Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday's Are Chocolate

Soooo long farwell auf Wiedersehen good bye. Like Arnold would say I'll be back. This is going to be my last post for a few days. But don't stay away to long. I will be posting as we travel. Looking forward to many yummy food experiences through Germany.

I made this easy yummy dessert for the Big Daddy's in my life. Thanks to my Father who is the best ever. While I was single I just called him Mr Helper. Everyday I was calling Mr Helper with a problem. Then Big Daddy Mike he is the best husband ever just can't get enough of that Mike. Oh and I can't forget those military son and son -in-law who served our country and left their little boys at home with Mum. Happy Father's Day to you also. Hugs to all the men in my life.

Chocolate Peppermint Freeze

11/2 cups cold milk
1 package (3.9 oz)instant chocolate pudding mix
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract

In a large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes; let stand 2 minutes or until soft-set. Stir in chocolate chips. In a small mixing bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add peppermint extract; beat until soft peaks form. Fold into pudding.

Transfer to an ungreased 8-in. square dish. Cover and freeze for 2 hours or until firm. Remove from the freezer 15 minutes before cutting.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Saturday Night Specials

Short cuts. A few days ago I got my hair cut. I had to stop the stylist and remind her that I was not in the military and I didn't need a high and tight. It was a good thing I have some longer layers to fill in where she took off way to much. When we meet the in-laws I sure hope they understand I don't always where my hair this short. Once I put my bicycling helmet on, you won't see a bit of my hair that's a scary thought. I will post some pictures next week. Like I was always told the only difference between a good hair cut and a bad hair cut is two weeks.

Back to short cuts. A few months ago my friend Kristy led me to these great potatoes. I am not very quick when it comes to peeling potatoes. Simply Potatoes are perfect all peeled and ready to go. They offer many different varieties. Mr Mike whipped up this great turkey hash using the Southwest style hash browns. They really have a zip. If you can't handle the zip the plain version is perfect also. Most super markets carry Simply Potatoes they can be found by the eggs, never frozen. Simply Potatoes are always in a green bag. What a mouth watering quick and tasty dinner, lunch or breakfast.

Mr Mike's Turkey Hash

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup lean turkey breast cubed
1/2 red onion cut in thin strips
1 (20 oz) Bag of Simply Potatoes Southwest Style Hash browns
Salt and pepper

Heat oil in large skillet add potatoes cook thoroughly until lightly browned. Add onion and turkey cook until onion is transparent in color about five minutes. Serve immediately.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Dinner and a Movie Friday

I can not take credit for the picture I borrowed it from my daughters blog. While we were playing Grandma and Grandpa we took our little buddy to see Up. This is exactly how we had him positioned between the two of us. I can honestly say I have not seen very many animated movies, I can count them on my fingers. Up is a Disney Pixar film and it was very enjoyable from start to finish. It is about an elderly old couple who has saved all of their lives to travel. When suddenly the woman passes away. The county tries to make the gentleman sell his house and he wont. All of his life he has sold balloons so he hooks his house up with balloons, and takes off not knowing he has a young boy as a stow away knocking at his front door. Typical Disney with the bad guys but a happy ending. I can honestly say I loved it. Our little buddy was perfect until the last 20 minutes darn those 30 minutes of previews.

We are trying to use up everything in the fridge. Still had a few very ripe bananas. I made these fun and healthy miniature muffins. Don't let their miniature size fool you. Loaded with flavor and crunch and high on the fiber. Perfect little low cal treat.Banana Bran Muffins

Cooking spray
3 tablespoons canola oil or olive oil
1/4 cup dark honey
2 large egg whites
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup wheat bran
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
2 tablespoon stone-ground cornmeal
2 tablespoons freshly ground flaxseed
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
3 tablespoons chopped walnuts toasted
1 teaspoon grated orange or lemon zest

Preheat the oven to 375 F. Lightly coast 16 miniature muffin cups with cooking spray.

In a bowl, whisk together the oil, honey, egg whites, bananas, and vanilla. Set aside.

