Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Strawberry Jam

I found this great quick and super easy jam recipe and I have to share it! I made it last week for a weekend event and it was delicious and fresh.

Strawberry Jam

1 qt hulled strawberries

½ c sugar

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

In a food processor, coarsely chop strawberries. Transfer to a large skillet and stir in sugar and lemon juice. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently until jam has thickened and bubbles completely over surface, about 10 minutes. Transfer jam to jar or container to store. Cool to room temperature. If not using immediately, place jam in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. To store, place in tightly sealed container and freeze.

Make 1-3/4” cups

Serving size: 2 Tablespoons

24 calories

0.1 g fat (0 sat fat)

0.2 g protein

6 g carbs

0.6 g fiber


Monday, August 24, 2009

Peanut Butter Chocolate Truffles

As the Matron of Honor in my sisters wedding, there are many duties before the big day, specifically the Bachlorette party. We are doing a wine tasting and thought a perfect favor would be a wine glass. I just can’t let these women walk out with an empty wine glass, so I decided to make a little sweet. I have this fabulous recipe for truffles and knew it would be perfect to fill the wine glasses.

Truffles, man that sounds difficult to make and “I’d rather buy them” thought runs through my head. This recipe is super easy and can be done days in advance. They are little balls of heaven!

1 cup heavy cream
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
24 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup Dutch-processed unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 to 1 cup finely ground cocktail peanuts (optional)

Heat cream and peanut butter in a medium size saucepan. Use a whisk to break up peanut butter so it melts evenly and chill. Melt chocolate in the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water. Combine peanut butter mixture with melted chocolate, using a whisk until smooth. Stir in vanilla. Let cool, then cover and chill for 4 hours (or overnight).

Whisk powdered sugar and cocoa together until well mixed. Grind peanuts, if using, in the bowl of a food processor. Line a large baking sheet or tray with waxed paper.
To shape truffles: If very chilled, let mixture sit at room temperature for 20 minutes to soften. Spoon teaspoon portions of chilled filling and roll into a ball. Roll truffle in cocoa mixture or ground nuts. Keep chilled to maintain best flavor and texture. Makes 40-60 truffles

If you don’t want to bother with a double boiler, place chocolate in a sauce pan on a very low heat. Chocolate burns easily, so stir frequently once the melting starts.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Dino's Soda Bar

I love breakfast and with a free Sunday morning, we headed over to try a local joint, Dino’s Soda Bar. It is one of those places, you drive by and haven’t tried, but there are always people there, morning noon and night!

It is a casual place, sit anywhere and we’ll be right with you. The young waitresses are in old diner shirts and are running to keep up with the crowd. The real history of the place, I’m unsure about but it appears to have been a diner with bar stools to order your malt from.

After taking a seat at a booth inside, I learn that the coffee is self-serve at the end of the bar. The menu is small, and everything sounds good. We both got The Original Egg Sandwich, but with different add-ons. As we read the paper, the patio filled up and our meal arrived. The Egg Sandwich is on a large “Texas toast” type bun. It was grilled on one side and soft on the outside. The eggs were perfectly cooked and the cheese was melted and stringy. It was delicious!

Breakfast options are eggs of some variety, pancakes or granola and lunch is burgers, sandwiches, limeades and salads. For evening guests they have homemade ice cream, but when it’s gone, it’s gone! This isn’t a mass producing ice cream shop, so get there early for a choice of flavors.

Check it out!

2217 E. Mississippi Ave.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Peanut Butter to go

I have just been introduced to Justin’s Natural, and it’s AWESOME! There three butters: Almond, Peanut and Hazelnut and a variety of flavors. The best and most convenient part is that they come in single serving packs. This would be great for Mom’s on the run and need to make a quick sandwich or easy snack for the kids, breakfast at the office or lunch in your car.

They are all natural, which of course I am a huge fan…no bad oils. I toasted my English muffin this morning, kneaded my little pack of Honey Almond Butter and squeeze and spread….delicious!

There are three new flavors coming this fall, and I can’t wait! You can buy these products in packets, jars or 100 calorie packs. It’s genius!

Check it out!!!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Dessert Pizza

Once a year it’s my turn to host Bunco. What does that mean? I have to feed 12 mouths to after working all day, it isn’t easy.

I usually try to get creative or test something I have wanted to try, but this time I decided to do something easy and something I know…pizza. I, unlike most of the group, am not a teacher who has the summer off, so I needed something that I could prepare a bit the night before and finish up the night of. I purchased Boboli crusts at the store, and one thin crust. The Flavors: Sausage with sautéed onions and Garlic cheese pizza. (We ended up only having 7 people, hence only two pizzas. The third pizza was going to be a teriyaki chicken pizza). I also needed dessert, so I decided to make a dessert pizza, why stray from the easy?

Peach, Brown Sugar and Brie Pizza

1 Boboli thin crust
3 ripe peaches, sliced and diced
¼ c brown sugar
1 Brie round, cut into cite sized pieces (15)

Preheat oven to 375°. Heat medium size skillet on medium heat. Before the pan gets really warm, place diced peaches in pan. Cook for about 8 minutes, stirring so they don’t stick. Add brown sugar and let this cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour peach mixture onto pizza crust. Cut Brie into small bite sized pieces. Scatter on top of peach mixture, evenly. Put pizza in oven on the middle rack. On the lower rack, place a cookie sheet directly under the pizza. This will catch the brown sugar drips, and then you won’t have to scrub the oven. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until the crust is crisp.

Let cool for 5 minutes, cut and serve. If peaches aren’t in season, try apples or pears. Brie goes well with most fruits. It is a simple and easy dessert


Monday, August 3, 2009

Panera Bread Co.

This is my absolute favorite “new to me” place for lunch or dinner! Not only are there great options on the menu for any taste bud, but I recently read in my Health magazine that my two favorite items are among the healthiest they serve.

On the menu:
“You Pick Two”
Garden Vegetable Soup and the Turkey Artichoke Panini

I rarely stray from this awesome combo. The tomato broth in Garden Vegetable Soup is filled with potato and carrot slices, onion, zucchini, tomato, beans, corn and edamame and is packed with flavor. If I am ordering more than just soup, I get the “You pick two”. My choice is of course the Garden Vegetable soup paired with the Turkey Artichoke on Focaccia Panini. This delicious warm and gooey sandwich is dripping with flavor. There are numerous slices of turkey to fill you up, topped with caramelized onions, tomatoes, spinach artichoke spread and Asiago-Parmesan cheese. This combo is filling and delicious, either together or by them selves.

**WARNING: Garden Vegetable soup is served on ONLY Monday, Wednesday and Friday.**

Low-Fat Vegetarian Garden Vegetable
Serving size: 8oz (You Pick Two size)
70 Calories
.5 grams Fat
0 Saturated Fat
15 grams Carbs
4 grams Fiber
3 grams protein

Turkey Artichoke (Hot Panini)
Serving size: 7oz (You Pick Two size)
307 calories
13 grams Fat
3.5 Saturated Fat
44 grams Carbs
3 grams Fiber
20 grams Protein