Easy Eats – Juiciest Rib-Eye Steak Recipe

Juiciest Rib-Eye Steak

Adapted from www.recipe4living.com

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. granulated garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon coarse sea salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat your grill to high heat.
  2. Rub the steaks evenly with pepper, garlic powder, and salt.
  3. Place on grill and cook for four minutes on each side to achieve medium-rare. Cook longer if desired.
  4. Remove and allow 10 minutes before serving.
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Mary’s Memo – February 8th

PIE MAKING 101


Mother made pie crust with Crisco. Daughter Mary Ann uses lard and butter. But in my opinion lard makes the flakiest crust. Salt enhances the flavor and use 1 teaspoon per double crusted pie. When I was a county extension agent in Indiana at a Purdue 4-H Club Roundup, I watched the national cherry pie champion use cold milk instead of ice water in her pie crust and I’ve used it ever since in mine. It gives the crust a more golden color when baked. Finally, I could not get along without a pastry cloth and rolling pin cover and Mother also used one when they became available. I use the set when I make rolled cookie dough and bread. Practice makes perfect when it comes to making pie crust. If you’re still intimidated by the thought of making your own, Pillsbury’s refrigerated crust is the way to go. Having cut many a pie at church dinners, some pie bakers would be better off using one of these!

MY PIE CRUST RECIPE


• 3 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 cup fresh lard
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 1/2 cup chilled milk (whatever kind that you use)

In a food processor or electric mixer with dough hook, Pulse on and off to make coarse crumbs. Add milk gradually until dough clings together in a ball. Divide dough into 4 parts. If not using immediately, form each ball into a round flat disk and store in freezer bag until needed. Recipe makes 2 double crusts.

“FORAGING” IN THE MODERN SUPERMARKET


There’s good news at your local supermarket. “You should walk into a supermarket with a very positive attitude,: says Alice H. Lichtenstein, DSc, director of Tufts Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory and executive editor of the Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter. “The availability of healthy and affordable foods has greatly expanded in recent years. A smart strategy of “hunting and gathering,” Lichtenstein says, can fill your cart with nutritious, budget friendly items that can be turned into healthy meals with a minimum of fuss. Making a list and sticking to it is the first step in nutrition-wise “foraging.” It insures that you’ll buy only what you really need for meals and helps you reduce waste and avoid impulse purchase. Even canned-goods aisles contain healthy choices, especially if you choose foods like canned beans. They're an excellent choice and a protein alternative to meat, as well as convenient. Tomatoes are another wise canned choice, Lichtenstein notes, “Sometimes canned tomatoes are more flavorful than fresh because they are processed at the peak of ripeness. Canned tomatoes may also include varieties that are more flavorful but that don’t ship well as whole, fresh tomatoes.” The lycopene in canned tomatoes and tomato sauces is more accessible than in fresh, uncooked tomatoes. Reduced-sodium soups have become more widely available, too, improving options in a section of the supermarket that was once a sodium-laden disaster zone.
Source: Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, February 2016.

A SWEET FOR THE SWEET ON VALENTINE’S DAY


For a snack, daughter-in-law Kelly Thaman brought Cracker Toffee to the Thaman Christmas dinner. She got the recipe from one of the ladies with whom she works at school. You’ll need a 13x18-half sheet pan or one close to this size to make the toffee

CRACKER TOFFEE


• 1 1/2 packages saltine crackers (or as many as you can fit into the pan in one layer)
• 1 stick unsalted butter
• 1 cup packed brown sugar
• 1 package semi-sweet chocolate chips
• Chopped pecans, walnuts or any other kind of nut would be good but they are optional

Line pan with parchment paper sprayed with a little Pam. Bring to a boil the butter and sugar and boil for 2 to 3 minutes (browned and bubbly when the sugar is melted). Pour mixture over the crackers (don’t worry if all the crackers are not covered because mixture will spread as it bakes) and bake in preheated 3500F oven for 4 to 5 minutes. Carefully pull out of oven because the liquid at this point will be very hot and will burn you badly if spilled. Let set for 3 to 4 minutes and sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Let set for a few minutes until they melt and then spread with a spatula until covered. Sprinkle with nuts if you like. Cool 20 minutes and then store in the refrigerator to harden up. When cooled and hardened, break into pieces.

