Terri’s Tuesday Tips ~ Feb 5

Good Morning World!

It’s a bright and sunny morning here in the south-east, but very cold….brrrr.  The kitties are all in their favorite spots in the sun having a lovely nap.

Having a nice warming bowl of quinoa right now, so let’s get on with today’s tips..

dry fruit To stop raisins and dry fruit from sinking to the bottom of a cake or muffins, coat in flour before adding to the batter.

TT: Don’t usually have this problem, so haven’t tried it.  However, I do see this tip quite a bit.

∞ To clean rust from stainless steel appliances in the kitchen, mix cream of tartar with a little lemon juice and run in.  Leave for a few hours before wiping clean.

TT:  Who has rust on their appliances unless they’ve been stored in the cupboard for 20 years!  If they haven’t seen the light of day, I really don’t think you’re too concerned about the rust!

∞ Store honey in the cupboard, not the fridge.  If the honey becomes crystalized, put the jar in very hot water until the crystals disappear and the honey is fluid again.

TT:  I do this all the time.  Depending on how crystalized it is, you may have to add fresh hot water.

apple∞ Add an apple to an open bag of potatoes to delay sprouting.

TT: I’ve never done this so don’t know how well it works.  Depending on the advancement of the sprouts, we either just cut them off, plant them or put them into the compost heap.

∞ When kneading bread dough, there’s no need to add any more flour once it comes away cleanly from the work surface, even though it may stick to it.

TT:  When I knead dough, I put a bit of olive oil on the work surface as it prevents it from sticking and doesn’t add unnecessary extra flour.  The oil helps give a softer dough.

∞ When cooking cauliflower, add a little milk to the water to keep the cauliflower bright white.

TT: I’ve heard of adding lemon juice, but not milk.  I don’t do either of them.  I don’t need to wear sunglasses while I’m eating.

I’d like to hear your thoughts on the tips!  Have you tried any of them?

♥♥  Terri  ♥♥

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Friday Foodie Word ~ Paris-Brest

In honor of Comic Relief/Red Nose Day and The Great British Bake Off, I thought it fitting to use a word pertaining to baking and even one that was made on The GBBO….

Paris-Brest

Named after a famous 19th century bicycle race, this is a cake consisting of concentric baked rings of choux pastry, split in half and filled with whipped cream or crème pâtissière mixed with a fine praline and decorated with icing/powdered sugar and flaked almonds.

paris-brest

Should you care to indulge yourself with making this, here’s a recipe for you.

Enjoy!

Have a great weekend!

♥♥  Terri  ♥♥

Apricot Oat Bars ~ South Beach Diet

Happy Friday Eve All!

SBDQECookbookAs you know from my post a few days ago, I’m back on the wagon…the proper eating wagon that is.  I have a couple of the SBD books (The original book, SBD Supercharged and the SBD Cookbook).  I decided to order a couple more so I got the SBD Good Carbs/Bad Carbs handbook and also The SBD Super Quick Cookbook.

I’ve only had the books a week and I’ve already made six recipes from the cookbook!  They all have been rather easy to put together and quite tasty also.  Tonight I’m making Lamb Meatballs in Tomato Mint Sauce which is another SBD recipe, but not from this cookbook.

I thought I would share the recipe I made early this morning.

These bars contain no flour at all and use rolled oats instead, so they are a Phase 2 food.  They are listed under the ‘breakfast’ section and make 12 bars, allowing for 1 bar per serving.  The recipe calls for peanut butter and dried apricots, but you can substitute another no-sugar-added nut butter, such as cashew and use dried cranberries or chopped dried apples or pears instead of the apricots.  It also calls for 1/4 cup granular sugar substitute (such as Splenda or Stevia) but I don’t have these in bulk, only in the small packets and didn’t feel like having to open who-knows-how-many so instead, used 3 tablespoons of agave nectar, which is allowed on Phase 2.  This comes out to less than one teaspoon per bar.

