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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

♥ Bavarian Apple Tart ♥

Ingredients:
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

FILLING:
1 package (8 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

TOPPING:
4 cups thinly sliced peeled tart apples (about 4 medium)
1/3 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:
In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the vanilla, flour and cinnamon. Press onto the bottom and 1 in. up the sides of a 9-in. springform pan coated with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Beat in egg and vanilla just until combined. Spread over crust.

In another bowl, toss the apples, sugar and cinnamon; arrange over filling. Bake at 400° for 40 minutes or until apples are tender and crust is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Store in the refrigerator.

Yield: 12 servings.

Nutritional Analysis: One piece equals 213 calories, 9 g fat (5 g saturated fat), 42 mg cholesterol, 113 mg sodium, 30 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 4 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 fat, 1-1/2 starch, 1/2 fruit.

~~Light & Tasty August/September 2002~~

Monday, January 30, 2012

♥ Green Tea & Weight Loss in the News ♥

Compelling evidence presented in the journal Nutrition Research makes the irrefutable connection among green tea consumption, lowered body weight and reduced levels of dangerous belly fat. Drinking between 5 and 8 cups of green tea each day was shown to lower body weight by 5.6% and to decrease abdominal fat stores by 17.8% over a period of 8 weeks. Green tea consumption has long been associated with lowered risk of cancer, metabolic syndrome and heart disease. This research provides compelling evidence that green tea boosts metabolism to target fat stores and assists weight loss efforts.

Green tea extracts have been researched extensively over the past decade and are shown to dramatically lower the risk of Alzheimer`s disease and dementia, cardiovascular disease and many forms of cancer. Additional studies have shown that the polyphenols in green tea are a significant factor in improved oral health and can provide necessary support for weight management and control. Green tea is composed of four primary polyphenols (epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), epigallocatechin, epicatechin gallate, and epicatechin) that are shown to influence genetic signaling and metabolic rate.

The study was conducted by Polish researchers and used an animal model to determine weight loss and fat accumulation characteristics. The researchers also analyzed cardiovascular risk factors and atherogenesis over an 8 week period. The animals were fed a high fat diet and drank green tea made from either a 1.1% or 2% extract of the active phenolic compound. The results indicate that body weight and fat reduction are dose dependent with maximum results (5.6% lower body weight, 17.8% fat reduction) achieved with the 2% extract.

Researchers also found that both concentrations of green tea extract reduced atherogenesis (initial loss of coronary artery elasticity leading to artery hardening and future heart disease) by 14.3% compared to non-supplemented subjects. The study authors did not determine the mechanism for cardiovascular risk reduction. Prior research has shown that the potent antioxidant content of green tea is responsible for significantly lowered levels of oxidized LDL cholesterol and increased particle size that are consistent with reduced heart disease risk.

This study used the equivalent of 5 to 8 cups of green tea consumed each day to achieve optimal weight management, fat reduction and cardiovascular risk reversal. Researchers found that the green tea concentration is important to achieve optimal weight lowering results. Drink 6 cups of fresh brewed, non-fluoridated green tea daily (or take a standardized green tea extract supplement) to help prevent coronary artery disease, assist weight loss and boost fat reduction efforts.

[Editor`s Note: NaturalNews is strongly against the use of all forms of animal testing. We fully support implementation of humane medical experimentation that promotes the health and wellbeing of all living creatures.]

Article References:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21419320
http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Research/Green-tea-shows-body-wei...
http://www.citeulike.org/article/9023855

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/032128_green_tea_body_weight.html#ixzz1nBSRr0up

Sunday, January 29, 2012

♥ Couscous-Stuffed Mushrooms ♥

Ingredients:
18 medium fresh mushrooms
3 green onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup dry white wine or vegetable broth
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce

FILLING:
1/2 cup reduced-sodium vegetable broth
1/4 cup uncooked couscous
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried basil
1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
1 egg white, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, toasted
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Directions:
Remove mushroom stems; discard or save for another use. Set caps aside. In a large nonstick skillet, saute onions and garlic in oil for 1 minute. Stir in wine or broth and soy sauce; add mushroom caps. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5-6 minutes or until mushrooms are tender. Remove mushrooms with a slotted spoon, reserving liquid in skillet. Place mushrooms stem side down on paper towels.

