Foodie Blog Roll 2

Monday, April 30, 2012

Sunrise Smoothie

This pale yellow smoothie is so healthy and full of vitamins and nutrients, and it's the perfect thing to wake up to!

Sunrise Smoothie

I had a reader comment on my Healthy Fruit Smoothie post {which has 5 awesome recipes} and asked if I used orange juice for any of the recipes instead of cranberry juice. Oops! I guess I need to branch out a little, huh? Well Melissa, this one's for you! 

No matter what combination of juice or fruits I use, I always try to add in some non-fat, plain Greek yogurt to add some protein and creaminess to the smoothie. This one has fresh pineapple chunks {that I froze}, a banana, orange juice and the Greek yogurt.

Sunrise Smoothie
    makes 2
1 C orange juice
1 C frozen pineapple chunks 
1 medium banana
1/2 C non-fat Greek yogurt {like Chobani}
Extra ice, optional

Pour the orange juice, pineapple and banana in a blender and pulse a few times to get everything going. Blend until almost smooth. Then add in the yogurt and blend. Add extra ice if desired. Serve. 

Fruit smoothies are a great way to get in some extra vitamins and they are also refreshing. Plus they are quick and easy. Just throw everything in a blender and give it a whirl!

This one in particular is great in the morning because the combination of flavors really wake up your taste buds!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Sesame Seed Honey Candy {Pasteli}

Pasteli is a Greek candy, usually made up of sesame seeds and honey. I added a few special things to make these little candies extra good.

Sesame Seed Honey Candy {Pasteli}

For this tasty candy, the only thing you will probably have to buy are the sesame seeds. Everything else is probably already in your kitchen. I used honey, cinnamon, sea salt and vanilla. Talk about easy!

Sesame Seed Honey Candy {Pasteli}
      makes 24 pieces
      adapted from nourished kitchen
1 C hulled sesame seeds
1/3 C honey
Pinch of sea salt
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp vanilla extract
Olive oil for baking sheet

Brush a small baking sheet with olive oil and set aside.
Heat a cast iron skillet over medium heat and when it is hot to the touch, add the sesame seeds and continually stir with a wooden spoon.

Cook for 4-6 minutes, or until they start to turn golden brown. 

Next, add the honey, sea salt, cinnamon and vanilla and continually stir. 

Stir until the sesame seeds are covered in honey and the mixture starts to thicken a little. This will only take a few minutes. Spread the mixture out onto the oiled baking sheet and push around the seeds with the back of the wooden spoon to make an even later.

Score the candy into 1 inch by 1/4 inch pieces and set pan aside until the candy is cool enough to touch, but still warm enough to manipulate the candy. Grease hands with non-stick spray or olive oil and roll the pieces into little logs. Allow to cool before eating. Store in an air tight container. 

These would make really cute little gifts. You could just package the individually in plastic wrap or get little candy wrappers from a crafts store.

These are slightly sticky and chewy and mildly sweet. Great for when you want a natural treat!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Nutella Hazelnut Magic Bars

These are not your average magic bars. They have chrispity bits of toffee, big hunks of toasted hazelnuts and creamy, dreamy nutella running through them. Now it THAT"S not magic, I don't know what is!

Nutella Hazelnut Magic Bars

These bars have also been called Hello Dollies, 5 Layer Bars, and 7 Layer Bars. I have even made a
White Chocolate Cranberry Coconut  version of them. You really can't go wrong with any combination of you favorite ingredients. Here is what I used this go around:

These are so easy to put together and it only takes a few minutes to get perfection like this:

I have had troubles in the past with the crust not staying together very well and becoming a little crumbly, but I have perfected the buttery graham cracker crust this time! 

Nutella Hazelnut Magic Bars
    adapted from white chocolate cranberry coconut bars   
    makes 24
1 1/2 C graham cracker crumbs {1 1/2 sleeves of graham crackers}*
1/2 C {1 stick} melted butter
1/2 C Nutella
3/4 C chocolate chips
1 C toffee chips
1/2 C toasted hazelnuts, chopped
1 C shredded coconut
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
* Put 1 1/2 sleeves of graham crackers in a food processor {do not use store bought graham cracker crumbs. I have tried them and the crust just does not hold together as well.}.

Blend until the crumbs are small and everything is the same size.{You could also do this in small batches in a Magic Bullet}.

In a large bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs with the melted butter and stir.

Next, pour the graham cracker mixture into a 9X13 dish and use your fingers to press it out evenly into the crust around the dish.

Now for my favorite part! Slather the crust with the nutella and carefully spread it across the whole crust.

Layer on the chopped hazelnuts, chocolate chips, and toffee chips.

Lastly, layer on the shredded coconut, then evenly pour the sweetened condensed milk across the whole dish.

Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the top becomes slightly golden brown. Let cool, and cut into bars. 

I made these extra hazelnutty by using nutella and chopped hazelnuts. My favorite thing about these kind of bars is that you can swap out anything to make them your own. Other great options are peanuts, pretzels, pecans, walnuts, macadamia nuts, peanut butter chips, white chocolate chips, dried fruit, butter pecan chips, candies, or caramel. You really can't go wrong!

Unless you don't share with me. Now THAT would be wrong! 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Whole Wheat Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Poppy seeds are so cute and tiny. They take a simple lemon muffin and zing it up a little bit.

