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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Blueberry-Orange Muffins: Florida Orange Juice isn't just your breakfast beverage

Blueberry-Orange Muffin/Photo by Vicki Arsenault
FLORIDA 100 percent orange juice offers many health benefits. With only 110 calories in an 8-ounce glass, it's sodium-free, saturated fat-free, cholesterol-free and offers even more than the recommended daily amount of vitamin C.
ADDING 100 percent orange juice to your daily diet can help reduce the risk of certain diseases, help with weight management and may help support the immune system.
USING 100 percent orange juice in your favorite recipe is just another way of getting your daily intake of nutrients and vitamin C. Here's a recipe that your entire family can enjoy. The orange juice and blueberries in this recipe complement each other well. Each and every bite of this muffin will have you thinking Florida. And with all the natural sweetness of the orange juice and the plump blueberries bursting with flavor, your taste buds are in for a delectable experience.
TRY one for breakfast with a glass of Florida orange juice, milk or your favorite hot beverage and start your day out right. To view pictures and step-by-step directions, view photo slide show here.
Photo by Vicki Arsenault
Blueberry-Orange Muffins
Ingredients
3 cups all-purpose unbleached flour
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Adding the Florida OJ/Photo by Vicki Arsenault
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup Florida orange juice
2 eggs
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
Cupcake liners


Preparation
Preheat oven to 375° F.  In large mixing bowl, sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda. In second mixing bowl, whisk together orange juice, eggs and melted butter. Add the orange juice mixture to the flour mixture; stir just until combined. Gently fold in blueberries. Line muffin pan with cupcake liners; fill two-thirds full with batter. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove muffins to wire rack to cool.
Variation

I used 1/2 cup of applesauce and 1 teaspoon of baking powder in place of eggs. I love bananas and need the potassium, so I mashed a small banana and added it to my ingredients.
Recipe from Floridajuice.com.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Triple Berry White Chocolate Smoothie starts with Driscoll's farm fresh berries

Photo/Recipe by Vicki Arsenault
I was so excited on Christmas to find a brand new Ninja blender under the tree! I could hardly wait to try out all my favorite smoothies.

When it comes to smoothies, most have a common ingredient. Fruit. And for me - fruit is a must to every great smoothie. Fresh, red ripe, sweet strawberries are the start of all my favorites. But whether I’m using just strawberries or a variety of berries, one name that is on almost all the berries in my refrigerator is Driscoll’s

Most people probably don’t think smoothies when planning meals or snacks. But if you want to get your family on board with getting more fruits and vegetables into their day - you may want to rethink the smoothie.

A recent survey sponsored by Driscoll’s - a family owned business for over a 100 years - revealed 97 percent of those surveyed, indulge in between-meal nibbling. Three fourths of those say they should be making healthier snack choices. People who snack between the hours of 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. reach for fruit, according to the survey.


Driscoll’s works with independent farmers to produce the highest quality, premium berries in the world. Whether you reach for a hand full of fresh fruit for that afternoon pick-me-up or get your healthy snack in a creamy, fresh and fruity smoothie - be sure to hit the grocery aisle and pick up a variety of fresh wholesome Driscoll berries. 

You'll get all these nutrients from Driscoll's Berry Farm fresh berries. And if you want to add even more nutrition don’t be afraid to throw in a little protein powder or flax seed.


Strawberries: Vitamin C; potassium; fiber; iron; protein
Raspberries: Fiber; vitamin C; iron; calcium; protein,
Blueberries: Antioxidant protections; vitamin C, A; iron
What’s not to love!


Triple Berry White Chocolate Smoothie


INGREDIENTS
2 cups Driscoll's strawberries
Photo by Vicki Arsenault
8-oz package Driscoll's red raspberries
1 cup Driscoll's blueberries
2 cups Vanilla Almond milk
1 cup Nestle White Chocolate chips


DIRECTIONS
Rinse and cut strawberries into quarters - enough strawberries to make 2 cups. If using medium or small berries only cut into halves. Rinse and drain the raspberries and blueberries. Pat dry and place berries (in separate containers) into freezer. Berries should be completely froze, a couple hours should be fine. To save time, berries can be prepared the day before and frozen for future use. You should remove the berries from the freezer about a half hour before using so that the berries are not sticking together. Use can use a knife to gently separate large clumps.

Measure out 1 cup of the white chocolate chips (do not freeze) and 2 cups of cold Vanilla Almond milk.

Using a high powered blender (as I stated above, I love the Ninja - works fantastic for a very well blended Smoothie) pour 1 cup of the Vanilla Almond milk and white chocolate chips in blender. Add half of each container of berries and blend until you have small chunks. Add remaining Vanilla Almond milk and berries and blend until completely smooth. During the final blending process, you may want to stop about halfway and using a spatula, push down any large chunks of berries.
Pour Smoothie into serving glasses, garnish and serve. For this recipe I garnished with red raspberries and 2 tablespoons of melted white chocolate chips drizzled over the top.


