Thursday, July 31, 2008

My July DB Challenge, Part2

Okay, I feel it's not really fair to just post that I made it and froze it, because even without pictures, I did make the cake, lol.. it's not decorated since it's all sitting in the freezer in hopes to be put together no later than next week.. here's what I made.

Since I have a very strong Dislike for hazelnuts I made my Genoise with almonds, raspberry glaze and made a white chocolate cream cheese almond buttercream (Oh, yea, I did go there, lol) I have a large cake in the freezer that most likely be cut into smaller mini cakes since I don't really want to bring it to work and I'm not planning any visiting until the end of the month.. and it's just safer that way, lol... Pictures will be posted as soon as I get a camera, then I'll glaze them with the ganache and decorate with the buttercream (which is hidden way way back in the fridge where P. will not find it, lol) I have the design on paper.. I can't wait to go and act on it

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My July DB Challenge

Is in the freezer because my camera is officially dead.. there is no bringing it back now.. i will post as soon as I can.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Today's useless fact

Beer is made by fermentation cause by bacteria feeding on yeast cells and then defecating. In other words, it's a nice tall glass of bacteria doo-doo.

Today's post is made possible by the Completely useless, yet interesting, facts collection

Ok, ok.. Just one more..

Chocolate not only does not promote tooth decay, it might prevent it. According to the American Dental Association, milk chocolate contains ingredients, such as calcium and phosphate, that might modify acid production in the mouth that leads to cavities. Some oils in chocolate might also prevent tooth decay. Chocolate does contain sugar, of course, but these are simple sugars that are less harmful than the complex sugars contained in other foods.


Monday, July 28, 2008

The Foodie Quiz

Alright, so I'm tired, slightly bored, have a KILLER Headache and I'm just not cooking tonight, since I knew I wasn't going to be home all weekend I didn't bother to go grocery shopping last week, we just made do with what was in the fridge (and pretty dang good with that too) I was carrying a ton of crap home tonight so stopping on the way home was out of the question too, so we stopped and grabbed a sub at the deli and shared it.. sometimes you just can' t do it.. tonight is one of those nights.. it was a long weekend to say the least.

So tonight, I leave you all with this:

The foodie quiz
I found it just by chance and it's pretty fun... here's my score:

You scored 41
You, friend, are a gastro-warrior, a culinary thrill -seeker with a palate that knows no barriers, no shame – and no frozen potato waffles and mass produced condiments.


I want you all to comment too as to what your score was.. it was pretty fun :o)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

No big foodie post today.. sad to say that we went to the big feast and it was a real disappointment this year, everything was so incredibly overpriced (I mean, come on $3 for Cotton candy? It just wasn't worth it) The Sausage & pepper hero was Slammin' from what I heard.. we were smart and ate at home. It rained most of the day here, so when we got there tonight it was pretty much a washout already and a lot of vendors had already closed up. Friday night it was a total mob scene though. I'm hoping next year is better.. here's to hoping

Saturday, July 26, 2008

My little porch tomatoes..

I'm insanely proud of my garden this year, I have to say that the last few years has been a huge disappointment, BUT this year I got started early and instead of trying to grow big tomatoes (which I don't really eat anyway raw, but cook with) I decided to go with Cherry tomatoes, I only bought myself One plant (because I wouldn't have felt too bad if I killed it) and it's really done great! so far I've been picking one or two at a time as they ripen, but I've got whole clusters now that are ripening as we speak (and that makes me ridiculously happy!)

I think the most wonderful part of this garden project this year is the fact that P. will actually eat cherry tomatoes! The kid will not eat tomatoes on anything, it's the first thing he will pull off a sandwich or pick out of a salad, but not my little cherry tomatoes.. I had this sitting in a bowl in the fridge, waiting to get tossed into some pasta for dinner when I caught him.. with his fingers in the bowl!

Mom, these are the tomatoes from outside? Um.. yea, and the basil from that big old plant on the porch too, to which he replied These are the best tomatoes I've ever had.. can I have more? I damn near fell right over! Now granted he has never been one to turn away food or Not try something, he learned at a very early age that you eat what I cook or have cereal, but through culinary school he was willing to try everything I brought home and never balked about it. He willingly eats salmon, vegetables of any kind Even roasted Brussels sprouts, he will pick fruit over candy and the thing he drinks most is milk (No wonder at 12 he's already an inch taller than me!) the only 2 things I know this kid will not eat are avocados, and pepperoni cheese (which is something I love, cheddar cheese with little bits of Pepperoni in it, so bad for you, but so good!)... other than that it's all up for grabs (which makes me one of the luckiest mom's out there!)

So this little bunch of Cherry tomatoes sat in the refrigerator today, happily blending with some bail and garlic and a pinch of sea salt to let the yummy juices flow and then was tossed with a pot of Cavatelli and a drizzle of olive oil.. what could be better on a steamy summer night?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs.. The MOVIE??!

Okay, so I'll admit it, I've been a foodie since I was a kid.. my favorite book growing up was Cloudy with a chance of meatballs.. and it was also one of the first books I got P. when he was learning to read (and we still have that book, as a matter of fact I got it for my 5 year old niece for Christmas) so I was browsing SlashFood only to find out that in 2010 there will be a movie coming out based on this book.. How cool!!!

