Archive for: Food & Recipes

Perfect Party Desserts!

These desserts are not only great for a party (and this time of year, parties are everywhere!), but they’re so easy to make.  I actually made these for my husband’s surprise birthday party this summer, but I thought they’d be an appropriate share for holiday parties, too!  I had pre-made these and set them out before dinner, and I’m pretty sure they didn’t make it through the appetizer course.  They will be a big hit for your party 🙂  Here are the recipes for Chocolate Raspberry Cream Tarts and Chocolate Almond Raspberry Tarts.

Quick, easy and DELICIOUS party desserts!  Mini Raspberry Tarts!

Quick, easy and DELICIOUS party desserts! Mini Raspberry Tarts!

 

Chocolate Raspberry Cream Tarts

1 1/2 C. Heavy Whipping Cream

1 T. heaping Powdered Sugar

4 oz. Fresh Raspberries, divided

12 Pre-Made Chocolate Cups (you can find these in chocolate section of the baking aisle)

1 square HIgh Quality Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate

In a chilled bowl, add the heavy cream, powdered sugar and whip on low to medium speed until soft peaks begin to form.  Set aside.  Count 12 raspberries and set aside.  Mash the remaining raspberries as finely as possible.  Add raspberries to whipped cream and whip on low to medium speed until mostly stiff peaks form.  Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip with cream.  Pipe cream into chocolate cups.  Add one raspberry per cup and shave, using a fine rasp, high quality chocolate over top of tarts.  Serve immediately or set in refrigerator until ready to serve.  Enjoy!

Just a few ingredients and a few minutes makes these gorgeous and delicious party desserts!

Just a few ingredients and a few minutes makes these gorgeous and delicious party desserts!

 

 

 

 

Chocolate Almond Raspberries Tarts

15 (1 package) Phyllo Dough Cups (found in the frozen dessert section)

4 oz. Fresh Raspberries

1 bar High Quality Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, divided

Almond Slices

In a microwave safe bowl, melt three quarters of the baking chocolate slowly, stirring after every 20-30 seconds.  Do not overheat or you will burn the chocolate – be patient with the process and once it’s warm, finish the melting by stirring the chocolate.  Gently spoon the chocolate into the bottom of each of the phyllo dough cups and let sit for a few minutes.  Before fully set, add one raspberry to each cup.  Sprinkle a few almond slices in each cup.  Serve and enjoy!

A few basic ingredients make these crispy, fruity, chocolatey tarts!

A few basic ingredients make these crispy, fruity, chocolatey tarts!

50/50 Spinach Gruyere Frittata

Recently, I’ve made a nutritional goal of eating more protein.  This is part of the SPELL Fitness Program (which I highly recommend! – www.spellfitness.com).  In that effort, I developed this recipe for a frittata.  The 50/50 comes from half eggs, half egg whites.  Enjoy!

You’ll need:

4 eggs

1 cup of egg whites

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tsp. vegetable oil

3 slices of Canadian bacon, diced

3 slices of Pancetta, rolled and cut into pieces

1 shallot, thinly sliced

5 oz. fresh spinach

1/2 cup finely shredded Gruyere cheese (I highly recommend using a block and shredding it fresh!)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Slice shallot, dice Canadian bacon, and cut Pancetta.  Using an oven safe skillet (I love my Lodge cast iron!), heat oil on medium-high heat and add shallot and meat.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until shallot is translucent.  In the meantime, mix eggs and egg whites in a bowl and add salt and pepper.  Shred the cheese.  When the  shallot is cooked, add in all of the spinach.  It will look full, but continue to stir, it will cook down significantly!  When the spinach is cooked, add in your eggs and cheese and stir to mix.  Allow the edges to cook/set for approximately 2 minutes.  Once the edges are set, transfer pan to oven and continue to cook for 10-12 minutes, or until egg is set in the center.  Remove from the oven, and sprinkle a light layer of Gruyere on top.  Allow to cool briefly and serve warm!  Each quarter contains approximately 222 calories, 13 g of fat, 3.5 carbs, and 21.9 grams of protein.

I used the All Whites egg white brand.  Check the protein and calorie levels of any substitutes you might use.

Set your oven to 425 degrees

Set your oven to 425 degrees

Slice your shallots into manageable bites

Slice your shallots into manageable bites

Dice your meat - here we have Canadian bacon and pancetta - Yum!

Dice your meat – here we have Canadian bacon and pancetta – Yum!

Four eggs and your egg whites

Four eggs and your egg whites

Finely shredded Gruyere

Finely shredded Gruyere

Heat your grease in your oven-proof skillet

Heat your grease in your oven-proof skillet

Cook your meat and shallots just until the shallots turn slightly soft

Cook your meat and shallots just until the shallots turn slightly soft

Add your spinach - it will look like a LOT of spinach, but it will cook down!

Add your spinach – it will look like a LOT of spinach, but it will cook down!

After just a few minutes of stirring your spinach will cook down, seen here.

After just a few minutes of stirring your spinach will cook down, seen here.

Give your eggs a quick stir and pour into your skillet

Give your eggs a quick stir and pour into your skillet

Allow the edges of your eggs to set for about 2 minutes

Allow the edges of your eggs to set for about 2 minutes

Put your skillet in your pre-heated oven and bake!

Put your skillet in your pre-heated oven and bake!

Make sure your frittata is set through and take out of the oven.  Let set for a minute and sprinkle additional cheese on top.  Enjoy!

Make sure your frittata is set through and take out of the oven. Let set for a minute and sprinkle additional cheese on top. Enjoy!

Enjoy!

