Tag Archives: rose sparkling wine

Sparkling Strawberry Shrub Cocktail ~ Just In Time For The Weekend!

Sparkling Strawberry Shrub

 A shrub is a vinegar-based syrup, referred to as “Drinking Vinegar”. Drinking vinegar is vinegar which is often infused with fruit juice, herbs and spices for use in mixed drinks.

I was so happy to find the recipe for Front Porch Chillin’” Sparkling Strawberry Shrub in the April/May 2018 issue of Chilled Magazine It is absolutely delicious and fruity. Do not let the idea of vinegar in a cocktail stop you from making this fabulous drink this weekend!

I was very happy to find the Cava that the magazine recommended for this cocktail in my local grocery store. You can always substitute your favorite rosé cava.

Segura Viudas Brut Rosé

The wine tastes of sweet strawberry, cherry and citrus and has lots of fun bubbles. In the $15 range.

Situated on an estate that dates back to the 11th century, Segura Viudas draws on its rich Spanish heritage, blending its legacy with modern winemaking practices to create sophisticated yet approachable Cavas.  Its award winning Cava uses distinct méthode champenoise sparkling wine by the Ferrer family of Sant Sadurni d’Anola (near Barcelona). Segura Viudas is part of the Freixenet Group, a world leader in sparkling wine production. 

To make a very good sparkly shrub:

  • Invest in a muddler. You can find a muddler for around $5. It will help you muddle up the fresh fruit with sugar and vinegar to make the shrub.
  • Plant fresh mint in your garden to use for cocktail garnishes – I particularly enjoy pineapple mint and spearmint. Fresh rosemary sprigs also make a flavorful and aromatic garnish.

Sparkling Strawberry Shrub

To make the shrub:

1 cup strawberries, chopped

1 cup water

1 1/2 cup sugar (I like to use extra fine sugar for this recipe because it dissolves very quickly, but granulated sugar works just fine too.)

1/2 cup rice wine vinegar

Muddle the strawberries in a large mason jar. Add water and sugar and stir to combine. After the sugar has begun to dissolve,  add the rice wine vinegar and stir to combine all ingredients.  Cover and refrigerate. The shrub can be stored, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for up to one week.

To make the Strawberry Shrub Cocktail:

Makes one cocktail:

1 ounce strawberry shrub

Segura Viudas Brut Rosé

2 large ice cubes

Rosemary Sprig or Fresh Mint and Strawberry for garnish

Place all ingredients into a snifter and add ice cubes. Stir and top with Rosé Cava; give it another little stir,  garnish with rosemary sprig or mint and a strawberry.

Saludos!

 

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Why I love Pink Peppercorns and Pink Champagne On National Margarita Day!

Today is National Margarita Day ~ February 22, 2018. Please keep reading to get my favorite margarita recipe ~ Pink Champagne Lemonade Margaritas!

But first…let’s talk about another one of my favorites…pink peppercorns and other funky color seasonings…

Love Salt and Pepper!

Fun facts about Pink Peppercorns:

  1. Always good to have pink peppercorns on hand because they add a pop of spicy peppery flavor to any savory dish.  They are available on -line if you can’t find them locally. Frontier Co-Op grinder bottle is one of my favorites.
  2. They may seem expensive ($8 to $12 for a .80 ounce bottle)  but they last forever, a little grind goes a long way.
  3. Pink peppercorns are not peppercorns at all.  They are a dried berry of the shrub Schinus molle, commonly known as the Peruvian peppertree. They do look like peppercorns and they have a peppery flavor.
  4. A word of warning...pink peppercorns are members of the cashew family, they may cause allergic reactions including anaphylaxis for persons with a tree nut allergy. I had no idea until I read about this yesterday.   Over the years I’ve developed a tree nut allergy (not severe thankfully) so there goes my  love of pink peppercorns. For those of you who do not suffer this allergy please enjoy pink peppercorns for me!

Fun facts about Himalayan Pink Salt:

Himalayan pink salt is used to flavor food.  It is also used to make salt lamps which are illuminated with an electric light or candle inside. Both the salt used on food and the salt lamps are said to have health benefits, but I’ll let y’all decide on your own about that.

