Thursday, April 28, 2011

Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Browned Butter Sauce

Asparagus has been my favorite vegetable since I was in grade school. My grandparents used to lease out a section of their ranch property to an asparagus farmer, and we often got to can or freeze some of the harvest.  Asparagus fields are also fantastic for playing hide-and-seek in, but that's another topic for another day... :)

Even though this recipe has more words in its title than ingredients in its list, hands down - it's our most favorite way to eat asparagus.  Bo requests it all the time, and I willingly oblige.  It's just too easy and too delicious not to whip up while your main dish is cooking.  And the smell of browning butter is something to behold.  If I could bottle that scent up, I'd be a go-zillionaire.

Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Browned Butter Sauce
adapted from
1 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed
salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
1 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and arrange the asparagus on a baking sheet. Coat with cooking spray and season with salt and pepper. Bake asparagus for 12 minutes, or until tender. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, until golden and fragrant*. Remove from heat and stir in soy sauce and balsamic vinegar. Pour over the roasted asparagus and serve immediately.

*  You'll know the butter is ready when you see little dark brown bits in the bottom of your pan that look burnt.  And you'll want to lick the pan because the smell is just so heavenly.

Ingredient Lineup:

The butter is just melted...

And then clarifying (becoming clear)...

Hurrah for the browned bits!

Gratuitous Asparagus Photos.

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Create Your Own Thai Curry

I stumbled onto this link the other day, and thought it was just too fun not to share!  You drag and drop ingredients (meat, veggies, sauces) into a bowl and it spits out the recipe for Thai curry!  And from there, you can either print or email the finished recipe.  I tried it with a bunch of choices that I typically have on hand - like red curry paste, chili paste, and veggies.  It's both cute and fun!


Sunday, April 24, 2011

Strawberry Yum Yum Dessert

In my line of work I am exposed to the public every day. I kind of think of my job as bartenderish. I get to hear it all. Fights. Make up lunches. Business meetings. Gossip sessions. I try to mind my own business as much as possible...but let's be honest here: Some of you don't care who hears.

The best part about waiting tables is that I get to know some of you. Enough that you are willing to share family stories, celebrations and even recipes.

This recipe came from a couple that visits the restaurant every month of so. They are a really cute couple and while they had differing opinions about how this recipe was made, therefore making this recipe an experiment.

One said 1 cup of pop, the other said 2. One said no milk, the other was sure it was included. I went with the woman's version thinking there was no way she would be wrong.

She was.

My cake was a bit on the wet side from too much pop and the banana creme topping was a bit grainy thanks to adding straight powdery pudding mix to my whip creme.

It Was Still Awesome. This will become one of my go to cakes. But next time I will go with the actual directions from a local TV station and a gal who goes by Kitchen Kimberly. She calls this Strawberry Yum Yum Dessert.

1 yellow cake mix
1 (3.4 oz.) box strawberry gelatin
1 c. boiling water
1 c. strawberry flavored soda
1 c. milk
1 (3.4 oz.) box instant banana cream pudding mix
1 (8 oz.) tub whipped topping
Freshly sliced strawberries, to taste
Optional garnish: Fresh sprig of mint

1. Bake yellow cake according to package directions using a 9 x 13-inch pan; cool in pan 15 minutes, then use a skewer or the tines of a fork to poke holes at ½-inch intervals all over the cake.

Or you can use a wooden spoon because that is what's within reach...

2. Mix the strawberry gelatin with 1 cup of boiling water for 2 minutes or until completely dissolved; stir in the cup of strawberry soda. Slowly and evenly pour the mixture over the cake; cover and refrigerate for several hours or overnight, if desired.


3. Mix 1 cup of milk with 1 box of instant banana pudding; stir until thickened. Fold in the whipped topping. Spread this mixture over the chilled cake.

4. Slice strawberries over the top, arranging in an overlapping fashion, if desired, or garnish each piece of cake with sliced strawberries.


Kitchen Kimberley's Tips:
• The banana cream topping is also delicious without the cake! Enjoy it as a fruit dip for fresh strawberries or other seasonal fruits.
• The variations on this recipe are endless! Try white cake with orange gelatin and orange soda, then use cheesecake instant pudding mix for the topping; garnish with fresh or canned orange slices.
• Find more great recipes in my cookbooks! All three of my books are available on my website:


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Thursday, April 21, 2011

One-Ingredient Ice Cream

Man, I don't even know where to start talking about this recipe!  I've really been trying to save it for the summer because it's a perfect hot-weather treat.  But, I got impatient and decided to just give it to you now.  You'll forgive my impatience, won't you?  Please?  Yay, thanks!

Ok.  This recipe.  It's made from bananas.  And nothing else.  It seems super crazy, I know.  But I've made it twice now, and it was darn amazing both times, so you'll have to take my word for it.  Because it's made with just that one ingredient - a fruit - there are a million reasons why it's so perfect:  Sugar free? Check.  Nondairy? Check.  Gluten free? Check.  All natural? Check.  Weight Watchers points? Zero.  Along with my fruit rollups, this is an awesome way for me to get more fruit into my diet.

