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Archive for January 3, 2015

PRODUCT: Master Of Mixes Bloody Mary Mix


Really good, and ready to party. Photo
courtesy American Beverage Marketers.


Master of Mixes, a brand from American Beverage Marketers, and award-winning Food Network chef Anthony Lamas, have launched “Chef Inspired” Bloody Mary Mixes. We received samples last year, but saved them for January 1st, National Bloody Mary Day.

We’re sorry we didn’t enjoy them earlier. They’re excellent!

Quality fresh ingredients, and “unique” (per the company) spices, deliver an abundance of flavor in three varieties:

  • Classic Bloody Mary Mix: Classic is a refreshing twist on the traditional Bloody Mary with strong, bold flavors that stand up to the vodka while allowing the tomato and sharp savory notes to shine through. The flavors of Roma tomato juice are accented with black pepper, cayenne pepper, celery, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Loaded Bloody Mary Mix: This is how we like our Bloody Mary mix, with the boldness of horseradish and chile peppers. Chef Lamas adds the bright garden flavors of cucumber, celery and citrus. The mix is beautifully textured with chopped spices and diced vegetables, along with fresh horseradish, cracked black pepper, jalapenos, lemon and lime juices.
  • 5-Pepper Bloody Mary Mix: This seriously spicy blend will delight those who like it hot (but nicely so). The blend features ancho, chipotle, habanero, jalapeño and other chiles.

    Chef Lamas, proprietor of the Louisville-based Latino/Southern restaurant Seviche, had a “farm fresh” concept in mind: a more palatable, flavorful, bright Bloody Mary mix. He has succeeded!

    While one would think that the market didn’t need another Bloody Mary mix, truth be told, many of them are substandard. We typically mix our own—it’s pretty easy—but would happily use Master Of Mixes.

    In fact, they’re so natural and flavorful, they make an excellent Virgin Mary, a.k.a. tomato juice cocktail, straight from the bottle.

    About that bottle: It’s a pretty downscale design, given the high quality of the product inside. Don’t judge the book by its cover.

    The mixes are available at major retailers in all 50 states, well-priced at $3.99/liter and $6.99/1.75 liter. To learn more, visit You can purchase Master of Mixes products online at

    American Beverage Marketers Inc., is a leading worldwide producer and marketer of cocktail mixes.



    Yes, please! Photo courtesy American Beverage Marketers.



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    RECIPES: Sun Dried Tomato Soup & Cream Of Tomato Soup


    Make tomato soup with sundried tomatoes.
    Photo courtesy Bella Sun Luci.


    Winter tomatoes lack the deep flavor of summer tomatoes, but you can enhance that flavor with canned tomato purée or sundried tomatoes.

    This tomato soup recipe uses both. It’s both comfort food and holiday food, with vivid red and green colors. If you prefer a creamy soup, we’ve got Sundried Tomato Cream Soup, below.

    This recipe is courtesy Bella Sun Luci, sundried tomatoes grown in sunny California.


    Ingredients For 4 Servings (1 Quart)

  • 2 cups diced fresh tomatoes
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup sun dried tomatoes, julienne cut
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium size celery ribs (you can save the leaves for garnish)
  • 1 large carrot
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ½ yellow onion
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Garnish: 8 fresh basil leaves
  • Optional garnish: crème fraîche, sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
  • Preparation

    1. CUT the carrot, celery, onion and garlic into very small pieces. Simmer them in the vegetable stock until very soft, about 15 minutes.

    2. ADD the rest of the ingredients, except the olive oil and the fresh basil. Simmer for 15 more minutes, then use an immersion blender or a food processor to purée with the olive oil (with a food processor, take care that the hot liquid doesn’t shoot out of the top). Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.

    3. SERVE hot, garnished with the fresh basil leaves and optional crème fraîche/sour cream/Greek yogurt.



    Ingredients For 4 Servings

  • ¾ cup sun dried tomatoes in olive oil, drained
  • 2 cups tomato juice
  • 2 cups whipping cream of heavy cream (see the difference below)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Garnish: fresh basil for garnish

    1. COMBINE the drained tomatoes with 1 cup of tomato juice in blender or food processor; purée to a smooth consistency.

    2. COMBINE the purée and the remaining cup of tomato juice in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients.

    3. COOK over low heat until thoroughly heated. Do not boil; it can curdle the cream.



    Cream of sundried tomato soup. Photo courtesy Bella Sun Luci.


    These are similar, but not exactly the same.

