Stand Mixer

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I’m sure most of you who have tried your hand at baking have at least ONCE placed all the flour or powdered sugar in a bowl to mix with wet ingredients and you end up with a HUGE poof of flour/sugar cloudiness in the kitchen. (Thank you hand mixer with settings of fast -> faster.) That poof ends up going everywhere and if it’s sugar, oh boy, a STICKY mess!

When I started taking Wilton Courses, I remember making that first batch of buttercream. Oh, how I tried to avoid the cloud, but the only way to do it was to mix by hand at first, then turn on the mixer and mix away. It was a hassle!

Here’s the hero to the story — the KA stand mixer.

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The great thing about this mixer is that the bowl is very deep and the settings start off at a very slow stir (no more clouds!), all the way up to super fast it will make meringue in a minute! I also can make DOUBLE batches of buttercream in this mixer, because the motor can totally take it. It’s such a time saver, and now that I’m enrolled in Course 3 (starting this Friday), I can actually look forward to making my icings!

This mixer definitely Works for Me!

To see what works for others, check out We Are That Family!

July Journey (to Panama City, Florida!)

As you might know, I’m a member of my local YMCA. I go there for my workouts and LOVE the facility. Plus, I get a discount from work.

Lately, since the wedding, I’ve had a little bit of a gain. I used to go to the Y religiously for 4-5 days/week and it has been reduced to 1-2 days/week. Pitiful.

The Y is now roping me back in. I love a good competition and this month, they are doing a July Journey to Panama City, FL.

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It’s a 325 mile journey to get there, and it’s calculated by 3 minutes workout = 1 mile journey. So, an hour workout = 20 miles.

The first 3 people to “reach” Panama City gets a prize. I could care less about the prize, but to know that I accomplished this would be QUITE a feat!

I’m planning on workout out 5 days/week for an hour each day. At that rate, I should reach Panama City by July 28th at the latest. (The contest ends August 7th) If I workout more, I will reach it sooner! :) The competition started yesterday and so far, I was the only person to sign up! I’m very excited!

Wish me luck!

I love a good (Wilton) sale

I’ve never seen Hobby Lobby have a no limit sale on their Wilton products before, so when I saw this coupon, I knew I had to stock up!

Since I’m about to take Course 3, I decided to stock up on some essentials before the class starts next Friday.

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It’s been a while…ahh. Can you believe I got all this for $25?? Yeah…feeling awesome right now! I’m very excited about Course 3!

This sale is going on until July 4th, fellow Wilton-ers, so if you need to stock up, now is definitely the time!

Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins

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I love blueberries. I’m especially happy that it’s blueberry season, because they are super cheap and fairly local. Local fruit is the best!

I’ve been wanting to make blueberry muffins for quite a while, but I also didn’t want them to be high in calories/fat either. So, I skinny-fied a highly rated recipe on Food Network. Is it any surprise that Ina’s recipe is the highest rated? So, of course, I’m going to play with her recipe.

Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins
Source: adapted from Ina Garten

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup no-sugar added applesauce
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar (could have used half splenda/half sugar but I was out)
  • 3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces fat free sour cream
  • 1/4 cup skim milk
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 half-pints fresh blueberries, picked through for stems

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place paper liners in muffin pans.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add in applesauce and mix together until blended. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla, sour cream, and milk. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed add the flour mixture to the batter and beat until just mixed. Fold in the blueberries with a spatula and be sure the batter is completely mixed.
  3. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pans, filling each cup just over the top, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the muffins are lightly browned on top and a cake tester comes out clean.

Yields 24 muffins.

Nutritional Facts:
Calories: 144, Fat: 2.9 g, Fiber: 0.8 g
POINTS*: 3

Do you want to compare to Ina’s original recipe?
Calories: 218, Fat: 12.5 g, Fiber: 0.7 g
POINTS*: 5

Thick and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

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This is one of the no-fail recipes that I like to refer back to for Chocolate Chip Cookies. I tried making Alton Brown’s The Chewy before, but something went TERRIBLY wrong with it and they all turned out flat. (Alton, don’t worry, I will try your recipe again.)