Coffee from Heaven

Seriously, this stuff is what God drinks on his Sunday mornings…it’s heavenly.  It’s coffee with whipped cream.  It’s perfection.  It’s smooth, light, slightly sweet and the perfect thing to start your day – maybe even your Easter Sunday…

So here’s how it goes (it’s simple).  First, make whipped cream – I truly don’t recommend doing this unless you’re prepared to make whipped cream for the rest of your life.  You’ll never want store bought again.  Okay, you’ve been fairly warned.  First, you need heavy whipping cream.  Per every pint of cream, I’d add a heaping tablespoon of powdered sugar.  Add a tsp. to a Tbsp. of vanilla, if you like (I do).  Then – I suggest using your electric mixer (if you don’t have one, I suggest you buy one – I love my Cuisinart hand held for this).  Mix on medium to high until soft peaks form.  This will take a few minutes…and maybe a few more minutes.  In fact, while you’re mixing with your wonderful electric mixer, I’ll tell you the little story about our first brush with homemade whipped cream……

It was Thanksgiving a few years ago, and we were all gathered at my in-laws place.  We also had friends down and friends coming over for dinner – there were thirteen of us (seven of whom were women – just to put this into prospective).  I had made a homemade pumpkin pie and figured I might as well make homemade whipped cream.  Well, in packing for this holiday weekend, I had indeed included everything – even the kitchen sink.  So, in an effort to lighten our load, I asked my mother-in-law if she had a mixer.  She said yes.  Turns out, no.  Said mixer had been loaned and never returned.  Not having learned this until arriving, we were stuck hand-whipping our homemade whipped cream.  All seven of us women took turns (and each of our arms took turns) whipping up this amazing cream (I think the fact that it was a group effort made all the difference).  Needless to say, the pie and cream were amazing!!  Also needless to say, we were tired.  And laughing, hard.  And smarter for having learned that whipped cream is easier said than done when not using kitchen electrics.  Later that evening, someone (me) have the ever wonderful idea of playing a game.  All the guys left and all the girls gathered ’round the kitchen table.  More laughing ensued (this time, we were laughing while playing dominoes, “train” style – this is a whole other story for an entirely different day, but suffice it to say, there are choo-choo sounds involved).  Then, because coffee is like water in our family, someone made a fresh pot of coffee.  And, someone else decided to dig in the fridge for cream.  Instead, she found the whipped cream and thank goodness she (not me) decided to experiment – I really think she made the world a better place.  We, sitting around the table, with our regular black coffee, all heard this moan of utter satisfaction from the kitchen.  That was it – we were in!  I can’t tell you how many cups of coffee with whipped cream we went through that night, but I don’t think we would have been so drunk if we had consumed the same volume of hard alcohol.  We were delirious…and oh so happy!  And ruined for life.  No more regular coffee.  No more store-bought whipped cream.

So!  By now, your whipped cream should start to be just that – whipped.  The consistency of fluff, or clouds, or fluffy clouds.  The light taste of sweetened cream (I know you’ve tasted it by now, you won’t be able to help yourself).  And, now you are intimately aware of why we use an electric mixer – if it’s taken this long for you to whip by electricity, you can only imagine how long it might take if your arm is the motor.

On to step 2 (this might be three or four, I’ve lost count).  Brew a fresh pot of your favorite coffee (I think the smoothness of French press would be even better!).  You might also consider doing this first, before whipping cream (although, that would really mess up my step order) so that both are ready simultaneously.  I’m tellin’ ya, y’all you’re not going to want to wait.

Get your favorite mug, all the better if it’s big.  Put a dollop of your amazing whipped cream in the bottom, and pour your fresh coffee on top – it’ll get just a bit of wonderful foam on top, too.  Sip.  Ahhhhh…heaven.

Heaven on Earth

Heaven on Earth

Cheers,

Sharon

Simple Egg-Dying

Easter is almost upon us, and that means a time of hope, renewal, joy……and egg-dying (please don’t get me wrong, Easter is such a wonderful time and I love celebrating Christ rising from the grave)!  There are hundreds, thousands, probably even hundreds of thousands (okay, that may be an exaggeration, sort of) of ways to decorate Easter eggs.  However, you gotta start somewhere, so…..start here!

You will need:

  • food coloring (I used the standard 4 color pack – blue, yellow, red, green)
  • white vinegar
  • warm water
  • non-porous containers (so that your food dye doesn’t stain) – as many as you like for the colors you choose to use/mix
  • hard-boiled white eggs
Hard-boiled eggs, glass containers, vinegar, food coloring

Hard-boiled eggs, glass containers, vinegar, food coloring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*A few notes:  when choosing your containers, make sure you can fully submerge your eggs without overflowing your water; and I suggest keeping your carton to use for drying.

Step 1:  Fill your containers with the warm water, a splash of vinegar, and a few drops of dye.  Mix dyes to your heart’s content for orange, purple (be careful to avoid brown….), etc.

Add vinegar and dye to your water

Add vinegar and dye to your water

Mix the dye and vinegar in your water

Mix the dye and vinegar in your water

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2:  Using a metal spoon (again, plastic might stain – I used a regular tablespoon), slowly submerge an egg into each cup.  Let each egg sit for a bit, the longer you let it sit, the more color absorbed.

Submerge your eggs

Submerge your eggs

Step 3:  Check your eggs, and carefully remove from your water bath.  Place your egg into the empty egg carton to dry.  I recommend turning it upside down once the top is dried to allow the bottom to dry – the water/dye pools there when draining down.

Pull your eggs out and allow to dry in your carton

Pull your eggs out and allow to dry in your carton

Step 4:  When your eggs are cool, store back in your fridge.  Save for an Easter egg hunt or use to make deviled eggs for Easter!

Simply-Dyed Easter Eggs!

Simply-Dyed Easter Eggs!

Enjoy 🙂

Cheers,

Sharon