Friday, January 30, 2009

If only I had a stocked pantry....

I would make these! I watched Ina Garten make these on her show Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network yesterday and salivated over them. It is probably not a good thing to watch the food network and all of the yummy recipes that are made on there when you are snowed in and have no goodies in the house (not to mention being pregnant)!!

Anyway, check these out. Don't they look scrumptious?? The recipe and picture are from the website.

Peanut Swirl Brownies

pound unsalted butter
1 pound plus 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, divided
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
6 extra-large eggs
3 tablespoons instant coffee granules
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour a 12 by 18 by 1 1/2-inch sheet pan. Melt together the butter, 1 pound of chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate in a medium bowl over simmering water. Allow to cool slightly. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee granules, vanilla, and sugar. Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.

In a medium bowl, sift together 1 cup of flour, the baking powder, and salt. Add to the cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the remaining 12 ounces of chocolate chips in a medium bowl with 1/4 cup of flour, then add them to the chocolate batter. Pour into the prepared sheet pan. Spoon the peanut butter over the top of the chocolate mixture and using a knife, swirl it through the chocolate mixture.

Bake for 20 minutes, then rap the baking sheet against the oven shelf to force the air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes more or until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake! Allow to cool thoroughly, refrigerate, and cut into large squares. Makes 20 large brownies.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ice, Ice, Baby!

As I am sitting here writing this blog it is raining "ice" outside my door. There are icicles covering my back deck, and the trees in the distance have a sheer white coating of ice on the branches. It is absolutely beautiful! Although, it is also very dangerous for those who have to be traveling in this weather. I have been praying for them throughout the day (I was very fortunate to have the day off from work due to the icy weather, and will probably have tomorrow off as well).

With the ice outside, and the warmth of a heater and space heater inside, it is very cozy in my home. What is one to do with a "day off" when she cannot go outside or to work? Laundry. Dishes. Blog. I am very grateful to be able to clean my house and do laundry, although that is not the way I would love to spend my day off. I have cooked some today, though. I made pancakes for my hubby this morning and fixed him lunch, and am about to cook supper here shortly (chicken parmesan). I would have loved to bake, but alas I do not have a pantry stocked full of "baking stuff". Besides, I just made these a couple of days ago. And....I did not stop at the grocery store last night to pick up a loaf of bread like I should have (hubby has to have a grilled cheese every night). Oh well.

I could have made a big pot of soup today, or chili (I am saving that for the Super Bowl), but chicken parmesan it is. Maybe tomorrow I will be more productive. Hey, I do have an excuse with the whole "pregnancy" thing, right? :) Speaking of, I only have a few months to go! Woo-hoo! I have gained a total of ..... you didn't actually think I would tell you that, did you? Haha, let's just say I've gained quite a bit of weight. I just chalk it up to "eating for two". Even though baby boy probably needs carrots and broccoli in his diet more than he needs ice cream and cheese puffs. :)

So, I know this hasn't been much of a "food post" so far, and I promise I will make up for that. Here is the recipe for the chicken parmesan I am making tonight. WARNING: IT IS SUPER EASY!!! (I told you I was lazy today!)

Chicken Parmesan (for 2)

2 frozen chicken patties
1 cup mozzarella cheese
Spaghetti sauce

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken patties on cookie sheet or casserole dish and bake for 10-15 minutes (or whatever it says on the package). Meanwhile boil your spaghetti noodles on the stove and simmer your spaghetti sauce. Once patties are done (flip them once halfway during cooking time) take them out of the oven and top them with spaghetti sauce and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese (about 1/2 cup for each patty). Place back in oven until cheese is melted. Serve alongside a serving of spaghetti w/sauce. Enjoy!

See? Wasn't that easy? I just love easy stuff. Now while you wait for your patties to bake, enjoy some of the beautiful "ice sculptures" from our back (and front) yard:

The Back Yard

The Front Yard

The reflection (see it?) on the deck and the little pine tree

Saturday, January 17, 2009

And the winner is....

Thank you to those who left comments with their Light Dessert recipes! The winner of the "Light Desserts" cookbook, chosen by, is.........drum roll please........

Comment #4 - cdziuba
Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers: 4
Timestamp: 2009-01-18 00:37:27 UTC

cdziuba said...
I learned this one at Weight Watchers. One small box Sugar-Free Strawberry Jello, One regular container of Lite Cool Whip. Mix together and serve as a dip with fruit. I actually used to make a cream cheese and sour cream dip for fruit for my parties, and after my cholesterol was found to be much too high, I started educating myself about Light food.
Great giveaway! Thanks.