Here is the post from SlashFood:
cover of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
When I was growing up, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was one of my very favorite books. Set in the very fictional town of Chewandswallow, the residents don't have to shop at grocery stores the way the rest of us do. Instead, all their food was delivered by the weather. Morning would start with a drizzle of hot coffee, followed by eggs, toast and bacon. Life was good in Chewandswallow, until the weather becomes unpredictable and the food that comes from the elements becomes life-threatening. Eventually the townsfolk are forced to leave (on rafts made from giant peanut butter sandwiches) and restart their lives in a city where the only thing that falls from the sky is rain and snow.

First published in 1982, Cloudy has been beloved to generations of young readers and now, according to our sister site Cinematical, it's coming to the big screen. The animated film is going to be altered quite significantly from the original book, but hamburgers and donuts will still rain from the sky and the city will still be blanketed by a pea soup fog at times, so that's good enough for me. I really look forward to seeing it when it comes out in 2010.
Now, I don't care that P. will be (aww crap, seriously? Damn...) 14 or closing in on it when this mocie comes out.. but dammit I will be taking him with me to see it... although I'm not too sure how I feel about this: The animated film is going to be altered quite significantly from the original book. I really hate when they do that.. kinda puts a damper on the whole thing for me... so depending on what I hear/read.. I just might wait for it to come out on DVD because it really chaps my hide to pay $10 for a movie that I didn't enjoy.

Kashi Vive

Today's post really isn't so much about cooking something, but it's just a general rave about this great cereal that I had the chance to try and then bought myself 2 boxes, 1 for home and 1 for work (because 99% of the time I'm sitting at my desk with a cup of cereal after I get in in the morning, I hardly ever have breakfast at home during the week)

Kashi Vive Probiotic Digestive Wellness Cereal

Be well and enjoy this all natural fusion of delightful tastes and textures: Crunchy graham twigs, touched with a hint of sweetness, lightly toasted flakes complete with our original Seven Whole Grains and Sesame, and vanilla dipped rice crisps, making the perfect combination of crisp and crunch.
Medium
  • Balance ~ Active probiotic cultures & ginger
  • Purify ~ 46% DV for fiber & natural dried broccoli
  • Strengthen ~ Excellent source of both calcium & vitamin D

Live vibrantly and enhance your joie de vivre with delicious Kashi Vive cereal!


This isn't your typical Kashi cereal, it's sweet and has flakes! It's so good, most of the time I eat it dry, but it's really good with milk too! Okay, one more thing there is NO WAY there is Broccoli in this cereal.. no way.. if there really is, you can't tell at all! It has these sweet little balls of puffed rice that are covered in this sweet vanilla flavor, It's really good!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

These are some Serious Italian Pastries!

Okay, so here's the deal.. this weekend is the big Italian feast over where my best friend lives, I've been going since I was a kid and over anything else, I go for the Zeppole's, Cannoli and OMG my absolute favorite the Sfogliatelle (A delicate flaky clam shell shaped pastry filled with sweet Ricotta)! Now, I've never actually had the guts to try and make Sfogliatelle at home.. plus there's a good chance if I did, I would keep them all to myself, and as good as that may sound, I wouldn't need a car to get around, you could just roll me around like Violet Beauregarde when she chewed that gum in Willie Wonka. So in appreciation of the Pastries that I love I'm posting some recipes that I love that we all can try :) I've made Zeppole before and Cannoli.. the Sfogliatelle , well.. maybe we can all do that one together.

So.. Here we go.. and since the only camera I will have with me this weekend will be of the Cell phone variety.. I will take some pics (but please don't expect them to be that good, lol)

Zeppole is essentially fried pizza dough that is tossed in powdered sugar.. they're insanely good and really bad for you (but honestly, who cares because they taste good!)


Sfogliatelle, well, they are my favorite ever! Here is a recipe from RecipeZaar.
Neapolitan SfogliatelleSeriously, I want to just grab that from the screen right now!!

Now, Please don't tell me you've never had a
Cannoli (unless you've got some kind of allergy, there really is no excuse) Cannoli is the ultimate Italian treat (I mean, Come on, my best friend's wedding cake had Cannoli filling, so did her son's Christening cake!) P. asks me to make him cannoli filling every now and then and it's easy enough to whip up so he usually gets it when he asks.. but this weekend, well.. he's gonna get his yearly taste of Italy (which is always ALL good!)

Holy Cannoli

This recipe is courtesy of Epicurious



Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Toffee Apple Dip

What do you do when you have 2 pounds of granny smith apples in the refrigerator and they're gonna go bad if you don't use them up?

You make Toffee apple dip and feed it to the kiddies, of course!

(What did you think I was going to say? Make Pie? Um.. no, at least not right now when it's about 107° in my apartment and if I turn on the oven I will surely melt, and that would be a really nasty mess nobody would want to clean up)

This is a really simple recipe and I have most of this stuff on hand all the time.

Ingredients
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 (11 ounce) package Skor English toffee bits or heath toffee pieces

Directions:
  1. Beat cream cheese, sugars and vanilla together until fluffy.
  2. Stir in toffee chips by hand.
  3. Serve with sliced apples.
Sometimes I think I have the only kid that does not like red apples, he just really loves the tartness of the Granny smith apples, and don't even try to feed him a golden delicious, he thinks they're "mushy and gross" (but they're perfect for my cranberry sauce, which y'all will get on a later date)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Smoothie, shake.. whatever you call it.. I call it Good!!

