Chocolate Liqueur Valentine Martini

Chocolate Liqueur Valentine Martini - www.cobornsblog.com

Neat or On The Rocks with Harley - www.cobornsblog.com
Harley

Chocolate Liqueurs are sweet drinks that can be enjoyed neat, on the rocks, or in an after dinner drink.  You can also add them to your coffee or over some desserts to add a sweet flavor.

What is a Chocolate Liqueur?

For the sake of simplicity, it is a liqueur that tastes like chocolate.  Chocolate Liqueurs are not a new invention.  The concept’s history dates back to around 1666 in France and chocolate liqueur recipes have been found in both British and American cookbooks.  These dessert drinks rose to popularity during the chocolate craze in the 1990s.

History of chocolate liqueur recipes have been divided into two parts: Pre-19th Century and Post-19th Century.  Pre-19th century cocoa was the main ingredient, while the modern recipe has cocoa extracts, vanilla, vanilla extract, vodka and simple syrup.

They are made from a combination of alcohol, sweetener and chocolate flavoring.  The ingredients are simple, but the process is quite lengthy.  I will not get into the process of making them at this point as I feel the ones you can find at your local Coborn’s or Cash Wise Liquor Store will work for whatever your plans are (desserts, cocktails or coffee boosts).

As Valentine’s Day fast approaches and you are out shopping for the perfect chocolates for the apple of your eye, may I suggest that you pick up a chocolate liqueur and make your special someone a fun Valentine Martini? Here is a delicious recipe to try this Valentine’s Day.

Valentine Martini
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Oz. Tito’s Vodka
  • 1 Oz. Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
  • Whipped Cream for topping
  • Shaved Chocolate for Garnish
Instructions
  1. Fill a shaker with ice.
  2. Add vodka and chocolate liqueur.
  3. Shake vigorously, strain and pour into a martini glass.
  4. Top with lightly sweetened whipped cream.
  5. Garnish with chocolate shavings.
Notes
You can use chocolate, white chocolate or dark chocolate liqueur.
If you want to spice it up, you can use Crave Chocolate Chili Liqueur.

This recipe is sure to be a hit for your Valentine’s Day celebration.

Until next time, cheers!
Harley
Coborn’s, Inc. Liquor Category Manager

Click Here for more articles written by Harley
Neat or On The Rocks with Harley - www.cobornsblog.com

 

Homemade Baby Wipes

Homemade Baby Wipes using Essential Oils. www.cobornsblog.com

Homespun with Lori - www.cobornsblog.com
Lori

Shortly after my daughter was born, we discovered she had very sensitive skin and constantly had diaper rash.  After consulting her Pediatrician, he requested we immediately stop using store-bought wipes as they could be irritating her skin and not allowing the diaper rash to dissipate, or quite possibly could be the main cause of the rash.

A month or so prior to this appointment, I had gone to a friend’s house where we made homemade baby wipes, along with numerous other all-natural baby products.  Immediately after returning home from our daughter’s doctor appointment, my husband and I started using the homemade baby wipes on our daughter and overnight the diaper rash disappeared. We have been using these wipes on her ever since, and not only are they so much better for her skin, but they are so quick and easy to make, as well as tremendously cost-effective!

For this blog, I used the Aura Cacia Essential Oils from Coborn’s. Aura Cacia, has a great variety of high-quality Essential Oils that are animal-friendly, environmentally-friendly and clearly list all of their ingredients on each product. Their products are backed by a quality guarantee and it is easy to grab them on your shopping trip to Coborn’s. I pick up my Domestix or Ziploc containers, paper towels and Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap at Coborn’s as well.

 

Homemade Baby Wipes
 
Ingredients
  • 1 T. Dr. Bronner’s Liquid Castile Soap – Lavender Scent
  • 1 T. Aura Cacia Sweet Almond Oil
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 2 Drops Aura Cacia Tea Tree Essential Oil
  • 1 Drop Aura Cacia Lavender Essential Oi
  • ⅓ Roll Paper Towel
  • 1 round plastic container with lid – at least 1.6 QT
Instructions
  1. With a large, sharp knife, carefully cut a paper towel roll in three pieces.
  2. In the round container, add the first five liquid ingredients and stir.
  3. Slowly place one of the three portions of the paper towel roll in the liquid mixture and place the cover on the container.
  4. Let sit for at least 15 minutes to absorb the liquid.
  5. Remove the cover, pull out the cardboard core, and either flip the paper towels in the container and replace lid or replace lid and flip the entire container upside down.
  6. Let sit for at least 30 minutes.
  7. When you are ready to use them, pull wipes from the center.

