Recipes from My Kitchen Made with Love

After sharing some scrumptious photos yesterday of things that are “sweet,” Hugh, from Hugh’s Views and News, asked me to share the recipes that go along with the photos I submitted for his photo challenge. Here they are!

Ron’s Banana Bread

I swear I just bought those bananas a few days ago!  Nevertheless, there on my counter were bananas that were so ripe they had fallen from the stand they perch on.  Nothing left to do at this point but make banana bread, my husband’s favorite.

Now, to be honest, I have a recipe from The Betty Crocker Cookbook that I like to use. However, I have made some changes to adapt the recipe to our needs.  The banana bread recipe is categorized as,  “Heirloom Recipe and New Twist,”  found on page 101.

The first thing I did was assemble all of the ingredients.  Everyone has made a version of banana bread so I will share the Betty Crocker recipe here with my changes in italics.

BANANA BREAD (Lower Calorie)

1 1/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened *** Instead of butter, I used 1/2 cup coconut oil

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups very ripe bananas  *** I used 6 small to medium bananas

1/2 cup buttermilk *** I used 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt (plain)

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

*** 1 teaspoon baking powder (gets fluffier and not so dense)

1 cup chopped nuts (if desired)

Heat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease the bottom of your pans.  I used glass baking dishes and a bread pan.

I beat the coconut oil, the sugar and the eggs first until they were fluffy.  Then I added the bananas, Greek Yogurt, vanilla, salt, baking soda, and the baking powder.  Lastly, I added the flour.  I used my hand mixer and blended all the ingredients until it was nice and creamy.

I put the mixture evenly into the three pans.  I forgot to add the nuts, so I improvised and added them to the tops of the banana bread mixture.  It really turns out good like this although, it is a little harder to cut.

Baking time is always a challenge for me.  I have a convection oven and with the three different sizes of pans I have to adjust and watch closely.

In the picture above, the small dish (back left) took about 20 minutes, the dish at the left front took 35 minutes, and the loaf pan on the right took the full 45 minutes.  Test your banana breads as you go.  It all depends on how hot your oven cooks.

This recipe freezes well and I will wrap them in foil and then put them in a plastic freezer bag and store them.  They can be frozen for quite a few months.  This way, if you need a quick dessert, you can just pull a banana bread out, let it thaw, and enjoy the flavors of homemade banana bread!

P. S.  My husband likes whipped cream on his… he says that is the secret.

~*~

Apple Streusel Slab Pie

There is nothing better than a big slice of warm apple pie with ice cream, or cool-whip, or real whipped cream!  I have struggled to find a Weight Watchers friendly version forever.  Guess what?  I found one and it is better than real apple pie.  Just ask my wonderful husband, Ron and he will tell you it is the best.

I follow hungry-girl.com and am always on the lookout for low-fat, smart calorie versions of higher fat foods.  This recipe can be found here.  I have changed a few things here and there.  (My changes are in italics).  I think that you will love this Hungry Girl recipe too:

Apple Streusel Slab Pie

1/12th of pie (1 piece about 3″ X 4″): 173 calories, 4.5g fat, 239mg sodium, 31.5g carbs, 1.5g fiber, 19g sugars, 1.5g protein — Points Plus® value 5*

Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Cool: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

          
Pie
1 package refrigerated Pillsbury Crescent Recipe Creations Seamless Dough Sheet (or HG Alternative)
8 cups peeled and sliced Fuji apples (about 8 medium apples)  OR :  6 small Fuji apples peeled and sliced; 2 Bosc pears, sliced; and 2 cups of fresh cranberries
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup granulated white sugar (or Another HG Alternative)
1/4 cup brown sugar (not packed)
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. salt



Streusel
4 sheets (16 crackers) low-fat graham crackers, finely crushed
1/4 cup light whipped butter or light buttery spread (like Brummel & Brown)
2 tbsp. brown sugar (not packed) and 1/2 cup walnuts (or pecans)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9″ X 13″ baking pan with nonstick spray.
Place dough in the pan, and stretch into a large rectangle of even thickness, covering the bottom of the pan. Pierce several times with a fork.

Place apples (pears, cranberries) in a large bowl. Top with lemon juice, and toss to coat.


In a medium bowl, combine remaining pie ingredients.

