BROWNIE CRUMBLE ICE CREAM

dscf1860

A small sherbet dish helps to control portion size

When I treat myself to something sweet, I want ice cream or chocolate – preferably both! Sweet and creamy vanilla ice cream with a fudgy brownie crumble fits the bill and is easy to make as long as you don’t mind baking the brownies first. Along with being an important add-in for the ice cream, the brownies are a necessary “garnish” as well. I used a Cuisinart ice cream maker for this recipe – enjoy!

dscf1858

Thin brownies are the key to a good crumble!

Brownie Crumble Ice Cream

Make any Ghirardelli Brownie Mix (I used Triple Chocolate), but bake it in a 10 X 15 or 9 X 13 inch pan and bake for 10 minutes less than the suggested baking time on the box – approximately 30 – 35 minutes. Allow the brownies to cool and cut-up one cup of brownies into bite-sized crumbles. Place crumbles in a sealed bowl and freeze for 1 hour or more.

Ingredients:

1 C whole milk

3/4 C granulated sugar

1/8 tspn salt

2 C heavy cream or whipping cream

1 Tbspn real vanilla extract

In a medium bowl, use a mixer on low speed to dissolve the sugar and salt in the whole milk, about 4 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla by hand until combined. Turn on the ice cream maker and pour mixture into bowl, setting the timer for 20 minutes.

When the timer goes off, remove the brownie crumble from the freezer and add the pieces to the ice cream, keeping the ice cream maker on and allowing it to turn for 5 more minutes. Turn off the ice cream maker and scoop the ice cream into a bowl with a tight cover. Freeze for at least 8 hours or overnight before enjoying. Garnish with a brownie or extra brownie crumble.

 


Citrus Tea Cake with Blackberry Maple Syrup

IMG_20160606_172149806

This tangy tea cake mops up the blackberry maple syrup

 

During the warm summer months, I still want dessert (of course), but I want it to be lighter and brighter, just like the season. My tea cake fits the bill with its sweet orange and tangy lemon and blackberry flavors. Serve it warm with the syrup drizzled over the top and a generous amount pooled on the plate as well, so the cake can soak up the syrupy goodness from the bottom. Whipped cream is essential. It can be enjoyed for breakfast too – I may have experience in that regard.

Quick tip: When cooking or baking, it’s very helpful to read your recipe through and have all of your ingredients, bowls and pans assembled prior to starting. In French, the term for this is: mise en place.

 

IMG_20160606_152548338

Mise en place keeps you organized in the kitchen

 

What are your favorite ways to eat blackberries?  Are you a “mise en place” kind of cook? Please comment below and let me know if you try this recipe.

Enjoy and Happy Summer!

 

Citrus Tea Cake with Blackberry Maple Syrup

Ingredients:

3 T lemon juice

¼ C (approx..) whole milk

1 t vanilla extract

1 T orange zest

1 ¼ C flour

¾ C quick-cooking oats

1 t baking soda

½ t salt

½ C + 6 T butter (14 T total), softened

2/3 cup firmly packed, light brown sugar

1 egg

 

Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray an 8” X 8” pan.

Create flavored buttermilk by mixing 3 T lemon juice with enough milk to make ½ cup total. Swirl in vanilla extract and orange zest and set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together flour, oats, baking soda and salt. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar together until well blended, 1 – 2 min. Beat in egg and flavored buttermilk. Stir in dry ingredients at a low setting for 1 – 2 min.

Spoon cake mix into pan and spread evenly. Bake for 25 – 28 min. until toothpick in center comes out clean. Do not turn off oven because you will use it for the blackberry maple syrup.

Let cake cool and serve warm with blackberry maple syrup and whipped cream.

 

Blackberry Maple Syrup

Ingredients:

2 C fresh blackberries

½ C Pure Vermont maple syrup, dark

2 t lemon juice

1/8 t ground cinnamon

¼ t orange zest

1 T butter, cut into 4 pieces

Oven should already be preheated to 375°F from the cake. Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and place blackberries in the pan.

Using a small bowl, mix together remaining ingredients and pour over blackberries. Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place in the oven for 15 minutes.

Remove pan from the oven and remove the foil.  Stir the blackberry mixture with a spoon. Leave the pan uncovered and place it back in the oven for 15 more minutes.

Allow to cool slightly and serve warm with warm citrus tea cake and whipped cream.

