Strawberries, yummmm

May 19, 2013

Today I picked the first ripe strawberries of the season out of my strawberry patch.  They were amazing.

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Banana Oat “Cookies”

May 6, 2013

I have been making these banana oat “cookies” for a few weeks now and feel I have perfected the recipe, so its time to share.
They are pretty darn healthy, and might not really justify the name cookie, but they sure can be addictive like cookies! The recipe is also super alterable so you can mess around and come up with your own combinations for variety.

I started out making these with just bananas, apple sauce, oats and cinnamon and they were great. But they are even better with the added ingredients.

Necessary base ingredients:
6 ripe bananas
1 1/2-2 1/2 cups natural apple sauce (no sugar added)
3-5 cups old fashion oats

Suggested additional ingredients:
1 TB honey
Cinnamon to taste (I used a little less than an 1/8 cup)
1 tea vanilla
1/8 cup (give or take to taste) sunflower seeds
1/8 cup (give or take to taste) diced or chopped walnuts
1/8 cup (give or take) mini chocolate chips
1/8 cup (give or take) peanut butter chips
Handful raisins and or cranberries

Instructions:
-Peel the bananas, put them in a mixing bowl and mash them up.
-Pour in the apple sauce and stir. I went heavy on the apple sauce.
-Add the honey, vanilla and cinnamon and stir. I put in a lot of cinnamon, you should probably start with less and add more to taste.
-Add the oats a little at a time and stir to combine. I went heavy on the oats.
-Add in the sunflower seeds, walnuts, raisins, cranberries, chocolate chips and peanut butter chips and stir to combine. I went light on the chocolate and peanut butter chips.
-Put in the fridge for an hour or so.
-Scoop spoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet, just like you would with cookies. The consistency is not as sticky as cookie batter, but having it cool in the fridge helps.
-Bake in a preheated oven at 400degrees for 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool, and the pop onto the counter.

The finished cookie is soft and chewy and not very cookie like. The chocolate and peanut butter add bursts of flavor but should be kept to a minimum. The sunflower seeds and walnuts add texture that is very appealing.

I love these cookies and have shared them at work to approval. My husband says he can’t stop eating them and to please put them away.

*Do not store in an airtight container. A paper lunch bag or a plate in the fridge is best. Try to eat within the first few days of making them. Because of the high moisture level and fresh ingredients, they tend to get funky if left sealed up in warm places too long.

I did not get good photos of them, nor does the finished product look that great. But they taste great.

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In the process of mixing the ingredients up.

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Frozen Yogurt Popsicles

February 10, 2013

I love yogurt and I love berries.  So what’s not to love when you combine the two and freeze them?  Nothing!

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This recipe is easy, and can be modified in so many ways.  I was planning to get some blueberries for this weekend’s frozen treat, but strawberries were on sale and blueberries were not.  So strawberries it was!  I also picked up a big thing of Greek yogurt, again, the brand that was on sale.  regular, non Greek yogurt would have worked as well.

It would also be fun to swirl the plain yogurt with the blended yogurt for a festive look.  Or to make more than one flavor and layer them up.  Maybe blueberry, strawberry and vanilla and layer them for red/white/blue popsicles.  Lots of options.

They are healthy, and depending on your ingredient selection, fresh and natural!

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I always use local honey

Ingredients:

  • Berries of your choice, fresh or frozen (I used one container of fresh strawberries and 1 ripe banana)
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla
  • 1 large container of yogurt (I used vanilla Greek yogurt)
  • 1/3 cup honey

Instructions:

  • chop berries
  • combine 1/3 of the yogurt and the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine
  • scoop into a food processor (or blender) and process
  • put back into the bowl and add the rest of the yogurt, stir to combine
  • pour into tiny little cups, and add a popsicle stick (or put into a popsicle mold).
  • freeze for 4+ hours.

Yum

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The Cupcake Company

January 30, 2013

I really love cupcakes.  They are special little personal sized cakes.  I much prefer a cupcake to just about any other desert type of treat.  It beats cookies, ice cream, and certainly brownies.  I actually do not care for brownies at all unless they are crunchy edged and paired with vanilla ice cream, but that’s beside the point.  Sure I enjoy fruit.  There is nothing quite like a perfectly ripe banana or the first crisp bite of an apple.  But there is something just extra fantastic about cupcakes.

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So when the new cupcake store opened up near my home, right on Rt33 in Penn Laird, Virginia, I had to check it out.
The store front is simple, in a stand alone building with a large sign on the front and a Cupcake Company vendor van out front, it’s still easy to miss in the rather noncommercial area it is in.

