Picture
I firmly believe that half of the fun of cupcakes and brownies is how they are decorated. Just take your favorite recipe and spruce it up with festive decorations. 

This month is HALLOWEEN!!!!! 


PS There are bonus pizzas at the end! 


MUMMY CUPCAKES

Frost your favorite cupcakes with a thin layer of chocolate frosting. Use warmed marshmallow cream to cover the cupcakes in a mummy-like way. The eyes are peanut M&Ms with a dot of black writing-icing for the pupils. 
Picture
Frankenstein Cupcakes


Mix white frosting with a little bit of green food coloring. Frost a thin layer on your favorite cupcake. Top with a marshmallow and carefully frost the marshmallow. Break a pretzel stick into pieces and use two of them to put into either side of the face. Use black writing icing to design the face. 

Picture
Sometimes you just want quick and easy cupcakes. Go to stores like Michael's and pick up a small package of decorations, liners, and/or sprinkles in the holiday colors. 


Above we have a few easy way to decorate cupcakes using 1 pack of mini wrappers, sprinkles, and little Halloween signs.

Picture
Mini Red Velvet "Bleeding Knife" Cupcakes


These knives were available at Michael's. I topped mini Red Velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. Spread a little red gel on top and stuck them with a knife. A showstopper and so easy!

Picture
Halloween Brownies


Make your favorite brownies stand out with either of these easy ideas. Above, brownies were cut into ghost shapes and topped with a marshmallow creme. 


The Graveyard Brownies were topped with half of a vanilla cookie (I used Vienna Fingers) and I wrote pretty lame things on it --- like "RIP", "Bye", and "Dead". I added some green writing icing for a grass look, though the brownies could have been topped with green icing if you really want the full graveyard look. 

Picture
bonus. SPIDER WEB PIZZAS


Both of these are super easy. Use prepared dough (or your favorite dough recipe), top with shredded cheese, top with pizza sauce, and either use cut up sting cheese (example to the left) or use Alfredo sauce to create a web pattern on the pizza. 


For the spiders, make each one out of 2 olives. Keep one olive whole, and cut the other into 8 pieces for the legs. If you love olives, add multiple spiders to each pie. 


Bake as normal. Easy and DELICIOUS! I prefer the Alfredo-version, but they are both great!

HaPpY HaLlOwEeN!

 
Picture
This is a really easy way to get your nacho fix quick! Microwave-only and less than 5 minutes to throw together. While it's made for two, I'm totally not going to judge if you end up consuming all of it yourself. 









ingredients.


4 ounces cooked and shredded chicken (can use canned)
3 tablespoons bbq sauce 
2 ounces tortilla chips 
3 tablespoons canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup reduced-fat Mexican-blend shredded cheese
2 tablespoons light sour cream




directions.


Combine chicken and bbq sauce. 


Spread out the tortilla chips on a microwave-safe plate. Top with black beans. Evenly spread the chicken mixture over the beans and sprinkle with cheese. 


Microwave for 1 minute, or until cheese has melted. Serve topped with sour cream. 


MAKES 2 SERVINGS




1/2 of recipe: 250 calories, 8.5g fat, 615mg sodium, 22.5g carbs, 2g fiber, 7.5g sugars, 21g protein




slim trick. Use reduced-fat or baked tortilla chips to cut the fat down! You can also use fat-free cheese and/or sour cream if you're a calorie-counter, though I think the reduced-fat varieties are worth it in this recipe. ***Also using your favorite low-cal bbq sauce will really gear this to your own taste buds (look for ones with about 25 cals or less per tablespoon). 




 
Picture
Jazz’d Tapas Bar is a really great swanky place located near the heart of City Market. It is fantastic for date nights, girls’ nights, and celebrations. At night there is often live jazz music and the atmosphere feels like nothing else in Savannah.

The menu is definitely eclectic with over 35 different tapas available. These slightly oversized-versions of appetizers are perfect for mixing, matching, and (most importantly) sharing! I am a huge fan of this trend, and if you haven’t experienced it yet, what are you waiting for?

The Tapas for Two is a really great place to start for newbies. Each person in the pair gets to choose a salad or soup, four Tapas, and two desserts. Since the menu has so many great offerings, you may find yourself adding another tapas to your table, though you’ll be full enough that you will not need it.

