Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bistro Niko Set to Open in Sovereign Nov. 5

New Buckhead Life Restaurant Group eatery soon to be open to the public

Sovereign, Atlanta’s finest luxury high-rise condominium celebrated the newest Buckhead Life Restaurant Group eatery, Bistro Niko at an exclusive engagement held in the restaurant on Oct. 27. The French-style bistro will open its doors to the public for dinner on Nov. 5. Lunch service will begin the following week on Nov. 12.

“With the opening of Bistro Niko our homeowners now have a number of dining choices without having to leave the comfort of the Sovereign building,” said Kristi Torgler, director of sales and marketing at Sovereign. “Buckhead Life Restaurant Group restaurants are known for providing unparalleled dining experiences, and we are excited to welcome Bistro Niko as a part of the Sovereign community.”

Bistro Niko’s understated elegance is the perfect complement to the Sovereign building. Booths for two line the walls and the tables are spaced perfectly throughout the interior, making the large room feel cozy and intimate. A curved bar, located in the back of the restaurant allowed guests the opportunity to sip cocktails while enjoying the scenic views of Peachtree Road. In addition to the wonderful ambiance, Bistro Niko also boasts a superior menu.

The Sovereign residents, prospective homebuyers and special guests who attended the event were able to savor croque monsieurs, ravioli de lapin, hachis parmentier de veau and other delicious French delights while conversing with friends and neighbors at the lovely restaurant located just downstairs from their homes or workplace.

Beginning Nov. 5, Bistro Niko will be open for dinner starting at 5 p.m. The restaurant will seat tables until 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. On Friday and Saturday the restaurant will seat diners until 11 p.m. Upon opening for lunch on Nov. 12, Bistro Niko will begin seating guests at 11:30 a.m. and will serve Monday – Thursday until 10 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays until 11 p.m.

About 3344 Peachtree/Sovereign:
Developed by Atlanta-based Regent Partners, LLC, Sovereign, located at 3344 Peachtree Road in Buckhead is a 50 story mixed-use tower designed by architects, Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, Stewart & Associates. The 635-foot tower includes more than one-half million square feet of Class A office and retail space crowned by the 82 residences of Sovereign. Homes are offered from $1 million and begin on the building's 28th story affording penthouse-like views from all residences, which range from more than 1,700 square feet to more than 10,000 square feet. Sovereign, which was named Best in Atlanta Real Estate in 2007, includes fine dining at Bistro Niko, a Buckhead Life Signature French restaurant and the services of the distinguished Buckhead Club. As a mixed-use new urban design, Sovereign offers unparalleled private pedestrian and automobile access to major roadways, restaurants, services, shopping and recreation. Residential sales at Sovereign are handled by Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby's International Realty. For more information about Sovereign, please call 404-266-3344 or visit

About Regent Partners:
Established in 1988, Regent Partners, LLC is a leading Atlanta-based real estate development, investment and services firm. Currently the partnership has more than one half billion dollars in development projects under way. Since its inception the company has acquired and developed more than 10 million square feet of office, residential and hotel space valued in excess of $1.4 billion. Regent Partners' diverse portfolio includes hotel, residential, office, retail, mixed-use and land holdings. The senior management team consists of executives with more than 150 years of combined experience developing, managing, leasing and constructing commercial real estate assets. For more information about Regent Partners, visit
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'The Ultimate Simple Holiday Cookie' Recipe!

/PRNewswire/ -- "The Ultimate Simple Holiday Cookie" recipe was unveiled today by Stone-Buhr Flour -- the nation's leading producer of sustainable flour. "This mouth-watering butter cookie was developed by one of America's top chefs, Chef Thierry Rautureau," announced Josh Dorf, the CEO of Stone-Buhr. Rautureau is the acclaimed owner of Seattle's four star restaurant Rover's, cookbook author and frequent guest on radio and TV. Under Dorf's leadership, Stone-Buhr has become the first flour company to distribute and promote "sustainable" flour. "We think of this as the ultimate 'green' holiday cookie. It's good for farmers, for the land and perfect way to spread the joy and good will of the season," Dorf added.

Stone-Buhr's All Purpose Flour is from wheat grown and certified as sustainable under the strict guidelines of the nonprofit The Food Alliance. Working with a small group of wheat farmers in the Pacific Northwest (Shepherds Grain) the wheat in Stone-Buhr's "Washington White All-Purpose Flour" is grown in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. Through their use of "no-till" practices, these farmers have been able to dramatically reduce soil erosion and enhance water retention as no-till farming requires less fossil fuel and preserves the soil's ability to trap and keep carbon out of the atmosphere.

"By following this simple recipe you'll be making both the planet and your stomach happy," said Chef Rautureau.

The Ultimate Simple Holiday Cookie

1 cup finely ground, toasted hazelnuts (You can substitute toasted and ground almonds or pecans.)

1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1/3 cup sugar

1 1/4 cups Stone-Buhr All Purpose flour

Combine the nuts, butter, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix at medium speed until well blended. Gradually add the flour to the dough, with the mixer at medium-low speed. Blend until the mixture forms a smooth dough.

Form the dough into 2 flat disks and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line 2 baking sheets with silicone baking mats or parchment paper.

Set 1 of the dough disks on a lightly floured work surface and let sit for a few minutes to soften slightly. Roll out the dough to a thickness of about 1/16 inch. Using a small knife or cookie cutter, cut the dough into preferred shapes. Arrange the cookies on the prepared baking sheets with an inch between them. Bake until the cookies are firm and lightly browned around the edges, 8 to 10 minutes. Let the cookies sit on the baking sheets for a few minutes, then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Continue with any remaining dough.