In a large saucepan, bring broth to a boil. Stir in couscous. Remove from heat; cover and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork; add to reserved mushroom liquid. Cover and cook on low until liquid is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Add the next five ingredients and toss gently.

Sprinkle inside of mushroom caps with salt and pepper. Stuff with couscous mixture. Place in an 11-in. x 7-in. baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until stuffing is lightly browned.

Yield: 6 servings.

Nutritional Analysis: One serving (3 stuffed mushrooms) equals 113 calories, 5 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 4 mg cholesterol, 416 mg sodium, 10 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 5 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 1 fat, 1 vegetable, 1/2 starch.

~~Light & Tasty October/November 2002~~

Friday, January 27, 2012

♥ Light Chocolate-Dipped Strawberry Cheesecake ♥

Ingredients:
1-3/4 cups chocolate graham cracker crumbs (about 9 whole crackers)
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 pound fresh or frozen strawberries, thawed
2 envelopes unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
2 packages (8 ounces each) fat-free cream cheese, cubed
1 cup (8 ounces) fat-free cottage cheese
Sugar substitute equivalent to 3/4 cup sugar
1 carton (8 ounces) frozen reduced-fat whipped topping, thawed, divided
12 medium fresh strawberries
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

Directions:
In a small bowl, combine cracker crumbs and butter. Press onto the bottom and 1 in. up the sides of a 9-in. springform pan coated with cooking spray. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until set. Cool on a wire rack.

Hull strawberries if necessary; puree in a food processor. Remove and set aside. In a small saucepan, sprinkle gelatin over cold water; let stand for 1 minute. Heat over low heat, stirring until gelatin is completely dissolved. Transfer to the food processor; add the cream cheese, cottage cheese and sugar substitute. Cover and process until smooth.

Add strawberry puree; cover and process until blended. Transfer to a large bowl; fold in 2 cups whipped topping. Pour into crust. Cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours or until set.

For garnish, wash strawberries and gently pat with paper towels until completely dry. Cut tops off berries. In a microwave, melt chocolate; stir until smooth. Dip each berry tip until half of the berry is coated, allowing excess to drip off. Place with tips pointing up on a waxed paper-lined baking sheet; refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Carefully run a knife around edge of springform pan to loosen; remove sides of pan. Garnish cheesecake with chocolate-dipped strawberries and remaining whipped topping.

Yield: 12 servings.

Editor's Note: This recipe was tested with Splenda no-calorie sweetener.

Nutritional Facts 1 slice equals 245 calories, 11 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 14 mg cholesterol, 377 mg sodium, 26 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 10 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 starch, 2 fat.


~~Light & Tasty April/May 2007~~

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

♥ Flourless Dark Chocolate Cake ♥

Ingredients:
4 eggs, separated
8 ounces 53% cacao dark baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons butter, cubed
1/3 cup plus 1/4 cup sugar, divided
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 container (2-1/2 ounces) prune baby food
1 teaspoon dark baking cocoa or baking cocoa
1/2 teaspoon confectioners' sugar

Directions:
Place egg whites in a small bowl; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, melt chocolate and butter over low heat, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat; cool slightly. Coat a 9-in. springform pan with cooking spray. Place pan on a baking sheet; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat egg yolks on high speed for 3 minutes or until light and fluffy. Gradually add 1/3 cup sugar and vanilla, beating until thick and lemon-colored. Beat in baby food and chocolate mixture.

Beat egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in remaining sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, on high until stiff glossy peaks form; fold into batter.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with moist crumbs. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; remove sides of pan. Cool completely.

Sprinkle with cocoa and confectioners’ sugar. Refrigerate leftovers.

Yield: 12 servings.

~~Light & Tasty February/March 2008~~

Monday, January 23, 2012

♥ Raspberry Swirl Frozen Dessert ♥

Ingredients:
2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons butter, melted
5 teaspoons sugar

FILLING:
3 eggs, separated
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon water, divided
1 cup sugar, divided
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 package (8 ounces) reduced-fat cream cheese
1-1/2 cups reduced-fat whipped topping
1 package (10 ounces) frozen sweetened raspberries, thawed

Directions:
In a small bowl, combine the cracker crumbs, butter and sugar. Press into an 11-in. x 7-in. dish coated with cooking spray. Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, for filling, in a small heavy saucepan, combine the egg yolks, 1/4 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar and salt. Cook and stir over low heat until mixture reaches 160° or is thick enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Cool quickly by placing pan in a bowl of ice water; stir for 2 minutes. Set aside.

