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ST. PATRICK’S DAY RECIPE: Low-Calorie Green Spritz (a.k.a. Wine Spritzer)

[1] A lower-calorie green spritzer from My Recipes. My Recipes is part of the Allrecipes Food Group (photo © copyright 2021 Meredith Corporation).

[2] Tint it green with a few drops of food color. We like to tint vanilla ice cream green for St. Pat’s (photo © McCormick).

[3] Use plain sparkling water or club soda; or a lime-flavored version (photo © Perrier).


Thanks to My Recipes for this lower-calorie way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

While often called a spritzer in the U.S., the drink is actually a spritz.

We first started to drink them in college, when bartenders and waiters called them spritzers.

Either way is fine with us. Just don’t ask for a spritzer in Europe.

This spritz, which is half white wine, half club soda, has only 92 calories of wine. The club soda is a caloric freebie, as is the squeeze of lime.

For Christmas, you can serve the same drink with a strawberry garnish.

Ingredients For A Glass Or Pitcher

  • Green food coloring
  • 1 750ml bottle dry white wine, chilled
  • 1 liter club soda, plain or lime flavor
  • Optional garnish: 1 lime wedge per glass

    1. PLACE 1 drop of green food coloring into each wine glasses, or 8 drops for a pitcher.

    2. ADD four ounces of chilled white wine to a glass, or the entire bottle for a pitcher.

    3. TOP with four ounces of chilled club soda for a glass, or the entire bottle for a pitcher.

    4. STIR very lightly (you don’t want to break the bubbles). Garnish as desired.

  • Absinthe, The “Green Beast”
  • Appletini
  • Caraway Stout Cocktail With Caraway Cheese Spread
  • Champagne & Oysters
  • Emerald Isle With Pressed Green Juice
  • Green Beer With Irish Spuds & Green Dip
  • Green Bloody Mary
  • Irish Beer & Cheese Party
  • Irish Coffee Shots
  • Irish Margarita
  • Peppermint Paddy Martini
  • Pot O’ Goldtini
  • Red Ale, Stout & Food Pairings
  • The Shamrocker (Bright Green)
  • The White Irishman (A White Russian Variation)



    PRODUCT: Starbucks Coffee Limited Edition Spring Collection

    Spring is right around the corner—March 20th.

    But Starbucks limited edition spring coffees are on the shelf now, ready to put a spring in your coffee step…er…cup.

    We have come to love Starbucks’ limited edition coffees. It’s always fun to try something new, and the limited editions have been a consistent treat.

    We liked the 2020 holiday collection so much that we lamented when those coffees went away.

    The spring edition delivers two equally special brews, in both ground and K-Cup pods.

  • Starbucks® Honey & Madagascar Vanilla Flavored Coffee conveys the subtle aroma and taste of honey and vanilla. We’ve preferred drinking it black to get the most of the flavors; but you can also detect them if you add milk.
  • Starbucks Spring Day Blend blends beans from from Africa and Latin America to yield notes of rich cocoa and lush dried fruits. Again, if you typically add milk and/or sugar, try sipping it black first, and let your palate find the special notes.
    To people who say, “Skip the mumbo jumbo; just give me a cup of great coffee”:

    These spring editions deliver.

    The two new coffees are available for a limited time at grocers nationwide and online:

  • Starbucks Honey & Madagascar Vanilla
  • Starbucks Spring Day Blend

  • Spanish Coffee With Honey
  • Honey Lavender Iced Coffee
    For more coffee recipes, visit

    Whether you use a standard brewer, a moka pot, a coffee press, a pour over or old brew:

    Here are Starbucks’ tips for brewing a better cup of coffee.




    [1] A breath of spring: the Starbucks limited-edition spring collection (all photos © Starbucks).

    [2] Both varieties are available in ground coffee and K-Cup pods.

    [3] Try Honey & Vanilla hot and iced.




    RECIPE: Beet Hummus & The History Of Beets

    [1] Beet hummus, a passionate red purple for Spring, Easter, Mother’s Day, Christmas and Valentine’s Day (photo © California Olive Ranch).

    [2] Add some equally bright crudites: colored cauliflower florets, multicolor cherry tomatoes, and crinkle-cut carrots, below (photo © Sid Wainer).

    [3] Instead of buying baby carrots which often have little flavor, buy standard carrots and cut them with your crinkle cutter (photo © Ardo).

    [4] Baby beets (photo © Heather Gill | Unsplash).

    [5] Red, orange, yellow (golden), and striped chioggia beets (photo © Cibo e Vino | Facebook).

    [6] White beets (photo © Silk Road Tavern | New York City [now closed]).


    For National Snack Day (March 4th), here’s an oh-so-healthy snack.

    It’s a spin on hummus from California Olive Ranch, which adapted it from a Bon Appetit recipe.

    For a spring and Easter treat, add multi-colored cauliflower florets (photo #2) and other bright veggies like carrots (photo #3) and multi-colored cherry tomatoes.