APRICOT OAT BARS

1/2 C natural creamy no-sugar-added peanut butter

1/4 C water

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 large egg whites (about 6 tablespoons)

1/4 C granular sugar substitute or 3 Tbsp agave nectar

2/3 C dried apricots, coarsely chopped

1/2 C walnuts, coarsely chopped

2 C rolled oats (not instant)

1/4 tsp salt

Heat the oven to 180°C/350°F.  Line a 9″x9″ (23cmX23cm) baking pan with parchment, leaving a 2inch (5cm) overhang on 2 sides.

In a large bowl, whisk together the peanut butter, water and vanilla.

Add the egg whites and whisk again.

Add the remaining ingredients until combined.  Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and pat with moistened hands until even.

Bake for 15 minutes until crisp and set.

Cool in the pan for 5 minutes, the using the overhang, lift out of the pan.

Cut immediately into 12 bars.

Apricot Oat Bars

Store in an airtight container.  They can also be wrapped individually and stored in the freezer where they will keep for 3 months.

Great for a take-along snack or breakfast.  Pack one in your purse or backpack and it will be thawed by the tine you’re ready to enjoy it.  Have with a glass of low-fat milk for added protein.

Nutrition per bar:

154 calories, 9g fat, 1g saturated fat, 7g protein, 12g carbs, 2g fiber, 62mg sodium

Enjoy!

♥  Terri  ♥

Food Gifts ~ Candied Clementines

I’m always looking for new and unusual things to make for the markets, particularly the Christmas Craft Fairs.  One of them I’m doing on the 8th is going to be situated at a hand-made shop; no, I don’t mean the shop is handmade, but that they sell handmade items!  So I thought it appropriate that I have some different homemade items other than my preserves and chutneys.

I found a recipe a few weeks ago for Candied Clementine Slices.  The picture with the recipe had them set into a pretty gift box so I decided this would be a nice item to have on offer at the fair.

It’s a fairly straight forward and easy recipe; it just takes a good bit of time: 2 hours simmering, 2 hours baking plus an hour for drying prior to dipping in chocolate.

***Candied Clementine Slices***

  • 600g (1½ lbs – about 9 fruit) clementines
  • 1 kg (2 lbs) granulated sugar
  • 500ml (17fl oz) cold water
  • 5-6 Tbsp caster (superfine) sugar
  • 100g (3½ oz) dark chocolate

♣ Cut the clementines into thin slices (about 4-5 per fruit) and discard the ends.

Sliced Clementines

♣ Put the granulated sugar into a large pan with the water and heat gently, stirring until dissolved.  Bring to a boil and let bubble for 5 minutes.

Sugar syrup - pre-boil

Boiling sugar syrup

♣ Add the fruit slices, lower the heat and give it a little stir.  Simmer for 2 hours, carefully stirring occasionally, until the peel is translucent and tender.

Clementines in sugar syrup

♣ While the fruit is simmering, line two baking trays with nonstick baking paper and set aside.

♣ Preheat the oven to a low setting (gas ¼, 110°C, fan 90°C, 230°F).

♣ Using a fork, transfer the slices to the lined baking trays in a single layer.  Bake for 2 hours.

In the oven!

♣ Put the caster sugar into a bowl.  Leaving the oven on, remove only one tray from the oven at a time.  Dip each slice into it and place on a wire rack to dry for 1 hour.  You’ll need to work a bit quickly for this step because the slices will start to dry on the baking sheet and the sugar won’t stick.  If that happens, put the tray back into the oven while you work on the other tray.

♣ If not needed immediately, store the slices in an airtight container.  I put them in single layers separated by greaseproof paper.

Drying...

♣ Shortly before giving, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.  Dip the slices into the chocolate to cover half.

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♣ Place on a tray lined with nonstick baking paper, leave to set at room temperature, then gift wrap as desired.  I put about 9 slices (100g) into a disposable mini loaf pan lined with a doily, put each one into a decorative bag and folded down, taped and then put ribbon and a Christmas sticker.

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Have fun with these on the decorating and gift wrapping.  If giving these to a foodie, perhaps wrap them and put them into a cookie canister or a pretty serving bowl to give to the recipient.  Give with a bottle of Port or Whiskey.  How about with some tea leaves and tea cups?  The possibilities are endless…just use your imagination!