In another bowl, combine the bran, flours, cornmeal, flaxseed, baking soda, and salt. Stir to mix well. Add the banana mixture and stir just to combine. Place about 2 tablespoons batter in each muffin cup. Bake until the muffins are puffed, golden, and firm to the touch 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Stary at Home Thursday

Each week I search for a way to get our omega three's into our diet. I have seen this recipe several times and but never taken the time to give it a try. This would be perfect for a book club or a special formal dinner. Quick and easy any one could produce this wonderful dish. The salmon was cooked perfect and the cheese adds so much flavor. We both agreed that the next day was even better. The flavors had married and it only to four minutes to warm in the microwave. Let everyone think you slaved for hours. I found this recipe in the Feb & Mar Taste of Home magazine.
Spinach Salmon Bundles

2 tubes (8 oz. each) refrigerated crescent rolls
4 salmon fillets
1/4 steak seasoning
1/3 cup garlic-herb cheese spread
1 package (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

Unroll crescent dough and separate into four rectangles; seal perforations. Place a salmon fillet in the center of each rectangle; sprinkle with steak seasoning. Spoon cheese spread over each; top with spinach. Fold dough over filling and pinch edges to seal

Place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 400 for 20- 25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve bundles immediately.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Low Cal Wednesday

Ever since I was a teenager I have had a craving for chocolate for breakfast. I can remember in high school my Dad would wake me up and he would say your breakfast is ready. What that meant was he had poured a glass of milk and mixed in the Carnation Chocolate Instant Breakfast. I still love the chocolate in the morning about three times a week I have it. Last week as I was opening the package I found a smoothie recipe. I added a few extra ingredients. Perfect just the way I like it, low in calories and tons of chocolate flavor.

Milk Chocolate- Banana Strawberry Smoothie

1 packet Rich Milk Chocolate Carnation Instant Breakfast
3/4 cup fat free milk
1/4 cup non fat plain yogurt
1 small frozen banana, sliced
2 large strawberries
1/2 cup ice cubes

Place milk, banana, strawberries, yogurt and Carnation Instant Breakfast powder and ice in blender; cover. Blend until smooth.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Veggie Tuesday

For lunch one day a few weeks ago Mr. Mike whipped up theses Teriyaki bowls. He always seems to find just the right spices. He found a little bowl of left over pineapple juice mixed with a little cornstarch to thicken. After he was finished he asked what the surprised ingredient was. I guessed it right a way sweet potato. The veggies were perfect with just a little crunch. What a colorful and happening lunch.
Mike's Teriyaki Bowls

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup Kikkoman's Teriyaki sauce
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup of broccoli
1 cup of cauliflower
1 sweet potato
1 cup asparagus cut into 2 in pieces
1 cup carrots diced and whole

Cook sweet potato in microwave bag for two minutes. In small mixing bowl mix cornstarch, pineapple juice, and Teriyaki sauce let set while cooking vegetables. Heat oil in large skillet or wok add garlic, and red pepper flakes. Thinly slice and peel sweet potato. Add all of the vegetable to oil and cook for ten minutes on medium heat. Cover mixture with sauce and cook an additional five minutes. Garnish with sesame seeds.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Gourmet Monday

Rain Rain go away come again another day. Did we move to Seattle and no one told me. Complain complain. It appears that every time we head to the pool it's closed because of lightening. Crossing my fingers that today is a nice and hot day here in Utah with no rain. The shrubs and grass are getting so long they can't get them cut, because they are always so wet.

While I stayed out of the rain. I was able to make this great fettuccine. Turkey has all of the sudden become a regular staple in our kitchen. Creamy and flavorful don't forget the roasted red pepper they added so much flavor. The broccoli adds just the perfect color and crunch. The turkey was soft and tender.
Roasted Red Pepper Turkey Fettuccine

12 ounces uncooked fettuccine
3/4 cup skim milk
4 ounces fat-free cream cheese, cubed
1/2 cup reduced-fat garlic-herb cheese spread
2 cup cubed cooked turkey breast
10 ounces of broccoli
1/2 cup chopped roasted sweet red peppers
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Cook fettuccine according to package directions.

