Archive for June, 2013

Fancify Friday–Add a smile

Smiling food

Do you see the smile?

My youngest likes it when her food smiles back at her. Apple slices, raisins, chocolate chips, they all make for ready smiles on a plate of food. Adding a smile to your food is easy.

 

Lately my youngest likes to make Greek yogurt sundaes for dessert. It’s a banana topped with Greek yogurt (strawberry this time), peanuts, and a chocolate chip smile.

 

 

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Fast coconut lime rice

Fast coconut lime rice Leftover rice? Here’s a quick idea to turn ho-hum rice into something worth your kiddos’ raves.

I came up with the idea the other day when I needed something to go along with Jerk pork. I’ve tried making rice with coconut milk to infuse it with flavor, but this was much easier and had more of a coconut kick than recipes I’ve tried in the past. Plus, this is a great way to re-use rice you have on hand.

 

Recipe

Servings: 4-6

Prep time: Under 10 minutes

 

Ingredients

2 cups cooked rice (I prefer short grain with this recipe, but it’s up to you)

3/4 cup sweetened, shredded coconut

1/2 lime

 

Directions

  1. Place the coconut in a large saute pan at medium-high heat. Toast until the coconut just starts to brown on the edges (about 3 minutes). Stir frequently–coconut burns easily!
  2. Take the coconut out of the pan and add 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil (or any kind of oil will do). Once the oil is hot put the rice into the pan and heat it through.
  3. Add the coconut back into the rice and squeeze with fresh lime juice. Serve hot.

 

My kids’ reactions: This was a favorite all around.

 

Our meal: Grilled jerk pork with tropical slaw, coconut rice and fresh pineapple

Our meal: Grilled jerk pork with tropical slaw, coconut rice and fresh pineapple

 

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Coconut mangoberry buckle

Coconut mango strawberry buckleI saw this posted on King Arthur Flour’s blog and figured I had to give it a try. The original recipe for Peachberry Buckle called for a mixture of peach and blueberries. But since I’d just gone strawberry picking with my daughter, that’s what I used.

 

Beside swapping out the blueberries, I jazzed up the flavor of the buckle in a few others ways, too. I added in coconut to the crumb topping and coconut extract to the batter. As for the peaches…I layered in mangoes since I had one that was perfectly ripe and just begging to be eaten. The buckle ended up as a cool mix of summer flavors that you can eat hot with ice cream (like a fruit crisp), or cold for breakfast as a coffee cake.

 

Recipe

Servings: 8 big slices

Prep time: 20 minutes + baking

 

Ingredients

Cake

4 tbsps. butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1 tsp. coconut extract (opt.)

1 1/2 tsps. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

2 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1 cup regular, 1 cup white whole wheat)

1/2 cup milk

1 cup berries, divided (blueberries, sliced strawberries, blackberries, raspberries…)

 

Filling

1 large mango, sliced

 

Topping

4 tbsps. butter

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ginger

1/4 tsp. almond extract

1/4 cup shredded coconut

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. For the cake, cream together the butter and sugar. Add in eggs and vanilla and coconut extracts.
  3. Next, stir in the salt, nutmeg, and baking powder.
  4. Stir in half the milk, then half the flour, then the rest of the milk and the last bit of flour.
  5. Divide the batter in half and smear onto the bottom of the lightly greased 9″ cake pan (I used my springform cheesecake pan).
  6. Layer the mango slices and half of the strawberries on top of the batter. Mix the remaining strawberries into the rest of the batter and drop in spoonfuls onto the layer of fruit.
  7. For the topping, cut the butter into the rest of the topping ingredients until it resembles large crumbs. Sprinkle over the batter.
  8. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the top is just browned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Strawberry picking time!

Strawberry fieldsMy older girls are away at camp and when I asked my youngest what she wanted to do she told me, “Pick strawberries.” So that’s exactly what we did.

 

Strawberry picking time is almost over. If you haven’t been out yet, there’s still a week or two. The strawberries in Ohio are much smaller and tarter than the big, California variety I usually find at the grocery store. As my daughter said, “They taste like sunshine.” I agree.

 

Funny strawberries

Strawberry fields

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Fancify Friday: Carved orange elephants

Carved orange elephants

 

Meet Ed and Edward. That’s what my daughter named her carved orange creations. When I asked why, she looked at me liked I’d just asked why leaves are green. “Because they’re elephants, mom.” Well, that answers it.

 

When I was cleaning out some of my cookbooks the other day I stumbled on The Fine Art of Garnished, publishing date, 1978. My mother-in-law sent it to me awhile back and I haven’t had a chance–or the hutzpah–to give it a try. My youngest? Well, when she saw it as I was stacking up books she immediately started thumbing through it, planning out what we were going to try. Luckily, I talked her out of making the viking-inspired watermelon boat this time…

These elephants are actually easy to make–and don’t require a sharp knife. I was making an apple bird while my youngest settled on the Apple birdelephants. Well, you can see how my bird turned out (in my defense, it was a very, very small apple). But my daughter followed the instructions and stopped at two elephants just because we ran out of oranges.

