Festive Fun in the Freezer!

Time to get creative and time to add a little fun to the holiday festivities this year! Are you planning a holiday punch or trying out a new cocktail recipe for your adult beverages? Why not add a little fun to your drinks by adding a little splash of flavor and, well, a little shape?

To help me out with this post, a little friend that’s been hanging out from time to time on Instagram, the one and only, #InTheKnowMan, was in my kitchen as my assistant. I think he was also there to make sure I was doing things properly and not goofing off. But uh, I think really it was *he* who was goofing off! In case you aren’t aware, #InTheKnowMan is all the way from the chocolate factory of Riegelein (located in Germany) and is helping Gourmet International out with some holiday tips and advice.

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In the past few years, silicone baking molds have become super popular in kitchens across the globe. They are super easy to use, super easy to clean, and most of all – super easy to pop out the molded items that have been set inside! These silicone molds have been used for cupcakes, brownies, ice cubes, candy – and for myself, I actually use these silicone molds to make homemade soaps! Last Christmas I tried to make little gingerbread soaps – but these guys are pretty small, so I gave up the mold to be used for ice cubes or candies.

Soo… speaking of ice cubes. I had an idea. Helllllloooo Hero Nectars! Why not freeze that nectar in a cute, festive, holiday silicone mold and add it to my favorite beverage? A peach flavored gingerbread man would be great in prosecco or champagne.

And talk about easy to do… just place your silicone mold on a flat surface. I suggest placing it on a cookie sheet so that it will be easier to transfer and place into the freezer. Pour the Hero nectar in a smaller Pyrex measuring cup so it’s easier to pour into the molds. Take care while pouring into the mold cavities, try not to overfill.
Once they are all filled, stick them in the freezer and let them FREEZE!

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As you can see below, #InTheKnowMan was more than happy to help me pop the tray into one his favorite places in my kitchen, the freezer!

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*insert a few hours of wait time here*

And finally we can take the tray out of the freezer! The nectar is all shiny and pretty! Check out the frozen little fellas in my glass!

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So I don’t have an exact recipe to provide for you, but here are some ideas… you don’t need ice cubes, since you have your nectar cubes. You have the flavor already, packed in those little cubes of fun. Think of your favorite beverages and how you can ratio your cubes of flavor to alcohol and mixer content. This may require some trial and error. And… well, there’s no harm in that, just be safe and responsible. If you are not home and you drove yourself somewhere and are sharing this fun idea, we please ask you to call a cab, Über or find a designated driver to help you home. Please do not drink and drive.

You do not need to have any alcohol added to your beverage at all, you can easily make a fun punch for the kids, yourself, or for those who do not drink. Silicone molds come in all shapes and sizes, and also range in holiday decor, so make your non-alocoholic punch your own! Use smaller molds for ice cubes or use larger molds for larger pieces that you would perhaps normally use as a ring mold for a classic punch. Play around with the molds and the different flavored Hero nectar! If you come up with an awesome recipe, please share with us and we will make sure to share it here and spread the word! ENJOY!

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Take a Break From Everything Pumpkin.

Yes, I did post those cute and super delicious White Chocolate Pumpkin Pots, but sometimes a break from all things pumpkin mid-October can be a good thing! I made this delicious and refreshing Apricot-Berry Smoothie using from a recipe that I got from Hero. Hero is a Swiss company that makes and distributes fruit jams, preserves, spreads, a variety of nectar, glazes, and more. Hero has a plethora of recipes on their website to try out, so don’t be surprised if you see me making and sharing more of what they have out in the cyberworld! They have all sorts of desserts, beverages and more! As the title of the recipe suggests, I used the Hero Apricot Nectar.

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Apricot-Berry Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 6 halved fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen blackberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 6 berries for garnish
  • 1 cup Hero Apricot Nectar
  • 1 ice cube

Directions:

  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a blender and purèe until completely smooth.
  2. Pour into a tall glass, garnish with the remaining blueberries and enjoy cold.

This recipe says it makes two portions, but it was portion enough just for me! I will add, this recipe also calls for just *one* ice cube. I believe after the initial blend I added maybe 3 or 4 more smaller ice cubes.  I also must say the picture posted on the Hero website looks much better than my version, but it tastes so good! All of the berries that I used were organic and fresh and not frozen!

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So what does it really taste like? The nectar is free from any high fructose corn syrup and is made from all natural ingredients, so nothing about this smoothie makes it overly sweet. I would say it’s a pretty good blend of flavors. I ended up using my Magic Bullet, which worked okay – but it could have blended my fruit a bit better. I ended up drinking this concoction with my dinner this evening. I have enough fruit and other nectar flavors in my fridge, so I think tomorrow morning I’ll be making another smoothie at breakfast time! And it would normally be a Nibble, Nibble from me… but in this case, I’ll have to grab my straw and SLURP, SLURP!

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