Thursday, March 6, 2014
I don't want you to think I'm going all rogue on you with a bunch of smoothie recipes....unless they're just really unique and exceptional, I'll keep the basics to myself.
This one is definitely unique and exceptional! My favorite so far. I actually had everything on hand (still hand some cranberries in the freezer from the holidays) except the dates, which I omitted. But the flavor is incredible! And this tiny bit of ginger really comes through.
Again, I am amazed at the Vitamix. I threw in the whole batch of grapes with the stems! The cranberries were completely pulverized and the smoothie was, well, smooth. Whoever came up with this weird list of ingredient hit a gold mine.
On a personal note: I will be leaving here on Saturday to visit my ailing Alzheimer's mom in Oklahoma City for the week, so I'll be out of touch for a while. I will be taking my camera and if we come up with some yummy new recipe to share with you, I'll post it while I'm away. Otherwise, I'll see you in a few weeks. Please do check back and don't forget me!
AUTUMN SWEET POTATO SMOOTHIE (makes 3 1/2 cups, about two 16-ounce servings)
1 1/3 cups (200 g) red grapes (stems removed if using traditional blender)
1/2 medium orange, peeled
1/2 cup (100 g) cooked, peeled sweet potato
1/2 medium apple, 4 oz (114 g), halved (seeded if using a traditional blender)
1/2 tsp chopped fresh ginger root
2 pitted dates
1/4 cup (25 g) frozen cranberries
2 cups (480 ml) ice cubes
Place all ingredients into the blender in the order listed and secure lid.
Select low speed.
Turn machine on and then switch to High speed.
Blend for 1 minute, using the tamper to press the ingredients into the blades.
Posted by TheFultons at 11:21 AM
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
It's hard to believe these bars are calorie- and fat-free! And if you believe that, there's this bridge over there in Brooklyn, New York I'd like to talk with you about selling.
OK, so these are just on the right-edge of complete decadence. Outside of the vanilla, each and every ingredient is chalk-full of fat and calories. These are to be served in small bites or you will make yourself sick! But in a happy way.
So for a special treat for yourself every once in a while, give these a try. They're really easy to make.
DEATH by CHOCOLATE 7-LAYER BARS (makes one 13x9" pan)
2 1/4 cup chocolate cookie crumbs (about a 10 ounce package of chocolate cookies or wafers...you can use chocolate Teddy Grahams or chocolate graham crackers)
8 Tbsp (1 stick) butter, melted
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup milk, semi-sweet, or bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup toffee bits (found in the baking aisle along with the chocolate chips, I bought Heath-Bar brand)
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup sweetened, shredded coconut
1/2 cup Nutella
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 13x9" aluminum or glass pan with foil and generously grease with cooking spray.
In a bowl, toss together the cookie crumbs, butter, and vanilla until the mixture is combined. Press it evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan (the bottom of a dry measuring cup can really help get the crumbs into an even layers).
Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the crust followed by the toffee bits, white chocolate chips, and coconut.
Spoon teaspoonfuls of the Nutella in little dollops over the bars (I microwaved the Nutella for 45 seconds and then used a fork to drizzle it over the bars).
Drizzle the sweetened condensed milk back and forth evenly over the bars.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until the edges are golden.
Let the bars cool completely in the pan before removing the foil to a rack to remove the foil. Place on baking sheet or large pan and cut into small serving squares.
Posted by TheFultons at 2:02 PM
Monday, March 3, 2014
We are fish/seafood people here in this home. I only throw in chicken here and there for a change. But if it were up to me, fish would be just about the only protein served here. And at the top of the list for versitility, cost, taste, would have to be shrimp.
Shrimp has been my favorite since as long as I can remember. Growing up in Oklahoma, we were fish folks, so any type of seafood was a real treat for me. I remember going to just about the only restauraunt in the 60's devoted to seafood (Zeider Zee) for their "all you can eat peeled shrimp" and my father watching in amazement seeing how much shrimp a grade-school girl could put away.
