Vanilla Company
Spice Store

Appetizers

  • Blueberry Chipotle Ketchup

    Blueberry Chipotle Ketchup

    Blueberry season is in full swing here in Michigan. Farmers’ markets and roadside stands are overflowing with the little blue superfoods. One of the best things about blueberries is that they are as versatile as they are tasty. Eat a handful straight up or sprinkle them over your morning oatmeal. Bake them into a pie or make blueberry jam if you want to preserve them for the coming months. While it can be tempting to stick exclusively to sweet applications, blueberries can add a unique twist to a variety of savory foods as well. Case in point? This blueberry chipotle ketchup.

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  • Vegetable Salad with Orange Champagne Vinaigrette Dressing

    Salad with Orange Champagne Vinaigrette Dressing

    It has been a beautiful start to summer here in Michigan. The sun has been shining brightly, and white fluffy clouds fill the blue skies. As the temperatures outside have risen, many of us have started looking for ways to eat fresh, healthy foods without turning on the oven and increasing the temperatures inside our homes. We’re here to save the day with our Vegetable Salad with Orange Champagne Dressing. It’s light, easy to prepare, and is the perfect way to get your vegetables in while beating the heat.

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  • Easy Caprese Salad

    Easy Caprese Salad

    Everyone is striving to eat healthier these days, and one great way to do that is to focus on seasonally-fresh ingredients. For many people, this might conjure up images of spending hours working over a hot stove or eating food that is good for you but lacks in the flavor department. Enter Caprese salad. Known as Insalata Caprese in its native Italy, this perfect summer dish may sound extravagant and fussy, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Grab some ripe tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and basil, and you’ll have almost everything you need. A drizzle of olive oil, and perhaps a splash of Balsamic vinegar adds a sophisticated finish to this simple salad.

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  • Roasted Tomato Vinaigrette

    Tomato Vinaigrette Recipe

    Soon and slowly, bright orange carrots, small heads of lettuce, onions, and the first round of plump tomatoes will be ready to pick and eat. I’m eager for glass cups filled with ice-cold homemade lemonade with beads of water collecting and dripping down the sides. Planting a garden has been an annual ritual in our family for many years. Some years, it’s large enough to feed a small army; others, just a few tomato plants satisfy our desire for fresh produce.

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  • Bacon Jalapeño Poppers

    Homemade Jalapeño Poppers

    I think we’ve all had at least one jalapeño popper at one time or another in our lifetime. You know the appetizer that comes out coated in breadcrumbs, deep fried, and bubbling hot… The one that instantly burns your tongue with scalding hot cheese, and then burns it again with the heat from the pepper. Yes, I know you’re familiar with this deliciously sinful appetizer! As far back as I can remember, the jalapeño popper has been a staple at parties, graduations, and get-togethers. It’s an expected appetizer at many bars and family restaurants.

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  • Perfect Guacamole

    Guacamole Recipe

    I always laugh quietly to myself when I see a menu or commercial that advertises a “California” sandwich, salad, burger, etc. What makes it California? Avocados, of course!

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  • Baked Buffalo Wings

    Buffalo Wings

    Chicken wings are the quintessential party food. They’re most commonly served covered in a spicy-savory buffalo wing sauce, deep-fried, and with a side of blue cheese and celery sticks. This classic appetizer is a well-loved staple on many bar menus.

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  • Sweet Chili Sauce Recipe

    Sweet Chili Sauce

    As a child, my family rarely went out to eat. Dinner was served at 5:30 sharp, and we were all expected to be at the table washed up and ready to disclose the highlights of our day. Eating out was a considered a luxury and was reserved for special occasions. As we got older, the rules began to loosen a bit and we developed a new family tradition. After church every Sunday, we began having lunch at a restaurant. The choice of restaurants varied each week, but we most of the time ended up at traditional home-cooked American type diners (think carved roast beef, steamed vegetables, mashed potatoes, gravy, and dinner rolls). I undoubtedly considered this a treat and was always grateful for the opportunity, but the adventurous foodie in me truly relished the times my parents would feel bold and choose a local Chinese restaurant. My experiences with ethnic cuisines were limited at that time, and my desire to experience what I perceived as authentic ethnic cuisine was insatiable. And best of all, Sunday was buffet day at most Chinese restaurants on our route. Huge, unfamiliar dishes filled with Chinese-American delicacies were all mine to sample and savor. I was drawn to the unexplored combinations of sweet, sour, and salty. In my eyes, it was harmonious perfection.

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  • Sautéed Morel Mushrooms

    Dried Morel Mushrooms

    Can you believe that it’s spring already? The winter has finally come to a close and the spring’s classic warm humidity is lingering for longer periods of time. I’ve missed the warm sun on my face as I open the door to let out the dogs in the morning. Warm spring rain showers will soon aid the growth of lush green grass, fiddlehead ferns, fresh lettuce, and hidden patches of morel mushrooms.

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  • Pretzel Bites with Spicy Cheddar Sauce

    Pretzel Bites with Spicy Cheddar Sauce

    Pretzel Bites with Spicy Cheddar Sauce

    Growing up I spent many blissful summer days in the kitchen or garden with my beloved grandmother. She was a pleasantly plump, small woman that had a wicked stubborn streak and scared easier than any grown adult I had ever encountered. My brothers would revel in the fact that they could hide around the corner of the stairwell and patiently wait for my grandmother to pass, oblivious to the child lurking in the shadows. At just the right moment they would quietly sneak out of the shadows and wait for the holler. It was inevitable and at the time hilarious! Now being blessed with the same affliction to scare easily it is no longer quite as humorous!

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