Bytes of Love

Working mommy. Startup daddy. Rascal toddlers.

Category: Sweets & Desserts (Page 1 of 2)

Chilled Strawberry Soup

We’re nearing the end of strawberry season, but that’s not going to stop me from whipping up some chilled strawberry soup (post sleep regression, that is). Like many of my recipes, this one doesn’t have super clear measurements since I arrive at these concoctions through pure trial and error. Of course, with two beautiful rascals and less than 15 minutes to come up with a meal everyday, trial and error is no longer an option, so we’ll see how this year’s version of the soup comes out :-). If you do feel adventurous enough in the kitchen, here’s what you can do:

  1. Grab two pints of strawberries, remove the hull (the green, leafy parts), wash, and toss in the blender.
  2. Add about 1/4 cup of confectioner’s (powdered) sugar. Here’s where the experimental part comes in. You may need some more or less of this, depending on how sweet you want the soup to be.
  3. Blend until smooth, adding a very small amount of water if you want the consistency of the puree to be thinner.
  4. Add a splash of your favorite dry white wine (leave this out if you’re serving it to kids), a dollop of whipped cream, some basil leaves, and cut strawberries as garnish.

Tadaa. That’s really all there is to it. Easy, refreshing, and elegant looking. How elegant? As kitchen art, I framed black and white photos of some of my favorite recipes / creations a few years ago. They are now hanging in our kitchen (I know, Pinterest would be so proud, right?). The left one is what the chilled strawberry soup looks like. Quaint, right? Enjoy!

kitchenart

4 Ingredient Chia Pudding

We’ve come such a long way since the chia pet….or have we?! Chia seeds are back in style. You hear as much about them as you hear about kale and coconut-anything these days. With our juice is loose movement still going strong, we’ve been adding chia seeds to our smoothies every morning. Then I read this post and had to try out chia pudding. Four Ingredients and some minor stirring later, Dilan, daddy and I devoured most of this creamy goodness in one sitting. I followed this recipe almost exactly, but reduced the tablespoons of maple syrup to 1.5. The pudding was still fairly sweet, so I may even try to leave it out next time. I used Silk’s unsweetened coconut milk instead of regular milk, but I’m guessing if you use the vanilla kind that you can just omit the vanilla from the recipe. I also used black instead of white chia seeds. I have yet to hunt for the white ones.

Just to recap: stir together 1 1/2 cups of coconut (or any other kind) of milk, add 1 1/2 tablespoons of sweetener (maple, agave, or other), 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla, and 1/3  cup of chia seeds. Pop in the fridge for 4 hours or so and you’re done! The pudding will take on a tapioca kind of consistency. Top it with your favorite fruit and you’ve got yourself a wholesome breakfast or snack.

Now one thing to watch out for are chia seed recalls. Lots of them lately. I found a good site to check for these: http://jillsjuices.com/recent-food-recalls/.

Overall, this was delicious, quick, easy, and so much more nutritious than any type of Jello you’ll find in the grocery aisles. As a bonus, I got to sing the chia pet song to Dilan, which cracked him up. Give this a try and please let me know if you come up with any cool variations!

4 ingredient chia pudding

Apple Date (or Prune!) Bars

Here’s another recipe that I found online and thought was worth re-posting. It’s delicious for breakfast or as a snack and contains tons of great vitamins, fiber, and nutrients. Instead of using regular flour, I opted for the gluten-free kind since I sometimes cut out all gluten products for a week. I find that going gluten-free for periods of time gives me more energy. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with using regular flour. Since I did not have dates on hand (which the recipe requires), I chose to use prunes instead. The results were fantastic, even without the dates. I added some extra cinnamon to the recipe as well. If you don’t have ground cloves or nutmeg on hand, you can use pumpkin pie spice as well, which is an excellent substitute. Here’s the full recipe…let me know what you think!

I Can’t Believe There’s No Milk – Chocolate Pudding

Once in a while I’ll post a recipe by a FoodNetwork star or other celebrity chef that is just really tasty AND unique. This past weekend, we were looking for a creamy, chocolatey, but still moderately healthy dessert. We found just that in Rachael Ray’s Chocolate Silken Tofu Pudding. It’s creamy, full of flavor, and there’s not a drop of dairy in the recipe. We left out the pistachios, but did top the pudding with raspberries. A fantastic find for a vegan or gluten-free person, or anyone looking for great nutrition in dessert. The best part is that it only takes 5 minutes to make! Here’s where you’ll find the recipe: http://www.rachaelraymag.com/Recipes/rachael-ray-magazine-recipe-search/fast-recipes/chocolate-silken-tofu-pudding

 

Chocolate-Peppermint Holiday Cookies

Need a good cookie recipe for Christmas eve or Christmas day? Whatever holiday you’re celebrating, you can’t go wrong with these festive holiday cookies. I’ve been baking batches of these for my co-workers and friends. Enjoy with a cup of hot cocoa, tea, or coffee!

Ingredients

3 cups of all-purpose flour
1.5 cups of sugar
1 large egg
1 cup butter, softened / at room temperature
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 12 oz. bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
crushed candy canes, about a handful

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Mix together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder in a medium sized bowl.
3. In a larger bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. A hand mixer might come in handy here.
4. Add the egg and vanilla and beat together with the butter and sugar.
5. Carefully mix in the dry ingredients until the mixture turns into a smooth dough.
6. Put teaspoonfuls of dough on ungreased cookie sheets (use parchment paper for best results) and bake for 8-10 minutes in the oven.
7. After 8-10 minutes, cool the cookies for 2 minutes on the cookie sheets before transferring them to a wire rack or sheets of aluminum foil.
8. Crush the candy canes by putting them in a small zip-loc bag and running a rolling pin over them.
9. Melt the chocolate chips in a medium sized bowl in the microwave, until smooth. This usually doesn’t take longer than 2 minutes.