So, when my nephew showed his mad swimming skills last weekend, I promised him his favorite cookie. Without hesitation, he said CHOCOLATE! So, I made these cookies for him and they were a hit!

I posted about these cookies before, so definitely give this recipe a shot next time you are in the mood for some yummy CCC’s!

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My thumb is turning green..

I harvested the first of my cherry tomatoes this week, and I am so surprised by myself! I can’t believe I grew these in our little garden!

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Now, what am I going to do with these beauties? :) My creole tomatoes are starting to turn red as well. I see some fun recipes coming soon!

Pot Roast

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On our honeymoon, my fabulous DH brought me to the outlets in Orlando, where there was a Le Creuset outlet. I was overwhelmed by the beautiful cookware there, but I was on a mission – to get a 5 quart dutch oven in a pretty, fun color!

And did I? Yes, yes I did! I bought a dijon colored one for just over $100, because I purchased a “second quality” oven and also had a 40% off coupon given to me by the lady working there. Second quality still has the lifetime warranty, and it’s called second quality because of purely just cosmetic flaws. I don’t personally see flaws, so I was super stoked to buy it!

I promised DH I would break this bad boy in with a pot roast, and I found the perfect recipe on Cooking Light online. This recipe did not disappoint at all.

I made a few adaptations, which are noted in red.

Classic Pot Roast
Source: Cooking Light

Ingredients:

  • 1  teaspoon  olive oil
  • 1  (3-pound) boneless chuck roast, trimmed (We used rump roast..it was on sale!)
  • 1  teaspoon  kosher salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • 2  cups  coarsely chopped onion
  • 1  cup  dry red wine
  • 4  thyme sprigs
  • 3  garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1  (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
  • 1  bay leaf
  • 4  large carrots, peeled and cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
  • 2  pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 pound whole mushrooms, cleaned
  • Fresh thyme leaves (optional)

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chuck roast with salt and pepper. Cut small slits in the roast and put cloves of garlic in for flavor. Add roast to pan; cook 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove roast from pan. Add onion to pan; sauté 8 minutes or until tender.
  2. Return browned roast to pan. Add the red wine, thyme sprigs, chopped garlic, beef broth, and bay leaf to pan; bring to a simmer. Cover pan and bake at 350° for 1 1/2 hours or until the roast is almost tender.
  3. Add carrots, mushrooms and potatoes to pan. Cover and bake an additional 1 hour or until vegetables are tender. Remove thyme sprigs and bay leaf from pan; discard. Shred meat with 2 forks. Serve roast with vegetable mixture and cooking liquid. Garnish with thyme leaves, if desired.

Back to Wilton I go!

I’ve taken Wilton classes before. In fact, I took Course 1 (Easter Cake, TGIF cake, Final Cake), Course 2 (Final Cake) and Fondant/Gumpaste (Gumpaste flowers, Final cake). I skipped Course 3 because I was afraid of tiered cakes. It’s a fear I have and plus, how the HECK do I pawn off so much cake?

I decided to just take the class. I’m getting very rusty in my skills and could use a fun refresher to get me ready for some upcoming cake fun.

I’m very excited about this course!

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Here’s what it covers according to Wilton:

Reach a new level of decorating sophistication with the beautiful flowers and techniques in Course 3. Begin with intricate accents such as embroidery and lace, stringwork, garland and ruffle borders. Discover the beauty of decorating with rolled fondant — for covering cakes with an immaculate smooth surface and shaping fun figures and elegant flowers. Add several new icing flowers to your repertoire, including lovely holiday blooms like poinsettias and Easter lilies. Complete your course by assembling and decorating a towering tiered cake with beautiful stringwork, flowers and borders.

Stay tuned next month for some fun new cakes! And a neat (hopefully) cake decorating surprise too!

