The most wonderful time of the year can also be the most stressful. Between shopping, planning and cooking, a nice drink — whether it’s alcoholic or not! — can help you relax. Why not get in the spirit of the holidays with these five fantastic and flavorful Christmas drink recipes?
What’s a more traditional winter drink than apple cider? It pairs perfectly with the feeling of wrapping yourself up in a blanket next to a cozy fire. The first whiff of its fruity scent alone can lighten anyone’s mood. You can make cider in a stockpot on your stovetop or let it simmer in your slow cooker. Want your cider to pack a little more punch? Try these recipes for cider spiked with bourbon or with rum and cinnamon schnapps.
Of course everyone loves hot cocoa. It’s an expected part of the winter season. But why not shake things up a bit by fixing a cup of Candy Cane Cocoa? The familiar, rich chocolate taste melds well with the melted candy cane bits, giving you a hot drink that truly tastes like Christmas. Not so hot on peppermint? There are other ways to give your cocoa a delicious seasonal twist. This Nutella Hot Chocolate recipe includes the sweet, delicate flavor of everyone’s favorite hazelnut spread. To spice up your holiday season, try Mexican Hot Chocolate or Gingerbread Hot Cocoa. And, of course, there’s only one thing better than chocolate, and that’s chocolate with booze. This recipe from Liquor.com lets you choose between peppermint schnapps, Irish cream, coffee liqueur, or bourbon.
Eggnog just might be the Christmas drink. The traditional treat that combines milk, eggs and bourbon or rum has been a favorite for centuries. Its sweet and flavorful nature will give you a warm feeling even on the coldest day. You can even try a non-alcoholic or vegan recipe to make sure everyone at your Christmas party can enjoy a cup. Don’t have time to stand by your stove? Simmer this seasonal sensation in your slow cooker with this recipe from Crock Pot. For a fun twist on tradition, try a Crock Pot Eggnog Latte or this taste-alike recipe that puts everyone’s favorite coffee stop to shame (and just happens to be delicious with a dash of Southern Comfort!).
Picture from https://www.eatingonadime.com/grinch-punch-recipe/
Before you judge us for this next one, think of the kids. But actually, the adults may love it just as much. With its combination of green punch, Sprite, lime sherbet and optional red sanding sugar, it’s sure to be a fun holiday drink that will make your heart grow three sizes!
Create a new tradition with this stunning twist on everyone’s favorite bubbly brunch beverage, the mimosa. Delish’s Christmas version, the Christmosa, is — well, delish! Fresh fruits like apples, grapes, and pomegranate seeds carol in perfect harmony with sparkling white grape juice and prosecco. We recommend Jacques Pelvas Brut de Blancs sparkling white wine — which just happens to be 20% off at Market Table!
Last but not least, another traditional Christmas favorite. Hot buttered rum is always a crowd pleaser. And with this recipe serving as a base board, you can experiment with different types of liquor to customize the drink any way you want. You can even combined hot buttered rum and apple cider or hot buttered rum and coffee for the ultimate Christmas cocktail combo!
Just as soon as Halloween’s over, Thanksgiving rushes toward us and suddenly it’s Christmas. The holidays can be a little hectic, especially if you’re hosting friends and family in your home. Here are five holiday hosting tips to make your seasonal gatherings warm, merry and bright.
Whether you’re preparing the Thanksgiving or Christmas meal, chances are you’re going to have a lot of mouths to feed. Try making a list of everything that needs to be accomplished before the big dates, including food, entertainment, etc. Stock up on items you might need — and buy a few extra so you won’t be short. As for the meals, it might be wise to begin preparing them the day before they’re served. It’ll take more pressure off you and give you time to focus on other preparations.
Don’t be proud. Preparing holidays meals by yourself is hard, if not impossible. If the kids or other family members want to help, it’ll make your work much easier. You’ll have free hands to tend to other matters, a true culinary form of multitasking!
Prepare Non-Food Items Early
Plates and silverware are just as important as the food you’ll be preparing, so make sure to stock up. Try and take inventory of them the day before the holiday. You might also want to set the table the day before as well, freeing yourself of the task later.
Don’t Forget Beverages
There’s so much going on while preparing holiday meals that it’s easy to forget the all-important drink. Ideal compliments for a Thanksgiving dinner could be apple cider or white wine, while hot buttered rum or eggnog would make a perfect Christmas quencher.
Once the meal is prepared, it’s time to kick back, have a few plates, catch up with the family and relax. Now that the work has been done, your holiday is finally beginning.
Text by Nick Adrian
Fall is the traditional time to harvest fruits and vegetables. If you have your own vegetable garden, you may already know this. However, if you’re new to the in-season-produce game,trying to figure out the ins and outs of eating seasonally may be a little intimidating. Fear not! Here’s a step-by-step guide to seasonal produce.
