Category Archives: Mix information

Easy Blueberry Dessert

During the fall and winter, we crave those warm, comforting desserts like apple and pumpkin pies, cookies and hot chocolate, or elaborate holiday desserts utilizing rich chocolates or caramel.  However, as the months turn warmer and we start spending more time outside we want things that are comforting, yet light.  Cool, but refreshing.  Sweet, but tart.  We want to feel like we ate something deliciously good for our body without feeling as if we have to go and run 8 miles to burn it off.

Thus, fruit desserts are the perfect way to go: pairing them with a light cream and tart-dough base make some of the best desserts for the spring and summer months!   The options are endless but for a healthy and yummy option blueberries are some of the best fruits out there for you: stuffed full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals: they are an excellent choice for a dessert.  You can just use plain blueberries, of course, but pairing them with lemons carries them one step further and elevates your treat to a whole new level.  The tartness of the lemon complements and enhances the special flavor of the blueberry and makes it a wonderful combination.

Here is an easy blueberry recipe that utilizes lemons and blueberries and is simple to put together, yet elegant to serve at any event.

Crust:

~ Use a pre-made pie or tart pastry cooked according to package instructions OR make your own with the following recipe

Crust Ingredients:

~ 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

~ ½ cup confectioner’s sugar

~ ¼ teaspoon salt

~ 9 tablespoons very cold butter, cut into small pieces

~ 1 large egg

Directions:

~ Pulse the flour, sugar, and salt together in a food processor.  Add the butter pieces and pulse until the butter is roughly cut in (it should look like a mixture of coarse cornmeal and peas).

~ Add the yolk of the egg and process in pulses – about 10 seconds each – until the dough forms clumps.  Turn dough onto work surface and knead lightly to bring everything together.  Chill the dough, wrapped in plastic, for about 2 hours.

~ Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.  Roll out the dough and fit it to the tart pan.  Poke the crust with a fork and freeze for 30 minutes.

~ Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and butter a piece of foil and place the butter foil side down on crust.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for 10 minutes longer until golden brown.  Let cool and use in any recipe calling for a tart crust.

Filling:

 ~ 1 jar lemon curd (about 1 cup)

~ 1.5 cups heavy cream, whipped and sweetened

~ 4-5 cups fresh blueberries

~ Mint leaves (optional)

Instructions:

 ~ Spread the whipped cream on the bottom of the cooled tart crust.

~ Carefully spread the lemon curd over the whipped cream

~ Spread the blueberries over the lemon curd and garnish with mint leaves for an added touch.

~ Refrigerate for at least an hour and serve within 4 – 6 hours of making.

 Serves 8 – 12

How to Deep Fry a Twinkie

Twinkies have been a staple of American junkfood diets for decades, ever since their introduction to the market in 1930.  Although containing virtually nothing in the way of health benefits, the little yellow sponge-cake treats are full of taste, and cream filling.  They have achieved such an high degree of cultural status that President Bill Clinton even put one in a time capsule, according to the Hostess website, for future generations to enjoy. 

For the record, Twinkies only have a shelf life of about a month.  Unless you deep fry them.

Deep fry them, you may ask?  Absolutely.  It is one of the many ways to improve on the already iconic flavor of this venerable lunchbox staple.  As with any food you plan to deep-fry, you need to be careful while cooking.  Wear an apron and cooking mits. 

Here’s an easy deep-fried Twinkie recipe to try at home.

Ingredients you’ll need:

6 Twinkies (three double packs)
six popsicle sticks
4 cups vegetable oil
1 cup flour
1 cup milk
2 tbsps malt vinegar
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt

-Freeze the Twinkies overnight. 

-Mix together the last six ingredients to make a batter.  Malt vinegar is a tangy kind of vinegar that you can find at your local grocery store.  Once the mixture is smooth, refrigerate the batter until ready for it.

-Heat the 4 cups of vegetable oil in a deep fryer at 375F.

-Roll the Twinkies in the batter until evenly covered, one at a time.

-Carefully, place the Twinkies into the hot oil.

-Cook only two or three at a time to allow enough room for the Twinkies to cook in the oil without getting stuck to each other.  Rotate the Twinkies in the oil as needed to make sure the sides brown evenly.

-Cook for about two to three minutes each.  When done, remove from the oil and set on paper towels to drain.

-Insert popsicle sticks or plastic skewer sticks in one end.

-Best served warm.

Once these treats are prepared there are a variety of serving options.  Try coating your creations in powdered sugar or cinnamon. Or make a “Twinkie Boat” by putting two deep-fried Twinkies (without sticks) in a bowl, add a scoop of ice cream inbetween, and top with whipped cream and chocolate sauce.

