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Posts Tagged ‘fruit’


Tell me there’s a dinner party with friends and I am there! That’s what inspired this strawberry and nectarine crostata. My friends were prepping the dinner, so count me in for a homemade baked dessert and vanilla frozen yogurt for topping. Are you drooling? I am.

Even though this is called a dessert, it’s actually very light and not very sinful. The strawberries protect your heart and are considered an anti-inflammatory. And did you know that one cup of fresh nectarines contains 214 mcg of beta-carotene? Nectarines also contain Vitamin C. Are you sold yet?

This dessert is literally just fresh fruit, some sugar and organic pie crust from Trader Joes. Done and done. You can whip one of these up for any occasion. It’s so easy. I’ll definitely be making more of these, with different fresh fruits, during the Spring and Summer.

Strawberry and Nectarine Crostata
Inspired by this recipe

Print Recipe

– 1 cup fresh strawberries, halved or quartered
– 1 cup fresh nectarines, peeled and sliced
– 1/4 cup evaporated cane juice sugar
– 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
– 1 organic pie crust round, thawed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place the thawed pie crust on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Set aside.

To make the fruity inside of the crostata:
Place the strawberries, nectarines, sugar and lemon juice in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 to 20 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Do not let it burn. Remove from heat and allow to cool for a bit.

Once the fruit filling is cooled, gently pour into the middle of the pie crust. Make sure to leave a 2-inch border at the perimeter. Gently fold the edges of the pastry up and over the filling, pleating as necessary, to form a round. Make sure to seal any cracks in the pastry.

Bake for 30 minutes to until pie crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Enjoy warmed. I prefer my slice with a dallop of vanilla frozen yogurt on top!

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My goodness! Has it really been over two weeks since I shared a recipe with you all? The time is flying and here I am…I’m emerging from a two (or three?) week baking hiatus. Baking is good for my soul, so hopefully I don’t take a hiatus that long moving forward. Well….unless it’s over 95 degrees outside and I don’t want to melt alive in my house.

I recently found the most simplest of baking recipes and here is what I love about it: (a) it contains eight simple ingredients that you most likely already have in your kitchen, (2) it’s a crowd pleaser and (3) it’s incredibly versatile. For example, you can add nuts or seeds, dried fruit, real fruit, white chocolate chips, caramel and more.

The original recipe is for a chocolate chip cookie cake, however, I wanted to be playful and use chocolate-covered pomegranate seeds in place of the chocolate chips. I was looking for that chocolaty, sweet and tart flavor profile and I achieved it. Oh, did I achieve it. Moreover, when you bite into a slice of this cookie cake, you’ll enjoy the sweet and tart punch of melty chocolate-covered pomegranate seeds. I know, right?! Don’t forget, pomegranate seeds contain antioxidants, which are good for you. More reason to enjoy this cookie cake.

Cookie Cake with Dark Chocolate-Covered Pomegranate Seeds
Inspired from a recipe in this book. Pg 54

Print Recipe

– 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
– 1 cup all-purpose whole wheat flour
– 11/2 tsp baking powder
– 1/4 tsp sea salt
– 1 cup packed light brown sugar
– 1 tsp organic vanilla extract
– 1/2 tsp organic almond extract
– 1 large egg
– 1 cup dark chocolate-covered pomegranate seeds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 10-inch spring form cake pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until well blended. Add the vanilla and almond extracts, and egg until light and creamy. Incorporate the dry ingredients until just blended. Fold-in the dark chocolate-covered pomegranate seeds.

Pour the batter into the cake pan and use a rubber spatula or butter knife to even-out the top. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

Enjoy warmed, room temperature, dunked in cold milk or a la mode!

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Love is nice, isn’t it? The feeling of loving something or someone and being loved in return.

