Tuesday, February 26, 2013

coconut mango scones









For sure this is the best scone I've ever had. My friend Angeli took these to Gourmet Club today.  She altered a recipe she found online and hit the nail on the head.  Not dry and lacking in flavor, these are quite the opposite.  YUM!

coconut mango scones (my friend Angeli adapted the recipe from Baking Bites)
2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
6 ounces butter, frozen
1/2 cup sweetened shredded cocont
1/2 cup dried mango, diced
1/3 cup plus up to 1/2 cup milk (lite canned is fine)



At least an hour before baking, dice mango and cover with coconut milk (about 1/3 cup) to soften.  Preheat oven to 400.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.  Whisk together first 5 ingredients, then grate frozen butter and stir in.  Use finger, if desired, to rub butter into flour until it resembles coarse crumbs.  Stir in coconut then mango pieces. (Leave a tablespoon of the coconut milk in the bowl and whisk in 1/2 cup powdered sugar for a glaze if desired.)
Adding a few tablespoons at a time, stir in coconut milk until a rough ball forms.  Knead a few times util smooth. (Angeli's dough was pretty wet.)
Pat dough into a 1/2-inch deep circle on prepared baking sheet.  Sprinkle with sugar and cut into eighths.
Separate pieces and bake for 15 minutes until they start to turn brown.
Cool on wire racks.  If desired, drizzle on glaze while warm.  (Angeli added 1/8 teaspoon cardamom to the glaze.)



almond orange drink












Although I missed Gourmet Club today, Dee-Anna made sure I didn't miss out completely and brought me a pitcher of the almond orange drink and other goodies which I shared with my family tonight.  So nice!!  This almond orange drink was a hit.  A very nice drink to serve with brunch, which was the theme for today's luncheon.

almond orange drink (my friend Amy N.)
1 can frozen orange juice
12 cups cold water
2 teaspoons almond extract
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups bakers sugar


Mix all ingredients and chill.

salmon breakfast croquettes










Straight from the White House.  Actually, they are from my sweet friend Dee-Anna but the recipe comes from the White House Kitchen Garden.  I am not able to attend Gourmet Club today so she dropped a few off at my house because she knew how much I was looking forward to trying these little guys...so I got to try them first!  They are tasty, delicate little croquettes and would make a fine appearance at any brunch.  Thanks Dee-Anna!

salmon breakfast croquettes (Food Network)
8 ounces baked salmon, flaked*
2 large eggs, beaten
2 cups mashed potatoes
1 small white onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced (Dee-Anna says 3 is plenty)
salt and pepper
6 tablespoons flour
peanut oil for frying

Mix the salmon, eggs, mashed potatoes, onion and garlic in a bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.  Stir in the flour to hold the mixture together.
Form the mixture into golf-ball-size balls.  Refrigerate 1 hour or overnight.
Heat about 1 inch of oil in a large straight-sided skillet until a deep-fry thermometer registers 325 degrees.  Fry the croquettes in batches, until crisp and golden on one side, 3 to 4 minutes, adjusting the heat if necessary.  Turn and cook until golden on the other side, 1 to 2 more minutes.  Drain on paper towels.
*Place salmon skin side down on a piece of foil, lightly brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with garlic powder.   Bake on a cookie sheet at 375 for 35 minutes then flake.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

spicy potato wedges









Scrumptious!  Before I left for the grocery store my oldest asked if she and her friend could make some homemade chocolate pudding to which I agreed.  While on aisle 9 she texted me and asked if we had any chili powder.  I wondered what the chili powder was for- they were for these babies.  When I got home they were nice and hot and delicious.  Maybe it has been a while since I've had a french fry (it has) but it tasted really good.  All 7 of us had our hands over the plate full of potato wedges.  The original recipe called for sweet potatoes but my we didn't have any so my daughter substituted red potatoes.

spicy potato wedges (my daughter found this recipe in her cookbook Cooking Fun by Rae Grant)
4 big red potatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste (she halved the black pepper 1/4 teaspoon)

Place rack in the middle of the oven.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place a sheet of foil on the bottom of baking sheet.
Scrub potatoes well under cold water using a vegetable brush.  Pat dry with clean dish towel.  With adult help, cut the potato in half lengthwise then cut each half into 6 wedges.
Place the potatoes in a large bowl.  Add the oil, salt, chili powder, and black pepper and toss until the potatoes are evenly coated.  Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes.  use a spatula to turn the fries, then return baking sheet to oven to bake 10 minutes longer, or until crisp and brown.  Serve hot.  Serves 4 to 6

orange spinach smoothie












I know it sounds crazy but I went online looking for a smoothie with these two ingredients just to see if it was worth trying or if I'd be wasting delicious, fresh produce by attempting this combination.  It worked and I enjoyed it!  It tasted like an orange ice because the proportions were right on.  My second attempt wasn't as good for some reason; I think I overdid it on the spinach which took away from the orange flavor.  The above photo was my first attempt and shows the exact amounts I used and the amount it made.