Two things I never thought I would put together...

Jell-O and Milk

But I wanted something different to drink so Thanks to my Kraft Food & Family email I had an idea.. something I saw a long time ago.. so I did a little searching and I found this..

Orange Mandarin Madness Milk Shake

Orange  Mandarin Madness Milk Shake
Prep Time:
5 min

Total Time:
5 min

Makes:
1 serving
1 cup 2% milk
2 Tbsp. JELL-O Brand Orange Flavor Gelatin
1/3 cup canned mandarin orange segments, drained, finely chopped

Their Directions:

POUR milk into tall glass. Add gelatin; stir several minutes until gelatin is completely dissolved. Stir in oranges. Serve immediately.

My way:
Pour milk into blender, add jell-o, 4-5 ice cubes and oranges, Blend on Ice crush for 30 seconds and then blend for one minute until smooth.. and YUMMMMMMY!!
I always make enough for 2 though.



Monday, July 21, 2008

Strawberry Basil sorbet.. no ice cream maker necessary...

It's another hot one here in NY.. but not only is it hot, it's sticky and humid and just all around Gross.. and it's not any better in my non air conditioned apartment.. so after dinner I whipped up some Strawberry basil sorbet.. In my Cuisinart mini prep! I love that thing, I've had it for about 4 years and it's the best little gadget!

So here's what I did, in a nutshell because I didn't use a recipe here and you can use just about any fruit and adjust the amount of sugar to however sweet you want it.. but here's what I did to get this sweet strawberry goodness tonight..

I took 2 cups frozen strawberries and dumped it into the mini prep, closed it up and pressed grind, alternating between chop and grind until it was almost like the consistency of snow cone ice.. then I added about 2 Tbs of heavy cream and again, alternated between chop and grind (the only 2 buttons on the thing, lol) until the cream was incorporated (and it went from red to a bright watermelon-y pink color) tossed in just one basil leaf and 1 Tbs vanilla mint sugar (Oh yeah!) and alternated between chop/grind for another minute or so until it was smooth..

Seriously, who needs a pint of Edy's sorbet at $3 a pop when you can get This

for like $1 for a pint, home made, no funky stuff and no worrying about melting on the way home.. it doesn't get any better than this! Tomorrow I think I'm going to make Mango Lime.. or Peach raspberry... Hmm.. decisions, decisions...

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Today is National Ice Cream day...

Had I known this yesterday I would have waited to take the kid for ice cream.. But, oh well.. jsut another reason to have some more today Photobucket

Well.. Go out and get yourself some ice cream today... here's some history, just for fun and I will be back later with today's ice cream adventure

In 1984, President Ronald Reagan designated July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of the month as National Ice Cream Day. He recognized ice cream as a fun and nutritious food that is enjoyed by a full 90% of the nation's population. In the proclamation, President Reagan called for all people of the United States to observe these events with "appropriate ceremonies and activities."

The International Ice Cream Association (IICA) encourages retailers and consumers to celebrate July as National Ice Cream Month. In 2008, National Ice Cream Day will be Sunday, July 20.

The U.S. ice cream industry generates more than $21 billion in annual sales and provides jobs for thousands of citizens. About 9% of all the milk produced by U.S. dairy farmers is used to produce ice cream, contributing significantly to the economic well-being of the nation's dairy industry.

Founded in 1900, IICA is the trade association for manufacturers and distributors of ice cream and other frozen dessert products. The association's activities range from legislative and regulatory advocacy to market research, education and training. Its 80 member companies manufacture and distribute an estimated 85% of the ice cream and frozen dessert products consumed in the United States. IICA, as a constituent organization of the International Dairy Foods Association, can be found online at www.idfa.org.

Photobucket

HA ha ha....




Saturday, July 19, 2008

Frosty*s Ice Cream Club and Coffee Bar

It was Insanely hot here today.. Ahh, just gotta love the Mid-July heatwave here in NY.. so this afternoon I decided to take P. to Frosty*s Ice Cream Club and Coffee Bar, a place that I pass everyday on my way to work and just never had the chance to go to until today. The place is so cool! they have plasma screen menu's up on the wall that scroll the entire list of ice creams they have on hand (the ice cream freezer runs almost the entire length of the store!) another that flips through the different drinks they offer and the last one is the beverage menu. P. decided on the birthday cake avalanche sundae

They use Edy's ice cream, but in my opinion it was much too sweet. It was layers of birthday cake ice cream, pound cake chunks, whipped cream, sprinkles and a blue cherry on top. P. liked it, he let me have the first taste, but I didn't like it.

I had a frozen hot chocolate

That was Intensely chocolate and the straw was huge! it was really really good and really refreshing.

at a total of $10.25 for the two of us it wasn't too bad, considering they were both pretty decent sized and satisfied each of us (Unlike our last trip to cold stone for shakes that was a miserable disappointment) They even sell cakes, cupcakes and other frozen novelties as well as cups, mugs, ice cream dishes and the like. The atmosphere was very Tiki, very welcoming and clean. They even offer Free Wi-fi (which reminded P. that next time to bring his DS with him) It was early afternoon when we got there, but I suspect that in the evening it's a pretty busy place, nice for a quiet date (I will have to drop a hint to the boyfriend later) and it's right in the center of town. Too bad the movie theater over there is so crappy or it could make a total date night.. but in my case it's on the way home from the best movie theater around, so it works out :)

Here's their Menu (bummer that they don't list the prices, but I guess with the way dairy prices have been fluctuating they can't write anything in stone)

You have to click on the images and it'll show you the whole thing, it's a little cut off here.