Meanwhile, in large skillet, combine the milk, cream cheese and cheese spread. Cook and stir over medium heat until cheeses are melted and mixture is smooth. Stir in the turkey, broccoli, roasted pepper, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and pepper; heat through.

Drain fettuccine and place in a serving bowl. Top with turkey mixture; toss gently to coat Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Sunday's are Chocolate

When I follow a recipe I usually try to follow everything. Here is my exception to the rule. As I started to make this cake I realised that something was wrong. The cake calls for 3/4 lb of butter I must of quickly glanced and thought it called for 3/4 cup of butter. We had already been to Albertson's, Sam's Club and Costco today and I was not making another trip out in the rain. Fortunately I had enough butter, but when it came to the eggs someone had borrowed a few" yea me". The recipe calls for four eggs and I used the three I had. Other than that the recipe called for raspberry jam and I used strawberry. Where they used almonds I used coconut. I found this recipe in the April & May Taste of Home magazine. The cake was moist and really chewy. If I make this again, I will use a spring form pan instead of a regular cake pan. It came out of the pan fine the top edge was not as pretty as I would of liked it to be. The jam mixed with the chocolate and coconut was a yummy surprise in the middle.

Chewy Chocolate Raspberry Cake

3 cups sugar
3/4 lb. melted butter
4 eggs (I used 3)
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon almond extract
2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup Nestle cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup raspberry jam(I used Strawberry)
1 cup Nestle Toll House mini morsels
3/4 cup sliced almonds(I used coconut)

Preheat your over to 300F.

Mix the sugar and butter in a mixing bowl on low. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add the extracts. Sift together dry ingredients, and add to the batter, mixing until smooth. Pour into greased and papered 9- in cake pan, reserving about 1/3 of the batter. Carefully smooth out a thin layer of the raspberry jam. Top with Chocolate chips and half the sliced almonds. Carefully cover with the remaining batter. Sprinkle the top of the cake with the remaining sliced almonds. ( I put the coconut on when the cake was just out of the oven.) Bake for 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Saturday Night Specials

Before Cooking

I know it appears like I am always making chicken with apricots. I do not plan it that way, it seems that a lot of recipes have chicken with apricots. I would guess other people must really like the combined flavors together. This is for sure on the list to make again. The chicken was so moist and tender with flavor bursting in each bite. Parchment packets make nice serving of juicy chicken topped with antioxidant-rich fruit. The packets can be assembled a few hours ahead of time and baked just before dinner. Aluminum foil can be used in place of the parchment paper, but I think it may stick and it would cook to fast and take away the moistness of the chicken. If sprayed with cooking spray first you might be ok. My imagination is working on lots of different versions of this fun dish. Perfect for a camp out, or a BBQ.
After cooking

Baked Chicken with Apricot Compote

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 red onions, peeled,halved vertically, and thinly sliced crosswise
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup fat- free, no-salt-added chicken broth
4 apricots, pitted and quatered, or 1/2 cup dried apricots, slivered
2 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro, plus sprigs for garnish
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, about 4 oz each
1/2 teaspoon steak seasoning
2 tablespoons, chopped walnut or almonds, toasted

In a saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, coriander, ginger, and cumin. Cook until the onion are softened and just starting to brown, about 6 minutes. Add the broth and apricots, bring to a simmer, and cook until the apricots are soft and the juices are reduced, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle the chopped cilantro over the apricots and set the mixture aside to cool.

Preheat the over to 375 F. Cut out four 12- inch squares of parchment paper. Fold a square in half to create a crease, than open it up. Place a chicken breast on one side of the crease. Repeat with the remaining breast and squares of paper. Sprinkle each with the steak seasoning. Top each chicken breast with on-fourth of the apricot compote. Sprinkle each with one-fourth of the nuts.

Fold the paper squares in half over the chicken breasts, and then tightly fold in the edges, crimping around all sides to seal the packets completely. Place the packets on a baking sheet.