Blocks of Himalayan salt are also used as serving dishes. These blocks of salt can be heated (heat on the grill to serve grilled meats) or chilled to serve sushi, fruits and cheese. The salt blocks give the food a delicate salt flavor.

Fun facts about Green Peppercorns:

  1.  These peppercorns are packed in a vinegar brine.
  2.  They are meant to be eaten whole.
  3. My Mom popped a few green peppercorns (whole) in her Bolognese Sauce. Gave her sauce a little peppery punch which was delicious!
  4. Green Peppercorns are perfect in Steak au Poivre.  Here’s a link to a Food Network recipe for Steak au Poivre with a mushroom, green peppercorn and Dijon sauce:

https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/steak-au-poivre-with-a-mushroom-green-peppercorn-and-dijon-sauce-and-pommes-frites-recipe-2124423

green peppercorn bowl

green peppercorn ingredients

Green Peppercorn Boursin Green Bean Salad

One of my favorite salads ~ so much flavor with so little effort!

Yield: 3 servings

1 pound fresh green beans, stems removed, cut in half

1 teaspoon green peppercorns (packed in brine) mashed with a mortar and pestle

5. 2 ounces Shallot and Chive Boursin Cheese

1/4 cup chopped fresh tarragon

1 heaping teaspoon grated frozen lemon ( Place a washed lemon in the freezer section of  your refrigerator. Once the lemon is frozen, get  your grater, and shred the whole lemon (no need  to peel it) and sprinkle it on top of your  foods.  The lemon seeds catch on the grater so there is no need to worry about seeds getting into your grated lemon.

1/8 teaspoon salt

Fill medium size stockpot half way full of water. Bring water to a boil.  Add green beans and cook until crisp tender (do not undercook or overcook the green beans) 8 – 10 minutes.  Immediately drain the water off the green beans and “shock” them by dropping them in  ice water so that they will stop cooking. Quickly remove them from the ice water and pat dry. Place the beans in a salad bowl and mix in the Boursin cheese.  Add the mashed green peppercorns, tarragon, grated frozen lemon and salt.  Stir with large spoon to combine all of the ingredients.  The Boursin will become creamy and will coat the green beans.  Cover the green bean salad and place in refrigerator until service.

 

The book What to Drink with What You Eat recommends rosé champagne to pair with black pepper.  Here’s my suggestion for a rosé sparkling wine that will be good to splash on top of the Pink Champagne Lemonade Margaritas (recipe below):

Chandon Rosé California Sparkling Wine ~ strawberry and ripe cherry flavors.  $22 range.

Now on to the Margaritas!

I often take food/drink photographs on my kitchen floor because the sun beams onto the floor perfectly for photos.  I have 4 very curious kitties and they often wander into the photo. Today “Ziggy Elman” (named after the Jazz trumpeter) wandered into the photo of my Pink Lemonade Champagne Margaritas. It looks like he took a lick of my margarita. He did not. He was just licking his lips anticipating getting a lick of it  (which I would never allow).

margarita kitty

Pink Champagne Lemonade Margarita

One of the fun things about this cocktail is that when you finish the cocktail you get to eat the blackberries that have been soaking in the margarita…yum!

Rim margarita glasses by dipping them in lime juice and then rolling the edges in fine sugar (“Extra Fine” otherwise known as “Fine” sugar is best for rimming cocktail glasses because it has the smallest crystal of all white sugars.  It has a delicate appearance and dissolves easily into cold drinks). Locally I purchase fine sugar at Fresh Market or it is available on-line.  Place margarita glasses in the freezer to chill  while preparing your cocktails.

