First of all, I’d like to apologize for my brief blogging hiatus… Working in healthcare means having long, often very late or very early hours, and working for a chain means sometimes driving long distances to work. All of that can mean little time to blog!
But, I’m back, and with a quick, no bake recipe. Perfect for summer or anytime you’re short on time. Plus, if your kids are avid popsicle eaters, this can be a huge money saver! I got my popsicle mold at IKEA for $2, and with only four ingredients (one of them being water), this will definitely save money in the long run.
Of course, you probably read all that thinking “blueberry and pineapple? Really?” Trust me, I was somewhat apprehensive at first too, but it totally works! The natural sweeteners in the blueberries balance out the sour taste of the citrus in the pineapple. If you like blueberries, and you like pineapples, you’ll LOVE these popsicles!
So here’s how we’ll do things: First, we make a simple syrup- 1 part sugar, 2 parts water. Then, a blueberry pineapple puree, by blending 1/2 C blueberries with 4 pineapple rounds. Easy peasy, right? Easy, delicious .. and while you may need to run to the store for a can of pineapple rounds, you probably have everything in your kitchen already! So why not make these?
Blueberry Pineapple Popsicles A Pixiedustkitchen original Makes 5 popsicles that are 1/4 cup in size. Ingredients:
1/2 C water
1/4 C Sugar
1/2 C Blueberries
4 Pineapple rounds, diced.
Mix water and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Set aside and let cool.
In a blender or food processor, blend together pineapples and blueberries. Pour into a medium bowl and mix in syrup.
pour into popsicle molds and let freeze for at least four hours.
serve frozen. you may need to run under hot water to help remove from molds.
So I like, really love AverieCooks. I mean, how can you not? Averie just wrote a cookbook, and it is entirely, 100% about peanut butter. THAT’S TOTALLY RAD, Y’ALL. I just ordered it and I’m super duper excited to get it. I would have ordered it earlier, but $300+ dental bills kind of ate all my money this summer.
What I’m trying to say is that Averie really likes peanut butter, and makes about 1,000,000 different types, like cinnamon white chocolate, mocha, trail mix, cookie butter, and 27 others in her cookbook and blog. That’s what inspired me to make this Mexican Chocolate Peanut Butter. I love flavored peanut butter, and decided to come up with a new flavor to try. This is wonderful on muffins or other sweet breads.
Mexican Chocolate is often defined as having cinnamon, vanilla, and almonds mixed in, so I added Cinnamon, Vanilla extract, and almond extract. Almond extract can be found in the baking aisle of grocery stores, right next to the vanilla extract. You can also find it at most craft supply store in the cake decorating section. If you don’t have almond extract, that’s okay. Just add a touch more vanilla or omit it entirely.
The best part of this is that it’s totally customizable to taste. Want some more spice? Add more cinnamon. Not chocolately enough? Add another 1/4 cup of chocolate chips. And for those of you with peanut allergies, you can make this with almonds! You may want to add some neutral tasting oil though, as almonds are naturally dryer nuts.
Homemade nut butters are a wonderful blank palate for different combinations of flavor and a easy, perfect, way to start getting creative in your kitchen.
Mexican Chocolate Peanut Butter
16 oz peanuts (or nut of choice)
1/2 C chocolate chips
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
Place nuts in canister of food processer and blend until a smooth liquid. Add Chocolate chips and blend until combined. Add vanilla, cinnamon, and almond extract.
Pour into an airtight container. Peanut butter will stay as a liquid when stored at room temperature and solidify when refrigerated.
Today’s post is a part of the Blogging for Hope series to raise awareness for the Taste of Hope event in Washington DC.