Whole Wheat Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Lemon poppy seed muffins are perfect for spring with their light lemony flavor and their light yellow color. Because these muffins are whole wheat, they are a little darker than regular lemon poppy seed muffins.

Whole Wheat Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
      makes 8 muffins
      adapted from a bicycle built for two
1 C whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
1/3 C + 1 T sugar
Zest and juice from 2 small lemons
1/4 C + 1 T non fat Greek yogurt {I like Chobani}
1 tsp vanilla extraxt
1/4 C canola oil
1 1/2 T poppy seeds

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
In a large bowl, mix the sugar with the lemon zest, until the sugar turns a pale yellow color. In the same bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

In a smaller bowl, mix together the lemon juice, egg, Greek yogurt, vanilla extract and oil, until well combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just combined. {Do not over mix}. Gently fold in the poppy seeds.

Grease a muffin tin {I use Baker's Joy} or use muffin liners, and pour the batter into the wells. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until a tooth pick comes out clean.

I love these healthy muffins. They are low in fat and use heart healthy oil instead of butter. They also have the Greek yogurt to help keep them moist and to bump up the protein. And in make them a tad more healthy, I swapped all the regular flour for fiber rich whole wheat. The other thing to note is they aren't too sweet. They are muffins and not cupcakes, after all. So eat up. Now you can feel good about having your muffins and eating them too!

Poppy seeds don't add a lot of flavor to bakes goods. They just add a little SURPRISE and a lot of fun.
And these muffins wouldn't be the same with out them. :)
For other fun poppy seed recipes, try my zucchini walnut poppy seed bread, or my lemon poppy seed cookies!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Greek Dip

This is going to sound weird, but stay with me. I know I'm a food blogger and all, but sometimes I don't want to cook. This dip is eeeeeeeeeasy!! No cooking at all. Just a little chopping, a bit of layering and lots of munching!

Greek Dip

This recipe is from my friend, Kelsey. She made this for a few get togethers when I still lived in Birmingham. When she made it I was always "that girl" who stood by the appetizer table all night.....until the dip was devoured!

I also love this dip because it is so versatile. Take things away that you don't like and add things that you do. If you are feeling lazy {like I was}, use store bought hummus, or you can try my classic hummus recipe. Either way, make sure to use fresh ingredients to maximize the flavors in your dip.

Greek Dip
      adapted from Kels*
8 oz fat free cream cheese
1 T Greek seasoning, {Italian will also work}
8-10 oz garlic hummus
1 cucumber, chopped
2 small tomatoes, seeded and chopped
4-5 green onions, chopped 
8 oz diced black olives {2 small cans}
6 oz reduced fat feta cheese crumbles

Mix the seasoning in with the cream cheese and spread that in a pie plate or a 9X13 dish.

Next, spread the hummus on top of the cream cheese mixture.

Lastly, add the chopped cucumber, tomatoes, olives, green onions and feta. 

* Kelsey's tips: She uses Italian seasoning instead of Greek. If you can't find a Greek seasoning blend, Italian will work fine. Also, she peels the cucumber before chopping it. Lastly, she uses one can of olives, but I really like olives, so I used two. 

The last thing that she insists is to use Stacy's brand pita chips "because their the best!" {I love when people are as particular about their food as I am}. So Kelsey, these are for you!  :)

This stuff would also be awesome wrapped up in a whole wheat tortilla! It's obviously a vegetarian dip, but chicken would great in here too. 

Thanks, Kels. Love you! 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Sausage and Rosemary Risotto

Risotto is one of those things that I could eat every day. It's creamy. It's rich. It just feels special!

Sausage and Rosemary Risotto

Risotto can be intimidating to make, so let me give you a few tips. First, make sure you have everything prepared and chopped so that it is at your fingertips and ready to go. Secondly, stir, stir, and stir some more! Risotto can get sticky and will get stuck to your pot if your not constantly stirring it. Sounds boring? Pour yourself a glass of that wine! What? You are only using 1/2 a cup in here. You don't want it to go to waste! :)

Sausage and Rosemary Risotto
     serves 4-6
     adapted from Everyday Italian
5 1/2 - 6 C  chicken stock
1.25 lb ground turkey sausage
2 fresh rosemary sprigs, plus more for garnish
2 T olive oil
3 T butter, divided
2 large shallots, finely chopped
1 celery stock, finely chopped
3 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
12 oz {or 1 5/8 C} arborito or risotto rice
1/2 C dry white wine
3-4 oz Parmesan cheese

Cook sausage and drain fat. Set aside. In a sauce pan, bring the chicken stock to a boil, then reduce the heat and keep simmering. 
While the sausage is cooking, get the rest of the ingredients ready. 

Strip the leaves off the rosemary sprig and chop. In a large, heavy pot or french oven, heat the oil and 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the chopped shallots and celery and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the garlic, rosemary and thyme.
Reduce the heat, add the rice and stir to coat in oil and butter. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes or until the grains are translucent.
Add the wine and cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute until reduced. Gradually add the hot chicken stock a ladleful at a time. Stir constantly and add more liquid as the rice absorbs each addition. Increase the heat to medium so that the liquid bubbles. Cook for 20 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is creamy.
Toward the end of cooking, return the sausage to the risotto and heat through. Season to taste with salt and pepper {optional}. Remove the risotto from the heat and add the remaining tablespoon of butter and mix well. Stir in the Parmesan until it melts. Serve and garnish with additional rosemary.

For another risotto idea, try my roasted butternut squash and saffron risotto

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