These make great little gifts for perhaps your neighbors, the babysitter, the mailman, the paperboy, your child’s teacher, your hairdresser or dentist or your favorite clerk at the bank.  Going to a party this holiday season?  Bring some of these to your hostess along with a small candle or bottle of their favorite wine.  Who would you give these to?

♥♥  Terri  ♥♥

Are you Ready for Christmas??

Christmas is a wonderful time of year for getting together with family and friends, enjoying great food, listening to favorite holiday tunes, decorating the house and exchanging gifts.  It’s also a terrible time for encountering stress along the way.

Even for the most experienced cook, hosting the family Christmas meal can seem a bit daunting.  With a bit of forward planning, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the festivities, and treat your guests to some really special food.  With only four weeks to go, hopefully you’re already on your way to planning the big meal.  Here’s some tips for your preparation…
Do a Kitchen Inventory ~

Make sure you’ve got enough cutlery and crockery for all of your guests.  Making the traditional turkey?  Make sure you’ve got a roasting tin big enough to hold it.  Stock up on turkey foil and greaseproof paper.  Don’t forget napkins, wine glasses and candles.

Confirm your Guest List ~

Get a proper count of the number of people you’ll be feeding.  Does anyone have any special dietary needs?  Any vegetarians?  Your guests will appreciate your concern and everyone will be happy.

Plan your Menu ~

Once you know who you’re cooking for, you can start to plan your menu for the day.  Start making a shopping list of everything you’ll need.  Go through all your recipes and make sure you’ve got everything, including any special pans you may need.  Put your order in to the butcher for your turkey or other meat such as a beef roast, ham or in our case, a duck!

Start your Cooking Early ~

Anything that can be made ahead of time is worth doing, be it a Christmas Pudding or Cake, mince pies or cookie dough.  These can all be made ahead and stored in the freezer until needed.

Shop now to Save Money ~

If you plan your menu early, you’ll have plenty of time to hunt down money-saving deals on everything you’ll need. Shop around now for a well-priced turkey, and make the most of bulk-buy deals on wine, beer and spirits.  And save yourself some more stress….leave the kids home with your spouse or the grandparents while you go do the shopping.

These are just a few things to get you started if you haven’t already.

These ideas pertain mainly to the food, but what other things do you do to plan ahead?

Can you add to this list? How do you stay stress-free for the holidays?  Please share your thoughts!

♥♥Terri ♥♥

Did You Forget Something? ~ False Advertising

A well known ‘hazelnut spread’ contains the following ingredients:

Sugar (50%) and vegetable oils (mostly palm oil), followed by hazelnut, cocoa solids, and skimmed milk. In the United States, this spread contains soy products. This product is marketed as “hazelnut cream” in many countries. Under Italian law, it cannot be labeled as a chocolate cream, as it does not meet minimum cocoa solids concentration criteria. About half of the calories come from fat (11g in a 37g serving, or 99 kcal out of 200 kcal) and about 40% of the calories come from sugar (20g, 80 kcal).

OK, so you’re saying ‘so what’, right?

Well here’s the thing.  Last night while watching the boob tube, there was a commercial on for this product.  It showed a mother and her kids at breakfast, running around and trying to get out the door in time for school or work.  It showed them eating this product on bread.  Not a big deal.

Then the narrator of the commercial started to speak and said that this product was a great way to start the morning as it contained

…”two whole hazelnuts in every tablespoon, skimmed milk and cocoa powder”…

Did you notice anything missing, like the sugar??  Why didn’t they mention that?  Because they know how bad the sugar is for you and they just thought they’d let that pass.  Perhaps they thought you wouldn’t notice.  Perhaps a lot of people won’t.

SUGAR IS THE ENEMY.

Now I’m no angel when it comes to sugar, but at least I have a pretty good idea of how much I’m eating.  Usually my sugar intake consists of home baked goods that I’ve made myself or my daily square or two of dark chocolate.  In checking the label on the chocolate, one square contains 3.2g of carbs, which I’m sure is mostly from the sugar.  And considering I don’t eat home baked goods everyday, my daily sugar intake is pretty low.  I don’t eat sugary cereals and I don’t drink soda of any kind.  We cook from scratch every night and don’t have ready meals or processed foods.

