Pumpkin-Almond Crunch

Pumpkin-Almond Crunch

Pumpkin-Almond Crunch

Pardon the interruption while I still try to squeeze into a bikini….yep all 43 years old of me in da bikini baby!  So I have been torturing my peeps with healthy grubs for a while  (meaning more healthy than ever for me).  I am still my usual everything from scratch kind of nut job (please don’t take offense if you are part of the same clan), but lately I have been annoying more than usual….which if you know me, well it’s kind of scary.  I put annoying on the map.  I thrive on annoying.  I rejoice in….OK this is annoying!

We are heading to Florida for Spring Break.  So although I am the biggest gym rat around I have managed to push the envelop a touch more in terms of not only exercising but cutting out a LOT of unhealthy habits.  First off; no more bread at breakfast.  Second, no more food…HA!  Just checking to see if you were paying attention!  Second, less snacking.

It’s been nice….especially nice when I will be lying on the beach in my granny bikini ;)

Here’s a little healthy treat to share with the class.

delicious treat for everyone!

delicious treat for everyone!

Adapted from: Canyon Ranch Nourish by Scott Uehlein

Ingredients:

3/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds

3/4 cup raw almonds

2 teaspoon canola oil

3 tablespoon real maple syrup

1 tablespoon flax seeds

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

3/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon all spice

3/4 teaspoon sea salt or kosher

1 1/2 cup dried cranberries

How to:

Preheat the oven to 300 degree F.  Lightly spray a baking sheet with canola oil spray or line with a silicone mat.

Toss the pumpkin seeds, almonds and canola oil in a small bowl.  Spread the coated seeds evenly on the baking sheet.  Roast for 20 minutes, or until almost dry.

first step....gotta start somewhere!

first step….gotta start somewhere!

Place the pumpkin seeds and almonds in a medium bowl and stir in your maple syrup until coated.

Combine the cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and salt in a small bowl.  Add the spice mixture and flax seeds to the pumpkin seeds and almonds.  Stir to combine.

Return everything to the baking sheet, spread as evenly as possible and roast for 15 minutes or until dry, stirring occasionally.  Keep an eye on this, pumpkin seeds burn easily.  Remove from oven and let cool completely.

second roasting....easy breezy

second roasting….easy breezy

Once cooled combine the seeds and the dried cranberries in a large bowl.  Put in an air tight container.

isn't it gorgeous?

isn’t it gorgeous?

To serve: I like to sprinkle over Greek yogurt and sliced bananas.  Any flavor yogurt works, I prefer Chobani non-fat plain yogurt.  If you prefer you may want to drizzle some more maple syrup, honey or agave syrup.  This crunch is also great over cereal or simply in a bowl while watching Duck Dynasty…. ;)

my afternoon snack

my afternoon snack

Printer Friendly: Pumpkin-Almond Crunch

Peace and Da Beach in Da Bikini!

Isabelle

Juicing, Smoothies and a Giveaway

Giveaway NOW CLOSED.

Giveaway time!  You know I love a good giveaway but here is what I love about this one: it’s for your health!  That’s even better in my book!

Green Pak by Trace Minerals Research

Greens Pak by Trace Minerals Research

I am giving away a box of Greens Pak….CHOCOLATE flavor to boot!  Well in all honesty I am not giving it away….Audra from our local Country Nutrition Store  is really giving it away to one of my lucky readers!  Yes, she is that nice!  I cannot tell you how wonderful it is for us to go to our local  Country Nutrition Store and be able to ask questions about what to put in our juices or smoothies.  Mr Man found us a great green powder, maca root powder and some local bee pollen.  We would have never been able to learn so much if we didn’t ask and ask again.  Audra mentioned that our daughters would most likely love the taste of chocolate (ummmm….I LOVE the taste of chocolate!), she was correct.  This stuff tastes delicious and it’s filled with super power green supplement!  Certified Vegan.  Organic Raw Food.  Antioxidants.  Enzymes.  Probiotics.  Super Fruits.  Green Foods….etc…

Juicing and making smoothies is a HUGE fad right now.  I don’t care.  It’s a fad that’s healthy for you….we could all use a little more fruits and veggies in our diet!  The best way to boost any smoothies or juices: add some green powder.  It doesn’t taste bad, trust me!  Yes, it might make your drink look like an alien invasion but if that’s a problem then simply drink it out of a dark cup…you won’t have to look at it…problem solved….you are welcome ;)

WARNING*****HOT WATER ZONE******(meaning I might get in some with the following paragraph!)