Thinking about Valentine’s Day - this recipe, provided by Driscoll’s is straight from the “Heart”.
In just 20 minutes you can treat your “Sweetie” to the perfect pair for Valentine’s Day - fruit and chocolate!


Chocolate Covered Strawberries with Sprinkles


Chocolate Covered Strawberries with Sprinkles.
Photo/Recipe courtesy of Driscoll.
INGREDIENTS
1 package (16 ounces) Driscoll's Long Stem Strawberries, if available
6 ounces semisweet chocolate (chips, chunks or chopped bar chocolate)
1 package (2.5 ounces) Sprinkles


DIRECTIONS
Rinse and dry the strawberries. Make sure you dry them well with a soft cloth. You do not want water on the berries when you dip them in chocolate.
Melting the Chocolate
Melting chocolate is a delicate but simple task that requires constant attention. Chocolate can burn quite easily, so it's important to melt at a low temperature, be patient and follow the right steps to ensure a bowl of smooth melted chocolate for dipping.
There are two trusted methods for melting chocolate: stovetop and microwave. The method you choose depends on your preference and comfort level, but you'll end up with the same result.
Stovetop
To melt chocolate on the stovetop, place chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water. If you do not have a double boiler, place a glass or metal bowl of chocolate over a pot of barely simmering water. The gentle steam from the hot water will slowly melt the chocolate while you stir constantly to help the chocolate melt evenly. Don't let any water from the pot get into the chocolate as the water will cause it to clump and "seize", not melting properly.
Microwave
To melt regular chocolate in the microwave, place chocolate in a glass bowl and microwave semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate at medium (50%) power for 1 minute then stir and continue to microwave at medium (50%)power in 30 second intervals, stirring each time, until melted and smooth. The total time will depend on how much chocolate you are melting but should only be a couple minutes.
Dipping the Berries
Line a baking sheet with wax paper, parchment paper or aluminum foil. Place sprinkles in a shallow bowl or small plate right beside the baking sheet.
Hold berries by their stem or calyx (green leaves) and dip in bowl of melted chocolate, swirling until coated as much as you like. Gently shake off excess chocolate. Immediately dip chocolate covered berry in sprinkles. Place berry on prepared baking sheet to set. Repeat with remaining berries.
Place baking sheet of chocolate-covered berries in refrigerator to set for about 15 to 30 minutes. If leaving berries in refrigerator longer than 1 hour, condensation may occur.
Chocolate-covered berries are best served the day they are made. Chocolate will hold up at room temperature for about 2 hours, depending on the temperature where they are being served. If you need to store overnight, do so in the refrigerator and let berries sit at room temperature about 30 minutes before serving.

Thank you to Driscoll's for providing the berries for my recipe.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Holiday Recipes: Sweet Lorraine's Mac 'n Cheez! and Hudsonville Creamy Cappuccino Nacho

Photo courtesy of Hudsonville
Creamery & Ice Cream Company

I love the holidays and all the great food and recipes that come with it.
I'm a big fan of trying new desserts. And although ice cream on a cold day may not sound all that warming, you're in for a surprise when you try Chef Ray's Hudsonville Creamy Cappuccino Dessert Nacho. A perfect ending to any meal. And if you haven't had the privilege of trying any of Sweet Lorraine's Mac 'n Cheez! I have a couple simple, warm and delicious recipes to share with you.
Start your day with a Breakfast Mac 'n Cheez! and end it with a Winter White Pasta Dessert. They both say Cheez! and will leave your family saying Pleaze!

Chef Ray’s Creamy Cappuccino Dessert Nachos

Here is what you’ll need:
4 Flour Tortillas
2 tbsp. Sugar
1 tsp. Cinnamon
3 scoops of Hudsonville® Creamy Cappuccino Ice Cream
4-5 tbsp. of Hot Fudge Topping 
Whipped Cream
2-3 Strawberries, diced

Preheat your oven to 400F
Cut your tortillas into triangles, place them on a lightly oiled cookie tray and lightly spray the tops of the tortillas as well. (Canola oil spray is recommended)
Combine the sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle on top of the oiled tortilla triangles. Flip them over and repeat on the other side.
Bake for about 5 minutes on each side or until crispy.
Remove and let cool
Arrange on a large plate, top it with scoops of Hudsonville® Creamy Cappuccino Ice Cream, drizzle with hot fudge, whipped cream, and diced strawberries.