Photobucket

Photobucket

I was really happy with the experience we had here today and I see us going back again throughout the year.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Giambotta.. It's what for dinner

My grandma Mary made the best Giambotta, and to me, nothing says summer more than a big bowl of Giambotta and a chunk of crusty Italian bread. Giambotta is Italian vegetable stew, made with zucchini, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, garlic and basil.

This isn't my Grandma's recipe, but it's pretty damn close :)

Giambotta

2 white potatoes
2 zucchini
4 large tomatoes (or 1 28oz can chopped tomatoes)
olive oil
2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 large onions
1 red pepper or 1/2 bag frozen pepper strips (that's what I use, less waste & cheaper)
1/2 cup fresh basil - or 1 teaspoon dried
salt and pepper to taste

Clean, skin and chop all the vegetables into uniform dice.

To skin the tomatoes, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Hold each tomato with a long meat fork and submerge into the boiling water. Hold in the water until the skin bursts, about 10 seconds. Remove from boiling water and place in ice water immediately. The skin should peel right off. Peel, chop and seed the tomatoes.

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Saute the onion and garlic together until soft. Add the tomatoes, raise heat and bring to a boil.

Stir in the diced potatoes and lower heat to a simmer. Cook covered, until vegetables are almost tender.

Add the zucchini at the end and simmer the vegetables a little longer until they are all soft.

Add the basil and season with salt and pepper.

Serve as a side dish with meat or as it's own meal with some good crusty bread.

As you can see, this was a really good vegetarian dinner tonight.. all on it's own with some good Italian bread. Even P. went back for seconds!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

It's too hot to cook... So I'm baking a cake in my Crock Pot!

No, I'm not insane (really, I swear!) But I have been craving some good fudgie chocolate cake for days and tonight I went and did it.. I've been waiting to get Crock pot liners (because I refuse to use the dang thing without them, I hate washing dishes (no dishwasher here) and that crock pot can be a total nightmare to clean) and I grabbed them at Target the last time I was there.

Now, this has got to be one of the easiest recipes that I've ever made because essentially you just toss it all in the crock, turn it on and walk away.. Way easier said than done though because as soon as you smell it 'baking' up you want to tear into it.. but it's So worth it! I don't even remember where I got this recipe since it's hand written on a piece of notebook paper (!) But it's one of my absolute favorites!

Crock pot chocolate fudge pudding cake

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Ingredients:
1 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. cocoa
2 tsp. baking powder
dash salt
1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. cocoa
1-3/4 cups hot water

Directions:
  1. Spray 4 quart crockpot with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In large bowl, combine first 5 ingredients and stir to combine.
  3. Add milk, cooking oil and vanilla and stir well.
  4. Pour into prepared crockpot.
  5. In a medium bowl, stir second amount of brown sugar and second amount of cocoa together.
  6. Add hot water and mix well until blended.
  7. Pour over batter in crockpot; do not stir!
  8. Cover crockpot and cook on high about 2 hours or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. 8-10 servings

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Creamsicle smoothie

It's annoyingly hot in my apartment tonight, so what better than a smoothie.. and my favorite.. a Creamsicle smoothie!

Again, my camera has failed me but I have to give you my recipe anyway.. I'm sure I'll be making this again very soon.

Makes 2 servings
Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup orange juice concentrate
1/4 cup vanilla ice cream (I used Edy's vanilla bean, but whatever you like)
1 cup ice
1 tsp. vanilla extract


Directions:
  1. Pour milk into blender
  2. Add Orange juice concentrate, vanilla and ice cream
  3. Blend until combined
  4. add ice and blend until smooth
  5. pour into glasses and serve

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ranch Chicken Thighs

I had no idea what I was going to make for dinner tonight.. I had a pack of chicken thighs in the fridge, but I'm so tired of marinating it and throwing it on the GF grill.. so I had to RecipeZaar it.. and Low in behold there it was in my cookbook...

Ranch Chicken thighs.. I last made them months ago, back when I didn't think I was melting from the inside out when I put the oven on for any extended period of time.. but I had to brave it tonight, I was desperate for something other than 'grilled and marinated' I wanted some flavorful and juicy chicken..