Some people will have you believe that you need a juicer/juice extractor.  I disagree.  Not everyone can afford a $100+ juicer.  They are nice and do a great job but in reality if you have a blender you can make wonderful smoothies/juices in minutes.  You may have to sacrifice a bit in terms of texture but that can easily be fixed with adding some liquid and or yogurt for a creamy factor.  We are making delicious smoothies in our old blender, which you can find for about $20-$40. here .

Here is an example of a delicious fruit smoothie:

mmmm delicious smoothie...not very photogenic!

mmmm delicious smoothie…not very photogenic!

Ingredients:

1 banana

3 whole strawberries (stem have lots of super powers!)

hand full of blueberries

1 kiwi (no peel…yuck…fuzzy!)

2 big tablespoons Chobani plain greek yogurt (0% non-fat or 2% low-fat)

1/2 to 3/4 cup coconut water or milk or soy milk or water or….you get the idea

1/2 cup crushed ice

1 packet Chocolate Green Pak

How to:

Put in your blender and hit blend.  Pour into a lovely (or not) glass.  Drink and feel the power!

this is not super nuclear science...go with what you like!

this is not super nuclear science…go with what you like!

kind of brownish...if using regular green powder it is SUPER green color...I kind of like that!

kind of brownish…if using regular green powder it is SUPER green color…I kind of like that!

Note: you may need to adjust the liquid depending on how thick you like your smoothies.

Win a box of delicious Chocolate Greens Pak! (Support nutrition, digestion, circulatory health and the body’s natural defenses!)

There is 30 lovely little packets per box!

There are 30 lovely little packets per box!

How to enter:

Leave a comment below :)

Extra entries:

Like my page on Facebook: here

Like Country Nutrition page on Facebook: here

Follow my blog via email (no worries this is top-secret stuff!) simply enter your email and follow the instructions!

Share this email with friends, family, frienemies, fauxfriends….etc….

PLEASE put a comment for each “action” I know… I know…. such work!  ;)  Contest ends on Monday Feb. 25 2013 (midnight).  Winner will be announced on Tuesday Feb. 26 2013

Giveaway open to residents of the lovely United States of Americool and my birth land Coolnada (aka USA & Canada)

Peace out friends,

Isabelle

Note:  yes, we have a lovely local health food store and they are awesome.  Sadly….unless you live in the Greenwood vicinity or near their Decatur, IL location, I strongly suggest you find a local health food store and start asking questions about your health.  It matters.

Buttermilk Biscuits

Buttermilk Biscuits

Buttermilk Biscuits

The best biscuits I have ever had in my entire life (a fun-filled 43 years so far!) were at The Loveless Cafe in Nashville Tn.  The Loveless Cafe is very well renowned for their biscuits.  The biscuits (and the restaurant) have been on TV more than once.  Even Mrs Stewart invited the biscuit lady: Ms Carol Fay to her show.  I purchased the dry biscuit mix from The Loveless Cafe, sadly they didn’t quite turn out the way I wanted them.  I have tried several biscuit recipes over the years.  Some worked pretty well, for example Bobby Flay’s Black Pepper Biscuits which I served with my Sunday Night Pot Roast.  Unfortunately they aren’t breakfast “I love the South” type biscuits.

I found a recipe in my favorite Saveur Magazine issue ( Saveur No. 153 ) the recipe makes enough for a small army.  I don’t want a mountain of biscuits lying around my house.  Using the 2 important techniques I found in this recipe, I adapted it to turn out 8 lovely biscuits.

#1. Do not overwork your dough.  Once everything is combined leave it alone.

#2. Freezing the butter and using a box grater to incorporate the butter into your flour mixture.  Gently combining the butter and the flour with your hands.  Do not overwork this step.  The heat from your hand could easily melt the butter.  Melted or soft butter doesn’t turn out flaky biscuits!

Gorgeous lovely Biscuits make me happy!

Gorgeous lovely Biscuits make me happy!