How to make homemade baby wipes. www.cobornsblog.comTips

  • Cutting the paper towel roll is the hardest part. I usually have my husband do this and he will cut 3 or 4 rolls ahead of time so we have a stock of them ready.
  • Any brand of paper towels will work, whether generic or name brand.  We typically buy a generic brand and they work great.
  • Depending on the size of the container and thickness of the paper towels you use, you may need to add a little more or less water.  This can be done at any time, even after the wipes are ready to use.
  • I always have a pre-made container of wipes on hand for immediate use after the container we are using runs out.
  • Place wipes in a sealed bag to store in the diaper bag.

Even my husband, who has not always been much of an essential oil or all-natural believer, thinks they were a great change for our daughter and an amazing money saver for our family. Enjoy!

Lori
Coborn’s, Inc. Admin. Assistant

Homespun with Lori - www.cobornsblog.com

A Journey to Better Health

Eat Healthy, Shop Smart with Ashley. www.cobornsblog.com
Ashley

Well, it has officially been two years since I joined Coborn’s as their supermarket registered dietitian!  I can honestly tell you this has been such an amazing position to have; my favorite part; I am able to work with a variety of people in the community, like YOU.  So, instead of me writing another one of my blogs, I thought it would be a nice change to allow someone like YOU to write a guest blog for me on the ups/downs, challenges and ultimate successes with eating right and dieting.  I was so inspired by the story below and I know you will be as well!

I met Leni as he was cruising thru the aisles of his local Coborn’s scanning food items using the “lose it” app.  I introduced myself as the supermarket dietitian and asked him if he needed any help.  He was very excited to hear that I was a registered dietitian and began telling me about his current health situation and how he wanted to lose weight. After discussing his current eating habit, we set some obtainable goals.  I took Leni on a shopping tour pointing out the most nutritious foods and explained how we all should be eating at every meal.  Leni kept track of his daily intake with his app and would check in on a very regular basis, updating me on his progress throughout his weight loss journey. It was very motivating to see Leni not only reach his goals, but to see a more cheerful and happy person breaking through the wall of being overweight.  Now, that was incredible!  Leni wasn’t just focused on eating healthy, but living a healthy lifestyle that included regular exercise and being surrounded by positive people encouraging him along the way!  Now, that whole package was nothing but a recipe for success!!

Let’s give it up for Leni, here is his story…

A Journey to Better Health – by Leni DiMancari

A Journey to Better Health by Leni DiMancari - www.cobornsblog.com

I never in my wildest dreams thought that I could influence so many people to take better care of themselves and become healthy. I thought the only thing I could do to influence people was to be a better guitar player and manager. I didn’t realize that I was on the road to a shorter life because of the foods I was eating, the life I was living and not caring about what I put in my system. Here is my story that led up to my decision to live.

The choice to get healthy or die. www.cobornsblog.comIn the beginning

My journey to better health began in October of 2013 after finding out that I was on the road to heart issues and diabetes. There is a history of heart ailments in my family; my father and two sisters were both diabetic. I had consulted a physician about a lack of sleep and series of health issues that were starting to plague me. I was experiencing twitching, body aches, numbness in my fingers and shoulder, snoring, waking up every two hours, and not being able to focus at work. I was lethargic, unmotivated, and eating without thinking. At one point, I was drinking eight cans of Mountain Dew a day and eating fast food eight times a week with salt on everything. The doctor and I dug deep to find the root of my problems.

I didn’t realize what I was doing to myself physically until I found out that I was battling a lot of demons back then; I was swallowing a lot of depression. I began hating life and not caring if I lived or died, slowly poisoning myself with unhealthy foods, seasonings, soups and sugary treats. I didn’t realize that my eating was the problem until I went from a size 32 waist to a size 36 in just seven years.             