Add mixture to the large bowl, and toss to coat. Evenly spoon apple mixture onto the dough sheet. Cover the pan with foil, and bake for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in another medium bowl, combine streusel ingredients. Mash and stir until well mixed and crumbly.
Remove foil. Evenly sprinkle streusel over the apple mixture.

Bake until apples are soft, about 30 more minutes. (Keep an eye on the crust — it will burn if cooked too long.)
Let pie cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Slice and serve!

MAKES 12 SERVINGS

HG Alternative: If you can’t find the Recipe Creations dough, go for Pillsbury Reduced Fat Crescent roll dough. (The products are nearly identical.) Then just pinch/seal up the perforations for a seamless sheet.
Another HG Alternative: If made with an equal amount of Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated) in place of the white sugar, each serving will have 159 calories, 28g carbs, and 14.5g sugars (Points Plus® value 4*).  If you add nuts to the pie, make sure and add a point – Points Plus value 5.

That is all there is to it!  This is a fabulous and quick dessert to make.  I believe you could use peaches, plums, or any other fruit you have an abundance of with the apples to give it a different flavor.

Happy Easter everyone! Thanks for stopping by,

Low-Calorie Shamrock Shake Recipe | Hungry Girl

Hungry Girl has the best way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day! Enjoy! ❤

Love the McDonald’s Shamrock Shake but not all the calories and sugar it contains? This healthy recipe is here to save the day!

Source: Low-Calorie Shamrock Shake Recipe | Hungry Girl

All-Natural Dessert Recipe: Raspberry Streusel Bars | Hungry Girl

I had to share this dessert! ❤

Clean eating is great… but that doesn’t mean you have to skip dessert! We’ve got a sweet ‘n healthy new recipe that’s low in calories and delicious: Raspberry Streusel Bars!

Source: All-Natural Dessert Recipe: Raspberry Streusel Bars | Hungry Girl

10 Healthier Christmas Cookie Recipes Under 135 Calories ‹ Hello Healthy

Make Santa Claus’s “nice” list with a batch of jolly holiday cookies! We know you have a lot of options so we’ve put together a list of cookies that trim down on the traditi…

Source: 10 Healthier Christmas Cookie Recipes Under 135 Calories ‹ Hello Healthy

Cooking with Silver – Gluten-Free/Dairy-Free Strawberry Cake

Berry Nice Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Strawberry Cake from Gluten-Free & More. This website is amazing! Check it out!

SERVES 16

By Beth Hillson

Photography by Oksana Charla

We’re suckers for strawberries and this tasty dessert takes them to new flavor heights. Use frozen, unsweetened whole strawberries for the puree, as they’re softer and easier to work. Use summer’s best fresh strawberries to garnish the frosted gluten-free cake. You can add a touch of red food coloring to the batter to create a deeper rosy color.  For best results, do not replace the eggs in this recipe.

-White rice flour, to dust pans
1 (16-ounce) bag frozen unsweetened whole strawberries
2½ cups Beth’s Cake & Pastry Flour Blend
4 teaspoons baking powder
1¼ teaspoons xanthan gum
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter or dairy-free alternative, room temperature
1½ cups sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk of choice, room temperature
1-2 drops pink or red food coloring, optional

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease two 9-inch round pans. Dust with rice flour. Set aside.

2. Slightly thaw strawberries. Puree in a food processor. Transfer to a mesh strainer and set over a bowl. Using a rubber spatula, push the puree through the strainer. Then scrape the underside of the strainer, catching puree in the bowl. Repeat until just seeds and pulp remain in the strainer. You should have about 1¼ to 1½ cups puree. Set aside and discard seeds and pulp.

3. Combine flour blend, baking powder, xanthan gum, salt and baking soda in a large bowl. Mix well.

4. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until smooth and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat at medium speed 2 minutes. Add dry ingredients and beat to combine. Fold in ¾ cup strawberry puree. (Reserve remainder of puree for Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting.)

5. Add milk and beat until smooth. Add a drop or two of pink or red food coloring if you’d like the batter to be a deeper pink color.

6. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and smooth tops.

7. Place in preheated oven and bake 23 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cakes cool in the pans before removing to frost with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting.

