Monday, July 30, 2012

Strawberry Spinach Salad

Yes, folks.  I am {gasp} dieting.  So, as much as I love to blog about baked goods and ice cream, you'll be seeing some lighter fare around here for the foreseeable future.

This post is more a list of ingredients rather than an actual recipe.  Feel free to omit or substitute anything and mess with the proportions of ingredients as you see fit.  But I'm telling you, the combination of flavors below is just awesome, so give it a chance please!

You'll need:

Mixed baby greens (or whatever other greens you'd like; optional)
Basil, cut into ribbons
Strawberries, sliced
Cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
Slivered almonds
Feta cheese
Extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Salt, to taste

Combine spinach through feta cheese in a bowl.  Drizzle a little olive oil and balsamic over.  Sprinkle with a little salt.  Toss it all together and go to town.

Yum.  Seriously.  This is so good, in fact, that I'm eating one of these as I type.  Enjoy!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Limoncello Collins

For those of you who are unaware, this summer has been dubbed The Summer of the Cocktail.  I found the recipe for this drink here.

Makes 8 drinks

You'll need:

16 oz. limoncello (lemon-flavored liqueur)
12 oz. gin
8 oz. fresh lemon juice
24 paper thin lemon slices
16 oz. club soda, chilled
mint sprigs, for garnish

In a pitcher, combine the limoncello, gin, and lemon juice.  Cover and refrigerate until well chilled.  

Press 3 lemon slices against the inside of each glass and add ice to the glasses.

Stir the limoncello mixture and pour it into each of the glasses.  Top each glass with 2 oz. of club soda and garnish with mint.

Drink up!

So, I didn't manage to get a close up photo of this drink.  I was in the process of doing so, but got distracted when someone started talking to me, haha.  But anyway, you can see a few glasses on the table in the above picture.  It really is a pretty, and tasty, drink.  Enjoy with friends on a warm summer evening.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pumpkin Bread

Is this recipe a little out of season? Sure it is. I have to say, though, that I don't really care. I got a craving for some of this pumpkin bread a couple of weeks ago and just had to bake some up.  The recipe is from the blog My Baking Addiction.

(Makes 2 loaves)

You'll need:

1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin puree
4 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2/3 cup water
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups sugar
3 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tbs pumpkin pie spice (or some mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, ground ginger, allspice, etc.)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease two loaf pans (I think mine are 9x4x3?  Something in that neighborhood).

Combine the pumpkin, eggs, vegetable oil, water, vanilla, and sugar until well mixed.

In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, and pumpkin pie spice.  Little by little, add the dry ingredients to the wet.  Do this until just combined.

Pour equal amounts of the batter into each loaf pan.  Bake for 60-70 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

This bread is really nice for breakfast, toasted, with just a little butter.  Enjoy!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Strawberry Jello Pretzel Salad

This Strawberry Jello Pretzel Salad is a staple at picnics, cookouts, and the like.  There are a lot of different versions floating around, but I found this recipe for Strawberry Jello Pretzel Salad on allrecipes.com.

You'll need:

2 cups pretzel twists or small sticks, crushed
3/4 cup butter, melted
3 tbs sugar

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1 (8 oz.) container frozen whipped topping, thawed

2 (3 oz.) packages strawberry-flavored Jello
2 cups boiling water
2 (10 oz. ) packages frozen strawberries (it's nice if these are sliced, rather than whole)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  

Stir together the crushed pretzels, melted butter, and 3 tbs of sugar.  Press the mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, until set.  Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the cream cheese and 1 cup of sugar.  Feel free to use light cream cheese or that neufchatel business, if you'd like.  Fold in the whipped topping.  Smooth this mixture across the cooled crust.

Dissolve the Jello in boiling water.  Stir in the frozen strawberries, and set this bowl in the fridge for just a bit.  You want your Jello mixture to set a bit before adding it to everything else.  Otherwise things are a runny mess.

After the mixture has attained the consistency of egg whites, pour and spread it over the cream cheese layer.  Then refrigerate this dish until it has set.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Peach Ice Cream

My friend Emily gave me some peaches that she acquired on her most recent trip home to South Carolina.  Knowing that I'd never eat them all before they became overly ripe, so I searched for a way to use them up quickly.  