 Enjoy!

Sources:

kitchenproject.com

The fried Twinkie website

How to Make Homemade Cotton Candy

Who doesn’t love the fluffy, sticky-sweet taste of cotton candy at a fair or amusement park?  Fairs and carnivals come around once a year.  It’s not every day that you go to an amusement park either.  You can enjoy cotton candy and relive those carnival memories anytime of the year.  Making your own cotton candy is not hard to do and is a lot of fun for the whole family.

What you will need:

* 5 cups of granulated sugar

* 1-1/3 cups of light corn syrup

* 1 cup and 2 tablespoons of water

* food color paste

* flavored oil

* baking spray

* wire cutters

* old whisk

* plastic garbage bag

* 2 wooden spoons

* 2-quart saucepan

* candy thermometer

* paper

* heavy book

* 1 large, rubber band

Baking directions:

Step 1-  First you will need to cut the round ends off of the whisk using the wire cutters.  Then you need to rearrange the tines so that they are evenly spaced.

Step 2-  Now you will need to cut open the garbage bag and use it to cover the floor area where you will be making the cotton candy. 

Step 3-  Next you will want to wedge the 2 wooden spoons into the heavy book so that the handles extend out past the counter.  You can use the large, rubber band to hold the book shut so the spoons stay in place.

Step 4-  Now you will make the sugar mixture by cooking the sugar, water and corn syrup in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat.  Using a candy thermometer, cook the sugar mixture to a temperature of 320 degrees Fahrenheit and then pour it into a microwave-safe bowl.  Make sure to remove all of the sugar from the saucepan or it will continue to cook.

Step 5-  Now you need to add the food color paste to the sugar mixture.

Step 6-  Next it is time to dip the tines of the cut-whisk into the sugar mixture, letting the sugar drain off of the tines for a few seconds.  Now you will want to stand about 1 to 1-1/2 feet above the wooden spoons perhaps on a chair.  Then you have to work quickly, using long, broad strokes and wave the whisk over the wooden spoons.  The strands of sugar will drift slowly down and land on the wooden spoons. 

Step 7-  Next you need to roll some of the paper into long, cones.  Now you should gather the cotton candy from the wooden spoons and roll it onto the paper cones on a table one at a time. 

Step 8-  Your homemade, carnival treat of delicious, fluffy cotton candy is ready to eat and enjoy!  

*If you wish to store some of the cotton candy you can do so by using an air-tight container.  You should keep the cotton candy away from moisture and humidity as these will cause the candy to melt and get sticky.   

Sources:

http://www.sugarstand.com/candy-recipes/homemade-cotton-candy-recipe.htm
http://www.natural-homeremedies.com/howto/how-to-make-cotton-candy/

Avesil

I did some research on Avesil and it has been reported that Avesil is safe and an effective weight loss supplement. Avesil has a risk-free trial that is available out there if you want to give it a try. I believe that Avesil is used to attack the fat that we are all desperately trying to get rid of. Avesil’s main ingredients are: Green Tea Extract, Super Citrimax, Caffeine, and O-polynicotinate Chromium. I don’t think it has a lot of caffeine which is good, because I’ve heard that caffeine can dehydrate you if you get too much. If you’re drinking coffee in the morning and then taking Avesil you should be ok.

Caffeine is another proven weight loss supplement. Obviously, to lose the most amount of weight, you are going to want to drink water, eat healthy, and exercise. I decided to try Avesil since it was touted as one of the top weight loss supplements for 2009.  I started the risk-free Trial and was sent a full 30-day supply of Avesil. I paid $5.95 in shipping and processing. I then had 14 days to decide if it was something I wanted to continue with. At the end of the free trial the price goes up to $89.95 for a 30 day supply.

Questions and Answers on Inserting a tampon

Here are some questions answered about how to insert a tampon, the tips and the cautions, find the following:

Q: Tampons are so much more comfortable than pads so why are you attacking the tampon industry for helping women be more comfortable on their time of the month?

A: I myself am a tampon user. I’m not anti-tampon, I’m pro 100% organic all-cotton tampons. I “attack” the dominant tampon industry for caring more about the bottom line than making their products safer for women.

Q: I find using tampons without applicators very uncomfortable. Do you know of any brands that would be safe to use that have an applicator?

A: Natracare and Organic Essentials make tampons with applicators. You can find out more info. On the Alternative Products page.

