Thursday, 28 March 2013

Minty Cream Cheese Brownies

I am kind of disappointed that I wasn't able to make the Creme de Menthe tart for you all this week, but really.....I don't want 1 L of mint flavoured alcohol in my pantry.....So I opted for plan B

Plan B:

1.  relax and look at food blogs on the computer
2.  procrastinate in all things that need to be done
3.  Have a glass of wine
4.  decide that is time to bake!

Mint and Chocolate is one of my favourite combinations....I feel like I am enjoying a decadent dessert that doesn't require teeth brushing afterwards....kidding....I love After Eights, Pep bars and I will eat York Patties to if they are around.  I also enjoy those thin mint cookies that the Girl Guides bring around.....Oh Girl Guides!  Please come and sell me me Thin Mints...

I think I missed the boat on that....oh well....

Anyways, back to the task at hand.  Brownies!  One of my husband's favorite cookie type snack.  I saw this variation on one of my new fav food blogs, "Alaska from Scratch".  So cool.  So I decided these little babies needed a Northern Alberta flair!  So I bring you.......Minty Brownies, ala ME!

What you Need:
    For the Brownie Batter: 
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Dutch-processed)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 1/4 cup of chocolate chips

    For the Cheesecake Batter: 
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon mint extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • green food coloring ( a few drops...I used about 4-5)

What to do:
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8x8 square brownie pan. 
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the melted butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix in the cocoa followed by the flour, salt, and baking powder. Add the milk to thin out batter some.  Spread batter into the prepared pan.  Sprinkle chocolate chips on top of batter.
  3. In separate bowl beat the cream cheese together with the sugar until smooth. Add yolk and extracts, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add food coloring to reach the color you're wanting.
  4. Dollop the cream cheese mixture over the brownie batter (you may be tempted to think there is too much cream cheese mixture... but don't worry. When the brownies bake, they puff up and it all evens out nicely). Using a table knife, swirl the two batters together in an up and down motion. Then, repeat the same motion crosswise until the desired swirling is achieved. Be careful not to over swirl.
  5. Bake the brownies for 30-37 minutes or until set, being careful not to overbake. Allow the brownies to cool on a cooling rack for at least 20 minutes before slicing. For clean slices, wipe the knife clean between each slice. 

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Avocados - Let's make Guacamole!

Well, we have received quite a dump of snow this past our first day of Spring is rather white, instead of the hoped for green.  Here's to hoping it doesn't snow on Easter....eek!

Anyways, I've been enjoying my month of green things; Kale, smoothies, and now AVOCADOS!!!  I'm like totally on a kick with them right now!  And when I say kick, I mean I have bought them two grocery shops in a row....I know, I am crazy like that!

I've always liked avocados. I like them plain with lemon juice and salt and pepper, I like them with cottage cheese, and my all-time favorite way to eat them is in dip form, guacamole in fact.  Guacamole doesn't have to be complicated at all.  It seems we can "doctor things up" a lot and the food gets over-powered by the spices.  (I should know, I love to add a dash of this and poor husband - trying to guess what I did to certain dishes....All in the name of Science I say!)  Anyways....I like my guacamole simple, to let the goodness of the green things sing for themselves.  So here's my recipe.

Oh by the way....I'm still on the hunt for creme de menthe....It may not happen.  Can't seem to find a size smaller than a litre.  Eek!  So, I may be changing up my sweet treat this month.  I WILL make the tart someday soon as find some creme de menthe.. (back to guacamole now.....)

My Guacamole

What you need:

1 ripe avocado
1 green onion
1 small tomato
1 garlic clove
2 TBSP of lemon
salt and pepper to taste

What to do: 

1. Mash avocado in bowl.  2.  Chop/dice/mince green onion, tomato and garlic clove.  
3.  Add lemon juice and dashes of salt and pepper.  4.  Combine to your liking.  5. Serve with pita, chips, veggies....and EAT!!!!