Taste of Hope is the American Cancer Society’s signature culinary, wine and spirits event featuring more than 50 of Washington DC’s most popular chefs, restaurants and beverage vendors. Guests enjoy a walk around tasting format where they can sample signature dishes, premier wines and spirits and inventive cocktails. Hosted by the American Cancer Society and Chef Honoree Mike Isabella, all proceeds from Taste of Hope go toward our goal of eliminating cancer as a major health problem. This year the American Cancer Society celebrates their 100th birthday! Together, we save lives and create a world with more birthdays by helping you stay well, helping you get well, finding cures and fighting back. Taste of Hope will be held on September 24, 2013 at the Carnegie Library. Tickets can be purchased here Donations to can be made here
The first week of Blogging for Hope is breakfast, and who doesn’t love pancakes? Let’s talk about the health aspects. These pancakes are made with whole wheat flour, greek yogurt, and skim milk. There’s no butter, but thanks to the greek yogurt, they’re still nice and fluffy, and with a higher protein and calcium content, while using skim milk lowers the fat count. Despite the abundance of buttery, sugary, and hardly good for you recipes here, I do try to eat healthy outside of the blog and live a healthy lifestyle. I keep the leftover pancakes in my freezer so I can reheat them for a quick but filling and healthy breakfast.
It turns out that peaches are super healthy for you, and for cancer patients! According to The Livestrong Foundation, not only are peaches great for weight control (averaging at about 68 calories and no fat), they contain almost 10 different vitamins including E, K, C, and B-6. Wow! Vitamins E and C are antioxidants, and vitamin K is essential for your blood clotting capabilities. They have almost 333 mg of potassium, which aids in maintaining healthy blood pressure, and prevents kidney stones and bone loss. They also contain large amounts of antioxidants and fiber. You can read more about the health benefits of peaches here.
Be sure to check out the other Blogging for Hope bloggers! We’ll be posting new, healthy, recipes every Tuesday for the next 10 weeks.
Whole Wheat Peach Pancakes (Adapted from Joy the Baker)
1/2 C Greek Yogurt
1 and 1/2 C Skim Milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 C Whole Wheat Flour
1 C All-purpose flour
2 tbs sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1-2 medium size peaches
Slice and pit peaches. Set aside.
Beat eggs in a large bowl. Add yogurt, milk, and vanilla and mix well. Add flour, sugar, baking powder and mix until just combined. Gently stir in peaches.
Pour large spoonfuls (about 2 tbs) of batter in a saucepan over medium heat. Let cook until middle is bubbling. Flip and cook for 1-2 more minutes. Place in a low heated oven to keep warm. Serve immediately.
I hope you all return for the rest of the Blogging for Hope series! These recipes aren’t just good for cancer patients, but for anyone looking for a healthier lifestyle without sacrificing taste.
Disclaimer: Blogging for Hope is a group of DC area bloggers promoting Taste of Hope through healthy recipes.
I am not a doctor, dietician, or nutritionist. I am not a trained health care provider. I do not claim that my food will cure any cause, condition, or disease. Consult your primary physician or oncologist before starting any new diet.
I am in direct ability and use of conversation under following articles.
(9) A person who does not hold himself out to be a dietitian or nutritionist when that person furnishes nutrition information on food, food materials, or dietary supplements. This Article does not prohibit that person from making explanations to customers about foods or food products in connection with the marketing and distribution of these products.
(10) An herbalist or other person who does not hold himself out to be a dietitian or nutritionist when the person furnishes nonfraudulent specific nutritional information and counseling about the reported or historical use of herbs, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, carbohydrates, sugars, enzymes, food concentrates, or other foods. (1991, c. 668, s. 1; 1995, c. 509, s. 135.2(s).)
Again, you are not on the website of a doctor, nutritionist, or dietitian. If you wish to do so please contact a board certified professional in your state.
It’s Monday. Treat Yo’Self. (Parks and Rec, anyone?)(I watch too much TV.)
In Northwest Baltimore there’s this restaurant called Miss Shirley’s, and they have amazing food. Like, featured on Food Network good. Last November my parents took my grandparents there, and Brian and I tagged along. They have the best selection of breakfast foods, including cinnamon roll french toast. I’ve been thinking about it ever since, and wanting to make a copycat forever. I finally did, and boy am I so glad.
To make it easier, I used a can of pre-made rolls from the grocery store. Frying is fussy enough, let’s make things easier for ourselves. Flatten them with the palm of your hand, dip them in a mixture of eggs, milk, cinnamon, and vanilla, and fry. It’s important not to fry more than two at a time- remember, cinnamon rolls are a yeasted bread, and are meant to rise while baking. While we did flatten them before, they will rise in the pan and you will need to flatten them again while cooking.