I use artificial sweeteners, honey, fruit sugar or agave nectar, depending on what I’m eating or drinking.  I try to stay away from the sugar because I know what it does to me if I have too much of it.  I have hypoglycemia/low blood sugar and it’s not fun when I get an attack.

The problem is that sugar can be an addiction just like smoking, alcohol and drugs.  It takes willpower to resist but sometimes resistance can be futile.

Usually it is easier to make dietary changes gradually, however sugar has the unique ability to inspire cravings which are refueled every time you give into them. The only way to break the cycle is to stop feeding the fire. Use this challenge as an opportunity to go cold turkey and break the addiction.

And stay away from that falsely advertised hazelnut spread.  Perhaps they should really call it Sugar Spread with Hazelnuts…

♥  Terri  ♥

Girl Scouts? No, Brownies!

Just picture it….

A brown square of gooey, fudgy, squidgy, chocolatey lusciousness and a tall glass of ice cold milk.

If I were ever to be dropped on a deserted island and asked what cake-like item I wanted to take with me, it would have to be brownies, as long as they were baked properly.

I can’t really remember if I’ve ever eaten a brownie I didn’t like, but even if I didn’t, I probably ate it anyway.  After all, this is chocolate we’re talking about here!

As I described above, brownies should be gooey and fudgy and not cakey.  If I want cakey, I’ll have cake.  Brownies should just about melt in your mouth without even chewing.  Just take a bite and hold it between your tongue and the roof of your mouth….mmmmmm.  Then wash it down with some ice cold milk.  Heaven.

Now I’m sure some of you are asking yourselves why I’m talking about brownies when I’m supposed to be a South Beach Girl.  Well, I’ll tell you!

These brownies are for selling at the Ramsgate Summer Squall at the end of the month.  I made a batch of them earlier in the week and needed to make more as I only got 12 and I’m going to need a good bit more.  I’ve got all my jarred items (jams, jellies, chutneys, etc.) but when I do a special event, I try to also have some baked goodies to go along.  I’ve got about 23 whoopie pies in the freezer along with the first batch of brownies so far.  I may make more whoopies next week.

I’ve made brownies on many occasions over the years, but this recipe is the one I’ve been using for nearly the past seven years.  I have other recipes, but don’t want to try them for fear of them not coming out as nice as these do.  Yeah, I hear some of you saying ‘but I’ve got the best brownie recipe’…well, that’s how I feel!  I have no idea where I got the recipe from as I re-typed it to stick in my cakes and cookies binder.  I do hope you try this and let me know what you think.

I don’t usually add nuts when I’m going to be selling them, especially with people having nut allergies.  It’s just safer that way.  There are two mantras you should always follow when making brownies:  Number one, do not over mix and number two, do not over bake.  You want them to be gooey inside, not cake-like.  The recipe calls for them to be baked for 25 minutes, but I bake for only 22-23 minutes and they come out all squidgy and gooey.  If you prefer your brownies to be cake-like, then by all means, bake them for the 25 minutes or even 26 or 27…just don’t serve them to me! 😉

~~~FUDGY CHOCOLATE BROWNIES~~~

Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C

Line a 9″ X 13″ baking dish with baking parchment, using a bit of butter to hold it down.  Make the paper large enough so that it hangs over the edges for ease of removing the brownies later after they’ve cooled.

1 2/3 C /340g sugar

3/4 C / 6oz / 170g butter, melted

2 Tbsp / 30ml water

2 eggs

2 tsp / 10ml vanilla extract

1 1/3 C / 160g plain flour

3/4 C / 60g unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 C chopped nuts (optional)

powdered/icing sugar (optional)

Combine sugar, melted butter and water in a large bowl.

Stir in eggs and vanilla.

Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in another bowl and then stir into sugar mixture.

Stir in nuts, if using.

Spread evenly into prepared baking dish.

Bake 25 minutes or until pick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky.

Cool completely in pan.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar if desired.

Remove by picking up paper and placing on cutting board.

Cut into squares in desired size.

Makes 12-16 brownies.

And please, do try and share them!  After all, you can always make more!
Enjoy!

♥  Terri  ♥