Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Book Review: Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog...

I had read so many great reviews about this book over the last couple months that I was dying to read it but, frugal as I am, I was waiting until it came out in paperback. Well...not one to pass up on a sale I snatched up the hardcover as I was browsing the shelves at our local bookstore when I saw it at 30% off!

All I can say is this book is amazing! It made me laugh (out loud!) and it made me cry (with my bad luck I happened to read the sad parts while I was on the subway on my way home from work - quite embarrassing - I was sniffling and tearing up like a baby!). I totally agree with other reviews I have read that only a dog-owner/lover (especially anyone who owns a Labrador) can fully appreciate this book! If I would have read this book before we had adopted Biscuit I probably wouldn't have enjoyed it as much BUT I probably would have learned a thing or two and/or would have probably been a little more prepared for the mischief, delinquency, and general work that comes with having a dog! Regardless, I'd do it all over again!

For the first half of the book it was as if I was reading about my own chocolate Lab Biscuit...seriously...the book could have been titled "Biscuit and Me" for all the similarities between Marley and my Biscuit! I kept saying to myself (and to my husband who kept rolling his eyes at me) "Oh my God - Biscuit did that too!", "Hahaha...we went through that", "Oh yeah, Biscuit would definitely do THAT", "Thank God, Biscuit never did THAT!"...I had so much fun relating to the author's love/hate relationship with Marley! There is nothing like a Labrador - they are overly rambunctious, mischievous, ill-mannered, disobedient, among other things, but we still love our Labs! Why...because despite their many many misgivings they are loving, protective, nurturing, and very loyal and they love us no matter what! Our Biscuit, in particular, would give us a million kisses a day if we let him and despite almost having a nervous breakdown during those first couple of weeks, I love him to death!

A definite repeat-read and new favourite!


Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Sour Cream Hazelnut Bundt Cake

Biscuit, our pup, has his weekly agility course tomorrow and my husband volunteered me to make muffins for the whole gang - I was going to make 3 batches of 12 (2 batches for the course and 1 for us)! To tell you the truth, I would far rather make a cake than make 3 batches of muffins and be stuck in front of the stove all evening. I am sure Frederic, our trainer, will not mind at all that I made the executive decision to change the treats from muffins to a cake! I doubt he'll even remember that I was supposed to make muffins...

I've actually made this recipe quite a few times in the past and I keep coming back to it because it's so yummy and easy to make. The layer of nutella and hazelnuts makes it elegant enough to serve to company but at the same time it's casual enough to make for a weekday treat or to bring to a BBQ!

I do make one quite significant change to the recipe (and to the amounts of fat and calories!) - I add about half of a small jar of Nutella instead of the 2 tablespoons suggested! I mean seriously....how far can you go with 2 tablespoons of Nutella anyways?! Just my opinion!

Picture Courtesy of Cooking Light

Sour Cream-Hazelnut Bundt Cake
Cooking Light

1 tablespoon dry breadcrumbs
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (16-ounce) carton fat-free sour cream
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts, toasted
2 tablespoons chocolate-hazelnut spread (such as Nutella)
1 teaspoon powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350°.

Coat a 12-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray; dust with breadcrumbs.
Place granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 2 minutes). Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla and sour cream; beat until well blended.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk until well combined. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture, stirring just until combined.

Spoon half of batter into prepared Bundt pan; sprinkle evenly with hazelnuts. Drop small spoonfuls of chocolate spread over nuts. Spoon remaining batter over chocolate spread; swirl batter using the tip of a knife. Bake at 350° for 55 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes; remove cake from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack. Sprinkle cake with powdered sugar.
Yield: 14 servings (serving size: 1 slice)

NUTRITION PER SERVING - CALORIES 293(30% from fat); FAT 9.8g (sat 4.8g,mono 3.6g,poly 0.7g); PROTEIN 5.4g; CHOLESTEROL 51mg; CALCIUM 82mg; SODIUM 226mg; FIBER 1g; IRON 1.4mg; CARBOHYDRATE 46.1g

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Mango Frozen Yogurt

After an almost failed attempt at making frozen yogurt last week, I was ready to try again. I had 2 mangoes in the fridge that were super ripe and if we didn't eat them within a day or two they were going to go bad so I decided to find a recipe to use them up. I also had leftover yogurt from my last batch so I was all set!