Breakfast All day Mac n' Cheez!
Photo courtesy of Sweet Lorraine's
Breakfast All day Mac n' cheez!
Yield 4 servings
16 oz. cooked pasta
4 oz. crumbled or sliced cooked sausage (your choice)
1/2 tbsp. canola oil
1/2 cup sweet onions diced
1/2 cup bell peppers diced
2 oz. shredded cheese your choice
2 organic or all natural eggs, lightly beaten with 1/4 cup milk
Salt & pepper to taste



Heat large non-stick saute pan with canola oil until hot. Add onions and pepper and cook until softened. Add sausage and pasta and heat over med-low heat. Lightly whip in egg mixture and quickly toss with noodles until eggs start to set add cheese and gently toss. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Serve in bowls and top with toasted bread crumbs.



Winter White Dessert Pasta
Winter White Dessert Pasta
Photo courtesy of Sweet Lorraine's
Makes approximately 4 servings
1 cup cooked custard (like birds eye)
Whip in the following:
1/3 cup fresh ricotta cheese
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Add
6 oz. cooked pasta
1/3 cup grated white chocolate
portion into custard ramekins, sprinkle each with 1/4 tsp. sugar and place under broiler until bubbling.

Top with fresh berries

Recipes and photos all courtesy of Hudsonville Creamery Ice Cream Company and Sweet Lorraine's.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thanksgiving recipes to warm the heart

One of my all time favorite pies since I was young, is Chess Pie. I have such fond memories of my mother in our warm kitchen on a cold day making this pie for us. Because of the simple ingredients that can be found on hand in most kitchens, and it's simple preparation, the wait was never long. For such a simple pie - it's certainly not simple on taste. It has a sweet, buttery rich flavor with a hint of vanilla and the consistency of a well made custard pie.
My mom always made her own pie crust. She could throw a pie crust together quicker than I can pull out my Pillsbury ready crust. So keeping things simple and quick, I used a prepared pie crust. But feel free to roll out your own pie crust and make it even more special.
I look forward to Thanksgiving dinner as my family (never less than 35 people) all gather together in one spot and bake, cook and share their favorite dishes. I just know my sister will be making this sweet pie, at the request of my even sweeter, 95-year-old mother. Enjoy!
Chess Pie
Ingredients
1/2 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 Tbl. flour
1/2 cup milk
3 eggs
3 Tbl. McCormick's Pure Vanilla Extract
1 prepared pie crust
Directions
Cream butter and sugar until smooth. Sprinkle flour over creamed mixture and blend completely. Add milk and blend. Beat in eggs one at a time until mixed, stir in vanilla.
Bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes. Reduce temperature to 325 degrees and bake an hour or until well browned.
Thanksgiving Recipes for a complete family meal - The Oakland Press Media Center

Sage and Turkey Pot Pie Soup
Perfect soup for a comforting addition to your Thanksgiving meal. Whether you make it as meal or a meal starter, McCormick's Sage and Turkey Pot Pie Soup will warm the hearts of your entire family.
Thinking about joining the shoppers on "Black Friday?" You won't have to worry about getting the family a warm, wholesome meal while you shop the day away. And what a delicious way to use up that leftover turkey. It's quick and easy, so you can prepare it early and heat and eat or have dinner on the table in less than half an hour.
Prep Time: 15 mins Cook Time: 25 mins
Sage and Turkey Pot Pie Soup/Courtesy of McCormick

Overview
All the flavors of turkey pot pie are in this soup – from the creamy sage broth to the chunks of turkey, mixed vegetables and even a pie crust topper.
Ingredients
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onion
2 packages McCormick® Turkey Gravy Mix
2 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon McCormick® Sage, Rubbed
1 teaspoon McCormick® Garlic Powder
2 cups Kitchen Basics® Unsalted Chicken Stock
2 cups half-and-half
2 cups chopped roast turkey
2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
1 package (14 ounces) refrigerated pie crusts, (2 crusts)
Directions
1 Preheat oven to 450°F. Melt butter in medium saucepan on medium-high heat. Add onion; cook and stir 5 minutes or until tender. Add flour, Gravy Mixes, sage and garlic
powder; stir with wire whisk until well mixed. Gradually stir in broth and half-and-half until well blended. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 5 minutes or until slightly
thickened, stirring occasionally.
2 Stir in turkey and mixed vegetables; simmer 5 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally.
3 Meanwhile, unroll pie crusts. Cut out 3 large circles from each crust. Place on baking sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until golden brown. To serve soup, ladle into soup bowls
and top each with 1 crust.

McCormick's offers holiday recipes for your complete family meal. Visit their Pinterest page for ideas and recipes. Visit McCormick.com and learn all about their large line of spices that will add bold flavors to any dish. 