I love traveling, running and laughing with my friends. I also love my family and boyfriend. Which brings me to the subject of Valentine’s Day…the day that’s slowly approaching and enjoyed by many and despised by many. Some are just simply indifferent about it. I may even take the indifferent route. I would love a dozen tulips or a surprise date, on any random day rather than on a day that’s “expected.” Anyone with me on that? If not, that’s cool. We can still be friends!

In the spirit of love I baked-up a scrumptious batch of heart-shaped cranberry upside down muffins! I baked standard round ones as well…extra batter…why not, right? These muffins are perfect to share with those you care about. Those you love. Or perhaps enjoy them with something you love…coffee? Tea?

You may think these muffins are a naughty treat, but they’re not. They’re baked with whole wheat flour, low fat milk and fresh cranberries. Cranberries have significant anti-inflammatory benefits especially in our cardiovascular system, and offer immune support. Eat up!!

Cranberry Upside Down Muffins
Adopted from this recipe

Print Recipe

– 2 cups fresh cranberries, washed and picked over
– 11/4 cups organic unrefined sugar
– 1 tsp grated nutmeg
– 2 cups whole wheat flour
– 1 Tbls baking powder
– 1/2 tsp sea salt
– 1 large egg
– 1 tsp vanilla or almond extract
– 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
– 1 cup 1% or non-fat milk

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a saucepan combine the cranberries, 1 cup of the sugar, and the nutmeg, cook the mixture over moderately high heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved, and boil it, covered, for 3 minutes. Simmer the mixture, uncovered, stirring, for 3 minutes and let it cool.

Into a bowl sift together the flour, the baking powder, the remaining 1/4 cup sugar, and the salt. In another bowl whisk together the egg, the butter, the vanilla (or almond) extract and the milk, add the mixture to the flour mixture, and stir the batter until it is just combined.

Divide the cranberry mixture among 12 well-buttered 1/2-cup muffin tins (or heart-shaped muffin cups), top it with the batter, and bake the muffins in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes, or until they are golden. Let the muffins cool for 2 minutes and invert them onto a rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy!

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Friends. I ached this past weekend. Sore throat, head and nose congestion all accompanied with a headache. Not fun! As I write this post, I am still feeling under the weather…

…not for long! I’ve made it a priority to drink this vitamin C-packed “cold buster” smoothie once a day! I used a food processor because my blender is broken. 🙂

I call it “easy” because it only contains three ingredients! Not including the dash of cinnamon on top. (1) frozen peaches, (2) orange and (3) non-fat Greek yogurt. The peaches are a great source of Vitamin C and especially oranges!! I know that Vitamin C won’t cure my cold but it will prevent it from getting worse. Thank you Vitamin C! Not only does the Greek yogurt thicken the smoothie but it gives me protein and energy I need to fight off this cold.

Is there a specific meal or beverage you make when you’re not feeling well?

Easy “Cold Buster” Smoothie
Serves 1

Print Recipe

– 1/2 cup frozen no-sugar-added peaches. Using frozen fruit helps thicken the smoothie without needing to add ice cream or ice.
– half an orange
– 1/4 cup nonfat or low fat Greek yogurt
– a dash of cinnamon

Place first three ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Pour into your favorite glass and add a dash of cinnamon on top. Enjoy and goodbye cold!

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It’s entertaining season! Yet, many of us don’t really need a reason or season to entertain…it’s fun and it brings friends and family together!

I have a mouthwatering appetizer for you to make for your next soiree! Grilled apple slices with applewood smoked cheddar blanketed in prosciutto. It’s sweet from the apple, creamy and savory from the applewood smoked cheddar and salty from the prosciutto. Is your mouth watering yet?

What I think you’ll like about this recipe is that it’s completely flexible; use brie, sharp cheddar, swiss, havarti, emanthaler and other great cheeses that stand up to apples. The nutritional fiber from the apples and protein from the cheese and prosciutto will keep you satisfied. Here are more nutritional perks of apples.

