Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Pudding Pops

Want a great way to use extra-ripe bananas? Don't toss them or force yourself to make banana bread to use them up. Try this super-fast nutritious 3-ingredient recipe for pudding, instead! 

A recipe I discovered on Pinterest for Nutella Ice Cream was the inspiration for this tip.  I had Dark Chocolate Dreams and no Nutella in the pantry today, so I adapted the recipe accordingly.  I also added Greek yogurt for the extra protein and probiotics.

Oh. My. Stars. This is delicious!

Recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Pudding Pops

6 ripe bananas
1 cup chocolate peanut butter, recommend Dark Chocolate Dreams
1/4 cup Greek style yogurt, recommend Stonyfield Oikos

Peel bananas and pulse a few times in a food processor, then puree until smooth. Add chocolate peanut butter and puree until well blended.

Add Greek yogurt, to taste, and blend well.  I thought it was just right with 1/4 cup yogurt.

Using a soup ladle, pour chocolate pudding into popsicle molds.

You may also want to try these silicon ice pop containers .  These are great for push-up popsicles or for yogurt in lunchboxes.  (My kids love anything I give them in these!)

Serve the remaining pudding straight-up and garnish with light whipped cream, if desired.  It really does taste like pudding!!

This "pudding" is healthy, full of protein, vitamins and minerals and is gluten-free if you use the Peanut Butter & Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams.  I hope you love this recipe as much as my kids and I have!


Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday Breakfast

Don't want to toss that delicious Thanksgiving stuffing or dressing? Make stuffing muffins for breakfast or brunch the next day.  This was made with leftover Sausage Apple Stuffing.  YUM!

Pour chicken stock over leftover stuffing and refrigerate in muffin tins.  The next morning bake at 375 degrees F in a preheated oven until warm and crispy on the edges, about 10 minutes:  (After these photos I put mine back in the oven to brown more, these only cooked about 7 minutes - you may prefer them this way.)

Serve with a side of cranberry sauce.

Another great idea, per Rachael Ray, is to make Leftover Stuffing Waffles!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Guest Post - Oreo Turkeys

This guest post is from my friend, Jackie.  She takes baking and cake decorating to the next level and is really great to have in a woman's group because She. Brings. Goodies. Every. Week.  This post gives tips and instructions to create the latest dessert she shared with us.  This would be a great craft to make with kids for Thanksgiving:

Oreo turkey with Reese's cup

Here are step-by-step instructions to make an Oreo Turkey.  Be creative - the turkeys are much more fun if they have a little bit of personality and some of your own personal touches. As an example, my brother-in-law decided to add a mohawk to his turkey and it looked great! So here are my instructions – but please don’t be afraid to have fun!


Oreo Sandwich Cookies (preferably the regular, original variety because you get more for your money, but they are easier to damage, so if you are heavy handed, I recommend the double-stuffed variety)
Chocolate icing of any variety, and a knife for spreading
Whoppers (a movie theater box is fine)
Red Hots candy
Candy Corn
Miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
Black and Orange piping icing (recommend Wilton sparkle gel - makes beady sparkly eyes.)
• Creativity and patience


Peanut-free Oreo Turkeys

1.Separate the two halves of an Oreo cookie, being careful not to crack the cookie.  Discard the white filling, or eat, or give to a child to eat.  Ice half of the Oreo cookie with about 1/8-inch of icing all around.  Set aside one of the halves to use as a base.

2. Arrange 5 candy corn pieces in a fan pattern, with the white tips pointing to the center of the Oreo half. The chocolate icing will help them stick. This will be the turkey feathers! If you get carried away with the candy corn and add a lot more, the turkey becomes a little top heavy and he’ll have trouble standing up.

3. Ice the other oreo for the base.  If using peanut products, place a Miniature Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup with the flat, larger end at the bottom of the white tips of the candy corn so that the Reese’s only slightly covers the tip and does not hang over the edge of the Oreo cookie. (The step-by-step photos demonstrate the peanut-free version.)  Using more icing, secure a whopper to the peanut butter cup or to the oreo, for the turkey head.   If you don’t add enough of the icing you will have a headless turkey, if you add too much icing you’ll have a fat neck turkey which is good for eating, but looks kind of funny.