Decorate with your own festive and creative toppings!

Makes 2 to 4 dozen (depending on the size and shape).

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Healthier Holiday Gatherings

(NAPSI)-The holidays don't have to be all about overindulging.

"A little planning can go a long way in helping you stay healthy and enjoy the holidays without regret," says Tammi Hancock, a registered dietitian. "An occasional small treat will help keep you from feeling deprived, but try to keep it to one per day."

Here are a few other tips and tricks to enjoying healthy and happy holidays:

• Don't Go Hungry: It's tough not to dive into the buffet or hit the appetizers hard if you're famished when you arrive at a holiday get-together. Try eating a filling and healthy snack such as apples with peanut butter before the event to help you avoid temptation and make healthier choices. Skip the buffet if you can; or try using a smaller plate so you don't feel tempted to pile it on or end up feeling deprived.

• Gifts From the Heart: Everyone enjoys a holiday cookie exchange or a homemade gift basket of goodies. This year, really wow them with cookies or gifts that are as healthy as they are tasty. It's easy to do with a few simple substitutions. Replace regular butter in your favorite holiday cookies and treats with lighter spreads such as Smart Balance® Butter Blend Stick; it has the same flavor and cooking qualities without all the saturated fat and cholesterol.

• Better Potluck: Instead of bringing a decadent treat or another trans fat-laden dip, lighten up; your friends and family will appreciate the taste and nutrition. Try switching to one of Smart Balance's new sour cream varieties to make great-tasting versions of your favorite dips. Along with great taste, you'll be adding vitamins D and E as well as calcium to the mix.

White Onion Dip

Serves 6; 2-tablespoon servings

2 cups Smart Balance Sour Cream and Omega-3s & Vitamins D and E

4 tablespoons of any Smart Balance milk variety

1 cup very finely chopped white onion

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

2 teaspoons onion powder

2 teaspoons salt

Combine all the ingredients in a small bowl and serve with fresh veggies.

Chef's Tip: Save time before a party-prepare up to 2 hours in advance and refrigerate.

Per serving: 51 calories, 1 gram protein, 2 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams fat, 2.3 grams saturated fat, 0 grams monounsaturated fat, 0 grams polyunsaturated fat, 0 grams trans fat, 22 mg omega-3 fatty acids, 2 mg omega-6 fatty acids, 13 mg cholesterol, 215 mg sodium, 0 grams fiber.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Expert tips to take the stress out of holiday entertaining

(ARA) – Family and friends gathered ‘round the dinner table, with a sumptuous feast (prepared by you) set before them – does anything say “holidays” more than that? What guests often don’t realize are the hours of prep and, perhaps, stress the host endured to achieve this festive celebration. You, however, don’t have to be one of those crazed hosts.

With the holidays quickly approaching, you can make a stress-free holiday meal with some handy tips from celebrity chef and expert entertainer Cat Cora, the first and only female Iron Chef on Food Network’s Iron Chef America.

“When it comes to holiday entertaining, planning ahead and having the right tools and equipment help prevent poor performance and high stress levels,” Cora says. Here are her tips for stress-free holiday entertaining:

* Start out with the best tools and equipment you can afford. If you’ve been thinking about replacing your old, energy inefficient refrigerator with something better, more convenient and worthy of your skills, the holiday season is a great time to do so.

“A good refrigerator, with the right features, can make meal organization and prep much easier,” Cora says. For example, refrigerators like LG’s four-door model offer lots of storage room with nearly 28 cubic feet of capacity, including double freezer drawers – the top drawer for items you access the most and bottom drawer for larger items or longer-term storage. The freezer drawers automatically open and close at the touch of a button, so it’s like having an extra hand in the kitchen.

* Take advantage of the convenience of the microwave, some of which now feature a warming lamp, to help keep dishes hot until mealtime.

* Shop early and stock up on perishables weeks before your holiday event. Chop veggies and prepare hors d’oeuvres a day before, and take advantage of the great fresh desserts available at your local grocery store or bakery.

* Clean as you go — it makes a big difference and you can enjoy your meal even more knowing a sink full of dishes doesn’t await you when you’re done. New dishwashers with steam technology now offer cycles that allow you to thoroughly yet gently clean fragile items such as fine china and stemware.

* Enlist friends to come over an hour or two before the party to help set up the drinks, appetizers and a children’s table complete with crayons, puzzles and games.

* You don’t have to bust your budget in order to host a memorable event. If a full-blown four course dinner is beyond your budget, consider a single-course affair such as a cheese tasting, dessert party or appetizer buffet.

* Mix up serving pieces. Instead of the traditional bowls and plates, try unusual presentations like serving dessert in a martini glass, appetizers in a shot glass or serve the meat course on a cutting board.

* Edible & functional garnishes are a great way to add color and verve to any dish. Items like orange or lemon wedges, radish roses, slivers of carrot, toasted nuts or grated chocolate work well as quick, attractive garnishes.

* “Never forget to be original,” Cora says. “While we all love traditional holiday fare, get creative with a couple special dishes that will add flare to your dinner party.”

Try this creative recipe from Kristine Snyder, of Maui, Hawaii, chosen as “America’s Top Amateur Chef” at LG’s “Taste of Something Better” cooking competition judged by Cora. Snyder will represent the United States in LG’s 2009 Global “Life Tastes Good” championship in Bangkok, Thailand, in November.

