Showing posts with label everyday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label everyday. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Cooking My Books: The New Jewish Table {Book Review}

As a parent you want to teach your kids about traditions, but you also want to build on them and create your own. That is how I feel about recipes and cooking too. You need a place to start, familiar favorites that area  jumping off place for creation. And that is also how Judaism is for me – tradition, with individual interpretation to make things meaningful to you. 

Our new Jewish table! Rye for me, wheat for the hubby and little man.

I had the opportunity to receive a copy of The New Jewish Table, Modern Seasonal Recipes for Traditional Dishes by Todd Gray and Ellen Kassoff Gray for review back in the fall before our family expanded from 3 to 4. After trying to dive right into the bowl of matzo ball soup on the cover, I dove into the contents inside. Organized by season and type of meal, the book interweaves stories of family traditions, passed-down recipes and the evolution of them into the recipes in the books pages. The book is not strictly Kosher, but does indicate if a recipe is meat, dairy, or pareve with suggested substitutions. After a preface about the author’s relationships and background the book showcases recipes and the stories of their origins and evolution. By the end you feel as if you are a member of the authors’ extended family. The authors are owners of the Washington DC restaurant Equinox.

Included in the book are new takes on favorite dishes like chicken salad, matzo ball soup, kugel, and more. I love a good chicken salad sandwich. Ingredients need to be in the right balance and the chicken has to be the right texture. The authors include two great chicken salad recipes each with a little different twist. I started with a pulled chicken salad with cranberries and toasted cashews. According to Todd, the dish was a favorite at the White House and one of Equinox's signature items. I can see why! Using a whole poached chicken and then pulling it gives the chicken just the right texture. 

Piled onto two slices of good rye with a side of pickles and a Dr. Brown’s cream soda, this sandwich was deli-worthy!

I also used the recipe for Not Exactly Aunt Lil's Matzo Ball Soup, pictured on the book cover, for Passover this year. My grandmother passed along her matzo ball recipe, but her soup recipe hasn’t been written down yet. My mom tweaks her soup every time she makes it, much like I do. So I loved to read the journey this recipe took from Ellen's Aunt Lil to Equinox. The authors describe the soups evolution from "rustic, homey and satisfying"  to more refined and elevated to the next level for the book.

The addition of finely diced vegetables at the end (about 10 minutes of simmering at the end before adding and simmering noodles and chicken for 10 more minutes) gives me a solution to my lifelong dislike of cooked carrots in soup! The original vegetables are strained out, having given their flavor to the broth. The freshly added vegetables retain a slight crunch and all of their flavor.

This book is a great addition to the my cookbook collection. If you have a traditional with a twist streak, I recommend checking it out. The recipes offer a new interpretation of traditional dishes that make them a welcome addition to the table for holidays or everyday. Next on my to-make list are curried chicken salad with golden raisins and slivered almonds, Todd's deviled egg salad, and the Kassoffs' sweet noodle kugel. 

Starting a tradition, little man asked me to take a picture of his dinner!

Pulled Chicken Salad with Cranberries and Toasted Cashews
This is a signature item on their restaurant menu and the most popular lunch dish. 

1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 whole poached chicken
1 cup mayo
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 cup minced red onion
1 cup minced celery
1/2 cup chopped toasted cashews
2 tbsp chopped parsley

Put the cranberries in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Set aside to soak while doing the next step.
Pull or cut the chicken from the bones pull into bite size pieces, shredding with your hands. Place in a large bowl.
Drain the cranberries with a strainer.
With a fork, mix the mayonnaise, olive oil, lemon juice, slat, and pepper in a small bowl. Add the onions, celery, cranberries, cashews and mayonnaise mixture to the bowl with the chicken; mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Mix in the parsley. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

Note: I omitted the onions and served the nuts on the side since we had a toddler dining with us. This allowed everyone to customize their sandwich to their liking. 