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups flour

1/2 tablespoon kosher salt

2 1/2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 tablespoon baking powder

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, frozen

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk

1 tablespoon honey (or agave syrup if you prefer)

How to:

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat.  Set aside.

Heat oven to 400 degrees F.  Whisk flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder in a bowl.  Using a box grater, grate 5 tablespoons butter into flour mixture, and gently mix with your hands.  Add buttermilk, and gently fold to combine to form a soft dough.

grated frozen butter....who knew?!

grated frozen butter….who knew?!

Turn dough onto a floured surface, work the dough with your hand to incorporate everything.  Do not overwork your dough.  Pat or roll into a 1-inch thick disk.  Cut into 8 squares or using a round cutter cut into 8 circles.  Place on your prepared baking sheet.  Bake in your preheated oven for about 12-15 minutes.  Melt remaining 3 tablespoons butter in a small pan; mix with the honey.  Brush over hot biscuits; return to oven until golden brown, about 5-8 minutes more.

do not panic even if your dough seems not perfectly combined, it will bake perfectly

do not panic even if your dough seems not perfectly combined, it will bake perfectly

yes...my 8th biscuit is sad looking...happens!

yes…my 8th biscuit is sad looking…happens!

when sweet butter hits the biscuits...magical!

when sweet butter hits the biscuits…magical!

fresh out of the oven smelling wonderful

fresh out of the oven smelling wonderful

Look at this delightful inside!

Look at this dreamy inside!

Simple, buttery, flaky, lightly sweetened by the honey butter, wonderful crust and EASY….really easy to make!

Matt wasn’t home to enjoy the biscuits, which meant we had some leftovers…3 to be exact.  I decided to make Egg McBiscuit for lunch.  The girls LOVED them.  The combination of the creamy egg, the salty bacon, the sharpness of the cheddar and the sweetness of the biscuits was simply flawless.

Egg McBiscuit by McNerdy!

Egg McBiscuit by McNerdy!

first bite might cause a picture perfect explosion

first bite might cause a picture-perfect explosion

Printer Friendly: Buttermilk Biscuits

Peace and Biscuits,

Isabelle

Bacon and Peanut Butter Chocolate Truffles

Bacon Peanut Butter Chocolate Truffles

Bacon Peanut Butter Chocolate Truffles

You might have thought I had lost my mind when I made my Pepper Bacon Jam.  Well fear not, I am now moving on to a true, over the top, decadence.  It is the Holiday Season after all, time for treats but no tricks!  This is a little surprise I am taking with me when I go to Chicago this weekend.  I am meeting Janine and we are hanging out with our friend Brad.  His partner is in Cali so it’s just the three of us living (well mostly eating) it up in the windy city!  Janine arrived a day before me, she said she had work meetings but somehow her and Brad have been texting me pictures of amazing food they are already eating…I say: “work, smoork”.  Not cool people, not cool!!!!

Even though I am a bit miffed with the two of them for having fun without MOI! (how dare they!)  I like to surprise them with little homemade gifts that we can indulge on over the weekend.  I once saw the two of them killing my Gateau au Chocolat Fondant (flourless chocolate tart)  no plates- just 2 forks…it was a sight!

Recipe from: The Bacon Cookbook by James Villas.  Found: here

Ingredients:

6 slices of bacon (not smoked or flavored in any way, but low-sodium works well)

1/2 cup salted peanuts

1 tablespoon sugar

1/4 cup smooth peanut butter

4 tablespoons butter (at room temp)

6 1-ounce squares semisweet chocolate

1/2 cup cocoa

1-2 tablespoons sea salt (optional, not in original recipe, you might need less, depending on how much you sprinkle on top)

How to:

In a large skillet, fry the bacon over moderate heat till crisp, drain on paper towels, and let cool completely.

In a food processor, combine the bacon, peanuts, and sugar and grind to a fine texture.  Transfer the mixture to a bowl, add the peanut butter, and stir till well blended and smooth.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill about 1 hour.  ***this is a must in order to handle the dough, otherwise you will have a serious mess on your hands!***

the dough...definitely not a very appetizing picture!

the dough…definitely not a very appetizing picture!