These are so easy to make, and take no time at all- less than 30 minutes start to finish. I’m cool with that! Crunchy, warm, cinnamon-y, doughy french toast in less than 30 minutes is something I’m kind of in love with.
They’ll freeze well, too. I store them in a gallon freezer bag, and I toss them in the toaster one or two at a time for a quick, decadent breakfast even when I’m short on time.
I know, I know. I just did this last week. But I have a jar of Nutella begging to be used and stuffing it in cookies just seems to be the logical option. (Besides eating it with a spoon, of course!)
But stuffing Nutella in a cookie IS much more fun than eating it with a spoon- you get double the chocolate! This past week was VBS at my church and after spending a week wrangling 13 4-6 year olds, I think I deserve a treat. And I think you all deserve a treat as well! Let’s celebrate life, shall we? L’Chaim!
This is your basic chocolate cookie recipe, full of butter and sugar. No sneaky healthy swaps this time. They pass my chocolate cookie test- crunchy on the outside, chewy on the inside, and don’t turn into crumbly bricks on subsequent days. They’re almost like brownies!
And then there’s the Nutella. Oh, the Nutella. It melts into the cookie as it bakes, adding more moisture and enhancing the chocolate flavor. It will firm up after it cools, but some of it will remain melted into the cookie. It’s just some kind of wonderful.
Of course, like most cookies on my website, chilling the dough is MANDATORY, because of how sticky the dough is. It’s only an hour and a half of dough chilling though- not too much. If you don’t line you’re cookie sheets with wax or parchment paper, or a silicone baking mat, you will need to chill your dough a little longer. I decided to do a little cookie baking experiment when baking these cookies and cooked some on a silicone baking mat, some on a wax paper lined baking sheet, and some on a plain, unlined baking sheet to see which ones would bake up thicker. The verdict? There was almost no difference. Granted, I did chill the dough longer for the latter two options, but my conclusion is that there isn’t much of a difference, and if you’re not lining your baking sheet, chill your dough longer.
Stuffing the cookies is easy, much easier than my salted caramel stuffed cookies. Scoop out 1/2 Tbs of dough, roll it into a ball, poke a hole in the middle, and stuff. Scoop out another 1/2 tbs of dough (I just used my measuring spoon) and place on top, and roll into a ball. Hardly any extra steps than just baking plain cookies.
My taste testers loved it- Brian at it in about three bites, and my parents eat 1-2 every day. I’m guessing I’ll have to make a second batch this weekend!
Nutella Stuffed Chocolate Cookies
1 C Butter, Room temperature
1 C Brown Sugar
1/2 C Granulated Sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 Egg + 1 egg yolk
2 C flour
3/4 C chocolate powder
1/2 tsp salt (may increase if not using salted butter)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cornstarch
1 Tbs milk
Preheat oven to 350˚F.
Cream butter, sugars, and vanilla together on medium speed. Mix in egg and egg yolk.
In a medium bowl, sift together dry ingredients. Slowly mix into wet ingredients. Cover and chill for at least 1.5 hours.
Scoop out 1/2 tbs mounds of cookies and poke a hole in the center. Fill with 1/4 tsp of Nutella. Cover with another 1/2 tsp mound of cookie dough and roll into a ball. Bake for 8-12 minutes or until cookies are beginning to crinkle. Let cool on cookie sheet before transferring to wire cooling rack.
You all love my healthy chocolate cookies- they’re consistantly the most viewed page of my blog. Fortunately, I love looking for ways to make my sweet, buttery, treats healthier without compromising any of the taste.
The easiest way to do this is by swapping butter for avocado. Avocados have a creamy texture that is perfect for adding to baked goods and for creaming with sugar- thanks to all of the healthy fats. In fact, Trader Joe’s goes so far as to call them natures butter. Avocados are also often referred to as “superfruit” due to all of the vitamins and antioxidants they contain. From helping with arthritis related problems to aiding with digestion, avocados deserve their reputation as a superfruit. You can read more of their health benefits here.