Book Info: 
The New Jewish Table, Modern Seasonal Recipes for Traditional Dishes
Todd Gray and Ellen Kassoff Gray 
Photos by Renee Comet (I met her at Eat Write Retreat!)

I received a review copy of this book. All opinions are 100% mine and I was not compensated for this post. 

Friday, January 3, 2014

How Do You #LoveAvocado? There are so many ways!

{This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the Hass Avocado Board. }

Every Saturday after breakfast, I gather up my cookbooks along with a pen and paper to make my weekly grocery list. Whenever I ask my 2 year old son what we should buy at the store he always answer the exact same way without fail, “avocados and apples.” Those are the first things we see when we get into the produce section, but I am always happy to oblige. These days the little guy is loving avocado – with a spoon, mixed into chili, on sandwiches, and more. I don’t mind because over 75% of the fat in an avocado is unsaturated. Avocados are so versatile and can be used in so many different cuisines and ways. Avocados have long been a part of my diet. The rich, creamy flavor makes them feel like an indulgence even though they are a good fat.

Some of my Favorite Ways to use Avocados: 

  • As a key ingredient in Taco Night
  • Cut in half, topped with hot sauce and either a little plain Greek yogurt or sour cream.
  • Spread on warm toasty bread and topped with smoked salt. 
  • Blended with tomatillos, lime juice, and cilantro – used to top eggs, tacos, chili, soups, and more! 

Why are avocados so good? 
Avocados are nutrient-dense and have less than 1 gram of sugar per 1 ounce serving. Since they are sodium and cholesterol free, they fit right in to my goal to feed my family a well-balanced diet. What are your favorite ways to eat avocados as part of a healthy lifestyle?


#LoveAvocado and have an inspiring story about getting your loved ones to add fresh avocado to their diet? Enter for a chance to win for yourself and to share avocados with someone you love.

Prizes include:
• 1 of 4 prize packs including $100 and fresh Hass Avocados delivered to your door
• Plus an additional package of fresh Hass Avocados delivered to someone you love

Recipe Contest
Discover a new favorite recipe and vote today for your favorite avocado recipe! 

I’m excited to explore more ways to incorporate avocados into my cooking . I’d love to hear how you incorporate them in yours! Follow along the Love One Today™   fun on Twitter and Instagram with the #LoveAvocado hashtag.

{This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the Hass Avocado Board.} Tracking Pixel

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What’s Cooking in the Kitchen?

My cooking routine has definitely changed since adding a new little one to the household and going back to work full-time and graduate school part-time. Now that we have a little eater, meals have to be quick to prepare and appealing to both adults and kid!

Pre-baby, we rarely ate out on weeknights. I cooked 3-4 nights a week, often trying out new recipes and techniques. Sometimes dinner wasn’t ready until 7:30 or 8:00 pm but we didn’t mind. With a little one, our weeknight schedule doesn’t allow for a lot of heavy duty cooking and we don’t want to do take-out. So over the past year I’ve slowly adjusted the routine, bringing us to our current schedule:

Thursday or Friday night: Menu planning and grocery list writing.
Saturday or Sunday morning (around 8 am): Grocery shopping.
Saturday morning (10 or 11 am): Weekly family trip to the farmers market to stock up on produce and our favorite bagels, meats, cheeses, and every so often a nice bottle of wine.
Sunday afternoon: Prep for the week! Wash, chop, cook, organize.
Weeknights: Assemble, reheat and eat! Make lunches and get organized for breakfast.

I try to cook everything we need for the week on Sunday and leave only a few things to cook during the week. If I cook during the week, it is usually something that goes in after the little guy’s bedtime. Here is a look at what we’ve had cooking recently! I’m sorry I have limited pictures – these days it’s more about getting dinner on the table for these guys.

Pot Roast in Many Ways
I cook for the week, but sometimes it can get a little boring to eat the same meal over and over again. Instead of the creativity of cooking something new each night I am having fun making variations with the original dish. This pot roast kept us well fed for many nights.