OH MY GOD they were so good and if my camera were cooperating with me I would have pictures, but the poor thing is just dang dead tonight, I really have to get a new camera soon.. I will try again later.. but I'm not sure if it's just the batteries that need charging or something more..

anyway, here's the recipe:

Ranch Chicken Thighs

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup dry breadcrumb
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning
  • 6 chicken thighs (skin removed)
  • 1/2 cup bottled ranch salad dressing

Directions

  1. In a shallow bowl, combine crumbs, Parmesan cheese, cornmeal, and Italian seasoning.
  2. Dip chicken into salad dressing, then coat with crumb mixture.
  3. Place chicken in a greased 13x9 baking dish.
  4. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until juices run clear.
Not only are they moist, but the crust has such wonderful flavor.. it's unbelievable!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Peppermint Mocha Coffee creamer

Okay, so last week I professed my love for my coffee mug, Today I'm gonna let y'all in on the secret of what I put in that cup {and no, it's not Booze, lol} I absolutely fell In LOVE with peppermint mocha coffee-mate, it was on sale and I had a coupon and I bought 2 bottles on a whim.. I thought, why not just try it 'tis the season and all. When I ran out I was distraught, I couldn't find it anywhere, so I searched online, I had to find it somewhere... But the only store online that I could buy it from wouldn't ship it to NY.. so I was outta luck.. so I tried contacting Coffee mate and they gave me a very bland response..
Dear Ashley,

Thank you for taking the time to contact NestlĂ©® Coffee-mate® Non-Dairy Creamer Peppermint Mocha regarding your suggestion of making this variety year round. We welcome questions and comments from loyal consumers and appreciate this opportunity to assist you.

We would like to assure you that we have reported your comments to our Marketing department. We are committed to providing you with products that live up to your high standards for taste, quality, nutrition and enjoyment - in short, "the very best."

We appreciate your interest in our products and hope you will visit our website often for the latest information on our products and promotions.

Sincerely,

J.R.
Consumer Response Representative

Well, that was it and I never heard from them again... but the scary kinda thing is there is a huge following for this stuff, I was absolutely astounded at the amount of posts that I found online regarding Peppermint Mocha Coffee-Mate, but nobody had a recipe, everyone just wanted the original thing.. but not me, if I can't find the real thing I'm gonna do the next best thing and make the best dang copycat that I can make... and so I did...

Ingredients

  • 1 pint fat-free half-and-half (or regular, but I like the fat free)
  • 1/4 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/8 cup peppermint syrup (I got mine at Starbucks for about $6)

Directions

  1. pour the half and half into a medium saucepan.
  2. stir chocolate chips into the pan.
  3. turn the heat onto medium-low and melt the chocolate into the half and half.
  4. DO NOT LET THIS BOIL.
  5. Once the chocolate is melted turn the heat off.
  6. Store in a container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks :) (but it never lasts that long, lol).
this stuff makes my coffee Happy :)


This is a real pic, straight out of the Senseo my coffee looked like this one morning and I almost fell right over.. that is one seriously happy cup of coffee :)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

It's the simple things..

It's the simplest things that can make my son happy, I can make desserts with ricotta, cream puffs or whatnot, but today the boy asked me for Tapioca. Mom, can you just make plain Tapioca? Sure, okay but if you know enough about me I'm gonna jazz it up just a little..

Like with some Berries


And some Honey


Mmmm, I once made Chocolate tapioca, but I didn't really like it too much. This was Minute tapioca that I made tonight, I have a box of the big tapioca pearls in my kitchen cabinet, but I never seem to get around to making it. My Tapioca was a little runny tonight, but I don't use whole milk which produces a thicker, creamier tapioca.. maybe I'll try again tomorrow with a different recipe or add some heavy cream into the milk to thicken it up.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Natural Greek Yogurt, Fage and Chobani

I've been eating this stuff for months, I was in the search to make the perfect Tatziki and plain "American" yogurt just wasn't cutting it... until I discovered this stuff. It's creamy with a very smooth texture and you can use it just like regular American yogurt, but you never have to strain it. It has a very dense texture and fruit doesn't sit at the bottom but lovingly floats among it's creaminess. So far I've only been able to find Fage in the plain variety and a new favorite is Chobani which comes in 6 varieties. Chobani's web site is a little more user friendly and gives you a list of stores in your area where you can buy it, unlike the Fage site which does not.

Now, this post came to be tonight when P. came to me and said "Mom, do we have any of that good yogurt that you mixed with sugar and heath bits?" Yea, it's in the fridge.. his response.. "can you make it for me?" Sure! I almost forgot it was in there in the fist place and since I had a 8 ounce container of plain yogurt I went and split it in half and mixed P's half in a bowl with a teaspoon of vanilla sugar and about a tablespoon of heath bits and I stirred some honey and frozen berries into mine.

I love yogurt and I'm really glad that I found this stuff, when I was a kid we would get big bottles of Kifir (smooth, drinkable yogurt) in the supermarket and then it disappeared until a few years ago when I noticed it again in a local store by work, I become concerned with the amount of sugar in these products though so I'm really more careful with what I buy and I really prefer to just buy the Greek yogurt and make smoothies using fresh or frozen fruit and milk.

Just a quick comparison here..

Chobani:

  • All Natural
  • Live & Active Cultures
  • Great source of protein
  • Perfect way to increase energy
  • Rich smooth creamy texture
  • A great mid day snack
  • Helps prevent the risk of Osteoporosis
  • Includes (3) active probiotics
  • Gluten free

  • Nonfat Nutritional Information

    FAGE Total 0% Greek Yogurt

    A truly guiltless treat that can be
    enjoyed by anyone, FAGE Total 0%
    Greek yogurt successfully
    delivers its trademark rich flavor
    and thick, smooth body with
    absolutely no fat. An excellent
    diet aid that can be enjoyed on its
    own or mixed with fresh fruit, cereal
    and other wholesome ingredients
    for a great tasting and healthy
    low fat meal.