Unlike with my chocolate cookies, I used all white flour for a lighter texture and didn’t use any honey- so while they’re not as healthy as the cookies, they’re still pack a healthier punch with the avocado as well as a cut on calories. (So you can eat more, right?)
Like I said, if my dessert is going to be healthy, I don’t want to be able to tell that it’s healthy. And that’s the case with these blondies- Light and fluffy, thanks to a heaping teaspoon of cornstarch. The avocado taste is masked with a cup of sugar, a teaspoon of vanilla extract + 1/2 teaspoon of almond extract (sold in the baking aisle of most grocery stores, or at craft and baking supply stores), and 1.5 C of chocolate and peanut butter chips. You can buy combined bags, or just add 3/4 C of each. If you don’t want to buy almond extract, you can always simply use 1.5 tsp of vanilla, but I recommend using the almond- it just adds a little something extra that you can’t quite put your finger on.
Texture wise, these are like a combination of cookies and blondies- my intention was to make cookies; so I adapted a cookie recipe. I decided to put them in a pan because I didn’t want to wait for dough to chill, and I’m glad I did. They turned out softer, lighter, and more bread-like than cookie bars- just like a blondie.
Sneakily healthy blondies full of chocolate and peanut butter chips- what can be better?
I used to think that there was nothing better than the combination of Peanut Butter and Chocolate.
I was wrong.
Adding caramel enhances that flavor and makes it so much better.
If you’ve spent any amount of time around food blogs, I’m sure you’ve heard of the “easy ice cream” method. 2 cups of whipped cream + a can of sweetened condensed milk and you’ve got yourself the easiest, creamiest, ice cream ever that’s better than storebought. I’m kind of obsessed. It’s smoother and creamier than your traditional ice cream, but I like it so much more. I gave Brian some and after one spoonful he said couldn’t believe that I actually made it.
Helping us out today is Breyers new ice cream toppings. Breyers just released a new line of ice cream toppings and they come in these cute little pouches… which may or may not of been why I bought them… I spend a lot of time walking around grocery stores trying to find new recipe ideas. (And no, I wasn’t paid for this. I just want you to know exactly what I used.) Instead of pouring hot fudge, caramel, and peanut butter on top, I swirled them into my ice cream.
Best idea ever.
With how easy this ice cream is, you’re never going to want to buy a carton of store bought again.
Welcome back to another edition of Saturday Sprinkles!
This week I bring you some tragic news from here in Baltimore. Within the past month in Baltimore City, there have been at least 50 shootings and 20 are dead. Baltimore is one of my favorite cities and it breaks my heart to see this voilent streak. I would appreciate prayers and good thoughts, and I’m sure others in Baltimore would feel the same.
Now on to some happier things! 🙂
My newest nail polish obsession… Sally Hanson Sugar coat. I got it on sale at Target for less than $4 and it adds a really cool texture to your nails.
My Healthy Chocolate Cookies have been at the top of my stats since I posted them a month ago. You all really love them! I’m trying to develop some more avocado based recipes for you guys.
I have so many ideas for cookie recipes, be prepared for an abundance in the next few weeks!
I’ve been trying to run and work out more because this weird thing happens where when you bake desserts 3+ times a week you start to gain weight and need to exercise more. Brian and I have started running together once a week and we took my dog with me. We tired her out so much she ran into the shade on the way home and just lied down.
(I’m slightly obsessed with instagraming dogs. Oops.)
Some of the best food I’ve ever had. If you’re ever in Baltimore, make sure to stop by Metropolitan Wine and Coffee bar in Federal Hill. This is pistachio crusted salmon with Israeli couscous and fresh veggies.
That’s how my last few weeks have gone, how have you all been? Any book, food, or movie recommendations?
This month I am participating in the Love and Olive Oil Kitchen Challenge. Each month in 2013, Lindsay is challenging herself and her readers to make something that seems “scary” or that she has always wanted to make. This months challenge is Bagels, and being the Carbohydrate Queen I am, jumped at the opportunity.