What Does “In Season” Mean?
Simply put, “in season” refers to food that’s harvested at a particular time of year. This ensures that you’re getting produce when it’s at its very best. This produce will have all the nutrients needed for a healthy diet. Also, your produce won’t be treated with harmful chemicals, so it’s even more healthy for your family.
What’s “Peak Season”?
“Peak season” is the time of the season when buying a particular fruit or veggie is most beneficial. First off, it’s when the produce is most available. Next, since it’s in abundance during peak season, the produce is far cheaper than any other time of year. Another benefit is that the produce has the most flavor during this time because it’s been allowed to fully ripen. However, perhaps the most important reason to buy produce in peak season is that it also has the maximum amount of nutrients.
Why Buy Local?
Buying locally grown produce ensures that there are little to no chemicals used as preservatives. If you were to buy seasonal produce from a farm out West and you live in the South, it’s highly probable that the farm will treat the produce with preservatives. Also, local produce doesn’t have to be shipped from another location, cutting down on pollutants like carbon dioxide gas. You can either purchase produce directly from the farmer at a farmer’s market or from a nearby farm.As an added bonus, buying locally stimulates the economy in your area, which is good for everyone in the long run.
Not in the mood to shop and cook for produce? Here at Market Table, we partner with local farms and food distributors to make sure we use locally grown and responsibly farmed produce whenever possible.
Finding Out What’s in Season
The best way to find out what’s in season in your area is to visit your state’s Department of Agriculture website. They will have a list of produce with information on when the season for something starts and when it ends. The Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture also offers convenient seasonality charts. On Alabama Farmers Market Authority’s website, you’ll find a list of seasonal produce and information about when it’s in peak season. This Alabama Cooperative Extension System guide, put together by Alabama A&M and Auburn Universities, lists seasonal produce and ideas for preparing it.
What’s in Season Now?
Here’s a list of what’s in season this fall and winter in the Southeast:
Text by Amber Pope
Making dinner doesn’t have to be a task you dread at the end of a long day. Letting your kids join you in the kitchen turns cooking into an exciting bonding time for your whole family. Kids can learn and practice valuable skills through age-appropriate cooking tasks. Here are seven safe and fun ways your kids can help make dinner.
Read the recipe
This is a great job for a kid who needs to work on their reading skills. Recipes contain a variety of ingredients, directions, and measurements. The variety in language will challenge your child and help their vocabulary grow.
Get the ingredients
Depending on which ingredients you want your child to gather, this job can be for almost any age. Younger kids can fetch familiar ingredients like fruits and vegetables. Older kids can fetch heavier things, things that could spill, and ingredients that might require them to read the label.
Crack the eggs
Cracking eggs can be tough, but it’s a very rewarding accomplishment if you get it right. For kids, the idea of perfecting their cracking skills will make them want to continue helping in the kitchen. For your older kitchen helpers, this is a job they’ll enjoy.
Rinse off the produce
Kids love playing in water, and rinsing off the produce is no exception. Kids at the youngest of ages can hop up on the counter to wash the vegetables and fruits you’ll need for your dish. This is also a great opportunity to teach your kids the importance of rinsing off their produce and making sure it’s clean.
This is another task that works for children of almost any age. Older kids can stir things on the stove with close adult supervision. Younger kids can stir the necessary ingredients together. Either way, mixing things together is a great job for kitchen beginners.
Watch the timer
This is a great job for a kid that knows or is learning how to tell time. Set a timer on your phone or stove and have them watch the clock. It’ll seem like a very important job to your young ones, especially since timing is key to a great dish.
Set the table
While they’re waiting for the food to cook, have your kids set the table for dinner. This is a great job for older kids in case something is breakable. Don’t stop at putting out the plates and silverware, though. The kids can even proudly serve the food they helped make.
Text by Kendal Harris
What Is Wine Pairing?
As old as civilization itself, wine has been a staple to the diets of many cultures. In some parts of the world, it was even considered safer to drink than the water. In modern times, we tend to focus on the actual experience of dining and drinking wine itself. This experience can be amplified by finding a delicious wine that pairs well with the flavor profile of the foods served.
At its core, wine functions best as a palate cleanser. This means that pairing wines with certain foods will make eating the food itself a more worthwhile experience. But how do you know what wine pairs well with what food? And how can someone pair wines with food when they can’t even tell the difference in wine varieties? These five tips will have you pairing food and wines like a sommelier in no time!
You may not be entirely familiar with the flavor profiles for different wines. Never to fear: the flavor profiles for food are already familiar to most food enthusiasts. Though there may be as many as twenty different kinds of tastes on the tongue, they can be boiled down to a list of six. These are the flavors fatty, salty, acidic, sweet, bitter, and spicy. When it comes to pairing, your first step is to decide which flavor is most prominent in the dish you’re serving. For example, bacon would chiefly have a salty taste, whereas bread pudding would be sweet.
