Endless Halloween: Slurp Some Seriously Spooky Spaghetti


Photo: Lori Hirsch Stokoe / www.tastewiththeeyes.com

YESSSSS. It’s almost time to start seriously thinking about Halloween cooking. There’s nothing better than horrifying food that actually tastes wonderful, right? And Halloween is the perfect excuse to pull it off. This one’s for all you cavemen. I normally wouldn’t be one to sub out my glourious gluten-y pasta for protein-rish versions, but October is the perfect time to start experimenting with black bean pasta. The awesomely atrocious dish pictured above uses Explore Cuisine’s spaghetti, which is made from just black beans and only black beans.

Black Bean Spaghetti with AFRAID-O Sauce and White Carrot Phalanges


White Carrot Phalanges

Peel 8 white carrots then carve with small knife into finger-bone shape. Steam until al dente. Set aside.


Black Bean Spaghetti with AFRAID-O Sauce

  • 1 box Explore Cuisine Black Bean Spaghetti – cooked, drained
  • 1 jar of alfredo sauce (can choose gluten-free)
  • 1 jar of marinara sauce (choose one that is more blood red in color, rather than orange)
  • fresh basil
  1. Heat the sauces in separate saucepans over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. Place warm Explore Cuisine black bean spaghetti in the center of four serving plates.
  3. Ladle alfredo sauce over the center of the spaghetti.
  4. Arrange carrot phalanges over the sauce.
  5. Splatter marinara sauce over the entire dish, in a gruesome manner.
  6. Garnish with basil.


More ridiculous recipes in Endless Halloween.

Labor Day Cocktail O’Clock: Shandy Slushy


Just because summer is unofficially coming to a close doesn’t mean it’s time to stop drinking frozen cocktails! (We’d generally argue it’s never time to stop drinking frozen cocktails, but that’s a whole other story.) Take a long, hot gander at The Shush, an off-menu drink offered at El Original TX-MX In Manhattan’s Hell’s Kitchen, where tipplers in the know can slurp on either a grapefruit or lemon slushy shandy, saying goodbye to the last hot-ish days of summer in style. Read on for both recipes.


Lemon Shush

4 Servings


– Curious Traveler Lemon Shandy (1 bottle)

– 3 oz. of fresh lemon juice

– 3 oz house made honey syrup (see below)

– A dash of bitters


Honey syrup ingredients:

– 3-5 cubes of fresh pineapple

– Lemon zest to taste

– 3 oz. of honey

– 54 oz. of crushed ice

Muddle fresh pineapple then add lemon zest and honey. Bring to a boil on a stove and let it cool to room temperature.


Slush Directions:

Break down crushed ice as much as possible so the carbonation of the shandy won’t dilute the slushy.  Blend till smooth. Combine all ingredients, except shandy. Add the homemade honey syrup, water and lemon juice. While those are blending, add shandy base.

Garnish with a dash of bitters and lemon wedge.


Grapefruit Shush

Serving size 4


– Traveler Grapefruit Shandy (1 bottle)

– 3 oz. of grapefruit juice

– 1 oz. of lime juice

– 2 oz. mint simple syrup (see below)

– 54 oz of crushed ice


Mint simple syrup ingredients:

– 3-5 pulled mint leaves

–  2 parts water

– 1 part sugar

Combine mint leaves with 2 parts water and 1 part sugar. Bring to a boil and then let it cool to room temperature.


Slushy directions:

Use crushed ice to be broken down as much as possible so the carbonation of the shandy won’t cause it to separate or dilute. Blend till smooth. Combine all ingredients (except shandy). Add the mint simple syrup, water and lemon juice. While those are blending, add Shandy. Garnish with a ruby red grapefruit wedge.

Garnish with grapefruit wedge and mint sprig

Happy National Watermelon Day!


Tomorrow, August 3rd is apparently National Watermelon Day…a holiday I’ve been personally pre-celebrating pretty much every day for the past three weeks or so. Fresh watermelon is pretty much my favorite thing about summer, but this year I’ve also noticed a plethora of watermelon drinks on the market. One of the tastier ones I’ve sampled is Sparkling Ice’s Strawberry Watermelon fizzy drink, and for the holiday occasion they’ve offered up this fabulous recipe for filling your watermelon with…what else? Watermelon!