Note: This article contains a lot of text. I felt this was necessary to explain why this was a challenge, and to explain how it’s really not hard at all. I also felt it was necessary to explain why I did what I did; how I differed from the original source, and to explain the technique of making and forming bagels. If you would like to skip down to the recipe, feel free to do so. However, it is recommended to read the entire post before baking the bagels.
But I couldn’t just make any old plain bagel. I had to make something new, interesting, and summary. I love Panera and go there frequently when I am at school for bagels, and love all their interesting flavors with different types of crumb toppings. (PS: Pumpkin spice bagels with pumpkin spice lattes are a perfect fall breakfast) So I decided to create a summer ode to the perfection that is Panera Crumb Topping bagels and made a S’mores Bagels. I love bagels, I love S’mores, combining the two was destiny.
Not that making this was easy. It seems easy; a yeasted dough baking at a high temperature and topped with graham crackers, chocolate chips, and marshmallow bits. I love yeasted doughs and make them all the time. However, making bagels is a two day long process that involves two raises, proofing, an overnight rest, and being boiled before you bake them for a mere 16 minutes.
And then there are the ingredients. The original recipe calls for barley malt syrup. What the heck is that? The recipe stated that it can be found in most grocery stores, but I didn’t see it. I opted to use molasses, which didn’t seem to make too much of a difference. (Of course, now I have almost an entire bottle of molasses to use up, which I need to think of ways to do. If anyone has suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments.)
Looking back, I can see why this was such a challenge and seems scary!
After letting the dough rise, we shape the bagels, after dividing them into 6-8 parts. I made 6. There are two ways to do this: The easy way, and the way that professionals prefer to use. I did both, and preferred the easy way. The professional way is to roll the mound of dough into a long rope, moisten the ends, wrap the rope around your hand with the ends meeting between your thumb and forefinger, and roll the circle for a bit to close the seam. Confused yet?
The easy way is to make a hole in the mound of dough with your thumbs and to stretch it out to about two inches in diameter. You can see why I preferred this way!
We let them sit overnight on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat that is lightly oiled. Make sure you do this in the fridge, we don’t want the bagels to rise any more! About 60-90 minutes before baking, pull them out and perform a “float test:” fill a small bowl with cold water and dip one of the bagels into it. If the bagel floats, they are ready to bake. If not, put them back in the fridge and pull them out in about an hour.
Next is the boiling. This step is necessary because it creates the tight crumb that bagels are known for. You know how the air pockets in italian or other sandwich breads are much bigger than in bagels or pretzels? That’s what “tight crumb” means. There are less air pockets and the bread as a whole is more dense. This is a result of boiling the bread before baking. Instead of boiling in just plain water, we add some molasses, salt, and baking soda. Technically, you are supposed to add these after bringing the water to a boil, but I added them all at once and my bagels turned out fine.
Turn the heat down to low and dunk the donuts in the water and let them simmer for a minute or so. Flip them over and let them soak for about 15-30 more seconds before removing from the water and placing on a lined and oiled cookie sheet. If you are using parchment paper, make sure it is oiled– otherwise the paper will glue itself to the bagels while they’re baking.
Here we top with our crumb topping. I took a usual crumb topping- flour, sugar, and butter- and added crushed graham crackers, marshmallow bits, and chocolate chips. You may have some leftover- I did. Feel free to half the recipe if you prefer. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle on the crumb topping before baking for 16-20 minutes.
Here is where I differed from the original recipe again: You technically are supposed to heat the oven to 500˚ for 30 minutes before lowering to 450˚ while baking. I skipped this step (an accident- I didn’t read the recipe completely before baking) and my bagels baked perfectly for 16 minutes.
In conclusion, I’m really happy I decided to participate in this challenge. It was a great way to stretch my baking skills, learn how to make another bread, and save money on food I love. And it helped me to be more creative in the kitchen! If you’re calorie conscious, feel free to slice the unbaked rounds in half to make bagel thins.
1/2 C crushed graham crackers (about 3 graham crackers)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 C marshallow bits
1/4 C chocolate chips
Stir together molasses, yeast, salt, and water. Pour into flour in the bowl of a stand mixer and mix with the dough hook for about three minutes. If not using a stand mixer, mix with a wooden spoon in a large bowl for about three minutes, until the dough forms a stiff ball and the flour is fully hydrated.