Photography by Oksana Charla

Dairy-Free Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

MAKES 3½ CUPS

1 (8-ounce) package low-fat cream cheese or dairy- free cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter or dairy- free alternative, softened
½ cup pureed strawberries
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3-5 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon milk of choice, if needed
-Fresh strawberries, sliced or halved, for garnish

1. Beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Add strawberry puree and vanilla extract and beat.

2. Slowly add sugar in 1-cup batches until desired sweetness and consistency is achieved. Slowly add a tiny bit of milk if a thinner consistency is desired.

3. Frost cooled cake and garnish with fresh strawberries. Refrigerate cake until ready to serve.

Each serving with frosting contains 415 calories, 15g total fat, 9g saturated fat, 0g trans-fat, 77mg cholesterol, 264mg sodium, 68g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 49g sugars, 4g protein, 43 Est GL.

Recipe by food editor Beth Hillson

Beth’s Gluten-Free Cake & Pastry Flour Blend

MAKES 2½ CUPS

This gluten-free flour blend includes sorghum and cornstarch. Sorghum is light and less grainy than rice flour. It absorbs moisture more evenly, thanks to its finer grind, and it contains valuable nutrients and fiber. Cornstarch lightens the texture and adds structure to the cake. If you’re avoiding corn, use tapioca or potato starch instead.

1 cup white rice flour
¾ cup sorghum flour
¾ cup cornstarch, tapioca starch/flour or potato starch (not potato flour)

1. Whisk ingredients together. Store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before using.

Each cup contains 520 calories, 4g total fat, 0g saturated fat, 0g trans-fat, 0mg cholesterol, 4mg sodium, 116g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 0g sugars, 80g protein.

Thanks for popping in today! I can feel the magic in the air today! Happy Thursday!

Cooking with Silver – Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Silver found another amazing gluten-free recipe to share with you, this time from Gluten Free & More. These cookies look like they are easy to make too! Enjoy!

MAKES 4 DOZEN COOKIES

By Sueson Vess

PHOTOGRAPHY BY CORY DERUSSEAU

Back by popular demand, these chewy homemade chocolate chip cookies are a readers’ favorite. This recipe can be made with egg replacement; see instructions below.

1¾ cups quinoa flakes or certified gluten-free oats (not instant oatmeal)
1¾ cups gluten-free all-purpose flour blend of choice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon xanthan gum (omit if included in your flour blend)
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup (1 stick) non-hydrogenated shortening, organic coconut oil or gluten-free margarine
1 cup dark brown sugar, maple sugar or *organic Sucanat, firmly packed
½ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 (10-ounce) package gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate chips (about 2 cups)
1 cup chopped walnuts, optional

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 2 cookies sheets with parchment paper.

2. Finely grind quinoa flakes or gluten-free oats in a food processor. Add flour blend, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt and blend 5 seconds. Set aside.

3. Using a stand mixer or hand-held mixer, cream together shortening, brown sugar and granulated sugar in large bowl until well blended.

4. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Gradually add dry ingredients, beating until combined.

5. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts, if using.

6. Form each cookie using 1 rounded tablespoon of dough. Place dough on prepared cookie sheets and flatten cookies slightly using the bottom of a glass.

7. Place cookies in preheated oven and bake until edges are golden brown, about 11 minutes.

8. Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes on cookie sheets. Transfer to a rack and cool completely.

Each cookie contains 113 calories, 5g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 9mg cholesterol, 55mg sodium, 17g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 7g sugars, 1g protein, 11 Est GL.

For Egg-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies, omit 2 eggs. Combine 2 tablespoons flax meal with 6 tablespoons hot water. Let cool. Use this mixture to replace 2 eggs in step 4.

*According to the website Organic Sucanat is:

“Fair Trade Organic Sucanat® (which stands for Sugar Cane Natural), is a whole unrefined cane sugar. In fact, it’s the least refined cane sugar you can find outside of a cane stalk.  It’s made by simply crushing freshly cut sugar cane, extracting the juice and heating it in a large vat. Once the juice is reduced to a rich, dark syrup, it is hand-paddled. Hand paddling cools and dries the syrup, creating the flavorful dried granules we call Sucanat. Nothing is added and nothing is taken out!  It contains trace amounts of iron, calcium, vitamin B6, potassium and chromium.  No chemicals, bone char, or animal by-products are used to make or de-colorize this sugar making it ideal for vegans too.”

Thanks for stopping by to see what I am up to. I will see you all again!