In a small heavy saucepan over low heat, combine the egg whites, cream of tartar and remaining water and sugar. With a portable mixer, beat on low speed until mixture reaches 160°. Transfer to a small bowl; beat on high until soft peaks form.

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Gradually beat in egg yolk mixture. Fold in whipped topping, then egg white mixture. Drain raspberries, reserving 3 tablespoons juice. In a small bowl, crush half of berries with 1 tablespoon juice. Set remaining berries and juice aside.

Spread a third of cream cheese mixture over crust; spoon half of crushed berry mixture over the top. Repeat layers. Cut through with a knife to swirl raspberries.

Top with remaining cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle with reserved berries and drizzle with remaining juice. Cover and freeze for 5 hours or until firm. Remove from the freezer 15 minutes before cutting.

Yield: 12 servings.

~~Healthy Cooking August/September 2008~~

Saturday, January 21, 2012

♥ Chocolate Bliss Marble Cake ♥

Ingredients:
5 egg whites
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1/4 cup hot water
1 cup sugar, divided
1 cup fat-free milk
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon almond extract
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups reduced-fat whipped topping
4 ounces semisweet chocolate
1-1/2 cups fresh raspberries

Directions:
Let egg whites stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Dissolve cocoa in water; let stand until cool.

In a large bowl, beat 3/4 cup sugar, milk, oil and extracts until well blended. Combine the flour, baking powder and salt; gradually beat into sugar mixture until blended.

In another bowl with clean beaters, beat egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form. Beat in remaining sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, on high until stiff peaks form. Gradually fold into batter. Remove 2 cups batter; stir in reserved cocoa mixture.

Coat a 10-in. fluted tube pan with cooking spray. Alternately spoon the plain and chocolate batters into pan. Cut through batter with a knife to swirl.

Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

For topping, in a microwave, melt whipped topping and chocolate; stir until smooth.
Place cake on a serving plate. Drizzle with topping. Arrange raspberries in center of cake.

Yield: 16 servings.
Nutritional Facts 1 slice equals 215 calories, 6 g fat (2 g saturated fat), trace cholesterol, 172 mg sodium, 37 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 4 g protein.

~~Healthy Cooking December/January 2009~~

Thursday, January 19, 2012

♥ White Layer Cake with Lemon Curd Filling ♥

Ingredients:
3 cups cake flour, (not self-rising)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup milk
8 large egg whites
Seven-Minute Frosting**
1 cup Lemon Curd

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans; line bottoms with parchment paper rounds. Butter parchment, and dust with flour, tapping out excess; set aside.

2. Into a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and 2 cups sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with milk and beginning and ending with flour; beat until just combined. Transfer mixture to a large bowl; set aside.

3. In the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on low speed until foamy. With mixer running, gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar; beat on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 4 minutes. Do not overbeat. Gently fold a third of the egg-white mixture into the butter-flour mixture until combined. Gently fold in remaining whites.

4. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans, smoothing with an offset spatula. Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until cakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 20 minutes. Invert cakes onto rack; peel off parchment. Reinvert cakes, and let them cool completely, top sides up.

5. Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cake layers to make level. Place one layer on a serving plate, cut side up. Using a pastry bag fitted with a coupler, pipe frosting around the perimeter. This dam will prevent the lemon curd filling from seeping out. Fill cake with lemon curd. Place other cake layer on top, cut side down. Spread entire cake with frosting, swirling to cover.

**Seven Minute Frosting:
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
6 large egg whites
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions:
In the heatproof bowl of an electric mixer set over a saucepan of simmering water, combine sugar, corn syrup, 1/4 cup water, and egg whites. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture registers 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer, about 2 minutes.

Attach bowl to a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat mixture on high speed until glossy and voluminous, about 5 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Use immediately.