    Each 150 grams (5-ounce) serving includes:
    80 calories (0% from fat)
    15 grams or 30% of daily value of protein,
    10% calcium,
    6 grams or 2% of carbohydrates in the form of lactose (based on a 2,000 calorie diet).
    .

    DANNON® All Natural Nonfat 6 oz, 32 oz
    Serving Size: 6 oz; 170g




    Amount Per Serving




    % DV*

    Calories 80


    Calories from Fat 0


    Total Fat 0g 0%

    Saturated Fat 0g 0%

    Trans Fat 0g


    Cholesterol 5mg 2%

    Sodium 120mg 5%

    Potassium 400mg 11%

    Total Carbohydrates 12g 4%

    Dietary Fiber 0g 0%

    Sugars 12g


    Protein 9g 18%

    Vitamin A
    0%

    Vitamin C
    4%

    Thiamin (Vitamin B1)
    6%

    Riboflavin
    30%

    Vitamin B6
    6%

    Vitamin B12
    20%

    Biotin
    0%

    Iron
    0%

    Vitamin D
    0%

    Calcium
    30%

    Phosphorus
    25%

    Magnesium
    8%

    Pantothenic Acid
    6%

    Zinc
    8%

    Selenium
    0%




    *%DV means % Daily Value based on a 2000-calorie diet




    Ingredients:

    Cultured grade A milk. Contains active yogurt cultures including L. acidophilus.

    Friday, July 11, 2008

    Today's lunch, care of Kiss the Chef, Mineola, NY

    I wasn't really planning on ordering lunch today, I had my Lean Cuisine panini (because they're really pretty darn good Plus they were on sale the other day so I stocked up, lol) in the freezer at home, but being in the frazzled tizzy I was in this morning, I left it at home.. along with my cup of coffee that is still sitting on the stairs in my travel mug, It was an afterthought after (I ran a whole block with P. to catch the damn bus) I was on the bus with P. on our way to camp and work. It's been a Murphy's law kind of day for me and (God Please) I hope it gets better.. I got the kid to camp on time, caught my bus to the terminal to consequently wait 40 minutes for my connecting bus because (curse the MTA) not only did the 9:07 bus break down but the bus after it (that is supposed to arrive around 9:15) also broke down, Oh happy day! Thank God for my friend at work whom I kept posted by text as to my status who texted me with the lovely phrase 'Dunkin'?' as in Do you want me to get you coffee or anything? Yes, please get me a medium caramel latte before I dissolve, lol.. Luckily I caught her as she was leaving DD so we walked in together as to avoid the wrath of the beast woman in my office and any errant attorneys that may have been looking for me.

    But I digress.. this post is about my (pretty darn good) lunch after all isn't it?
    Half a BBQ roasted chicken, salad and rice. $6.95

    The chicken was really good, moist and full of flavor. The rice, it was alright, a little too buttery and no seasoning and the salad was without dressing.. but I have to say that being the chicken was the main part of the meal it was really really good. Kiss the chef is a tiny little restaurant situated in a restored railroad car diner. You can get some more info here They deliver fast and your food never arrives cold ($10 minimum as with most places) I could eat from here every day, and for such a tiny place their menu is quite impressive (and they serve breakfast all day long!) their salads are good and they have new specials every day and have no problem with custom orders (my buddy at work fell in love with their western grilled chicken sandwich which is a grilled chicken breast with bbq sauce, shredded cheddar cheese and coleslaw on a bun, it was a special one day and now she orders it 2-3 times a week *Remember, the girl only eats chicken*) All in all, their food is good, really good in fact, they deliver fast and everything in the menu is under $15.

    Okay, this is my first restaurant review, so if it seems amateur, it is, lol..

    Thursday, July 10, 2008

    Tartufo.. an Ice cream truffle, what could be better?

    When I was a kid there was an Italian restaurant in my neighborhood that had the best desserts, Cannoli Tartufo, Tortoni.. Oh, it brings back such great memories of going there with just change to get one, running home and making it last a few days, just savoring a small bite every day and then wrapping it back up in the "nubby" foil and strategically hiding it in the freezer where nobody would look.

    So, I was on a search one day.. I wanted a Tartufo bad, so I set upon my search to find the perfect Tartufo recipe.. and this is what I found...



    "Tartufo" is Italian for truffle. The original "truffles" were created just after the French revolution by French chefs and were chocolate confections made to resemble like their prized fungi cousin in the Perigord region of France. These sweet confections were given at Christmas time as gifts. Sometime around the Victorian era is when the frozen truffle came about when the idea of molding ice creams into various shape like flowers, fruit, and other foods became popular. It has been only during recent times that ice cream "truffles" or "tartufos" have made a renaissance, of sorts. Typically, in Italy, a tartufo is a vanilla ice cream ball that has a cherry and some nuts in the center. The ball is then dipped in chocolate and can be covered with nuts or chocolate shavings.