Pot Roast Take #1: Slow Cooker Top Round Roast with Vegetables
3ish pounds Top Round Roast – From Charlton Orchards (Wayland Winter Farmers Market)
16 oz sliced mushrooms
3-4 carrots, peeled and cut into 4 inch pieces (basically cutting in half)
About 10 small roasting potatoes (I used a mix of red, purple and Yukon gold)
1 medium yellow onion, quartered
1-1.5 cups water + beef base or beef broth/stock
Bay leaf
Splash of red wine

Salt the pot roast
Brown the pot roast on each side, for extra flavor (I skipped the step this time)
Add pot roast to the slow cooker and arrange vegetables around the sides of the pot roast
Add broth, wine, and bay leaf
Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours (check after 4 hours to see how tender the meat is)
Remove bay leaf and serve

Pot Roast Take #2: Pot Roast Quesadillas with Sharp Cheddar
Flour tortillas
Shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese (I use Cabot Extra Sharp or Seriously Sharp)
Leftover pot roast, carrots, and onions – chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Layout tortillas on a foil-lined baking sheet
Spread a thin layer of cheese on half of the tortilla
Top with chopped pot roast and vegetables
Sprinkle another thin layer of cheese on top of pot roast
Fold tortilla over
Bake for 5-8 minutes, until cheese is melted and tortilla is a lightly golden
Cut into wedges and serve

Pot Roast Take #3: Pot Roast Hash with Root Vegetables
Leftover pot roast, carrots, onions, and potatoes - chopped
Leftover roasted sweet potatoes and beets
Vegetable oil

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat
Add chopped pot roast and vegetables in a single layer
Cook for 5 minutes, stirring, until heated through
Press down with the back of a spatula and continue cooking for 5-10 minutes until the bottom is nice and crispy
Serve with a fried or poached egg on top – and a few splashes of your favorite hot sauce!

We served ours with scrambled eggs - I wanted to make sure the eggs were cooked through for the little guy.

What is your favorite way to repurpose food in the refrigerator? I am having a blast doing it!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Beth From Denver: Zucchini Crisps for Healthy Snack Wednesday

My best friend Beth from Denver is back with another delicious vegetarian friendly dish. This is a great addition to the game night snack spread, or even for a quick appetizer before a dinner party. Some of our favorite Italian restaurants in St. Louis (where we grew up) offer fried zucchini sticks as an appetizer. While they are always tasty, this version is more appropriate for Healthy Snack Wednesday. Enjoy!

From Beth:
I love snacks! Especially when they are healthy and easy to make. I knew I would want something to snack on while watching the Broncos on Monday Night Football but didn't want to spend too long in the kitchen. So I sliced some zucchini and made some crisps. Sorry for the vague ingredients list, as I was being speedy, I didn't measure anything.

Zucchini Crisps
1 zucchini, cut into about 1/4 inch slices
Shredded parmesan cheese
Bread crumbs
Olive oil
Marinara sauce

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Slice the zucchini and toss with olive oil in a bowl to coat evenly. Combine the shredded parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, salt and pepper to taste in a smaller bowl. Coat both sides of each zucchini slice before placing on a foil covered cookie sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes until zucchini is tender. Serve with warm marinara sauce for dipping.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pizza Party (you'll never guess it's all vegetarian)

First, congrats to E1 (aka Erin) for being the winner of a full line-up of Want'ems chips and fusion dips! We pulled the winner using I'll be in touch to make sure you get your new snacks!

There is something so fun about having a pizza party. It brings back memories of celebrations in elementary school, get togethers with friends on weekends, and just those lazy nights when all you want to do is order in and watch a movie. And its the perfect opportunity to be creative!

