Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Peanut Butter Banana French Toast

I was so proud of myself for this one! After having made a loaf of no-knead challah bread from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day, a read about the new Recipe Remix and immediately decided to make challah French toast…in some new way. I remember Rachael Ray doing cream cheese filled French toasts, so I thought of making it another way and All Recipes had my answer. Peanut Butter and Banana French Toast.

As it turned out, the boy was not going to work the next morning, so he and I had brunch together. His was PB free since, well, as he puts it “I don’t like cheddar cheese or peanut butter.” He also doesn’t like beans, spice or many veggies, but those are stories for other times.

This was super easy to whip up. Took some time just because I had a very thin loaf of bread and had to assemble many tiny sandwiches. While they tasted great, I would recommend using a wider/taller loaf of challah, or even potato or wonder bread, just so 1 sandwich per person is enough. Oh, and both with and without PB were a hit, though that takes away the Elvis Presely-ness of it all!Oh, and one last tip: these babies are super sticky and gooey, so have some milk or juice handy.

Peanut Butter Banana French Toast

Serves 1
• 1 egg
• 1 dash vanilla
• 1 tsp milk
• About 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
• 2 slices regularly sized bread (preferably challah) or 4-6 slices from a small loaf of bread
• ½-1 banana, sliced
• 1 tablespoons butter

• In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg, milk and vanilla together.
• Spread 1 tablespoon of peanut butter on top of each slice of bread. Place the banana slices on top of one of the slices of bread.

Place the other slice of bread on top of the first, to make a peanut butter and banana sandwich.
• In a skillet or frying pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Dip the sandwich into the egg mixture and place in the heated skillet. Cook until brown on both sides. Serve hot.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches

For the engagement party that I just hosted for J and O'L, I wanted lovable, tasty, hand held desserts. I ended up making peanut butter cookies, s'mores cupcakes and chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwiches. All were fabulous, but I think the ice cream sandwiches were the biggest hits.
I was the only one who had ANY problems with the ice cream sandwiches, and my concern was just that, well, they were really cold! It kind of hurt my teeth- not because they were hard, but just because I don't normally bite into ice cream, I lick it, so biting in was really really cold! Otherwise they were perfect.
Since they were for the engagement party, I made 2 special sandwiches for the bride and groom. Hers was sprinkled with pink sprinkles and his had blue. Loved it!! But warning, the sprinkles kind of dissolve into tie-dye instead of staying solid, but it still is cool looking.
Because I use the same ice cream scoop twice for this recipe, I am submitting it to Joelen's Tasty Tools: Scoops. I use an 18/8 ice cream scoop, which I don't know exactly what it means, but it is pretty small. Here is a size comparison between the scoop I use for ice cream and the one I used here.Chocolate Chip Cookie Ice Cream Sandwiches
Makes about 36 Sandwiches

2 cup margarine, softened
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cup brown sugar, well packed
2 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
4 1/2 cups AP flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
2-12 oz bags chocolate chips
1.5 quart container of vanilla ice cream

Preheat oven to 375. Cream together margarine, sugars and vanilla until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add to creamed mixture, mixing until well blended. Fold in chocolate chips. Use the small ice cream scoop to scoop cookies onto baking sheets. Bake at 375 for about 10 minutes until lightly browned. Cool completely.

Match up equally sized cookies. Rip off squares of plastic wrap. Place 1 cookie on a square of plastic. Put 1 and a half scoops on the cookie. Squeeze the top on to slightly squish the ice cream. Wrap in the plastic and put in the freezer. Freeze for at least 2 hours and up to 2 weeks.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Roasted Red Pepper Dip

When I was young, I NEVER ate bell peppers. I was certain that they were spicy. I never knew that any sort of pepper could do anything but hurt my little 3rd grader tongue! Then, one day in school, a nutritionist came in to talk to us about why veggies were good for us, and she mentioned how bell peppers were really high in vitamen C. The lady said they weren't spicy and made me try. I hated admitting it, but not only was it not at all spicy, it was super sweet and delicious. I have loved bell peppers ever since.

In recent years, I have especially come to love the sweet and smoky taste of roasted red peppers. OMG! So delicious! They are naturally sweet, with a flame charred background flavor. And who can argue against something being flame charred?For the engagement party, I am making roasted red pepper dip, and, much like I was when I was younger, both J and O'L feared the heat of peppers. Don't worry guys, it is just sweet and smoky, with just the slightest bit of tang...oh, and a LOT of cheese! And, who has a problem with sweet, smoky and cheesy? Certainly not me!