Grilled Apple Slices with Applewood Smoked Cheddar Blanketed in Prosciutto

Print Recipe

– 2 to 3 medium Granny Smith apples. 1 medium apple yields about 14 servings.
– applewood smoked cheddar or the cheese of your choice.
– 10 to 12 thin slices of prosciutto, sliced lengthwise and halved
– 1 Tbls freshly squeezed lemon juice
– olive oil for drizzling. optional.

Core the apples and carefully make thick slices. Do not halve the apple slices, that will happen later. Place the apple slices in a bowl and cover with the fresh lemon juice to prevent the apples from browning.

Place a nonstick grill pan over medium to high heat. When the grill pan is hot, add apple slices and grill for about 60 seconds per side. You want the grill marks but want to ensure the slices do not become too soft and gummy. Cool the slices on a wire rack. Cut the apples slices in half when they have cooled.

Wrap a cube of the applewood smoked cheddar with a piece of prosciutto and attach to the apple slice with a toothpick. Time to serve and enjoy!

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sweet porridge

It’s true. This post is about porridge. You may be thinking…”Ok, earth to Allison, this is 2010 not 1824. Who’s eating porridge these days?!” Porridge is actually another term for oatmeal or warm breakfast cereal, and it’s a traditional food in Northern Europe.

When you think of porridge, do you think of the childrens’ story Goldilocks and the Three Bears? I do! If Goldilocks likes cinnamon, walnuts and dates, she’ll find this bowl of porridge jussst right.

I found a recipe for wild rice porridge and I decided to make a lighter version by using 1% milk rather than heavy cream, and swap out the wild rice for pearl barley. I love pearl barley, just love it! I also used chopped dates and walnuts rather than pistachios and dried apricots.

Nutritional benefits of pearl barley, ground cinnamon and walnuts!

What’s great about this recipe is that it’s more of a method because you can use other grains or oats, dried fruits, nuts or preserves!

Porridge with Cinnamon, Walnuts and Dates
Inspired by this recipe

Print Recipe

– 2 cups cooked pearl barley
– 1/2 cup 1% milk
– 1 Tbls agave nectar
– 1 Tbls organic maple sugar
– 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
– 1/2 cup dates, roughly chopped
– 2 Tbls chopped raw walnuts

In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, combine pearl barley, milk, agave nectar, maple syrup and cinnamon. Stir frequently until the mixture becomes thick and heated through. Stir-in the dates and walnuts. Continue warming the mixture for another minute or two.

Pour into your favorite bowl and why not drizzle a tad bit more maple syrup with a dash of cinnamon on top! Goldilocks would approve!

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Guess what…

I was a Brussels sprouts virgin until I was in my early twenties. Is that strange? Is that too much information? I figured since we’re all friends here, it was safe to openly admit my “first-time.” Well, my first-time was lovely. I really enjoy eating those round, green sprouts! In fact, I could maybe eat them everyday…grilled, sauteed, steamed, roasted or sliced for a salad!

Another reason I could eat brussels sprouts everyday is because the plant nutrients in Brussels sprouts help our body protect itself against cancer, in particular colon, bladder and liver cancer. How great is that? More information about the nutritional perks of Brussels sprouts.

It was warm this past weekend, so I decided to make a salad of Brussels sprouts, feta and a grilled peach! Heaven!

Brussels Sprouts Salad with Feta and a Grilled Peach

Print Recipe

– 6 to 8 Brussels sprouts, thinly sliced with a mandolin or knife
– 1 white or yellow peach, halved.
– 1 Tbls crumbled feta cheese
– 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
– 1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
– sea salt and pepper to taste

Spray a grill-pan with non-stick cooking spray and place over medium heat. Place each peach halve on the grill pan and grill until peach becomes softened. This should take about 5 to 6 minutes. Keep an eye on the peach to make sure it doesn’t burn.

In a medium bowl, toss the shaved Brussels sprouts with the olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt and pepper to taste.

Remove peach from the grill pan and slice. Add to the Brussels sprouts and sprinkle the salad with feta.

Enjoy it’s crispy, leafy and sweet flavors!

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