When I was home visiting family in St. Louis earlier this spring, my cousin Leslie and her husband Andy hosted the family for lunch. I was lucky enough to grow up just a few houses down from my Leslie and her brother Eric until we were in high school, and then just a neighborhood away. In elementary my brother, cousins and I used to walk to school together, spend our afternoons playing in the yard, and just had fun being kids. As we moved into junior high and high school, Leslie and I had classes together and played softball and lacrosse together. For one year, all four of us cousins were in high school together (Grade 12, 11, 10, 9). It was fun! Now that we live about 1100 miles apart, we don't get to spend as much time together. But whenever we do, we have a great time! Here's a picture of us from her wedding two years ago.

Leslie and Andy love to cook and entertain and they put together some delicious and creative vegetarian meals. When we arrived for lunch, we came in the midst of the pizza preparation.

On the menu were a number of different pizzas. Each was carefully put together on top of a prepared crust and then slid into the oven to bake to crispy deliciousness. Here's a look at the flavorful pies they put together:

Barbecue "chicken": smoky barbecue sauce, meatless chicken nuggets, fresh diced red onions and tomatoes, and shredded mozzarella cheese.

Mexican Pizza: Refried black beans, shredded cheddar-jack cheese, sliced black olives, and topped with lettuce and salsa

Fresh Mozzarella, Tomato and Basil: As simple and delicious as it sounds with fresh cracked pepper and olive oil

Supreme Pizza: Tomato sauce, meatless meatballs, green peppers, tomatoes, red onions, and sliced black olives

And to start the meal a fresh and health salad topped with a St. Louis specialty - provel cheese! This creamy cheese is a St. Louis original. A patented blend of cheddar, swiss and provolone, it comes in ropes. Technically it can't be called a cheese, it is a processed cheese product. But it is delicious and creamy and was developed for use on St. Louis style pizzas. It melts into a beautiful pizza topping with no stringiness.

I love their dishes and bowls!

I've already made a few of these pizzas at home since the party. The Mexican black bean pizza is delicious topped with avocado slices, a squeeze of lime and a sprinkling of fresh cilantro. Even though we are meat eaters in our house, we bought the 'chik'n' nuggets to top a deliciously smoky barbecue sauce covered pizza.

Thanks Leslie and Andy for a wonderful lunch and inspiration for some great meals. And thanks for always being so much fun!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Poppin' Munch Madness!

Besides being my birthday month, March is also host to other fun food-friendly activities! With a full month of March Madness basketball, you'll need to to pace your game-time snacking. Keeping that in mind, here's a budget and healthy snack!

The friendly folks at popchips contacted me about a Boston Blogger recipe challenge for their "Munch Madness"  celebration. I had a blast creating a poppin' recipe for my Healthy Snack Wednesday series, so I knew I was was on board for this challenge! The winner gets to take home $250 to Roche Brothers, a $100 AMEX gift card, and a one-year supply of popchips! As an entrant in the recipe challenge, popchips provided me with a snack pack of popchips, coupons to pick up popchips, and a handy recipe notebook. 

A quick note about the contest. All entries will be posted on the popchips Facebook page in the Munch Madness photo album. The two bloggers with the most 'likes' on March 21 will be pop into the 'champion-chip' round! The final round will be an taste test event at Roche Brothers where the winner will be selected by a panel of expert snackers. If you like my poppin' creation, I hope you'll vote and 'like' my photo and spread the word! You can get to the album and vote by clicking here! You also have to 'like' Popchips on Facebook.

With my snack packs ready and assorted ingredients in the pantry, I put on my thinking cap and started brainstorming.

Chicken fingers...too easy. Mini-quiches...already done. What would show off the flavor of the popchips, be delicious, and still be healthy? The idea struck and I got to work - baked falafel!

In order to please fans of multiple teams, I decided to make a few pieces of falafel in each flavor. First step is  creating the popchips crumbs. Start with one flavor at a time and give them a whirl in the food processor. Be careful to label your flavors (I scribble when I write recipes, don't mind my spelling error)! 

Your popchips crumbs should be light and fluffy, and small enough to substitute for breadcrumbs. Each snack sized bag of popchips yielded approximately 1/2 cup of crumbs.