 

How to make a carved orange elephant:

  • Find the end of the orange with a circle (where it was picked). Use a paring knife to cut a long “V” in the skin, going down from the circle. Gently pull the skin away from the pith.
  • Lay the “V” portion onto a cutting board (still attached to the orange) and then shape it into a trunk.
  • Use the paring knife to cut a circle on either side of the trunk for the ears. To do this, push the knife into the orange skin but not all the way through to the juicy part. Make a circle starting above the trunk and ending just below the trunk–it’s almost as if you were cutting a slice. Do not slice the circle all the way around. Repeat on the other side and then carefully pull the “ears” away from the base of the orange.
  • With toothpicks, secure grapes for the elephants’ “eyes” and gumdrops for their “feet.”
  • Add kiwi fruit “grass” (optional, but fun).
Ed, not to be confused with Edward the Elephant

Ed, not to be confused with Edward the Elephant

Child looking at carved orange

 

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Fast, low-fat pizza

Summer has arrived. Lately, we’ve become hooked on Flatout Flatbreads–they’re low in fat, with a bit of extra fiber thrown in, and make for a quick meal. My teen has been turning out these pizzas for lunch every day since school got out and I’m SO not complaining. Flat out pizza

 

Recipe

Prep time: 20 minutes

Serving size: 1

 

Ingredients

1 piece of Flatout pizza (tortillas & pita bread works well, too)

Pasta sauce

1/3 cup shredded cheese (mozzarella, asiago)

Toppings:  diced tomatoes, spinach, thinly sliced onion, Italian seasoning

 

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Lightly coat the baking sheet with cooking spray.
  • Place one Flatout flatbread onto the baking sheet and spread with 1/4 -1/3 cup spaghetti sauce.
  • Choose your toppings and sprinkle on top of the sauce, followed by the cheese, and finally the Italian seasoning.
  • Bake for 15 minutes until crisp.

 

Flatout flatbread

 

 

 

 

 

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Lowfat, 2-ingredient brownies

Pumpkin browniesI wasn’t expecting much when I read about Yum Yum Brownies on Hungry Girl. Canned pumpkin plus chocolate cake mix. Sounded like Thanksgiving mixed with Ghirardelli. Eww. But, I had to give it a try–I mean, there’s chocolate in it. Add to that, I happen to love canned pumpkin–I never had it as a kid so now it seems like almost a delicacy (go ahead, laugh).

 

Looking online I discovered chocolate-pumpkin desserts have quite a following. I opted for Cookies & Cups version–one family-size box brownie mix and one can Libby’s Pumpkin. That’s it. Well, almost. I tweaked the recipe just a little bit.

 

A few notes:

  • The brownies end up with a fudge-like consistency. Nothing wrong with that! I cut them into squares and put them in the fridge. I think they’re better cold.
  • If you didn’t know there was pumpkin in the brownies, you’d wouldn’t guess it.
  • My tween loved these brownies–maybe because she convinced me to let her have them for breakfast, “They’re healthy mom, right?”

 

Recipe

Prep time: 5 minutes + baking

 

Ingredients

1 family-sized box brownies (my fav is Duncan Hines)

1 can pumpkin puree

 

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl blend together the brownie mix and the pumpkin puree with a hand-held blender. Now, here’s where I had to do a few tweaks–I also added in 1/3 cup chocolate chips and 1 teaspoon chocolate extract.
  3. Coat a 9″ baking dish with cooking spray.
  4. Spread the batter onto the baking dish and cook for 20 minutes or until cooked through.

 

Pumpking brownies with a bite

 

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Why aren’t you eating…Trader Joe’s raspberry fruit spread

Raspberry fruit spreadWe go through at least a jar of Trader Joe’s Organic Raspberry Fruit Spread a week. Yeah, it’s that good. If you have a Trader Joe’s anywhere near you, I highly suggest you pick up a few. Even Santa likes it. He brought my teen a case of the stuff for her for Christmas–that’s all she wanted.

 

So just how do we go through that much raspberry spread?

•Mix it with plain, Greek yogurt for breakfast

•PBR sandwich–peanut butter and raspberry on whole-grain bread

•As a secret ingredient in my Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cheesecake

•Cracker, sharp cheddar cheese, dollop of raspberry jam–perfect snack

•As a layer in our chocolate mini dessert parfaits

•Thin it with a little lemon juice as a fruit sauce for desserts

 

Adding a layer of raspberry jam in our chocolate mini dessert parfaits

Adding a layer of raspberry jam in our chocolate mini dessert parfaits

 

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