This recipe tastes amazing straight-up, but it's also super easy to mix in flavors.  I've tried it with honey, peanut butter, and cinnamon.  I've also tried it topped with chocolate syrup.  And, then, as I was lying in bed last night, I had the urge to rush downstairs and try it with sliced strawberries folded in.  Wouldn't that be so delicious?  The more I think about it, the more ideas jump into my head that I'm just dying to try.

Enjoy This!

One-Ingredient Ice Cream
from The Kitchn

3 bananas

Slice bananas into coins and place in a single layer onto plastic wrap and freeze.  Throw frozen banana coins into a food processor or blender, and blend.  Scrape banana down the sides often.  Continue blending and scraping until creamy.  Freeze any leftovers.  Freezing it also makes it a hard, scoopable ice cream, instead of soft-serve.  Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Potential Mix-Ins:
1 Tbsp. natural peanut butter
1 Tbsp. honey
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 Tbsp. cocoa

Ingredient Lineup:  Frozen bananas.  That's it!

 Throw the frozen banana coins into your processor or blender.

After 30 seconds, it will look mealy and crumbly.

As you continue blending it, the frozen bananas will start to fall in toward the center.

And it will begin to turn creamy.
(If you're adding mix-ins, do it now.)

This is nothing but frozen bananas.  Seriously.
Amazing, right?!

Ice cream sundae party at my house!

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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Easy Fruit Rollups

Wanna know something that makes zero sense?  I have the biggest sweet tooth, but I don't care much for fruit.  Strange, huh?  Given the choice, I'll gobble down a plate of sauteed green beans or asparagus and pretty much ignore a bowl full of strawberries.  I don't know why fruit doesn't appeal to me or even when that happened.  I do love a fresh pear or nectarine or peach from the Pacific Northwest (again - I'm so getting kicked out of the state of Georgia).  Beyond that, meh.

Anyway, I'm working to get more fruit in my diet.  I'm also trying to lower the number of weird ingredients and dyes in the foods I eat.  These fruit rollups are a double whammy!  They're portable, don't bruise, don't spoil, and contain nothing but real ingredients found in my own kitchen.  If you're a die-hard fruit rollup fan, you can press the seeds out with a fine mesh sieve, but I wanted the extra fiber and I didn't want to add an extra step in the process :)

I'll definitely, definitely, definitely be making these again regularly and keeping them on hand.  I'm so excited to have found a recipe for an easy, yummy, and healthy snack.  Hurrah!


Easy Fruit Rollups
2 c. pureed fruit*
1 c. unsweetened, natural applesauce
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
sugar (or honey or agave) to taste, approx 1/4 c.

Preheat oven to 170 degrees F, or its lowest setting.  Lightly spritz a large jellyroll baking pan with cooking spray, and then press parchment paper down to stick.  Lightly spritz the parchment with cooking spray and spread with a paper towel to lightly coat.

Puree fruit in your food processor until smooth.  If desired, press through a sieve to remove seeds.  Stir in applesauce, lemon juice, and sugar, until sugar is completely dissolved.  Pour into the prepared baking pan, and spread to just shy of the parchment edge, making sure the center isn't thicker than the edges.

Place into oven, propping the door open with a wooden spoon.  Bake for 7 hours or until the center is just slightly sticky.  Allow to cool and slice with a pizza cutter or kitchen shears.  Store in airtight container.

Note:  If you're like me and accidentally overbake your fruit and the edges get crisp (while the center is perfect), sprinkle water on the crisp areas.  They'll soak up the moisture and become pliable again.

* The amount of fruit it takes to get 2 cups pureed will vary.  It took me about 1 1/2lbs of strawberries to yield 2 cups once they were pureed.

Their ingredient lineup:
(for "strawberry" flavor)

My ingredient lineup:

Prepared jellyroll baking pan:

Spread as evenly as possible, making sure the center isn't thicker than the edges.

Prop open your oven door with a wooden spoon.

 Pile O' Fruit Rolls!

It took about 45 seconds for these to find a new home inside my belly :)

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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Easy Confetti Yogurt Pops

See this stuff above? It's always in my kitchen. Every week we go through a couple of yogurt containers and lots and lots of fruit. I love fruit and since it's always around my kids have grown up eating it. So when I saw this recipe, I knew that it was something we had to try.

Miss Maddy and I got all the ingredients washed and ready. We might or might not have eaten close to half in no time flat. I finally had to cut us off by mixing in the yogurt...otherwise there would have been nothing Confetti about our pops.

  • 2  cups  low-fat vanilla yogurt
  • 1  cup  assorted berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, chopped strawberries)
  • 5    pretzel rods, halved, or 10 baked snack stick crackers
Directions 1. In a large bowl gently stir together the yogurt and fruit. Spoon into 4-ounce ice-pop molds or 3-ounce paper cups. Cover molds or cups with foil; use a sharp knife to cut a small hole in the foil and insert cut side of pretzel rod or snack stick. Freeze until firm. Remove foil and mold or cup before serving.
2. Store for up to a month. Makes 6 pops

Since we were making something healthy to snack on...I thought it would be a good idea to spend the time that it would take to freeze these bad boys at the park.

The kids loved the pops. They were a fast and healthy snack that I know will be popping up all summer long at my house.

Now it's your turn:

What are you favorite healthy snacking options?

What do you do to keep your kids active?


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