12 ounces frozen pink lemonade, thawed

(use empty lemonade can to measure water, tequila and orange liqueur)

1 can water

1 can tequila

1/4 can orange liqueur

Rosé Champagne or Sparkling Wine ~ a splish splash for each drink (optional)

Blackberries and limes for garnish

Lime slices and fine sugar to rim the margarita glasses

Place the pink lemonade, water, tequila and orange liqueur in a large pitcher. Stir with a big spoon until all ingredients are combined.  In batches, place margarita mixture and ice in a blender container. Blend until ice is finely crushed.  Serve in chilled margarita glasses.  Top each cocktail with a splash of Rosé Champagne or Sparkling Wine. Drop a few blackberries into the margaritas and then cut slits in some blackberries to set on the sides of the glasses.  Place one thin lime slice in each glass. Place any unused portion of this cocktail in a freezer container and place in freezer to keep cold for refills.

pink lemonade magaritas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sparkling Wines For Holiday Celebrations ~ $30 Or Less

ginger

There are times when only the best will do and that’s the time for special pricey champagnes. Other times, when entertaining large groups of people or mixing bubbly drinks, less expensive sparkling wines are a better choice.  It is in that spirit that I present to you sparkling wines under $30 for the holidays…

…Best Sparkling For Sipping…

Perfectly lovely bubbly to have on hand for last-minute guests or a hostess gift.

Blend of 68% Chardonnay and 12% Pinot Noir. Soft and balanced with apple, pear and citrus flavors.  $20 – $25 range.

champagne toast

gloria

Gloria Ferrer has been my “house sparkling wine” forever. I can always count on her to be a bubbly delight.  91% Pinot Noir, 9% Chardonnay. Pear and green apple notes. $23 range.

Gloria will be the perfect choice to create these lovely sparkling cocktails featured in Food and Wine Magazine:  http://www.foodandwine.com/slideshows/sparkling-wine-cocktails#4  The Marasca Fizz  sounds especially delicious and festive. This Champagne cocktail is served with pitted sweet cherries soaked in an anise-infused syrup.

Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance.

Benjamin Franklin
Domaina Carneros was founded by the Taittinger family of Champagne, France. This lovely sparkling wine is made in the Méthode Traditionnelle.
Lots of tiny bubbles dancing in the glass. Notes of pear, Meyer lemon and brioche. $30 range.

…for Toasting…

A delightful sparkling wine from Oregon…Argyle 2014 Vintage Brut. Delightful sparkling brut produced in the Willamette Valley, Oregon.   65% Pinot Noir, 30% Chardonnay, 5% Pinot Meunier. Notes of ripe pear, fig and roast hazelnut. Balanced with a long finish. $29 range.

Piper

60% Chardonnay, 15% Pinot Noir and 25% Pinot Meunier. Notes of apple, toast, peach and crisp citrus flavors. $20 range.

willm sparkling wine

WillmCrémantd’Alsace Blanc de Noirs Brut.  Cremant d’Alsace is the appellation for the sparkling wines of the Alsace wine region of north-eastern France. The methodetraditionelle is used to make this bubbly.  100% pinot noir grapes. Nice and light (for a pinot noir) but has a good taste structure, apple and citrus notes.  $20 price range.

Rosé

Aimery

Aimery Crémant Brut Rosé!
‘Crémant’ sparkling wines are made using the same method as Champagne. Ribbons of bubbles and sparkling notes of berries just like your favorite champagne, without breaking the bank. Delicate, fresh with a long, mouth-filling finish. The color of this sparkling blushes just slightly and tiny bubbles consistently rise to the top of glass. Available locally at Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar: http://mrbillswinecellar.com/
This bubbly makes a lovely holiday hostess gift. $17 range.

McBride Sisters

NEW ZEALAND SPARKLING WINE!

McBride Sisters Brut Rosé

Notes of raspberry and toast with a creamy finish.  $25 range.

tazmanian-champagne

Jansz Tasmania is a pioneer of deluxe sparkling wine in Australia. Jansz is made by the méthode champenoise.   Jansz Rosé ~ pale salmon in color, with a fine bead, this wine has a rich floral bouquet of strawberries with a soft and creamy palate. Available locally at Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar: http://mrbillswinecellar.com  $26 range.

