A Fun Idea for Kids!

I am a volunteer teacher for Junior Achievement, which I do one day a week during my lunch hour at a local elementary school. It’s a great program, and it’s nationwide, so if you think this is something you would be interested in, seriously contact your local office! It’s so fun and rewarding :)

Anyways, I always like to get the kids something for their last class as a congrats, besides the certificates that are given out by Jr. Achievement. I decided to make them large lollipops!

I don’t even remember how I found this idea, but I came across it on This Mama Cooks!

Apparently, these little foil pans are hard to find, but I found them at the local Dollar Tree. So, 24 of these for a $1?? SCORE! I bought the lollipop sticks at Wal-Mart in the crafts section and I used two bags of 14 oz. Jolly Ranchers for the candy, as recommended on the website.

Here are the directions for these fun lollipops!

* 8 Reynolds® FunShapes™ Stars or Hearts Baking Cups
* 8 (6-inch) Lollipop sticks
* 40 Jolly Ranchers

PREHEAT oven to 300°F. Place Reynolds FunShapes Stars and/or Hearts Baking Cups on a cookie sheet with sides.

MAKE a hole in one side of each of the baking cups near the bottom of the cups with a toothpick. Insert the lollipop sticks from the inside of the cup through the hole made with the toothpick and push it to the outside leaving at least 1 inch inside the cup.**

ARRANGE 5 candies in each baking cup, placing one candy over the lollipop stick. (It does not need to lay flat, it will melt around the stick.)

BAKE 5 to 6 minutes (it took my oven 9 minutes) or until candy is melted. Carefully remove baking cups from cookie sheet onto a tray to cool; immediately twirl stick to completely coat with candy. Prop sticks with handle of a wooden spoon if necessary to keep the sticks straight in baking cup while lollipop cools.

REMOVE lollipops from baking cups by tearing foil and peeling away from lollipops.

I then wrapped them in little cellophane bags and tied them for cute presentation. The kids LOVED it and the teacher kept asking how did I do that with Jolly Ranchers? LOL!

This was super easy and I recommend giving this little project a try! You can make cute bouquets with these for kid’s gifts or parties too!

WC Recipe Exchange: Rum Buns

On the What’s Cooking? board, there is a recipe exchange held every couple months or so. This is my first exchange, and the challenge was to send a recipe that reigns from your region…that basically says, hey this is my town’s specialty!

EDIT: Found out through comments that the person who submitted this recipe is Sweetie Cakes. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!!!

My first try, I forgot to add the yeast…ugh…so I had to start over at the very end…but it was worth it. This is a great bread with a tinge of sweetness from the icing.

Here is her recipe:

Washington, DC doesn’t have a lot of famous foods but the oldtime seafood restaurants served rum buns instead of regular bread. So when you go to the traditional DC seafood spots, you look forward to the rum buns. This recipe is from the Flagship Restaurant (now Phillips Flagship).

1/2 stick (1/4) c. butter
1/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. scalded milk
1 envelope dry yeast
1 egg, beaten
2 1/2 tbsp. rum extract
3 1/2 c. flour, sifted

For brushing the loaves:
2 tbsp. raisins, chopped
2 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp butter (melted)

For the icing:
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 tsp of rum extract
2 tbsp hot water

Combine butter, sugar, and salt. Add scalded milk and let mixture cool to lukewarm. Sprinkle yeast over the mixture and beat it until it is smooth. Add the egg and 1 1/2 teaspoons rum extract. Beat in 1 3/4 cups flour until smooth. Add 1 3/4 cups more flour and beat until mixture is smooth. Let the dough rise in a warm place, covered with linen tea towel, for 2 hours or until double in bulk.

Grow little bacteria grow!(yes, I realized after this, I needed to remove the saran and put the towel on instead lol)

Punch down the dough and divide it in half. Roll out each piece of dough into a rectangle 12 inches long, 4 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick.

Ready to ROLL! (after the raisins of course!)

Brush each strip with 1 tablespoon melted butter then sprinkle over each strip 2 tablespoons each of sugar and chopped raisins. Roll the dough up jelly roll fashion, stretching it so that it is 15 inches long. Cut each roll into 18 pieces, each 3/4 inch thick, and put them, cut side down in the bottom of well buttered 3 inch muffin tins.

Let buns rise in a warm place, covered with a linen towel, for 1 hour or until double in bulk. Bake in hot 400 degree oven for 15 minutes or until golden.

In a bowl combine 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, 2 tablespoons hot water, and 1 teaspoon rum extract; spread the buns with the icing as soon as they come out of the oven. Cool buns on wire rack.

*DROOL*

They were delicious!

Now, my issue was, I ended up not being able to cut thin rolls to 36, so I made 18. Here are the nutritional facts..

18 Servings

Amount Per Serving
Calories 169.3
Total Fat 3.4 g
Dietary Fiber 0.8 g

Points: appx. 3.5

Banana Bread with Streusel Topping!