    National Hummus Day is May 13th. National Beet Day? None yet!

    While we’ve made other beet hummus recipes, this one has something special: ricotta, which gives the hummus a special texture and flavor (photo #1).

    If you’re not keen on beets, here’s a conventional hummus recipe with ricotta.

    You can also try the recipe with soft goat cheese instead of the ricotta.


  • 1 large red beet, about 6 ounces (baseball size)
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • ⅓ cup tahini
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup ricotta
  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon ground coriander
  • Garnish: mint leaves, extra virgin olive oil

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 425°F. Wrap the beet tightly in foil and place it on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet.

    2. ROAST until the tines of a fork slide easily into the center of beet, 60–70 minutes. Remove from the oven and let sit until cool enough to handle. Meanwhile…

    3. BLEND the chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice, ricotta, garlic, salt, pepper and coriander in a food processor until smooth. When the beet is cool enough to handle…

    4.RUB beet with a paper towel to remove the skin. It should slip off easily; scrub your hands under running water with soap or cleanser to remove any staining.

    5. TRIM the root end and cut the beet into 8 pieces; add them to the food processor. Process until mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes.

    6. TASTE and season with more salt, as desired.

    7. TRANSFER the hummus to a serving bowl. Garnish with the mint, and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.


    The ancestor of the modern beet (Beta vulgaris) is the wild beet or sea beet (Beta maritima) which grows on the coasts of Eurasia.

    Initially, the root (it loos like a bulb, but is a taproot†—photo #4) was not eaten. The original root was long and thin, like a skinny carrot or parsnip. The round root we enjoy today was bred over millennia.

    Beets were domesticated in the ancient Middle East, primarily for their greens (photo #5), and were grown by the Ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans.

    The oldest archeological proof that beets were used in ancient times have been found in the Neolithic* site of Aartswoud in the Netherlands, and in the Saqqara pyramid at Thebes, Egypt, which dates to the third millennium B.C.E.

    Assyrian texts that say that beetroots were growing in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon in the 800 B.C.E.; but as Vegetable Facts points out, we still don’t know if Hanging Gardens ever existed.

    But at least the point is made that Mesopotamia knew about beetroot at that time.

    Ancient Greeks cultivated beetroot around 300 B.C.E. Still, only the leaves were eaten; although Hippocrates (c. 460 B.C.E. to c. 370 B.C.E.) used leaves of beetroot for binding and dressing wounds.

    The ancient Romans were among the first to cultivate beets and eat the roots as well. The tribes that invaded Rome after the fall carried beets throughout northern Europe. There, they were initially used as animal fodder and later for human consumption [source].

    Romans, on the other hand, ate the roots, but mainly for medicinal purposes: as a laxative and to cure fever.

    In the first century C.E. in Rome, De Re Coquinaria, a cookbook written by the Roman gourmet Apicius (believed to be a fictitious name and a group effort), featured beetroot recipes from broths and to salads with mustard, oil and vinegar.

    The Hebrew Talmud, written in 4th and 5th centuries C.E., advises eating beetroot, among other things, for longer life.

    In the Middle Ages, beetroot was used as a treatment for a variety of conditions, especially illnesses relating to digestion and the blood.

    Bartolomeo Platina, an Italian Renaissance writer and gastronomist, recommended taking beetroot when eating garlic to nullify the effects of garlic-breath [source].

    Modern Beets

    The beets we know today, with globular roots, appeared in Europe and the 16th and 17th centuries. While beets as a crop became more popular in the 16th century, they really became prominent in the 19th century, when it was discovered that beets were a concentrated source of sugar.

    In the Victorian era (1837 to 1901), beetroot was used to add color to an otherwise colorless (i.e. beige) diet, as well as a sweet ingredient in desserts.

    Industrialization allowed for easier preparation and preservation of vegetables, so beetroot in jars and cans became more available—plain and pickled.

    Today, the most common variant of beetroot is round and deep red, but beets can also be orange, purple, yellow (golden), white, and even red-and-white circular stripes, the chioggia beet, pronounced kee-OH-juh and also known as candy stripe beets and bulls eye beets (photos #5 and #6).

    These other colors were developed from mutations.

    What we call simply “beet” is known as beetroot in England.

    Now that you know the history of beets, how about…


    *The Neolithic was the final of the three progressions of the Stone Age. It began about 12,000 years ago (10,000 B.C.E.) when the first developments of farming appeared in the Near East, and lasted until the Chalcolithic (Copper Age), about 6,500 years ago (4500 B.C.E.).

    †A taproot is a large, central, dominant root from which other roots sprout laterally. Examples include beets, carrots, parsley, parsnips, radishes, turnips and others, including cannabis.



    RECIPE: Sweet Potato Pound Cake For National Pound Cake Day

    March 4th is National Pound Cake Day—one of our favorite cakes.

    Our “personal spin” on it is a pound cake hot fudge sundae: a slice of pound cake topped with ice cream, fudge sauce and whipped cream—hold the cherry unless it’s an adult-worthy one from Tillen Farms.