The next step is to make your falafel mixture. Using the food processor, blend garbanzo beans, parsley, scallions, a dash of olive oil and eggs until well combined. The texture should be like a chunky hummus. Split the mixture into five even portions for mixing. Starting with one portion of falafel mixture, add in half of one of the flavors of crumbs. Mix and continue to add crumbs until the mixture comes together, but is not completely dry. The first picture below is the falafel mix. The second picture is after mixing in the popchips crumbs.

Score each combined falafel and crumb mixture into four equal parts. Form balls and flatten slightly. Add the patties to a labeled baking sheet (you don't want to mix up the flavors!) and continue the process until all flavors are completed. I used a pencil to write the flavors on parchment paper, you can see it at the top of the rows below.

Bake for 10 minutes and then flip and continue baking for 10 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through. I served these with low-fat plain sour cream. To spice up the celebration, you could make flavored sour cream or yogurt dip to match the flavors. Another great idea would be to use your favorite hot sauce and mix it with sour cream for a spicy dip. Really, there is no limit to what you can add! The patties themselves are healthy and leave room to add more decadent toppings!

Here's a look at each of the flavors, topped with a garnish representing the popchips flavor. Cheddar for cheddar, salt for salt and vinegar, barbecue crumbs for barbecue, peppercorns for salt and pepper, and scallions for sour cream and onion! The flavor of the chips came through and really worked with the falafel!

An interior look at the patties:

Here's hoping that  my bracket picks will be as successful as my poppin' recipe! And remember, if you have  minute to vote, head over to the popchips Facebook page and 'like' my photo in the Munch Madness photo album! You also have to 'like' Popchips on Facebook.

Poppin' Munch Madness Baked Falafel

5 snack sized bags of popchips (Salt & Pepper, Sea Salt & Vinegar, Cheddar Potato, Barbecue, and Sour Cream & Onion)
2 15-ounce cans of no-salt added garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 scallion (whites and greens), cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and label 5 rows with your selected flavors
Working with one flavor at a time, process popchips until the consistency of breadcrumbs and set aside
Add garbanzo beans, eggs, parsley, scallion, oil, and salt & pepper to the food processor
Pulse until the consistency of chunky hummus
Pour equal amounts of the garbanzo mixture into five separate bowls
Using one flavor of crumbs at a time, mix into a bowl of garbanzo mixture until well combined (you may not need all of the crumbs)
Form four equal sized patties and place on the parchment paper lined baking sheet
Continue until all flavors are used
Bake for 10 minutes and then flip and continue baking for 10 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through
Serve with sour cream, greek yogurt, or hot sauce

Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Food processor, cutting board and knife, bowls, spatula, baking sheet, parchment paper, serving plates and utensils

Thursday, March 3, 2011

When He Fends For Himself: Freedom Pancakes

I believe in this space it's been noted that I make breakfast on the weekend from time to time. The past two weekends the wife has convinced me to put something together in the morning 3 out of 4 days. My repertoire is just eggs, pancakes, and french Toast. I don't put much thought into sides like toast, fruit, or potatoes. All you're gonna get is the main dish.

With that being said, I present you an actual creative breakfast. The wife asked me, "What will we have for breakfast? Pancakes? French Toast?" And I thought, "....both." Not surprisingly, we don't have pancake mix in the house so I had to open up The Joy of Cooking and create the batter from scratch! Making the pancakes was pretty simple and I was confident they would turn out tasty because I added some Mexican vanilla and some cinnamon.

Now it was time to make the French toast and here is where I kicked it up a notch. Instead of taking out the loaf of bread I used the pancakes instead. That's right. I took out a couple of eggs, mixed them in a bowl, and started dipping the cooled pancakes. I learned pretty early in the process that you need to give the pancakes a good soak in the egg. The pancakes aren't as porous as a slice of bread so you need to allow time to let the egg penetrate the smooth surface. After that, the pancakes went back into the frying pan and out came pancake French toast.