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

WHAT??? Spinach in a smoothie??? Go on!!

The first time I heard about putting leafy things in my blender filled with fruit was from a friend of mine who was working on getting her kids to eat more veggies.  It totally astounded me that they 1. drank the smoothie, and 2. Enjoyed it!  Didn't taste like salad at ALL!

So, my curiosity was piqued.  I do like veggies, but sometimes I balk at eating them.  Of course as a good mom I make my kids eat them all the time.....But I need my mom to phone me and tell me to eat more veggies...Ok mom, text me....:)

So I went on Pinterest and saw this great recipe for adding leafy greens to a tasty fruit smoothie. I tried it and LOVED IT!  Went through a whole bag of spinach and didn't have to throw any of it away because it went bad!  YAHOO!  Veggies that don't taste like veggies!  Revolutionary I know!  I drink this smoothie quite regularly.   Feel free to make as many adaptations as you can!

My Green Smoothie

1 handful of spinach leaves
1 cup of vanilla almond milk  (feel free to use whatever "milk" product you like here)
1/2 cup of lime Greek yogurt  (other flavors would be great too)
1 kiwi peeled and cut up
1/2 - 1 cup frozen peaches
1/2 a banana

* adding ground flax seed would be wonderful as well.  

What to do:

Place all ingredients into blender.  Blend until smooth and pour into children's and your glasses.  Place straw into cup.  SLURP UP WONDERFULNESS! 

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Grilled Chicken and Kale Thai Rice Bowl

Can you feel it?  Winter is slowly shrinking back to its Artic Cave and Spring is giving us small hints of what is to come!  I am really looking forward to Spring this year. (I KNOW - we will probably get a big snow storm this month.....but I don't care)  I am breaking out the soft colors, buying "springy" clothes and thinking and dreaming of my little garden.

I am so PUMPED about my little garden!!!  Green things growing!!!!  That I planted.  So cool.  In honor of green things sprouting in our dreamed about gardens, along with the whole Irish thing....I plan to post "GREEN" things this month.  Yes there will be actual veggies featured but I am also aiming at making a fabolous Creme de menthe pie!!!!   EEEK so excited about THAT!!! 

But first things first....Green Veggie.....KALE!  I have never had this popular veggie.  I have been a bit of whimp really.  Curious, but reticent.  But a recipe from another blogger, Nutritionist in the Kitch came to the rescue!  She is a friend of mine's sister and a nutritionist and has a passion for good food. Totally check out her amazing blog!!  So when I saw her Kale recipe I KNEW that this was the one to try Kale with for the first time.  I adapted the recipe as I am not as "vegan" and some chicken sounded so good.  Also I had to adapt ingredients as I don`t have a grand supermarket with exotic ingredients at my disposal....I wish I did.....but I don`t...

(some time later....)

And it WAS GOOD!  But I do think Kale stems......are not my favorite...  I will cut them out next time.  My favorite part is the sauce.....over the veggies, chicken, and the rice....YUMMMMMMY!  This was so easy to make and very tasty.  Feel good about what you are cooking!!

 What you Need:
  • 4 cups chopped Kale
  • 1 cup packaged cabbage slaw
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli
  • 1/2 cup of sliced snow peas
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 cup cooked brown rice
  • 1-2 cups sliced grilled chicken (breast or thigh)
  • Sauce:
  • 3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 2-3 tablespoons of Asian Sesame dressing (Kraft)
  • 1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon crushed chili flakes
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • 2-4 tablespoons water
  1. Whisk together sauce ingredients until smooth (add more water to get a thinner sauce consistency)
  2. Heat a non stick pan or wok at medium heat.
  3. Add kale and veggies. Cook and stir for 2 to 3 minutes, add sauce and cooked chicken.  Stir to coat.  Cook another 3-4 minutes.  You want the Kale to be wilted and the veggies to be tender crisp.
  4. Serve over hot cooked brown rice (or quinoa) and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.
  5. Enjoy!