Bake until the parchment packets are lightly browned and puffy, about 20 minutes. Transfer the packets to a warmed individual plates. To serve, slit each packet with an X and fold back the paper. Garnish with the cilantro and sprigs and serve immediately.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Dinne and a Movie Friday

This week we were able to see My Life in Ruins. I want to go on Nia Vardalos's diet she looks like a new person since My Big Fat Greek Wedding. She carries the movie alone with a lot of funny and misbehaving charterers. Georgia as they call her in the movie has lost her job in Greece and taken on a job as a tour guide through Greece. The scenery is beautiful I think that is why Mike wanted to go see this since we are going to Greece in a couple of weeks. Richard Dreyfuss is one of the tourist on the bus I wish I could remember all of the one liners he used. Cute flick I would recommend this one just fun and uplifting with a few adult jokes.

When I would go to girls camp I remember making this dessert in a dutch oven. This time I just made it in the oven quick and easy even a two year old will enjoy. Four ingredients and a warm oven to heat up the house, because it has rained all week. Almost like a cake and almost like a cookie I can't decide which best describes. Some might even refer to as a cobbler. Quick and easy and no dishes to wash.
Peach Dump Cake

1 yellow cake mix
1 can (29 ounces) sliced peaches with juice
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 stick of butter or margarine grated

Preheat over to 350F degrees.

Grease a 9x13-inch pan. Spread half of cake mix evenly in bottom of pan. Pour can of sliced peaches and juice evenly over the cake mix. Cover the peaches with the rest of the cake mix, spread evenly the brown sugar over the cake mix mixture. Then grate the butter or margarine over the top of the cake.

Bake 50 minutes, or until golden brown.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Stay at Home Thursday

After having months of free time doing what I like to do read, ride my bike, exercising and cooking. It looks like it is coming to a halt soon. No I will still be posting daily, sorry you can't get rid of me that easy. We have finally finalized all our plans to take a much needed vacation. Going from a two year old to a six month old I guess that might be a vacation. In making sure we are using up everything in the fridge. This post is another Mike creation he is becoming more health concerned every day. If my cute daughter is reading this while she is on vacation. You owe me big time. I will introduce you to my daughter next week before I leave. She will be updating my blog while we are traveling.Mike's Black Bean Turkey Chili

2 cans black beans drained
2 can red kidney beans drained
1 red onion
1 large tomato
1 cup cubed turkey breast
1/4 cup raspberry chipotle
sour cream (optional)

In a large nonstick frying pan combine onion and tomato cook until tender. Add beans and chipotle sauce bring to boil, add turkey until warmed through.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Low Cal Wednesday

Here is a quick colorful and cool dinner or lunch any day of the week. In about 10 minutes you can make these great gourmet looking sandwiches and still keep the house cool. I found the richest looking bun I could find. I am sure you could even make your own. The raspberry chipotle added just the right kick of flavor and sweetness. I will continue to make these sandwich again and again. This recipe serves four. At 395 Calories. Grilled Avocado and Tomato Sandwiches with Raspberry Chipotle Mayo

4 onion rolls
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large tomato, sliced
2 avocados, halved, pitted and peeled
1/2 medium red onion cut into slices 1/2 thick
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1 tablespoon raspberry chipotle
4 slices provolone or Parmesan cheese

Preheat grill to medium heat. Slice bread section in half lengthwise. Brush cut sides with oil. Grill bread, cut side down, 2 to 3 minutes or until lightly toasted.

Brush tomato slices, avocado halves, and onion slices with oil; season with salt and pepper to taste. Place onion on grill; grill 8 to 10 minutes or until softened. Grill tomato slices and avocado halves 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, in small bowl combine mayonnaise and raspberry chipotle. Set aside.

Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise on each cut side of bread. Slice the avocado and place slices on bottom halves of bread. Top with slices of onion tomato and cheese. Cover with top halves of bread and serve.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Veggie Tuesday

A couple of weeks ago Mr Mike bought this butternut squash, but he was clueless as to how to cook it. It was very quick and easy. An extra set of hands would help a lot with cutting the squash. This is a very sweet and tasty dish which won't heat up the house. Sorry about the picture I forget two year olds are ready to eat when you put them in the high chair. I don't know how Jon, Kate and Nadya handle all those kids. Maybe they struggle just like I am struggling. Here is in inexpensive dish even a two year old will enjoy.Netts Butternut Squash

