Friday, October 31, 2008

Marshmallows


I've been thinking about homemade marshmallows and new flavors of hot chocolate lately, anticipating the fall weather that is on its way! I found a few marshmallow recipes and love the combination of peppermint and chocolate so thought I would combine the mint marshmallows with homemade hot chocolate.


The marshmallows were so easy to make (recipe found on epicurious.com) and the flavor combinations are endless! I used peppermint extract for my first batch and the flavor and texture were perfect.

I coated the rim of the espresso mug with sanding sugar for a little crunch and even more sugar. It not only looked pretty but tasted great. Next time I will use crushed peppermints or maybe even melt an Andes mint into the hot chocolate. I can't wait to try even more marshmallow and hot chocolate combinations!


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! Just wanted to share a few pictures of some cupcakes I made for an event.


Cupcake toppers made with different paper, shapes and stickers.


Chocolate cupcakes with buttercream frosting and topped with fondant pumpkins and bats.


Friday, October 17, 2008

Blueberry Muffins


In my efforts to find and make quick, healthy breakfast items that we can eat on the go I came across a blueberry muffin recipe that appealed to me. The key words that stood out were "make ahead" and "freezable!" I have to wake up pretty early in the morning so I need items we can just grab and get going.


These muffins are loaded with vitamin B, calcium, antioxidants, omega 3 and protein.

I made a few adaptations to the original recipe based on the ingredients I had on hand and trying to make these more nutritious. For a "healthy" muffin these are very good. They are light, not at all dry or dense like so many store bought blueberry muffins. And I love the nutty flavor the flaxseed and walnut oil added. I also prefer fresh blueberries that way they don't bleed into the batter and make the muffins blue.


Blueberry Muffins with Almond Streusel
adapted from Cooking Light 2004

Muffins:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup flaxseed meal
1 cup oats
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups vanilla low-fat yogurt
1/2 cup reduced fat buttermilk
3 tablespoons walnut oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
Cooking spray

Streusel:
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup slivered almonds, chopped
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon butter, melted

1. Preheat oven to 400. Spray muffin pans with cooking spray
2. Combine flours, flaxseed meal, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt into large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Make a well in the center of mixture. In a separate bowl, combine yogurt, milk, oil, vanilla and egg, stirring with a whisk. Add yogurt mixture to flour mixture, and stir just until moist. Fold in blueberries.
3. Spoon 2 rounded tablespoons batter into muffin cups.
4. Combine 1/4 cup flour, almonds, brown sugar and butter. Sprinkle evenly over batter. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes. Cool in pans 10 minutes.

Makes approximately 30 muffins.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Snack Bars


Snack Bars. Something quick that you eat on the run. So many of the bars you find in the store are either so hard you feel like your teeth with bread or overly sweet. In my search to find the right bar I decided to try a few recipes. It is so easy to make a bar, you can add lots of healthy items and adapt the ingredients to your favorites.

I made two different bars this morning and it took me less than 1 hour. The first is more of a breakfast bar (recipe from Cooking Light). The main ingredients are 7-grain cereal puffs, wheat germ, applesauce, dried fruit, cinnamon, and egg whites. You mix all the ingredients in the food processor until combined and bake in the oven for around 30 minutes. These bars freeze very well so you can make a large batch and freeze for longer storage.


The other bars are my best bars (adapted from a recipe in Super Natural Cooking by Heidi Swanson). Ingredients include: brown rice crisp, granola, oats, flaxseed meal, assorted nuts, dried fruit, brown rice syrup. Just chop the nuts and fruit, add to other ingredients. Heat syrup then mix well. Place in baking pan and let cool until set. These are delicious!!



Both of these bars are healthy and are great snacks to have on hand when you just need a little something. The bars in the stores will pale in comparison to these fresh, healthy flavors!

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