I highly recommend the Black Bean Soup and the Pesto Chopped Salad for a starter-style choice. Both are a little different but a fun way to start the meal!

I’m always a fan of Chicken Lettuce Wraps, and this dish has jalapenos, roasted red peppers, peanuts and topped with a red curry peanut sauce. Spicy, peanut-y, and tasty! The Chorizo Stuffed Mushrooms are also a great choice. I love the goat cheese and smoky chorizo combination! But perhaps I just love chorizo, because the Chorizo Empanadas are a favorite for sure.

There are lots of seafood (for those Pescatarians) and Vegetarian options, too. The Sesame Tuna is a favorite of mine --- hands down! A must order for Ahi lovers.

Overall, it really is a great place for special occasions, happy hours ($4 Tapas Tinis!), and for starting a night out. Plan to visit soon! And order a few fun cocktails --- like the Plumsake Tini and Watermelon Tini!




Top Shelf: Cuban Rubbed Beef Satays

These beef skewers are basted with a sweet jalapeno glaze that is really like no other. They’re also served alongside salted dried plantain strips – so good!

 

location. 52 Barnard Street, Downtown near City Market

connect. Jazz’d

SavannahMenu.com VIP restaurant. Yes! $10 off Tapas for Two


 
Picture
Located in the heart of downtown Savannah, this dual level restaurant has a lot of character and history. My first experience with this space was during a ghost tour. Since then, it has played monthly host to gatherings up on the rooftop. The bar is over 300 years old and imported from England, by way of Central Station in New York City. It should absolutely be included on your next trip downtown for the atmosphere alone.

They have a high quality selection of beers and a variety of wines, as well as a simple but tasty menu. While I usually go for the atmosphere up on the rooftop level, I almost always grab a bite to eat as well. Popular choices for the group include the Plantation Crab Cakes and their Crab Nachos.

Their sandwiches are also tasty, I prefer The “Drayton Street” Chicken Sandwich with grilled chicken. They also offer several salads and tons of other dishes that will accompany your delectable drinks.

Make sure to check out their happy hour. They do have a few specials that they run between 4 – 7pm during the week.

From time to time the service can be slow, especially if a big tour group just arrived, but it’s a great stop for any bar crawl to just enjoy a drink, admire the atmosphere and carry on a conversation. The only other downer is that there seems to be a different bartender every time we go so it has been hard to build a repoire with anyone that works there.

Top Shelf: Moroccan Chicken

This spiced-up chicken plate is something a little different than I normally find on the menus in Savannah. I love the sauce paired with this tasty protein.






location: 9 Drayton Street, Downtown Savannah

connect: Isaac’s

Savannah Menu VIP member: yes, free appetizer or dessert when you purchase two entrees


 
Picture
 The long wait is finally over --- Greek Fest is here! For over 60 years, Savannah has been the home of St. Paul’s Greek Festival. With a long standing tradition of bringing all things Greek to the Victorian district. 


This weekend (Thursday through Saturday) the event will sell thousands of desserts and tons of other Greek goodies!


I got to head over there yesterday and we sampled the gyro (amazing -- why would I be surprised at how authentic it tasted?!) and also the sampler plate which was loaded with Spanakopita, Dolmada, Meat Balls, and came with a Greek salad and a roll. (The Dinner version is also served with rice pilaf.)


Everything we tasted was really, really tasty, though the gyro definitely topped our list. 


They also offer tons of pastries. Because some of these items were new to us, we got one of everything. And I am SO glad we did! Throughout the day we kept going back to our pastry package. 


They were all very tasty though if you are only looking for one or two treats to try, here is my take on the pastries:


Baklava -- Traditional in flavor, flakey layers of filo with spices and pecans


Chocolate Walnut Triangles -- in the Baklava-style, but with chocolate and walnuts instead


Kataife -- A different looking treat, with a Baklava-filling but with shredded filo encompassing the deliciousness -- Tied for my favorite!


Pecan Queens - This was the sweetest of the treats but soooo yummy. It's a little filo basket with pecans and a sweet honey-syrup that reminded me of Maple syrup. A truly decadent treat.


Kourabiedes -- a butter cookie with powdered sugar. I imagine this would be divine with one of their coffees.