I thought the "pancake French toast" name was kind of lame. Even though I thought the trend to replace "French" with "Freedom" when France was initially against the invasion in Iraq was detestable, I decided on naming my creation "Freedom Pancakes" as an ironic joke. In the end, the name didn't matter because they turned out to be really good! I was kind of surprised and quite pleased. You should totally try this!

Because it was so good I started thinking of what else I could do. Step 1, make pancakes. Step 2, make French toast of them. Step 3? Who knows! But it reminded me of this SNL sketch and made me laugh.



Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Healthy Snack Wednesdays: Goat Cheese (Yes You Can Make it At Home)

This is the last official week of the office weight loss challenge! Our final weigh-in will be on Friday and the top three 'losers' will be awarded their prize. I'm still down 4 pounds, a respectable amount for eight weeks of incorporating healthier eating and more activity into my daily routine. I started wearing a pedometer and its just a small tool to motivate me to be more active. If I see that I don’t have enough steps in, I’ll take the stairs during my afternoon break or walk the long way to the train. It’s a great way to burn a few extra calories. I've hit 12,000 steps on a few days (almost 5 miles). As a comparison, most people with desk jobs have somewhere between 3,000-5,000 steps a day.

Also, don’t forget to read through the post to find out last week’s winner of the MultiGrain Cheerios prize pack!

One of the other things I've been doing lately is trying to be more thoughtful about my food purchases. And making an effort to use all of the food we buy. I've been cooking a lot from the pantry and trying to use up everything in the freezer and refrigerator. For this week's healthy snack post, I have two easy and delicious recipes to share.

Last week I came across a recipe (more of a technique) for making goat cheese at home. I was instantly intrigued - fresh goat cheese is one of my favorite cheeses - and I picked up a half gallon of goats' milk from Whole Foods and a few lemons for juicing.  I followed the recipe exactly and was impressed with results. It was very similar to making ricotta (part of my dinner party). The recipe is pretty simple, goats' milk and an acid, and any mix-ins you like for flavoring. I left mine plain and paired it with honey for a snack. I also used it to top huevos rancheros inspired eggs.

Homemade goat cheese with local honey 
and a whole wheat cracker

Whole wheat tortilla, fried eggs, avocado, goat cheese, 
hot sauce, and cilantro with a side of beef bacon.

I still had half the milk leftover and decided to whip up a second batch with my own twist. For this batch I swapped in lime juice for the lemon juice. And for my mix-in I used fresh chopped cilantro. The bright flavors of lime and cilantro was a perfect match for the creamy cheese.

Step by step pictures for easy homemade goat cheese

The cheese is incredible alone, but I had some other ingredients hanging out waiting to be used for something creative. From the freezer I grabbed a bag of whole cranberries. From the refrigerator I grabbed orange peels and limes. The other day I had an orange for a snack and it struck me that I waste precious zest everytime I throw the peel away. I peeled off the flavorful outside and saved it to add to recipes later in the week.

Looking at the ingredients, I decided to make a zesty and tangy citrus cranberry sauce. There’s not much to making cranberry sauce. Just be sure you have a good heavy sauce pot and a stain-proof spatula! You add your ingredients, cook until it’s your desired consistency and then enjoy! I didn’t add a lot of sugar to this version because I wanted it to be more savory to pair with the cheese. The resulting sauce is bright and indeed zesty! This would be great with roasted turkey or chicken, as a sandwich condiment, or on a cheese plate. I took pictures at work on my phone, please excuse the lighting.

The smooth, fresh taste of the goat cheese paired well with the tanginess of the cranberry sauce. The goat cheese has also been a great addition to breakfast. I made a sandwich with a whole wheat sandwich thin, cilantro-lime goat cheese, a fried egg, and a big handful of spinach.