Roll the mixture into balls about 1-inch in diameter, place on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and chill about 30 minutes longer.  ***also a must if you want the balls to look good covered in chocolate, you will notice the heat from your hands will affect the last few balls***

heading in the right direction

heading in the right direction

Meanwhile, combine the butter and chocolate in a small saucepan (I did a double boiler…didn’t trust myself not to burn the chocolate!)  and stir over very low heat until melted and smooth.  Remove from the heat and let cool until warm.  Sift the cocoa into a bowl. (oops I forgot…but I still had it in a bowl!)

the set up, like a well oiled machine (!??)

the set up, like a well-oiled machine (!??)

Coat the balls completely in the melted chocolate, dredge thoroughly in the cocoa, sprinkle with a little sea salt (if using) and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

ready to chill!

ready to chill!

Note: you have to work quickly, once you start handling the balls and the warm chocolate “hits” them you will notice they might loose their pizzazz…I stopped halfway and put the rest in the fridge for a few minutes before finishing.  I have to say mine are pretty ugly, I can live with that, they are delicious, decadent and completely over the top!  Just the way I wanted them.

a little imperfection doesn't mean they are not delicious!

a little imperfection doesn’t mean they are not delicious!

Printer Friendly: Bacon and Peanut Butter Chocolate Truffles

Peace and Ugly Pizzazz is still Pizzazz!

Isabelle

Note: when my husband read my post he couldn’t stop laughing at my note above…I call it like it is!

Holiday Gifts & Treats. Part Two: Savory

For this second installment of my homemade holiday treats/gifts, I wanted to touch on the “usually” forgotten savory treats.  I love to give cookies but at times, I want to give something a little more suited to each individual.  Which means that for some, sweets are not the right fit…gasp!…who doesn’t like sweets?  ;)

Here are my top ten homemade savory items.

#1: Homemade Pesto: whether you make Classic Pesto, Arugula or Kale Pesto, this is a great gift full of delicious flavors.  I would usually add a high-end dry pasta (or fresh if you know they will use it soon).

Lovely Pesto...so many possibilities

Lovely Pesto…so many possibilities

#2: Cocktail Pecans: so simple to make and perfect for the Happy Hour Fanatic!  A nice bottle of wine would be a lovely touch!

Let's get a little nutty for the Holidays :)

Let’s get a little nutty for the Holidays :)

#3: Homemade Taco Seasoning: a little out of the box perhaps but I would include a recipe card, some homemade salsa and you have yourself a lovely gift.

I would love to receive this as a gift! By the way also GREAT in chili!

I would love to receive this as a gift! By the way also GREAT in chili!

#4: Le Creuset Bread: I would bring this to a dinner party or with some homemade jelly for a breakfast treat the day after.

gorgeous and yummy and yummy and....EASY TO MAKE!

gorgeous and yummy and yummy and….EASY TO MAKE!

#5: Smoked Salmon Dip: so many possibilities with this treat, perhaps a cute little serving dish and platter, some imported crackers, a 6-pack of cool Alaskan beer…

Lovely smoked salmon

Lovely smoked salmon dip

#6: Oat and Cheddar Crackers: in my original post, I simply cut the crackers into square little bites but you could easily change it up and get very creative with the designs.  Include a favorite bottle of wine for a special touch.

Let's be creative...little Christmas trees?  Ok maybe too cheesy...LOL...get it...oh I need to go stop typing...

Let’s be creative…little Christmas trees? OK, maybe too cheesy?…LOL…get it… cheesy….oh I need to go stop typing…

#7: Pepper Bacon Jam: they may think it’s a joke until they taste it.  Don’t forget to include the recipe…then again you may want to keep it a secret and look like a superstar!

Gorgeous and ridiculously good Pepper Bacon Jam!

Gorgeous and ridiculously good Pepper Bacon Jam!

#8: Riley and Cooper Special Treats: (dog treats!) Evidently, this is for the animal lover!  Although completely edible for humans you may want to refrain and let it be a gift for the canines.

For the animal lover in all of us...well 99% of us! ;)

For the animal lover in all of us…well 99% of us! ;)

#9: Tomato Sauce with Butter: I would make this sauce for my friends that are true Pasta Lovers.  I would include some delicious pasta, a bottle of red and a loaf of bread.

Probably not the best pic but by far the best pasta sauce EVER!

Probably not the best pic but by far the best pasta sauce EVER!