Just a warning, this dip is addictive. You can and will spread it on any bread, cracker, maybe vegetables, and as my kosher for passover room mate showed, even matzoh! It really is that good.
Roasted Red Pepper Dip
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
  • 1 (8 ounce) package finely shredded Mexican cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 cup jarred roasted red pepper, drained and chopped
  1. In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese, Cheddar cheese, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and Worcestershire sauce, using a hand mixer.
  2. Process peppers in food processor until in small pieces. Stir into cream cheese mixture. Scoop into a bowl, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Serve with breads and crackers.
Note- Can add some Dijon mustard to the cream cheese if you want an added zip, but I wanted to keep thespice down for the party.

Engagement Party Prep Montage

Non Refrigerated Party Foods Dominate the Living Room

Garlic and Chive Butter
Roasted Red Pepper Dip
The Fridge (leftovers, prep, and misc ingredients)
The Freezer (NO SPACE! Inc. cut-up chicken, a baguette [7 others at the groom's apt], ice cream sandwiches, pb cookies, precooked filling for eggrolls)
Mini Fridge (Again with the lack of room)Coozies

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Jane Cake and California Rolls

This is not my average post. Ok, so maybe it is average in that it has an opening picture, a story, another picture, and a recipe, but it is still different. The cake you see above is a symbol of women’s health and wholeness. I have alternately called this cake by a name I have dubbed her and what it symbolizes to me. The cake is either Jane (like in Jane Doe) or the “We are more than the Sum of Our Parts” cake.I’ll back up a bit. I am currently in a women’s health class, and, as my final, creative project for the class, I did what I do best. I baked. I baked a cake to represent what I have learned, and what I feel every woman (and many men!) should know.
First I made the bikini portion. I used a boxed cake mix (yellow or white cake, I forget which), added the zest of one lemon and replaced about 1TBSP of water in the recipe for lemon juice. I made an 8” square and 4 souffle cups of cake. Once cooled, I cut the square into the bikini bottom and used the 2 best soufflĂ© cakes as the bikini top. I whipped up the lemon frosting recipe from this month’s “Everyday with Rachael Ray” (recipe at the bottom) and frosted. I then used pull and peel twizzlers for the detail.Healthy Facts: Did you know that 1 in 8 women experience breast cancer within the course of their lives? 1 in 8. I have about 16 food blogs I try to check at least once a week. Based on that statistic, about 2 of these women will develop breast cancer in their lifetimes. So, keep your little “soufflĂ© cakes” safe and do your monthly self exam. More information is available at the Komen for the Cure.
More Healthy Facts: About 75 percent of sexually active people will get HPV sometime in their life. Ok, now assuming that all my lovely bloggers are sexually active, then 12 of them will get HPV. And, let us not forget that some of those forms of HPV cause genital warts, and others can lead to cervical cancer. Yeah, cancer from an STD. And, the forms of HPV that lead to cervical cancer are not the ones with symptoms like warts, so going in for your yearly gynecological exam is really the only way to be safe. Your Pap Smear and the rest of your exam should not hurt, so don’t be scared, set up your appointment ASAP! (Facts from
Next I made the chest/stomach section. I made my calimocho cake and frosting, just baking it in a 9x13 and cutting off the ends to it fit in the middle. I used twizzlers and blue writing icing for the heart and gummy fruits and some green icing for the belly button and digestive system.
who smoke “risk having a heart attack 19 years earlier than non-smoking women,” and womenHealthy Facts: Did you know that heart disease is the number 1 killer of women, and, in fact between 40 and 50% women’s deaths are from heart attack or stroke? Let’s go back to those 16 bloggers. According to the facts, about 8 of them will die from a heart attack or stroke. Women with diabetes “are two to three times more likely to have heart attacks.” Yes, heart disease is partially hereditary, but we can do our part to help our chances. Eat right, exercise, don’t smoke, and always be honest with your doctor about your family history. (Information Courtesy of WomenHeart.Org)
More Healthy Facts: We all know the sayings. “Get your daily fruits and veggies.” “Count your calories.” We also all know the consequences, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis and increased risk of cancer. So let’s get right to the easy stuff we just may not think about on a daily basis. Tips from recommend making half your grains whole, focusing on fruits, and going lean with protein. We all know that whole grain foods are good for us, but next time your at the store, spend that extra couple of seconds to check the ingredients and make sure you are really getting whole grains. Yes, some sugary cereals say they are made with whole grains, but a sprinkling of whole wheat does not a healthy Count Chocula make! You should “Look to see that grains such as wheat, rice, oats, or corn are referred to as 'whole' in the list of ingredients,” and not just at the bottom of the list. They also recommend you “eat a variety of fruits – whether fresh, frozen, canned or dried – rather than fruit juice for most of your fruit choices.” Not only do you usually lose the fiber, you also feel less filled by the same number of calories when you just drink your fruits. Finally, “choose lean meats and poultry. Bake it, broil it, or grill it. And vary your protein choices – with more fish, beans, peas, nuts and seeds.” Remember, not all protein is in meat. Peanuts, soy nuts, lentils and seeds are great ways to limit your cholesterol intake from sources of protein.
Since I feel like I am cheating any foodies reading this by just giving the basic frosting recipe, I will also follow it up with a recipe that can boost a woman’s health. In support of Mele Cotte’s Cooking to Combat Cancer event, here is my California Roll. California Rolls are doubly powerful at fighting cancer because of their avocados and seaweed (nori). According to the Cancer Cure Foundation, “Avocados are rich in glutathione, a powerful antioxidant that attacks free radicals in the body by blocking intestinal absorption of certain fats. They also supply even more potassium than bananas and are a strong source of beta-carotene. Scientists also believe that avocados may also be useful in treating viral hepatitis (a cause of liver cancer), as well as other sources of liver damage,” and “Seaweed and other sea vegetables contain beta-carotene, protein, vitamin B12, fiber, and chlorophyll, as well as chlorophylones - important fatty acids that may help in the fight against breast cancer. Many sea vegetables also have high concentrations of the minerals potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, and iodine.” So eat on sushi lovers and help combat cancer!

