Month: December 2010

Zuu-Zuu, Great Little Spinach & Cheese Appetizers

I have to share with you my favorite appetizer-snack from my childhood. Remember walking on the cold winter snowy days and looking through the bakery windows…while bakers place new pans of wonderful, tasty, warm and crispy pastry. Zuu zuu are usually filled with spinach, cheese or mushrooms.

I give my best to make them at home…kids love them.
Sesame on the top is a real kick and everybody who loves sesame in all kinds of dishes and pastry should try these little squares….as soon you put them on the plate – they are gone:)

You will need puff pastry squares, fresh baby spinach, feta or cottage cheese, little sea salt, little pepper, one egg to combine cheese and cut spinach and just a little bit for brushing the top and sticking sesame seeds.

You can use round or square cutter or shape.

Oven is on 350F…baking time 16-20 minutes.

Wonderful appetizer, friends, family, kids will love it.
Easy to make…best if served warm.
Happy Holidays Everybody!

Merry Christmas!!


Merry Christmas!
This year I made two different kinds of cookies, one for children and one for adults.

I would like to thank all the nice people who saw and voted for my first video Christmas Cookies-Vanilice which reached almost 12000 views in just a few days!
Thank You!
You can view the video on the Yahoo Lifestyle page.

http://www.associatedcontent.com/video/762012/christmas_cookies_vanilice.html?cat=22

Merry Christmas Everybody!

Gingerbread Chocolate Santa’s Cookies

Christmas Eve. I just finish baking cookies, gingerbread family this year….what a lovely characters they are. I have to tell you that the whole house smells absolutely amazing. As usual I made a twist and add semi sweet chocolate and fresh ground ginger to the dough. Cookies are super tasty and for the look I have to thank my sweet hubby for the great photography.

Gingerbread chocolate cookies

Ingredients:

* 4 ounces semisweet chocolate
* 1 cups whole wheat flour
* 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 1/4 teaspoon all spice
* 4 tablespoons sweet cream butter
* 4 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
* 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
* 1/2 cup unsulphured molasses
* 1 teaspoon baking soda

Chop chocolate into 1/4-inch chunks, set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour and all spice.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and grated ginger until whitened. Add brown sugar, beat until combined. Add molasses,beat until combined. In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in 1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water. Beat flour mixture into butter mixture. Beat in baking-soda mixture and mix in chocolate. Pat dough out to about 1 inch thick, seal with wrap and refrigerate at least an hour.
Heat oven to 325°F
Roll dough and using ginger bread cookie cuter made shapes. Arrange cookies on the cookie pen. Bake until the surfaces crack slightly for 12 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes. Decorate and have fun:)

Hope Santa will like them. Our little Robo Hamster Bubbles – the Elf is Santa’s best helper this year….

Now excuse me I have to wrap few more presents and try to put kids to bed….not an easy task, especially when they hear reindeer sleigh bells every second or so…..what a lovely night this is!


Ginger

Apple and Pecan Blossoms

Yesterday was another celebration, St. Nikola. Long time tradition for that particular day is to prepare dishes without any dairy or meat using mostly fresh vegetables, fish, dry fruits and nuts.
I wanted to make nice dessert perfect for this occasion or any other time when we need to skip milk or eggs in dessert recipes which is very rare.
Looking in my freezer I noticed that I have phyllo dough and puff pastry. I started from there.
For the filling I chose beautiful Fuji apples, pecans , orange zest, brown sugar and cinnamon.
Here is a step by step recipe for this absolutely incredible dessert.

Apple and Pecan Blossoms

You will need:

2 squares puff pastry
5 phyllo dough sheets
2 medium Fuji apples
4 oz pecans
1/4 light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 small bag vanilla sugar
small organic orange-for orange zest
lemon juice, for the taste
1 teaspoon Smart balance light for pastry brush-phyllo dough

Preheat oven to 400F.
Thaw the dough on the room temperature for 20 minutes.

Prepare the filling.
Core and cut the apples in smaller cubes and put then in the bowl.
Add orange zest and lemon juice.

Ground pecans.

Add pecans, brown sugar, vanilla sugar and cinnamon to the apple mixture. Set aside.

Take the 12 cup muffin pen.
Each round cover with piece of puff pastry and then add the layer of phyllo dough.

Fill every round with pecan filling.

Cover prepared and filled blossoms with another layer of phyllo dough.

Using pastry brush glaze edges of blossoms for the nice finishing color.
Bake blossoms for 16-20 minutes.