#10: Lemontini Set: Of course making the Lemontinis unless you are home won’t work but giving them all the ingredients, especially the homemade Lemon Simple Syrup, a great gift.  If you wanted to add a couple special Martini glasses, then you would be a rock star…or a martini star!

Be creative! You will be remembered!

Be creative! You will be remembered!

As always I hope you enjoyed these different holidays’ treats/gifts.  Please feel free to send me photos of your creations at isamvor@comcast.net I love to see what you guys make!

Peace and Happy Special Treating,

Isabelle

Homemade Holiday Gifts & Treats. Part One: Sweets

I love love love Christmas Baking.  I love Cookie Exchanges.  I love homemade Holiday’s Hostess Gifts.  I thought I should put together a couple little posts with a combination of great treats for the upcoming holidays!  First, I had to tackle the sweets.  It actually took me a few tries to narrow it down to 10.  You know my love of cookies is infinite which means I could have put ALL my cookie recipes on here and call it a day…but I didn’t.  I actually thought this through and decided on what would make a great treat to give someone you care about.

You may want to print the recipe when you give this delicious little treat!

Perhaps in cute little bags like these or a nice decorative plate!

Nothing says I love you or I value you like a homemade treat!  Yes…nothing ;)

#1: Homemade Vanilla: such a wonderful gift; simple and you can easily find decorative bottles to showcase the gorgeous amber color.  This would be a perfect gift for a baker.

Homemade Vanilla

Homemade Vanilla

#2: Chocolate Bark: classic.  Kids love it, adults love it and you can go with or without nuts to please everyone.

Delicious and addictive Chocolate Bark

Delicious and addictive Chocolate Bark

#3: Apricot and Nut Cookies with Amaretto Glaze: elegant and fairly easy to make.  The glaze is a must and gives a delicious aroma to this gorgeous cookie.

I could eat a whole plate of these delicious Cookies

I could eat a whole plate of these delicious Cookies

#4: Apple and Sour Cream Coffee Cake: a statement dessert, moist and lovely flavors.  You could even add a beautiful Bundt Cake Pan as a complete gift.

Of course you could also add some homemade caramel sauce! YUMMY

Of course you could also add some homemade caramel sauce! YUMMY…(see below!)

#5: Cranberry and White Chocolate Cookies: this says “Christmas Cookie Exchange” the cranberries are so delicious and add a gorgeous ruby color.

Beautiful!

Beautiful!

#6: Jezebel Brownies: a little naughty for the Holidays?  Of course, everyone deserves a decadent treat.

Jezebel Brownies    OMG...a bit out of focus...but everything is this time of year!

Jezebel Brownies
OMG…a bit out of focus…but everything is this time of year!

#7: Lemon-Rosemary Shortbread Cookies: a great way to end a special meal.  Great hostess’ gift.  The fragrance from these cookies is unmistakable.

Lemon Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

Lemon Rosemary Shortbread Cookies

#8: White Christmas: simple addictive!  Find colorful bags and share the love!

messy but soooooo tasty! I promise :)

Put in lovely little bags and you have a wonderful treat!

#9: Caramel Sauce: taking the time to make this lovely caramel sauce would make a very special gift.  I would include a little note not only with the recipe but with the many ways they can enjoy the sauce.

My Uncle Andre's Famous Caramel Sauce

My Uncle Andre’s Famous Caramel Sauce

#10: Tumbleweeds: my absolute favorite holiday treat, sweet and salty in a one bite little magic morsel….heavenly!

you may have a taste test.... ;)

I bet you can’t eat just one ;)

I hope you find these ideas helpful, please let me know if you decide to make them, send me a picture or a message I would love to share your creations!

My email: isamvor@comcast.net

Peace and Happy Gifting,

Isabelle

Tomato Sauce with Butter and Fresh Pasta

Tomato Sauce with Butter and Fresh Pasta (I know this pic is horrid!)

Or in Isabelle’s world: Perfection.

I can’t even begin to tell you how much I love pasta, pasta with butter, fresh pasta, dried pasta, tomato sauce, pesto sauce, any sauce really, little sauce or a whole lotta of sauce, sprinkle of cheese or even a truck load…you catch my drift?

This sauce came back to me from reading Saveur Magazine.  I already knew about this sauce because it has made the rounds of every blog since the dawn of time (that might be an exaggeration!)  Listen, this sauce is a no-brainer.  It works, it’s easy, it’s scrumptious and it’s cheap.  DONE.