Soy-Glazed Mahi Mahi with Cilantro Butter Shrimp (Serves four)

3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons sesame oil
4 tablespoons minced fresh ginger, divided
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons minced garlic, divided
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, divided
4 6-ounce Mahi Mahi fillets (or other mild white fish), about 1 inch thick
3 ounces spicy Portuguese sausage (linguica), thinly sliced and quartered
3/4 cup clam juice
1/4 cup low salt chicken broth
3 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon Thai sweet chili sauce
3/4 cup packed fresh cilantro
6 tablespoons cold butter
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon grated lime zest
12 large shrimp, peeled and deveined, tail on
2 cups chopped watercress
12 grape or cherry tomatoes, halved

Combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, two tablespoons ginger, one tablespoon
garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes in a 1-gallon, sealable plastic bag. Add fish and sausage to marinade, turning to coat, and refrigerate for one half hour.

Combine clam juice, broth, vinegar and sweet chili sauce in a small saucepan. Boil over medium-high heat until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

Puree cilantro, butter, remaining two tablespoons ginger, remaining two teaspoons garlic, lime juice, zest and remaining 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes in a food processor. Reserve two tablespoons for shrimp and set remainder aside.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Remove fish and sausage from marinade, scraping off excess, and place in a spray-coated baking dish. Bake eight to 10 minutes until just cooked through.

Meanwhile, to finish sauce, reheat broth mixture over medium heat and gradually whisk in cilantro butter until blended and slightly thickened. Melt reserved cilantro butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and saute shrimp until opaque, about one and a half minutes per side. To serve, divide watercress onto four warmed plates and top with fish. Drizzle sauce over the fish and top with shrimp. Garnish with tomatoes.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Blueberry Napoleons: A Simply Royal Dessert

(NAPSI)-A classic Napoleon is a decadent dessert that was born in Naples…or Copenhagen…or Paris! While historians can't agree on the exact origins, everyone agrees that the dessert was a favorite of Napoleon Bonaparte and that the alternating crisp and creamy textures with a burst of fruit are worthy of royalty.

This winter, give your guests a majestic treat by serving Fresh Blueberry Napoleons. The gorgeous stacked dessert looks impressive yet is super easy to make. You can even bake the surprisingly simple crisps and stir up the tasty cream the day before, then assemble with luscious fresh blueberries just before serving. The recipe serves four, but if you're expecting more guests, it can be easily doubled.

You'll find plenty of top-quality fresh blueberries in the produce aisle of your market this winter. They come to us from South America, where the climate and growing conditions are perfect for blueberries.


6 slices firm white sandwich bread, crusts removed

1 teaspoon butter, softened

¼ teaspoon sugar

1 cup ricotta cheese (whole or part-skim milk)

¼ cup mascarpone or cream cheese

¼ cup confectioners' sugar

2 tablespoons apricot preserves

1 cup fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350ºF. With a rolling pin, roll bread slices very thin; cut each slice in half lengthwise. Lightly butter bread on one side; arrange on baking sheet; sprinkle with sugar; bake until crisp and beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Cool to room temperature. (If making ahead, wrap tightly; store at room temperature.) In medium bowl, with electric mixer, beat ricotta, mascarpone, confectioners' sugar and preserves until smooth. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Just before serving, place 8 toasts on work surface. Spread cheese filling on toasts, dividing evenly; dot with berries. Stack 4 of the prepared toasts on remaining prepared toasts; top each with a plain toast; press gently to secure. If desired, sift confectioners' sugar over Napoleons. Serve immediately.

YIELD: 4 portions

Per portion: 349 calories, 39 g carbohydrate, 17 g total fat, 9 g saturated fat

For more nutrition information and great recipes, visit

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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Red Wine, White Wine, Fish and Science

(ISNS) -- The long-standing rule of matching wine and food -- red wine with red meat and white wine with fish -- actually has a scientific explanation, according to two scientists working for the Mercian Corporation, a Japanese producer and marketer of wine.

The research, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, found that the small amounts of iron found in many red wines caused those who eat fish to have a strong, fishy aftertaste.

Researchers had wine tasters sample 36 red wines and 26 white wines while dining on scallops. The wines varied by country of origin, variety and vintage, but the samples that contained irons were consistently rated as having a fishy aftertaste. When the scientists increased the amount of iron in a particular wine, the nastiness of the aftertaste increased.

The reports of the bad aftertaste went away when a substance that binds to iron was added to the offending wines. Fish were then soaked in high-iron wine and several compounds related to the "fish" taste increased measurably.
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Friday, October 23, 2009

Become the ultimate cookie exchange host

(ARA) - Cookie exchange parties are a holiday tradition that provides a fun-filled reason for friends and family to enjoy each other’s company and fill up their holiday cookie trays. This season, bakers and holiday entertainers can visit to find a one-stop shop for receiving and sharing holiday baking and party planning tips that are sure to sweeten any holiday get-together.

