Thursday, January 30, 2014

Chocolate Covered Choices

 

Chocolate-Bacon

Chocolate-Bacon

Chocolate Covered Treats

 

It seems like most people typically use strawberries as the go-to item for dipping in chocolate.  Sure they’re tasty, but they’re far from unique.  Instead of serving up a treat that’s becoming a little too common, why not try something a bit different for your next party or gathering?  Here are five fun foods you can cover in chocolate:

 

1.     Potato chips

 

Chocolate-covered pretzels have been around for years, but there’s another way to get your sweet-and-salty fix.  Pick up your favorite brand of plain potato chips, melt some chocolate chips or almond bark and dip away!  Let the coating harden and you’ve got an insanely-addictive treat.  Use potato chips with ridges and double dip them to maximize the chocolate build-up.  Bet you can’t eat just one!

 

2.     Hot peppers

 

If you know someone who has a sweet tooth and likes things on the spicy side, this is the perfect way to satisfy both cravings.  Cayenne peppers and jalapenos dipped in chocolate are great choices to bring the heat and the sweet.  For the true “chili heads,” you could even try some chocolate-covered habaneros or ghost peppers.  Just be careful; the latter is considered by most experts to be the hottest pepper on the planet.  You may want to think about using white chocolate since the intense sweetness and higher dairy content can help calm your fiery taste buds.  No matter what type of pepper or chocolate you choose, these are sure to be a tongue-torching treat!

 

3.     Bacon

 

Almost everyone loves bacon.  Almost everyone loves chocolate.  Put the two together and you’ve got a sweet-and-savory dessert that will be the hit of any party.  Just fry up some crispy strips, let them cool and dunk them in melted chocolate.  Allow the chocolate to set and you’ve got some yummy “pig candy” to share with all the foodies in your life.  It may sound like a strange pairing, but the unique union of bacon and chocolate somehow works beautifully.  One bite and you’ll definitely be in favor of the marriage of this slightly odd couple!

 

4.     Peanut butter and crackers

 

Peanut butter and crackers have always complemented each other.  Likewise, peanut butter with chocolate is a tasty combination that has stood the test of time.  It makes sense that merging all three elements would make for a tasty team.  You can use your preferred brand of store-bought sandwich crackers or make your own.  Saltines, club crackers and buttery rounds all work well.  Spread your favorite kind with your choice of smooth or crunchy peanut butter and place another one on top.  Then, dip the sandwiches in chocolate and let the coating harden.  Whether you use sweet milk chocolate or bitter dark, your family and friends will love biting into a peanut buttery surprise!

 

5.     Various types of fruit

 

Why should strawberries get all the chocolate love?  There are plenty of other fruits out there that look gorgeous and taste amazing when covered in chocolate.  Cherries, raspberries and oranges are some other classic options.  However, you can also think a little outside the box by dipping kiwi, mango, pineapple and more.  Kids and adults alike will love chocolate-covered apples.  You just can’t go wrong with a tart Granny Smith or a sweet Gala that’s been dipped in scrumptious chocolate coating.  You could also dip bananas in chocolate and place them in the freezer for flavorful frozen confections.  When it comes to chocolate-dipped fruit, the possibilities are limitless.  Just visit the produce section of your local supermarket and let inspiration strike!

 

You’ll find chocolate-covered strawberries at almost any chocolate boutique.  As a result, they’re becoming a bit overdone.  Forget about that boring trend and start a food fad of your own.  Any of the items on this list will be a delicious and unique dessert option for your next party or gathering.  Give all of these suggestions a try to create tasty treats that are sure to impress your guests.  Who knows?  You just may start the next chocolate-covered craze!

 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Coconut Recipes

Coconut Recipes

 

There is a virtually endless array of uses of coconut, which has been called the “Tree of Life.” Coconut oil, for one, is used not only as a skin and hair care aid, but also as a wonderful cooking oil. This healthful oil, though, was long vilified and challenged by vegetable oil manufacturers before making a huge comeback to prove its beneficial properties.

Recipes infused with coconut – whether coconut oil, milk, meat, or powder form – are not ones to be missed. Serve them to the whole family, and you’ve got a whole feast going! Here are some of them.

 

Broiled Tilapia with Thai Coconut – Curry Sauce

Contributed by GaylaJ on Food.com

Prep time: 30 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon dark sesame oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 cup chopped green onion
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 2 teaspoons red curry paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 4 teaspoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1 (14-ounce) can light coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 4 (6-ounce) tilapia fillets
  • 3 cups hot cooked basmati rice
  • 1 lime (cut in 4 wedges)

Procedure:

  1. Preheat broiler.
  2. Heat ½ teaspoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add ginger and garlic. Cook 1 minute.
  4. Add peppers and onions. Cook 1 minute.
  5. Stir in curry powder, curry paste, and cumin. Cook 1 minute.
  6. Add soy sauce, sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt, and coconut milk. Bring to a simmer, but do not boil.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro.
  8. Brush fish with remaining ½ teaspoon oil and ¼ teaspoon salt. Place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.
  9. Broil 7 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork.
  10. Serve fish with sauce and lime wedges.