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Mary’s Memo – February 1st

ALLIUM VEGETABLES: A SOURCE OF POWERFUL PHYTO- NUTRIENTS


Onions and garlic, two members of the allium family of vegetables, add unmistakable flavors to foods, but they also provide your body with natural chemicals called phytonutrients that are linked with many health benefits. “Alliums contain substances that, when broken down by chopping, crushing or mincing , are exposed to each other, creating a compound called allicin. Some studies have found that allicin may act as an antioxidant; consuming allicin has been linked to lower blood pressure, improved blood flow and prevention of plaque build-up in the arteries,” explains Rissa Landman, MS, RD, CDN, CNSC, a dietitian at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell.

The allium family include cultivated, edible bulbs and their leaves, such as leeks, onions, shallots, garlic, scallions and chives, as well as varieties that grow wild such as ramps (wild leeks). If allium plants are allowed to flower, they produce edible shoots and flowers, such as garlic scapes and purple chive flowers. Onions and shallots contain phenols and flavonoids, which are antioxidants. Consuming flavonoids is associated with decreased risks of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. However, not all onions are created equal, according to Landman. “Sweet onions have been bred to please our palates; however, they have lost some of their powerful antioxidant compounds in the process,” she explains. In general, the less sharp the flavor (think yellow onions and shallots), the higher the phytonutrient content. While sweet onion may be more palatable if you are serving them raw, Landman suggests using yellow onions or shallots when cooking. “The process of cooking and caramelization will bring out the onions’ natural sweetness, and you will maximize your intake of beneficial compounds, she says. To get more allium vegetables into your diet, snip fresh scallions or chives over salads, dips and pasta dishes, start soups and stews with diced, sautéed onions and include leeks in potato-based dishes; leeks in potato dishes; leek and potato soup is a classic example of a delicious way to get phytonutrients that allium vegetables provide. And one final suggestion: “To reap the most benefits from your alliums, they should be allowed to sit for at least 10 minutes after chopping, slicing or mincing to allow allicin compound to become stable before heating,” advises Landman.
Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Women’s Nutrition Connection, February 2016.

ANOTHER REASON TO AVOID UNNECESSARY USE OF ANTIBIOTICS, ESPECIALLY CHILDREN


According to a study in the International Journal of Obesity, Researchers from John Hopkins University analyzed health records of nearly 164,000 children ages 3 to 18 and found that those who had taken antibiotics at least seven times by age15, gained, on average, an extra three pounds. That’s not much, but researchers suggested that the cumulative effect may continue into adulthood. The connection to weight gain is biologically plausible, since antibiotics kill harmful bacteria but also other species that are vital to gastrointestinal health and that may affect nutrient and calorie absorptions as well as appetite. Antibiotics are essential, even life-saving, treatments for bacterial infections, but too often they’re prescribed for colds and other viral infections that cannot possibly be helped by the drugs.
Source: University of California, Berkeley Wellness Letter, February 2016.

ARE YOU READY FOR THE SUPER BOWL?


I look forward to receiving Annie Watts Cloncs Christmas letter because in addition to information about their family as well as a recipe and words of wisdom. In her 2015 letter, Annie shared her version of guacamole following a trip to Central Mexico 15 years ago. Two secrets, she says for great guacamole is a ripe (but not TOO soft) Hass avocado and mashing with a fork for a chunky texture.

ANNIE’S ANYTIME GUACAMOLE


• 1 large ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled and chopped
• 2 TB finely chopped sweet onion, optional
• 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
• 1 to 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

In small bowl, coarsely mash avocado with a fork; stir in onion, garlic powder and lime juice. Add salt to taste. Serve immediately or cover with plastic wrap pressed directly onto the surface and refrigerate for up to 4 hours. Variations:
-Add 1/4 cup diced tomatoes.
-Add finely chopped jalapeno or serrano chiles, or a dash of hot sauce to taste.

Recipe makes 3/4 cup.

Annie’s words of wisdom:
Good friends are like quilts... they age with you, and yet never lose their warmth. Take good care of them!

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Easy Eats – Simple Cajun Chicken

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Easy Eats – Simple Cajun Chicken Recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup Kraft Miracle Whip or Mayo
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Cajun spice
  • 1/2 cup shredded Mexican blend cheese, divided
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Combine Kraft Miracle Whip or Mayonnaise, cajun spice, 1/4 cup of the cheese and parsley.
  2. Spread on chicken, then sprinkle with crumbs.
  3. Bake at 425°, 20 minutes or until thoroughly cooked.
  4. Sprinkle with remaining cheese; heat 1-2 minutes until cheese is melted.