For those looking to create the ultimate cookie exchange, the experts at Hershey’s Kisses Brand Chocolates offer the following tips to turn any holiday party into a sweet success. The iconic chocolate treat also will serve as the party-planning partner for holiday hosts by sponsoring 1,000 cookie exchange parties nationwide. To apply to host a Hershey’s Kisses Chocolates Cookie Exchange and for recipes and additional party tips visit

Cookie exchange tips:

* When sending out invitations, include a unique cookie recipe for each guest as a suggestion. Also ask your guests to RSVP with the recipe they plan to make so that you can be sure not to double up on a specific type of cookie. You can find a variety of creative recipes at

* Once you have all the RSVPs, inform your guests how many cookies they need to bring. One dozen per guest is a good start, but if you're having a large party, it might be a good idea to reduce this quantity to only a half-dozen cookies so that guests aren't overwhelmed with baking.

* Encourage your guests to bring copies of their recipe for everyone. Also ask them to bring along sealable containers for the cookies they're taking home. Have a few extra containers on hand in case someone forgets.

* To give your party added fun, set out gift tags, gift bags, ribbons and pens so that your guests can create gifts for co-workers, neighbors, teachers and friends.

* Play holiday music and offer simple refreshments like hot cocoa, warm apple cider, coffee, tea and eggnog to keep the holiday ambiance going.

To get your party planning started, consider the following recipes for your cookie exchange:

Kisses Chocolate Chip Cookies
Makes four dozen cookies

48 Hershey's Kisses Brand Milk Chocolates
1 cup softened butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 cup Hershey's Mini Chips Semi-Sweet Chocolates

Chocolate drizzle:
1/4 cup Hershey's Mini Chips Semi-Sweet Chocolates
1 teaspoon shortening

Heat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and remove the wrappers from the milk chocolates. Beat together butter, sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in a large bowl until well blended. Add flour and blend until smooth. Stir in the mini chips. Mold scant tablespoons of dough around the milk chocolates, covering completely. Shape into balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until set. Cool completely.

Prepare chocolate drizzle by placing the mini chips and shortening in a small, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at medium heat for 30 seconds and stir. If necessary, microwave at a medium heat for an additional 10 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth when stirred. Drizzle mixture over each cookie.

Chocolate Almond Thumbprint Cookies
Makes three and one half dozen cookies

1 cup softened butter
2/3 cup sugar
2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1/4 cup Hershey’s Cocoa
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup finely chopped almonds

Chocolate filling:
42 Hershey's Kisses Brand Milk Chocolates with Almonds
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon Hershey's Cocoa
1 tablespoon softened butter
2 1/2 teaspoons milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and remove the wrappers from the milk chocolates. Beat together butter, sugar, egg yolks and vanilla extract together until well blended. Stir together flour, cocoa and salt in a separate bowl and mix into the butter mixture. Roll dough into one-inch balls and roll in chopped almonds. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and press thumb gently into the center of each cookie. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until set. Remove from cookie sheet and cool completely.

Prepare chocolate filling by combining powdered sugar, cocoa, butter, milk and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Beat mixture until smooth. Spoon or pipe about 1/4 teaspoon of the chocolate filling into each thumbprint on the cooled cookies. Gently press one milk chocolate into the center of each cookie.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Raisin' Cane Gingerbread Boys & Girls

(NAPSI)-Few things conjure up holiday fun like the image of kids decorating cookies and the aroma of fresh-baked gingerbread.

Gingerbread cookies date back to Queen Elizabeth I, who is said to have had the likeness of important visitors baked out of gingerbread. Since then, the cookies have become a holiday tradition that brings families together. So easy to bake up and decorate with raisins from the pantry, Gingerbread Boys & Girls dress up with dried cranberries, icing and mini candy canes.

To make them as party favors or as a gift for neighbors, teachers and friends, place a large cookie into a holiday cellophane bag (available in craft stores) together with a mini candy cane. Then tie with holiday ribbon.

Raisin' Cane Gingerbread Boys & Girls


5½ cups all-purpose flour

5 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

¾ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon baking powder

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup light brown sugar, packed

1 cup unsulphured molasses

2 eggs

Tube of icing or royal icing

½ cup Sun-Maid Natural Raisins or Cape Cod Cranberries

Small candy canes


Mix dry ingredients in medium bowl; set aside. Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Beat butter in large bowl until light and fluffy. Add brown sugar, molasses and eggs; beat well. Gradually beat in dry mixture on low speed.

Divide dough into 3 parts and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until firm, about 1½ hours.

Roll dough on lightly floured surface to ¼-inch thickness. Using a cookie cutter, cut cookies and place 2 inches apart on greased or parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake in preheated oven at 350°F for 11 to 13 minutes. Let cool 2 to 3 minutes.

Decorate with royal icing, raisins and dried cranberries. Attach small candy canes with icing onto "hands" of cookies, or serve on the side.

Yield: about 20, 6- to 7-inch cookies.

For more holiday recipes, visit

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Friday, October 16, 2009

Pumpkin Or Sweet Potato? Tips And Topping To Make The Best Pie

(NAPSI)-'Tis the season for pie making. This recipe for Sweet Potato Pie features a stunning fig and toasted pecan topping that works equally well on pumpkin pie. Whether you prefer pumpkin or lean toward sweet potato, these baking tips will reward you with pie perfection.

Luscious, sweet, moist, dark Mission or golden California Calimyrna figs are simmered in brandy and maple syrup and swirled with toasted pecans. Spooned over a silky-smooth sweet potato filling, this showy, classic pie is even more appealing when you realize it started with a refrigerated pie crust.

For more recipes and fig tips, visit Valley Fig Growers at

Perfect Pie Tips

• For optimum baking results, use a glass or dull-metal pie pan. Avoid shiny metal or disposable aluminum pans, which reflect heat and prevent crusts from browning. Dark pans may cause crusts to brown too much.