10. Once the cookies are COMPLETELY cool, spread a teaspoon of molten chocolate over the cookies and sprinkle crushed candy canes over them.

No time to make dough from scratch? Simply buy store-bought ready-to-bake dough, add the chocolate-peppermint topping and you’ll get the same results! Happy holidays!

Health Nut Food Faves of the Month – October

It’s finally fall and is starting to feel a bit more like it as well in my area. With cooler weather, here’s what I absolutely love this month!

Trader Joe’s Mulling Spices

If you’re looking for a warm, fat free dessert, this is going to be one of your new fall favorites!

What I love: These mulling spices lend the perfect amount of sweetness, warmth, and flavor and can turn either apple cider, apple juice, or red wine into warm (or cold, if you prefer that) fall treat. I heated these spices in warm apple juice and they were just amazing. The apple juice was not only very soothing, but made the entire house smell fantastic as well. I want another mug just thinking about it!

What I don’t like: There’s really nothing to like here. If you don’t have a muslin bag or cloth, you will have to add the spices to your drink, which means that some of them will float, some of them will hang out at the bottom of your mug or cup, and you might accidentally bite into a clove, which has a very strong flavor. However, I actually enjoyed chewing on the small pieces of lemon and orange peel, so did not mind this at all.

The verdict: If you have a Trader Joe’s in your area, you must look for these in the tea section! With autumn flavors such as lemon and orange peel, cinnamon, all spice, and cloves, you can’t go wrong. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you, you can always try making this yourself or trying the mulling spices at other grocery stores. I believe Williams-Sonoma has these as well. Give it a try, I promise you’ll love it =).

Grown-Up Hot Chocolate

I absolutely love this drink! It’s perfect for the holidays and cold weather and it tastes like a dessert, while still being fairly low-cal. It takes only a couple of minutes to whip this up, so please give it a try!

Ingredients (for 1 cup)

3/4 of a mug or cup of milk (whatever you’re serving this in)
3 teaspoons of Ovaltine Rich Chocolate
1/2 shot of Kahlua, or another coffee liqueur
Whipped cream
Cinnamon

Grown-Up Hot Chocolate

Directions

1. Microwave milk in mug or cup until warm, usually about 1:30 to 2 minutes, depending on your microwave.

2. Add half a shot of Kahlua and stir.

3. Top with whipped cream and sprinkle with cinnamon. Stir if desired.

Fruit Tart

This is a very easy recipe that’s great for entertaining! I copied Ina Garten’s recipe, which can be found here: Fruit tart recipe. Rather than copying that recipe on the blog, I will just give you a few tips and will tell you what I did differently:

  • Instead of using plums, I used quartered nectarines and blue berries to make this tart more colorful.
  • I used an 11 inch tart pan instead of a 9 inch one. If you do this, you will need to multiply the amounts by 1.5.
  • Don’t worry if your crust mixture is more of a paste instead of crumbs. Just tightly press the mixture into the pan and separate out out small lumps of the mixture to top the fruit.
  • Ripe fruits work best here. You can certainly substitute other fruits, but blueberries give almost all other types of fruits a nice touch and sweet, mellow flavor. They melt nicely as well.
  • You can leave out the egg yolk if you’re cooking for vegetarians who don’t eat eggs. If you’re using an 11 inch tart pan, I would still only use 1 egg yolk, since it’s hard to separate out 1.5 egg yolks.
  • Serve this for breakfast with some coffee and croissants. Alternatively, you can serve this, slight warm, for dessert with some caramel drizzled on top and a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.
  • Fruit Tart

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

I know the combination of chocolate and zucchini sounds weird to a lot of people, but this is probably the best bread I’ve ever eaten. It beats the banana-walnut-chocolate chip bread that I often bake. I got this recipe from the Producebox and will make it as long as I can find zucchinis!

Ingredients

3 large eggs
2 cups of sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups zucchini, shredded (this is about 1 medium zucchini)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup baking cocoa or Ovaltine
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon, ground
Cooking spray or butter to grease pans

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Directions

In a mixing bowl, beat eggs, oil, sugar, and vanilla. Stir in zucchini. Combine dry ingredients, add to zucchini mixture and mix well. Pour into two greased 8x4x3 inch loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes to an hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the breads comes out clean. Enjoy!!

Lemon Pound Cake

I got this recipe from one of my co-workers and decided to slightly modify it by adding a lemon twist to it. It takes a little bit of time to cream together the butter and shortening, but this is absolutely the best pound cake you’ll ever taste, with or without the hint of lemon!

Ingredients (serves about 15 people)

1 cup salted butter
½ cup vegetable shortening
3 cups of sugar
5 extra large eggs
3 cups of cake flour, I prefer Swanson brand
1 cup of whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon pure almond extract, use half if you’re not big almond extract fan
½ teaspoon baking powder
The zest of one medium lemon
The juice of one medium lemon, or 1 teaspoon lemon extract

img_3580

Directions

Carefully grate the peel of the lemon, then cut the lemon open to squeeze out the juice. Cream together butter and shortening.  Add sugar and continue to cream until perfectly smooth, about 10 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, beating until well blended.  Add cake flour a little at a time.  Slowly add milk, then flavorings.  Add baking powder last.

Grease and flour a large bundt pan. Pour cake batter into pan and place in cold oven. Turn temperature to 325 F an bake for and hour, or more depending on your oven (you want a toothpick inserted near the center to come out clean). Do not jar cake or remove from oven too soon. Cool slightly (10 minutes), loosen edges with a sharp knife, and remove from pan. Serve with whipped cream sprinkled with some grated lemon peel, fresh fruit, or ice cream. Freezes well.

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