Monthly Archives: February 2011

Strawberry Banana Smoothies

For a long time, I’d feel guilty about drinking an entire smoothie.  They’re so good they seem like an unhealthy treat.  I’ve since gotten past that, as there’s not a speck of unhealthiness in a glass.

We never measure this recipe.  I’ve written the formal recipe below, but it can be summed up in two sentences: Blend ice cubes, fruit, yogurt, and milk until smooth.  A few tips and tricks that we’ve discovered over the years:

  • Add more ice cubes for thicker smoothies.
  • Add more milk for a thinner smoothie.
  • Any frozen fruit can be used in place of the strawberries/banana.
  • If you add a hefty amount of ice cubes to begin with, you’ll over compensate with the rest of the ingredients, and end up with double the smoothie you’d like to eat.
  • If the ice isn’t hitting the blades of the blender, add more milk or give the blender a good shake or two (while it’s off, of course).

Strawberry Banana Smoothies

similar recipe found at squidoo.com
recipe makes 2 smoothies

Ingredients

  • 5-10 ice cubes
  • 5-7 frozen strawberries
  • 1 banana, broken into chunks
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3/4 cup milk

Directions

  1. Layer ingredients in blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.

Tapioca Pudding

Tapioca pudding tastes like childhood.   Serve warm or cold – a bowl of comfort either way.


Creamy Tapioca Pudding

from Cook’s Country magazine, June/July 2010

Directions

  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup Minute tapioca
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, chilled

Directions

  1. Combine milk, egg and yolk, ¼ cup granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, and Minute tapioca in medium saucepan; let sit for 5 minutes. Bring mixture to boil over medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring constantly for 2 minutes. Off heat, stir in vanilla and scrape pudding into medium bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate until set, at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.
  2. With electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream and remaining granulated sugar until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes.
  3. Gently fold half of whipped cream into pudding. Serve with dollop of remaining whipped cream.

Garlic Knots

Garlic Knots

recipe from Cook’s Country

Ingredients

  • 10 garlic cloves, minced (total of 2 tablespoons minced garlic)
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon plus 3/4 cup warm water (110 degrees)
  • 1 1/8 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 200 degrees. When oven reaches 200 degrees, turn it off. Grease large bowl.
  2. Cook garlic, 1 tablespoon butter, and 1 teaspoon water in small nonstick skillet over low heat, stirring occasionally, until garlic is straw colored, 8 to 10 minutes. Add remaining butter, stirring until melted. Let stand 10 minutes off heat. Strain garlic butter through fine-mesh strainer into small bowl; reserve garlic solids.
  3. Whisk remaining water, 1 tablespoon garlic butter, reserved garlic solids, and yeast in liquid measuring cup until yeast dissolves. In bowl of stand mixer fitted with dough hook, mix flour and salt until combined. With mixer on low, add water mixture in steady stream and mix until dough comes together, about 1 minute. Increase speed to medium and knead until dough is smooth and comes away from sides of bowl, about 6 minutes. Turn dough onto clean work surface and knead briefly to form smooth, cohesive ball. Transfer dough to prepared bowl and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and place in turned-off oven until dough has doubled in size, 40 to 50 minutes.
  4. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Punch down dough on floured surface. Roll dough into 12- by 6-inch rectangle and cut into twelve 6-inch strips. With flat hands, roll each strip into 12-inch ropes. Tie ropes into knots (see photos below), tucking tails. Place on prepared baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and return to turned-off oven until doubled in size, about 20 minutes.
  5. Remove knots from oven and discard plastic. Heat oven to 500 degrees. Return knots to oven and bake until set, about 5 minutes. Remove knots from oven and brush with 2 tablespoons garlic butter. Rotate, return to oven, and bake until golden, about 4 minutes. Brush knots with remaining garlic butter and cool 5 minutes. Transfer to wire rack. Serve warm.


Congo Bars

It’s as if a chocolate chip cookie and a brownie reproduced, and this is the result.  Take the best of each dessert – the taste of a cookie, the chewiness of a brownie – and roll it into one.  I’ve heard these called “Blondies” before, and the site where I found the recipe, Bakerella, calls them “Brookies.”  In the comments on that page, someone said during their childhood they called them “Good Bars.”  I think I agree with the last one!

Congo Bars

Ingredients:

  • 2 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 pound light brown sugar*
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 ounces chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped pecan or walnuts

Directions:

  1. Sift flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Combine butter and sugar using a mixer until blended.  Add eggs, one at a time to sugar mixture, mixing on low in between each addition.  Add vanilla and mix.
  3. Add flour and stir by hand until combined.  Stir in chips and then pecans.
  4. Coat a 13 X 9 pan with non-stick spray and spread batter evenly into dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until top is golden brown.

*I used my scale to measure, but if you were trying to use standard measuring tools, I’d try about 2 cups.

Tacos: Unfolded

I must admit, sometimes we get stuck in a taco rut.  Not that I don’t enjoy them – I do – but we always eat them the same way.  Flour tortillas, fixings rolled in the middle.  Until last week, that is.  Same ingredients – different look.  It’s some sort of cross between loaded nachos and a taco salad – and it’s delicious.

Tacos: Unfolded

Ingredients:

  • tortilla chips
  • taco meat (we used leftover filling from beef empanadas)
  • any taco toppings, such as: diced tomatoes, diced onions (red or yellow), lettuce, spinach, shredded cheese, refried beans, etc.

Directions:

  1. Heat taco meat in a saucepan on medium heat until hot.
  2. Layer tortilla chips, meat, and toppings.
  3. That’s it!

His Needs Her Needs Review

His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof MarriageHis Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage by Willard F. Harley Jr.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was very hands-on and interactive, which I appreciated. It includes quite a few worksheets, quizzes, and personal questions. The only problem I had with this book was the “blame the victim” philosophy, though I understand how it’s helpful in preventing affairs.

View all my reviews

Spinach and Artichoke Dip Recipe

Yet another dip recipe!  We seem to be on a roll this month, between guacamole, artichoke dip, white pizza dip…  This one was tasty, though not my favorite of the dips we’ve had so far.  Paul really liked it, so I’d make it again.

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

recipe from Beantown Baker

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 dash pepper
  • 1 – 14oz can artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup loosely packed, coarsely chopped spinch leaves
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • bread or chips, for serving

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl combine mozzarella cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese, mustard, and pepper.  Stir in artichokes, spinach, and onion.
  2. Spread evenly into a 9-inch round plate.
  3. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 parm cheese over top of mixture.
  4. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until heated through. The top should be browned and the sides should be bubbling.