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No Flour Chocolate Cake

I have been on a quest searching for a gluten-free alternative to chocolate cake. It also had to be Weight Watchers Points Plus friendly, so it has been interesting. You can imagine my delight when I found this recipe on Hungry Girl’s website this morning! I just had to share it!

Image credit and recipe credit: HungryGirl.com

HG’s Fudgy Flourless Chocolate Cake

No-Flour Power

Black beans are the best thing to happen to baked goods since canned pumpkin! You won’t believe how delicious this chocolate cake is. And NO, you can’t taste the black beans — just rich chocolatey deliciousness. Game-changing recipe here, people…

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 40 minutes
Cool: 1 hour

Ingredients: 
One 15-oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup (about 4 large) egg whites
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup canned pure pumpkin
1/4 cup Truvia spoonable calorie-free sweetener (or another no-calorie granulated sweetener; see HG FYI)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions: 
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9″ round cake pan with foil, and generously spray with nonstick spray.

Place all ingredients except chocolate chips in a food processor. Puree until completely smooth and uniform.

Fold in 1 tbsp. chocolate chips.

Spread mixture into the baking pan, and smooth out the top.

Evenly top with remaining 2 tbsp. chocolate chips, and lightly press into the batter.

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean, 35 – 40 minutes.

Let cool completely, about 1 hour.

Refrigerate leftovers. (This cake tastes great chilled.)

MAKES 8 SERVINGS

Serving Size: 1/8th of cake
Calories: 100
Fat: 2.5g
Sodium: 310mg
Carbs: 22g
Fiber: 4.5g
Sugars: 5g
Protein: 5.5g 

PointsPlus® value 3*

HG FYI: Truvia spoonable calorie-free sweetener is about twice as sweet as sugar. If using a no-calorie granulated sweetener that measures cup-for-cup like sugar instead of Truvia, double the amount called for in this recipe.

Thanks for stopping by,

Apple Streusel Slab Pie

There is nothing better than a big slice of warm apple pie with ice cream, or cool-whip, or real whipped cream!  I have struggled to find a Weight Watchers friendly version forever.  Guess what?  I found one and it is better than real apple pie.  Just ask my wonderful husband, Ron and he will tell you it is the best.

Recipes from my kitchen

I follow hungry-girl.com and am always on the lookout for low-fat, smart calorie versions of higher fat foods.  This recipe can be found hereI have changed a few things here and there.  (My changes are in italics).  I think that you will love this Hungry Girl recipe too:

Apple Streusel Slab Pie

2015-01-16 09.41.33

1/12th of pie (1 piece about 3″ X 4″): 173 calories, 4.5g fat, 239mg sodium, 31.5g carbs, 1.5g fiber, 19g sugars, 1.5g protein — Points Plus® value 5*

Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Cool: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

2015-01-16 08.02.45          2015-01-16 08.24.21
Pie
1 package refrigerated Pillsbury Crescent Recipe Creations Seamless Dough Sheet (or HG Alternative)
8 cups peeled and sliced Fuji apples (about 8 medium apples)  OR :  6 small Fuji apples peeled and sliced; 2 Bosc pears, sliced; and 2 cups of fresh cranberries
1 tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 cup granulated white sugar (or Another HG Alternative)
1/4 cup brown sugar (not packed)
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 tsp. salt

2015-01-16 08.44.20
Streusel
4 sheets (16 crackers) low-fat graham crackers, finely crushed
1/4 cup light whipped butter or light buttery spread (like Brummel & Brown)
2 tbsp. brown sugar (not packed) and 1/2 cup walnuts (or pecans)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9″ X 13″ baking pan with nonstick spray.
Place dough in the pan, and stretch into a large rectangle of even thickness, covering the bottom of the pan. Pierce several times with a fork.

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Place apples (pears, cranberries) in a large bowl. Top with lemon juice, and toss to coat.

2015-01-16 08.02.45
In a medium bowl, combine remaining pie ingredients.

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Add mixture to the large bowl, and toss to coat. Evenly spoon apple mixture onto the dough sheet. Cover the pan with foil, and bake for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, in another medium bowl, combine streusel ingredients. Mash and stir until well mixed and crumbly.
Remove foil. Evenly sprinkle streusel over the apple mixture.

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Bake until apples are soft, about 30 more minutes. (Keep an eye on the crust — it will burn if cooked too long.)
Let pie cool slightly, about 10 minutes. Slice and serve!