~~Martha Stewart~~

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

♥ Chilled Raspberry Cheesecake ♥

Ingredients:
3/4 cup crushed vanilla wafers (about 25 wafers)
3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons baking cocoa
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries, thawed
1-1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
1/2 cup cold water
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
•In a small bowl, combine the wafer crumbs, confectioners' sugar and cocoa; stir in butter. Press onto the bottom and 1 in. up the sides of a 6-in. springform pan coated with cooking spray. Place pan on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

• Puree raspberries in a blender or food processor; strain and discard seeds. In a small microwave-safe bowl, sprinkle gelatin over cold water; let stand for 1 minute. Microwave on high for 40 seconds; stir. Let stand for 1 minute or until gelatin is completely dissolved.

• In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Gradually beat in raspberry puree and gelatin mixture. Pour into crust. Cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen. Remove sides of pan. Refrigerate leftovers.

Yield: 4 servings.

~~Cooking for 2, Winter 2007~~

Sunday, January 15, 2012

♥ Flourless Chocolate Cake ♥

Ingredients:
4 eggs, separated
10 tablespoons butter, cubed
1/2 cup sugar
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Chocolate Ganache, optional
1/4 cup finely ground pecans, toasted
Sliced strawberries and fresh mint, optional

Directions:
•Let eggs stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. In a heavy saucepan, melt butter, 1/4 cup sugar and chocolate over low heat, stirring constantly. Cool until mixture is lukewarm.

• In a large bowl, beat egg yolks until thick and lemon-colored, about 3 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Gradually beat in pecans and chocolate mixture.

• In a small bowl and with clean beaters, beat egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, beating on high speed until stiff peaks form. Stir a small amount of whites into chocolate mixture. Fold in remaining whites.

• Pour into a greased 9-in. springform pan. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350° for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes.

• Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen; remove sides of pan and cool completely. Frost with Chocolate Ganache if desired. Garnish with strawberries and mint if desired.

Yield: 16 servings.

Nutritional Facts:
1 serving (1 piece) equals 138 calories, 11 g fat (6 g saturated fat), 72 mg cholesterol, 88 mg sodium, 8 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 2 g protein.

~~Complete Guide to Baking~~

Friday, January 13, 2012

♥ Chocolate Shortbread ♥

Ingredients:
4 1/2 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
3 tablespoons unsweetened premium dark cocoa
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup powdered sugar
5 tablespoons butter, softened
1/4 cup canola oil
Cooking spray

Directions:
1. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, cocoa, and salt in a small bowl; stir with a whisk.

2. Place sugar, butter, and oil in a medium bowl; mix with hands until combined. Add flour mixture, and mix with hands until combined; wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate 30 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 325°.

4. Place dough on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray; press dough into an 8 x 5–inch rectangle about 3/8-inch thick. Pierce entire surface liberally with a fork. Bake at 325° for 30 minutes or just until set. Cut shortbread into 24 pieces. Cool completely.

Makes 2 dozen.

Lemon Shortbread: You can also use grated orange rind in place of lemon. A little bit of cornstarch ensures a short texture in the cookies. Substitute 3 tablespoons cornstarch for the unsweetened cocoa. Add 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind to flour mixture. Knead dough lightly 4 times or just until smooth before chilling. Bake 30 minutes or just until set and edges are golden.


Brown Sugar Shortbread: Using light brown sugar yields sweet treats with caramel notes. These double easily; just bake each batch separately for the best results. Use a total of 5.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 1/4 cups), and substitute 3 tablespoons cornstarch for the cocoa. Omit powdered sugar and oil, and use 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar and 7 tablespoons butter (total), softened. Sprinkle dough with 1 1/2 teaspoons ice water; knead dough lightly 4 times or just until smooth. Bake for 25 minutes or just until set and edges are golden.

~~Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 2008~~

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

♥ Mini Chocolate-Hazelnut Cheesecakes ♥

Ingredients:
15 cream-filled chocolate sandwich cookies
2 tablespoons raw or roasted hazelnuts, skinned
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese
3/4 cup hazelnut-chocolate spread, preferably Nutella
1/2 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons mini chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. Spray the liners with vegetable oil spray.