Pomegranate Watermelon Summer Slush

1/2 Personal-size seedless watermelon, chilled, cut & cubed (about 5 cups)
1/3 Cup Sparkling Ice Strawberry Watermelon
2 Tablespoons lime juice
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 to 2 Cups ice
Small watermelon wedge, spear of blueberries a few pomegranate seeds (optional for garnishes)

In a blender, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth. Garnish as desired and serve in a hollowed-out watermelon shell for a fun “fish bowl” inspired drink.

Oh, and if you’re not liking this whole “mock” thing….sub in some hard stuff!
Sparkling Watermelon Vodka Lemonade

3 Cups seedless watermelon pieces
3 Lemons, juiced
1/2 Cup Vodka
1/4 Cup Fresh Mint
2 Cups Lemon Lime Sparkling Ice

In a blender, puree the watermelon and lemon juice, strain through a sieve into a drink pitcher. Add mint, vodka and Lemon Lime Sparkling Ice, then stir. Serve over ice and garnish with fresh mint.

Beef and Blue Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

Beef and Blue Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

Beef and Blue Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

4th of July weekend is upon us! As the most highly anticipated summer cooking holiday of the year (sorry Memorial Day and Labor Day, but you know it’s true…) it’s imperative to have your menu game on point. And I’m not talking just the expected hot dogs and hamburgers. You need some winning sides ready if you’re going to impress at that neighborhood BBQ or block party!

Stuffed mushrooms are one of my favorites appetizers or sides any time of year, because you can make them as heavy or light as you’d like them to be, depending on what you choose to fill them with. Plus, in the summer, you can even cook ’em on the grill! The cow-loving folks at the Texas Beef Council recently reached out to us with an especially inspired idea… next time you’re debating between making burgers or stuffed mushrooms, why not treat yourself to the best of both worlds and stuff a mushroom full of beefy, blue cheesy goodness?


Beef and Blue Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms

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Mom’s Breakfast in Bed: Cheesy Corn Muffins with Nut Pesto


In need of a last-minute momma’s day idea? Here’s a quick and easy bake-up that will have your house smelling cheesy and warm, and brings the flavor with a creative savory pesto in lieu of butter and jam.


2 eggs

1 cup milk

1 cup plain flour

1 1/3  cups cornmeal

1 tbsp. sugar

3 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. salt

1 pinch white pepper

4 tbsp. softened butter

1/2 cup Jarlsberg® cheese



5 tbsp. olive oil

1 pack fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 clove garlic

1/2 cup walnuts

1/2 cup cashew nuts

salt and pepper


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St. Patrick’s Day Hash


You know we love providing you with all those St. Patrick’s Day drinking ideas, but we’re gonna need something to soak it all up, aren’t we? Enjoy a St. Patrick’s Day recipe created by Pure Organic founder and author of Pure Food, Veronica Bosgraaf.


Saint Patrick’s Day in Michigan is kind of crazy. For example, one year we were all downtown in short enjoying the early, warm spring weather – but the next year we bundled up against a 20?F snowstorm. Luckily, the green beer still flows. St. Paddy’s day is a great reminder that the carefree days of summer are close.

On St. Patrick’s Day, I want festive comfort food. This vegan, gluten-free dish works perfectly, and it is so hearty you won’t miss the corned beef. I could make it for breakfast too, but then I’d have to give up my green beer. So put on your cutest green outfit, and no matter what the weather, enjoy the luck of the Irish! If you like, put an organic, free-range fried egg on top of each serving.

Irish Hash

Serves 4

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Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

Crab-Stuffed Mushrooms: Your Fail-Proof Holiday App

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

Looking for a last minute appetizer to serve at your New Year’s Eve bash or New Year’s Day dinner? (If you’re thinking, wow, this girl just uses the new year as an excuse for one last chance to pig out, YES, you are right, what’s your point?)

These stuffed mushrooms are IT. Everyone loves a stuffed mush at a party, and these ones are especially luxurious thanks to the fact that they’re stuffed with crab! Despite their fanciness, they take about 10 minutes to put together and are almost impossible to mess up.

Festive Crab Stuffed Mushrooms

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