The operative word here, or in this case number, is 1. The recipe for 1 Easy Cranberry Sauce calls for 1 bag (12 oz.) of fresh cranberries, 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of orange juice. That’s all it takes to make a delicious homemade cranberry sauce with the perfect balance of sweet and tart to complement your Thanksgiving turkey. If there was a contest for the simplest recipe ever this one would surely be in the running. Just put 3 ingredients into a slow cooker, turn it on high, and cook for 4 hours. (more…)
With Thanksgiving only a couple of weeks away, many of you who are hosting dinners have undoubtedly begun planning the meal. Getting as much done ahead of time will allow you to spend more time with family and friends. Things like pie crusts, cranberry sauce, and even gravy can be made weeks ahead of time and frozen. You can also start thinking about your table decorations. Some people get so overwhelmed with the thought of preparing an entire Thanksgiving dinner that they put very little effort into decorating the table. I think this is such a shame! If you’re going to spend all that time cooking an elaborate Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t it make sense to put some extra thought into the table decorations? After all, this is the stage for the beautiful meal you’ll spend hours preparing. Floral arrangements are lovely, but oh so boring. Why not create something truly unique and memorable – like Thanksgiving Cookie Votives! These charming cookie votives are a little labor intensive but so worth the effort. They’ll dress up your table and are sure to be a conversation starter. Plus, you can serve them for dessert. Below are some tips for making Thanksgiving Cookie Votives. For complete step by step instructions see the printable recipe at the end of this post. (more…)
These witch’s finger Halloween cookies are SO creepy. A shortbread type dough is molded into the shape of a finger and adorned with a blanched almond, painted red to look like a finger nail. The end result is a cookie that looks amazingly realistic. It’s fun to greet trick-or-treaters at the door with a tray of these cookies. The reactions are priceless! (more…)
Calling all chocoholics! Peanuts in healthier chocolate couldn’t be more delicious! This is a chocolate bar you can feel a little less guilty about eating. mr. Good(for you)bars are made with only five ingredients and unlike regular chocolate bars they contain no refined sugar, no artificial flavorings, and no emulsifiers or other food additives. They’re a healthier alternative to store bought chocolate and are so simple to make. Below are a few tips for making this chocolate. For complete step by step instructions see the printable recipe at the end of this post. (more…)
It’s the beginning of September and this time of year has me thinking about all the things school related. I’m pretty sure that’s what prompted me to make these cookies. Milk and cookies is the quintessential after school snack – the ideal kid comfort food. Even though I try to eat healthy most of the time I’ve never outgrown my love for cookies. Every now and then I crave a good cookie – one that is golden brown, a little crisp at the edges, and soft and chewy at the center. (more…)
These Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Lime and Toasted Coconut are sweet, tart, creamy, and delicious – sounds more like a dessert, doesn’t it? Sweet potatoes are a great year round vegetable but I’ve always thought of them more as a fall/winter vegetable, that is, until I started making this recipe. Lime and coconut are classic tropical flavors and these two simple ingredients transform ordinary mashed sweet potatoes into a fantastic side dish that is not only healthy but simple to prepare. This is a great recipe to add to your summer cooking repertoire. Below are a few photos and tips that may help you prepare this dish. For complete step by step instructions see the printable recipe at the end of this post.
You’ll need 2 lbs. of sweet potatoes as well as a few limes for this recipe. Four medium sweet potatoes is roughly the equivalent of 2 lbs. There are 4T of lime juice needed so 2 limes should yield enough juice but if you want a garnish you’ll need 3 limes.
Securely wrap each sweet potato in aluminum foil and place seam side up on a baking sheet. The sweet potatoes may ooze a bit during baking – that’s ok, but if this happens the aluminum foil may get stuck to the baking sheet, making it very hard to clean. When you place the package seam side up this is less likely to happen. Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 1 hour, or until the sweet potatoes are tender can be easily pierced with a toothpick through the foil. The total cooking time may be a little more or less than 1 hour depending on the size, thickness, and how many potatoes you are using. Start testing them after 45 minutes.
Once the sweet potatoes are tender let them cool for at least an hour before unwrapping them – they’ll be too hot to handle before that. This is what they will look like when you unwrap the packages.
Cut a slit up the center of each potato to remove the skin.
The skin will separate easily from the insides of the sweet potato and come off almost in one piece. I think this method of preparation is much easier than peeling and boiling the sweet potatoes.