2. In a food processor, combine the cookies, hazelnuts and butter and process to very fine crumbs. Divide the crumbs among the cups and, using a flat-bottomed glass, press on the crumbs to compact them. Bake for 5 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, wipe out the food processor bowl. Add the cream cheese, Nutella, sour cream, eggs and sugar and puree until smooth. Spoon the filling into the cups until it nearly reaches the top; there may be a few tablespoons of leftover batter. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top and bake for about 20 minutes, until the cheesecakes have risen and the surfaces are lightly cracked. Let the cheesecakes cool slightly, then transfer the muffin tin to a rack and freeze for 10 minutes, until the cheesecakes are slightly cooled. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

Makes 12.

~~Food and Wine~~

Monday, January 9, 2012

♥ Chocolate Baklava ♥

Ingredients:
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup water
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
1 cup hazelnut-chocolate spread (such as Nutella)
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup roasted pistachios, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup blanched toasted almonds, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray
24 (14 x 9-inch) sheets frozen phyllo dough, thawed
1/2 cup butter, melted

Directions:
1. Combine the first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat; stir until honey dissolves. Increase heat to medium; cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer registers 230° (about 10 minutes). Remove from heat; keep warm. Discard cinnamon stick.

2. Preheat oven to 350°.

3. Place hazelnut-chocolate spread in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave at HIGH for 30 seconds or until melted. Combine hazelnuts and next 5 ingredients (through salt). Lightly coat a 13 x 9-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Working with 1 phyllo sheet at a time (cover remaining dough to prevent drying), place 1 phyllo sheet lengthwise in bottom of prepared pan, allowing ends of sheet to extend over edges of dish; lightly brush with butter. Repeat procedure with 5 phyllo sheets and butter. Drizzle about 1/3 cup melted hazelnut -chocolate spread over phyllo. Sprinkle evenly with one-third of nut mixture (about 1/2 cup). Repeat procedure twice with phyllo, butter, hazelnut-chocolate spread, and nut mixture. Top last layer of nut mixture with remaining 6 sheets phyllo, each lightly brushed with butter. Press gently into pan.

4. Make 3 lengthwise cuts and 5 crosswise cuts to form 24 portions using a sharp knife. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until phyllo is golden. Remove from oven. Drizzle honey mixture over baklava. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Cover; store at room temperature.

Note: Because phyllo sheets are thin and delicate, handle with care so you won't tear the sheets. Keep the sheets you are not working with covered so it won't dry out.

Makes 24 servings.

~~Cooking Light, December 2009~~

Saturday, January 7, 2012

♥ Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Cookies ♥

Ingredients:
1 cup regular oats
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup dried sour cherries
1 cup natural-style chunky peanut butter (such as Smucker's)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 375°.

2. Pulse oats in a food processor until finely ground. Add sugar and cherries; process until coarsely ground.

3. Combine peanut butter and butter in a medium bowl. Beat with an electric mixer at low speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs, vanilla, and salt; beat until smooth. Add oat mixture; beat until blended. Stir in flour with a rubber spatula until well-blended; use your hands if necessary.

4. Drop dough by level 1/8-cupfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets. Flatten with a fork, leaving an imprint on top. Bake for 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from pans; cool.

Makes 30 cookies.

~~Health magazine~~

Thursday, January 5, 2012

♥ No-Bake Chocolate Custard ♥

Ingredients:
1/4 cup milk
3 tablespoons sugar
1 large egg yolk
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, plus shaved chocolate, for serving
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup heavy cream
Pinch of ground cinnamon

Directions:
1. In a small saucepan, combine the milk and 2 tablespoons of the sugar and heat until steaming and the sugar is dissolved. Put the egg yolk in a small bowl and gradually whisk in the hot milk. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook over moderate heat, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.

2. Off the heat, add the chopped chocolate and salt and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the butter. Pour the custard into 2 shallow bowls and refrigerate briefly, about 5 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat the heavy cream with the cinnamon and the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar until softly whipped. Dollop the cream on the custards, sprinkle the chocolate shavings on the cream and serve.

Make Ahead: The chocolate custards can be prepared through Step 2 and refrigerated overnight. Serve the custards chilled or at room temperature.

Makes 2 servings.