Easy Homemade Goat Cheese
Inspired by recipe on Kiss My Spatula
1 quart goats' milk (just pasteurized, not ultra-pasteurized)
1/4 cup lemon or lime juice
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro (or other herbs)
Salt to taste

Supplies Needed:
Thermometer (candy, deep fry, or instant read)
Kitchen twine, or string
Heavy bottomed pan
Stirring spoon
Large bowl

Line a colander with a few layers of cheesecloth
Set over a large bowl
Cut kitchen twine for tying

Add milk to a heavy bottomed sauce pan
Heat over medium heat until temperature reaches 180 degrees F, stirring occaisionally
Remove from heat and add citrus juice
After about 15-20 seconds the milk should look cloudy and you should see little specks separating
Ladle carefully into the cheesecloth lined colander (slowly, so it doesn't overflow)
Once all milk is in, pull together the four corners and tie with twine
Tie to a spatula handle and hang over a clean bowl
Let hang for about an hour, until consistency is soft, but not dry
Add to a bowl and mix in any herbs and seasonings
Will stay in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few days (if you don't eat it all first!)

Zesty Cranberry Sauce
1/2 pound fresh, whole cranberries (rinsed)
1/4 cup sugar
Juice from 2 limes
1 tablespoon finely diced orange zest
1/4 cup water

Mix all ingredients together in a medium sauce pan
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat
Reduce heat to medium and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring constantly
The cranberries will burst and the mixture will begin to thicken
Serve immediately or cool completely before storing in the refrigerator

Giveaway Winner!
I used to select a winner from the 24 entries for the MultiGrain Cheerios prize pack! For complete randomness, the hubby ran the numbers and sent me the result. The winner is....

Congratulations to Renee! She said:

"Stairs, stairs, stairs! That is my commitment to being healthier! And to do 1 week of food logging to see exactly what kind of calories I'm taking in".

Congratulations Renee, hope this stylish gym bag and water bottle help you reach your goals!!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Health Snack Wednesdays: Snacks that Pop!

This week is full of snacking opportunities – snow days, Healthy Snack Wednesday, and the Superbowl! Part of the reason we started this series is that snacking can get boring. So this week’s post is dedicated to snacks that pop!

First, congratulations to the winner of two vouchers for Veggie Patch Products! The winner, as selected by is Jordi, who said” my favorite veggie is cucumbers or celery. i like to eat them raw with some italian dressing (on the cucumbers)”. I’ll be in touch to get your mailing address and the vouchers will be sent your way!

To celebrate this week’s popped up recipes, popchips™ has generously donated two one-month supplies of popchips! Two readers will each win one box full of popchips to snack (see if they last the month!). If you haven’t heard of popchips, they are popped potato snacks. Think potato chip crunchy without the greasiness of a regular chip or the cardboard taste of baked potato chips. They are made for snacking – and one bag of original flavor will set you back just 120 calories and 4 grams of fat (more nutrition info here). If you are a potato chip lover, than popchips are a healthier option to satisfy your craving. They even have a Snacker’s Credo!

Quick disclosure: popchips sent over a sampler pack of chips to use in this week’s healthy snack recipes and two boxes of chips for the giveaway. I was not obligated to use or review the products and I was not compensated financially. All opinions belong to me. Now on the fun!

This week I have two popping recipes for you to try out. I am admittedly not a potato chip lover – I usually go for tortilla chips if I have a chip choice. I wanted to come up with a creative way to use popchips in a healthy snack good for weekdays or maybe a Superbowl party. We’ve already made dips a few times and that really isn’t incorporating the popchips. I thought about potato chip cookies (saw them on a few blogs), but every recipe involved a lot of butter or shortening. After thinking about it for a few days, I decided on making mini-quiches with popchip crusts. It is similar to last week’s snack, but this is more party ready! You can pick your own combination of flavors for the crust, but I chose to mix original, salt and pepper, and cheddar for flavor that popped. I didn’t use any cookbooks or recipes for this, so while it could use some tweaking I had blast putting it together!