I modified the recipe slightly since it was raining outside today and I was not in the mood to venture outside too far even if it WAS for food...the original recipe (below) called for apricot-pineapple juice, which I didn't have nor do we ever buy it so I used a combination of OJ and pineapple juice that I DID have. The original recipe also called for mace, which I didn't have either but even if I did, I just wasn't into using it. I also added 2 tablespoons of rum, which the recipe didn't call for but I liked the flavor it gave to the previous recipe I tried (kind of like a Daiquiri and we LOVE those!) so I threw it in too...

This recipe was even better than the first recipe I tried. The texture was right on target - smooth, creamy, sweet but not too sweet, and super yummy - just like a frozen yogurt should be. The other recipes were really good but so far this one is my absolute favorite! It's "Oh My God" Good!


Mango Frozen Yogurt (Modified - Original ingredients below...)
The Ice Cream & Frozen Yogurt Cookbook by Mable and Gar Hoffman

Makes about 1 quart

2 medium mangoes, peeled and cubed
1/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons rum
3/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt, stirred

Mango pulp clings to a large seed in the center of the fruit. Slice strips of the pulp away from the seed; then cut pulp crosswise into small cubes.

In a blender or food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine mangoes, orange and pineapple
juices, rum, and sugar. Puree until smooth. Stir in yogurt. Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions.

1 serving contains: 118 cal; 28g carb; 1g fat; 2mg chol; 64mg calcium

Original recipe:

2 medium mangoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup apricot-pineapple juice
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon ground mace
3/4 cup plain low-fat yogurt, stirred

Oven Fries (and Yummy Angus Burgers)...

This week, while shopping at our local grocery store, we discovered some Angus burgers! Pre-prepared and individually packaged, these were the epitomy of convenience! They were slightly more expensive than the hamburgers we often buy when we're in a rush or not in the mood of cooking but we said "what the heck!"....not only because we've been lazy these days (and the heat has pretty much put us on a hiatus from using the stove) but because Angus just hasn't been in our price-range before now! Plus we deserved a treat! We topped with melted Monterey jack cheese, fresh tomatoes, homemade guacamole, garlic mayo, and pickled hot banana-pepper rings! In one word - Orgasmic!

Now to find a side....While flipping through The New Best Recipe by Cook's Illustrated I came across a recipe for oven fries. Now, I've made these before with absolutely no success - not only did they stick to the baking sheet like glue but they never totally cooked inside (or unevenly at best) and the outside never got crispy. I was a little weary of trying again for the umpteenth time BUT my husband really wanted fries so I said I'd try again but with no promises...

Well...this recipe was a total success! Not only did the potatoes NOT stick to the baking sheet but the outsides were crisp and the insides were soft and fluffy like a baked potato and no dryness at all! The secret, according to Cook's Illustrated, is to soak the wedges in hot tap water for 10 minutes before tossing with oil. Another tip I learned is to generously coat the baking sheet with oil which prevents the potatoes from sticking. Whatever the secret, it worked and the hubby was happy! The only drawback with the recipe is that it is a little more labor-intensive but the end result is well worth the effort!

The only change I made is I substituted olive oil for the vegetable oil. Next time, and there definitely will be a next time, I might also add some dried rosemary and some Parmesan cheese....

Oven Fries
The New Best Recipe

Take care to cut the potatoes into evenly sized wedges so that all of the pieces will cook at about the same rate. Although it isn't required, a nonstick baking sheet works particularly well for this recipe. It not only keeps the fries from sticking to the pan but, because of its dark color, encourages deep and even browning. Whether you choose a nonstick baking sheet or a regular baking sheet, make sure that it is heavy duty. The intense heat of the oven may cause lighter pans to warp.

Serves 3 to 4

3 russet potatoes (about 8 ounces each), peeled, each potato cut lengthwise into 10 to 12 even wedges
5 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil
Salt and ground pepper

1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position; heat oven to 475 degrees. Place potatoes in a large bowl and cover with hot tap water; soak 10 minutes. Meanwhile, coat an 18 by 12-inch heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet (see note) with 4 tablespoons of the oil and sprinkle evenly with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; set aside.

2. Drain potatoes. Spread potatoes out on triple thickness of paper towels and pat thoroughly dry with additional paper towels. Rinse and wipe out now-empty bowl; return the potatoes to bowl and toss with remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Arrange potatoes in single layer on prepared baking sheet; cover tightly with foil and bake 5 minutes. Remove foil and continue to bake until bottoms of potatoes are spotty golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating the baking sheet after 10 minutes. Using metal spatula and tongs, scrape to loosen potatoes from pan, then flip each wedge, keeping potatoes in single layer. Continue baking until fries are golden and crisp, 5 to 15 minutes longer, rotating pan as needed if fries are browning unevenly.

3. Transfer fries to a second baking sheet lined with paper towels to drain. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste and serve immediately.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Pina Colada Frozen Yogurt...

I was determined to use our ice cream maker this week so I took out my books and this was the perfect recipe to start with since Marc and I are addicted to Pina Colada! It also helped that we had over-ripe bananas and a pineapple sitting on our counter...

I didn't have vanilla yogurt so I just used the fat-free variety I had on-hand and added one tablespoon vanilla...

I realized after 45 minutes in the ice cream maker that I had made a mistake - I hadn't chilled the mixture before putting it in the machine! Obviously it was too late...serves me right for not reading the manual beforehand and assuming I knew what I was doing! Oh well...I will continue to learn the hard way until it finally sinks in to "Read the Stupid Manual!"....hehehe...

At this point I thought for sure I had ruined the recipe but I decided I was going to put the soupy mixture (not quite ice cream, not quite granita...) into the freezer overnight and see what would happen...I tasted it this morning and although the texture isn't the greatest (more sorbet than frozen yogurt), the taste was still amazing! I will make a slight modification next time though - I need to reduce the ratio of banana to pineapple (half a banana maybe and 1 cup more pineapple) but besides that it was yummy for an almost ruined recipe!

Pina Colada Frozen Yogurt
The Ice Cream & Frozen Yogurt Cookbook by Mable and Gar Hoffman

Makes about 1 quart

1 banana, peeled and quartered
1 cups ripe fresh pineapple chunks
1/4 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons rum or rum flavoring
1 cup vanilla low-fat yogurt, stirred

In a blender or food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine banana, pineapple, and coconut. Blend until almost smooth. Add brown sugar and rum or rum flavoring. Stir in yogurt. Freeze in ice cream maker according to manufacturer's directions.

1 serving contains: 175 cal; 36g carb; 2g fat; 2mg chol; 91mg calcium

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A Few Cookbooks Revived...

I've had both these cookbooks for at least a year and hardly even looked at them...I bought them at the same time in the spring last year but then the wedding plans and home renovations took over and I really didn't have time to make ice cream, much less read books about them!

After our double date for ice cream last weekend I, of course, had a new-found determination and interest in making homemade frozen treats! I foresee a lot of recipe reviews from both these books this summer...the first treat for my hubby is Pina Colada Frozen Yogurt that I am making as I'm typing this post...




Sunday, May 20, 2007

Watermelon Granita

Yesterday my hubby and I went for ice cream with our good friends, Ida and Max, to Roberto Gelateria (2221 Bélanger, corner Iberville) - a well-known Montreal landmark for homemade Italian ice cream. Between the four of us we tried the Baci, Tiramisu, Irish Cream, Coconut, Lemon Granita, and Mango Sorbet...in one word - amazing! In fact, I can honestly say there is no comparison to any other ice cream I have ever had and I'd pay money and lots of it for the recipes, if given the opportunity!

Back to the recipe....so after last night I KNEW I had to get my ice cream maker out of storage. After going through my recipes I finally decided on a granita recipe instead since I had some watermelon in the fridge that needed to be eaten up...I didn't need the ice cream maker but I'm sure I'll be using it soon with the warm weather coming....

I made one change to the recipe...I replaced 2 tablespoons of water with rum...I was surprised how easy this was to make....it took all of 10 minutes to put together!

This was super yummy! Not too sweet and great flavor....a great summer dessert!