Inside is simple with a clean fresh design.  There is an L shaped glass display counter full of cupcakes, and a tall bar type of table for eating in.

Now lets talk business, the cupcakes.  I have tries a good selection and each one has been nothing short of AMAZING. I consider myself a bit of a cupcake connoisseur and these cupcakes are hands down, and by a long shot, the best cupcakes I have ever had.

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I find a good judgement can be made by trying the basic Vanilla or Almond cupcake at most cupcake boutiques.  Since these flavors are generally simple and clean, with no toppings to shadow out the basic perfection, or lack of perfection, in the standard recipe.

At The Cupcake Company I tried the basic vanilla cupcake.  The cake is extremely moist, and just slightly sweet.  It is topped by a perfectly fluffy, and shaped vanilla butter cream icing, that holds it’s shape without getting stiff or crisp.  The vanilla cupcake is topped off with a light sprinkling of colored beads sprinkles.  Perfection.

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I have also tried an array of other cupcakes from this location, and been wowed by all of them.  This includes their Saturday morning special, the bacon maple pancake cupcake.  The cake in this cupcake is sticky and very pancake like, with a maple butter cream icing, topped with bacon crumble and maple syrup drizzle.  It might sound like an odd combo, bacon and cupcake, but hot-damn, it will knock your socks off.  And I say that as a person who is not particularly enthralled by bacon.

Another of my favorite cupcakes is the nutty buddy.  It is a chocolate based cupcake with a nutty butty top consisting of vanilla butter cream icing completely covered in mushed peanuts.  I am generally not a big fan of chocolate cake, but this combo could not have been better put together.

I highly recommend a stop by this neat little shop, that is becoming a treasure of the valley.  For anyone visitors to Massanutten resort or anyone coming off Skyline Drive, grab yourself a treat.

*Find them on Facebook and get updates on the current seasonal flavors!

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Creamy Pudding Pops

 December 06, 2012

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I ran over this recipe and decided to give it a try.

It was inexpensive to make and super fast and easy.

And yep, totally worth the effort.

They come out much lighter and creamier than a regular ‘fudge cycle’.

I tried two batches.  Vanilla, and chocolate.  I am also not a big chocolate ice cream fan, and the chocolate came out fantastic.  love them.  I also mixed the two flavors into a swirl for a few pops and I also liked that out come.  I tried dropping a few mini chocolate chips in a few and decided it wasn’t bad, but was not necessary either.

Recipe:
-1 large box of pudding mix.

-3 cups cold milk

-1 1/2 cups whip cream (or 1/2 a container whip cream)

You will also need some little plastic cups and some Popsicle sticks.

Whisk the pudding mix with the milk just like the pudding instructions tell you to.  Add in the whip cream until just mixed.  Pour into cups, tap them to sink the pudding down, and insert Popsicle sticks.  Place in freezer.

I did not have popsicle sticks so I used coffee stir sticks.  A little rough on the tongue but they worked in a pinch.

I also piled them into gallon freezer bags when they were solid for easier storage.

YUMMMMMMMM

and some photos

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Vanilla

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The swirl mix

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Before the freezer

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After the freezer

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and packed back up and ready to awaiting being eaten in the freezer.

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Puppy Frozen Yogert

My mom introduced Daisy to Frosty Paw about a year ago.  Frosty Paws is a single serving cup of doggy ice cream.  More recently my mom began making her own frozen doggy treats.  While visiting for Thanksgiving last week, Daisy had one and my mom told me about the process.

On the way home I stopped at the grocery store and picked up the ingredients to make Daisy her own batch.

Not only did it turn out to be inexpensive and easy, but both Daisy, and my husband’s dog, Ash, love them.

Total success.

I am excited to try out some different variations and combinations, but for now I am passing on this basic recipe for you to try as well.

Puppy Frozen Yogurt Recipe

Ingredients:

-One large container of plain or vanilla yogurt

-One banana or large jar of banana baby food

-2-4 Tablespoons of Peanut butter, smooth or chunky

-1 Tablespoon of honey

-12-20 Small disposable plastic cups

Instructions:

-Combine all ingredients and mix with a hand mixer, food processor, or blender.

-Pour into the little cups and then put them in the freezer.

-Once they are frozen they are ready to serve.  I put all of mine into a gallon freezer bag for easier storage.

All of the ingredients ready to mix.

Blended with a hand mixer, and ready to pour into the cups.

Fresh out of the freezer and ready to serve.

*If experimenting with your own unique combination of ingredients, please keep in mind that some foods are not healthy for dogs digestive systems and can result in stomach upset or even death.  A simple google search of “what foods dogs should not have” will give you an idea of where not to start.  A few examples include: Chocolate, grapes, avocado

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