Best Bubbly for Mimosas, Punches and Cocktails 

mimosa strawberry

cristalino

When the occasion calls for “massive amounts of mimosas” ~ when every friend and relative converge on your house for holiday frivolity ~ a less expensive but reliable bubbly is the answer.  Jaume Serra Cristalino Cava.  $10 range.

freiznet

This bubbly Cava is produced by the same winery that gives us Gloria Ferrer, one of my favorite sparkling wines:  https://www.gloriaferrer.com/carneros-winery

The perfect casual sparkling sipper…from Catalonia, Spain. 100% Chardonnay grapes.  A bubbly value…$10 range.  Lots of fun bubbles. Notes of baked apple with just a touch of lemon. Available on-line. I also found this Cava locally at Tinnell’s in Roanoke, Virginia. http://tinnells.com

Happy Holidays!

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Just Another Tazmanian Sparkling Rosé!

We have a new grocery store in Roanoke, Virginia…Earth Fare!  “Healthy Food For Everyone”   Their food philosophy: “We pledge that our food is free of added hormones, antibiotics, artificial fats and trans-fats, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners and preservatives, bleached or bromated flour, artificial colors or flavors”.

Their prepared foods section is amazing…let’s take a tour…starting at the cheese case where I met Aaron who gave me a taste of the most delicious “Brie” cheese…

EF Cheese case

EF Brie cheeseEF Brie Cheese with bread

Jasper Hill Farm Harbison ~ soft and decadent brie-style cheese is wrapped with spruce for structure and flavor.  Made in Greensboro, Vermont. Amazing buttery taste. https://www.jasperhillfarm.com/harbison

EF Baguette sign

I served it on freshly baked baguette (sold at Earth Fare daily for 98 cents…mine was still warm when I purchased it…yum).

I paired this lovely cheese with Jansz Rosé, sparkling wine from Tasmania.  The first wine I’ve tried from Tasmania.  Delightful!  I found this bubbly at Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar in Roanoke, Virginia.   http://mrbillswinecellar.com

Jansz Tasmania is a pioneer of deluxe sparkling wine in Australia. Jansz is made by the méthode champenoise.   Pale salmon in color, with a fine bead, this wine has a rich floral bouquet of strawberries with a soft and creamy palate. $26 range.

tazmanian champagne

Ef shrimp saladEF salads

EF shrimpEF shrimp on grillEF shrimp on plate

Grilled Shrimp Quesadillas 

Earth Fare Herb Shrimp Salad with red and yellow bell peppers and lots of seafood seasoning makes fabulous Grilled Shrimp Quesadillas.  So easy to prepare…spray grill with vegetable spray. Top a taco size flour tortilla with shrimp salad and finely grated Monterrey Jack cheese. Top with another flour tortilla and grill until cheese is melted and tortilla is toasted. Flip once. Remove from grill and cut into triangles. Serve warm.

avocadoEF guacamole

Guacamole!  

I love Earth Fare Fire Roasted Corn Salad.  Fabulous addition to homemade Guacamole.

EF chips

Late July Organic Sea Salt and Lime Tortilla Chips are my new favorite…crispy yet sturdy enough to hold up to chunky guacamole.

Ef pretzels

EF bloody mary mix

Another Earth Fare treat  for Sunday Brunch…Pretzilla Smithfield Ham Swiss Cheese Bites.  Cut a little bit of the bottom off of each pretzel bite so the bites will sit up straight, then cut the bites in half. Spread one half with whole grain mustard and the other half with Duke’s mayonnaise.  Fill the pretzel bites with thinly sliced Smithfield ham and Swiss cheese. (I found that  since the Smithfield ham is salty I did not need to top the pretzel bites with the salt that was included in the package.) Heat the pretzel bites in a 350 degree Fahrenheit oven until cheese is melted.  Serve warm.

And to finish the weekend…

champagne bottle

  • This vintage Millesime champagne has 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay grape varieties from a unique, single harvest year. Well refined on the nose, with notes of gingerbread and croissants. A complex and very assertive mouth. A champagne to enjoy as an aperitif or set to accompany gourmet dishes.  

    Millésime

    kitty catkitty on shoe
    signkitty Artie
    Our kitties are growing! So happy !