The recipe calls for melted butter but if the potatoes are warm enough you can put them into a mixing bowl right on top of the unmelted butter and the residual heat will melt it. Then simply add the lime juice, salt and pepper to taste, and mix it all together. I use a potato masher like the one pictured above but the tines of a fort will work as well. Once everything is well combined transfer the mixture to a casserole dish.
You can toast the coconut flakes in the oven for about 5 minutes at 400 degrees but watch them closely as they are baking because like other nut meats, they go from perfectly golden brown to completely burned very quickly.
Just prior to serving sprinkle on the toasted coconut. Garnish with a lime wedge if desired.
Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Lime and Toasted Coconut
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap each sweet potato individually in aluminum foil, place on a baking sheet and bake on the bottom rack of the oven for 1 hour or until the potatoes can be easily pierced with a toothpick through the foil. (This could take anywhere from 45 minutes to 1½ hours depending on the size and thickness of the sweet potatoes. Start testing them after 45 minutes.)
Once the potatoes are tender take them out of the oven and let them cool for 1 hour. Remove the aluminum foil from each potato, remove the skin, and place them into a mixing bowl. Add the melted butter, lime, salt and pepper, and mix well using a potato masher or the tines of a fork. Transfer to a casserole dish. Just prior to serving, reheat for 10-15 minutes at 400 degrees. Top with toasted coconut and garnish with lime if desired.
If you have a sweet tooth but are trying to cut down on your sugar intake, you will love these Gluten Free Raspberry Fudge Flowers. While I adore chocolate I have always been put off by the intense sweetness of fudge. I know some people are crazy about fudge but I think the amount of sugar in most fudge recipes masks the depth of flavor for which chocolate is known. These pretty little dessert flowers have the consistency of fudge but without loads of added sugar, which, with the help of a couple of tablespoons of strong coffee, allows all of the chocolaty goodness to shine through. Except for 1 tablespoon of raspberry liqueur (which you can leave out if desired), there is no refined sugar in this recipe. All of the sweetness is derived from the natural sugars in the dates, which are combined with the other ingredient to create a healthier alternative to traditional fudge. A 1.5 oz. piece of fudge has about 150 calories and somewhere around 29 grams of sugar. By comparison these Raspberry Fudge Flowers have 130 calories and a mere 7 grams of sugar. That is a huge difference in sugar content! And, they are gluten free and require no cooking to boot! This recipe was inspired by the popular Lara Bar recipes that are all over the food blogosphere. I experimented with peanuts, almonds, and walnuts (and various combinations thereof) but found that cashews produce a texture most similar to fudge – soft and chewy. Serve these with dollops of whipped cream and you will be in (a healthier) fudge heaven! (more…)
The idea for trail mix on cobb salad came to me a few years ago while I was vacationing with my family on Turks and Caicos. Every January, in order to decompress from the holiday madness, we rent a condo on this beautiful island, fully equipped with a fantastic kitchen. Turks is a blissful place to visit and about the only negative thing I can say about this tropical paradise is that food there is dreadfully expensive. As a result we eat breakfast and lunch at our condo and only go out for dinner. This is the lunch salad that has become my family’s favorite while we are there. I make a variation of this salad at home quite often and usually include dried cranberries and candied pecans. However, without my normal pantry items available in a vacation rental, I once improvised and used the trail mix we bought for snacking as a topping. We liked it so much that this is what I now use at home on our salads. Aside from the trail mix the other thing that makes this salad unique is that I substitute two of the ingredients typically found in cobb salad – bacon and blue cheese – with goat cheese and crispy prosciutto. I like the milder flavor of goat cheese and think it pairs nicely with the fruit and nuts in the trail mix. And the crispy prosciutto in lieu of the bacon works well because it has the same general texture and flavor profile as bacon (crispy, salty, pork). For this reason, I often use crispy prosciutto in recipes that call for bacon because it is so much easier and less messy to prepare. You roast it in the oven on a parchment lined sheet pan. It’s done in under 20 minutes and there is very little grease so clean up is a breeze (see below for directions). (more…)
I love recipes that are simple and elegant – the kind that produce finished dishes that look sophisticated but are quick and easy to prepare, and require no unusual or hard to find ingredients. This Pea Parmesan Soup hits the mark on all counts. You can throw it together at the last-minute on a busy weeknight, or prepare it ahead time for a fancy dinner party. I usually serve this soup as a first course, but you can make it a complete meal by omitting the prosciutto, stirring in chunks of good quality ham, and serving it with a salad and some crusty french bread.
Lay the prosciutto slices on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes until crispy.
Here’s what the prosciutto looks like when it’s done. (more…)