• To keep baked edges from getting too brown, cover the edges with foil after the first 15 minutes of baking. Use a 12-inch-square piece of foil. Cut out a 7-inch circle from the center, and gently fold the foil "ring" around the crust's edge. Be careful: The pie will be hot!

• Use a hot oven temperature during the first 15 minutes of baking.

• Cool the pie on a wire rack to help prevent a soggy bottom. The rack helps air circulate.

Sweet Potato Pie With Fig And Pecan Topping


1 refrigerated pie crust (½ of 15-oz. package)

15 ounces canned sweet potatoes, packed in light syrup

⅓ cup packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

¼ teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

¾ cup whipping cream


¼ cup butter

¼ cup packed light brown sugar

1 cup stemmed, chopped Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid Figs

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon brandy or water

½ cup chopped, toasted pecans

Preheat oven to 450ºF. Prepare one 9-inch pie crust according to package directions for filled pie; do not bake.

Drain sweet potatoes; mash or whirl in food processor until smooth (potatoes should measure 1⅛ cups). In medium bowl, whisk together sweet potatoes, brown sugar, spice and salt. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, and cream. Pour filling into crust.

Bake pie 15 minutes; reduce heat to 350º, shield edge of pie with foil to prevent overbrowning, and continue baking for 25 to 30 minutes or until center moves slightly when shaken. Remove pie to wire rack to cool.

For topping, in small saucepan, stir butter and brown sugar over medium heat until melted. Stir in figs, maple syrup and brandy. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly, 2 minutes or until reduced to a thick, glossy syrup. Remove from heat and stir in pecans. Spoon evenly over warm pie.

Cool. Chill for up to 8 hours before serving. Makes 8 servings.

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Enjoy Sweet Potatoes With A Heart-Healthy Twist

(NAPSI)-This holiday season, you can use olive oil to give your dishes a dose of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats without sacrificing taste.

For a lighter and more flavorful alternative to candied yams and other marshmallow-topped sweet potato dishes, try Mashed Sweet Potatoes. This twist on the comfort food favorite combines cardamom, fresh ginger and grated orange peel for a sweet-savory flavor. It uses olive oil instead of butter for a creamy consistency. And a crunchy baked topping of cinnamon breadcrumbs helps to ensure that even picky eaters will enjoy a healthy dose of the sweet potatoes' vitamins A and C. Holiday meals don't have to be elaborate to be festive and satisfying.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Prep. Time: 50 minutes

Cook Time: 57 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 47 minutes

4 large sweet potatoes (about 5 lbs.), peeled and quartered

Extra-light olive oil for greasing casserole

¼ cup olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

2 to 3 tsp. grated fresh gingerroot

¼ cup pure maple syrup

1 egg

2 Tbsp. grated orange peel (approx. 2 oranges)

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

½ tsp. cardamom, optional

⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper

2 slices cinnamon bread, torn into 1-inch pieces

2 tsp. extra-light olive oil

Place potatoes in Dutch oven with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover loosely and simmer 15 to 25 minutes or until tender. Drain well in colander; place in large bowl; set aside.

Heat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease 2-quart casserole with olive oil. In medium skillet or saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onion and gingerroot; cook and stir until tender.

Lightly mash potatoes with spoon or potato masher. Add onion mixture and remaining ingredients except cinnamon bread and 2 tsp. olive oil. For smoother consistency, beat with mixer to blend. For a chunkier mixture, mash with potato masher or wooden spoon to blend. Spoon into prepared casserole.

In food processor or blender, process bread pieces until completely chopped. Blend in remaining 2 tsp. olive oil. Sprinkle over potato mixture.

Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until lightly browned and thoroughly hot.

Makes 16 to 20 servings.

For more recipes, as well as additional information about olive oil, visit

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Rice Adds Delicious Flair To Holiday Meals

(NAPSI)-If you're looking for tasty ways to mix up your holiday menu, try making room for rice.

The nutrient-dense "energy food" is light on calories, has no saturated or trans fats and can provide a welcome change from pasta or potato side dishes. Plus, rice can be made in the microwave, freeing up space on your stove top for other holiday foods. More reasons to rave about rice include:

• Brown rice is 100 percent whole grain, and just one cup provides two of the three recommended daily whole grain servings.

• Rice is gluten-free and the least allergenic of all grains.

• Rice is a versatile and delicious partner to other healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables and beans.

Holiday Recipes

You can find plenty of festive rice recipes-from holiday side dishes to delicious desserts-at Web sites such as Additionally, Rice-Select, the makers of the well-known Texmati rice, offers more than 100 recipes using rice ranging from Jasmati and Texmati to Arborio and Royal Blends.

Made with Texmati white, brown, red and wild rice, Royal Pecan Rice Bake is a tasty side dish to serve with poultry, pork or beef.

Royal Pecan Rice Bake

¾ cup chopped onion

¾ cup chopped celery

¼ cup margarine

3 cups cooked RiceSelect® Royal Blend Rice

½ cup chopped pecans, toasted

¼ cup chopped parsley

½ teaspoon salt (to taste)

¼ teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon poultry seasoning (or to taste)

In large skillet, sauté onions and celery in margarine until tender. Stir in remaining ingredients, mixing well. Spoon into casserole; cover tightly and bake at 375°F for 15-20 minutes. Makes about 8 servings.