 

 

 

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Dinner In 10 Minutes ~ PORK AU POIVRE ~ With Champagne Pairing

As much as I love to cook, sometimes I don’t have time to do all of the chopping and mixing and fussing to make a delicious dinner, so I look for shortcuts.  I’ve found the roasted pork tenderloin at Fresh Market to be a saving grace in dinner preparation. Here’s one of my favorite “go to” recipes that takes 10 minutes to prepare and plate:

pork

PORK AU POIVRE

Serves 4

4  (1/2 inch thick) slices pork tenderloin (I purchase the pork loin already roasted in the deli section of Fresh Market)

1 tablespoon black peppercorns, freshly ground

1/2 teaspoon salt (or a little more to taste)

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup cognac

1/3 cup heavy cream

  1. Melt butter in a frying pan.  Place pork tenderloin slices in the pan and sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper.
  2. Heat the pork over medium heat, turning once, for 2 or 3 minutes, until pork is browned.
  3. Carefully remove the pork slices from pan and place on a plate.  Add cognac to pan and warm slightly. Add cream to cognac and stir, warming for a minute or two.  Place the pork back into the pan and spoon the sauce over the pork. Serve warm.

To complete my Pork Au Poivre dinner I serve a Fresh Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing (also purchased at Fresh Market).  Minimal cooking with maximum flavor!

With less time in the kitchen I can enjoy nap time with these two little rascals…

cats

The champagne pairing which was absolutely fabulous with the Pork Au Poivre was Francoise Bedel  Dis, “Vin Secret” Champagne.  Beautiful golden color with a delicate bead of fine bubbles. Ripe fruit and baked apple, with hints of tropical fruit.  86% Pinot Meunier, 8% Pinot Noir and 6% Chardonnay, the earthiness of the Pinot Meuneir makes this champagne a lovely pairing for roasted pork.  My husband proclaimed it a “Perfect Pairing”!  $50 range. Available locally at Mr. Bill’s Wine Cellar or on-line.  http://mrbillswinecellar.com

Treveri Cellars Sparkling Rosé

I  found this gem at one of our local grocery stores, Tinnell’s Finer Foods ~ http://tinnells.com

A lovely weekend sparkling!  It’s fresh, it’s pink, it’s peachy, it’s fizzy, and it’s only $13.99.  A blend of Syrah and Chardonnay from the Yakima Valley in Washington State.  http://www.trevericellars.com

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Make Summer Sparkle With Sparkling Wine!

summer sign.jpg

Summer Sparkles!

Wolfberger cremant d alsace

NV Wolfberger Cremant d’Alsace Rose Brut

Pale salmon color with lots of tiny bubbles and a fine mousse.   100% Pinot Noir grapes. Hints of red cherry and raspberry.  A Crémant Rosé bubbly that is fun to sip with a fun price… $17 range.

bugey champagneBugsey champange

Montagnieu NV Bugey, France

Montagnieu is a beautiful village of Bugey dominating the Rhône River in the eastern Alpine mountains.

Montagnieu sparkling is made using the traditional method (like Champagne) ; wine after a first fermentation is kept almost 12 month on its lees before final corking of the bottle.

This lovely bubbly is made from a minimum of 70% of Altesse, Chardonnay and Mondeuse Noire grapes, with Jacquère, Pinot Noir, Gamay and Molette allowed as accessory grapes. Balanced with notes of toasted almond and brioche.  $50 range (restaurant price).

My bubbly friend and I enjoyed a bottle of Montagnieu Bugey with a local cheese plate at River and Rail Restaurant.  http://riverandrailrestaurant.com  I love the little pickled mushrooms, carrot jam and honey that they serve with the Farmstead Cheese Selection.

mushrooms

cheese

prosecco butterfly

Tocco Prosecco D.O.C.

Tocco Prosecco has nice little bubbles…Tocco has more effervescence than other Prosecco  I’ve tasted recently. Notes of baked apple, a touch of citrus and a creamy finish.  $14 range.

cider

Domaine du Verger Rosé Cidre Bouche

So pretty in the glass…cider made from red-fleshed French cider apples which gives it a delicate rosy color.   Just enough effervescence to tickle your nose.   This cider is fairly sweet with lots of fruit (notes of raspberry and red currant) and just a hint of ginger.  I found it to be a delightful sippin’ cider on a hot summer day. $10 range (750 ml bottle).   Here’s a link to an interesting article about rosé ciders and red flesh apples:

http://drinks.seriouseats.com/2013/08/rose-cider-how-it-gets-pink-what-to-try-uncle-johns-lukeluk-traditions.html

rose sign

peaches 1

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Welcoming Spring With Champagne And Rosé!