  • Heavy cream contains 36% or more milk fat (butterfat).
  • Whipping cream has 30% milk fat (butterfat).
    Because of the higher fat content, heavy cream will whip better and hold its shape longer than whipping cream. Therefore, it makes a difference with pastry fillings, piping, dessert toppings and other applications.

    Whipping cream will still whip well, but it loses its body more quickly. In a recipe like soup, the stiffness doesn’t make a difference.

    Any of the three spellings of sun dried is correct. What’s more important is the meaning: sun dried tomatoes are dried naturally in the sun, over the course of 4–10 days. They are usually pre-treated with salt or sulfur dioxide to improve quality.

    The drying process gives them a long shelf life, since most of the moisture, on which bacteria thrive and cause decay, is removed. They can also be preserved in olive oil or other vegetable oil.

    Another technique to dehydrate tomatoes for preservation is oven drying. This is done at the lowest heat setting for 1-3 hours. If you have a bumper crop of tomatoes, or there’s a big sale on tomatoes, you can use this technique to create homemade dried tomatoes.


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    TIP OF THE DAY: Find Healthier Versions Of Your Favorite Recipes


    Skinny enchiladas: great flavor with lower calories and cholesterol. Photo courtesy Denise Austin.


    As we were writing this, we heard two television newscasters discussing their diet resolutions for 2015.

    “I lasted five minutes into the Rose Bowl,” said one. “I made it to yesterday [January 2nd]”, said the other.

    Sure, it’s tough to diet. But on a daily basis, it’s easy to downsize the calories and saturated fat. If you must have Fettuccine Alfredo or cheesecake, look for Cooking Light-style alternatives to your favorite dishes, from Fettuccine Alfredo to cheesecake.

    Here are two Mexican favorites “downsized’ by health and fitness expert Denise Austin, who debuted a new online diet and fitness program this month. Try them, and if they please your palate, look for more “skinny” versions.



  • 1 tablespoon canola or grapeseed oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoons chili powder (use half ancho chili powder for a smokier flavor)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 can (15 ounces) no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups cooked skinless boneless chicken breast, shredded
  • 3 cups loosely packed spinach, roughly chopped
  • 8 organic corn tortillas
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced


    1. PREHEAT the oven to 400°F. Coat a 9×13-inch baking dish with oil spray.

    2. HEAT the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent and very soft, about 7 minutes. Add the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, oregano and cayenne and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato sauce, broth, and salt and cook until hot, 3 to 5 minutes.

    3. RESERVE 3/4 cup of the sauce. Add the chicken and spinach to the remaining sauce and cook until the spinach is wilted, 2 to 3 minutes.

    4. WRAP the tortillas in damp paper towels and microwave for 30 to 60 seconds to heat through.

    5. DIVIDE the chicken filling evenly between the 8 tortillas. Roll the tortillas and arrange them seam sides down in the baking dish. Spread the reserved 3/4 cup sauce evenly over the tortillas and top with the cheese. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and broil the top for 3 to 5 minutes to brown the cheese.

    6. TOP each serving (2 enchiladas) with 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt and scallions.

    Calories per serving: 510.




  • 20 organic corn tortilla chips (if following gluten-free diet, check label to ensure chips are gluten-free)
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded reduced-fat cheese
  • 1/4 cup diced tomato
  • 2 tablespoons sliced black olives
  • 1 scallion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 4 cups vegetarian chili
    For The Vegetarian Chili

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced yellow onions
  • 1/2 cup diced carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes, fresh or canned
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch cinnamon
  • 1 cup tomato juice


    Skinny nachos amp up the flavor with spices. Photo courtesy Denise Austin.

  • 1 cup cooked black, pinto, or red kidney beans (if using canned, choose no-salt-added or low-sodium beans and rinse and drain well before use)

    Preparation: Nachos

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.

    2. ARRANGE the tortilla chips in a single layer on the baking sheet. Sprinkle evenly with the cheese. Bake for 3 to 5 minutes, or until cheese is just melted.

    3. SPRINKLE the tomato, olives, and scallion evenly over the nachos. Divide into 2 equal portions and serve each portion with 2 cups Vegetarian Chili topped with 2 tablespoons Greek yogurt.


    Preparation: Chili

    1. HEAT the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.

    2. ADD the onions, carrot, cilantro, tomatoes, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, salt, and cinnamon. Stir well and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 10 to 15 minutes.

    3. ADD the tomato juice and beans. Simmer for 10 minutes.

    Calories per serving: 430.


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