Sunday, February 23, 2014's Dining Out At Home Cookbook Two!

Have you ever wanted to recreate your favorite restaurant dishes to enjoy in your own home? If you answered yes. Then your in luck because Stephanie Manley, the creator of the popular Copykat blog, has now two cookbooks on the subject of dining out.It includes a wide collection of her unique homemade recipes based from popular American Restaurants.Some dishes you will recognize almost instantly while others will be quite brand new to everyone.However all the author want is us reader's to get creative and enjoy a special meal.

So what do we know about Stephanie.Well we can learn a lot about her on the website;however her recent cookbook titled Dining Out At Home 2 has painted a pretty detailed picture .That while I read the introduction and through each recipe I feel she is quite an inspiring and passionate women.She created her blog in 1995 to purely save her family recipes and now it has blossomed into two successful cookbooks.I can definitely identify with her on her love of food and wanting to share with everyone.It is one of the reasons I took on this opportunity from Ulysses Press to review her recent cookbook.So I have made it my mission to test out as many recipes as I can to give all my viewers a good look inside.So to get the ball rolling.I will start by reviewing the first chapter that is about recreating popular drinks. 

Now drinks can be quite tricky to replicate because I feel we have experienced so many flavored combinations overtime. That we have almost become experts on the differences,especially with store brand's and recreation's from restaurants.So I left my judgement at the door with choosing what recipe I wanted to test out and picked whatever caught my eye. 

So I chose a recreation that would be simple and many of you will definitely recognize it.The popular drink is not just in this restaurant it is also created by the Coca Cola company;however you will rarely see it sold in Canada.So what is it?

Well it's a homemade version of  Vanilla Coke, based on Sonic's Restaurant.This version is basically taking plain Jane cola and enhancing it with pure vanilla.It is actually quite a simple unique combination of creating a sweet vanilla syrup and adding it to a carbonated drink.Its a quick way to liven up your cola that gives a smooth and refreshing aspect.The vanilla gives a small enhancement without taking anything away from the popular Cola flavor and with so much syrup it would be great to use in other drink as well.

So I would say enjoy this drink with your favorite junk food munchies tonight.Just think this recipe as very little ingredient and you can create your own Vanilla Coke,Vanilla Dr.Pepper and even fancy coffee drinks.The possibility are endless with this vanilla syrup.So go on and try out this recipe!

The Recipe

Vanilla Coke 
For review purposes.
Recipe from,Dining Out At Home Cookbook Two 
Recreation of Sonic Restaurant's Vanilla Coke

Vanilla Syrup
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract( Homemade Vanilla Extract)

Vanilla Coke

2 to 3 tsp vanilla extract
Ice cubes,if desired
1 1/2 cup(12 oz) Coca Cola or no name version

Vanilla Syrup

In my small saucepan I added water and sugar,heating over medium.Until sugar was fully dissolved.

Then I stirred in my homemade vanilla extract and let it cool completely,off the heat.Once the syrup is cooled,I poured it into an airtight container and refrigerated.The color will slowly change to a yellow color,this may be different with store bought vanilla or artificial.

Vanilla Coke

Once ready to serve the Vanilla Coke.I added 3 tsp of vanilla syrup to a tall glass,added ice cubes and poured in the soda.Then I gently stirred in the syrup.This will create one serving.Adding more syrup creates a strong vanilla flavor,go on ahead if you desire.

Tips: This creates a lot of syrup and can be used in many other recipes.Such as different soda flavors,or even great on pancakes or waffles. Enjoy!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Do you need a quick, simple and personalize gift for  Valentine's Day?.Well I think the best idea is something that is straight from the heart, such as a delicious homemade treat.Your special someone will be surprised and quite appreciative that you put so much work into the gift.So, now,what treat should you make?

Well have you ever thought about making a batch of delicious homemade chocolates.Its not as a taunting task as you may think and is actually quite a creative process.Just think all you need is chocolate and some extra add-on if you desire.

Now, the best way to go about making this treat is of course using a good quality chocolate.However it is possible to make this treat with a cheaper chocolate or chocolate chips.This will just cause differences in appearance,flavor and texture.So, its really about what you choose and what your special someone will love.

For me, I made a batch of chocolate pieces by using leftover melted chocolate chips from my last use of my fondue fountain.I hate throwing away anything and I felt this was a great opportunity to make a treat to celebrate valentines day's.So I made a variety of chocolates with my semisweet chips with the add on's of almonds,sea salt and even peanut butter.They were definitely a hit with the family and the sea salt version was the favorite. So are you convinced? Well if you want to make homemade chocolates, then listen in to the next part.

Making chocolate pieces is actually quite a simple process.Really its all about melting the chocolate the right way for the best texture and appearance.So all you really have to do is melt down your chosen chocolate, lets say 8 ounces.Make sure the chocolate is chop up into pieces and place into a large glass bowl.From there its basically placing the bowl over a pot of simmering water and slowly stirring, until completely melted.Then its time to act quickly and fill the candy molds.It's also time to get creative and put your add on's towards the chocolate.Then once that's completed its time to let them set in the fridge or freezer.Once their set, its time to pop them out and keep them in the fridge until ready to serve.It's as simple as that and once you get the hang of it you can get really creative with your chocolates.

Also, if you don't have any chocolate/candy molds on hand you can improvise by using mini muffin tins,plastic shot glasses or even small plastic cups.The idea's are endless.Lastly,you can check out my previous chocolate recipes I have made for more information on the subject.

Anyways,I hope more people have given away homemade gifts this Friday because its more personal and thoughtful.So I hope everyone has a great Valentine's Day and enjoy their treats.