Q: I ran across the web site for INSTEAD* Feminine Protection Cups. It bills itself as a completely new form of feminine protection, a soft disposable cup that you insert and wear just below the cervix. Is this safe? In your opinion would it be worth trying?
A: Here is my honest opinion on the Instead menstrual cups. Personally I am cautious. The Instead people sent me a big package of press materials and 6 cups. After searching through all the stuff I could not find a list of ingredients. I know it’s made from synthetic materials. They advocate wearing it up to 12 hours at a time and I’m weary of wearing anything synthetic for 12 hours internally. Also it produces a lot of waste. You use these big rubber caps once and then throw them away.

However, that being said, women have emailed me testifying their love for Instead cups. Also women have been using the cups for Artificial Insemination. So the bottom line is educate yourself then make a decision that seems reasonable to you.

Chopping Vegetables Artfully

Each vegetable lends itself to an artful arrangement as well as to a sliced, diced or chopped shape that facilitates easier cooking. And with that in mind most cooks seldom needto think twice about how to reduce each soup portion, each casserole or salad ingredient to its finest denominator; the idea is to get each to fit into some pre-conceived arrangement whether it’s to cook faster, or if it’s a blending of colors for a decorative effect.

 What about artistry? How do chefs carve those fanciful veggie shapes and make radishes into roses, and turn an ordinary onion with its green blades perky and resembling a lily—holding a squash blossom no less—and carrots curl into fanciful notions? And who first thought of creating art with vegetables? Origins aren’t exactly clear as to the exact place where decorative fruit and vegetables first occurred but some believe it started in Thailand around 700 year ago, or maybe it was in China or Japan.

Leaving all of that aside, what about modern methods of getting veggies to a more reasonable shape for either cooking or for just munching, and in addition to that, how to get them to look good on a plate or as a table decoration? Maria Woehi, in Vegetables Like a Chef says it’s easier than it looks. She insists a sharp knife is safer than using a dull knife which is likely to slip and cause an injury.

Most cooks however don’t have the need or the desire to create artful decorations they simply want to get the vegetable cut in the right shape for the recipe and they want to get it done as quickly and as efficiently as possible. Because of that many slicing machines are available that take the guesswork out of this chore.

Yet for art that’s personal and designed for a special table, suitable for the talent, or lack thereof, of the ordinary chef, mom, or occasional party planner, one might consider simply using one’s imagination. Simple arrangements are often better and instead of trying to impress by trying to make vegetables look like something they’re not showing them at their best is advised:

Peppers

Colorful peppers, green, red, orange, yellow or shades in-between are impressive on plates with other vegetable. Toss them around a bowl of dip along with other carrot and celery sticks in rings or in small strips. Or for a larger role in the meal, stuff them. Cooking will reduce their vibrancy so therefore it will be more economical to use green peppers for this purpose. Save the delectable looking and tasty colored peppers for eating raw.

Cutting a whole pepper in fourths and using them as one would use as a cracker to hold chicken salad, humus or some other snack food is one idea. To make the pepper plate even more attractive, add a tidbit of pepper or a minute bit of tomato as a garnish.

Cucumbers

Cucumbers in slices or long sticks are good for dipping and while they’re not the most attractive vegetable, they add a tasteful flare to a party plate.  It’s entirely possible to create all kinds of shapes with a cucumber but why would a chef want to do more than make an overall attractive plate? If a certain creation calls for curled cucumber slices wrapped around a shaped portion on a plate, then okay, otherwise, dice the cucumber to add to a salad, cut into diagonal shapes or simply slice.

Improvise with vegetables after they’ve been washed and prepared for cutting. Consider the placement of the vegetable on the plate and cut into an appropriate shape and be generous—the left over vegetables can be used for a tossed salad the next day.

Most popular vegetable shapes are made by chopping, cubing, dicing, or Julienne, mincing and slicing.

Artful vegetables are made from a combination of these methods. Chopping into small irregular shapes is most often used when boiling potatoes and other vegetables to be used in soup, casseroles and other ordinary cooking? Cubing is getting the vegetables into a uniform shape; dicing is much like cubing but often means smaller particles; julienne is to cut food into small sticks and this is a popular choice for potatoes; mince is cut into minute pieces and slices and cut crosswise into slices.

However you cut your vegetables they will be attractive and their absence on the dinner plate will tell tales on a cook that should not be told: It will say this cook is not cooking with the best interest of her diners, families, friends or guests and is not listening to nutrition experts. Vegetables eaten raw are the first choice and next to that cooked baked, broiled or microwaved. Cookng in an open kettle method destroys much of their nutritional content.