My Top Ten

Monday, January 31, 2011

a *ahem* healthier scotcheroo

Some of you may be wondering - what is a scotcheroo? (All of you mid-western folk out there know what I'm talk'n about!) Well, my friends, you have come to the right place to get a lesson in scotcheroo-ness! These decadent treats have been a weakness of mine for years. It goes back to high school when my girlfriend Melissa introduced me to them. It was love at first bite. We would make a pan (recipe quickly learned by heart) and then continue to eat them & eat them & eat them. They are sooo yummy. The problem? Well, take a look at the link for the original recipe. Yikes! But I couldn't live wihtout them, so I gave them a healthy re-vamp. A little dose of Lish.

Also, a disclaimer, I am not saying that these are "healthy" per say. I am saying that they are, in fact, a significant improvement from the original recipe. So, enjoy them in moderation. Trust me, easier said than done. But do enjoy them, for they are oh-so-tasty.

the organic Scotcheroo (or maybe the Lisheroo?):

the goo:
1 cup peanutbutter, creamy
half of a jar of Brown Rice syrup (about 10 oz, one generous cup)

Melt slowly on stove top over low heat; stirring frequently so it doesn't burn or stick to bottom of pan. It might look like it's not going to blend, but just keep stiring and it'll homogenize soon enough.

the goods:
6 cups Envirokids Organic Cocoa Krispies -- this is essentially one 10 oz. box
(Or, feel free to substitute brown rice krispies; such as the 365 store brand.)

the topping:
1/2 cup dark chocolate or 60% + cacao chips, melted slowly over low heat on the stove top and drizzled on top of the krispies. Use the doubler boiler method, take a glass bowl that just barely fits into the top of a saucepan. You do not want the glass bowl to be sitting in the pan, you want it sitting on top of the pan. In the saucepan, have an inch or so of gently boiling water and let the steam melt the chips. The water should not touch the bottom of the glass bowl. Stir constantly, do not burn. If it's too thick, add canola oil or grapeseed oil (1) one teaspoon at a time until you reach a good "drizzle" consistency.

the goo + the goods + the topping = Yum, yum, yum, yum. Yum!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, Wake up America!!!!

Please take 22 minutes to watch what Jamie is presenting here in this video. His speech is very informative and inspirational. It is well worth your time, consider it an investment in your health. Click the red link below:

Jamie Oliver's TED Prize wish: Teach every child about food | Video on

Friday, January 21, 2011

Easy Corn Salsa

This fresh corn salsa is simple to make and dresses up any meat, fish, chips n' dip, or Mexican themed meal you can think up. The longer is sits after being made, the more robust the flavors will become. Keep it on hand all week and add it on top of a salad or serve it along with a quesadilla to make lunches more interesting!

1/2 bag sweet kernel frozen corn; thawed (rinse in cold water & let drain)
2 or 3 roma or on-the-vine tomatoes; diced
1/2 green bell pepper; finely chopped
1/4 Cup red onion; chopped
2 cloves garlic
a healthy-sized bunch of cilantro, washed & chopped (stems are ok, they have great flavor)
a squeeze of fresh lime juice, just a hint of lime is what you're looking for.
a drizzle of olive oil
salt & pepper

If you enjoy heat, add some finely chopped jalapeno to your taste preference.


Monday, January 17, 2011

a few of my new-found fun favorite things...

1) Silk French Vanilla Soy Creamer - yum. double yum. Ok, I know some of you may remember me posting about avoiding the brand Silk because they are owned by Dean Foods, who is not so hot in my book. However; the selection of delicious dairy-free creamers is minimal. So...foot in mouth on this one I guess!

2)Rick Bayless' MEXICAN EVERYDAY Cookbook - easy, authentic, well-rounded meals. Did I say it was easy? If you happen to stumble across my blog and you live in the Chicago area, you should definitely visit one of Rick's restaurants - Fronterra Grill or Topolobampo.

3)Seventh Generation's handsoap in the delightful Fresh Citrus scent, competitively priced and free of the bad man-made chemicals.

4)Rice Dream Chocolate Bars -guaranteed to be 100% dairy free, no traces! This is good news for all of the lactose-intolerant peeps out there! They are delicious.

