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Monday, June 27, 2011

Healthy Blueberry Malt

My next-door neighbor Hannah  had her wisdom teeth pulled-all four at one time.  She is brave.  Or a glutton for punishment.  Not sure!  I asked her if she would like to try one of my blueberry malts.  She mumbled yes so I got the dusty blender out.  Blueberries are inexpensive right now so I've been purchasing fresh and then flash freezing them. I think I learned the technique from Alton Brown.   I used to put the fresh blueberries in a bag and throw them in the freezer.  I would end up with a big blue rock of frozen blueberries. Now I wash them, dry them, pick the stems off, throw the mushy and fuzzy blueberries out, put them on a cookie sheet, and throw them in the freezer (It is not as labor intensive as it sounds-really!) When frozen, I measure them and put them into baggies labeled with the date and amount of blueberries inside.  Then they are ready to be blended frozen with low-fat vanilla ice cream or vanilla frozen yogurt, vanilla soy milk or regular milk, and malt powder into a delicious, mostly guilt free, thirst quenching, sweet-tooth satisfying malt.   The picture below was taken after the malt had been sitting out for a while-and then mostly slurped up.  I'm still not in the habit of thinking about taking pictures of everything I make before I eat it!

I love the purple color and bits of blueberry. 

Here is the simple recipe:
1 cup frozen blueberries (or four chunks frozen banana, or five big frozen strawberries)
2 packed cups of frozen low-fat vanilla yogurt or low-fat vanilla ice cream.
1/2 cup malt powder ( I LOVE malt flavor.)
3/4 cup vanilla soy milk or regular milk (you may need a little more if the malt is too thick to blend).

Put it all in the blender in the order listed above and blend until smooth.  Sometimes I need to stir it up a little bit during blending. Remember to turn the blender off when doing this!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Almost one bowl brownies and Brownie cutting tip!

I was searching for an easy brownie to make with cocoa. I've been stuck on banana brownies with melted chocolate for so long, I thought it was time for change.  I contacted Anna at Cookie Madness and she suggested the one-bowl brownies.  I made them, but, as usual, with a few changes because A.: I'm lazy and B.: I've got other ingredients to use up!  I added chocolate chips, but next time I think I would add nuts instead since the chocolate chips seemed like overkill to me-if there is such a thing as chocolate overkill!  Anyways, I would say they came out perfect with the exception that they didn't have the shiny crinkly crust I want :(  That crust is still a mystery to me. There are many theories. Whenever I make banana brownies and use semi sweet chocolate I get the shiny, crackly crust. When I use bittersweet chocolate, I get more of a cake looking crust.   I thought maybe it had something to do with the sugar to fat ratio-the more heavy on the sugar and less heavy on the fat, the better chance for a crackly shiny crust.   Cocoa brownies disproved that theory since there is a lot less fat in them and I didn't get the shiny crust.   Boxed brownies have the "crust".  It can't be the melting theory because I melted the semi-sweet and the bitter sweet the same way. It can't be the stirring theory because I stirred them the same way.  Let me know if you have a theory! 

Brownie cutting tip:  Use a plastic knife. Works every time and brownies avoid sticking to it like it is the plague (not sure what a brownie considers a plague-maybe those fake baking chips?, but you get the idea!) Sometimes the knives break so have a few on hand!

My "flashy" picture.
My not so flashy picture.

Here is my modified version:
Almost One Bowl Brownies
Modified to fit an 8 x 8 baking pan.

8 tablespoons salted butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup +1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup all-purpose flour (used 1/3 cup all-purpose and 1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour to make them a bit more healthy!)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup +1/8 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey's)
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (I love Ghirardelli)
1/2 cup lightly toasted nuts of your choice (my favorites are pecans.)

Preheat oven to 350°.  Lightly grease the bottom only of an 8 x 8 metal pan.   I use PAM spray.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder. Set-aside.
Melt butter in a microwave safe medium large mixing bowl. Whisk in the sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
When that mixture is smooth, whisk in the dry ingredients. Then stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
Bake on center rack of your oven for approximately 22 to 25 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the middle comes out with moist crumbs.    Cool completely before slicing. I use a plastic knife which works perfectly every time! Bon appétit!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Toasted Banana Bread slices!

I was in the mood for toast this morning, but I didn't have any bread.  Then I realized that wasn't completely true-I had delicious banana bread made for my retirement pot luck by a coworker's wife. I wondered what a slice of banana bread would taste like toasted and slathered with butter.   I found out.  I may have discovered banana bread gold!   The edges were crispy from the high sugar content.  The rest of the slice was a little bit crispy on the outside and moist on the inside.  With the butter slathered on, need I say more?
There may be some of you out there who have tried this.  It may be old news to you.  It was a new banana bread frontier to me! If you haven't tried it, I highly recommend it!  Directions:
Slice a piece of banana bread into at least a 1/2 inch thick piece and pop it in the toaster. To remove it, unplug the toaster and take a couple of knives to lift it out.

Better Than Lots of Things - Banana Bread Toast

Friday, June 10, 2011

Rhubarb Crunch Time!

I've got so much rhubarb I don't know what to do with it! I know you can make sauces out of it, crisps out of it, pies out of it, chop it up and freeze it, or eat it raw dipped in sugar, but I'm basically lazy. Thank goodness I have a husband who likes rhubarb sauce on ice cream. He goes out and pulls the stocks, chops them,  and voilà! All I have to do is cook them up or bake them up!  My neighbor Lynda brought this wonderful rhubarb crunch over to my house last summer.  It was the best rhubarb crunch or crisp I've ever tasted. She found the recipe on Allrecipes.com .  I noticed many reviewers changed the recipe. Not being one to make anything exactly as the recipe states (excluding bread-never mess with that!) I made some changes too. I can't understand how the original recipe called for only 3 cups of rhubarb for a 9 x 13 pan!  If you make it I bet people will tell you it's the best they've ever tasted! They will probably mean it too!!!

  I've got five of these plants!


I stole this picture off of the web-I made this for a party and forgot to bring my camera.

The recipe is simple and delicious!
You can get the recipe here  Rhubarb Crunch

Here are my changes:

Rhubarb portion:
8 cups of rhubarb (I have used 6 cups and 8 cups)
1 1/3 cup white sugar (for 6 cups I stick with 1 cup of sugar)
6 generous tablespoons all-purpose flour (4 generous tablespoons of flour for 6 cups)

Topping:
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour for the 1/2 cup)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup lightly toasted pecans
1 cup (two sticks) salted butter

I followed the instructions on allrecipes.com   However, even with 8 cups of rhubarb my crunch was done in 40 minutes.  It tastes even better served with vanilla ice cream!
Enjoy!  If you try it, let me know what you think!