Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Raspberry Breakfast Smoothie

This is just a quick post but this smoothie is fantastic and it will tantalize your taste buds!  The orange blossom honey really creates a great blend of flavors.  You should definitely make it for breakfast tomorrow!  My family and I are in Michigan for a vacation, so my posts this week will be brief but this is a great breakfast or snack and it is so refreshing in the hot summer sun.  I think I will be making this a lot for Mason and Gabby after a long day at camp.  I personally think that raspberries are a perfect food.  They are packed full of vitamin C and have a low glycemic index - meaning they won't make your blood sugar spike.  New research studies have even been started to examine the effects of raspberries contributing to the management of obesity and type 2 diabetes...so interesting!  
Anyways, this is a great recipe for your kids to make with you and it's not very messy - just put all of the ingredients in and blend away!  Happy summer everyone!

I recommend using orange blossom honey or a honey infused with a different flavor undertone like lavender or cloves.  You can use regular honey but I love the orange blossom flavor.  This brand is made in New Jersey and I found it at Whole Foods.

La Recette:

1 1/4 cup frozen raspberries
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup orange blossom honey or regular honey or agave nectar if you need to make it vegan
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup orange juice
1 cup plain greek yogurt, or soy yogurt if you have a dairy allergy or need to make it vegan
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups ice
*As a variation, try throwing in a banana.

-Measuring cups
-Measuring spoons
-Blender or food processor, or a Vitamix

-Place the raspberries, sugar, honey, water, orange juice, yogurt, and vanilla into a blender and blend until smooth.
-Add in the ice and blend again until smooth.
-The raspberry seeds will be in the smoothie and you can strain it if desired.  I kind of like the seeds :)

*Serves ~ 4. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Quick Kitchen Tip: The Best Way to Cook Bacon

If you're like me, you enjoy Sunday morning bacon every so often.  I try not to eat it too much.  I usually average once every three months, and I try not to have bacon guilt.  I feel badly when I eat a pig, but not bad enough to stop eating it!  Anyways, if you do indulge, I have a great - mess free way to cook it.  Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees with a rack in the middle of the oven.  I wrap a baking sheet very well in aluminum foil - one sheet horizontally, two sheets vertically and another sheet horizontally.    I place a metal rack on the foil and spread out the bacon in a single layer.  I usually bake about 6 ounces.  Bake for 20 minutes or more depending on how well done you like your bacon.  I usually take a paper towel and blot off any extra grease. The only thing you need to wash is the metal rack.  Very little clean up, less grease, and perfectly cooked bacon.  Yum.     

Bake in the middle of the oven, at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.  

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Chocolate Strawberry Shortcake

This is the ultimate summer dessert!  The combination of the chocolate cakes and strawberries surrounded by whipped cream is mouth watering.  I made this dessert on Memorial Day weekend.  We had been swimming all day, so I needed something quick and easy but still really tasty.  I saw something similar on the Food Network but it seemed labor intensive for no reason.  I tweaked the recipe a little and it came out great. This dessert can definitely be made in less than an hour and everyone will love it!  Personalized strawberry shortcakes - fabulous!  The whipped cream is so simple to make too.  See my quick kitchen tips on the best way to make it.  I recommend whipping by hand but sometimes I need to use the stand mixer.  If you use a stand mixer, start on medium low speed and keep an eye on it.  It can over whip really quickly.  Also, this is a great dessert to make with kids - very hands on and almost impossible to mess up!  Enjoy this scrumptious summer treat!
*If you need a dairy free version, use Earth Balance baking sticks, dark chocolate chips and a soy milk  of preference for the cakes.  You can enjoy without whipped cream or use a non-dairy brand.  My husband, Jake, can't eat raw strawberries so I sautéed a few berries for him for a few minutes.  I still need to experiment with an egg free version.  Trying to get all the allergy bases covered!  
*If you don't need gluten free, you can replace with all purpose flour.

Combine the gluten free baking mix, sugar, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder, and chocolate chips.

Make sure the butter is cold and cut into small pieces.  I use my hands to break the butter apart so that mixture looks like coarse sand.

This is what the dough should look like after the egg and cream are added.  Sorry - not the most beautiful picture!

Using a little less than a 1/4 cup, make small little patties.  Similar to how you would would make hamburgers.  Then place them onto parchment paper.  You should get 12 patties. 

Whipped cream should be soft, you don't want super stiff peaks.

La Recette:

1.5 cups gluten free baking mix
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons sweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
5 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter cut pieces
1/3 cup milk chocolate chips
1 extra large egg
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 quart strawberries, washed, hulled (stems removed) and quartered - I love Driscoll's organic.  They are the best!
1/4 cup sugar plus 1 tablespoon
1 cup of heavy whipping cream

2 - medium sized bowls or 1 bowl and one stand mixer
1- small bowl
Measuring cups
Measuring spoons
Baking sheet 
Parchment paper
1 - Chef's knife
1 - paring knife

-Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
-In a medium size bowl, combine the gluten free baking mix, sugar, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder, and chocolate chips.  Mix well.
-Cut the butter into small pieces and add it to the flour mixture.  Using your fingers, break the butter apart until the mixture resembles a coarse sand.
-Whisk the egg, 1/3 cup of cream and vanilla together until well combined.
-Add the egg mixture to the chocolate mixture and using your hand, mix together until combined.  (See photo above.)
-Using a 1/4 cup (use just under a 1/4 cup) scoop up the dough and make little dough balls.  Place them onto the parchment paper and gently press them down so they look like hamburgers.  Don't flatten too much.  You should have 12 patties.
-Place them in the freezer for 20-30 minutes.
-Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Make sure there is a rack positioned in the middle.
-In the meantime, using a small bowl, combine the strawberries with the tablespoon of sugar.  Mix well. Place in the refrigerator and let them macerate.  
-After 20 minutes, place the baking sheet with the shortcakes into the oven and bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.
-Remove from the oven and let them cool completely on the baking sheet.  Keep in mind that they have a biscuit look and taste.
-While you wait for the shortcakes to cool, make the whipped cream.  See my quick kitchen tips or if you use a stand mixer, start on medium low and keep an eye on it.  Slowly add in the 1/4 cup of sugar.  Whipping by hand will take about 10 minutes and the stand mixer will take 5-7 minutes.  
-When the shortcakes cool, plate them and serve immediately.  The cakes can be made ahead and kept in an airtight container for 3-4 days.

*Serves 6

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