MAKES 12 SERVINGS

HG Alternative: If you can’t find the Recipe Creations dough, go for Pillsbury Reduced Fat Crescent roll dough. (The products are nearly identical.) Then just pinch/seal up the perforations for a seamless sheet.
Another HG Alternative: If made with an equal amount of Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated) in place of the white sugar, each serving will have 159 calories, 28g carbs, and 14.5g sugars (Points Plus® value 4*).  If you add nuts to the pie, make sure and add a point – Points Plus value 5.

That is all there is to it!  This is a fabulous and quick dessert to make.  I believe you could use peaches, plums, or any other fruit you have an abundance of with the apples to give it a different flavor.

Thanks for visiting me today.  I enjoyed sharing my recipes with you,

Silver Threading signature

Healthy Autumn Banana Bread

NanoPoblano

I swear I just bought those bananas a few days ago!  Nevertheless, there on my counter were bananas that were so ripe they had fallen from the stand they hang from.  There is nothing left to do at this point, but make banana bread, my husband’s favorite.

Now to be honest, I have a recipe from The Betty Crocker Cookbook that I like to use. However, I have made some healthy changes to adapt the recipe to our needs.  The banana bread recipe is categorized as,  “Heirloom Recipe and New Twist,”  found on page 101.

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The first thing I did was assemble all of the ingredients.  Everyone has made a version of banana bread so I will share the Betty Crocker recipe here with my changes in italics.

BANANA BREAD (Lower Calorie)

1 1/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened *** Instead of butter, I used 1/2 cup coconut oil

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups very ripe bananas  *** I used 6 small to medium bananas

(I have also used canned pumpkin if I don’t have enough bananas to fill the 1 1/2 cups)

1/2 cup buttermilk *** I used 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt (plain)

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

*** 1 teaspoon baking powder (gets fluffier and not so dense)

1 cup chopped nuts (if desired)

Heat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease the bottom of your pans.  I used glass baking dishes and a bread pan.

I beat the coconut oil, the sugar and the eggs first until they were fluffy.  Then I added the bananas, Greek Yogurt, vanilla, salt, baking soda, and the baking powder.  Lastly, I added the flour.  I used my hand mixer and blended all the ingredients until it was nice and creamy.

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I put the mixture evenly into the three pans.  I forgot to add the nuts, so I improvised and added them to the tops of the banana bread mixture.  It really turns out good like this although, it is a little harder to cut.

Baking time is always a challenge for me.  I have a convection oven and with the three different sizes of pans I have to adjust and watch closely.

In the picture above, the small dish (back left) took about 20 minutes, the dish at the left front took 35 minutes, and the loaf pan on the right took the full 45 minutes.  Test your banana breads as you go.  It all depends on how hot your oven cooks.

2014-07-07 12.57.20

Here they are!  Beautiful fragrant banana breads.  This recipe freezes well and I will wrap them in foil and then put them in a plastic freezer bag and store them.  They can be frozen for quite a few months.

This way, if you need a quick dessert, you can just pull it out, let it thaw, and enjoy the flavors of homemade banana bread!

P. S.  My husband likes whipped cream on his… he says that is the secret.

Thanks for stopping by today.  This banana bread is fabulous.  I hope you enjoy it!

Silver Threading

Persimmon–An Asian Fruit

NanoPoblano

Have you ever heard of persimmons?  Since moving back to Florida a couple of years ago, I have had the best time discovering all kinds of different plants to grow and eat.  My neighbor, Su, shared some of these orange gems with me and they are fabulous!

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Persimmons taste like a cross between a banana and a mango.  I sliced one this morning and cooked it in with my oatmeal.  WOW!  What a different flavor that was.  Fabulous.  They say to let them ripen until they are quite soft and almost jelly like.  The one I tried this morning was still firm.  However, once I cooked it with my oatmeal, cinnamon, and chia seeds, it blended in nicely.

sliced persimmons

(Image credit: sliced persimmons, “Just Fruits and Exotics Persimmons.”)  Visit this site to learn more about growing this fruit.

This fruit was completely new to me.  From this interest, I decided to check out what other kinds of recipes there are out there to make using persimmons.  This is a sample from All Recipes.com:

Persimmon Bars

Prep:
10 Minutes
Ready In:
30 Minutes
Cook:
20 Minutes
Servings:
12 (original)

By:

Jessica Eymann

“Persimmon bars as done by my husband’s grandmother for years. A family holiday favorite. Sweet frosting tops these delicious cakes.”