Mary’s Memo – January 25th

FROM THE COOKBOOK SHELF


It’s unusual for me to not get a cookbook for Christmas but it happened in 2015. That said, I took it upon myself to buy Happy Cooking by Giada De Laurentis, published in 2015 by Pam Krauss Books, a division of Penguin Random House. The regular price of the cookbook is $35.00 but my copy came from Amazon.com at a reduced price. Giada and Ina Garten are my favorites on the Food Network. In Happy Cooking, she shares how she strikes a balance in order to maintain her vibrant good health and make cooking and eating well an everyday ritual. In Happy Cooking, she provides a road map to year-round good eating, all while making your time in the kitchen feel more rewarding and stress free. Filled with nearly 200 recipes including for breakfast Oatmeal with Olive Oil and Oranges, a container of Lentil Salad Nicosia for lunch, Salmon with Seasonless Succotash for dinner and a rich Peanut Butter Expresso Brownie for dessert, Happy Cooking is Giada’s guide to cooking up a happy life!

BE PREPARED


The last weekend in January is a reminder of the blizzard that hit our area in 1998. Even though we were warned of its coming, most people were unprepared for what followed. Ever since then, nothing is better for supermarket sales than a pending snow storm warning. Fortunately we had power in our area. My Aunt Marion who lived along the shores of Lake Erie didn’t. She had to cook in her wood-burning fireplace. Although I have gas logs now, I can cook on my outdoor grill. I just have to be sure there is an adequate supply of propane available.

BEWARE


Dietary supplements lead to an estimated 23,000 visits U.S. emergency rooms and more and 2.100 hospitalizations every year, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. Federal officials analyzed nationally representative data from 63 emergency departments over a decade. Nearly 30 percent of the visits involved young adults ages 20 to 34, and 20 percent unsupervised children. Supplements containing herbs and other “complementary” compounds accounted for two-thirds of the visits; vitamins and minerals and other nutrients, the other one-third, Supplements marketed for weight loss and energy boosting were the most common culprits, often causing cardiac symptoms such as palpitations, chest pain and fast heartbeat.
Source: University of California at Berkeley Wellness Letter, January 2016.

IF YOUR TEETH COULD TALK


On the most basic level, good dental health depends largely on manual labor - that is, brushing and flossing your teeth regularly, helped along by tooth-protecting fluoride and periodic professional checkups and cleanings. A healthy diet and lifestyle (particularly the avoidance of tobacco) play big rolls in oral health, too, as do genetic factors, but nothing can take the place of daily cleanings
SOURCE: University of California at Berkeley Special Issue Winter Issue.

RECIPE OF THE WEEK


You are encouraged to eat more fruits and vegetables but occasionally it’s okay to indulge yourself and Betty Crocker suggests doing it with her Triple Chocolate Gooey Butter Cake. Be sure you use Betty Crocker cake mix.

TRIPLE CHCOLATE GOOEY BUTTER CAKE


• 1 Betty Crocker SuperMoist devil’s food cake mix
• 2/3 cup butter, melted
• 3 eggs
• 1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
• 2 tablespoons unsweetened caking cocoa
• 2 cups powdered sugar
• 2 teaspoons vanilla
• 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
• Whipped cream, if desired

Heat oven to 3500F. Grease 13x9-inch (3-quart baking dish) with butter or cooking spray. In large bowl, mix cake mix and ½ cup of the melted butter., 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of vanilla. Press in bottom of baking dish. Set aside. In another large bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add remaining 2 eggs and baking cocoa; beat until smooth. On low speed, add powdered sugar in two additions. Add remaining ¼ cup melted butter and 1 teaspoon vanilla; beat until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread in pan on top of cake mixture. Bake 40 to 50 minutes or until center appears set but still slightly jiggles when shaken. Cool at least 30 minutes. Serve with whipped cream. Source: Betty Crocker recipe.

FOOD TRIVIA


While Nacho Cheese Doritos deliver a quick burst of flavor, their taste is deliberately ambiguous. Food scientists note this sidesteps “sensory specific satiety,” fooling the brain into eating more. Someone gave me a bag as part of a Christmas present and that explains why I couldn’t stop eating them once the bag was open!