Chicken Pot Pie

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I am always looking for ways to make my cooking/baking skinnier and tastier. I have been questioned a few times on my blog as to why I feature some recipes that aren’t so skinny, when in fact, my blog’s name is “Skinny Food by Amy”. I like to feature ALL recipes that I cook/bake. Some recipes are made for people who have no interest in lower fat foods, so I make the full fat/calorie versions. Also, I prefer to make some recipes verbatim at first, before experimenting and adapting. For example, the cake batter ice cream. This was my first ice cream and I wanted to ensure that it came out good! Now, after a couple of recipes,  I’m getting more and more comfortable with the ingredients involved in making ice cream, thus, now looking for skinnier versions.

Now, after explaining why everything isn’t so skinny, here is a skinnier recipe that actually ended in a FAIL. I don’t like to blog about fails, really, but I’m still learning how to cook/bake so I have to share when mistakes happen. The picture above looks really good, but after following the recipe verbatim, the pot pie came out bland. Really really bland.I should’ve adapted it, being from Louisiana and being used to spicy, spicier and spiciest! Ugh…

Next time I make this, if there even is a next time, there will be TONS of spices added! I will admit, however, the biscuit topping was delicious! Can’t mess up Bisquick!

Chicken Pot Pie
Source: Weight Watchers forum

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cut-up cooked chicken
  • 1 bag (12 oz.) Green Giant® Valley Fresh Steamers frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
  • 1 can (10-3/4 oz) condensed 98% fat-free cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2 cup fat-free (skim) milk
  • 1 cup Bisquick Heart Smart® mix
  • 1/2 cup fat-free (skim) milk
  • 1 egg

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 400°F. In ungreased 2-quart casserole, mix chicken, vegetables, soup and 1/2 cup milk. Microwave on High 4 minutes; stir.
  2. In small bowl, stir Bisquick® mix, 1/2 cup milk and the egg with fork until blended. Pour over vegetable mixture.
  3. Bake uncovered about 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes 6 servings.

Calories: 220, Fat: 6g, Fiber: 2g
POINTS*: 5

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Watermelon Sorbet

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I’ve been looking at watermelons in the stores a lot lately. It’s so hot outside (100+ degrees – heat index) and a nice, refreshing watermelon was what I was craving!

So, I went to the local produce stand and bought my first watermelon of the summer. I was having company over last night and wanted to end the meal on a lighter note. I was originally looking at The Perfect Scoop for inspiration, but I didn’t have limes. I was afraid to use lemons instead, but found this Alton Brown recipe on Joelen’s blog. It used lemons! YAY!

I’ve never cut up a watermelon, so I was sure that I was going to make a juicy mess. It wasn’t all that bad, but look at how GORGEOUS and ripe this watermelon was…mmm!
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The verdict? This was a light, refreshing sorbet and a definite MUST for the summer! Seriously make this for your 4th of July party! Your guests won’t be disappointed! Also, it’s (along with other fruit sorbets) VERY skinny, especially if you made this with Splenda, which I didn’t have on hand at the time. :)

I’m submitting this to Joelen’s monthly Tasty Tools event, which features the ice cream maker! I’m sure there will be a ton of great summer treats for this blogging event so definitely start following her blog if you haven’t already!

Watermelon Sorbet
Source: Alton Brown -  found on Joelen’s Culinary Adventures

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound, 5 ounces diced watermelon, muskmelon or honeydew
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons vodka (omitted)
  • 9 ounces sugar, approximately 1 1/4 cups

Directions:

  1. Place the melon in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth. Add the lemon juice, vodka, and sugar and process for another 30 seconds. Place the mixture into the refrigerator until the mixture reaches 40 degrees F; depending on the temperature of your ingredients and refrigerator, this could take 30 minutes to 1 hour.
  2. Pour the chilled mixture into the bowl of an ice cream maker and process according to manufacturer’s directions. Transfer the sorbet to an airtight container and place in the freezer for 3 to 4 hours before serving.

Makes 12 (1/2 cup) servings.
(I added a little too much melon than stated, and it was overflowing in the ice cream maker, so I estimated based on 1.5 quarts yielded instead of Alton Brown mentioning this yields 1 qt.)

Calories: 112, Fat: 0.4g, Fiber: 0.5g
POINTS*: 2