Ingredients
  • 1 cup persimmon pulp
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 10×15 inch jelly roll pan.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together persimmon pulp and baking soda; set aside. In a separate bowl, mix together egg, white sugar, vegetable oil and raisins.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together flour cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and cloves. Stir persimmon mixture and egg mixture into the dry ingredients. Fold in walnuts. Spread batter into prepared pan.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, combine confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice. Stir until sugar is dissolved. Remove bars from oven and spread with glaze.
Nutrition:  Calories: 371 | Total Fat: 16.4g | Cholesterol: 18mg

I even found an article entitled, “Persimmons Have Forecasting Abilities in Missouri Folklore,” which states that the shape of the seedling inside a persimmon seed has the ability to predict what the upcoming winter conditions will be like in your area – or at least in Missouri!  The article says:

“University of Missouri Extension horticulture specialist Patrick Byers says there’s no research that backs up the folklore. But that didn’t stop him from collecting fruit from persimmon trees in Lawrence, Newton, Webster and McDonald counties.

His evaluation of 102 seeds suggests this coming winter in the Ozarks is going to be colder than average, with below average snowfall and a few warm spells.”

I do not know if persimmons can predict the winters but, it is a different and exciting fruit to try if you are in the mood for something different.

Have you tried a persimmon?

Thanks for stopping by to see what I am up to this Monday.  I always enjoy seeing you all,

Silver Threading

Sushi Making 101

I had a wonderful morning learning how to make Sushi with my next door neighbor Tsuvako, (Su) who is from Okinawa.  She was a patient and kind teacher.  Our other friend Connie, who is from China also came.  Connie made Chinese Pot Stickers for our feast.  We had a great time learning to make sushi.

It all starts with sushi rice, and sushi rice vinegar.  Su has a rice cooker so it makes the chore quite easy.  Once the rice is cooked you season it with the rice vinegar.  Season it to your taste.  If you like more, add more.

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Su kept the rice covered while we were working so that it did not dry out.

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The bamboo mat that is used for rolling the sushi is covered in saran wrap (plastic wrap), cover it twice so that it is encased in the wrap.

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Take your nori (dried seaweed) and place it shiny side down on the covered sushi mat.

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Place the rice on top of the nori.  We used a bowl of water to dip our fingers in so that the sticky rice did not stick to us so badly.  Leave an edge to your nori that does not have rice on it.

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Su likes to make shorter rolls so in this picture she cut the nori in half.  For beginners it is easier to work with the larger sheet of nori.  It really is in the preference.

Once you have the rice on the nori, flip it upside down so that the nori side is up.  This is just a preference too, you can leave it the rice side up too if you want.

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Su cut up English cucumber into narrow strips.  She de-seeded the cucumber first.  She also cut up an avocado to use, which makes this recipe a California roll.

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Place the cucumber close to the ends of the nori on each side.  Use small pieces to fill in the middle.

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We also used a sushi fish (I believe it was Imation crab) that came in tubes that we bought at our local Vietnamese store.  It was easy to shred and pull apart.  We split the tube of fish and placed it in the center of the nori on top of the cucumber and avocado.

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Then it came time to roll the sushi roll.  The bamboo saran wrap covered sushi mat is pulled up to wrap the sushi.  Try not to press too hard on the roll itself, just make the roll as tight as you can.

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Once you are done with the roll, check to make sure that your roll sealed itself on the bottom.  You do not want the green nori to show as a seam.  You want the rice to meet at the seam.  It is fine if you have to roll the sushi again until it is nice and tight.  Tap in the open ends on each side of the sushi roll so that the contents are tight and won’t spill out.

Place the sushi roll on another cutting board.  Take a sharp knife.  Wipe the knife in rice vinegar.  This helps the knife not to stick to the roll when you are cutting it.  You might have to wipe the knife off several times before you are done cutting the sushi roll.

Start in the middle first.  Cut the roll in half.  Then cut that half again.  Same with the other half.  Always start from the middle and work your way out when cutting.  Place the rolls on a plate.

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Here are the finished sushi rolls we made this morning!  Thanks to Su and Connie we had an excellent feast. Below is the video that Su had me watch before we started our sushi making:

Thanks for visiting this Friday.  I look forward to seeing you again soon!  MMMM this sushi is yummy!