Koulourakia -- Another treat that would go well with coffee. I really enjoyed the simple pastry because it was not too sweet but it really was a great texture. Tied for my favorite!




There are LOTS of options at the Greek fest. Their little grocery store (Bakaliko) has a ton of Greek olives, oils, cheeses, and more. And the Market Place (Agora) had some fun items, too. There were some really pretty belly dancing-style outfits that I had my eye on.


There were lots of musical performances and dance troupes scheduled, too. Fun for the whole family, or for a lunch break. Just get their early so you don't miss out on the food! 


Top Shelf: Gyro


As much as I LOVED the combination plate, the Gyro is good enough to get me to sneak back over to the festival before it ends. 




connect: Greek Fest 2012
location: 14 West Anderson Street, Savannah (Victorian District)
Hours: Thursday - Saturday, 11 AM - 9PM






 
Picture
Let me start off by saying that this is my favorite BBQ restaurant. Not just in Savannah, but anywhere. And with good reason; it wins championships, people! Of course, championships are not the only things this little restaurant wins. They've been named the “Best of the Best in Barbecue Restaurants”, “Best Savannah BBQ”, “Best BBQ”, “Best Savannah BBQ Ribs”…… you get the picture.

We've pretty much tried the entire menu and have enjoyed everything we've tasted. We bring every visitor of ours to Wiley’s and usually start off with the Fried Pickles or the Fried Okra --- most of our northern visitors have never eaten a fried pickle, and lots have never even seen okra in person, making either a fun choice.

But southern starters are not why we talk up the place whenever we can, it is the barbecue! They have this amazing Better Than Sex BBQ Sauce (in Original and in Extra Tingly), and when you dip, pour, dunk, smother any food item in it, it instantly becomes 100 times better. You can even buy the sauce separately, at the restaurant or at local Savannah shops. And when you pair it with the juicy, tender meats on the menu it is nothing short of divine. Choose from Pulled Pork, Beef Brisket, Chicken, Ribs, and more. I highly recommend the Sampler Plate so you and a friend can try a little bit of everything.

The sides are all really great, too. The ones we return to, time and time again? Mac & Cheese, Potato Salad, Red Beans and Rice, and Green Beans. They have really great desserts as well, but don’t plan on having room to eat them. Just take one to go.  They also offer daily specials. Try them. They are always great!

There are very few downers to this restaurant. They do have some odd hours, so make sure to check that they are going to be open before you head over. Also, you’ll find some of the side dishes are made with sort of a lot of oil or butter. The sides are very reasonably sized though, so I just leave the last bite or two at the bottom of each cup. 

Top Shelf: Side of Dutch Crust Sweet Potato Casserole

No joke, this is one of my all time favorite treats. I order it every time as one of my sides. I always save it for last to enjoy as a sort of dessert. It’s amazing and exactly what this dish is supposed to be.

location: 4700 highway 80 (Whitemarsh Island) Savannah, GA 31410

connect: Wiley's Championship BBQ

SavannahMenu.com VIP restaurant: yes, buy two entrees and two beverages and receive a free appetizer or dessert up to $5


Photo Credit: John Carrington/Savannah Morning News

 
Picture
easy vegetarian mexican layer dip recipe.

This is a great microwave-only recipe; perfect for wine nights, football gatherings, Mexican-food night, potlucks --- the options are endless!  Even the guys kept going back for more at our latest Sunday Night Football gathering!

ingredients.

1 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups frozen ground-beef-style soy crumbles
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon taco seasoning
2 wedges The Laughing Cow Light Swiss Cheese
4 slices fat-free or reduced-fat cheese slices (choose a variety, or whatever you have in the fridge)
2 tablespoons reduced-fat shredded Mexican blend cheese
1/2 cup Rotel, lightly drained (or salsa)
1/3 cup fat-free or reduced-fat sour cream
1 cup chopped lettuce
1 tomato, chopped

directions.

Heat black beans in a small microwave-safe bowl for 1 minute, or until heated through. Transfer to a microwave-safe serving dish.

In the small microwave-safe bowl, heat the soy crumbles for 1 minute. Stir in the onion and taco seasoning. Return to the microwave until heated through, about 1 more minute. Transfer the soy crumble mixture on top of the black beans.

In the same bowl, combine all of the cheeses. Heat in the microwave until softened, about 30 – 60 seconds. Stir well. Add the Rotel (or salsa) and stir again. Transfer mixture to the serving dish.