After a mishap with the muffins I made last time, I thought maybe there is a better way. I am a regular lurker on Hungry Girl and last week, she posted on her Chew The Right Thing thread about banana muffins. Chew The Right Thing is a blog that happens once a week concerning making high fat foods diet friendly. She showcases food from Starbucks to Taco Bell to homemade comfort food…it rocks!

So last week, she featured banana bread, which can have up to 400 calories a slice! I’ve yet to find a dense cakey banana bread that’s diet friendly, and tonight, I’m still searching unfortunately! I did play a little bit with the bread, but it wasn’t to where it would affect the texture. To see the original recipe, click here.

Here is my take on the recipe:

** denotes changes

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated)
1 tbs Splenda brown sugar **
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 3 bananas)
2 eggs **
1/2 cup no-sugar-added applesauce
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. maple extract **
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
Optional Toppings: no-calorie spray butter, Cool Whip Free

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine both types of flour, Splenda, Splenda brown sugar blend, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon (in other words, all dry ingredients). In a separate bowl, mix together the mashed bananas, eggs, applesauce, and vanilla extract (all the wet ingredients). Add this mixture to the bowl with the dry ingredients, and stir until just blended. Spoon batter into a cupcake tin sprayed with nonstick spray or lined with paper cups. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Makes 12.

Calories: 138
Fat: 1.5 g
Fiber: 3.75 g

Points: 2

This comes out more like a dry bread with a lack of flavor. I’d prefer more moisture and density with spices. I’ll have to take that into account for next time…


Shrimp Fettucine Alfredo

In cleaning out the freezer on Sunday, there was a bag of frozen shrimp in there, and I thought, well I need to do something with this before it’s forgotten in the back of the freezer (you know how that goes). Thanks to Danielle of Joseph’s Wife for reminding me of the Laughing Cow Alfredo recipe that is talked about frequently on the Weight Watchers forums. I used to make this as a quick fix in college when I did Weight Watchers, but I forgot about it…it’s a wonderful recipe but I make it a slightly different way than mentioned in the posts. I prefer a thinner sauce, because this turns out extremely rich.

Ingredients:
16 oz. shrimp (deveined and peeled)
1 bunch of green onions
1/2 small yellow onion
1 clove garlic
7 wedges of Laughing Cow cheese (I used Light Garlic and Herb)
1 cup lowfat milk
1 tbsp margarine (I used Smart Balance)
1 tbsp parmesan cheese
1 tsp garlic powder
Pam spray
4 cups cooked whole wheat pasta
Pepper to taste

Dice green and yellow onions, along with the garlic clove. Place in a Pam sprayed skillet and cook for a minute. Add shrimp and cook for a couple minutes, until the shrimp is done.

In a small pot, place LC cheese, milk, margarine, parmesan cheese and powder together. Keep on low until it melts, mixing ever so often. You may want to start the sauce first because it takes the longest.

In a larger pot, boil spaghetti.

After the spaghetti and alfredo are done, add to the shrimp and combine together (either in the skillet or the pasta pot…wherever it all fits). Add pepper to taste! ENJOY!

Serves 6.

Nutritional Info: (includes pasta, shrimp and sauce)

Calories 276.7
Total Fat 5.2 g
Dietary Fiber 4.7 g

Points Value: 5 points and a VERY hefty serving at that!! Enjoy :)


Some fun things…

Why I need to take a Wilton class…

Here is a picture of my mom’s bday cake. I’m not posting the recipe for it, since the actual cake taste is questionable…I messed up on baking. However, it’s white with strawberry filling! Well, I tried…at least I put lots of love into it!

Also, thanks to jessesgrl from the What’s Cooking forums. I’d link to your blog, but I couldn’t find it on the forums. Anyways, this girl loaded me up with tons of goodies…see below!!



Savory Chicken and Potatoes..

This diet thing isn’t so bad right? I love my George Foreman grill. It’s one of the best purchases towards kitchen stuff I have ever made. I got it at a Black Friday sale, so the price was right! This thing didn’t disappoint me tonight. I wanted chicken badly tonight but I wanted a healthy recipe. I remember a month or so back when Katie from Good Things Catered made grilled chicken and since grilled chicken is as diet friendly s it comes, I decided to give this recipe a go. I ended up doubling the recipe and making some substitutions for a couple things. This chicken, let me tell you, was sooo moist, tender and savory (and easy to boot!!). Thanks Katie for a great recipe!!

Ingredients:
1 pack chicken breasts
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp coarsely ground pepper
Montreal Chicken seasoning

Preheat the Foreman grill. Mix olive oil, vinegar, garlic salt and pepper together in a bowl. Pound chicken down to about 1/2 – 3/4 in. thick to tenderize and make the chicken faster to grill. Dip chicken in mixture on both sides, and place chicken on the grill (for me, one piece fit at a time. Then, sprinkle the Montreal seasoning on top of the chicken and put the grill top down. Grill for 5 minutes, or until done. Repeat for the rest of the chicken.

The spread..