    Ingredients

    1 cup sugar
    2/3 cup cocoa
    2 teaspoons instant espresso or coffee
    1/3 cup water
    4 egg yolks
    10 maraschino cherries
    1 cup heavy cream
    2 tablespoons rum
    2/3 cup chocolate, coarse chop

    Directions


    1. Soak cherries in rum.


    2. Sift sugar; cocoa, and instant coffee together and place in a heavy sauce pan.


    3. Add the water and mix well.


    4. Bring to a boil and cook until everything is well mixed.


    5. While syrup is cooking, whip the egg yolks until light and fluffy.


    6. Reduce the speed of the beaters to the lowest level and add the hot syrup in a continuous fine stream.


    7. Continue beating until the mixture is thick and forms a ribbon pattern when the beater is pulled away.


    8. Chill well. (about an hour).


    9. Whip the cream with the 2 tablespoons of rum until stiff.


    10. Fold into the chocolate mixture.


    11. Fold in the chopped chocolate.


    12. Arrange foil lined paper cups in a muffin pan.


    13. Fill each cup 1/3 of the way full.


    14. Place a cherry in each cup then fill the rest of the way.


    15. Freeze at least 4 hours (preferably overnight).


    16. Before serving pipe whipping cream on top if desired.


    17. It will keep in the freezer for about a month wrapped tightly in aluminum foil.

    Wednesday, July 9, 2008

    Boy, have times changed...

    When I was a kid there was the ice cream man, he came around mostly on the weekend as soon as the weather warmed up and every nice day during the summer and then he disappeared until school was over once again. Italian ices came in a little paper cup and you ate it with a small wooden 'spoon' (more like a very small paddle, lol) They were pretty much only available in the warmer months though, and came in limited flavors like cherry, lemon, watermelon and rainbow.. and then things changed.. I'm not really sure when they changed.. but I guess somewhere in the last 10 years, more "blue" flavors popped up, the Ice cream man pops up as soon as the weather is above freezing, rain or shine, Every day of the week, Chocolate Italian ice is among my absolute favorites and there are so many new kinds of "ices" out there. When I moved here I noticed on my way to work a place called Rita's. Water Ices was their business, I saw them on the food Network and I was intrigued so I had to take P. and see what it was all about. They had a menu a mile long, water ices, cream ices, frozen custard along with shakes and various different drinks. Well, since the Rita's here closed last year I was feeling a little defeated.. until a new place opened up where Rita's used to be.. called Flavors. Now, I wasn't really taken by the name, but since I'm always up to try a new food (and if it's dessert, even better) I stopped on the way home with P. the other night.. and BOY was I glad I did!
    I have 2 words for you, 2 words that made my son so incredibly happy that it was sheer foodie bliss. these 2 words are Cannoli Gelato. He took one bite and was in heaven.. and he even shared it with me (okay 2 bites, but still, the boy shared, lol) WOW! smooth, creamy tasted just like a cannoli even with little pieces of candied fruit! It even came with a little tower shaped wafer cookie.. it was so good.. I, on the other hand, was in the mood for something a little more chocolatey, so i went with the chocolate peanut butter cream ice.. and it was really good, nice smooth creamy ice with peanut butter chips. They have like, 4 menu's. Water ice, cream ice, gelato and a drinks menu ( I think they might even have regular soft serve too, I can't remember, lol) I will stop there again (and again) through the summer because it's such a treat and it's so dang good!

    Who would have thought ices could come so far?

    Tuesday, July 8, 2008

    Wish upon a hero

    Wish upon a hero

    Everyone has a wish. Anyone can be a hero.
    What an awesome motto and a really awesome site.

    I found this site through BzzAgent, it's one of the "frogpond' sites.. very cool.. kinda like a make a wish site for anyone.


    wishuponahero.com

    Monday, July 7, 2008

    My Ultimate Brownies



    I've been using this recipe for a few years now, they come together quickly and you can mix just about anything into the batter. This recipe is courtesy of Karen=^..^= from RecipeZaar and these are without a doubt the best (not to mention easiest) brownies... Ever! I added a whole cup of Hershey's Bliss chocolate pieces (which made them so intensely chocolate it was a little too much) A nice big dollop of fresh vanilla bean whipped cream and it was the perfect dessert.


    Whatever floats your boat brownies


    Ingredients
    1/2 cup butter, melted
    1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
    1 cup sugar
    2 eggs
    2 teaspoons vanilla
    1/2 cup flour
    1/4 teaspoon salt

    WHATEVER FLOATS YOUR BOAT
    1-2 cup chocolate chips (semisweet, white, butterscotch, peanut butter) or raisin or chopped maraschino cherry or chopped nuts or M&M' or or miniature marshmallow

    Directions
    Preheat oven to 350°F.

    Grease an 8 inch square pan or line with foil.

    In a medium bowl combine melted butter and cocoa and stir until cocoa is dissolved.

    Add sugar and mix well.

    Add eggs one at a time and stir until well combined.

    Stir in vanilla, flour and salt until you no longer see any flour (do not overmix).

    Fold in "WHATEVER FLOATS YOUR BOAT"!

    Spread in pan and bake for approximately 25 minutes.

    DO NOT OVER-BAKE -- your brownies will come out dry. Adjust time/temp accordingly for your oven. If you do the knife/toothpick test, it should come out with moist crumbs, not clean.

    Cool completely before cutting into squares.




    Just look at that Chocolatey deliciousness



    For double recipe, bake in 9x12 pan and add 5 minutes to baking time. This recipe doubles perfectly, I've made it quite a few times for class parties and bake sales :)


    Plant a tree for free with one click

    How could I not share this freebie? This is great and so easy not to mention great for our environment Free Smiley Face

    Sunday, July 6, 2008

    Just in case you were wondering...