This was my first time ever making sushi and it turned out great! I was going to make it for J and O’L’s engagement oarty until I found out that neither of them like sushi. Oh well, more for me!California Rolls
1/3 package of krab leg portions (imitation crab legs)
1 avocado
1 cucumber
About 3 cups sushi rice
Enough water to cook sushi rice according to package
6TBSP rice vinegar
1 PKG nori (squares of seaweed)
Cook rice according to directions for sushi rice on back of package. Once done, put into large bowl and cool most of the way. Stir/cut in rice vinegar. It will taste really strong and vinegar like, but will mellow as it finishes cooling.
Cut krab into long thin strips (you need to be able to roll around them).
Peel cucumber and cut into the same sized pieces. When you are ready to make rolls, create same sized pieces of avocado.

Lay out a piece of nori onto a mat prepared like sushi day describes. Place ½ a cup of rice onto the mat. Wet your hands and press the rice all over, but leaving about an inch strip on the side near you bare (this is where you will place your filling). I had a problem limiting myself to ½ cup. I kept putting on more to fill the whole thing, but I think as I get better I could do it with less.
Place a few strips of krab into a line on the empty space. Then a line of cucumber and a line of avocado. Placing mayo into a Ziploc with a TINY hole cut in a corner, squeeze on a thin line of mayo.Use a combination of your hands and the rolling mat to do 1 roll over, enclosing your filling. Then just use the mat to roll your sushi (but do not roll the mat into the sushi!). Once the roll is done, use the mat to press the roll so it doesn’t open up. Wet a very sharp knife and cut the roll into about 8 pieces. Repeat with remaining ingredients.Rachael Ray’s Lemon Frosting
2 1/2 sticks butter, room temp
4-5 cups powdered sugar
1 TBSP vanilla
2 TBSP lemon juice
2 tsp lemon zest

In a large bowl, using a mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy, about 1 min.
Add confectioners sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating until smooth after each addition.
Add the vanilla and lemon juice. Beat until fluffy. Add zest and beat.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Engagement Party Update

Approved Foods
Chocolate Chip Ice Cream SandwichesS'mores Cupcake
South West Eggrolls
South West Pasta Salad
Chicken Kabobs
Rejected Foods
Rachael Ray's Mac and Cheddar with BroccoliAlton Brown's Stovetop Mac and CheeseArtisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day's CalzonesMumbo Wings