Similarities Shine, Opposites Attract
Where wine pairings shine is in the balance of flavors between the wine and food. A congruence pairing brings together a wine and food with similar flavors, creating balance. On the contrary, a complementary pairing brings together a food and wine with flavors that contradict each other. Once you’ve determined the primary flavor of the food and what kind of pairing you’re looking for, it’s time to find wine with the right flavor profile.
The flavor profiles for different varieties of wine are simple to understand. This is because wine only has three types: bitter, acidic and sweet. Most red wines have a bitter flavor profile. Next, sparkling, white, and rosé wines all have a pronounced acidic flavor profile. Finally, sweet wines obviously have large notes of sweetness in their flavor profile.
For the pairing beginner, there are a couple of staple rules that can help your wine pairing. First, one should always make sure the wine is more acidic than the food. When you don’t know what goes well with a flavor of food, you can also base it on regional pairing. For example, Italian food can go well with an Italian wine like Bianco or Rosso. Also, red wines pair best with bold meats like steak. In contrast, white wines pair well with light meats like chicken or fish.
Now that you understand the basics of wine and food flavors, how does you choose the right wine with the right food? It all goes back to congruent or complementary pairings. For example, if trying a complementary pairing, chicken pairs well with many different kinds of wine. Although it pairs well with wines like rosé, the best one to choose is a light white wine. The high acidity of the wine creates a complementary pairing with the chicken by cleansing the palate. On the other hand, a congruent pairing would be like pairing a chardonnay with a salad with vinaigrette dressing. Both of these flavors have high acidity, which similarly complement each other.
Ready to create your own pairings? Market Table stocks a wide variety of wines — you’re sure to find one suited for any meal you put on your table. Our Girl’s Night Out (Thursday, September 20th from 6:00 – 8:00 PM) gives you the perfect chance to test your pairing skills. We’ll taste five of our fine new wines and you’ll also get to enjoy two full glasses of the wine of your choosing. Plus, we’ll serve up an array of delicious appetizers. Tickets are only $20 and can be purchased here. Any time you need a little help with wine pairing, we’re always here with palates that can help you find the right wine to pair with your guests’ heaping plates.
Text by Jonathon Page
Do you find yourself struggling to find a recipe at the last minute? Never seem to have what you need from the grocery store? Have no fear! Creating a weekly meal plan can make after-school evenings run much more smoothly!
Choose the Meals Your Family Loves
Start by making a list of all the meals and snacks your family likes to eat on a regular basis. Pro-tip: get some sticky tabs or magnets and write the name of each meal on a tab. Place them all in a notebook or on your refrigerator, spread out so that they’re easily accounted for. These meals will be the building blocks of a weekly meal plan for your family.
Chart It Up
If you went with sticky tabs, create a chart with a column for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks. Add rows for each day of the week. This layout allows you to easily account for each meal and snack you’ll be responsible for throughout the week. Although there are often occasions where you’ll go out to eat, it’s always better to have a plan that you stray from than to have no plan at all.
Organize the Days
Now, decide which meals should fall into which slot. When this process is completed, you should have a planned dish for every meal and snack throughout the week. When you get home from work, it’ll be so easy to just check the meal chart and start cooking. You also won’t have to worry about changing the meal halfway through preparation, as your family can see the meal plan. You can even collaborate on the plan before the week begins to avoid any arguments. As a bonus, this is an excellent way to teach the kids about balance and nutrition!
Check the Diet
Ever wondered if you’ve been giving your kids enough nutrients? This meal planning system makes it easy to keep your family’s diet (or, more often, diets) in check. You can easily outline and implement your family’s dietary needs with a structured meal plan. Also, seeing the meal plan spread out before you will make it easy to find places where leafy greens can be best disguised.
Shop and Prep
No more opening the fridge on a Wednesday night to find an empty milk carton! When you know what dishes you’ll be preparing a week ahead, you can easily buy everything you need from the grocery store in one go. Go through your meal chart and make a grocery list of all the items you’ll need for the week. After purchasing them, you can even prep for the meals ahead of time. Maybe a lot of your meals require chopped veggies or peeled fruit. Maybe you have to soak some lentils for another dish. Finishing the prep work for multiple meals once or twice a week is a huge time saver.
Of course, not everyone has time to meal prep or plan. That’s where Market Table comes in! Our freezer meals and prepared dishes offer options for the whole family — just pop them in the oven and have a healthy, delicious meal in no time. Stumped when it comes to lunch? We’ve got you covered there, too: you can pre-order and pick up our Light Lunchboxes, saving you time and sanity.