orange spinach smoothie (idea from The Healthy Eating Organisation)
1 orange, peeled
1 handful of spinach, stems and all
1 cup of ice

Throw in your Vita-mix and blend until smooth.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

new york times chocolate chip cookies









My friend Janet shared these chocolate chip cookies with me.  They are delicious(!) with the perfect consistency- a tad bit chewy.  Just look how pretty they are...and they still taste fresh after a couple of days.  I still struggle with cookie baking sometimes but I am really tempted to make them myself to see if I can pull it off.

new york times chocolate chip cookies (my friend Janet or here)
2 cups minus 2 tablespoons (8 1/2 ounces) cake flour
1 2/3 cups (8 1/2 ounces) bread flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons course salt
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract
1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or feves, at least 60% cacao content
sea salt

Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl.  Set aside.
Using a mixer fitter with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes.  Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.  Stir in the vanilla.  Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 secondds.  Drop chocolate pieces in and incorporate them without breaking them.  Pres plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours.  Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.  When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat.  Set aside.
Scoop six 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie.  Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes.  Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more.  Repeat dough or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day.  Eat warm, with a big napkin.  Yield: 1 1/2 dozen 5-inch cookies


yogurt dill dipping sauce









This yogurt dill sauce was a big hit at this house and it's soooo healthy!  I made salmon for dinner which tasted delicious with the sauce and had a platter of cherry tomatoes and sliced cucumbers which we couldn't get enough of (thanks to the sauce).

yogurt dill dipping sauce (adapted from myrecipes)
1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt (Kirkland brand is my favorite)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh dill (I use freeze dried)
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

In a bowl, mix all ingredients together.

spinach banana smoothie












My older girls and I recently watched the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.  It definitely inspired me to eat more fruits and veggies to be as healthy as I can be (and help my kids develop healthy habits).  Just the other day I told my mom about this smoothie and tried to convince her that although this smoothie is green, you can't taste the spinach.  The spinach is just there to make you feel good!  I had a lunch of chicken & rice with wasabi sauce and this smoothie.  Now I feel fat and happy but in a good, healthy way.  My three-year old requests this smoothie by the way.

spinach and banana smoothie (pass the peas, please)
1 big, ripe banana,
1 big handful of fresh spinach, stems and all
1/2 cup nonfat milk
1 to 1 1/2 cups ice

Place the banana in the Vitamix first.  Then add the spinach.  Add milk until you reach the 1/2 cup line.  Add the ice.  Blend until nice and smooth then drink it up!

Monday, February 11, 2013

layered shrimp dip









Look no further; this shrimp dip is awesome.  I've been begging for this recipe ever since Amy made it for our gourmet club a few months ago.  This would be a perfect appetizer for Valentine's day!

layered shrimp dip (my friend Amy C.)
Mix together:
16 ounces cream cheese
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
and spread in the bottom of a pan.
Spread 16 ounces cocktail sauce on top.

Layer shredded mozzarella cheese or any other kind of cheese, chopped green onions or anything else that sounds good such as black olives or celery.  Add baby shrimp to the top and serve with crackers or buy jumbo shrimp to dip into it.


Monday, February 4, 2013

sugar cookie glaze









On Friday my kids went to town decorating Valentine sugar cookies.   They cut out giant hearts, teeny tiny hearts, cut out the word "LOVE", etc.  I made two icings for them to use, a soft buttercream and this glaze.  My oldest loved the glaze and that's the icing she used for every cookie she decorated- here is one of her glazed cookies.  The glaze is really tasty with a hint of almond (I'm a huge fan of almond flavoring) and dries smooth and pretty.

sugar cookie glaze (adapted from allrecipes)
2 cups confectioners' sugar
4 teaspoons milk (to begin with- you'll need more!)
4 teaspoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon almond extract (lemon extract would be a good choice too!)
food coloring

In a bowl, stir together confections' sugar and milk until smooth.  Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy.  If icing is too thick, add more milk.  Add food coloring to desired intensity.  Dip cookies or paint them with a paintbrush.

Friday, February 1, 2013

chicken vegetable soup









This milky soup was just right especially with "fresh" herbs sprinkled over the top.  If you haven't tried Litehouse freeze-dried herbs, do try them.  They're located with the fresh herbs at the grocery store and stored in bottles.  The label says "as close to fresh as you can get" so I started out trying dill which was great so this time I picked up a bottle of freeze-dried salad herb blend that contains bits of parsley, red onion, shallots, garlic and dill.  What a great way to top off this yummy soup!

chicken vegetable soup (adapted from food.com)
1 pound ground chicken
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped green pepper
1 tablespoon minced garlic
6 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup diced carrots
1/2 cup half and half 
Litehouse freeze-dried salad herb blend, for serving

In a soup pot, cook ground chicken, breaking it into small pieces.  Add onion, celery, green pepper and garlic.  Saute for another 3 minutes.  Add broth, thyme and pepper.  Bring to a boil.  Add carrots.  Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Remove from heat and stir in half and half.  Sprinkle Litehouse freeze-dried salad herb blend on top before serving.