 

 

 

 

 


Healthy Shepherd’s Pie is the Ultimate Comfort Food

WARM, COMFORTING AND LOADED WITH VEGGIES

WARM, COMFORTING AND LOADED WITH VEGGIES

 

THIS RECIPE SERVES 8 - 10

THIS RECIPE SERVES 8 – 10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s nothing like meat and potatoes to warm you up inside. This Shepherd’s Pie recipe is a healthier version than the original. With lean meat and veggies, it will warm you up without filling you up. The potatoes can be made the day before to speed-up prep time. Enjoy this nutritious twist on a traditional favorite!

Shepherd’s Pie

Ingredients:

2 – 3 lbs. baking potatoes, enough to equal 4 cups mashed
1/2 – 1 cup milk
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
3 Tbsp. butter
1/4 tspn. salt
1/8 tspn. pepper

1 1/4 lb. 90% lean ground beef
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3/4 cup carrot, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1 med. onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 Tbsp. balsalmic vinaigrette dressing
1 tspn. oregano, dried flakes
1 tspn. basil, dried flakes
1/2 tspn. salt
1/8 tspn. pepper
1 can (14.5 oz.) petite, diced tomatoes, undrained
1 bay leaf
1 cup corn, cooked

2 Tbsp. flour
2 1/2 Tbsp. water

Spray 9 X 13 in. casserole dish with cooking spray and preheat oven to 350.

Wash and peel potatoes and cut into even pieces, approx. 2-3 in. cubes. Place in large pot and add enough water to cover the potatoes and bring to a boil. Cook 15 minutes or until tender, using a fork to test. Drain water from pot and place pot and potatoes back on low heat and add milk a little at a time, along with cheese, butter, salt and pepper. Beat at medium speed with electric beaters until smooth. Set aside or place in refrigerator if making the rest of the recipe later.

Cook ground beef in large, non-stick skillet over medium heat until browned. Drain fat and set aside ground beef. Wipe drippings from skillet and add olive oil, warming over medium heat. Add carrot, pepper, onion and garlic and saute for 8 minutes. Add ground beef to the vegetables and add dressing, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, tomatoes and bay leaf. Bring to a simmer over med-high and then reduce heat to medium and cover and cook for 25 minutes. While meat mixture is cooking, cook corn (either frozen or canned) and warm-up potatoes. When meat mixture is done, remove from heat and discard bay leaf.

Place flour in small bowl and gradually whisk in water to create a thick, soupy paste. Add to meat mixture and stir until thoroughly incorporated. Spread meat mixture in casserole dish and sprinkle with corn. Spoon potatoes on top and spread to the edges of the pan. Bake for 30 minutes until bubbly around edges, remove from oven and let sit 5 minutes before serving.


Alphabet Soup with Vegetables and Beans

DSCF1579

Delicious Pasta and Bean Soup is Loaded with Veggies

Evidence is mounting on the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet – a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains and healthy fats. Low-fat dairy foods, lean red meats, fish, skinless poultry and eggs are also included in the diet, if desired, but in moderate amounts. This way of eating can lower the risk for heart disease and diabetes and may help prevent certain cancers as well. A recent study in Greece followed 2,500 adults for 10 years. They found that those individuals ranked in the top third as being most adherent to a Mediterranean diet had a 47% decrease in risk for developing heart disease compared to individuals that did not follow the diet (ranked in the bottom third).

Following this diet may be a complete lifestyle change for you, but small goals can help get you there. One way to increase your vegetable consumption is to start your lunch or dinner meal with a salad or vegetable soup. This pasta fagioli soup, or pasta and beans soup, with it’s savory tomato-based broth, is full of vegetables and flavor. It’s also a wonderful light meal with some carrot sticks and hummus, even though my teenage son has declared that soup is not a meal. However you enjoy this comforting soup, you’ll know it’s good for your heart.

Did you try this recipe? Do you have a favorite soup you enjoy? Please click on the title of this post and scroll to the bottom to leave a comment.

Alphabet Soup with Vegetables and Beans

Ingredients:

1 sweet or yellow onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 green squash, halved, seeds scooped out with a spoon, halved again and chopped

2 yellow squash, halved, seeds scooped out with a spoon, halved again and chopped

3 carrots, sliced in half and chopped

3 celery sticks, sliced in half and chopped

1 cup fresh spinach leaves, stems removed, chopped

2 cans (14.5 oz. each) petite diced tomatoes

1 can (15.5 oz.) cannelloni (white kidney) beans, rinsed and drained

4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

32 oz. vegetable stock

1 cup water

1 ½ cup alphabet pasta*

¼ tsp. Pepper

1 tsp. Salt

1 Tbsp. Dried parsley

½ tsp. Dried oregano

1 tsp. Basil

1 Bay leaf

Warm olive oil over medium heat and sauté onion, carrot, celery and garlic for 8 minutes.

