Friday, May 30, 2014

Creamy Nutella Popsicles

Lately I've been wanting to eat lots of Nutella. I've put it in shakes, had it with apple slices, eaten it by the spoonful, made ice cream with it, and most recently, made popsicles with it. Originally I was going to share the recipe for the Nutella ice cream that I made last week. But then I made these popsicles, and I realized that they are a lot easier to make, plus not everyone has an automatic ice cream maker (even though they should). I guess probably not everyone has popsicle molds, but you can be creative if you don't have them, and they are really not that expensive if you want to buy some. I just bought my molds off of Amazon the other day because I want to be cool like everyone else this summer and be able to make super exciting popsicles all day long. Anyways, I was planning on making lime popsicles the other night when I did Mexican food with the neighbors (chicken taquitos, slow cooker beans, and corn pudding), but then I chose to make key lime pie tarts instead. Yesterday while Wendy was napping I thought of the Nutella popsicle idea. The popsicles were SO easy to make. I tasted the mixture before pouring it into the molds and fell in love. It was painful having to wait the four hours before I could try one. And it was such a treat when I bit into that creamy and dreamy Nutella popsicle. When Greg got home from a cold day out on the water, I offered him a popsicle and once he bit into it he said it was amazing. He almost started to cry when a small piece of the last bites of popsicle fell off the stick. Not only are these delicious and super easy to make, they also are not too bad for you either. Each popsicle has about 250 calories and they are made with 2% milk and just a little bit of cream. I know you and everyone you know will love them. Enjoy!

Recipe for Creamy Nutella Popsicles

2 1/2 cups of 2% milk
3 ounces of heavy cream
10 Tbsp. of Nutella

Put the milk, cream, and Nutella into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into six 4-ounce popsicle molds (you might have some mixture leftover, go ahead and drink it)! Place the molds into the freezer for 4 - 6 hours before enjoying.

*Here's an interesting fact..did you know Nutella originates from Italy? 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Arugula and Fruit Salad with a Blood Orange Vinaigrette

Here is a super healthy and delicious salad for you! I am quite a fan of arugula. If you look through my blog postings, you'll see plenty of meals made with arugula. I'll post some yummy arugula recipe links at the bottom of this entry for you because I am very generous. I love the flavor of arugula. It is so much more sophisticated tasting than most of the leafy greens that are out there, and it also has tons of health benefits. It is a good source of several vitamins, folic acid, iron, and phytochemicals that fight cancer. And, not only is it good for you, but eating arugula also makes you more sexually energized - it's an aphrodisiac!

I think you'll find this salad to be very tasty. You'll love the combination of the fruit, avocado, and toasted walnuts with the sweet tasting vinaigrette. This salad makes quite the pretty display of colors and it is fun to eat. Enjoy!

Recipe for Arugula and Fruit Salad with a Blood Orange Vinaigrette

6 cups of arugula leaves
2 medium Hass avocados, chopped
2 large mangos, chopped
3 mandarins (I use Wonderful Halos), separated into pieces
1/3 cup of walnuts
2 Tbsp. of extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. of honey
1 1/2 Tbsp. of blood orange vinegar
1/8 tsp. of kosher salt
Several grinds of fresh black pepper

Toast the walnuts. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and arrange walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place in oven and cook for about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.

While walnuts are toasting, mix up the dressing. Add all ingredients to a bowl and whisk well. Set aside.

Divide the arugula onto plates. Top each with chopped mango, avocado, mandarin pieces, and toasted walnuts. Drizzle with the vinaigrette and then sprinkle with some extra black pepper, if desired.

Makes 4 servings

Original Recipe

More Tasty Arugula Recipes
Mediterranean Orzo Salad
Asparagus and Arugula Pizza
Penne Pasta with Arugula Pesto
Asparagus and Arugula Risotto
California Pizza Kitchen-Style Quinoa Salad 
Greek Pizza

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mexican Wedding Cakes

Looking for something to talk about? I'll give you a topic. Mexican Wedding Cakes are not really Mexican nor wedding cakes. Discuss. Yes, if you watched Saturday Night Live back in the early to mid 90s, you might remember the skit "Coffee Talk." The "host" was Mike Meyers playing a woman and he would always say things such as "the Partridge Family were neither Partridges nor a family" during the skit. It was awesome. Back to the Mexican Wedding Cakes. They are cookies and there is nothing really Mexican about them. They actually go by several different names, including Russian Tea Cookies. People might not be able to agree on a name for these cookies, but they can agree on one thing - that these shortbread-like cookies melt in your mouth and that they are like buttah.