Let the dough rest for about five minutes. Move to a floured surface and knead for about 3 minutes, until smooth, supple, and stiff. Place in a lightly oiled bowl and let rise at room temperature for 1 hour.
Line a baking sheet with a lightly oiled silicone mat or parchment paper. Divide the dough into 6-8 equal parts and form each piece into a loose ball. Shape the bagels by poking a hole in the center and stretching it out with both thumbs until it is about 2 inches in diameter. (You may also use the other method mentioned in the blog post; roll the ball out into a long, even rope. Moisten the ends and wrap around your hand. Roll the seam a few times to seal the seam.)
Place on prepared sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Let sit overnight in the refrigerator and up to 2 days.
On baking day, remove the bagels from the refrigerator 60-90 minutes before baking. Fill a small bowl with cold water and place one of the bagels in the water. If it floats, it is ready to bake. If not, let rest a little bit longer.
Make the crumb topping- combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and cut together with a fork, pastry cutter, or your hands until butter is broken down and combined with flour in small pieces.
Preheat the oven to 450˚F.
Combine all of the ingredients for the poaching liquid and bring to a boil in a large pot over medium heat. Once it boils, reduce the heat to low and plae 3-4 bagels in. When they float, let them simmer for about 1 minute. Flip them with a slotted spoon or spatula and let simmer for another 15-30 seconds. Transfer back to the prepared pan dome side up. If needed, oil the paper or mat a second time before placing the bagels.
Brush the bagels with 2 Tbs melted butter, then sprinkle on the crumb topping.
Bake for 8 minutes, then rotate the pan and check the bottom of the bagels. If they’re too dark, place a second pan under the bagels. Bake for another 8-12 minutes until golden brown.
Let cool for 30 minutes on a wire rack before serving.
Store bagels in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
I realize I’m fairly behind on this popcorn snack mix trend. But I just really wanted to make this!
I’ve been craving popcorn practically all week, and I decided to make some. While we have an air popcorn maker, I wanted more than just plain popped kernels. I wanted a popcorn coated in chocolate and caramel-y goodness.
A few weeks ago, Dorothy at CrazyforCrust make oreo peanut butter. I made a smaller batch and coated the popcorn in oreo butter, as well as melted caramel creams. I admit, a lot of the reason for using caramel was to use up the caramel creams leftover from Monday’s stuffed cookies.
Honestly, this popcorn craving is really weird for me. I normally never want popcorn- I hardly even like it! I think it’s all the time I’ve been spending in movie theaters It’s weird; once I started dating Brian and he started paying for my movies, I’ve been seeing a lot more movies!
While I’m not much of a popcorn eater, I do really enjoy this popcorn. So does my dad- he can’t get enough. Every night when he comes home from work he snacks on some, and after the shoot for these pictures, I kept snacking on them because the bowl was next to me. That normally never happens- I take the pictures, eat a little bit of the food (a cookie or two), and the food gets put away to take to church or for my parents to eat. Not this time!
This is a super simple recipe, too- the hardest part is the oreo cookie butter. Simply blend peanuts in your food processor and add some crunched up oreo cookies. Melt the caramel creams in your microwave and pour over the popcorn, but be very, very, careful. Melted caramel is very hot and you could burn yourself- I have the marks on my fingers to prove it! You must work quickly and carefully here before the caramel hardens.
1 bag popcorn (with as little butter as possible; I used low-fat butter flavor)
1 C cocktail peanuts
5 oreo cookies (I cheated and used target store brand)
20 caramel creams
1 tbs heavy cream
Pop the popcorn according to package directions.
Blend the peanuts in a food processor until smooth and creamy. Add the Oreos, breaking them in half so they blend faster. Blend until smooth and combined.
In a microwave safe bowl, melt the caramels in 30 second increments, stirring between. When completely melted, stir in the cream.
Pour caramel over the popcorn and carefully stir so the popcorn is evenly coated. Add the oreo butter.
Let chill so the peanut butter sets up (if desired) or serve immediately.