YET I can’t leave well enough alone.

First, I agree that the sauce, which requires a 28-ounce can of whole tomatoes, is perfect for year round satisfaction….but come on, fresh tomatoes…do we even have to discuss this?  Fresh tomatoes it is.

Second, the original recipe makes enough for 4 servings…WHAT?  no leftovers!  Double the recipe it is.

Finally, I need fresh pasta for this sauce.  Simple enough.  Fresh pasta it is.

Ingredients:

2 pounds fresh tomatoes (peeled and cut into chunks, see reference below on how to)

1 1/2 stick unsalted butter (12 tablespoons) (4 Tablespoons less than original recipe)

2 medium onions peeled and halved

1/2 teaspoon sugar

salt and pepper

How to:

Put the tomatoes, onions and butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.  Bring the sauce to a simmer then lower the heat to keep the sauce at a slow, steady simmer for about 45 minutes.  Stir occasionally, crushing the tomatoes against the side of the pot with a wooden spoon. Remove from heat, discard the onion*, add salt and pepper to taste.

already smells amazing

gorgeous sauce, nicely reduced and perfect for any occasion

Note: At this point I should tell you that I used my immersion blender because it seems the peeps (in fact the two teenage girls!) are “allergic” to tomato chunks.  Do as you wish, I think the sauce is good either way.

* Discard the onions!!!! WHAT!  Do yourself a favor; get a piece of crusty bread, put on a few pieces of onions and live a little!

Note: you could also use 2 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes

look at this amazing little plate of flavor!

the girls and I shared this little appetizer. AMAZING!

I decided to make Ann Burrell’s fresh pasta from her Cook Like A Rock Star cookbook.  YUMMILICIOUS!  Of course you can use your favorite store-bought fresh pasta or dry or whatever your heart desires :)

Ingredients:

1 pound all-purpose flour (about 3 3/4 cups)

4 whole eggs, plus 1 yolk

1/4 cup olive oil

Kosher salt

1 to 2 tablespoons water or more if needed

How to:

*These are Ann’s how to…I use my dough hook in my Kitchen Aid and my pasta roller also from my Kitchen Aid (see pic)

Put the flour on a clean dry work surface.  Make a hole (this is also called a well) in the center of the flour pile that is about 8 inches wide (bigger is definitely better here).  Crack all of the eggs and the yolk into the hole and add the olive oil, salt and water.

Using a fork beat the eggs together with the olive oil, water and salt.  Using the fork, begin to incorporate the flour into the egg mixture; be careful not to break the sides of the well or the egg mixture will run all over your board and you will have a big mess!  Also, don’t worry about the lumps.  When enough flour has been incorporated into the egg mixture that it will not run all over the place when the sides of the well are broken, begin to use your hands to really get everything well combined.  If the mixture is tight and dry, wet your hands and begin kneading with wet hands.  When the mixture has really come together to a homogeneous mixture, THEN you can start kneading.

Using the heels of your palms, roll the dough to create a very smooth, supple dough.  When done the dough should look VERY smooth and feel almost velvety.  Kneading will usually take from 8 to 10 minutes for an experienced kneader and 10 to 15 for an inexperienced kneader.  This is where the perfect, toothsome texture of your pasta is formed.  Get in there and have fun!

fresh pasta is simply divine!

When the pasta has been kneaded to the perfect consistency, wrap it in plastic and let rest for at least 1 hour.  If using immediately do not refrigerate.  Roll and cut the pasta into desired shape.

that’s honestly just part of the actually mess in my kitchen! It got scary! :)

lots of pasta!

Note: In order to peel your tomatoes you will need to boil them, put them in an ice bath and peel them.  You can follow a very helpful visual on here . (Allrecipes.com)

Sorry about the bad pictures of the actual dish, no excuses just tired and late!