Fortunately, David Liebovitz has a recipe for peach ice cream in his book, The Perfect Scoop (which, by the way, is a great ice cream cook book).

You'll need:

1 1/3 pounds ripe peaches (~4 large peaches)
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
a few drops freshly squeezed lemon juice

Peel the peaches*, slice them in half, and remove the pits.  Cut the peaches up and put them in a saucepan.  Add the water and cook over medium heat, covered, until they are soft and cooked through.  This should take about 10 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the sugar, and then let it all cool to room temperature. Your kitchen should be smelling pretty amazing by now.  

Puree the cooked peaches and any associated liquid, along with the sour cream, heavy cream, vanilla, and lemon juice until everything is almost smooth.  You can do this in a blender or food processor.  Just watch out that you don't fill your food processor over the "max fill line" like I did.  It was a mess.  Alternately, you can puree everything with an immersion blender (which is what I did).

Chill everything in the fridge for a few hours, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer's directions.  You can eat it as is, or if you'd prefer a firmer ice cream you can stash it in the freezer for a few hours before digging in.  Enjoy the peachy goodness!

*How to peel peaches:

David Liebovitz offers a tip on how to easily peel your peaches.  Start by cutting an X on the bottom of the peaches, then lower them into a pot of boiling water for about 20 seconds.  Use a slotted spoon or ladle to transfer the peaches from the boiling water to a colander in the sink, and run some cold water over them.  Once they cool a bit, you can slip their skins right off!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Key West Grilled Chicken

Even though Sean is usually the resident grill master around here, he's been kind enough to step aside and let me try my hand at grilling lately.  First, I tried out the honey, lemon, & rosemary grilled chicken, and now I've moved on to a different marinade.  

You'll need:

3 tbs soy sauce
1 tbs honey
1 tbs vegetable or olive oil
juice of 2-3 limes
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb chicken breasts or tenders

Mix all of your marinade ingredients together.  Place your chicken in a zip top bag and pour the marinade over.  Close it up, and squish it all around to ensure that everything has some marinade on it.  Let this sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, and up to over night.  

Get to grilling and enjoy!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Roasted Broccoli

Need an easy, healthy side dish?  Here you go!

You'll need:

1 lb fresh broccoli, cut into florets
2 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
1 lemon
soy sauce (just a little bit!!)

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with foil, and consider giving it a good spray with cooking spray.

Toss the broccoli, olive oil, salt, and pepper around in a zip top bag until everything is well coated.  Spread this out on the baking sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes or so, tossing the broccoli around midway through.  Once it's done, squeeze the lemon and pour the smidge of soy sauce over the broccoli.  Toss it all up, and it's time to eat!

This was so simple to prepare, and was excellent.  My only word of caution is to use the soy sauce very sparingly.  Things get overpoweringly salty pretty quickly.  You could always cut way back on the salt that you initially season the broccoli with, or omit it entirely, as well as consider using the low sodium soy sauce if you need to watch your sodium intake.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Funfetti Cake Dip

Happy Fourth of July, everyone!  Unfortunately, I don't have some patriotic themed recipe for you... but I do have an awesome, sweet dip! 

I saw this dip on the blog Eat Yourself Skinny, and knew that I had to make it. I'm a huge fan of Funfetti cake (see my homemade version of Funfetti cupcakes here!), so this dip was particularly appealing to me. It's very tasty, not so terrible for you, and simple enough to put together that I whipped this up while in my hotel room on vacation. 

You'll need: 

1 box Funfetti cake mix (I used the white cake) 
1 cup Lite Coolwhip 
2 cups plain, non-fat yogurt 

Mix everything up in a bowl until it's all well-combined. Garnish with extra sprinkles, if you desire. Then dig on in! I used graham crackers for dipping, but you could use whatever sounds good to you. I originally had some chocolate animal crackers, too, that I thought would be particularly good with this dip. But I sort of... ate the entire bag before leaving for vacation, and was too lazy to make another trip to the store. Use whatever you'd like, though! Enjoy!! =)