Watermelon Granita
Chatelaine Magazine

Makes 5 cups (1.25 L)

1/2 cup (125 mL) granulated sugar
3 tbsp (45 mL) water
1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt
8 cups (2 L) coarsely chopped seedless watermelon
2 tsp (10 mL) finely grated lime or lemon peel (optional)

1.Combine sugar, water and salt in a small saucepan and set over medium heat. Stir frequently until mixture starts to bubble and sugar is dissolved, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

2.Place half the watermelon cubes in a blender or food processor. Whirl until no chunks remain. Pour into a 9x13-inch (3-L) baking dish. Pour sugar mixture into food processor and add remaining watermelon. Whirl until no chunks remain. Pour into baking dish. Add peel. Stir to evenly mix. Cover pan with plastic wrap.

3.Freeze until ice crystals form at edges in pan, about 40 minutes. Using a fork, scrape and stir to evenly distribute ice crystals. Repeat every 40 minutes until frozen, about 2 1/2 to 3 more hours. Using a fork or spoon, scrape granita down length of pan, forming icy flakes. Spoon into bowls and serve. Granita will keep well, covered and frozen, up to 5 days.

Nutrients per 1/2 cup (125 mL): 0.8 g protein, 0.6 g fat, 19.1 g carbohydrates, 0.5 g fibre, 0.2 mg iron, 10 mg calcium, 60 mg sodium, 79 calories

Skinny Chimichangas

I was in the mood for Mexican tonight so I took out my new cookbook and chose this recipe which was has been on my to-try list forever! It was super easy to make, slightly spicy, and full of flavor AND it definitely did not taste like it was low in fat.

I made some changes because I didn't have all the ingredients on hand. I substituted shredded chicken (from a precooked rotisserie BBQ chicken) for the ground turkey, I used 1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes instead of the green chiles since I didn't have any on-hand, and I used jalapeno monterey jack instead of cheddar cheese.

A definite repeater!

Funny tidbit: "Chimichanga" is the equivalent of "thingamajig" in Spanish...

Skinny Chimichangas
WW Takeout Tonight

Serving Size : 4

1/2 pound ground skinless turkey breast
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons chopped mild green chiles
1/3 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
4 (8 inch) fat-free flour tortillas

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a nonstick baking sheet with nonstick spray; set aside.

Spray a medium nonstick skillet with cooking spray; set over medium-high heat. Add the turkey, onion, garlic, chili powder, oregano, and cumin. Cook, breaking up the turkey with a wooden spoon until browned, about 6 minutes. Stir in tomato sauce and the chiles; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the flavors are blended and the mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheddar.

Meanwhile, wrap the tortillas in foil and place in the oven to warm for 10 minutes.

Spoon about 1/2 cup of the filling into the center of each tortilla. Fold in the sides, then roll to enclose the filling. Place the chimichangas, seam-side down, on the baking sheet. Lightly spray the tops of the tortillas with cooking spray. Bake until golden and crisp, about 20 minutes. Do not turn.

Per serving (1 chimichanga): 241 cal, 2g fat, 46mg chol, 613mg sod, 34gcarb, 3g fiber, 22g pro, 184mg calc, 4 points

Friday, May 18, 2007

Super Fast and Easy Mac and Cheese

Last night's creamy parmesan orzo was my inspiration for a fast and easy mac and cheese. My husband declared this recipe his new favorite mac and cheese recipe! The only negative aspect of this recipe is that it isn't visually appealing (in my husband's words "it looks like jailhouse slop"...hehe...but that was before he tried it and then he took it back!)...it doesn't have the same mouthful of the classic elbow pasta that is usually asked for in recipes but the taste and creamy texture made up for the lack of it...sometimes my experimenting pays off!

Super Fast and Easy Mac and Cheese

Ingredients
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup orzo
1 1/4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 1/4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 cup (8 ounces) grated sharp cheddar cheese

Preparation
Heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add orzo, and cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in broth, water, salt, pepper, dry mustard, and cayenne; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until liquid is absorbed and orzo is done (about 15-18 minutes). Remove from heat; stir in cheese immediately and stir vigorously until cheese is fully melted. Serve immediately.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Creamy Parmesan Orzo

This was an absolutely amazing side dish! It's definitely going into my favorite recipes list! It was super creamy and full of flavor and super easy to make! Like a very creamy risotto but with pasta! I didn't make any changes - it was great just the way it is...

Creamy Parmesan Orzo
Cooking Light

Ingredients
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup orzo
1 1/4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 1/4 cups water
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 teaspoons pine nuts, toasted

Preparation
Heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add orzo, and cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in broth and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until liquid is absorbed and orzo is done (about 15 minutes). Remove from heat; stir in cheese, basil, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle with the pine nuts. Serve immediately.