Place the serving dish in the microwave and heat for 30 seconds.

Complete the dish by layering the sour cream on top of the cheese mixture, followed by the lettuce and tomato.

MAKES 8 SERVINGS

1/8th of recipe : 99 calories, 1.5g fat, 508mg sodium, 12.5g carbs, 3g fiber, 3g sugars, 9g protein

NOTES:
*You can pretty much use any cheeses you have in the house (we often have several kinds). Keep in mind that the spicier the cheeses, the spicier your dip will be.

*This recipe can easily be doubled and is great as leftovers from the fridge (a few scoops over chips make for super-easy – and tasty! – nachos)!


 
Picture

This year marked the 10th Annual Savannah International Food & Wine Festival at the St. Paul's Hellenic Center. 
 
The event is known for bringing wines in from all over the world and offers a sampling of tasty dishes from area restaurants, all at a reasonable price. This year was no different. There were about 50 international wines and specialty foods from 15 local restaurants. 

It was a great chance to try some of Savannah’s most popular eateries like Vic’s on the River and Sage, a trending restaurant that opened earlier this year. These two restaurants definitely had my favorite dishes of the event. I'm looking forward to hitting up (and reviewing!) these restaurants soon! 

While great food and wine should be reason enough of a reason for me to go, there was the added benefit that all proceeds go to the Scholarship Fund and the many charities of the Philoptochos Society of the Greek Orthodox Church. The community of Savannah, local individuals in need, and victims of tragedy are a big focus of those charitable efforts. 

In an effort to raise more funds, for the first time, the Festival held a silent auction from 4 – 6pm featuring romantic weekend getaways in the historic district and on Tybee Island, as well as fine jewelry, gift baskets, gift certificates, and more. The wide price range of items will allow every attendee to participate.

I had a lot of fun silently bidding away on everything from light margarita stuffed baskets to vases and jewelry and dog-friendly finds. While I mostly just helped to kick the fundraising up a notch, I did get to go home with a few items. And so did my lovely friend who joined me. 

I will definitely return to this super fun event next year! 





 
Picture
s’mores bites recipe.

These are so easy to make and insanely kid-friendly. Perfect for parties, movie nights, and whenever life isn't being fair. 

ingredients.

1 sheet (4 crackers) low-fat honey graham crackers, finely crushed 
2 teaspoons brown sugar (unpacked)
1 package Pillsbury Crescent Recipe Creations Seamless Dough Sheet
1/2 cup mini marshmallows
3 tablespoons semi-sweet mini chocolate chips

directions.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray.

Combine graham crackers and sugar in a small bowl. 

Roll out dough into a large rectangle of even thickness. Cut into 18 equally sized squares. Evenly distribute marshmallows (about 3 marshmallows each) and chocolate chips (1/2 teaspoon each) among the dough squares.

Carefully fold each dough square around the filling and firmly press dough together to seal and form round balls. 

Spray the balls with nonstick spray (butter flavor, if you have it) and lightly coat in the graham cracker mixture. Place them seam-side down on the baking sheet.

Bake in the oven until lightly brown, 10 - 12 minutes.

MAKES 6 SERVINGS


PER SERVING (3 “bites”): 180 calories, 8g fat


fyi: The marshmallow will pretty much melt into the dough so your left with melted chocolate in a dough-y ball. It is still tasty! 


 
Picture
I am super excited to announce that local Savannah author, Shawndra Russell, is doing her virtual launch party today, September 16. In honor of this momentous occasion, I am giving away a free copy of her book! Just leave your email in the comments section or leave your info in the contact form (link to the left) and a winner will be picked at random. 

You may be thinking.... wait! This isn't a culinary adventure! You are correct, though there are many mentions of the great restaurants and bars in Savannah, GA throughout the novel. So I say it counts! 

I have read "Couple Friends" and it's a great light read that gives insight into the "Couple Friends" stage of your life; what happens after you've found the person you want to be with. 

Check it out on Amazon! Today is the last day to get it for $2.99! 

Anyone with a device that can download apps can read it through the Kindle app, or it can be read on any computer!  

So, don't forget to leave your email in a comment to be entered into the contest! 

Winner will be contacted Monday 9.17.2012 at noon.