Since this is what my kitchen looks like right now, it’s understandable that I am not doing a lot of cooking these days.  We are combining our kitchen and dining room to make one big kitchen.  Very exciting, but I miss cooking!  Should only be a month to six weeks to complete. Thinking about what should be the first meal that I cook in my new kitchen…would love suggestions from my readers!

Fortunately our family and friends have seen to it that we get fed well during our kitchen remodel ~ so thoughtful!

My bubbly sister-in-law took me out to lunch at my favorite neighborhood restaurant River and Rail.  I had the Green Bibb Salad. The reason I love this salad is that the Buttermilk Herb Dressing is in the bottom of the bowl along with Clemson blue (cheese), pistachios, celery, and little chunks of Virginia apple, which helps to distribute the dressing more evenly as you eat the salad.  I look forward to preparing salads that way when I get my kitchen back.   Blue cheese is not my favorite so they substituted Parmesan cheese on my salad, yum! For dessert we enjoyed an ice cream trio ~ Honey Lavender ice cream is pictured on the above left.  Unique and delicious!

My bubbly friend made this beautifully delicious fresh coconut cake for Easter…yum!!! The fresh eggs in the photo above are compliments of my bubbly friends hens.  The hens even colored their eggs for Easter (of course they color their eggs all year round!).

My bubbly friend also made this lovely strawberry appetizer…fresh strawberries halves stuffed with a combination of softened brie cheese, blue cheese and chopped toasted pecans. Delicioso!

“Wine is sunlight, held together by water.” Galileo

Enjoyed this bubbly over the weekend…Ruby Red Grapefruit Rosé SPARKLES!  you will think that you’ve just cut into a fresh ruby-red grapefruit. It’s easy to see why this is all the rage in Paris…lots of tiny bubbles, a lovely light grapefruit flavor with a tee-tiny bit of sweetness. $13 range.

McGah Family Cellars flagship wine is “Scarlett” named after the founder’s daughter.  http://www.scarlettwines.com

“My philosophy is simple: create the most natural and expressive wines California can offer. I believe in allowing the fruit to fully reveal itself in the wines, encouraging the personality and terroir of the vineyards, while showcasing itself to the fullest extent. Thus, allowing the wines to be true to their nature and bringing harmony to the bottle.”  ~  Mike Smith / Winemaker

Another wine we shared with bubbly friends this past weekend was McGah Family Vineyards Scarlett Sauvignon Blanc. Honeydew “green melon” flavors along with notes of honeysuckle, Meyer lemons and lime blossoms.  Clean, crisp finish. $30 range. Excellent pairing with Thai food.

Easter Wine!

Notes from The Champagne Guide 2014-2015:

Laurent-Perrier macarates its rosé for 12-72 hours, depending on fruit ripeness, until the color is fixed and the aroma resembles freshly picked raspberries.  So crucial is timing, legend has it that the first Chef de Cave, Edouard Leclerc, slept by the tank to stop it just in time! This wine has achieved that elusive ideal of volume and finesse, the world’s best-selling rosé champagne epitomizes the ultra-restraint of  rosé’s finest expressions.  All the more remarkable for the challenging  saignée method.

One of the first times that we served this delightful rosé, one of our guests exclaimed “Oh! Easter Wine!” She explained that her mother always liked to serve wine that matched her pink dining room drapes on Easter Sunday (White Zinfandel Wine). We all got quite a giggle over that story and we continue to call this  Rosé Brut “Easter Wine” to this day.

 Perfect for Spring sippin’ because it is so nice and light.  A grenache/cinsault/syrah rosé  blend.  $15 range. Very fresh with notes of strawberries, peaches and rose petals. I love this bottle…the base of which is cast into the impression of a full rose flower.

My bubbly friend introduced me to Noosa Blackberry Serrano Yogurt. Served with fresh blackberries it made a perfectly yummy healthy dessert.  Just the right amount of sweet and just the right amount of heat.

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