1 butternut squash
1/4 cup honey
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup butter

Cut squash in half long way. Scrape out all of the seeds. Cover each half with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for five minutes. Remove from microwave and scrape out the squash from the shell. Put in microwaveable bowl and add honey and cinnamon blend together with squash and cook for five more minutes. Just before serving slice butter over top of squash.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Gourmet Monday

I was the first to turn up my nose to wheat. In this recipe I used for a first time bulgur wheat. Bulgur wheat is a staple in the Middle East bulgur comes from whole wheat kernels that have been partially steamed, dried, and then cracked. It is commonly used in salads, soups and fillings. The nutty flavor adds to any dish. This is a great recipe the chicken was so tender and juicy the spinach was just perfect soft but not really cooked long. This is another recipe from the Nutrition Action Healthletter. The recipe serves 6. Tons of protein and fiber. You will not be disappointed and the children will learn to eat something new.
Chicken Peperonata

11/2 cup bulgur
6 oz spinach
11/2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, sliced
2 sweet bell peppers, sliced
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 lb. plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt

In a medium pot, bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Stir in the bulgur. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, covered, until the water is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Turn off the burner and let the bulgur sit, covered, for 5 minutes. Stir in the spinach.

While the bulgur is cooking, put the chicken in a plastic bag and pound with a meat mallet or the back of a frying pan to an even 1/2" thickness. In a deep skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Saute the chicken, turning once, until lightly browned, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate.

Reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, and vinegar. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 5 minutes.

Return the chicken to the pan and heat through. Season with pepper and up to 3/4 teaspoon of salt. Serve with the bulgur and spinach.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Sunday's Are Chocolate

Waiting for the doorbell to ring at any moment. Our grandson is coming to stay all week alone. Since he lives out of state we don't get to visit as often as we would like. Friday when we were out at the pool one of our neighbors thought he was our little boy. When our hair is all wet it looks the same color. At fifty I don't think it would be wise to be having a baby. I made these cookies for him hopefully I can ration them off all week. They were so chocolaty just like I ordered. I found this recipe on Marie from Two Peas and Their Pod blog. If you have not visited her blog check it out. Thanks for sharing Maria. I made one change to the recipe, I used white chocolate chips instead of peanut butter. In the picture above I dunked in a little milk, just the way I like any cookie. I must say when I make this recipe again. I will take a moment and smooth the dough a little before baking. Maria's look like they came from a factory. If you have a last minute request for a treat this recipe is quick and easy start to finish 20 minutes.,Chocolate Cookies with White Chocolate Chips

1 cup all- purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons butter
7 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup plain yogurt ( I used fat free)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup of white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F; line 2 baking sheets with baking paper, lightly coated with cooking spray. I just used parchment and Pam. Maria used Silpats! Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Sift together flour, soda, and salt; set aside.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Remove from heat; stir in cocoa powder and sugars(mixture will resemble coarse sand). Add yogurt and vanilla, stirring to combine. Add flour mixture, stirring until moist. Stir in white chocolate chips. Drop by level tablespoons 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 10 minutes or until almost set. Cool on pans 2 to 3 minutes or until firm. Remove cookies from pan; cool on wire racks.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Saturday Night Specials

For several years I have had a hard time digesting turkey. Gradually we have been adding it back into our diet because it is so lean. So far so good with the tummy. This is such a flavorful dish, with lean seasoned turkey wrapped in a warm pita bread. Tahini paste is used in a variety of dishes. Tahini-based sauces are common in Arab and Israeli restaurants as a side dish or as a garnish, usually including lemon juice, salt and garlic, and thinned with water. The Tahini added a different flavor to the turkey. I left out the tofu and it was just perfect.
Turkey Pita Sandwiches

1/4 cup silken tofu
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1 lb ground turkey
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Four 6 inch pita bread
2 1/2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
1 tomato cut into bite size pieces

In a blender, combine the tofu, mustard, tahini, and lemon juice and blend until smooth. Transfer the sauce to a bowl and set aside.