Over the course of 10 years since a divorce and quitting smoking, I had put on 60 lbs. I would un-tag myself in photos on Facebook, I would hide pictures of me on my timeline, and I would constantly graze. I would hide in my apartment with a case of Mountain Dew, a bag of chips, the TV, my PC and too much time on my hands. I would rarely go out in public.

 A turning point

It wasn’t until August of 2013 that I had a long talk with my sister about the negative effects of certain chemicals in food that could be a cause of the health problems I was starting to develop. She reminded me of her, my sister and Dad battling diabetes and heart issues, and after a long talk about the things I was eating and drinking, she thought I should talk to the doctor about how I was becoming. The doctor basically told me to “fix it or die.” I was depressed, lonely, and fat.  

I was overweight and on the road to the end. I had no idea of the amount of garbage I was putting in my system because you don’t think about the foods you eat sometimes; in turn, you just eat. I was physically inactive. My clothes were all oversized to hide my gut. My socks would tear, my pants didn’t fit, and my face was round. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with my food choices at the time, but I was wrong.

Quit Soda. Quit Liquor. Quit Smoking - www.cobornsblog.comI decided to make the changes. The doctor and I had a long discussion that really helped. He reminded me that I had already proven I was a strong-willed person when I had given up alcohol and cigarettes. If I could make those changes, I could certainly take on this challenge and win. Without health insurance, I was basically on my own and had to figure it out.

Meeting Ashley and beginning my journey

I then discovered that we had a registered dietician for free available through our grocery store. I went out to the store and met with her, and in two hours, I learned more about the negative influences of our food. I decided then that it was time to take the challenge head on and I did. I had a long talk with one of my close friends about smart phone apps, and then I downloaded the LoseIt.com program. 

I registered with the service, I picked up a mixed martial arts DVD, and I set out on a ten-month journey to a better life. The app keeps you in check, plus gives you a plan to work and goals to reach. It also sends you email stickers and awards for you when you reach peaks.

Ashley (the supermarket dietician) and I would look at the foods that had the worst issues on my list, and soda was the first to go. I tapered it down to zero soda by October 1st. I had no idea that the chemicals in soda were having such a negative effect on my health, until I had my first eight hours of uninterrupted sleep in years. I had no idea that my hypertension was caused by the amount of sodium I was ingesting daily. OMG, I was digesting over 4000 Mg a day; no wonder I was such a wreck. I cut my sodium levels down to under 2200 a day (less than the RDA). I was wide awake in the morning and I liked it a lot.

I eliminated the trans-fats and fried foods, too. I was starting to see changes, little by little. I also realized that I wasn’t getting enough fruits and vegetables. V8 doesn’t count; it’s too high in sodium. With the help of our dietician, the Lose It program, and a newfound confidence, I was ready to try and reach my target weight of 170 lbs. I was at 230 lbs. 

My goal

I wanted to be at that weight where I felt most confident (I wanted it to be the 1980s all over again). It was a huge goal, but I knew if I stuck with the program, dieted, exercised, made healthy food decisions, and eliminated the garbage foods, I could reach it within 8 to 10 months. Here’s what I did: I listened to our dietician. I took all of the high-sodium foods out of my diet and dumped the soda.

Coborn's Customer, Leni, shares his Journey to Better Health. - www.cobornsblog.com

The changes I made

Here’s what I changed from my diet:

I started my body furnace moving with breakfast: eggs, toast, turkey sausage, low-sodium cheeses, spinach, low-sodium tomatoes, flax seed, onions, and jalapenos. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

In the graphic below is the short list of foods that will never be in my house again.

13 Junk Food Alternatives - www.cobornsblog.com

You have to be willing to end your relationship with bad food, in order to appreciate all of the good food. I kept five foods that I still love in the mix, knowing now that my metabolism furnace can handle it now: Five Guys little burger, Culvers mushroom and Swiss, Ciatti’s (Because I’m Italian and it doesn’t taste corporate), La Casita (Mazatlan burrito with pulled chicken, artichoke and spinach), and my treat is the Dairy Queen small chocolate malt (high calories, but still high in protein). 

