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Quick and Easy Asparagus Soup

Quick and Easy Asparagus Soup

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Happy Memorial Day weekend my friends!

A “Quick and Easy Asparagus Soup” recipe to use up the abundance of asparagus from my CSA this week. This recipe is pretty basic, but could be jazzed up with sautéed mushrooms, bits of ham or bacon or some Parmesan crisps.

Ingredients

2 pounds of asparagus, chopped into bite-size pieces

1 TBL light canola oil spread

1 sweet yellow onion, diced

3 cloves of fresh garlic, minced

1/2 cup of dry white wine

3 cups of fat-free chicken broth

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp Better Than Bouillon chicken base (a great product for jazzing up soup recipes)

1/4 cup low-fat cream cheese

Instructions

1. In a medium-sized soup pot, melt the canola spread and add the onion and garlic. Saute until onion is tender about 5 minutes. Stirring occasionally.

2. Add white wine and cook until mostly evaporated.

3. Add chopped asparagus and the chicken broth. Season with salt (and pepper if you’re a fan) and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and cook for about 20 minutes or until asparagus is tender.

4. Add cream cheese.

5. Using an immersion blender, puree until desired thickness. I tend to like mine not completely liquefied. You can also wait until the soup is cooled a bit and process in your regular blender.

6. Enjoy! A generous 1 cup serving is 4 WW PointsPlus

Happy Spring cooking :)

* Recipe adapted from http://www.skinnychef.com

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Kyle’s Chocolate Chip Caramel Brownies

Kyle’s Chocolate Chip Caramel Brownies

028Good morning friends,

My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by the Boston Marathon tragedy yesterday. I am very relieved that everyone I knew there is safe. My deepest sympathies to everyone involved; victims, participants, first responders and family members. May God grant us all peace.

I thought it a good time to think about the positive and count my many blessings. Once of them is my son, Kyle. He is thirteen and loves to cook and bake, which of course warms my heart and I am so thankful that we share this love of baking. I think he will make some woman very happy someday with his skills in the kitchen :)

On Sunday, Kyle came to me and said he wanted to take on a baking project… he wanted to make something that neither one of has made before. I said, “great, go for it!” He decided to look through Pinterest and the boards I have created because often times I sit with him and point out things that I’d like to try some day.  Being the chocolate lover he is I had an idea the direction he was going :) I reminded him to check his ingredients to make sure we had everything on hand, nothing more frustrating than beginning a recipe only to find out that you’re missing an ingredient or two.  I stood by for consultation, but he didn’t really need that much :)

He chose a chocolate caramel brownie recipe, and yes, he made the brownies from scratch which is something that I rarely do!

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Kyle’s Chocolate Chip Caramel Brownies

Ingredients

For the brownies:

2 sticks of unsalted butter

1 12 ounce package of dark chocolate chips

1 1/2 cups of white sugar

4 eggs

1 TBL vanilla extract

1 1/4 cup flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup dark chocolate chips

For the caramel filling

1 package of Kraft caramel bits (tiny little balls found in baking aisle which I love for convenience!)

1/4 cup of vanilla-flavored coffee creamer (because who really has heavy cream on hand all the time?!)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

2. Line a 9×13 pan with parchment paper. Spray pan and on top of parchment with cooking spray.

3. Slowly melt 12 ounces of chocolate chips in a glass bowl at 50% power in 1 minute intervals until chocolate is smooth and melted.  Stir between each interval so as to not overcook.

4. Wisk in sugar, eggs and vanilla. Stir in flour and salt until combined.

5. Spread half of brownie batter in pan and bake for 15-18 minutes.

6. Cool brownies

7. Combine caramels and creamer in another glass bowl and microwave at a reduced power level, until melted, do in 30-45 second intervals, stirring in between.

8. Spread the caramel mixture over the cooled brownies

9. Using 2 spoons, place remaining brownie dough in piles over caramel mixture.

10. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top.

11. Bake for an additional 20 minutes or until set and slightly pulling away from the sides of pan.

12. Cool on a rack and then, cool in refrigerate for a couple hours until fully set and firm.

13. Lift the entire slab from the pan with the parchment paper (this step is when the parchment paper comes in very handy!)

14. Peel back parchment and slice into squares

15. Enjoy your magical creation :)

Recipe adapted from http://www.sixsistersstuff.com

Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffins

Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffins

Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffins

Who doesn’t love peanut butter and jelly?! We LOVE the combination at our house.  A peanut butter jar does not last long here. We like to smear it on everything :) As you all know, I love to bake after school snacks for my kiddos on a pretty regular basis…this muffin recipe is what I came up with earlier in the week. It’s a recipe that I added to my collection from Cooking Light Magazine long ago, 2007 to be exact.  www.cookinglight.com You can use regular or crunchy peanut butter and any flavor of jam that you wish. They are  fairly low-cal, coming in at 185 calories per muffin and over 5 grams of protein each. I hope you enjoy as much as we did. When I asked Kyle, my oldest son, his opinion, he told me “Mom, I ate 4 at one sitting.”  I guess I’ll take that as a compliment!

Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffins

Ingredients

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

1 TBL baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1  1/4 cup skim milk

1/3 cup peanut butter- creamy, crunchy, natural or regular

1/4 cup egg whites

2 TBL butter, melted

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 cup  jam- strawberry, wild berry, your choice

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Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees

2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Make a well in the center, combine milk, peanut butter, egg whites, butter and vanilla.  Add to flour mixture. Stir only to combine.

3. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups. Fill each cup halfway with batter. Top each cup with 1 teaspoon of jam. Spoon remaining batter on top.

4. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes or so until set.

Makes 12 muffins

 

Mardi Gras Cupcakes

Mardi Gras Cupcakes

Happy Friday everyone!

Yes, it’s past Mardi Gras I know….but tonight is the Daddy Daughter Dance at my daughters school and the theme is a Masquerade Ball! My daughter is all set with her hair, nails and mask…so I decided to bake a cupcake that carried the theme. They were really quite simple, no real “recipe” here. I simply made a vanilla boxed cake mix and divided it into 3 bowls.

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I colored the cake mix gold, purple and green with food coloring gel, found in craft and decorating stores, to make the color more vibrant. I spooned the batter into some gold foil cupcake wrappers. The method is tried to use was to put the 3 colors side by side in the cupcake wrapper.

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I baked the cupcakes according to the package directions. I left them “naked” with only a dab or frosting on the top. Allison actually prefers them without frosting, I know…how can this be?! But, it’s true, that’s what she likes :) The frosting-free cupcake also allowed the multi-colored tie-dye look to be more showcased. I surfed the web for some cute printables that were already created, I downloaded them to my computer, punched them out and added the sticks. Ta da!

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I purchased some edible glitter and stars and arranged on trays, scattered with Mardi Gras beads. I hope they all have fun dancing the night away and munching on some yummy cupcakes :)

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