    Yes, I changed my template, that green one was really starting to get on my nerves and I searched all day today for something that would make me happy.. to no avail.. so I took it upon myself to make a header that I was happy with and chose the minima template just because it's more streamlined. I am a girl of many talents and I am a closet computer geek, lol.. I love the challenge of trying to do my own HTML and creating my own images and logos.

    But that's it.. just wanted to let ya know.. I've changed my 'style'.

    Peach Jam

    I stopped at a new produce market on the way home on Thursday and picked up a pack of peaches that was marked down for quick sale, I wasn't sure what I was going to do with them, but I had jam on the brain I guess. I used to make jam all the time in the summer and I think that this summer I will be doing it quite a bit also for a few reasons
    1. It's not as demanding as many people think
    2. It's such a pleasure to give people home made food gifts
    3. Home made jam is just darn good!
    So this morning I got up and looked at those (really pathetic, sad looking lot of) peaches and started on my quest to make some Peach Jam.
    I didn't use a recipe here really and since peaches are naturally high in pectin (and I didn't have any on hand) it's just a rough 'draft' the end result was so freaking good though.

    4 very ripe peaches
    1/2 cup sugar
    4 chocolate mint leaves
    1 tbs. lime juice

    I peeled the peaches, took the pits out, sliced them up and one by one tossed them into my trusty old nonstick pot (it's not pretty or really the best, but I'll be damned if anything sticks to that thing) and tossed in 4 chiffonade chocolate mint leaves.

    I poured in 1/4 cup of vanilla sugar to get them started off, gave them a good stir with a wooden spoon and let them cook down for about 10 minuted on medium-low heat.

    After the 10 minutes I added another 1/4 cup of straight white sugar, stirred it up and let it cook down for another 5 minutes, then proceeded to mash the hell out of them with the potato masher.




    5 more minutes of cook time and a good stir, squeezed in the lime juice, stirred again and left it to cool for a little bit before putting it into a (yikes) plastic container in the fridge.

    It came out really good, will be good on some toast with butter. . yum!



    Picture without flash.. yummy bits of mint in there was so perfect.


    Saturday, July 5, 2008

    No, I'm not perfect...

    To say I'm disorganized is an understatement, my desk at work is a disaster, really. I will never understand why people still put things on my desk because it will get lost, if you want me to see something put it on my chair or right in front of the computer, otherwise it's going to get lost in the pile of crap on my desk. Before I took the weekend off for P's graduation and the last day of school I paid all the bills, tossed all memo's that were over 2 weeks old and straightened up.. by the time I got back the following Wednesday there was a pile of crap again.. mail, more bills, transcripts, random post it's and stuff like that.

    my desk at home is just as bad... the monitor (flat as it may be) takes up a big chunk and my printer, the gargantuan thing that it is takes up another big chunk along with the phone, random candles a vase of dried roses from my sweet boyfriend that I got for valentines day and random junk.

    For Christmas I got myself a mug, not just any mug, but the one that I caught my eye that fits me to a T...

    This mug is HUGE, it's a good 16 ounces, and I fill that thing up to the very brim every morning with my coffee (it just fits under the Senseo, which, by the way in my honest opinion is the best dang single serving coffee machine out there, the cappuccino is what I drink and it's So freaking good!) Now I wasn't just going to get one of these for myself because my best friend Patty, she's a teacher and her desk looks a lot like mine, so I got one for her too.. her students think it's hilarious.

    The mug is made by a company called Our Name is Mud They make great mugs that are heavy and durable not to mention witty. I got this one for a friend during a secret swap and she loved it.



















    They have all kinds of little odds and ends at that store most of it under $20, all of it great :)

    Friday, July 4, 2008

    Happy 4th of July

    happy fourth of july cake

    Being it's raining here now and is supposed to on and off all day I'm not too sure what the plans are (so typical of my life, lol) I just wanted to tell everyone to have a Great day (or weekend, great that the 4th falls on Friday this year!) Stay safe, don't play with fireworks, swim with a buddy and please, please, please Don't drink and drive.

    Thursday, July 3, 2008

    This is so cool!

    I have a Praying mantis baby living in my rosemary plant! This morning I was watering my little 'garden' on my porch and I saw it, a little green baby praying mantis and I was so happy, lol.. I haven't seen a praying mantis literally in years and when I told P. after he got up he was so upset that he missed it.. but guess what? He's still there! I showed P. When I got home and watered again (I have a lot of sun on that side of the porch for the whole morning and a good part of the afternoon and by the time I get home everything is dried up), but as I was gently watering my thirsty rosemary plant there he was hanging onto the branch woohoo

    You might ask me why this makes me so happy.. well, I hate bugs of any kind and outside my house there are ants, and not your everyday run of the mill ants, but these tiny little buggers that like to come into the house, and spiders.. the little jumping ones and these freaky little hairy suckers and these other weird spiders.. and I HATE spiders. So now I have my own little exterminator living on my porch to rid my garden of bugs and prevent them from coming into the house (yippee!)
    I will take a picture of him as soon as I can.. he's so cute and little, lol...

    Well, I managed to tape my camera together (Please, don't even ask, lol) and I got a pic of him...

    Can you see him?
    Photobucket

    Now can you see him?
    Photobucket