 

 

Baked Coconut Shrimp

Contributed by chia on Food.com

Prep time: 27 minutes

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 ½ cups panko or 1 ½ cups breadcrumbs
  • ½ teaspoon cumin
  • ¾ cup flaked coconut
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • Pepper
  • 24 large shrimp, peeled, deveined, and butterflied

Procedure:

  1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
  2. Spray a baking sheet with olive oil spray.
  3. Beat egg whites in bowl.
  4. In a small plastic bag, mix panko, cumin, coconut, garlic, and pepper.
  5. Dip shrimp in egg whites, and then shake in plastic bag to coat.
  6. Lay shrimp on baking sheet and bake about 6 minutes per side until golden brown.

 

 

Chicken Curry with Coconut Milk

Contributed by quixoposto on Food.com

Prep time: 30 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • Salt
  • Fresh ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • Unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 cup diced canned tomato
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup sliced carrots

Procedure:

  1. Steam carrots until tender.
  2. Cut chicken into 1-inch pieces.
  3. Pour oil into large skillet. Turn heat to medium high.
  4. Add onions, pinch of salt, and pepper. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally until onions are very soft and almost falling apart (15 minutes or more).
  5. Raise heat again and brown them a bit, stirring in curry and cooking for another minute or so.
  6. Reduce heat to medium, and then add coconut milk and cook. Stir occasionally until it thickens, about 2 minutes.
  7. Add chicken and stir. Cook until done, for at least 3 to 6 minutes.
  8. Add tomato, peas, and carrots. Cook until vegetables are heated through. Taste and adjust seasoning.

*You may substitute chicken with shrimp or scallops.

 

 

 

Miranda Furlong is a food and drink blogger who has a strong preference for coconut oil as her all-around cooking and beauty aid.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

6 Healthy After School Snacks

6 Healthy After School Snacks

Are you trying to find a way to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your child’s life? Are you looking for some healthy, time-conscious snacks to whip up for an after-school treat? If so, these six recipes are sure to fit the bill!

1.)    Yogurt and Fruit Parfaits

Put some plain yogurt in the bottom of a parfait glass, dessert glass, or bowl. Top it with some blackberries, blueberries, or raspberries. Sprinkle some granola on top (my family’s favorite is the Bear Naked vanilla almond, but you can use whatever you want.) Repeat the layers. Serve immediately. This snack is not only incredibly healthy, but it’s ready in mere minutes!

 

 

 image source
2.)    Baked Zucchini Sticks

My kids have always loved zucchini sticks, but I’ve tried to serve them sparingly because they’re fried. After a bit of research, however, I found a recipe for baked zucchini sticks. Now I can make them without feeling guilty. 

Baked Zucchini Sticks

Ingredients

  • 3 large zucchini
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs - my famiy loves the Panko brand
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Spray Olive Oil
  • Optional: marinara sauce or ranch dressing

Instructions

  1. preheat oven to425F.
  2. Peel cucumbers and slice them in half length-wise, and then continue halving them to make sticks.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk 2 eggs together.
  4. Set aside.
  5. In a large shallow bowl, combine ½ cup plain bread crumbs (my family loves the Panko brand), ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, and ½ teaspoon garlic powder.
  6. Bread the sticks by dunking them in the egg mixture and then completely covering them with the breadcrumb mixture.
  7. Place breaded zucchini sticks on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with olive oil.
  8. Continue this process until all the zucchini sticks are breaded.
  9. Spray each zucchini stick with olive oil.
  10. Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until bottoms are golden brown.
  11. Using a spatula, flip each zucchini stick and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until crisp and golden brown.
  12. These sticks are great served with either marinara sauce or Ranch dressing.
http://www.in-our-kitchen.com/snacks/6-healthy-after-school-snacks/6-healthy-after-school-snacks/

 License: Creative Commons image source
3.)    Mozzarella Basil Bruschetta

For a simple and healthy snack, chop 1 large tomato into tiny pieces. Combine it in a bowl with 3 tablespoons minced fresh basil, ¼ teaspoon pepper, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Cut 6 slices of Italian or French bread in half so that there are 12 pieces of bread. Spoon 1 tablespoonful of the tomato mixture over the bread; top each with a slice of mozzarella cheese and remaining tomato mixture. Bake at 375F for 10-12 minutes or until cheese is melted. These snacks are great, either as an after-school treat or as an appetizer during an Italian night.

 

 

4.)    Tomato Guacamole Dip

In a small bowl, mash 2 medium ripe avocados with 1 tablespoon lime juice. Stir in 1 chopped tomato, 3 tablespoons sour cream, ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon minced garlic. Cover and refrigerate for a few minutes. Serve with tortilla chips. To make this tasty dip even more nutritious, serve it with blue tortilla chips. Your kids are sure to enjoy this tasty guac!

 

 

5.)    Fruit Salsa

In a bowl, combine 2 cups chopped strawberries, 2 medium chopped, peeled apples, and 2 medium peeled and chopped kiwi. In another bowl, combine 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 tablespoons apple jelly, and ¼ cup orange juice. Drizzle over the fruit and toss lightly to coat. You can serve this with graham crackers or cinnamon chips.
 License: Creative Commons image source
6.)    Nutella Banana Treats

Last but not least, this recipe from Real Simple is sure to delight! Spread 2 tablespoons of Nutella over a graham cracker. Top with banana slices. For more healthy, simple recipes like that one, check out Real Simple’s link.

 

 

 

Andrea Smith is a wife and mother of three. She enjoys finding creative ways to incorporate fruits and vegetables into her kids’ lives.

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