Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Slow Melt Strawberry-Peach Popsicles

Slow Melt Strawberry-Peach Popsicles

Being a mom of two little beautiful girls, like most moms out there I am always on the lookout for healthier options. Leah and Sara are obsessed with popsicles. They could eat five per day, whether it's summer or winter. When I first discovered Slow Melt Popsicles from Popsicle brand called "Mighty Minis" I thought it was the best thing since sliced bread :) They were small only at .5 oz each and they were slow melt meaning no messy hands and stains on every shirt. It was the perfect solution to a small treat... EXCEPT that they are made with high fructose corn syrup which every mom tries to avoid if possible. Well, there went my 'best thing since sliced bread popsicles" :) A few years ago, I found popsicle holders at a local craft store and picked some up. I immediately began making my own popsicles once in a while but the problem with that was they were too big in size for my little 1 years old at the time and also melted super quickly. I continued to buy those high fructose corn syrup popsicles feeling unsatisfied. The packaging says that they are slow melt due to a "touch of gelatin". I felt like my eyes were opened and that if I had just added a "touch of gelatin" to my own they would become slow melt as well! I was right! :) Here they are, Slow Melt Popsicles! I was also very lucky to find mini popsicle holders at TJ Maxx recently and can use those for small treats. Perfect for my almost 2 year old toddler. Here is a link if you are interested: . The amount that this recipe makes is a little hard. I was able to make 6  mini pops as well as 4 regular size popsicles. I would say if you have a popsicle mold that has 6 regular size popsicles molds the amount would be perfect but it is easily halved or doubled. Enough talking, right? Lets get to the recipe now.

 Oh, wait one more thing, these popsicles basically don't melt. It is so funny. I normally would give my youngest a small popsicle but for this experience gave her a big one which took her 35 minutes to eat. After 35 minutes not one drip. With one full packet of gelatin they become sort of like frozen jello and when they start to melt they don't drip, instead they become jiggly. The texture is definitely different from regular popsicles. I have tried using only 1/2 packet before but they melted, although definitely not as fast as those with a full packet. I hope you and your kids enjoy these!

You will need:

 1 cup frozen peaches 
 1 cup fresh strawberries (*any fruit would work)
1 cup  100% juice (see photo below of the fruit/veggie juice I used)
1/2 - 1 packet unflavored gelatin

 1.Rinse and roughly chop the fruit you will be using. It should total about 2 cups.
 2. Put it all in a blender or food processor, I used an immersion blender.
 3. Blend until all the fruit is fully blended.

 4. In microwave safe dish heat the juice for about 2 minutes until it is hot but not boiling. Have the gelatin ready.

 5. Sprinkle the gelatin into the hot juice and quickly mix until combined. This has to be done quickly or it will start to clump up. If that happens you can always drain it through a fine mesh sieve. As I mentioned before you can use as much or as little gelatin as you want. If you have older kids, you can make these without any gelatin at all.

 6. Mix the juice mixture into the blended fruit.

 7. Fill your popsicle molds with a ladle or a liquid measuring cup.

8. My large popsicle holder broke as you can see in the middle but they still work fine. Freeze 6-8 hours or overnight.

 9. As with any popsicles, before taking them out of the molds run them under hot water or hold in a cup with hot water for about 10 seconds so that it can release easily from the plastic holder.
 Finally, feed them to your children and feel good about it! :)
 It takes half as much time to actually make these as it probably was to read this post but I hope you enjoy them like we do!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Whole Wheat Apple Muffins

            It's hard to believe it has been so long. A time came when blogging wasn't my priority. I have to admit, looking at old photographs on this blog, it's a little embarrassing  They look worse than mobile pictures. :) Maybe my photography didn't improve extremely, but enough for me to see the difference and realize the difference. Last weekend I finally graduated college! Yay for me! My last semester was difficult, lets just say Cost Management isn't my favorite subject, but nevertheless, I also had the opportunity to take a photography class which inspired me to continue to take photographs and learn my camera a little better. My final project was obvious to many who know me well, food photography. I had an awesome professor who encouraged and inspired me. This led me to have the desire to go back to blogging, on a very part time basis. The bad thing is, I am no artist when it comes to food. I simply am good at following well written directions. This makes it hard to blog and share recipes about what has already been blogged about. There is simply no need for it when I can just as easily send  someone the link to the website I used. Rarely, there does come a time when I will adjust the recipe to my taste but very slightly. The reason maybe for this blog is to share recipes that mostly won't be mine, but that I promise to have made and loved, hoping you will too! I really hope you will enjoy some of my favorite foods and this blog.