I haven't made shrimp scampi in quite a while because the last time I made it, it was a bust. You know....once bitten, twice shy. And I don't know why. This is the most basic of all shrimp dishes and oh so easy. But somehow I messed up that last batch. Really, how much easier can you get than shrimp, butter, lemon, garlic, and parsley.
I think the only rule here is to use a medium/large sized shrimp (either a 21/25 for 26/30 size). No need to go any larger and certainly don't go smaller. Serve it with some crusty baguette to sop up that lucious sauce. Make some buttered pasta (with olive oil, butter, and garlic with some freshly chopped parsley and grated parmesan) and maybe some steamed asparagus for a complete meal.
SHRIMP SCAMPI (2 servings)
1/2 Tbsp EVOO
2 tsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp bottled clam juice
S&P to taste
12 to 16 oz large shrimp (21/25 or 26/30), peeled and deveined
1 Tbsp cold butter
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
lemon wedges, for serving
In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat until rippling. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds or so (don't let it burn.....if it does, throw it out and start over). Add the clam juice and S&P. Bring the mixture to a boil.
Add the shrimp, cover and cook until the shrimp are pink and just cooked through, about 3-4 minutes, stirring once about halfway through.
Sccop the shrimp out of the pan using a slotted spoon and reserve on a large plate or platter. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat and cook for 1-2 minutes until the mixture is slightly reduced.
Whisk in the butter until melted. Stir in the lemon juice and parsley. Serve with addtional S&P to taste, if needed. Pour the sauce over the shrimp. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.
Posted by TheFultons at 5:44 PM
Saturday, March 1, 2014
Does it get any easier than this? 4 ingredients, 5 minutes prep time, 30 minutes baking. Voila. Dinner is ready.
I've always eaten/made chicken parmesan using chicken breasts. I don't know about you, but I've eaten so many chicken breasts that no matter the recipe, every once in a while you need a change. Chicken breasts really came onto the scene some time ago when folks starting looking for lower fat/calorie meals. But really, the difference is pretty moderate, especially when the skin is removed. Breasts are only slightly higher in protein and while the a 3 ounce serving has 7 grams of fat, the thigh has 13. Remove the skin and lower it even more. Calories, too, are only slightly higher for the thigh (210) versus for the breast (170).
Since the winter froze all of my basil, I used prepared pesto in a jar which worked just fine. But to me the big difference in this recipe is using fresh mozzarella. You could certainly used shredded mozzarella in a pinch, but it will never have the pull that comes with the fresh version.
I made potatoe wedges because they cooked at the same temp and time as the chicken (cut a baking potato in half lengthwise and then cut each half into four wedges). And served with a simple Caesar salad.
BAKED PESTO CHICKEN PARMESAN (4 servings)
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs (could use chicken breasts pounded thin and then cut in half)
1/3 cup pesto
1 cup marinara sauce
8 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
Preheat oven to 400F. Season chicken thighs with S&P then add to an 8x8" or 9x12" baking dish. Add pesto then use your hands to evenly coat. Spoon marinara sauce over the top of the thighs followed by the mozzarella cheese then cover tightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove foil then bake for 10 more minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and cheese is golden brown and bubbly.
Posted by TheFultons at 11:45 AM
Friday, February 28, 2014
I've been wanting to make a green smoothie for a long time. This one uses spinach, but I'm anxious to try kale. If a green smoothie scares your children, think of a fun name like "Frog Nog!" Also, simply by adding blueberries it will be purple.
I don't have much of a sweet tooth and that includes fruits. I certainly get all the vegetables that are recommended and then some, but fruit is just not on my list except in the case of smoothies. I'm still experimenting with the Vitamix, but a huge plus is that you can use the entire fruit, seeds and stems included. We are told that you should always eat a piece of fruit versus simply drinking the juice. These blenders give you the nutrition, fiber, and flavor.