4. At this point you should have your base and the turkey feathers/body ready to be put together.  Take the feathered Oreo and stand it up at a right angle to the base Oreo with the Reese’s acting as a stand for the two halves. Add more icing if you need to in order to make it stick.  (If using double-stuffed Oreos, this step is much harder, you'll have to use a book to prop it up while it dries.)

5. Now the turkey is almost finished!  Time to add the details.

6. Break off the white tip of a candy corn and put some chocolate icing on the end and attach to the whopper to make his beak.

7. Put a little bit of icing on a red hot and add it as the Turkey’s “wattle”.

8. Using the black icing, pipe on some eyes.

9. Admire.

10. Using the orange icing, pipe on legs at the edge of the Reese’s on the base of the turkey. For a Big Foot turkey, use the damaged candy corns and place them as Turkey legs.
Plate your turkey and show him off to the world!

Remember, Oreo Turkeys don’t like to be alone – so make him some friends to play with!


Products used in this post:

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Cut Noodles

This tip is from a friend at the Frazee Dream Center.  She often prepares meals for at least 90 kids and volunteers in the program.  She is full of great ideas, and this one is so obvious, yet not something I've ever thought of.

Next time want to cut spaghetti into small pieces for your little ones, put your kitchen shears right in the bowl (or in Ms. Jenny's case, kid scissors in the large pot) and have at it!  This is so much easier than using a knife, potato masher, pastry blender OR a wooden implement.  And, yes, I have tried all three.  Another benefit is that your 4-year old can even cut his noodles by himself, assuming he has the scissor thing down!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Redeem Mac-N-Cheese

Most nutritionists will tell you that macaroni and cheese is a calorie-laden dish that has very little nutritive value.  But so many of us love it, and so many of our kids gobble it up.  So rather than throwing our comfort food out the window, let's add some nutrition we can feel great about.  This idea came after talking with a  friend who makes pasta with broccoli regularly for her kids.

When you are making macaroni and cheese from a box, I recommend two kinds we have tried.  If you're a Kraft Macaroni and Cheese fan, try the new Veggie Pasta variety:

The pasta itself is made with cauliflower, which adds valuable nutrients easily. Prior to the arrival of the Veggie Pasta, I'd puree cauliflower, as mentioned in my Deceptively Delicious post. This is likely the healthier option, but it is more work.  I would typically add between 1/4 cup and 1/2 cup of the cauliflower puree to an organic boxed macaroni and cheese.  The sauce will need salt and pepper since the cauliflower puree is not seasoned.  One of our favorite box varieties is Annie's Shells and White Cheddar:

And of course the healthiest option would be to make homemade macaroni and cheese, but that is not always practical.  

Now for the tip.  Regardless of which macaroni and cheese you use, add broccoli to the dish and you instantly have a nutritionally superior meal.  The key is to use FRESH broccoli florets and add them to the boiling pasta during the last 3-4 minutes of cooking time (add little salt to the pasta water, if you desire).  The broccoli will float on top like this until it really starts to boil:

Once the pasta is done, dump the pasta/broccoli in a colander, and prepare the cheese sauce. (I like to season the sauce with a liberal amount of freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of freshly ground nutmeg.)  Add the hot broccoli and pasta back to the sauce and mix well.   My kids love this and they weren't broccoli fans before we started making it this way.  NOTE: I do not recommend using frozen broccoli, it gets really mushy and may warrant complaints.  This is a photo of the final product:

This bowl is "heavy on the broccoli" for my new little broccoli lover.  But who doesn't love broccoli covered in cheese sauce?  Yum!

And if your kids dig the broccoli with the mac, next time you dine with your kids at Outback Steakhouse, order the Mac 'A' Roo and Cheese, and ask your server to add steamed broccoli.  This dish does not disappoint!