4 servings (serving size: 1/2 cup)

Nutritional Information
CALORIES 236(24% from fat); FAT 6.4g (sat 3.2g,mono 1.8g,poly 0.8g); PROTEIN 9.9g; CHOLESTEROL 12mg; CALCIUM 82mg; SODIUM 412mg; FIBER 1.7g; IRON 1.8mg; CARBOHYDRATE 34.8g

Artichoke-and-Goat Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

This was just okay...it was edible but it wasn't anything we'd make again. It's probably just because we didn't like the combination of the goat cheese and artichokes...I still LOVE stuffed chicken recipes though and I will continue my search for keeper recipes!

Artichoke-and-Goat Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Cooking Light

1 (14-ounce) can artichoke bottoms
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled goat or feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped chives, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon rind, divided
8 (4-ounce) skinned, boned chicken breasts halves
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons lemon juice

Drain artichokes in a colander over a bowl, reserving liquid. Coarsely chop artichoke bottoms. Combine artichokes, cheese, 2 tablespoons chives, 1 teaspoon thyme, and 1 teaspoon lemon rind in a medium bpwl; stir well.

Cut a horizontal slit through thickest portion of each chicken breast half to form a pocket. Stuff about 1/4 cup artichoke mixture into each pocket. Sprinkle chicken with pepper.

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add 4 chicken breasts, and sauté 6 minutes on each side or until chicken is done. Remove chicken form skillet. Set aside; keep warm. Repeat procedure with 1 teaspoon oil and remaining chicken breats. Add reserved artichoke liquid, 1/2 teaspoon thyme, and 1/2 teaspoon lemon rind to skillet. Combine cornstarch and lemon juice; stir well. Add to skillet. Bring to a boil; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Return chicken to skillet. Cover and simmer 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Spoon sauce over chicken. Top with 2 tablespoons chives. Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 1 chicken breast half and 1 tablespoon sauce

NUTRITION PER SERVINGCALORIES 181(20% from fat); FAT 4.1g (sat 1.6g,mono 1.5g,poly 0.5g); PROTEIN 29g; CHOLESTEROL 72mg; CALCIUM 73mg; SODIUM 347mg; FIBER 0.1g; IRON 1.5mg; CARBOHYDRATE 6.7g

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Tomato and Sausage Risotto

We had no idea what to make tonight so I broke out my binder of recipes and chose something that we had all the ingredients for (or most anyways) and something we hadn't made before. I had to improvise since I was missing the can of diced tomatoes and I didn't have any spinach.

I substituted a can of crushed tomatoes for the can of diced tomatoes and I substituted a whole chopped red pepper for the spinach (I added the red pepper in with the onions). I also made some other changes to improve the recipe. I added 2 minced garlic cloves (with the onion) and 1 tsp of italian seasoning and 1/2 tsp of dried basil. I also substituted low-sodium fat-free chicken stock for the water.

All in all it was a great recipe - it was spicy, creamy, and tasty - just the way we like it!

Tomato and Sausage Risotto
Martha Stewart - Everyday Food

Ingredients
Serves 4

1 (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, in juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 pound sweet or hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1 small onion, finely chopped
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup Arborio rice
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 (10 to 14 ounces) flat-leaf spinach, washed well, tough stems removed, chopped (about 7 Cups) 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving (optional)
2 tablespoons butter

Directions
1. In a small saucepan, combine tomatoes (with their juice) and 3 cups water. Bring just to a simmer; keep warm over low heat.

2. In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium. Add sausage and onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook, breaking up sausage with a spoon, until sausage is opaque and onion has softened, 3 to 5 minutes.

3. Add rice; cook, stirring until well coated, 1 to 2 minutes. Add wine; cook, stirring until absorbed, about 1 minute.

4. Add about 2 cups hot tomato mixture to rice; simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until absorbed, 4 to 5 minutes. Continue adding tomato mixture, 1 cup at a time, waiting for one cup to be absorbed before adding the next, stirring occasionally, until rice is creamy and just tender, about 25 minutes total (you may not have to use all the liquid).