Place dessert on the nice serving dish. Wonderful if served still warm.
Fantastic texture, crunch and aroma of pecans and apples and still very festive… perfect dessert for parties and gatherings.

1 Serving, 1 Apple Pecan Blossom has:

Calories 90
Total fat 8%
Saturated fat 1%
Cholesterol 0%
Total Carbohydrate 3%
Dietary Fiber 6%
Protein 2g
Sodium 0%

Apples are very low in Saturated Fat, Cholesterol and Sodium. They are also a good source of Dietary Fiber and Vitamin C.
Pecans are very low in Cholesterol and Sodium, very good source of Manganese.

Apple and Pecan Blossoms

Batman Chocolate Cream Cake


Few days ago, my son-superhero Batman helper had a birthday. Theme was off course Batman and everything was in the style. I did my best job to assemble and decorate cake from different resources. It wasn’t easy task to do but at the end, all the smiles and hugs are the best reward. Little Batman liked it a LOT! You can see little finger touchy touch on the right side of the cake…..
This was a chocolate light fluffy cream cake. Just a tiny bit of whip cream topping for decoration. Really tasty and super fun:)

Favorite Foodie Products for 2010

Here we go….almost is the end of another year. I decided to give my fav products little announcement and say good things about them. They were very tasty, great quality, super scrumptious and real help in situations of hungry tummy and sweet tooth cravings. I wish to thank people who make them and people who put them in the supermarkets. Thank You:)

My list of great foodie products for 2010:

Yogi Granola CRISPS Mountain Blueberry Flax


This cereal/granola is so nice and different from other cereals. It has all the wholegrain benefits of granola in perfectly crunchy, snackable flakes.
Five ancient whole grains, oats, barley, spelt, amaranth, quinoa, baked with all natural blueberry puree with flax seed and natural huckleberry.
20 grams whole grains, plus 3 grams protein and 2 grams fiber per 1/2 cup serving.

Somersaults Crunchy Nuggets with Sunflower Seeds and Toasted Grains Chez Cocoa

Chez Cocoa blends rich cocoa, vanilla bean, toasted grains and sunflower seeds baked into the perfect sweet treat. Not too salty, not too sweet, but just right. Only 5 grams of sugar!

Tillamook Smoked Medium Cheddar Cheese

Tillamook Smoked Medium Cheddar is infused with natural hardwood smoke to produce the distinctive flavor of this uniquely delicious cheddar.

Choc-Aid Milk Chocolate-for Life’s Boo Boos

Now these chocolates are perfect! I prefer dark chocolate but this milk chocolates taste very good, plus look at the packeging. So cute:)

Voskos Greek Yogurt Plain Non-Fat

More protein to keep you lean! Stabilize your metabolism. Prevent low blood sugar crashes. 2x Protein, Live & Active Probiotic Cultures. Free of Gluten, rBST, rBGH, and GMO

Bonne Maman Strawberry Preserves

“Bonne Maman is the #1 imported line of preserves and jellies in the United States. Bonne Maman translates to “Grandmother” in French and these products taste like they came right out of grandfather’s garden and onto grandmother’s stove.” I love jam…my kids call me-queen of jam. I love taste of Bonne Maman it’s like homemade.

Doctor’s CarbRite Diet Sugar Free Bar Dark Chocolate

Chocolate, again. This product is amazing. Taste is very similar to regular chocolate. Have to admit, I am not a fan of non-natural products but this bar is a keeper. Each serving has as few as 2 grams of total fat and is virtually cholesterol-free, no sugar and less than 1 gram of carb per piece.

San Pellegrino Sparkling Natural Mineral Water

I mostly consume spring water but sometimes people need to add little bubbles, especially after bigger meal.
Drinking sparkling water in limited amounts can significant reductions in the level of low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, as well as a significant increase in levels of high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.

Next year it will be more new and amazing products to add:)

Enoki Mushroom Stuffing and Healthy Surprises!

Enoki mushroom stuffing paired with grilled low fat turkey sausage and green & yellow zucchini salad is a great lunch combo.