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Easy Eats – Crock Pot Potato Soup

Crock Pot Potato Soup

Recipe adapted from www.islowcooker.com

INGREDIENTS

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Add potatoes, garlic powder, onion and chicken stock into crock pot.
  2. Cover. Cook on high for 5 hours or low for 8 hours.
  3. Remove soup from crock pot. Puree in blender or food processor with cream cheese. Pour back into crock pot to keep warm. Enjoy!
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Slow Cooker Italian Sausage & Peppers

  During the winter, I'm ALL about the comfort food. Anything hearty, warm, and full of carbs is what I crave. It's just a bonus when I can use the slow cooker! I am a big fan of the Chief Smokehouse Italian sausage links... have you tried them? We love to grill them up in the summer-time, and serve them on toasted buns with some spaghetti sauce. I'm not about to get out my grill in 12*F weather, so I put my slow cooker to work this weekend. Pan-seared sausages are cooked low & slow with sweet onions & bell peppers, in a rich tomato sauce full of basil. We served up the sausage pieces over pasta, but I've already got my eye on an Italian sub for leftovers tomorrow! FullSizeRender (50) I used a mixture of sweet and hot Italian sausages... cut them into thirds and give them a quick sear in a hot pan. Then place them in your slow cooker. Repeat with sliced onions and sliced bell peppers. IMG_3653 IMG_3654 Layer everything up and cover it with tomato sauce. A little bit of Italian seasoning, and let that slow cooker do its magic! IMG_3655 Soooo good! Add in some grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil just before serving and you won't be disappointed.  

Slow Cooker Italian Sausage & Peppers

Servings/Yield: 8-10 servings

Difficulty

  • 3 lbs sweet or hot Italian sausage links
  • 2 sweet onions, thinly sliced
  • 3 bell peppers , thinly sliced
  • 1-2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2-3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • salt & fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 28-oz can tomato sauce
  • 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (if desired)
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • fresh basil, finely chopped

Method

1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add a drizzle of vegetable oil. Cut Italian sausage links into thirds. Place half the sausage pieces in the pan; brown about 2-3 minutes on each side. Repeat with remaining sausages. Place the sausages in the bowl of a slow cooker.

2. Add another drizzle of vegetable oil to the pan; add the sliced onion. Season with salt & pepper and cook 3-4 minutes until crisp tender. Add to sausages in slow cooker.

3. Add the sliced bell pepper to the pan; cook 3-4 minutes until crisp tender. Add minced garlic and cook 1 minute more until fragrant. Add to onions in slow cooker.

4. Pour tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes over sausages and vegetables in the slow cooker. Add Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper flakes if desired. Cook on low 5-6 hours until Italian sausage is tender.

5. Just before serving, stir in Parmesan cheese and fresh basil. Serve with pasta or on toasted buns with provolone cheese.

Source: adapted from Iowa Girl Eats

Mary’s Memo – January 18th

FROM THE COOKBOOK SHELF


In my Christmas stocking from daughter Mary Ann was a 150 Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches by Alison Lewis (www. rrobertrose.ca; October 2015; softback/$24.95) stands out as a real comfort food cookbook. The author’s Classic Grilled Two Cheese sandwich is a perfect choice when paired with creamy tomato soup in the wintertime! You’ll need a panini grill or a large skillet to make the recipe.

CLASSIC GRILLED TWO CHEESE


• 8 slices white or whole-grain bread
• 2 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
• 4-ounces Muenster cheese, thinly sliced
• 4 ounces Cheddar cheese, thinly sliced

Brush one side of each bread slice with butter. Place on work surface, buttered side down. Top 4 bread slices equally with Muenster and Cheddar cheeses. Cover with remaining bread slices, buttered side up, and press gently. Place sandwiches on preheated panini grill or in a large skillet over medium heat and cook, turning once if using a skillet, for 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown and cheese is melted. Serve immediately. Recipe makes 4 sandwiches. Source: 125 Best Grilled Cheese Sandwiches www.robertrose. ca

Alison Lewis is a nationally known recipe developer, television and social media food spokesperson and consultant,. mom food blogger, food educator, food photographer/ stylist and nutritionist and is president of Ingredients, Inc., a food consulting company in Birmingham, Alabama.

HOW PROCESSED IS YOUR FOOD?