5. Remove pan from heat. Stir in spinach, Parmesan, and butter; season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately (risotto will thicken as it cools), and sprinkle with additional Parmesan, if desired.

Friday, May 11, 2007

I Have NO Willpower...

I caved! I bought ANOTHER cookbook! It's Weight Watcher's Takeout Tonight...I know what you're thinking - why are you on Weight Watcher's?! Actually I'm NOT...and NO I'm not on a diet!!! Ha...Me, count points, calories, etc...I don't think so! Our philosophy is everything in moderation...if you just try to eat 3 moderately healthy meals a day and do some sort of exercise daily you can still eat the foods you love - especially desserts!

Back to the book...I have been a member of the Cooking Light message boards for about a year now and alot of my culinary inspiration comes from the magazine and the boards...the recipes from this cookbook keep coming up with great reviews so I caved to the temptation and finally bought it! I've already put a couple or recipes on my to-try-soon list: Skinny Chimichangas, General Tso Chicken, and Lamb Souvlaki...expect reviews from this book in the near future!



Sunday, May 06, 2007

Buckwheat Pancakes

I saw this recipe on the cooking light message board. I have been looking for a recipe that rivals my step-mom's FOREVER! I remember when my sister and I were younger and we'd visit on the weekends, we'd have buckwheat pancakes all the time. Feeling a little nostalgic I decided to look for a recipe...I'll have to ask my step-mom for her recipe to compare...these were very similar to how I remember them...really good...

Buckwheat pancakes
King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking

1 cup (4 1/2 ounces) buckwheat flour
3/4 cup (3 1/8 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons Baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 tablespoons molasses
2 cups buttermilk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

Combine flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.

In a smaller bowl, beat the egg lightly with the molasses. Whisk in the buttermilk and melted butter.

Form a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients. Stir the batter swiftly with a few strokes just until the dry ingredients are thoroughly moistened.Heat a nonstick griddle or heavy skillet. If your surface isn't nonstick, brush it lightly with vegetable oil. When the surface of your pan is hot enough that a drop of water sputters across it, spoon the batter onto the hot surface, 1/4 cupful at a time. Let the pancakes cook on the first side until bubbles begin to form around the edges, 2 to 3 minutes. You may need to adjust the heat up or down to get the pancakes to cook through without scorching the surface or being too pale.

When the cakes are just beginning to set, flip them and let them finish cooking on the second side until they are golden brown, about one minute more. Serve immediately with orange butter and maple syrup.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Paprika Roast Chicken

I've been dying to use the Sweet/Hot Smoked Paprika from Spain that I ordered on the net from La Tienda a couple of weeks ago. I couldn't resist opening up the canisters when I received them - I was very curious to find out what the difference was in smell and taste...there is no comparison between the paprika you buy at the grocery store and the paprika from Spain...seriously! Just the smell is worth the splurge for the 4.50$ per canister (70 grams) - sweet, smoky like bacon, but spicy like chili powder! I thought this recipe from Martha Stewart would be a great test of flavor! Of course I bought the smoked paprika to use in Paella but...oh well...

The only change I made was reducing the salt to 1 teaspoon. I had one little problem with this recipe - the smoke it made in the oven...I will definitely rub the paprika between the meat and the skin next time - that should solve the problem...the chicken was really really moist and flavorful though. The meat really absorbed the smokiness of the paprika. I will definitely be repeating this recipe...I served with some ruby mini potatoes that I tossed with rosemary, salt, pepper, and olive oil and roasted in the same pan as the chicken...

Paprika Roast Chicken
Everyday Food - Martha Stewart

1 tablespoon paprika
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 broiler/fryer chicken (3 1/2 to 4 pounds), giblets and liver discarded, patted dry
1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions
Preheat oven to 475 degrees. In a small bowl, mix paprika, 2 teaspoons coarse salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Season chicken cavity with about 1/4 of paprika mixture. Place chicken, breast side up, on a rack set in a roasting pan. Using kitchen twine, tie legs together; tuck wing tips under.

Rub chicken with oil; sprinkle all over with remaining paprika mixture. Roast until very dark, 15 to 20 minutes. Cover loosely with aluminum foil; continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh (avoiding bone) registers 165 degrees, about 30 minutes. Transfer to platter, and cover loosely with foil; let rest 10 to 15 minutes before serving.