In another bowl, combine the olive oil, turkey, cilantro, mint, garlic, and pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper. Heat a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add the turkey mixture and saute, stirring often to break up any clumps of meat, until the turkey is lightly browned and cooked through, about 4 minutes. Set aside and keep warm.

Warm the pita in a toaster or in the oven on a low setting. Spread a heaping tablespoon of sauce on top of each pita. Divide the lettuce and tomatoes among the pita pockets. Stuff each with the turkey mixture. Serve immediately.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Dinner And A Movie Friday

I can't say I was dragged kicking and screaming but it was close. I have never been a Terminator fan in the least. But the choices have been so slim lately to find a good movie to see so, I went along with the crowd. Christian Bale plays John Conner all grown up. He attempts to organize a human resistance force to prove man over machines. Maybe we should let the machines run us they might do a better job. Sorry I didn't mean to say that. I will say the action was none stop and the sets were very realistic. If it were up to me I would sit this one out. It is rated PG. I am looking forward to taking my little grandson to see UP this week.

I made this fun banana cake this week. The picture looks like a leaning tower but it really didn't lean at all. The texture in the cake was moist and flavorful. The added rum flavoring and the lime juice, added a little kick to all the sweetness of the cream and bananas. I set a few hours aside. Whenever I make a cake like this, I do part at night and finish in the morning.
Banana Layer Cake with Caramel Cream

21/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
21/2 cups sugar, divided
6 large eggs
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
2 small ripe bananas, peeled , cut into 1/4- inch cubes

Banana-Caramel Cream
11/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1 small ripe banana, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
3 3/4 cup chilled heavy whipping cream, divided
41/2 teaspoon fresh lime juice, divided
41/2 teaspoon dark rum, divided

For Cake: Preheat oven to 350 F Butter and flour two 9-inch diameter cake pans with 11/2-inch -high sides. Sift flour, baking powder, and sea salt into medium bowl . Beat butter and 1 cup sugar in large bowl until well blended. Add 2 eggs; beat until blended. Add dry ingredients to butter mixture in 4 additions alternately with buttermilk in 3 additions. Beat remaining 4 eggs and remaining 11/2 cups sugar in medium bowl until mixture is thick and pale in color, about 4 minutes. Fold egg mixture into batter. Fold in bananas, Divided batter between prepared pan (about 31/2 cups for each).
Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer to rack; cool 15 minutes. Invert cake onto racks; cool completely.

Banana-Caramel Cream

Combine brown sugar, banana, and 3 tablespoons butter in processor; blend until smooth. Add 11/2 cup whipping cream; blend. Transfer to heavy medium saucepan. Whisk over medium heat until sugar dissolves and mixture boils. Attach candy thermometer to inside of pan; cook without stirring or swirling pan until temperature register 218 F about 10 minutes. Pour caramel into bowl. Cool to room temperature, whisking occasionally.

Whisk remaining 21/4 cups whipping cream in large bowl until cream mounds softly. Gradually fold in cool caramel mixture. Chill until cream is firm enough to spread about 3 hours.

Cut each cake horizontally into 2 layers. Place 1 layer, cut side up, on platter. Drizzle 11/2 teaspoon lime juice and 11/2 teaspoons rum or rum flavoring over. Spread 11/4 cup banana cream over. Top with second cake layer. Drizzle 11/2 teaspoon lime juice and 11/2 teaspoon rum over. Spread 11/2 cups cream over. Repeat with third cake layer, lime juice, rum, cream. Top with fourth cake layer, cut side down; spread remaining cream over top.

Scatter salted macadamia nuts over top of cake. Cover and refrigerate.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Stay At Home Thursday

Pesto is like a condiment it can be used in so many different ways. A few weeks ago I shared this pesto. It had such winning reviews and we enjoyed the taste that I made this fun salad with the leftovers. This helped to get the salmon in our diet for the week. Next time you have a little leftover pesto put it to good use. I can't wait to make this pesto again and again.