    Here’s how to make a pound cake ice cream sundae.

    The original recipe was developed in England in the 1700s. Here’s the history of pound cake.

    Vanilla or lemon are the classic pound cake flavors, but in the 20th century, creative bakers made flavored versions:

  • Buttermilk, cream cheese or sour cream to the batter.
  • Every flavoring under the sun: almond, amaretto, Black Forest, blood orange, cappuccino, caramel turtle, chocolate/white chocolate, chocolate chip, coconut-macadamia, cranberry, Grand Marnier, Key lime, maple, peanut butter, pistachio, pecan, pumpkin, turtle and so on.
  • Fruit or a fruit swirl.
    Today, we offer you yet another flavor: Sweet Potato Pound Cake (photo #1).

    Who says that sweet potato desserts start and end with pie?

    This recipe is deliciously moist, with the naturally sweetness of the potatoes, plus coconut. It was developed by Superman Cooks for the North Carolina Sweet Potatoes.

    Look at the Superman Cooks website for more tempting, beautifully photographed recipes.

    Prep time is 10 minutes, cook time is 1 hour 5 minutes, cooling time is 15 minutes.
    Ingredients For 12 Servings

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2½ cups sweet potatoes, cooked and mashed
  • 3 cups self-rising flour
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice*
  • ½ cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • Optional garnish: powdered sugar†

    1. PREHEAT the oven to 350°F. Cream the butter and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl.

    2. ADD the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Add the mashed sweet potatoes and mix well.

    3. COMBINE the flour and pumpkin pie spice in a separate large mixing bowl. Gradually add the sweet potato mixture to the flour mixture, while beating.

    4. STIR in the coconut. Spoon the batter into a well-greased bundt pan.

    5. BAKE for 65 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for 15 minutes and then invert the pan to remove the cake.

    6. DUST with the optional powdered sugar.

  • Cream Cheese Pound Cake
  • Grilled Pound Cake
  • Maple Pound Cake
  • Meyer Lemon & Ginger Pound Cake
  • Peanut Butter Pound Cake
  • Pineapple Pound Cake
  • Pumpkin Spice Pound Cake Bundt

    [1] Mmmm, Sweet Potato Pound Cake (photo © Superman Cooks | North Carolina Sweet Potatoes).

    [2] Firm, sweet North Carolina Sweet Potatoes (photo © North Carolina Sweet Potatoes).

    [3] Shredded coconut. You can get it at Gourmet Food World (photo © Gourmet Food World).


    *If you don’t have pumpkin pie spice, it’s easy to blend yourself with these ingredients.

    †Powdered sugar is a pretty garnish, but it falls onto clothes and furnishings. We’ve learned to live without it. If you want decoration, try this vanilla glaze.



    RECIPE: Mulled Wine In A Slow Cooker

    [1] Slow cooker mulled wine. The recipe is below (recipe and photos #1 and #2 © Hello Fresh).

    [2] It takes just 90 minutes in a slow cooker.

    [3] If you have stemmed glasses, by all means use them (photo © Edward Howell | Unsplash).


    March 3rd is National Mulled Wine Day.

    Where we live, there’s enough of a chill in the month of March to warrant a cup of warm mulled wine.

    “Mulled” means to heat, sweeten and flavor with spices for drinking. Cider and ale are also mulled.

    Mulled wine is a wine drink typically made from a hearty red wine, honey and spices.

    It originated as a way to save wine that had gone bad, and became a traditional winter drink in northern Europe.

  • Glögg is the Swedish form of mulled wine
  • Glühwein is a German variation
  • Vin fieri (“boiled wine”) is Romanian…and so forth.

    Different countries use different spices (cloves and black pepper versus cinnamon and star anise, e.g.) and sweeteners (sugar, brown sugar, honey, molasses).

    But the end result is the same: fragrant, warm, sweet and comforting.

    Don’t have a slow cooker? Here’s a stove top mulled wine recipe.

    Ideally serve mulled wine in a glass cup to appreciate the color and the garnish, but any cup is fine.

    Thanks to Hello Fresh for this recipe.

    Prep time is 10 minutes, cook time is 90 minutes.


  • 1 bottle dry red wine (Cabernet, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, e.g.)
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 star anise
  • 6 cloves
  • 2 pears, thinly sliced
  • 1 orange, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 limes, thinly sliced
  • 1 orange, thinly sliced, plus 1 for garnish
  • Garnish: Orange slices, quartered to fit in the glasses

    1. POUR the wine into a slow cooker along with the cinnamon sticks, star anise, cloves, orange juice, honey and pear slices. Stir to combine.

    2. TURN ON the heat and let simmer on low heat about 1 hour. Add the lime and orange slices and let the wine infuse for another 30 minutes on the “keep warm” setting.

    3. STRAIN the mulled wine, leaving out the cinnamon sticks and star anise.

    4. GARNISH with a few slices of pear, orange and lime.




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