This is a fairly quick dish to put together. It can be served hot or cold and you could make them the day before and keep them in the refrigerator until party time. Just reheat  before serving. To have a crispier crust, make sure to coat the entire mini-muffin tin with the popchip mixture and only fill to the top of the crust (I got a little excited and overfilled mine). Only a few came out with crispy crusts due to the extra filling, but they tasted like little egg & hashbrown bites. I didn’t add any extra seasoning, because of the flavors in the popchips.

Poppin’ Mini-Quiches
Makes 24 mini-quiches

3 bags of popchips (I used 1 original, 1 salt & pepper, 1 cheddar)
3-4 tablespoons melted butter or margarine
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil (about 1 teaspoon)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
Lightly spray a mini-muffin tin with cooking spray
Add popchips to a food processor and pulse until they are the texture of panko breadcrumbs
Pour into a mixing bowl and mix the crumbs with butter, add a little oil if it is not moist enough
Spoon a little of the crust mixture into each muffin cup (you might have extra mixture)
Using a tart shaper, or your hand, press the crust mixture down firmly into the bottom and sides of the cups
Bake for 5-7 minutes, until slightly golden brown
Remove from oven to fill

4-5 large eggs
1 tablespoon milk
About 15 spinach leaves (I forgot to measure!)

Combine ingredients in a food processor or blender
Mix until frothy
Pour on top of prebaked crusts in muffin tin

Place tin back into the oven and bake for 10-15 minutes until puffed up and golden brown
Remove from the oven and serve immediately, or cool on rack and refrigerate
Serve with a dash of hot sauce, if desired!

Popping Snack #2
For my second snack, I popped up one of my favorite treats, popcorn! During the last snow day I played popcorn roulette, mixing up three different flavors and then spinning the bowls around. One bite could be lavender, the next za’atar, and the last green chili. I have an Cusinart Crazy popper and can control the amount of oil I use when I pop – and be sure that my popcorn isn’t loaded with oil, butter, and other funny chemicals. I wanted to make a sweet popcorn for this week. The hubby loves kettle corn and caramel corn, but the store bought versions are loaded with fat and sugar. I popped up a batch of red popcorn kernels from the farmers market and made a quick glaze to add on top. After the popcorn glaze dried, I packaged it into sandwich bags in appropriate serving sizes. It’s great to throw in your bag for the car, an afternoon snack, or a something to tide you over until dinner.

Maple-Sesame Popcorn
1/2 cup popcorn kernels
1 tablespoon canola oil
Pop popcorn in a popcorn popper (say that three times fast!)
Makes about 6 cups of popped popcorn

Maple-Sesame Glaze
1/2 tablespoon sesame seeds, toasted
1/4 cup maple syrup (I used Grade A Dark Amber)
1/2 tablespoon water
1/2 tablespoon butter

Add all ingredients, except sesame seeds, into a small sauce pan
Bring to a boil over medium high heat and cook for about 10 minutes, until slightly thickened
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees
Drizzle half the glaze over the popped corn in a large bowl
Add sesame seeds and mix
Add remaining glaze and toss to coat

Pour onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 5-10 minutes until popcorn has dried
Try not to eat it all while putting into bags.

Now, on to the giveaway!

There will be two winners for the giveaway. Each winner will receive a box containing a one-month supply of popchips! I didn't count the bags, but you will be snacking for a while! There are a few ways to enter this week, please leave a separate comment on the blog for each action. You can do any or all of them for a chance to win!
  • Like popchips on Facebook and leave a comment on their wall saying "@GoodCookDoris sent me! Thanks for the giveaway!". Come back and leave a comment below telling me you did so.
  • Leave a comment below letting me know your all-time favorite snack food, no healthy answers needed.

Popchips provided me with the boxes to give to the winner. If you are local in the Boston area we can meet up, or if you are somewhere else in the country I can ship them. (U.S. addresses only, sorry!)

Entries accepted through Tuesday, February 8. Winner to be announced on Wednesday, February 9. For an extra entry, head over to Renee's blog at Eat.Live.Blog. and be sure to check out her snacks that pop!

Happy Snacking!


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