg plus five fancy versions, from footballs to racing cars. Consider making low-calorie snacks for the kids, as well. ($3.50 each)
  • The Jigglers recipe is usually on the carton, but here’s the recipe: Use vegetable oil or PAM to barely moisten the insides of the molds; wipe with a paper towel. To 1 package (8 serving size) or 2 packages (4 serving size) JELL-O Sugar-Free Gelatin Dessert, stir 1-1/2 cups boiling water (no cold water). Stir at least 2 minutes until completely dissolved (we use a whisk). Pour into measuring cup with pour spout. Using a funnel, carefully pour gelatin into mold through the fill holes until each egg is filled just to the top of the mold. Refrigerate at least 3 hours.
  • Find more of our favorite diet foods in our Diet Nibbles Section.


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ISSUES: Kids’ Nutrition

If you read THE NIBBLE, you enjoy good food. But how about what children eat, especially at school? And what of the families who don’t understand nutrition? (Their is no protein in toaster pastries, and juice drinks don’t substitute for milk.)

Even if you don’t have kids, many experts believe that nutritious food helps improve school performance and helps to create healthy eating habits that will be carried into adulthood and passed on to the next generation. That impacts all of us as employers, supervisors, colleagues, neighbors and citizens. Nutrition also plays an important part in helping to reduce obesity, diabetes and other food-related diseases.

During the next two months, Congress will consider a Child Nutrition Reauthorization that will establish the budget and priorities for school lunches for years to come. Now is the time to let our representatives know that we care about the type and quality of food served in our nation’s schools.

Let your voice be heard; tell Congress you want schools serve better lunches to our kids:


If you don’t enjoy good nutrition at home,
maybe you can learn it at school. Photo
courtesy Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

  • Provide $1 more per day per child for better school food.
  • Strengthen nutritional standards regarding all the food offered in schools.
  • Provide funding for healthy eating education and regional farm to school initiatives.

President Obama has committed $1 billion more to the cause of child nutrition, but it’s a big country: an extra dollar per day per child is needed. But funding for anything at this point is tight. You can let Congress know that America’s kids need more…$1 per day per child… for their school food. This is where you can help.

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