Silver Threading

Joe Patti’s Seafood Adventure

Tabitha is here!  We took a trip down to the beach this morning.  it was a balmy 86 degrees!

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After that we took a little trip to pick up some seafood at Joe Patti’s world famous Fish Market here in Pensacola, Florida.

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This is the front of the market.

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Here is Joe Patti himself.  He said it was a pleasure to take care of such beautiful ladies Smile

Joe Patti's Pensacola, FL

We bought shrimp, scallops, Mahi-Mahi, grouper, and salmon.  Tabitha wanted to come to the Gulf Coast and have seafood and seafood is what we will eat.  We are really having a great time!

Thanks for stopping by to see what we are up to.  I always enjoy seeing you all.

Silver Threading

SilverThreading Logo

Oregano Mint Vinegar

My mint was starting to look a bit bedraggled out there in the pot on the patio so I decided to use the best leaves and make some flavored vinegar.  I chose some of the best oregano from my garden too.

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I used a clean bottle with a cork stopper.  Plain white vinegar suits this herb infused vinegar best.

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I crushed the herbs together to release the oils from the leaves and placed them in the bottle.

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I filled the bottle with the white vinegar and gave it a good shake so that all the leaves were saturated by the liquid.

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In about a month, I will add some white Moscato wine to this herbed vinegar mixture.  The wine adds a bit of flavor and counters the harsh bitterness of the vinegar.  I do put the bottle in the  fridge after I add the wine to it.

Discard the herbs when you are ready to use the vinegar in about 6 weeks.  It will last in the refrigerator for at least six months.

This Oregano Mint Vinegar in the bottle is pretty enough to give as a gift.  With the holidays fast  approaching, any quick homemade gifts I can think of for friends who enjoy salads as much as I do is always a welcome thought.

Experiment with different kinds of herbs, fruits, and wines and make your own gourmet vinegars.

Thanks for visiting today.  I love seeing all of you!

Silver Threading

Sangria Part II

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I got quite a huge response from my sangria recipe ideas yesterday.  As promised, I am sharing my sangria creation called, ‘Florida Orange.’

My Florida Orange Sangria turned out to be fabulous!  I used a whole bottle of my favorite Moscato wine.  I added about a cup of the Gran Gala Orange Liquor (made with VSOP Brandy).  I cut up a cantaloupe, a pineapple, 3 clementine’s, and a pear.  I added some red grapes for flavor and color.  Add the amount of fruit that you want into the pitcher.  I dropped a cinnamon stick into the mixture for added mystery.  Lastly, I added a large spring of mint that I have growing in my garden.  This will give an impact to your sangria.

I covered the pitcher with plastic wrap and let it sit in the refrigerator over night.  Today, I have the pitcher on the counter allowing the fruits, wine and liquor to blend.  In an hour or so, I will put it back into the refrigerator to chill.  By 4:00 p.m. I should be able to have my first glass.  This sangria tastes a bit like a mulled wine because of the cinnamon.  The mint adds just the right amount of zip to the mix.  If this is too strong, I would add 7up to cut down the alcohol content if need be.

I am planning to have pepper jack cheese squares and crackers as an appetizer to go along with my sangria.  Barbecued steaks and halibut with salads on the side are a great compliment to any sangria you choose to make.

Beware of the fruit!  It has soaked up all that alcohol and wine and if you eat too much…  well, I am sure you can imagine.  The fruit is tasty over vanilla ice cream.  I have made an angel food cake and spooned the fruit mixture onto each serving with a sprinkle of coconut.  There are endless possibilities.  Have fun and let me know how your sangria recipe turned out!  Have a great weekend!  ~Colleen~

drinking

 

(8/15/14 Image credit: http://www.marketingweek.co.uk/news/stella-artois-unveils-responsible-drinking-ad-push/4004124.article)

EASY BBQ Chicken

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My husband Ron, the BBQ Master – Corn in side pockets, tongs in the back pocket – drink in hand and chicken (or tri-tip, or pork tenderloin, or porterhouse steaks, or fish…) to barbecue!