Layered Pumpkin Cheesecake
Cheesecake in a “snap” - Gingersnap that is. 
Your family and Thanksgiving guests will talk about this holiday dessert for years to come. 
Nothing says Thanksgiving like Pumpkin Pie. And when you add pumpkin pie to a creamy cheesecake filled inside a gingersnap cookie crust - well, it just says Happy Thanksgiving!
Betty Crocker received 5 stars from almost all the reviews on this delectable Pumpkin Cheesecake
Ingredients
Layered Pumpkin Cheesecake/Courtesy of Betty Crocker
Crust
2 cups gingersnap cookie crumbs (about 32)
¼ cup butter or margarine, melted
Cheesecake
4 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1 ½ cups sugar
4 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 ½ tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
Directions
Heat oven to 300°F. Grease 9-inch springform pan with shortening or cooking spray. Wrap foil around pan to catch drips. In small bowl, mix cookie crumbs and butter. Press crumb mixture in bottom and 1 inch up side of pan. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Cool 5 minutes.
In large bowl, beat cream cheese with electric mixer on medium speed just until smooth and creamy; do not overbeat. On low speed, gradually beat in sugar. On low speed, beat in eggs, one at a time, just until blended. Spoon 3 cups of the cream cheese mixture into pan; spread evenly.
Stir pumpkin, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg into remaining cream cheese mixture; mix with wire whisk until smooth. Spoon over mixture in pan
Bake 1 hour 25 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes or until edges are set but center of cheesecake still jiggles slightly when moved.
Turn oven off; open oven door at least 4 inches. Leave cheesecake in oven 30 minutes longer. Remove from oven; place on cooling rack. Without releasing side of pan, run knife around edge of pan to loosen cheesecake. Cool in pan on cooling rack 30 minutes. Cover loosely; refrigerate at least 6 hours but no longer than 24 hours.


Run knife around edge of pan to loosen cheesecake again; carefully remove side of pan. Place cheesecake on serving plate. Store cheesecake covered in refrigerator.

Some of my favorite recipes over the years have come from Betty Crocker.From holiday recipes to everyday meals, Betty Crocker offers endless recipes. Be sure to check out Betty's Red Hot Holiday Trends, where Betty Crocker Kitchen Experts share the top holiday trends and other recipes.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Birds Eye Recipe Ready vegetables complete any meal


Pot roast using Birds Eye Recipe Ready Stew Blend and Onion & Garlic
No more cleaning, pealing, chopping and dicing. You can have the taste and benefits of your favorite fresh vegetables without all the work by simply opening a package of Birds Eye® Recipe Ready vegetables.

You can cut down on the time you spend preparing your favorite meals because the work is done for you. Birds Eye has already chopped, sliced and diced your vegetables so you don't have to. Using a quick-freeze process called flash-freezing, invented and developed by Clarence Birdseye, enables you to have out-of-the-garden freshness right out of your freezer. You'll have meals on the family table in less time that everyone will enjoy.

The varieties are endless and can accommodate any of your favorite meals. From sandwiches and stir-fry to casserole or pot roast, Birds Eye® is your ticket to “Recipe Ready” meals.

The long list of products include vegetable blends such as Tri Color Pepper & Onion Blend; Chopped Onion & Garlic; Broccoli Stir-Fry; Pizza Supreme Blend; Southwest Blend and Stew Blend. It wasn't an easy choice, I finally decided on the Chopped Onion & Garlic and the Stew Blend and made a homemade pot roast dinner.

The Stew Blend is all you really need for this pot roast, but I love a lot of onion cooked with my roast, and who doesn’t appreciate a little garlic!
Birdseye.com has a great recipe for a Country Pot Roast. I decided to go with that and made a couple slight variations to it.

Country Pot Roast
Stew Blend and Onion & Garlic Recipe Ready vegetables
2-3 lb. boneless beef pot roast (rump, chuck or round)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 cups water or beef broth, or more as needed
1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes
1 bay leaf (Optional)
1 bag (14 oz.) Birds Eye Recipe Ready Stew Blend
1 bag (14 oz.) Birds Eye Recipe Ready Chopped Onion & Garlic Blend
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

COOKING INSTRUCTIONS
Season pot roast with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in Dutch oven or 6-quart saucepot and brown roast.  Add tomatoes, ½ cup water (I used 1 cup) and no bay leaf. Reduce heat to low and simmer covered 1 hour 45 minutes.
Add Recipe Ready Stew Blend and Recipe Ready Chopped Onion & Garlic Blend and cook 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
Remove roast and vegetables to a platter; cover to rest.
Blend flour with remaining water or broth and add to liquid in Dutch oven. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until thickened. Season, if desired, with salt and ground black pepper.
Note: I used a package of McCormick’s Brown Gravy mix and increased the water to 2 cups and eliminated the beef broth. The gravy turned out excellent.

You can find this recipe along with more recipe creations using Birds Eye® Recipe Ready vegetables at Birdseye.com.  Prices starting at just $1.99 and available at most local grocery stores.

You can reach me at Vicki.Arsenault@oakpress.com or 248-745-4621. Follow me at Twitter @OCKidsKorner and see my videos at www.Tout.com/VickiArsenault