Whole Wheat Apple Muffins

From King Arthur Flour
(With Adaptations from the Smitten Kitchen)

 Makes 12-18 muffins

These dark, moist muffins will keep well for several days. You don't even need to heat them up to enjoy them, which makes them a perfect breakfast, tea & and coffee accompaniment and of course a snack at any time of the day . The brown sugar sprinkled on top adds a crunchy touch, do not skimp on it as it is amazing. Yum! Even my husband who doesn't care much for muffins gobbled these down. The wheat flour makes is a little more healthy, I guess? If you don't have White Whole Wheat I bet you could just do 2 cups of unbleached instead.

You Will Need:

1 cup White Whole Wheat Flour
1 cup Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, divided
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup (8 ounces) buttermilk (I used whole milk with a tablespoon of lemon instead)
2 large apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 450F.

2. Grease and flour 12-18 (the original recipe is for 12 but I got 18) muffin cups or line with muffin liners and set aside.

3.Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and set aside.

4. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and add the granulated sugar and 1/4 cup of the brown sugar. Beat until fluffy.

5. Add the egg and mix well; stop once to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl

6.Mix in the buttermilk gently. (If you over-mix, the buttermilk will cause the mixture to curdle.)

7. Stir in the dry ingredients

8. Fold in the apple chunks.

9. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, sprinkling the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar on top.

10. Bake for 10 minutes, turn the heat down to 400°F, and bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

11. Cool the muffins for 5 minutes in the tin, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

12. Share with neighbors? :)

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Lemon-Ricotta Cheese Cookies

Lemon-Ricotta Cheese Cookies

Lets just sat I took the summer off. Period. :)

But now that I am back... and have one and half weeks of summer vacation (between summer classes and fall semester starting) I am taking the advantage to bring you something yummy. I am not a huge fan of cookies. I am more of a cake kinda girl. But these, these are different. They are so moist and they just taste more like tea cakes than a cookie. If you like lemon, these are especially delicious. The interesting fact is that these have an entire container of ricotta cheese in them. Who would have ever thought??? I don't know about you, but I like them. So doesn't my mother-in-law, which you know is always good. :) Make them, and bring some to your mother-in-law, she will love you too.

On a side note, we got a spanking new camera along with a super-duper lens. I absolutely positively love shooting photos with it. I have also started editing some photos. All the photos before were unedited. I feel like it brings out the true color and texture of the food. Therefore, this blog-post has taken me much longer. Please don't just sit there... but tell me what you think, or I might just take a "fall break" too. :)

Here they are..... Lemon-Ricotta Cheese Cookies........
Adapted from Food Network

You will need:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 lemon, zested

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

2. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

3. In the large bowl combine the butter and the sugar. Using an electric mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
4. In the meantime, let your toddler mix around your flour mixture.....
.... and grate up the zest of one lemon.
5. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until incorporated.
6. Add the ricotta cheese, lemon juice, and lemon zest. Beat to combine.
Your batter will look curdy.... don't worry about it.

7. Stir in the dry ingredients just until incorporated.
8. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon the dough (about 2 tablespoons for each cookie) onto the baking sheets.
I got about 30 cookies.
9. Bake for 15 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 20 minutes.
10. Now you can optionally make the glaze to pour on top of the cookies or simply dust the top with powdered sugar if your not into glaze. To make the glaze you need the zest and juice of one lemon, plus 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar. Just mix it all together.
11. And pour about 1/2 teaspoon on each one letting it drip to the sides. I like to put the parchment paper I used to bake the cookies on underneath, that way whatever drips off can be on the paper that I can just toss.
You also need to let the glaze harden a bit before serving. Enjoy.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I am BACK. Sort of.

Dyatlovo, Belarus 2010

Hello.... Hello??? Anyone there???? Today I was wondering if I should even get back to this. I promised you all 1 month an am back 2 months later. Forgive me, please??? You see... I left to Belarus for our mission trip with Zhenya for three weeks... having another awesome opportunity to serve my God.... and then unexpectedly we sold our camera there. Belarus was so much fun. As much as I contemplated for 1/2 a year on leaving Leah here withous us for 3 weeks I do not regret going. Tent camp was hard and completely different from the other times I had gone to Belarus but the kids loved it and heard about God and His love for them, which is all that mattered. Among being involved in all the other activities in the camp, my responsibility was craft time with the kids. The kids and I both enjoyed it.

It was so awful to leave after the first camp. Zhenya and others tried to convince me to stay, but I felt that it was time to go back to Leah.... This was the last picture we took before all the kids left home. I miss them all very much.