Add green and yellow squash, salt and pepper and dried herbs (except bay leaf) and sauté another 5 – 8 minutes.

Add spinach and sauté another minute until wilted.

Add beans, tomatoes, stock, water and bay leaf and increase heat to medium-high until simmering.

Once simmering, add pasta and reduce heat to medium once pasta begins to simmer. Let simmer 10 minutes until pasta is cooked through. Reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer 10 more minutes. Add more water if desired. Remove bay leaf before serving.

*For chunky pasta, like elbows, cook pasta separately and add to the soup during the last 10 minutes of cooking.

Recipe compliments of http://www.nourishednation.wordpress.com


Slow Cooker Eggplant Stew: Summer’s Bounty in a Crock Pot

DSCF1392
DSCF1391

If you are up to your ears in vegetables from your garden, this ratatouille should do the trick. It’s a hearty vegetable stew, also known as ratatouille, that is delicious by itself or served over whole grain pasta, cous cous, quinoa or rice. I’ve even spooned it on slices of toasted French bread and used it as a pizza topping. Feel free to adjust the recipe to include your favorite vegetables, but don’t forget the chick peas (garbanzo beans) – I love those little guys, don’t you?

CROCK POT RATATOUILLE – EGGPLANT STEW

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
5 cloves minced garlic
1 onion, chopped
3 small Italian eggplants, peeled and chopped
1/8 tspn. pepper
3/4 tspn. salt
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped
3 medium zucchini, seeded and chopped
1 can (14.5 oz.) garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
2 cans (14.5 oz.) petite diced tomatoes
1 1/2 tspn. thyme flakes
1 1/2 tspn. basil flakes

Heat oil on med. heat and saute garlic and onion for 3 minutes. Add eggplant and season with salt and pepper, cooking 5 more minutes. Turn heat to low and cover, cooking an additional 5 – 8 minutes or until eggplant are tender. Transfer to slow cooker and add peppers, zucchini and chick peas (garbanzo beans).
In medium bowl, combine tomatoes, basil and thyme and mix well. Pour into crock pot and stir all ingredients together. Cover and cook on low for 7 – 8 hours and high for 4 – 5 hours.


Blueberry Coffee Cake Scones

Mouthwatering Blueberry Coffee Cake Scones

Mouthwatering Blueberry Coffee Cake Scones

Summer is not over yet and I have made these delicious scones several times over the season, buying the berries from south to north in the process. I started in July with blueberries from New Jersey, then moved on to my local farmer’s market in the beginning of August. By the end of August the most flavorful blueberries were from Maine, and now I’m finding the choicest berries from Oregon and Michigan. The blueberries add sweetness and moisture to the scones and the delicate crumb topping makes them irresistible. Serve with a hot cup of tea and fruit preserves – what a treat! It’s an indulgence you can feel good about too because blueberries are considered a “superfruit” – loaded with antioxidants and fiber. Enjoy for breakfast or as an elegant dessert!

Topping:
3/4 C flour
1/4 C firmly packed light brown sugar
1/8 tspn cinnamon
1/4 C butter, chilled and cut into small cubes

Stir together dry ingredients and cut in the chilled butter with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles crumbs. The crumb topping is optional but highly recommended!

Scones:
2 1/4 C flour
1/2 C sugar
2 tspn baking powder
1/2 tspn non-iodized salt
1/2 C butter, chilled and cut into small cubes
2 eggs
1/4 C whole milk
1 tspn vanilla extract
1 – 2 C blueberries

Preheat oven to 375 F and grease an 11-inch diameter circle in the center of a baking pan. In a large bowl, stir together the dry ingredients and cut in the chilled butter with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. In a small bowl, stir together eggs, milk and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir to combine. Gently add the blueberries and use your hands to combine. Add flour to your hands as needed since the dough will be sticky. Pat the dough in a 9-inch circle in the center of the baking pan. If using, press the crumb topping into the dough. If not using the crumb topping, press sugar (a coarse baking sugar if you have it) into the dough. Use a serrated knife to divide the circle into 8 scones by gently pressing the knife down 1 inch into the dough. Bake 30 – 35 minutes and test with a toothpick inserted in the center to see that it comes out clean – avoid the blueberries when inserting. Allow the pan to cool for 15 minutes and then transfer the scones to a wire rack to cool completely.

Adapted from Simply Scones by Leslie Weiner and Barbara Albright