I have used an entire apple and a pineapple core. It blends it completely smooth. This recipe calls for using a fresh pineapple with the core, but if you are using a standard blender, you'll want to leave the core out. Or use canned pineapple chunks.
As with just about any smoothie, use what you have on hand: berries, bananas (no peel!), cucumbers, greens, citrus (no rind there, please.....too bitter), just about anything in the produce aisle. And while this recipe calls for 1/2 cup water, I would use a bit of fruit juice for a tad more nutrition.
GOING GREEN SMOOTHIE (makes 2 3/4 cups)
1/2 cup (120 ml) water
1 cup (150 g) green grapes
1/2 cup (75 g) fresh pineapple chunks, core included
1/2 medium banana, peeled
2 cups (60 g) fresh spinach, lightly packed
1/2 cup (120 ml) ice cubes
Place all ingredients into the container in the order listed and secure lid.
Select low speed.
Turn machine on and then switch to high speed.
Blend for 45 seconds or until desired consistency is reached.
Recipe Source: Vitamix Creations Cookbook, p. 36
Posted by TheFultons at 9:45 AM
Thursday, February 27, 2014
If you're looking for a really easy poundcake to make, here's what you need. The top photo is still in the pan, the bottom photo is the cake turned out. Again, I didn't add the glaze since the cake was traveling, I put the glaze on the side for those who wanted some extra sweetness.
Generally, I would add some poppy seeds to this, but since it was going to the office (and some companies do random drug tests), I didn't add them. But if you're a lemon-poppyseed fan, by all means add them to your heart's delight!
ALMOST-HOMEMADE LEMON POUNDCAKE (10 servings)
1 (16.5 oz) box lemon cake mix
1 (3.4 oz) box lemon instant pudding/pie filling
1/3 cup oil
1 cup water
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
milk if necessary to thin
Add all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix for two minutes at medium speed.
Pour into a Bundt pan coated with cooking spray.
Cook at 350F for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 20 minutes and invert onto a wire rack.
If adding glaze, poke holes in the top of cake with a toothpick. Pour glaze over cooled cake.
Recipe Source: www.livelovelaughnc.blogspot.com
Posted by TheFultons at 8:08 AM
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Well, I took the plunge and am taking a chance on a commercial-grade blender, a Vitamix. I've been wanting one for several years and have been keeping an eye on accessories and price. The deal I recently found is the best so far. And I've got 30 days to see if I think it's worth the price. So I'm going to try something just about everyday.
One of the reasons I loved the idea of these mixers (other than the fact that they blend anything perfectly smoothly) is that it makes hot soup right in the mixer. It blends at such a high velocity you don't need to heat it in another vessel. And I love the cookbook because it gives not just gives quanity amounts (1/2 cup, for example), but weights (60 grams). I love cooking by weights, especially when baking. Bless those Europeans (well, just about everyone else in this world!)
I chose this recipe because I happened to have everything on hand. Five simple ingredients and a nutritious, delicious soup on the table in just minutes.
BROCCOLI CHEESE SOUP (makes 2 cups)
1 cup (240 ml) milk
1/2 cup (60 g) shredded cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cups (150 g) fresh or frozen broccoli or cauliflower florets, steamed (or thawed and at room temp)
1 tsp diced onion, or more to taste
1/2 chicken or vegetable bouillon cube
extra broccoli florets and cheddar for garnish, optional
Place all ingredients into the Vitamix container in the order listed and secure lid (if using a standard blender, do the same and blend until smooth).
Select Low speed (on Vitamix).
Turn machine on and then switch to High speed.
Blend for 6 minutes or until heavy steam escapes from the vented lid. If having mixed in a standard blender, move mixture to a sauce pan and heat throughout).
Recipe Source: Vitamix Creations Cookbook, p. 108
Posted by TheFultons at 2:20 PM