Try this recipe for a Creamy Cranberry Rice Pudding. Made with Arborio rice, it makes a sweet addition to a holiday party or a delicious ending to a family meal.

Creamy Cranberry

Rice Pudding

21/2 cups cooked RiceSelect® Arborio Rice

3 eggs, beaten

2 cups milk

¼ cup half-and-half

½ cup granulated sugar

(or ¼ cup granulated sugar and ¼ cup light brown)

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ cup dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 325°F. Combine all ingredients, mixing well with a fork. Pour into a buttered 8x8x2-inch baking pan. Bake 15 minutes, stir gently. Bake an additional 30 minutes or until set. Serves 6.

Learn More

All-natural, award-winning RiceSelect rice is made with specially bred, nongenetically modified seeds, and their organic products are certified by USDA accredited agencies. And their Texmati rice was featured in Consumer Reports and in the "Chef's Guide Book," an annual directory of the nation's best food products.

For more recipes and information, visit

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Easy meals for under $10 get you back into fall routines

(ARA) - With the departure of summer barbecues and the approach of the busy holiday season, more than one family will rethink that familiar question ... “What’s for dinner?”

For quick, nutritious and engaging dinners, the answer is high-quality, lean protein. As the season gets busy, finding fast, easy meal solutions is an important part of falling into your autumn routines.

“When days get shorter and schedules ramp back up, few people have time to prepare complicated dinners,” says Bob Greene, exercise physiologist, personal trainer to Oprah Winfrey, and author of “The Best Life Diet Cookbook.” “However, breakfast-style fare can provide a flavorful and filling family dinner with only minutes spent in the kitchen.”

To satisfy your family’s appetite quickly and keep them feeling full longer, lean proteins take the lead. Greene recommends AllWhites and Better’n Eggs as a convenient way to add lean, high-quality protein to easy evening meals. Made from real egg – but with no fat, no cholesterol and half the calories – both products are optimal sources of lean protein.

“Dinner prep can be simple when you have the right ingredients on hand,” Greene says. “With AllWhites and Better’n Eggs, you have a filling, protein-packed ingredient that’s sure to make any dinner satisfying.” Green suggests a few recipes for flavorful meals for a family of four on less than $10:

Scrambled Egg Margarita Pizza

Scrambled eggs aren’t just for breakfast. An easy substitute for pizza sauce, scrambled eggs top a whole-wheat crust for extra fiber and nutrients.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

2 cups (16 ounces) Better’n Eggs
1 12-inch whole-wheat pizza crust
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
1 cup (4 ounces) reduced-fat mozzarella cheese

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Spray a 10-inch nonstick skillet with cooking spray and pour in Better’n Eggs. Cook over medium heat. As egg starts to set, use spatula to lift edge, letting uncooked egg flow to bottom of skillet. Cook until eggs are set but still moist. Place pizza crust on a large cookie sheet and top the crust with the cooked Better’n Eggs, chopped tomatoes, basil and cheese. Bake eight to 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Makes four servings.

Asparagus, Red Pepper and Potato Frittata

Frittatas are delicious meals that can be prepared on a stovetop using just one skillet. Preparation time – 25 minutes.

2 cups (16 ounces) AllWhites
1/2 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 cups refrigerated hash brown potatoes
1/2 pound fresh asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Slowly stir together AllWhites and ricotta cheese in a small bowl, stirring until smooth. Set aside. Heat oil on medium-high in 10-inch nonstick skillet. Gently stir potatoes, asparagus, red pepper and mushrooms in large bowl. Add potato mixture to skillet. Cook five to six minutes. Flip potato mixture. Pour AllWhites mixture evenly over potatoes. Cover and cook without stirring 10 to 12 minutes or until eggs are set. Remove from heat.

Place serving platter or cutting board over top of skillet. Carefully invert frittata onto platter. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Makes 6 servings.

Mexican Eggs in Tortilla Cups

Ground cumin and a dose of chili powder combine with egg whites in a satisfying tortilla cup. Preparation time - 15 minutes.

4 7- to 8-inch, 100 percent whole-wheat flour tortillas (100 calories and 8 grams fiber)
2 cups (16 ounces) AllWhites
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup reduced-fat shredded marble jack cheese
1/4 cup light sour cream
4 teaspoons salsa
2 tablespoons chopped green or spring onions

Heat oven to 400 F. Place four 6-ounce custard cups upside down onto cookie sheet. Lightly spray both sides of each tortilla with nonstick cooking spray. Place each tortilla over custard cup, pressing lightly to cover. Bake eight to 10 minutes or until tortillas are light golden brown. Place cups upright on cooling rack.

Meanwhile, spray a 10-inch nonstick skillet with nonstick cooking spray. Cook Allwhites over medium heat. As egg starts to set, use a spatula to lift the edge of cooked eggs, letting uncooked egg flow to bottom of skillet. Cook until eggs are set but still moist. Stir in chili powder and cumin. Sprinkle with cheese.

Place each tortilla cup upright on serving plate. Fill each cup with an equal portion of AllWhites mixture. Top each with 1 tablespoon sour cream, 1 teaspoon salsa. Sprinkle with green onions. Makes four servings.

For more healthy on-the-go recipes, visit and Bob Greene’s Web site

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Party-Pleasing Tomato And Pesto Tart

(NAPSI)-Easy to make and elegant to serve, tiny tomato tarts make a great party appetizer or luncheon side dish.