~~Food and Wine~~

Monday, January 2, 2012

♥ It's a new year & Tea at Prim Rose Hill ♥

A new year is always so exciting to me. It's like a fresh slate, a start over. It seems like anything is possible and I always seem to feel inspired and hopeful as I look over the coming year. For 2012, I am hoping to be in better health. And to continue my journey towards being alot healthier than I have been in the past year. Part of that is weight loss, but unlike most people (which I count myself as in the past) who dream big, only to crash a few weeks, or maybe a few days later, I want to continue on what I have started.

After being diagnosed as a diabetic last year, and after much lecturing from my Dr how I should have gastric bypass surgery and I know she means well, but no, that's not for me....I embarked once again on the low-fat/calorie counting adventure...determined that this time was going to be last time. Although I have said that many, many times in the past. And so I did. For about 5 months, I starved myself and counted calories. After having metabolic testing done, I did find out that after years of yo-yo dieting my body has decided that it maintains my weight at a bit under 1700 calories a day. Now if I was to confess my body weight, you would be amazed. ;) My dietician could not believe it. She said with my weight I should be able to eat 2200 calories a day and still lose weight! Oh no. Not me. :( So I kept count 1200 daily calories and that gave me 1 lb a week weight loss. I honestly don't know how I survived this for 5 months.

My Dr kept telling me I was one of those "carb sensitive" diabetics. I eat the carbs and my blood sugar goes sky high. I eat veggies and salads and my blood sugar is happy. After 5 months of starving and only losing 22 lbs, I finally decided to listen to her and quit eating the bread, potatoes, rice, and all those yummy flour products. The result? Blood sugars are once again in the "nice" range & I lost 20 more lbs in only 2 months!! What's even better? I'm not hungry all the time! Am I eating one of those crazy low carb diets? Not exactly. I call it a "low-ER" carb diet. I'm actually vegetarian and I don't eat meat (beef, chicken, pork, etc) but I do eat fish. (No I'm not one of those crazy PETA vegetarians...I just can't digest the meat and tried to start eating fish a few years ago with success). I eat ALOT of veggies and salads with my soy protein and fish. So while I can't claim it as a "low carb" diet (most of those people only eat 25 carbs a day) I do call it a "lowe-er" carb diet since I eat about 50 - 75 carbs a day. With weight loss success!!

So why am I sharing this on my tea blog? Well I wanted to let you know I will continue to post all kinds of yummy tea goods made with flour and such. Nothing there will change! :) Hopefully one day I will be able to eat that again, but for me it will be awhile. I wanted to share today about a simple tea I had at home today and it was all low-carb goodies. yes, I'm so proud of myself. LOL.

My husband bought me a 3-tier tray that I had seen for Christmas. I can't find alot of my tea things since we moved. I think most are still packed in storage! So while I do have trays, I didn't have one at the moment. We were sitting at the table on New Year's Day and he asked what I was going to do with it. Well use it of course! So while he went out on a service call, I decided to have "afternoon tea" ready when he came home. Talk about surprised! :) It was an impromptu tea and I really enjoyed it. I was thinking about dear Bernideen from Bernideen's Tea Time Blog and a recent post she had where she shared her tea parties from 2011. I felt inspired! It was afterall the first of the year when all things seem possible. So I thought I'd give it a try and see about having one every month. Life is too short to live without tea parties, right? :)

So I thought I'd share my little impromtu afteroon tea party on New Year's Day! Since I grew up on the Eastern Coast, I should tell you we always celebrated holidays with fresh seafood. I guess I haven't outgrown that because I still do the same even though I live 350 miles inward now in the mountains.

Wishing you a healthy and happy 2012 & year full of inspiration and creativity!

have a TEA-licious day!

SHERI

Shall we start with Pan-Seared scallop salad with champagne vinaigrette & she-crab soup? The salad was featured in this month's issue of Tea Time Magazine.

My new 3-tier tray with lots of goodies!

On the bottom we have Shrimp salad on cucumber, spinach artichoke spread with smoked salmon on low-carb bread, and my low-carb cheesecake looking yummy in the background. ;)

The middle tray I tried out a new recipe for low-carb mini scones. Actually not bad!

Yummy cheesecake with strawberries

coconut macaroon cookies

And tea of course! I love these cups. The dinner set is very precious to me because they belonged to my Irish grandmother. I always loved having tea in these with her.