I calculate every meal based on calories and intake, along with a solid exercise program. I started slow to get into the groove so it became a routine daily, beginning with 15 minutes of cardio, and 30-second body planks to tighten my core. Since then, back aches are non-existent. I now do a routine of 30-45 minutes a day of cardio and kick boxing/MMA training, and I can plank for up to 25 total minutes, combining the first 15 minutes starting at a 5-minute hold, and going downward at 5-4-3-2-1. Then 5 minutes cool down planking (2 @ 2minutes, 1 at 1 minute.) The final 5 minutes is a combination of a circular plank that uses forearms, sides, back, alphabet abs and a mountain climber.  

In ten months, I’ve now lost 61 lbs. and have a new confidence, a girlfriend who works out with me, an entire new wardrobe (I was happy to donate all of the oversized clothes to charity) and a better attitude. To think back to where I was and to see where I am today, I will never relapse into food problems again. My biggest advice is to not be afraid to fix it and ask someone for help. READ THE LABELS on everything. If you slip, its ok, just get back on task, and always believe in yourself that you can do this, and you will feel great about yourself. There is nothing better than to have people you haven’t seen in a year tell you that you look great.

Here is the workout routine I use six days a week, with a light workout on the off day. I walk everywhere and I usually park far away from the door when shopping, rain or shine.

Mixed Martial Arts 30-40 Minute Workout Routine - www.cobornsblog.com

Leni DiMancari
Coborn’s Customer

I hope that Leni’s story was able to inspire you to make some positive changes in your diet and workout routine. Remember, if you ever need anything from me, I’m just an email away. Click Here and click on the “Ask Our Dietitian” button to connect with me today!

Peace and Wellness, Ashley
Coborn’s RD Supermarket Dietitian

Click Here for more articles written by Ashley
Eat Healthy Shop Smart with Ashley - www.cobornsblog.com

 

5 Guilt-free Margarita Recipes

5 Guilt-free Margarita Recipes - www.cobornsblog.com

Happy Summer, Everyone!

Eat Healthy, Shop Smart with Ashley. www.cobornsblog.com
Ashley

Now this blog is especially for those over 21! I know there are alcoholic beverages served at many summer events and celebrations, so I am here to give you some tips are how to enjoy some beverages with lower calorie counts and less sugar.  I always talk against having liquid calories, as they can add up so quickly. Especially when you are sipping on them in the hot sun, it can be hard to keep track of how many you consumed!

It is important to note that when you are consuming alcohol, for every one alcoholic beverage you should have at least one glass of water in order to stay hydrated.

As I have stated many times, it is always better to make your own food and beverages at home, rather than always buying them. That way, you can control the amounts of sugar, sodium, and fats in your food and drinks, although I am pretty sure you don’t have to monitor the fats in margaritas. Did you know that the average happy hour margarita has more than 400 calories… WOW! The added bonus to cooking at home is that it’s WAY cheaper!

So, now that I have convinced you to make your own margaritas at home, that doesn’t mean you should just buy the premix and add liquor. Many of the margarita mixes that you just add liquor to can have more 300 calories in a single drink – not to mention nearly 75 grams of added sugar! Oh my gosh! We should have no more than 25 grams of added sugar per day! Now, not all of the pre-made drinks are that high in sugar; you can find some that are around 25 grams, which is still considered high, as that is the amount we are allocated for the entire day.

I would rather you receive at least some nutritional value when you are consuming added sugar and we all know a margaritas is not the most nutrient dense drink out there. Nonetheless, here are some better-for-you margarita recipes, which are MUCH lower in added sugars, have fewer calories, and that use whole fruits in the recipes to provide at least some nutrition. However, this does not equate these to being “healthy” and you still have to practice proper portions and responsible drinking.