In addition, because they're made with freshly canned tomatoes, they're a natural source of lycopene, an antioxidant that may help reduce the risk of heart disease. According to scientists, the body absorbs more lycopene from cooked tomatoes than from raw.

In addition to serving up lycopene, canned tomatoes make a great addition to a wide range of recipes, according to chef George Duran, host of "Ham on the Street" and author of "Take This Dish and Twist It." "I'm a huge fan of using Hunt's® diced, whole and stewed tomatoes in my recipes because they go from vine to can in mere hours and are flash-steamed to help keep their backyard garden−fresh taste," said Duran.

For an appetizing crowd-pleaser in any season, try this tomato pesto tart made with canned tomatoes:

Tomato Pesto Tart

Total Time: 30 minutes

Servings: Makes 9 servings

PAM Original No-Stick

Cooking Spray

1 frozen puff pastry sheet, thawed according to package directions (1 sheet = ½ of 17.3-oz. pkg.)

½ cup prepared basil pesto

1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese (1 cup = 4 oz.)

1 can (14.5 oz. each) Hunt's®

Whole Peeled Tomatoes, drained, cut into ¼-inch- thick slices

Thinly sliced fresh basil, optional

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Spray rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray; set aside. Unfold 1 puff pastry sheet onto lightly floured surface; roll out to 12-inch square. Crimp edges; place on prepared baking sheet. Spread pesto evenly over puff pastry. Sprinkle with ½ cup cheese, then add tomato slices in a single layer. Finish by topping evenly with remaining cheese. Bake 17-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Garnish with some fresh basil, if desired. For small bites, cut into 16 pieces. Serve immediately.

Garnishing with fresh basil serves up another layer of appealingly fresh taste and aroma.

Learn More

Visit for more tips and recipe

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Get Spooked This Halloween with’s Web-Exclusive Videos and Recipes for Tricks-and-Treats

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Go all out this Halloween weekend with’s favorite recipes for freaky party foods and ghoulishly great treats — no tricks necessary. Plus, go pumpkin crazy with Alton Brown's roasted pumpkin seeds, Paula Deen's Gooey Pumpkin Cakes and Duff Goldman's outrageous pumpkin "slashing." (

Bakery Chef Duff, star of Food Network’s Ace of Cakes, is the Halloween hooligan this season and’s cauldron is boiling up web-exclusive “Tales from the Bakery” with the cake master himself. Visitors to the site will be thrilled to see Duff:

* Create an angry 3-D pumpkin cake in a spooky patch.
* Bake up pumpkin chocolate chip mini Halloween cakes with some ghostly icing.
* Test and terrify his bakery staff with his favorite spooky Halloween foods like slimy spaghetti intestines and brains á la tofu.
* Share a monster mash-up list of his favorite creepy Charm City Cakes, from the spinning-head exorcist to the zombie bride and groom.

Semi-Homemade’s Sandra Lee is all dolled up and ready for this All Hallows’ Eve. Get caught in her web-exclusive semi-homemade Halloween videos featuring a compilation of her crazy costumes from Halloweens gone by, themed recipes with ghoulish garnishes and even some spooky entertaining tricks.

Done carving the pumpkin? Don’t toss those seeds! Learn how to roast them for a fabulous fall snack with Alton Brown. Also, use them in snacks and desserts, or toss them in decorative baggies for the perfect party favor.

Want to make homemade costumes for the kids? The site even features step-by-step instructions for making fun food-themed kiddie costumes. For more Halloween thrills and chills, and all manner of devilishly delightful October 31st recipe and menu ideas, check out

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Monday, October 5, 2009

Slow Cookers Save Time During Busy Holidays

(NAPSI)-A slow cooker may be a quick way to limit time spent preparing meals during the busy holiday season. The handy appliance can be left alone to work, freeing you to do other errands. And their low heat helps blend flavors and keeps foods moist and delicious.

For instance, slow-cooked Easy Italian Meatballs can be served for a tasty weeknight dinner or as an unforgettable appetizer when entertaining. They're made by simply placing frozen meatballs and a favorite jarred sauce in a slow cooker and heating for a number of hours.

You can make the entire process even easier by using a product such as Reynolds® Slow Cooker Liners. The liners keep food from baking onto your slow cooker. When you're ready to clean up, simply toss the liner and you're done. No more baked-on mess to soak or scrub. Just remember this tip: Store your slow cooker liners in the cooker itself. That way, you'll have them when you need them.

Easy Italian Meatballs

1 Reynolds Slow Cooker Liner

1 package (about 38 oz.) Italian-style frozen meatballs (about 76 meatballs)

1 jar (28 to 32 oz.) pasta or spaghetti sauce

Open liner and place inside a 5- to 6½-quart slow cooker bowl. Fit liner snugly against the bottom and sides of bowl; pull top of liner over rim of bowl.

Place meatballs and sauce in slow cooker liner; stir gently. Place lid on slow cooker.

Cook on low for 6 to 7 hours OR on high for 3 to 4 hours until meatballs are hot.

Carefully remove lid to allow steam to escape. Serve meatballs directly from slow cooker liner using a wooden or plastic utensil. Do not lift or transport liner with food inside. Cool slow cooker completely, remove liner and throw away.

For more tips and recipes, visit

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Saturday, October 3, 2009

Score A Big Hit With Game Day Sandwiches

(NAPSI)-No matter what team you root for, game day can be an excellent reason to host a get-together. Whether watching the game at home or tailgating in the stadium parking lot, one of the most important elements is the food.