1 salmon fillet
5 spears of asparagus
1 potato baked or boiled cut into 1 inch cubes
1 red bell pepper ( I used the jar red peppers)
3 or 4 radishes

1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon grainy Dijon mustard
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
1 stalk celery heart, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Make a sauce by pureeing the mayonnaise, mustard, apple, celery heart, lemon juice, and 1/4 teaspoon of salt in food processor. Top the salmon with the sauce. Serve over a bed of spinach and romaine lettuce.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Low Cal Wednesday

These meatballs are baked, not fried. Savory and fragrant with herbs and garlic. Quick and easy to make and low in calories. I debated over using a bottled sauce and just decided on a few tomatoes and an red onion with a little more garlic. The more I try ground turkey the more I like it. I guess something is working in this way of living. Since going to the Doctor a few weeks ago I found out that my cholesterol has gone down 25 points and my weight has gone down 25 also since the first of the year. Lets just hope I can keep it up while we go to Germany. This recipe serves 6 at 148 calories for the meatballs. Quick and easy you can have dinner on the table in minutes. I found this recipe in the American Medical Association Healthy Heart Cookbook.
Garlic Meatballs

1 pound 99-percent fat-free ground turkey breast or chicken breast
1/2 cup fresh whole-grain bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup plain soy milk
1 egg white
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 400F

In a bowl, combine the turkey, bread crumbs, Parmesan, soy milk, egg white, garlic, olive oil, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper. Shape the turkey mixture into 24 meatballs about 1 inch in diameter, using about 2 tablespoons per meatball.

Arrange the meatballs on a nonstick baking sheet so they are not touching and bake, turning once halfway through for even browning, until cooked through, 10-12 minutes.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Veggie Tuesday

Have you ever taken a ride on the tunnel of love. Here we go when I made the first cut into this tomato it looks like the tunnel of love. All the flavors popping out with the Parmesan cheese, Italian bread crumbs and garlic, what is a girl to do but find a sweetheart to kiss. I can't wait to make these tomatoes again and again. Tomatoes are rich in the antioxidant lycopene, which is most readily absorbed by the body when cooked. Fifteen minutes to dinner time I am sure they would be great to give a try on the BBQ and not heat up the house like I did. You will not be disappointed with this recipe they come out so perfect, even company would think you slaved all day.
Tunnel of Love Tomatoes

8 firm but ripe plum tomatoes
1/4 cup dried bread crumbs I used Italian seasoned
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 clove of garlic
1 tablespoon parsley
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Preheat the over to 425F. Lightly coat pan with cooking spray.

Remove a thin slice from the bottom of each tomato so it will stand upright. Slice the tops from the tomatoes and discard. Scoop out about 1 tablespoon of pulp from each tomato and place the pulp in a bowl. Arrange the tomatoes up right in the prepared baking dish.

Add the bread crumbs, Parmesan, garlic, parsley, basil, olive oil, pepper, and salt to the bowl with the tomato pulp and stir to combine. The mixture should look like wet sand. If it is too wet, add a few bread crumbs. If it is too dry, add a few drops of water. Gently mound a heaping tablespoon of topping into the cavity of love on each tomato.

Bake until the tomatoes are tender and the topping is lightly golden, about 10 minutes. Serve hot.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Gourmet Monday

Yes it's the mushy banana's that make great banana nut bread. I have made a lot of banana nut bread but never quite like this recipe. Cinnamon crumble on top what a change. I was having such a hard time reading the recipe, we had just finished watching Seven Pounds and my eyes were so puffy couldn't see the recipe. Skeptical Mike was helping waiting to go on our 11PM bike ride. The crumb topping after cooked almost presents a coffee flavor. The bread was extra moist. The next time I make this recipe I will add nuts to the bread and the top. I found this recipe in Bon Appetit Magazine September 2008.

Cinnamon Crumble Topping Banana Bread

11/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 to 3 medium)
2 large eggs
1/2 vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup water
21/2 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter and flour 9x5x3 - inch metal baking pan. Whisk 11/2 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl. Whisk next 5 ingredients in large bowl until smooth. Add dry ingredients; stir to blend. Transfer batter to pan. Mix 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and brown sugar; sprinkle over batter.
Bake bread until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool bread in pan 30 minutes. Turn pan on it side; slide out bread, being careful not to dislodge topping. Turn bread right side up and cool completely.