Friday, April 29, 2011

Hot Coconut Mocha-This One is Healthy

I love Starbucks, but not the sugar or corn syrup, so here is my version of their coconut mocha. It tastes rich and creamy without as much fat or sugar, and it mixes up in a couple minutes. I keep reading how many antioxidants are in real cocoa, coconut milk is lactose free AND tastes great, stevia is a plant which tastes sweet and has lots of fiber, so with all this nutrition and lack of sugar you are probably saying, "yeah, this probably tastes like cardboard". Try this one, it really is good!
If you don't like coconut just use your favorite milk in it's place, that's what I do when I am in the mood for a peppermint mocha and add 2 drops peppermint extract.
Okay, here are the ingredients:
Pour enough coconut milk for the size of your cup into a small saucepan.
Heat this until steamy but don't boil it.
Into your mug, put 1 heaping spoonful instant coffee or 1 packed Starbucks Via ( happiness :), 1 heaping tablespoon cocoa and 1 spoonful of stevia powder or 1 small packet, more or less to your taste, you can always add more but you can't take it out.
Pour the hot milk into the mug, stir. Don't burn your tongue! Yum!
My friend, Tabi, just popped in to surprise me with this new mug and tea, I have such sweet friends, thanks Tabi!

Beautiful Blueberry Muffins

My younger grandson loves muffins. He signs "muffin", he says "muff-muff", he leads his Momma to the kitchen and points to the mixing bowl and oven, he even sings his own "muffin song", he knows what he is talking about.
Who doesn't like muffins, really, they are tasty, simple and quick. Once you have a good basic recipe you can then experiment with different flavors, fruits, nuts or filling in the middle.
These went quickly, breakfast, then a snack, another one after dinner...Hey, it wasn't me! I have a human food disposal living here, otherwise known as an almost teenage boy! Next time I may double this.
I used the last of the frozen blueberries we picked last July, that was fun, can't wait to do it again.
Best Blueberry Muff-Muffs
2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/3 cup butter, melted
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups blueberries
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and nutmeg in a small bowl and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl , combine the eggs, butter and vanilla.
Then add the dry to the wet.
Toss the blueberries with 2 tablespoons flour (which I forgot to do) so they don't sink to the bottom. Add the blueberries, folding them in gently.
Fill well greased muffin pans 2/3 full.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden around edges of top.
Cool on rack.
And there you have it, quick, easy, blueberry muff-muffs.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

White Chocolate Blueberry Cheesecake

Cheesecake batter is like a playground, or a freshly prepared canvas just waiting for inspiration to be applied. I can rarely leave it plain, even though plain is so good too. I was in a blueberry mood, a bag Ghirardelli white chocolate put it over the top.
I took this to dinner at my friend Gail's house with an Espresso cheesecake too, there were a lot of us that evening, and it is never good to run out of dessert with children looking at you waiting for their piece.
First I should say that I forgot to take photos of the crust, sorry, I was rushing, not good because then you forget pictures.
Second, cheesecake is always best when made a day in advance, like lasagna, the flavors develop over night--it's a beautiful thing ;)
I used a classic pate sucree for the crust because I don't care for graham crackers, a good pastry crust is so much better tasting  and looking. This is very easy in a food processor. Come on, don't let the name scare you, it's a glorified pie crust (tastes better though).
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tablespoons cold butter, cut in chunks
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon water or milk
Into the food processor, or a large bowl with a pastry cutter, put the flour, salt, sugar. Pulse/mix. Add the cold butter pulsing/cutting until it looks like coarse crumbs. Pulse/cut in the egg yolk, vanilla and water or milk. Continue to pulse until it balls up into a nice soft, workable dough.
Using fingers, press it over bottom of 9 inch springform pan lined with parchment paper on the bottom and up the side. Prick with a fork so it doesn't bubble up and put in fridge for 25 minutes. 
Preheat oven to 375F. Bake crust for 10-12 minutes or until the edges begin to turn golden. 
Brush with egg white and return to oven for 2 minutes, this seals the crust so it doesn't get soggy.
3 8oz. packages cream cheese, softened to room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 large eggs
1 can blueberry pie filling
1 bag white chocolate chips
In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until fluffy, add the sugar, mixing well then the eggs, one at a time mixing well after each addition. 
Add vanilla.
Sprinkle 1/2 the bag of chips on the bottom of the crust.
Pour the batter in.
Swirl the rest of the chips into the batter. Then, with a large spoon, drop 1/2 the blueberry pie filling on the top of the batter, dropping in four circles. 
Carefully swirl a knife through the blueberry just a few passes is all you want to do otherwise it just mixes in instead of having a pretty swirl pattern.
Pretty. Oooh, aaah.
Bake in preheated oven at 450F for 10 minutes then turn down the temperature to 250F and continue to bake for 40 minutes. It should be jiggly but not loose or liquidy. Is liquidy a word?
Very nice. Serve with the rest of the pie filling on the side. Hmm , maybe some whipped cream too. 
That's an espresso cheesecake beside it, that was really good too ;).

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Creamy Corn Chowder 2

My daughter-in-law, Sara, loved this last time she was here so I told her I'd post it so she could have the recipe. When I made it this week , to take photos, Samuel got all excited, turns out it's his favorite too.
It is very tasty with the added kick of a touch of cayenne and garlic (of course) against the sweetness of corn and smoky turkey bacon.
1/2 pound smoky turkey bacon
1 large onion, chopped
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups fresh or frozen corn
4 cups chicken broth
4 large potatoes, peeled, and diced
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cayenne
1teaspoon parsley, minced
1/2 teaspoon savory
salt +pepper to taste
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup 1/2 +1/2
Into a 4 quart heavy bottom pot snip the bacon into 1/2 inch bits with clean kitchen scissors.
Cook on medium high until it starts to brown on the edges then add the onion and butter.
Cook until the onion is tender.
Add the potato,
broth, garlic,
 corn, cayenne, parsley,
 savory, salt and pepper.
Let this simmer for 20 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
Stir in the sour cream until there are no lumps and it's all melted into the broth then add the 1/2 & 1/2. Stir on medium heat until hot throughout.
Hot, creamy, hearty, perfect for a cold night or any time.