An easy-to-use ingredient that amps up any game day menu is the Hass avocado. It is available year-round and can be identified by its dark, pebbly skin that generally turns from green to purplish-black when ripe. While it serves as the main ingredient in guacamole, its creamy texture also can be a great topping for just-grilled meats, sandwiches, salads and more.

To inspire sports fans to create a quick and delicious game day meal, Curtis Stone, host of TLC's "Take Home Chef" and author of "Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone: Recipes to Put You in My Favorite Mood," is sharing his recipe for "Grilled Bacon and Buffalo Mozzarella Sandwiches with Hass Avocado."

"When you are getting together with your friends for the game, you want to create good food that doesn't keep you away from the action all day," says Stone. "That's why I love working with Hass avocados; you can quickly dice them up and incorporate them into a variety of dishes to add a great flavor and texture."

Grilled Bacon and Buffalo Mozzarella Sandwiches with Hass Avocado

Recipe created by chef Curtis Stone for the Hass Avocado Board

Serves: 4

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Hass Avocado Pesto


2 cloves garlic

1½ bunches fresh basil leaves

⅓ cup pine nuts, toasted

⅓ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 ripe, fresh Hass avocado, peeled, seeded and scooped out*

1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste


1. In a food processor, puree the garlic into a coarse paste. Add in the basil, pine nuts and cheese; mix until combined.

2. Slowly pour in the oil and add in the avocado and lemon juice until combined. The pesto should be smooth but have a thick consistency. Season the pesto with salt and pepper to taste; set aside.

Grilled Bacon and Buffalo

Mozzarella Sandwiches with Hass Avocado


4 (3-inch) square sections of a ciabatta loaf, cut in half lengthwise

Extra-virgin olive oil, for grilling

Hass Avocado Pesto (see make-ahead recipe above)

1 ripe, fresh Hass avocado, peeled, seeded, quartered and cut into ¼-inch slices*

1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Salt, to taste

Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

1 large, vine-ripened tomato, cored and cut into ¼-inch slices

1 (8-oz.) ball of fresh buffalo mozzarella, torn into small pieces

8 slices bacon, cooked and broken in half


1. Brush the outside of each piece of bread lightly with the oil, and lay the bread out with each half facing up.

2. Divide the Hass Avocado Pesto between the slices of bread and spread evenly.

3. In a shallow bowl, dress the avocado with lemon juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper to taste.

5. On the bottom half of each slice of bread, place even amounts of half of the mozzarella, tomato, avocado and bacon; and then place the remaining mozzarella on top of the bacon.

6. Place the tops of the bread onto the sandwiches and press firmly.

7. Place a sandwich in a pre-heated sandwich press.

8. Cook until the bread is toasted golden brown and the cheese has melted, about 7 to 8 minutes.

9. Repeat with remaining sandwiches.

10. Cut the grilled sandwiches in half, arrange on a platter and serve immediately.

*Large avocados are recommended for this recipe. A large avocado averages about 8 ounces. If using smaller or larger size avocados adjust the quantity accordingly.

Nutrition Information Per Serving: Calories 820; Total Fat 59 g (Sat 15 g, Trans 0 g, Poly 7.9 g, Mono 27.8 g); Cholesterol 55 mg; Total Carbohydrates 46 g; Dietary Fiber 8 g; Protein 29 g

For more game day recipes, visit the Hass Avocado Board Web site at

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Friday, October 2, 2009

Recipes That Cut Corners, Not Taste

(NAPSI)-As families are forced to make cutbacks due to the economy, moms are making their way back into the kitchen in hopes of preparing healthful, budget-friendly meals. The only problem is, recent research shows that many lack the basic kitchen know-how and need help in the kitchen.

The Canned Food Alliance (CFA) recently provided consumers with the Essential Kitchen Toolkit, an easy-to-read guide to planning and preparing healthful meals.

Now, the CFA has partnered with chef and cookbook author Andrew Schloss so families can apply the basics of meal preparation to create easy meals at home with much lower costs.

Called "Kitchen Countdown," this new collection consists of 10 new recipes that all have one thing in common: They each feature 1 pot; 5 ingredients; cost 10 dollars or less; take 15 minutes or less to prepare and have 400 calories or less per serving.

The recipes include dishes such as Chili Stuffed Flank Steak, Smoked Turkey Gazpacho, Salmon Herb Pie, and Corn and Crab Cakes.

By taking advantage of the variety of canned foods available today, which are already cooked and more affordable than their fresh and frozen counterparts, Chef Schloss created nutritious, great-tasting meals for less than $10.

Visit to find "Kitchen Countdown" recipes, such as this one.

Smoked Turkey Gazpacho

Courtesy of

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 0 minutes

Total cost: $8.31


2 medium cucumbers, peeled and diced, divided

1 quart (32 fl oz) canned low-sodium vegetable juice, divided

8 (1-ounce) unsalted tortilla chips

1 can (14.5 oz) no-salt-added diced tomatoes

8 ounces smoked turkey, cut in small dice


In a blender or food processor, combine one cucumber, half the vegetable juice, the tortilla chips, 8 ice cubes, and puree until completely smooth.

Pour the contents into a serving bowl and add the remaining cucumber and vegetable juice, diced tomatoes and the smoked turkey. Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 24 hours before serving.

Serving Suggestions: Garnish with lime wedges, if desired

Servings: 4

Serving size: 2 cups

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