Every item on the plate compliments each other. Super easy to make, has many healthy ingredients and nutrients that we crave and need. Did I forget something?
Yes, dessert. Gluten free almond chocolate chunk mini cupcakes:)

Enoki mushroom stuffing is very tasty, right ingredients are the key: whole wheat loaf of French bread, red onion, celery, eggs, butter, chicken broth, white cheddar cheese and fresh white enoki mushrooms.
Grill cubes of fine chopped red onion till nicely caramelized, add celery, butter and bread cubes. Season the ingredients and add chicken broth.
Preheat oven to 400F.
In the small skillet with just tiny bit of extra virgin olive oil, stir fry enoki mushrooms just for a few minutes.
In the buttered( little bit) baking dish pour the bread mixture. Grade layer of white cheddar cheese over stuffing. Bake for 30 minutes.
Add enoki mushrooms on top of the stuffing and bake additional 8 minutes.
Serve warm.

National University of Singapore first published that the stalk of the golden needle mushroom contains a large quantity of a protein, designated Five, which helps to regulate the immune system.

Grilled low fat turkey sausage

Using the non stick saucepan grill chopped red onion, add sausage , season. Grill for 8-12 minutes.
Serve warm.

Yellow and green zucchini salad

In the large pot over medium heat boil water with little salt. Add zucchini circles.
Boil for 8 minutes.
Drain and season with tiny bit of extra olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt.
Serve on room temperature or cold.
Zucchinis contain useful amounts of folate (24 mcg/100 g), potassium (280 mg/100 g) and vitamin A (384 IU [115 mcg]/100 g). Zucchinis are also an excellent source of vitamin C. Dark green zucchini also have some beta carotene and all types provide small quantities of minerals.

Gluten free almond chocolate chunk mini cupcakes are truly wonderful. Made with ground almonds and brown rice flour, real decadent dessert.
If you would like the whole recipe, e-mail me and I will send you exact process of making this specific dessert.
What else to say….enjoy:)

Enoki Mushrooms

Whole Grain Seeded Bread and the Lovely Beans

When brown truck made a stop in front of the house few days ago, I was very surprised, because I received brand new Kitchen Aid Artisan mixer. O my, I was crazy happy. That was my early birthday gift from my dear husband. What a surprise and he couldn’t think of the better gift. So I was all over the recipes in the jiffy and decided to make my first bread, Whole Grain Seeded Bread.
Also I made wonderful meal with red kidney beans and turkey sausage, it is fabulous meal and needs excellent bread to go with it. What a match!

Whole Grain Seeded Bread


Ingredients

– 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
– 3/4 cup organic whole wheat pastry flour
– 1 package active dry yeast
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 3 tablespoons sunflower seeds
– 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
– 3 tablespoons poppy
– 3 table spoon flax
– 1 cup water
– 1 tablespoon milk
– 1 egg white

Using the electric mixer with the dough hook and the large bowl, combine the whole wheat flour, pastry flour, yeast, and salt.
In another bowl, mix the seeds.
In a saucepan,add water and warm over low heat until a thermometer reads 120 to 130 degrees F.
Add the liquid to the flour mixture with the egg white. Mix together until a soft dough forms.

Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface.

Knead for 10 minutes, then shape into a ball.

Lightly oil a large stainless steel bowl. Add the dough, cover the bowl with a towel and let rise in a warm place for 2 hours until doubled in size.

When the dough has risen, punch the dough down with your fists and add 2 Tablespoons of the seed mixture working it into the dough. Reserve the 2 Tablespoons of seed mixture for the topping. Shape the dough into a loaf by rolling it into a loaf pan.
Cover the loaf pan with a towel and let rise for 1 hour until doubled in bulk.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F . Brush the top of the loaf with milk and sprinkle on the reserved seed mixture.

Bake the bread for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the bread from the pan and let cool completely.

Whole Grain Seeded bread is one of my favorite especially if has seeds such as flax seed, sunflower seed, sesame, and poppy seeds which are all good for you, particularly flax seed because of the essential fatty acids they contain.

Red Kidney Beans with Turkey Sausage

Ingredients

2 cans red kidney beans
1 red onion, cut
fresh ground pepper
sea salt
1 reduced fat turkey sausage
vegetable stock
paprika

In the large pot, brown the onion with a little bit of extra virgin olive oil. Add the sausage and brown for additional 8 minutes.
Add the beans (drain all the extra liquid from the can, has a lot of sodium in it). I love to make my own vegetable stock with bay leaves and spices.

Give then a little stir, add little paprika, salt, pepper and vegetable stock.

Cook on the low for 45 minutes and let it stand for an hour or so before serving.
What a great meal this is. Delicious.

This dish is excellent source of protein and fiber. Kidney beans are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber. Reduced fat turkey sausage has 34g of protein, 16 g of fat, 6 % iron.

Kidney Beans