Original Gulit-free Margarita – 130 Calories

Original Guilt-free Margarita and 4 more low calorie Margarita Recipes - www.cobornsblog.com

Original Guilt-free Margarita
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Ounce Premium or Silver Tequila
  • ½ Ounce Cointreau or Grand Marnier
  • 1.5 Ounces Fresh-Squeezed Lime Juice
Instructions
  1. Combine ingredients
  2. Shake with ¾ cup ice
  3. Garnish with lime and serve
Nutrition Information
Calories: 130

 

Guilt-free Watermelon Margarita – 105 Calories

Guilt-free Watermelon Margarita and 4 more low calorie Margarita Recipes - www.cobornsblog.com

Guilt-free Watermelon Margarita
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 Lime Wedge
  • 3½ Cups Cubed Seedless Watermelon
  • ½ Cup Tequila
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Fresh Lime Juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Triple Sec (orange-flavored liqueur)
  • Lime Wedges or Watermelon Balls (optional)
Instructions
  1. Place 2 teaspoons sugar in a saucer
  2. Rub the rims of 6 glasses with 1 lime wedge
  3. Set prepared glasses aside
  4. Combine watermelon and next 4 ingredients (through Triple Sec) in a blender; process until smooth.
  5. Fill each prepared glass with ½ cup crushed ice
  6. Add ½ cup margarita to each glass
  7. Garnish with lime wedges or melon balls, if desired
Nutrition Information
Calories: 105

 

Guilt-free Mango-Avocdo Margarita – 162 Calories

Guilt-free Mango-Avocado Margarita and 4 more low calorie Margarita Recipes - www.cobornsblog.com

Guilt-free Mango-Avocado Margarita
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Cups Ice Cubes
  • 1 Cup Mango (about 1 large), chopped and peeled
  • 6 Tablespoons Ripe Avocado, chopped and peeled
  • 6 Tablespoons Fresh Lime Juice
  • ¼ Cup Tequila
  • ¼ Cup Orange Juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Triple Sec (Orange-Flavored Liqueur)
  • 4 Lime Wedges (optional)
Instructions
  1. Combine first 8 ingredients in a blender; process until smooth.
  2. Divide the mixture evenly among 4 glasses.
  3. Serve drinks with lime wedges, if desired. Serve immediately.
Notes
For extra zip, rub the rim of each empty glass with a lime wedge, then coat the rims with chili powder
I highly recommend doing that! It sounds crazy, but it’s fabulous!
Nutrition Information
Calories: 162

 

Guilt-free Strawberry Margarita – 198 Calories

Guilt-free Strawberry Margarita and 4 more low calorie Margarita Recipes - www.cobornsblog.com

Guilt-free Strawberry Margarita
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 3½ Cups Strawberries
  • 2½ Cups Crushed Ice
  • ½ Cup Tequila
  • ½ Cup Fresh Lime Juice
  • ¼ Cup Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Cointreau (Orange-Flavored Liqueur)
  • Lime Wedges (optional)
Instructions
  1. Combine strawberries, ice, tequila, lime juice, sugar, and liqueur in a blender. Process until the mixture is smooth.
  2. Pour the margaritas into 4 large glasses.
  3. Garnish margaritas with a lime wedge, if desired.
  4. Serve immediately.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 198

 

Guilt-free Blackberry Margarita – 204 Calories

Guilt-free Blackberry Margarita and 4 more low calorie Margarita Recipes - www.cobornsblog.com

Guilt-free Blackberry Margarita
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • ½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 Lime
  • 1 Cup Water
  • ½ Cup Sugar
  • 1 Cup 100% Agave Blanco Tequila
  • ¾ Cup Grand Marnier
  • ⅔ Cup Fresh Lime Juice
  • 12 Ounces Fresh Blackberries
Instructions
  1. Combine 1½ tablespoons granulated sugar and kosher salt in a dish.
  2. Cut lime into 9 wedges; rub rims of 8 glasses with 1 lime wedge.
  3. Dip rims of glasses in salt mixture.
  4. Combine water and ½ cup sugar in a microwave-safe glass measuring cup. Microwave on high for 2½ minutes, stirring to dissolve sugar; cool.
  5. Combine syrup, tequila, Grand Marnier, fresh lime juice, and blackberries in a blender; process until smooth.
  6. Strain mixture through a cheesecloth-lined sieve over a pitcher; discard solids. Serve over ice.
  7. Garnish with remaining lime wedges.
Notes
Make sure you strain this or you will have tons of the seed specks in your drink, making it hard to drink. Plus, the seed specks will get stuck in your teeth.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 204