I had forgotten about these delicious cookies. My mom used to make them when I was a kid.  I was googling desserts to make for Cinco de Mayo and I came across the recipe. I immediately remembered that they were the cookies my mom used to make. When I bit into my first cookie, I was instantly transported back to my youth. I love feelings of nostalgia! These cookies are super easy to make. I especially liked making them because I felt okay with eating tons of the batter since there are no eggs in the recipe. Score! I hope you like these cookies as much as I do. You can call them whatever you want to! Enjoy.

Recipe for Mexican Wedding Cakes 

1 cup of walnuts
2 cups + 2 Tbsp. of all-purpose flour, divided
16 Tbsp. of unsalted butter (2 sticks), softened at room temperature
5 Tbsp. of powdered sugar
1 tsp. of pure vanilla extract
1/16 tsp. of pure almond extract
1/4 tsp. of salt
For dusting
1 cup of powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spread the walnuts onto a baking sheet. Cook in the oven for 8 - 10 minutes or until lightly toasted. Remove and let them cool a bit before using. Turn off oven.
Put the walnuts and 2 Tbsp. of flour into a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse several times until the walnuts are finely ground. Set aside.

Put the butter and powdered sugar into a large mixing bowl. Beat together on medium speed with an electric hand mixer until well blended. Add in the 2 cups of flour, walnut mixture, vanilla extract, almond extract, and salt and beat again until well incorporated. If the batter seems a little dry, add about 1 - 2 tsp. of milk to it. Cover the bowl with a lid and place in the fridge for at least an hour.

Put the powdered sugar into a bowl and sift. Preheat oven back to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Use a cookie dough scoop to scoop dough into 1-inch balls. Place on the lined baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Put in oven and bake for 12 minutes or until lightly browned on the edges. Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack. Let cool for at least 5 minutes, no more than 8. Roll each cookie in the powdered sugar and then place back on cooling rack. Once cookies are completely cooled, store cookies in an airtight container.

Makes approximately 36 cookies. 

Recipe Adapted from: Joy of Baking 

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Mediterranean-Style Orzo Salad with Avocado and Arugula

I was pleasantly surprised by how delicious this orzo salad was! It was the first meal I made since before I had the baby (unless you count cheese quesadillas as a meal..). For the first couple weeks after having Wendy all I wanted to do was eat something super quick and easy, such as frozen pizza. Well, that got old fast. I decided I was ready to start cooking again and that I wanted to eat healthier. I went out to the grocery store with a list of healthy ingredients in hand. It felt good to get out of the house all by myself (yes, I'll admit it) and I'll even admit that I took my time at the store! I had this salad in mind when I did my shopping, but the cauliflower didn't look too hot and I couldn't find farro, so I decided I'd just go with a a different type of salad. Greg was amazed with how good the salad was. I think he commented like five times while he was eating it on how much he loved it. And usually I have to ask him f he likes something I made or not! This salad is super easy to make and it's incredibly healthy. It reminded me a little of this awesome salad I made a couple summers ago, that has quinoa and asparagus. Make the orzo salad vegan by leaving out the feta! Enjoy.

Recipe for Mediterranean-Style Orzo Salad with Avocado and Arugula
2 cups of dried orzo
1 1/2 Tbsp. of extra-virgin olive oil
1 clove of garlic, pressed
1/8 tsp. of kosher salt
1/8 - 1/4 tsp. of crushed red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp. of freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tsp. of oil from sun dried tomato jar
12 - 16 sun dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
16 - 20 kalamata olives, chopped
Desired amount of feta cheese (I like a lot), crumbled
Desired amount of baby arugula (I recommend a couple handfuls a serving)
2 avocados, sliced
2 cucumbers, peeled and sliced thin

Cook the orzo according to package directions. While the orzo is cooking, make the dressing. Combine the olive oil, garlic, salt, red pepper flakes, black pepper, lemon juice, and sun dried tomato oil in a small bowl and whisk well. Once orzo is finished cooking, drain it of any excess water and then immediately transfer to a large bowl. Allow it to cool slightly while you chop the sun dried tomatoes and kalamata olives.

Then toss the orzo with the dressing and add in the sun dried tomatoes and olives. Toss again. Cover the bowl and put it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Just before taking it out of the fridge, slice the avocados and cucumbers.

Put the arugula leaves, cucumber slices, and avocado slices on a plate(s). Drizzle on a little bit of olive oil and a couple squeezes of lemon juice (just a tiny amount). Sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper on top. Top with a generous amount of the orzo. Add the crumbled feta on top. Serve with your favorite bread.

Recipe makes about 4 - 6 servings. 

Recipe Adapted from: Cookie and Kate