5)Shady Maple Farms pure maple sugar crystals, makes breakfast a snap. Sprinkle some of these deluctable maple crystals onto your pancakes & waffles. You won't miss the mess of sticky syrup. Not to mention the delimma of the maple syrup needing to be stored in the fridge, so when you want to use it, you've go to re-heat some syrup. Who wants cold maple syrup on their warm, fresh pancake? Right, point proven. These innocent little maple syrup crystals solve the problem!

Monday, January 10, 2011

the first meal

Hello happy yellow french oven!
Welcome to my kitchen, I am going to take real good care of you!

This is a picture of the first meal I made in my brand spank'n new Le Creuset french oven! I am slap happy to own this specific cookware. It is most exciting to have a pan that is so versitile. I can use it on the stove top and then pop it in the oven to accomplish certain cooking techniques.

Since my new kitchen cookware is not nearly as exciting for all of you (as I won't be able to accomodate inviting all of you over for dinner at once to celebrate. Truly, I would if I could, but I've got a few more resources to gather in life before I can do that. For starters a bigger house, or perhaps even a kitchen table? It's true, I do not own a kitchen table due to the cozy-sized house.), I will leave you with a little something to "chew" on.

Concerning salads; always add fruit. The natural sweetness is a beautiful contrast to the green leafy salad. I love dried craisins & cherries; but grapes, apples, mandarin oranges, strawberries & pomegranate seeds are all excellent choices.

A few combinations to try:

Romaine with grapes, swiss cheese & walnuts
Spinach with feta cheese, strawberries & red onion
Spring Mix with pine nuts, apples, craisins & dill sprinkled over the salad

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

build a better BLT

We love BLTs. They are an easy solution to the common, uh-oh it's 5 o' clock and I don't have anything remotely resembling a planned dinner rolling around in my mind. But we have grown a little weary of the old standby, so I decided to spice it up a bit. Background: I do not like mayo or miracle whip, so I usually just butter the toast. It always tasted a little dry, like it was missing that moisture or cream to smooth out all the flavors. And I can hear all of you out there are going, duh woman - that's why we use the mayonnaise. Not me, no thank you. So this time, I got a little inventive in the kitchen and here's what happened: It was delicious.

How to build a better BLT:

Cook your bacon.

Thinly slice onion.

Thinly slice tomato. Dill and pepper your tomato. What? I can say that. I know it sounds wierd, but it's really illogical considering we say "salt & pepper" things all the time. You don't need any salt because of how salty the bacon is (this coming from a salt-addict), but you do need dill because it goes so well with tomato slices.

Toast your bread.

Drizzle a vinaigrette dressing over your toast (such as Brianna's homestlye dressings) and then top each toast with crumbled cheese. I used goat cheese, however; one could also use feta or parmesan reggiano. Any cheese with a punch, you want to taste the cheese without having to use a lot of it. Personally, I think the goat cheese was, as the Italian chef would say, magnifico! The tanginess of the goat cheese married perfectly with the BLT-ness. After you've drizzled your toast with vinaigrette and cheese crumbles, build a "normal" BLT. Put the warm bacon directly onto the cheese to make it melt ever so slightly. Yum. Enjoy. You're welcome.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Cozy Apple Cider

This lovely cider has been perfect for these past few snowy, bitter-cold winter days. It's cozy and perfect for cuddling in on the sofa with your lovebug (that's our family talk for a loved one).

A note on apple juice for this recipe:
Please use real juice. If you purchase organic, it's real. Otherwise, read the label carefully, you want apple juice "fresh pressed" from real apples NOT from concentrate. It does make a huge difference in flavor, please don't skimp here. It will most likely be in a glass jar, not plastic and there will be apple "particles" settled on the bottom in a thick layer. Shake well before using.

32 oz real apple juice
2 cinnamon sticks
1 star anise
4 whole cloves
1 citrus fruit of somekind; orange, tangerine, clementine
2 cups medium to full bodied red wine; such as a Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon

Using a microplane, zest 1 teaspoon of citrus peel into the cider; then cut your citrus fruit into wedges and float the wedges in the cider.

If it bothers you to have the cloves floating around loose in your cider, buy a cloth tea bag or cheesecloth to tie them up in for steeping. If you do leave them loose, just make sure to fish them out before you serve the cider, an unexpected clove is no fun.

Pour all ingredients into pot and simmer over low heat for 15-20 minutes to allow flavors to fuse. Serve each cup with a wedge of the citrus fruit for nice presentation. Yields 4 cups.