You’ve heard the term “highly processed” to food, probably in contexts suggesting that this is an unhealthy attribute. But what does this term mean, how many foods fall into this category, and why are they often frowned upon? Food processing is any procedure that alters food from its natural state, such as heating, freezing, milling, mixing and adding flavorings. Cooking and preparing raw ingredients at home is also processing them, but "processed" is almost always reserved for commercial foods, usually packaged. Of course, food processing can be a good thing... It helps "insure a safe, diverse, abundant and accessible food supply," according to researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in a recent study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. But many experts believe excessive consumption of highly processed foods leads to poor diets and (and high obesity rates). That may be especially true of ready-to-eat foods, which can be consumed quickly and easily. To test this notion, the new study looked at purchases of packaged foods and beverages from more than 150,000 households and analyzed them in terms of their processing and nutritional quality. The of daily calories; Moderately processed foods and those processed for basic preservation accounted for another 30 percent of calories; Unprocessed or minimally processed foods accounted for only 7 percent of total calories. Unsurprisingly, the study found that highly processed supply not only most of our calories but also a disproportionate share of sugar, sodium and saturated fat that we eat. What’s to be done? Food companies sometimes try to develop highly foods that are healthier, though they haven’t has a good track record with this , and consumer often don’t like the results.. The alternative: Buy more whole of minimally processed foods and do the “processing” yourself. It’s called home cooking.

Source: University of California at Berkeley Wellness Letter, January 2016.

NEW YORK TIMES RECIPE


Via the internet, I subscribe to cooking.nytimes..com recipes. Many of my friends do, also, including daughter Mary Ann.. A 12/11/15 recipe that was appealing to me was Stovetop-Braised Carrots and Parsnips. Usually I do such combinations in the oven.

STOVETOP-BRAISED CARROTS AND PARSNIPS


• 1 pound carrots, peeled, trimmed and halved if more than 1/2- inch thick
• 1 pound parsnips, peeled, trimmed and halved if more than 1/2-inch thick
• 2 tablespoons butter or extra virgin oil or an equal amount of each
• Iodized salt and pepper to taste
• 2 tablespoons butter
• Freshly squeezed lemon juice
• Chopped fresh parsley, dill or basil for garnish (optional)
Combine all ingredients except lemon juice and garnish in a skillet with a cover; add water. Bring to a boil, then cover and adjust heat so mixture simmers gently. Cook until vegetables are tender and liquid is almost gone, about a half hour. Check every few minutes and add more water if necessary. Uncover and boil off remaining liquid if necessary, then taste and adjus seasoning, adding lemon juice as needed. Garnish and serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Recipe makes 4 servings. Source: Adapted from New York Times recipe.

Note: We live in what is known as the goiter belt. Processed foods are lacking in iodized salt so it is important to buy it when shopping.

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Mary’s Memo – January 11th

FROM THE COOKBOOK SHELF


In my Christmas stocking from daughter Mary Ann was a rolled up copy of Better Homes & Gardens Slow Cooker magazine cookbook. I can recall when a hardback cookbook cost less! As a result, I rebel against paying $9.99 for one. We’re including two slow cooker recipes. The first being French-Fried Onion Dip and the second Supreme Pizza Fondue.

FRENCH-FRIED ONION DIP


• 1 box Betty Crocker SuperMoist Lemon Cake Mix
• 16-ounce carton sour cream
• 4 oz reduced fat cream cheese, cubed
• 2/3 cup Hellmann’s Light mayonnaise
• 1/2 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese
• 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
• 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
• 1 2-8 ounce can French-fried onions, divided
• Rye or pumpernickel toasts

In a 1 1/2 or 2-quart slow cooker combine first 6 ingredients (through flour). Reserve 2 tablespoons of the French-fried onions for topping. Stir the remaining onions into cheese mixture. Cover and cook on low for 2 to 3 hours. Before serving, whisk until smooth, adding milk if needed to reach the right consistency Serve immediately or keep warm, covered, or on low up to 2 hours. Serve with toasts. Recipe makes 26 servings.

SUPREME PIZZA FONDUE


• 4 ounces bulk pork sausage
• 4 ounces ground chuck
• 1/4 cup chopped red onion
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1 24 to 32-ounce jar marinara sauce
• 1/4 cup sliced pitted ripe olives
• 1 teaspoon basil or oregano
• 1/4 cup chopped green sweet pepper
• Toasted focaccia

In medium skillet cook the first 4 ingredients (through garlic) over medium high heat until meat is browned. Drain off fat. In 1 1/2 to 2-quart slow cooker combine meat mixture and the next 5 ingredients (through basil). Cook and cover on low for 3 hours. Stir in sweet pepper. Cover and cook on low for 15 minutes more. Serve with focaccia. Recipe makes 16 (1/4 cup) servings.

JANUARY OBSERVATION


With the holiday season behind us, every publication I know of focuses on healthy food choices. Hopefully, you are doing the same.