Now back to the camera......My baby (the camera, lol....) was gone and I had nothing to return home with. No pictures (that I took) or camera. I am glad my "photo-obsessed" friend Vik was in our camp, otherwise we would have no pictures. So... at the same time this was a goo time to sell our camera as Zhenya and I both really wanted a newer one.... oh and the fact that I lived at my parents' house for a month after comming back from Bealrus (since Zhenya didn't come back until a week ago) and I really didn't cook much. Just a time here and there. Or maybe just 3 times... lol. My mom was ready to kick me out.... :) but we survived. All in all, I am back and not with new pictures or anything but to say Hello and see if anyone is out there. Also, on a very exciting note we bought a new camera which arrived in the mail yesterday.
Get ready for this...... Canon T2I.
Yep. Soooooooo exciting. So.... I hope to take pics very soon and post something yummy and scrumpcious for you. While I was at my mom's I did make PW's Summer Stir Fry and oh boy was it light and summery and delicous. Make it.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Individual Rhubarb Tarts

I have to confess. I have a new obsession and it's not vanilla beans. Rhubarb. Yum. Have you ever seen these pretty pink stalks at the grocery store? It looks like celery except a pretty pink. How could you not like anything pink? It was funny because one day as I was grocery shopping I came upon some rhubarb and was like... hm, this is a vegetable but I remember seeing it in a dessert recipe...??? I didn't end up buying any but immediatly went home and googled it. I came upon a million recipes which call for rhubarb, mostly desserts and baked goods. They all looked amazing. So... I chose to make a simple sponge cake and fill it in the middle with some cooked rhubarb and strawberry mix. It was sooooooooooooooo delicious. The next day I was back at the store for more rhubarb. I needed to make sure to try at least a few more recipes with this wonderful spring veggie while it's in season. Many recipes pair the tart rhubarb with sweet strawberries. This creates a wonderful tangy and fruity taste. Last weekend I made Rhubarb Crumb something.... from my Williams and Sonoma baking book. Paired with some vanilla ice cream, and I was in heaven. Lets just say, I love everything about rhubarb. I decided to share a recipe with you that I adapted from Joy of Baking. Individual Strawberry Rhubarb Tarts.

On a side note, I will not be blogging for at least three weeks as I am leaving to Belarus tommorow. Please pray for my husband Zhenya and I, and for the rest of our Hand in Hand group. Pray that the kids open up their hearts to God's Word and that we are prepared to share it with them.

**** Side note: I am now finishing this three days later and in an huge apartment on he 15th floor in Kiev, Ukraine. During my blogging the night before we flew out a thunderstorn hit my in-laws house causing power outages and a tree in the yard as well as on my sister in law's car. What a huge mess!!!! Thank you GOD for being merciful to us!!! ***

Individual Strawberry Rhubarb Tarts
Adapted from Joy of Baking

You will need:

For Pastry Crust:

*2 1/2 cups flour

*1 teaspoon salt

*1 tablespoon white sugar

*1 cup unsalted butter, chilled, and cut into 1 inch pieces

*1/4 to 1/2 cup ice water

*Filling (see below)

1. First make the crust. In a food processor or electric mixer, place the flour, salt, and sugar and process until combined.

2. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse meal (about 15 seconds).
3. Pour 1/4 cup (60 ml) water in a slow, steady stream, through the feed tube until the dough just holds together when pinched.
4. Add remaining water, if necessary. Do not process more than 30 seconds.

5. Turn the dough out onto your work surface and gather it into a ball.
6. Divide the dough into two equal pieces,flatten each portion into a disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes to one hour before using. This will chill the butter and allow the gluten in the flour to relax.

For Filling:

*1 pound rhubarb cut into 1 inch pieces (approximately 3 cups)

*1 pound fresh strawberries, cut into 1 inch pieces

*1/4 - 1/3 cup flour

*3/4 - 1 cup white sugar

7. In a large bowl, combine the cut up rhubarb, cut strawberries, flour, and sugar.

8. Once the pastry has chilled sufficiently, remove the two disks of pastry from the refrigerator and divide each disk into four equal portions (you will have eight portions altogether).
9. On a lightly floured surface, roll each portion of pastry into a 7 inch (18 cm) circle.
10. Place approximately 1/2 - 3/4 cup of filling in the center of each pastry circle, spreading the filling out to about 1 inch (2.54 cm) from the edge of pastry.

11. Gently fold the edges of the pastry circle up and over the filling, leaving the center of the tart open. Press the edges gently so the pastry sticks together. Once all the tarts are assembled, cover and return to the refrigerator for about 15 - 30 minutes to chill.

12. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
13. Bake the tarts for approximately 25-30 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the juices are bubbly and starting to run out from the center of each tart.
14. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool before serving. Serve with softly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.