Monday, February 28, 2011

Chocolate-y Toffee Shortbread

According to one of my favorite magazines, FamilyFun, these rich chocolate-y shortbread bars are a hit among Irish families, making them the perfect choice for serving on St. Patrick's Day.

All I know is these received two bellies up -- the highest honor -- among the guys who gather at our house for weekly Bible study.

Two bellies up -- these babies are winners.

Go see the recipe at the FamilyFun site, here.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Coffee Liqueur

This time of year I have lots of extra empty jars around, as we've been making our way through the year's stash of olallieberry jam, sweet freezer pickles, peach nectar, etc.
This seemed like the perfect moment to try making some coffee liqueur.  I've never made this before, but  love the flavor of coffee in chocolate desserts.
And hey, I've got all those empty jars, right?  It had to be done.
I won't know for sure the success of this experiment until the liqueur has "mellowed" for two or three weeks.  But based on a preliminary taste I'd say this will be a winner.  It came from the book Homemade Christmas by Mary Harvey Gurley, the same book that gave me this yummy lemon curd recipe.  Same exact page, by the way -- page 41.  It's a good page.

One more note:  I checked in my trusty Pyromaniac's Cookbook to see what dishes I could set aflame with this and, alas, I learned that while coffee liqueurs are acknowledged as tasty, author John. J. Poister says "their low proof does not make them suitable for flaming unless neutral spirits are added to bolster up the alcoholic content."
Sigh.  I did so want to light my food on fire.

2 c. water
4 1/2 c. sugar
4 t. instant coffee
drop vanilla extract
1 c. brandy
1 c. rum

In saucepan, combine water, sugar, coffee, and vanilla.  Heat over low-ish heat, stirring, until sugar and coffee powder are dissolved.  Set aside for a minute or two to cool, then add the brandy and rum.  Pour into clean jars and close 'em up good.  Liqueur should be ready in two to three weeks.

NOTE:  This seemed like it would be a whole lotta liqueur, so I cut these amounts in half and still ended up with two-plus small jars full.  FYI.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Five Sneaky Little Healthful Steps that Even Diehard Foodies Can Live With

Michele at Fit Foodista blog is hosting a blog carnival on food, health, and wellness.  When I hear the word carnival, I think cotton candy and caramel apples and I am most definitely in.  Here's my contribution to the carnival: 

Five Sneaky Little Healthful Steps that Even Diehard Foodies Can Live With

1.  Don't drink soda, drink water.  Except with pizza.  You gotta have soda with pizza.

2.  Make your own Happy Frappies.  I don't know the exact calorie count of my homemade blended frappuccino, but I'll bet with skim milk it's less than half the 500-plus calorie count of some local coffee shops' offerings.

3.  Good bread without butter is actually quite tasty.  Really.

4.  Instead of joining the rest of the family in shoveling in yummy salty French fries at the drive-through, just take a deep whiff instead.  The smell is just as good as the taste.  Maybe better.  And no calories whatsoever.

5.  Find some form of exercise you love and schedule it regularly into your life.  It will become like brushing your teeth; you will automatically do it without even thinking of skipping.

Bonus tip:  Better one blissful bite of blueberry muffin that actually tastes good than a whole huge fiber-filled wad of muffin that tastes like particle board.  As the author of the book French Women Don't Get Fat says, "Fortunately, with good chocolate, you don't need, and should not want, pounds of it for pleasure.  A couple of choice pieces a day won't disable your budget or your weight maintenance program."



Have you got any healthful tips to share with those of us who love our food?

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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Take Care of Those Wooden Spoons

For a very cool tip on taking care of your wooden kitchen utensils, check out Food in Jars blog.  Pretty nifty.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cheese-Oozing Onion Bread

Well I'm not sure I even need to add any words to this; the picture pretty much says it all.  A round of bread sliced almost all the way through, oozing with cheese and diced green onions and poppy seeds.  You pull off cubes of the cheese-soaked bread with your fingers and pop them into your mouth. 
Does it get any better?
No.  It does not.
One word of warning:  The first time I made this, I had no idea how filling it was.  I served it with spaghetti.
We did not need the spaghetti.
The second time, I served with a small fruit salad.
Much better.
This would also be wonderful with a light (think broth-y) soup.
This recipe is officially an appetizer, but if you think cheese fondue, you can call it a main dish and I'd be behind you 100 percent.  Just don't think about calories. 
Tomorrow you can have salad for dinner.  Tonight?  Lick your fingers and enjoy.
Go visit Leigh Anne at Your Homebased Mom blog for the recipe and a thorough "Bloomin' Onion Bread" tutorial.  She got the recipe from See Jane in the Kitchen! who got it from The Changeable Table.  You know a recipe's a winner when it keeps getting passed from blog to blog. 

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