There you have it! Lower calorie, guilt-free margaritas fit for any summertime gathering, if your guests are 21 and over. Here are a couple tips to keep in mind. I used real sugar, but to cut even more calories and to have no sugar in your beverages, you can use Splenda or stevia. Note: I didn’t put any salt or sugar on the rim of my glasses in order to save a few calories and unnecessary sodium.  Also add fruit for flavor. You will notice with all of these that I use whole fruits – no pre-made mixes here. They don’t have to be fresh. You can use frozen fruits, which are less work because they are pre-washed and all cut up; plus you could even eliminate some of the ice you need to add by using frozen fruits. Finally, practice good portion control!

I hope you enjoy these refreshing, guilt-free margaritas!

Peace and Wellness,

Ashley
Coborn’s Supermarket Dietitian

Click Here for more articles written by Ashley
Eat Healthy Shop Smart with Ashley - www.cobornsblog.com

5 Wines for Great Summer Grilling

Top 5 Wines for Great Summer Grilling. www.cobornsblog.com

Beneath the Cork with Mike H. Assistant Liquor
Mike

Now that the weather has finally changed to give us spring, my mind wanders toward grilling.  At my house grilling season is always coupled with wine to complement our meals.  For me there are really five wine staples we have on hand for nearly any food we would grill.

For me the biggest staple of all wine to have on hand for grilling season is Marietta Petite Sirah.  This may be a surprise to some as Cabernet is commonly thought of as the best grilling wine (worry not as it does make my list too).  For me this choice comes down to my favorite grilling experience – grilled fresh wild boar sausage with the Marietta Petite Sirah. The lush and mouth filling character of this wine with its pleasing tannins stand up beautifully to the spice and grilled flavor of the sausage.  Really this wine will stand up to any grilled rich pork or beef dish.

Sparkling wine is not usually part of the discussion with grilled foods.  For me when I’m standing over a hot grill I like a refreshing beverage and for me there is nothing more refreshing than sparkling wine.  In addition to using sparkling wine as refreshment, there are also grilled food pairings that it works well with.  Grilled Portobello mushrooms with sparkling wine are dynamite.  Food that is grilled with a generous amount of cheese like a three cheese cheeseburger or a nice steak smothered in blue cheese are some of my favorites with sparkling wine as well.  Gloria Ferrer Sonoma Brut is often our top choice for its complex aromatics with bright acidity both of which give it that refreshing quality while being utterly delicious.

Pinot Noir is always a very food friendly wine because of its make up of bright floral aromas, with cherry and oak flavors finishing with a bright pleasant acidity.  The Pedroncelli Russian River Pinot Noir is a great example of these characteristics without breaking the bank.  This wine is a fantastic choice with cedar plank grilled salmon but also pairs well with grilled dishes accented by mushrooms, onions and/or shallots.

This may strike you as odd but another staple for me when grilling is Sake.  Not just any Sake either but the Momokawa Organic Junmai Ginjo.  This Sake has explosive aromas of pineapple and tropical flowers carry throughout the palate and finish clean.  These qualities in the Sake make it the perfect complement to savory grilled chicken or fresh salmon.

Even though it is not my first choice, I would be remiss not to include Cabernet Sauvignon in this list.  The Great American Wine Company Cabernet Sauvignon by Rosenblum Cellars is a great choice for grilling.  Its dark fruit notes with toasty oak spices and firm tannins make a big wine that will stand up to almost any grilled red meat.

If you don’t like my choices, here are a few final food pairing thoughts to come up with some combinations on your own.   Put savory foods with bold wines and protein and fats with wines having firm tannins.  Finely and precisely prepared food should be paired with fragrant wines.  Finally, if you like the food and you like the wine it’s hard to argue with that pairing.

Until next time – Cheers!
Mike
Coborn’s Liquor Division Assistant Manager

Click Here for more articles written by Mike.Beneath the Cork with Mike - www.cobornsblog.com