Congratulations!! Please email me at brizner (at) hotmail (dot) com with your address so I can send you your cookbook! :)

There will be more giveaways in the near future, as well as more yummy recipes! Keep watching!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Chocolate Sour Cream Drops (from Light Desserts)

Here is another light dessert from the "Light Desserts" cookbook....and it is chocolate!! There are only 38 calories per cookie and only 1.7 grams of fat. Sounds yummy to me! :) Here is the recipe:

Chocolate Sour Cream Drops

1/2 cup margarine, softened (I recommend butter instead)
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons low-fat sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg white
1 Tbsp. water
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Cooking Spray
1 teaspoon powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream margarine, gradually add sugar beating at medium speeed until light and fluffy. Add sour cream, vanilla, egg white and water; beat well. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, soda and cinnamon; mix well. Add to creamed mixture. Drop dough by spoonsful 2 inches apart onto a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Cool on wire rack. Sift powdered sugar over cooled cookies. Makes 5 1/2 dozen cookies.

Enjoy!! :)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Light Desserts and another giveaway!

To keep with the "Light and Healthy" recipes, this blogpost is all about Light Desserts! And, if you like the recipes, then you will LOVE the cookbook "Light Desserts". Here are a few you may enjoy:

Blueberry Cake with Lemon Glaze

3 cups sifted cake flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup skim milk
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. lemon extract
Cooking Spray
1 Tbsp. sifted cake flour

1 cup sifted powdered sugar

1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. grated lemon rind

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine 3 cups cake flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon flour mixture over blueberries and toss gently to coat; set aside. Beat sugar and eggs in a large bowl at medium speed for 5 minutes or until light and fluffy. Combine milk and oil. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with milk mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Stir in flavorings and fold in blueberries.

Pour batter into a 10-cup fluted tube pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray and dusted with 1 tablespoon cake flour. Bake for 50-55 minutes or unti wooden pick comes out clean. Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

Combine powdered sugar and lemon juice. Stir in lemon rind, mix well. Drizzle glaze over cooled cake. Garnish with lemon curls, if desired. Makes 16 servings.

Doesn't this sound yummy?? There are plenty more recipes like this. I will be posting more of them over the next few days, so be on the lookout!

Now it's time for the Giveaway! One lucky person will win a Light Desserts cookbook (vintage - 1989). Here is what it looks like:

Here is what you have to do to win: Leave a comment with one of your favorite light dessert recipes, or an easy dessert recipe that could be converted to light (using light cream cheese, skim milk, etc). The giveaway will end on Friday, January 16 and the winner will be revealed on Friday or Saturday.

I cannot wait to hear/see your "light dessert" recipes! :)

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The first blog entry of 2009!! (and a Giveaway!)

Happy New Year! I hope 2009 has been great for you so far. I am sure this year will be full of exciting and fun things for everyone. I just cannot contain my excitement about the arrival of our little boy in April!! That is one reason 2009 will be such a blessed year for us.

To start the year off right, I thought it would be a good idea to post some healthy recipes. I know we are all trying to "watch our weight" and are making those new year resolutions that we know we will not keep. So why not enjoy something delicious that is also healthy for us? Forget the bottled water and rice cakes!

Chicken with Mango

2 T. oil
1 t. grated ginger
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
4 chicken breasts, shredded
4 green onions, sliced diagonally
1 t. light soy sauce
1 chicken bouillon cube
2/3 cup water
1 t. sugar
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 ripe mangoes, pealled and sliced (or one can sliced mangos, drained)
2 t. cooking sherry (optional)

Heat a wok or large skillet and add oil. Add ginger and cinnamon and saute for 30 seconds. Add the chicken and green onions. Stir fry for 5 minutes. Add light soy sauce, crumbled bouillon, water, sugar, and bring to a boil. Add salt and pepper to taste and simmer for 15 minutes. Add the mangoes and cooking sherry and simmer, uncovered, until the sauce has reduced and thickened. Serve with rice or noodles.

Like this recipe? Well there are plenty more recipes like this one in the cookbook "Healthy Cooking" by Landoll, Inc. And.....I'm giving it away! All you have to do is leave a comment with your answer to the following question and you can be entered for a chance to win this neat cookbook (it is somewhat vintage - 1995 is the copyright - so it is not brand new).

Here is the question:

*How do you plan to change your diet/eating habits this year? (Example: eat more veggies, cook with olive oil, only eat fast food once a week, etc.)*

The giveaway will end at 8:00 pm on Sunday night and the winner will be announced on Monday. If you don't win this time, don't worry! I have several more giveaways in the coming weeks, so you will definitely have a chance. Good luck!! :)