I recently took Wilton’s Fondant & Gumpaste class, and we were shown how to make flowers with gumpaste. I love gumpaste…it can be molded so thin and it’s flexible. It also dries super fast! Here are some pictures of my carnations and fantasy flowers…enjoy!!
Check out my vanilla extract after a little over 2 months later…I made two batches…one for my family’s house and one for my fiance’s house..it looks great and I can’t wait to bake with it!! See the extract before a good 2 month soak here. I’m gonna keep the beans soaking in there for longer, but that rich amber color shows me that it’s already ready!!
My newest project with these fine beans is making some vanilla sugar for gifts around the holidays. Target was charging $1.99 for maybe 3 oz. of vanilla infused sugar, and with so many uses for it, I’m sure it will be a great gift for the coworkers…I love giving homemade items. Last year was truffles and pretzels (which I’ll probably continue anyway)…but I want to add vanilla sugar to the mix with some fun recipe ideas! I followed Culinary Concoctions proportions for the vanilla sugar in her post here.
This isn’t a blog entry about me cooking. It’s more about my mild obsession…that I miss SO much! When I was a resident assistant in the apartments on campus, one of the girls SWORE by this smoothie that she drank. She said it was so sweet, and it had these gummy surprise beads in it. I told her that I had to try it…I love smoothies! The place we went to had about 30 flavors of smoothies, and you could COMBINE flavors. They were mostly fruit…so needless to say, I was in heaven. I tried a strawberry coconut with the tapioca beads. I thought it was SO cool when they took the smoothie and vacuum sealed a lid on it. I felt like a giddy kid punching my extra large straw through (it allows for the beads to come out with the smoothie). Anyways, after many trips there, I was in bliss. Then, I graduated college…and I didn’t have bubble tea for a year or so, until NOW!
There I was, getting my hair highlighted, and my hairdresser told me that his boyfriend’s family was opening a bubble tea place. OMG OMG WHAT? It was a town away, and let me tell you, the week it opened, I went. I ordered a kiwi bubble tea. They did the same thing there…vacuum sealed top, tapioca beads, the big mega straw for the blend of beads and smoothie sippage. I thought for a moment there, well, this is bliss!
Anyways, here are some pictures of bubble tea….seriously consider trying this stuff. You can get HOOKED. If you are interested in making it at home, here is a website of supplies and kits.
The tapioca beads are the black balls at the bottom. I had a kiwi bubble tea here, and it maybe lasted me 5 minutes. I miss bubble tea!
I officially rejoined Weight Watchers last Monday. I’ve been really good on my diet this week. Totally within points, and I’ve worked out 5 days in a row using Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred DVD (which I highly recommend!!).
Anyways, being a member of Weight Watchers means I have an eTools membership. So, points values* will be determined using that tool instead of SparkRecipes. Along with that, eTools gives me GREAT W/W friendly recipes that I can adapt (and it will count points as I adapt). So, here is my first recipe that I made for Joey and I last night.
To me, it was spicy and I wish I would have used green chiles instead of jalapenos. I also cut this into 8 wedges instead of 6. (didn’t read directions well so I ate less points than I thought for supper)
Before I show the results of this dish, I want to give a shout-out to Rachael Ray (yes, I *heart* her!). This Furi tool pictured below, rocks my world in chopping vegetables. I usually cut myself a lot with using knives, and with this tool, my hands are safely on the grip! I found it (with cutting board) for $15 at Tuesday Morning!!
Turkey Enchilada Pie
Source: Weight Watchers
- 1 sprays cooking spray
- 3/4 pound lean ground turkey (used 1 lb.)
- 1 medium onion(s), chopped
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 cup fat-free skim milk (used lowfat at FI’s request)
- 4 oz canned jalapeno peppers, drained and chopped
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 3 large burrito-size wheat flour tortilla(s)
- 3 cup tomato(es), chopped (omitted because I’m a creole tomato snob and they are out of season for the year )
- 10 Tbsp low-fat shredded cheddar cheese (used 2% mexican blend cheese)
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a large skillet with cooking spray. Heat skillet over medium heat. Place turkey, onion and chili powder in skillet and cook until turkey is browned, stirring occasionally to break up meat, about 8 minutes. Remove turkey mixture from skillet and set aside.
- Place skillet over medium-high heat and add flour. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to medium; simmer until thickened, about 2 minutes.
- Remove skillet from heat; stir in turkey mixture, jalapenos and cumin.
- Wrap tortillas in damp paper towels and microwave on HIGH until softened, about 15 seconds. Place 1 tortilla in bottom of a 9-inch pie plate. Spread 1/3 of turkey mixture over tortilla. Spoon 1 cup of tomato on top and sprinkle with 4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) of cheese. Repeat layers with remaining ingredients ending up with 2 tablespoons of cheese.
- Cover pie plate with aluminum foil and cook until cheese melts and filling is warmed through, about 15 minutes. Let stand, covered, 2 minutes before cutting into 6 wedges.
The site provided says it’s 4 points but eTools’ recipe link (which I can’t give because W/W has recipes in flash so bleh…) says 6…so I would calculate 6 to be safe here!
Last weekend, I was off and I wanted to blow Joey’s socks off with some killer food. We had chicken breasts in the freezer and a slow cooker for me to use while I was running errands…I found this recipe on All Recipes and was NOT disappointed…this chicken literally fell apart and shred beautifully into some TASTY bbq chicken sandwiches…mmm…
Zesty Slow Cooker Chicken BBQ
- 4 frozen skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
- 2/3 (12 ounce) bottle barbeque sauce (We used Jack Daniels original sauce)
- 1/3 cup Italian salad dressing (I used Fat Free Dressing to lighten it up a bit)
- 2 tablespoons and 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
Place chicken in a slow cooker. In a bowl, mix the barbeque sauce, Italian salad dressing, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Pour over the chicken. Cover, and cook 3 to 4 hours on High or 6 to 8 hours on Low.
Serves 8…these breasts can easily split into two servings!!
**add standard whole wheat hamburger bun for 2-3 points and easily have an entree for 6-7 points**
As an engaged girl, I found the website, theknot.com. For the newlyweds who used the Knot, you then have the choice to move over to thenest.com. This site helps couples with everything they encounter in their married lives :). The resources there are absolutely wonderful!!
I stumbled across the Nest forums by chance. Around Christmas, I was looking for a sugar cookie recipe, and there is a “What’s Cooking?” board on the Nest. So, I lurked on there for ideas, and it seemed like SUCH a nice board. So, I stayed and started posting :). I’ve been there since.
Every season, one of the nesties, Joelen , hosts a gift exchange for the board. It’s a great way to just have a nice foodie surprise in the mailbox, and today, I got mine!!
Thanks to I&R.4.23.06!!! She sent me silicone spatulas, a cookie scoop, a silicone basting/pastry brush, and a pack of cake tips. These are gadgets I needed, and cake tips, you can never have enough of those. AND, what I’m also excited about, Penzey’s spices!! I got Northwoods seasonings, Cake Spice and Hot Chocolate mix :). She also gave me some lotion and body spray in peony (such a beautiful flower!)
So, a few weeks back, I was in the grocery store…looking for cake mix for my first fondant cake, and these blueberries at $2/pint caught my eye. I had to buy them…just had to bake something with them. However, I had NO idea what to make. So, being on my diet, I looked at Cooking Light and searched blueberries…lo and behold, this recipe for a blueberry pound cake came up. It was on my “to make” list…
I finally had the opportunity to make this cake Monday, and with a few healthy substitutions for an already healthy recipe, it came out great. However, moreso like a sweet bread than a pound cake. Regardless, my stomach was happy and so was my diet!
I will admit, though, the cake looks purple because after I put all the ingredients in the pan, I forgot to put in an extra egg (that was called for)…so I mixed it in stupidly and realized OH NO! THE BLUEBERRIES!!!….thus my cake is purple….
Blueberry Pound Cake (gone bread)
adapted from Cooking Light
- 2 cups granulated sugar (used 1 cup splenda, 1 cup sugar)
- 1/2 cup light butter
- 1/2 (8-ounce) block 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened
- 3 large eggs
- 1 large egg white
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, divided ( 1 cup WW flour, 2 cups AP flour)
- 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 (8-ounce) carton lemon low-fat yogurt (I hate lemon in desserts, so I used blueberry yogurt instead)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Cooking spray
For the glaze:
- 1/2 cup powdered sugar (omitted…I don’t want a glaze on it)
4 teaspoons lemon juice (omitted…same reason)
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Beat first 3 ingredients at medium speed of a mixer until well-blended (about 5 minutes). Add eggs and egg white, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.
- Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 2 tablespoons flour and blueberries in a small bowl, and toss well. Combine remaining flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with yogurt, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Fold in blueberry mixture and vanilla; pour cake batter into a 10-inch tube pan coated with cooking spray.
- Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
- Cool cake in pan 10 minutes; remove from pan. Combine powdered sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl; drizzle over warm cake. Cut with a serrated knife.
Makes 16 servings.
**I’m not sure how accurate Cooking Light is here…because their dessert had less fat, 10 more calories and 0.3 less g fiber/serving (weird!)**
Who couldn’t start the 4th of July weekend without an All American recipe, such as this one. If you have the book, consider making it for this weekend! You won’t be disappointed hehe!
When the ever so popular book “Baking: From My Home to Yours” went on bargain listings for Amazon (sorry, it’s not on bargain anymore ), I knew I couldn’t pass it up. So many people rave about this book. In fact, there is a group online solely dedicated to making a recipe from this book every Tuesday, but I can’t join that because of my diet, and I really lack the time right now. Plus with a dead camera at home, I can only make desserts on weekends (since my fiance graciously allows me to use his camera), and those will be VERY few and far between!!
I chose this recipe as my first recipe out of the book, because my fiance bought a bag of apples a week ago, and so we had to use them all..so this was perfect for that!
This was my first pie that I’ve made from scratch, and PRAISE GOD for a food processor. This crust was light and flaky, and just mmm. I will say the tapioca in the recipe made me a little confused, and I wanted to omit it so bad. The only time I eat tapioca is in my bubble (boba) tea, and in really large pearls. So, imagining this in apple pie was like hmm…
However, I’m glad I didn’t omit it. I really think this made the texture of the filling amazing. I’ve always been known to sub things in baking and cooking, and if I’m lucky, it comes out right…so I went strictly by the recipe! Oh wait, I did forget the graham cracker crumbs…only 2 tbs. so I think I’m ok…**sinks in desk chair** but still, fabulous apple pie!