Yum! Time for my closeup!

And just one more stab to make sure it’s still indeed dead!

Serves 6 (cut breasts in half for a correct portion size)

Nutritional Info:
Calories 176.3
Fat 6.0 g
Fiber 0
Points: 4

Now, onto another easy dish, which is a favorite of mine. This is off the Lipton Onion Soup mix box. I made oven roasted potatoes. Here is the recipe…never fails and once again, easy and good!

1 pack Onion Soup mix
1/3 cup olive oil
5-6 medium Yukon Gold potatoes (use whatever potatoes you want…these are just my favs)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut the potatoes into 4-6 pieces (depending on potato size) and place in a 9×13 baking dish. Drizzle olive oil and soup mix on top and mix together (best done with hands I find!). Place in oven for about 30 minutes or until done. YUM!

Zoom in of that starchy goodness!

I could just sit with a fork and eat it all!! Can’t wait for lunch tomorrow now :)

Serves 9-10 ppl

Nutritional Info:
Calories 183.2
Fat 8.0 g
Fiber 3.1 g
Points: 4

Do you like Spring stuff? I sure do!!

I absolutely love my Google reader! I’ve been inspired by so many people who share a passion in the kitchen like I do, and it’s great to brag on a few people :). I added Megan from Megan’s Cookin’ to my subscriptions today since Abby from Abby Sweets gave her a shout out, and her blog just looks great!

Megan is giving away free spring kitchen/baking stuff! Who can hate free? All you have to do is reply to her blog to gain an entry, subscribe to gain another entry, and then if you post in your blog about this giveaway you get 5 more entries! 7 chances to win cutesy spring stuff? Heck yeah!!

Here is a pic of the prize :) Have fun!!

Green Bean Casserole (with a twist)

I love Green Bean Casserole! When I was making diet coke chicken, I realized I needed a side item. I found 2 cans green beans and the onions, however, no mushroom soup! So, I improvised. I figured broccoli cheese, being a creamy soup, would take its place, and boy did it! I found it to be better!! I usually use the recipe off the French’s bag.

Here it is!

Ingredients:
1 (10 3/4) oz. can CAMPBELL’S® Cream of Mushroom Soup (I used broccoli cheese soup)
3/4 cup milk
1 1/3 cups FRENCH’S® French Fried Onions
4 cups cooked whole green beans (I used 2 regular cans)

Directions:
1. MIX soup, milk, 2/3 cup French Fried Onions, and beans in 1 1/2-qt. baking dish.
2. BAKE at 350°F for 30 min. or until hot. Stir.
3. TOP with remaining onions. Bake 5 min.

Take a whole spoonful!

Diet Coke Chicken Revisited!

I’ve made this before on my blog, and it’s a favorite. However, last time there were no pics so here they are!

Diet Coke Chicken

Source: Aimee’s Adventures

1 cup ketchup (I do half ketchup, half bbq sauce)
1 can diet coke
1 pack of boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Put chicken in a non-stick skillet with some olive oil. Brown chicken on both sides for a couple minutes. Then, pour ketchup (and bbq sauce) and diet cola over the chicken. Turn heat to medium high and cook chicken for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover, reduce heat to simmer and cook another 15-20 minutes. Remove lid, and cook until sauce thickens and sticks to chicken. Sauce will taste like BBQ and the chicken is very tender.

Simmering away!

Zoom in on that BBQ yumminess!

Finished product..

Blake Makes! PBDDL!

The wonderfulness that is peanut butter dulce de leche (otherwise known as PBDDL) came in earlier this week, and let me tell you how excited I was! How do you get it? Go to Blake’s website and sign up to be in Soopz! He is a foodie like many of the bloggers that are Soopz members, and he has a new product, which is PBDDL. In order to get the word out, he has giveaways of his products, and now I’m pretty sure many people are all anxiously awaiting it’s selling debut! (mmm)


Another bonus? He is a fellow NOLA-ian. Represent f’real!

With my PBDDL, I made cupcakes! Weight Watchers friendly cupcakes! Now these were flimsy, but there was nothing bad to say about the richness and taste of it…just take a spoon and go crazy! Mmm…

Recipe

10 oz. diet coke
1 box Chocolate cake mix
1 egg white

Bake according to the box recipe. However, halfway in the middle of the baking time, I placed mini Reese’s cups inside, and then let it bake the rest of the time.

The real fun is here…thanks to Allrecipes!

I 1/4ed the recipe though since I only had 1/4 cup of peanut butter to work with :). Delicious though!!

INGREDIENTS

* 1/8 cup butter, softened
* 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter (used PBDDL)
* 3/4 tablespoons milk, or as needed
* 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

DIRECTIONS

1. Place the butter and peanut butter into a medium bowl, and beat with an electric mixer. Gradually mix in the sugar, and when it starts to get thick, incorporate milk one tablespoon at a time until all of the sugar is mixed in and the frosting is thick and spreadable. Beat for at least 3 minutes for it to get good and fluffy.