Printer Friendly: Tomato Sauce with Butter

Printer Friendly: Fresh Pasta from Ann Burrell

Peace and Perfection,

Isabelle

Heck, here’s another note (because I can) I served my perfect pasta with my favorite rustic bread from Le Creuset, you could read more about it: here

Printer Friendly: Le Creuset Bread

Spicy Green Grilling Marinade

Spicy Green Grilling Marinade: Pork Chops

I love summer more than the average bear.  I have known this for a long time.  Which is why you should know that I love my husband more than summer (don’t gasp…I mean I really really really love summer!) to prove my point: we left gorgeous, HOT and perfect Florida and moved to Indiana (also pretty perfect if you ask me!) so that my husband could join the cool Indianapolis Fire Dept. Brotherhood.  There!  That’s proof enough if you ask me.  No worries I also do other special lovely things for my husband so he knows how much I love him….get your minds out of the gutter….ever so slightly ;)

Today in order to once more prove my love to my sweet man I decided to make this delicious spicy marinade for our pork chops. He loves the spicy stuff! (I said…minds out of the gutter!)  This is a nice way to provide an alternative flavor to traditional pork marinades.

Feel free to try this on any meat you like.  It is pretty darn versatile if you ask me!

Ingredients:

Zest 1 lime

Juice 1 lime

3 Jalapenos (or 2 jalapenos + 1 serrano) roughly chopped

4 green onions, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon agave syrup (preferably organic)

2 garlic cloves crushed

2 tablespoons orange juice

½ cup cilantro roughly chopped

1/3 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

4-5 pork chops (I like the thick center cut for this dish) or 4-5 boneless skinless chicken breasts or pork tenderloins or whatever your heart desires!

How to:

In your blender put all your ingredients (except the meat….OBVIOUSLY!) blend well.

gorgeous isn’t it?

Using a large bowl or glass pan (what ever will fit in your fridge) put your meat in and cover with the marinade.  Please use the best tools you have : your HANDS and massage it all together.  Put in your fridge for a minimum of 1 hour (2-3 works well).

When ready, grill your meat on a medium-low heat until ready.

juicy pork chop with lovely spicy flavors

Serve with what ever your peeps enjoy in the summer heat.  Our place: corn on the cob (we do live in Indiana!) and whole wheat couscous!

Printer Friendly: Spicy Green Grilling Marinade

Peace and Love,

Isabelle

Recipe Linked Here as Well:

Double Chocolate Mascarpone Ice Cream

I have made this confession in the past but here goes again just to show you how weird and crazy I can be, let me refresh your memory….

Confession: I do not like reading books when people recommend them to me.  I especially don’t like it when they insist or go as far as giving me the book.

For example: I still haven’t read; The Help.  Why?  Because Janine gave it to me last summer and insisted I read it.  Didn’t happen.

Another example: Bear gave me her Hunger Games books and said I really really should read them before the movie comes out…did I read the books?  Nope, I even gave her back the books to which she simply replied: “Mom, you’re weird”

Let me explain that I am not being a jerk, I do trust their opinion, I value their opinion…it’s just that I think I will be so disappointed in the book that I will feel bad telling them they were wrong.  I know it is completely crazy and bizarre.  As I write this I can completely see I need psychiatric help….serious help.

YET….sometime I come out from under my craziness and actually give in to a book.  I don’t know if it is my back pain talking or the fact that I have had to lay down and do nothing but ice my back (one can only watch so much TV) but I am on Book Three of the Hunger Games series!  Yay me!

I even had a difficult time tearing myself away from the books to make ice cream.  I mean it’s excruciatingly hot and baking is not really fun so I wanted ice cream….but the books were calling me.  It was quite a mental battle…. I should just be quiet now….

Double Chocolate Mascarpone Ice Cream

Inspired by In My Kitchen by Ted Allen’s recipe for Chocolate Ice Cream

Ingredients:

3 cup heavy cream

1 cup milk (I had 2%)

1/2 cup agave syrup

1/2 teaspoon ground coffee

4 egg yolks

6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate melted

8 ounce container mascarpone cheese

3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

How to:

Heat the cream, milk, agave syrup and ground coffee in a heave saucepan over medium heat until hot, do not let the mixture boil and curdle.

In a medium bowl whisk the egg yolks.  Slowly add 1 cup of the hot cream mixture in the yolks while whisking constantly.  Pour the yolk mixture into the saucepan of cream; heat, stirring constantly, until the custard thickens slightly and coats the back of a wooden spoon.  Do not let this boil or curdle.

testing testing…..

Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer to remove the coffee (some will remain but that’s OK).  Using a whisk add your melted chocolate and combine well.  Cover and place in your refrigerator for about 6 hours or until completely chilled.

ready to chill

Once your ice cream has cooled completely, whisk in your mascarpone cheese.  Following the directions on your ice cream maker to freeze your ice cream. Once your ice cream has reached the desired consistency, fold in your chocolate chips.

you can eat your ice cream now or put in your freezer for deep freeze, your choice!

This ice cream is super creamy and so chocolaty!  Perfect!  The addition of the coffee really enhances the chocolate flavor.  I love it!

yumminess in a bowl

Printer Friendly:  Double Chocolate Mascarpone Ice Cream

Note: this makes a lot of ice cream, you may choose to freeze in two batches.  I didn’t because as we know I am quite impatient!

Peace and Help, (not to be confused with: The Help which I haven’t read!)

Isabelle

Roasted Cherries and Brown Butter Frozen Yogurt

Heaven.

That’s what I picture when I envision this frozen yogurt.  I don’t know why but it just seems so….just so heavenly.

I bought 2 bags of frozen cherries, one I will be used in this recipe and the other in an appetizer….if I can stop myself from eating all the roasted cherries.

The only sad sad sad part of this story is that my sweet little Sunshine is allergic to cherries, so she will not partake in this heavenly treat.  That’s OK I make her so many other treats she won’t really care!

Roasted Cherries and Brown Butter Frozen Yogurt

Here we go….no worries I think it will be a smooooooth ride!

Ingredients:

For the cherries:

1 12-ounce bag frozen cherries (about 2 cups)

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

Zest & juice of 1 lemon (I had about 4 tablespoons of juice)

For the brown butter:

5 tablespoons unsalted butter

For the yogurt:

3 cups plain Greek yogurt (I prefer the 2% fat as opposed to the o%…better texture)

2/3 cup sugar (you can add more sugar if you like a sweeter yogurt but the cherries are sweet & I like the contrast)

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

How to:

For the cherries:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or Silpat.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl combine your cherries with your sugar, salt, zest and lemon juice.  Toss well and put in your prepared pan.  Roast in your oven for 30 minutes.  Put your cherries in a small bowl to chill completely.  If you decide to let them cool in your pan just be ready for a very sticky situation!  Set aside until ready to use.

beautiful cherries ready to get roasted ;)

Note: this can be made a day ahead, keep in your fridge but be sure to bring to room temperature before adding to your frozen yogurt.

a bowl of deliciousness!

For the brown butter:

In a small saucepan, melt your butter and slowly let it turn to a golden brown.  Take your time, this is not a race…you don’t want burnt butter just brown!  Remove to a small bowl to cool.  Using a small spoon remove the “froth/foam”.  At room temperature the butter will solidify again.  Keep at room temp. until ready to use.

beautiful golden brown color

removing the foam…and stating the obvious! :)

cooled brown butter…as exciting as….cooled brown butter!

For the frozen yogurt:

In your mixer with the wire whip attachment, combine your yogurt, sugar and vanilla.  Whip this for 1-2 minutes.  Add your brown butter and whip for 2-3 minutes more.  Cover your bowl with a plastic wrap and put in your fridge for 1-2 hours.

adding the brown butter to the yogurt mixture

Using an ice cream maker (following your manufacturer’s instruction) chill your yogurt.  Finally add your roasted cherries, you might have to use a spatula and combine/fold them by hand.  DO NOT overmix the cherries with frozen yogurt.  Be gentle!

probably not the best picture but you get the idea!

Serve immediately or put in an airtight container and put in your freezer until ready to serve.

oh yes….a tub of magic (??!!)

I have to say that this frozen treat was by far one of the best thing I have ever eaten, seriously….the frozen yogurt alone before I added the cherries was unreal…then I added the gooey sweet cherries and it was simply divine!

absolutely delicious!

Note: this frozen yogurt base is extremely easy to adapt to ANY flavors you like.  You could even simply fold in some chocolate and call it a day!  If doing a different flavor, skip the brown butter.

Note #2: yes, you can use fresh cherries but for the sake of year round delight I went with frozen!

Printer friendly: Roasted Cherries and Brown Butter Frozen Yogurt

Peace and Heavenly,

Isabelle

Find my recipe here as well: