I have an American friend who has never been camping. (I've been camping more times than I care to remember and am so done with it. But that's another story.) My friend had also never heard of S'Mores.
In case you haven't heard of them either, or have never tried them, here is a short explanation. All you need is graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate squares. You roast the marshmallows over the campfire until golden and melted on the inside. Take a graham cracker, top it with a square or two of chocolate bar, put your melted marshmallow on it, then top with another graham cracker. The heat from the marshmallow melts the chocolate and you eat it all like a little sandwich. It's a campfire staple.
I came across this indoor recipe this week and am sharing it so the non-campers among us can enjoy the same yummy experience, without the bugs, dirt, and long walks to the toilet in the night.
Fast, easy, and yummy!
M-m-m...don’t you just love the flavor of vanilla? We like to make vanilla ice cream for dessert. Of course we use seeds from a vanilla bean to flavor the cream and sugar that turns into this rich and creamy frozen treat. If you watch any of the cooking shows on Food Network, you’ve probably seen chefs on these shows scraping a vanilla bean to use in a dish like this. The process of scraping the bean looks so simple when they do it. They take a very sharp knife and slit the bean lengthwise, then scrape out the tiny seeds from the pod. These "seeds" cling together (like a paste since they’re moist and sticky) as the knife is run through the pod.
If you’ve tried this yourself, only to find it isn’t quite so easy to slit the narrow pod lengthwise because it’s hard and leathery, try this trick. Soften the pod by steaming it for 1 to 2 minutes in a steamer or in a sieve over boiling water, then cool it slightly. It will be much easier to slit. Also, when scraping out the seeds, do this over a sheet of parchment paper or waxed paper. Otherwise you will lose some of the sticky seeds because they’ll cling to your hands or even get under your fingernails as you try to pick them up. Ugh.
Vanilla beans are expensive. Once you’ve scraped out the beans, don’t throw out that precious pod! Use it to make flavorful vanilla sugar for your coffee or to sprinkle on your cereal.
This Black Bean Dip is a lot like hummus, although true hummus is made with chickpeas. Serve this dip cold for a refreshing appetizer. It also makes a nutritious snack.
BLACK BEAN DIP
(makes about 2 cups)
1 Tbsp. canned chopped green chilies
1 small onion, chopped (about 1/4 cup)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 c. plain fat-free yogurt
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. salt
Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Cover and blend on medium-high speed, pulsing occasionally, until almost smooth. Pour the dip into a small bowl. Serve with pita chips or pieces of flatbread.
NOTE: Serve this dip cold or heat it in the microwave for 1 to 2 minutes, until hot.
Luscious, zesty lemon curd is one of life's best delights. It was Wendy's English mother-in-law's specialty.
If you’ve ever enjoyed afternoon tea at an elegant hotel or B&B, you probably know how delicious lemon curd is with traditional scones. But maybe you thought lemon curd was difficult to make. It isn’t. And not only is it delicious on scones, it also makes a tangy filling for cakes, tarts, and pies.
Some lemon curd recipes call for butter, but you’ll only need 4 ingredients for this variation. For 1 cup of lemon curd use:
4 egg yolks (at room temperature)
1/2 c. granulated sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 c. fresh lemon juice (you’ll need at least 1 large lemon or 2 small ones to get this much juice)
Juice the lemon(s) to get 1/2 cup of fresh juice, then grate the outside of the lemon being careful not to get any of the white pith (this can be bitter). Set the juice and the zest aside.
Whisk together the egg yolks and sugar in a small stainless steel bowl. Add the zest, then whisk in the lemon juice. Set the bowl over a pot of simmering water and whisk the mixture constantly for about 10 minutes until it thickens.
Remove bowl from heat and strain the lemon mixture through a fine sieve into a pretty glass or ceramic container. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until cool. Lemon curd can be stored in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks.
Variations: Instead of lemons and lemon juice, use limes or oranges for a tangy lime curd or a sweeter orange curd.
When is a brownie not just a brownie? When it’s a Fudge Pie, of course!
Most people love brownies, but when you want something a little more “fudgy” than a regular brownie, make this quick and easy Fudge Pie, which is a cross between a regular brownie and creamy chocolate fudge. And this version is gluten-free!
Here’s what you’ll need:
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. gluten-free Bisquick
4 heaping Tbsp. cocoa or 2 sq. chocolate, melted (I just use cocoa)
Blend above ingredients, then add:
1/2 c. melted butter
2 whole eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
Pour into greased 9 inch pie plate. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool. Place in refrigerator before serving.
Makes 6 to 8 servings.
Dress up each serving of fudge pie with a topping of ice cream or whipped cream and a fresh berry or a few chocolate chips for garnish.
Make swirls of chocolate syrup on each plate and lightly dust the whole serving with a little sifted cocoa powder. Wow! Now you’ve got a dessert fit for even your most important dinner guests! You don’t have to tell them it was quick and easy - and gluten-free!
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Do you follow a gluten-free diet at home but hate to travel because it’s just too much trouble finding food that is safe for you to eat when you’re on the road?
Well, don’t cancel your travel plans. Instead, do this:
Take Food With You
You’ll want to avoid fast food restaurants when you’re on the road because most of them don’t offer much in the way of flavorful and nutritious gluten-free food. So before you leave on your trip, go to the grocery store and stock up on gluten-free foods that travel well.
Pack a cooler with bottled water, fruit juices, yogurt, hummus, cut up raw veggies and fruits and even a bag of prepared salad mix, cheeses, boiled eggs, and your favorite gluten-free salad dressing. Also, pack nuts and seeds, some gluten-free crackers and granola bars and protein bars.
As you’re traveling you can stop and have a picnic or just snack along the way. If you’ll be staying in a motel or hotel, you can bring your cooler to your room and restock it as necessary from a local grocery.
Ask for a Gluten-Free Menu at Restaurants
You’ll probably be surprised at the number of restaurants these days that either have a separate gluten-free menu or have gluten-free options for many of the items on their regular menu. But you need to ask. And if your server doesn’t know what you’re talking about when you say “gluten-free”, ask to see the manager.
Find gluten-free dining and travel reviews from around the world with this free app you can download for your phone. You can search for gluten-free restaurants by state or country and even narrow your search by town or zip code. Just go to www.glutenfreetravelsite.com to get the app.
There’s no need to change your gluten-free diet when you’re traveling. With a little advance planning , you’re sure to stay healthy and well-fed wherever you go.
Watch this video to see how easy it is to make these tasty cookies:
The easiest cookie recipe in the world is here!
If you love tasty and nutritious recipes that are easy to prepare, you'll love this recipe. Nothing could be easier than these banana oatmeal cookies. You only need 2 ingredients - 1 banana and 1 cup of rolled oats. However, Suzanne made these and added a teaspoon of vanilla and a little powdered cinnamon for added taste. She also put them on a silicone baking mat on her cookie sheet. NOTHING sticks to silicone mats!
Hello, Suzanne Lieurance here. If you’re like me, and many other people these days, you’re interested in knowing where your food comes from. You care how your food was raised or grown.
Well...here’s a funny little scene from the TV show Portlandia that seems to take this concern to extremes when a couple wants to know just how well the chicken (on the menu) was treated before they order it at a local restaurant.
Not too Far from Reality
A portfolio of information about the chicken on the menu at a restaurant? Seems a bit far-fetched. But here’s something almost as informative if you order fish at a restaurant. And it’s no joke.
I found out about this last week when my husband, brother and sister-in-law, and I had lunch at Crabs, We Got ‘Em on the beach in Pensacola, Florida. It’s called FISH TRAX.
When you order fish from the menu at a restaurant that offers FISH TRAX, you get a card like this one in the photo:
To find out all about the fish you ordered, simply scan the QR Code to find your fish – or you can visit marketplace.fishtrax.org
When you do, you’ll find the name of the fisherman who caught your fish, the name of his boat, the place where he caught your fish, and the date that he caught the fish. Seems as if the bit about Colin the chicken on Portlandia (the TV show) is not so far-fetched after all!
With the information we got last week from FISH TRAX, Theresa felt as if she should have contacted the fisherman to thank him for providing her with such a delicious, fresh, fish for her lunch.
However, there was just one little disappointment with FISH TRAX. Theresa didn’t find out the name of her fish!
(Wendy's farm-girl note: According to the photo in the video, "Colin" is actually a hen.)
Even on a Tuesday – this year’s March 17 – St. Patrick’s Day can tempt infrequent drinkers to get out and enjoy the festivities. But you don’t have to drink dyed-green beer to tap into the spirit of the holiday, says Steven Earles, CEO of Portland-based Eastside Distilling (www.EastsideDistilling.com).
“With each successive year, consumers are getting more sophisticated in their beverage choices – they want quality and variety,” says Earles, whose company experiments with a variety of flavors in its drinks, such as Cherry Bomb Whiskey and Below Deck Coffee Rum.
“These days, women, for example, make up a much greater share of the whiskey market, which experienced an increase in sales by half a billion dollars from 2013 to 2014. Much of this new market is looking for a new direction.”
Whether St. Patty’s Day merrymakers prefer to be a part of their town’s celebrations, or they prefer keeping it intimate with close friends and family, Earles offers new drink ideas for drink connoisseurs in search of a new tradition.
Dropkick Murphy Coffee: Inspired from the popular Celtic punk band, this feisty coffee has the buzz and kick many enjoy in kicking off an extended night of celebration.
1 ½ oz. Burnside Bourbon
½ oz. Below Deck Coffee Rum
2 tsp. vanilla simple syrup
In a coffee glass add Burnside Bourbon, Coffee Rum, and vanilla simple syrup. Fill glass with coffee leaving about 1/4 room. Top with whip cream and then a few dashes of ground cinnamon. You can garnish with lucky clovers!
Blarney Stone Kiss: A popular attraction in Ireland, the Blarney Stone gives those who kiss it – which requires an acrobatic, back-bending approach – the gift of the gab. The following shooter gives you the same …
1 oz. Burnside Bourbon
½ oz. Cherry Bomb
2 tsp. lime juice
Add all ingredients to a shaker, chill hard, and serve in a shot glass. Garnish with lime wedge. Since most people won't be able to kiss the Blarney Stone on St. Patrick's day, make sure to take this shot and then “kiss” (bite) the lime wedge after.
Adult Shamrock Shake: Many of us have fond memories as a child enjoying the McDonald’s Shamrock shake on St. Patty’s Day. Consider an adult version.
1.5 oz. Portland Potato Vodka
1 oz. Peppermint Bark Liqueur
.5 oz. Irish Cream
½ scoop vanilla ice cream
1 scoop mint chocolate chip ice cream
Add all ingredients in a blender a cup of ice. Blend for 10 seconds and serve immediately.
Irish Mule: There’s a Moscow mule, made with vodka, and a Mexican mule, made with Tequila – now, here’s an Irish take …
1 ¼ oz. Burnside Bourbon
2 tsp. mint simple syrup
In a tumbler over ice add Burnside Bourbon, mint simple syrup, a splash of lime juice, then fill with ginger beer. Stir together and garnish with mint leaves.
In a tumbler over ice add Portland Potato Vodka and Midori. Fill to the top with half lemonade and half soda water.
Steven Earles is the CEO of Portland-based Eastside Distilling, (www.EastsideDistilling.com), a producer of handcrafted spirits created from local ingredients and focused in small batches to ensure unparalleled quality. He is responsible for Eastside’s day-to-day operations as well as overseeing the company’s brand development and financial strategy. Earles, who joined Eastside in 2009, has more than two decades of executive experience and orchestrated the development and building of one of the largest land-development companies in southern California.
You’ll love this simple recipe that calls for just three ingredients – bananas, milk, and powdered cinnamon.
Whether you enjoy this cozying up next to a roaring fire or sitting in the sand at the beach on a breezy night, this drink is sure to become a favorite you’ll want to enjoy often. The banana and milk pack a healthy dose of calcium and potassium and will help you sleep.
Here’s All You Need:
1 cup milk
Powdered Cinnamon to Taste
Here’s All You Do:
Suzanne and Wendy
Tips, tricks, and yummy creative ideas.
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