QUESTIONS FROM READERS


Q: I can’t find light molasses. Do I use less dark molasses in my molasses cookie recipe?
A: No, use the same amount.

Q: What’s the difference between a shallot and a scallion?
A: A shallot is milder than a scallion (or green onion).

IS GOAT’S MILK MORE HEALTHY?


The nutritional differences between cow’s milk and goat’s milk is small; goats milk has a little more calcium, protein, fat and potassium but a little less of some other nutrients. Children who are allergic to cow’s milk are also likely to be allergic to goat’s milk. Moreover, goat’s milk contains nearly as much lactose (milk sugar) as cow’s milk, so if you’re lactose intolerant, it is not the answer. Make sure any milk you drink is pasteurized [goat’s milk often is not.)
Source: University of California, Berkeley, Wellness Letter, January 2016.

PROCESSED MEATS LINKED TO COLORECTAL CANCER


Eating processed meats such as bacon, sausage, lunchmeat and hot dogs may cause colorectal cancer, says a report from the World Health Organization (WHO) published on October 26, 2915 in The Lancet Oncology. The report, based on a review of 800 studies, also found that eating red meat (beef, pork, lamb, mutton, goat) may raise the risk of the disease. The WHO recommended reduced intakes of processed foods after finding that , for every 50 grams (1.8-ounces) of processed meats consumed daily , the risk of colorectal cancer may increase by 18 percent. Fifty grams is the equivalent of two slices of bacon) The evidence associating red meat and cancer was not as strong, but still significant.
Source: Weill Cornell Medical College Women’s Nutrition Connection, January 2016.

MASHED POTATO PUFFS


• 2 cups mashed potatoes
• 3 large eggs, beaten
• 1 cup Parmesan or Swiss cheese, divided
• 1/4 cup minced fresh chives
• Salt and freshly ground pepper
• Sour cream (optional)

Heat the oven to 4000F and lightly grease the cups of a mini muffin tin. Whisk together the mashed potatoes, eggs and 3/4 cup of the cheese. Season, if necessary, with salt and pepper. Mound a spoonful of the mixture in each muffin cup. Sprinkle top with remaining 1/4 cup of grated cheese.. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the potato cups are are set, browned on the top and hot. Let cool for about 5 minutes in the pan, then use a knife to gently release them from the pan. Serve immediately with dollops of sour cream, if desired.
Source: Adapted from www.potatogoodness.com recipe.

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Hippie Crispy Treats

Today, I've got a variation on one of my favorite treats ever... the Scotcheroo! This cereal treat is typically made with peanut butter, butterscotch, and milk chocolate, encompassing three of my favorite flavors. Hippie Crispy Treats are a more grown-up version, full of antioxidants (hello dark chocolate) and healthy fats (thanks to almond butter and coconut oil). A little sprinkle of sea salt on top makes it the perfect indulgence. Made with all-natural ingredients, these could almost be considered healthy! ;) IMG_3625 The method is the same - bring the sweeteners to a boil (maple syrup & corn syrup), and then stir in the nut butter and chocolate. Mix in the cereal and press it all into a pan. For the topping, melt some bittersweet chocolate with a bit of coconut oil and spread it over the top. This creates a silky chocolate layer that is irresistible, especially with a sprinkle of sea salt. IMG_3622 Whole grain cereal, almond butter, coconut oil... I've pretty much decided it'll make a perfectly balanced breakfast!

Hippie Crispy Treats

Servings/Yield: 10-16 servings

  • ½ cup pure maple syrup
  • ½ cup corn syrup
  • ½ cup creamy almond butter
  • ½ cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 4 cups cornflakes cereal
  • For the topping:
    • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
    • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
    • ¼ teaspoon sea salt

Method

1. Spray an 8x8-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine maple syrup and corn syrup. Bring to a rolling boil; let boil 1 minute. Remove from heat; stir in 1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips, coconut oil, and almond butter. Stir until smooth.

3. Place cornflakes in large mixing bowl. Pour melted chocolate mixture over cereal; mix until combined. Spread into prepared 8x8-inch pan and press into an even layer.

4. For topping, melt chocolate chips with coconut oil in a microwave-safe bowl at 30 second intervals, stirring between each, until smooth. Spread over cereal mixture and sprinkle with sea salt. Let sit 1 hour in refrigerator or 3-4 hours at room temperature to firm up. Cut into bars and serve.

Source: adapted from Alexandra's Kitchen