One of my husband’s favorite things to do is barbecue, and believe me he is a master at it.  Everyone has their own recipes for barbecue sauce, or spicy rubs, but we like to keep our barbecue simple.  The most important thing to figure out is if you like to use charcoal or prefer a gas grill.  I will only talk about charcoal here because to us, charcoal is the only way to barbecue.  I find gas grills to be too drying to the meat.  A charcoal grill is just a preference, not a requirement.

We like to marinate our meat the night before.  We wash the skinless boneless chicken breasts and pierce them to let the marinade soak in.  Then we place the meat in a plastic bag and add the marinade.  Put the chicken in the refrigerator overnight.  There are many marinade choices out there.  Try different flavors and see what you like best.

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Today, we tried Lawry’s Sweet Southern Barbecue marinade.  It has a nice flavor, not too tangy – just right.  Once you have your charcoal lit and a nice fire going, wait until your coals have a nice gray ash to them before you add your chicken.

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Place the meat on the grill and move the coals to distribute the heat.  Our grill has a hand crank that you can move the coals closer or further to the meat.  This is an excellent feature on a charcoal grill if you can find it.  Boneless chicken breasts cook quickly so your BBQ time is only about 15 minutes.  Check the chicken frequently and turn it as it cooks.

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Once the chicken is cooked, take it off the grill and place it on a separate plate from the marinade plate.  Always beware of any transfer from raw meat when you are barbecuing.  We actually washed the serving plate to insure our chicken was safe.

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There you have it! Wonderful barbecue chicken with a crispy exterior and moist interior.

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Serve with corn on the cob, potato salad, or whatever side dishes you love in your family.  Happy barbecuing!

Tea Time

 

tea saying

I don’t know about you, but I love tea!  Hot tea, iced tea, Long Island Iced Tea!  I usually end my day with a nice hot cup of PG Tips.  Years ago when I was  in the Air Force stationed at RAF Lakenheath, England I took up the habit of drinking tea which is a national pastime.  I love it the English way, with sugar and cream… However, these days I use fat free evaporated milk and Truvia sweetener.  PG Tips is a strong, full-bodied tea.  I have friends that drink it with lemon and sugar also.

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There are so many different types of tea.  I always thought there was a different tea for every mood you could have.  Here is a list of some of the more common teas courtesy of the Teavana website at http://www.teavana.com/tea-info/types-of-tea:  (Quote)

“White Teas

White tea is the purest and least processed of all teas.  This loose leaf tea brews a light color and flavor. Find out more about white tea or shop our White Teas.

Green Teas

Green tea is the most popular type of tea, mainly because it is the beverage of choice in Asia. Some loose green teas are scented with flowers or mixed with fruits to create scented or flavored teas.  Find out more about green tea or shop our Green Teas.

Oolong Teas

Oolong tea, also known as wu long tea, is full-bodied with a flavorful fragrance and sweet aroma.  Most people commonly recognize oolong tea as the Chinese tea served in Chinese restaurants. Find out more about oolong tea or shop our Oolong Teas.

Black Teas

Black tea is the tea most people know since you likely grew up dipping tea bags of black tea in your cup (or enjoyed this tea from an iced tea pitcher in the South). Find out more about black tea or shop our Black Teas.

Herbal Teas

Herbal tea does not contain any leaves from the Camellia plant family, so it is sometimes referred to as a tisane. Herbal teas can be broken into three categories: rooibos teas, mate teas, and herbal infusions. Herbal infusions consist of pure herbs, flowers, and fruits. They can be delicious hot or iced. Find out more about herbal teas or shop our Herbal Teas.

Rooibos Teas

Rooibos tea, or red tea, is made from a South African red bush. Rooibos teas can be delicious hot or iced. Find out more about rooibos teas or shop our Rooibos Teas.

Mate Teas

Mate tea is considered the coffee lover’s favorite tea. Made from the leaves and twigs of the yerba mate plant, our My Morning Mate is a particular favorite of coffee drinkers because it tastes like coffee. Find out more about mate teas or shop our Mate Teas.

Blooming Teas

Also called artisan or flowering teas, these teas actually ‘bloom’ as they steep. They are hand tied by tea artists and often include some type of flavor or scent along with the beautiful design. These romantic teas make a great gift for your significant other! Shop our Blooming Teas.”  (Unquote)

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(7/12/14 Image from http://howbenefitstea.com/different-types-tea-explained/)

HAPPY SATURDAY!

WON’T YOU JOIN ME IN A CUP TODAY?

drinking tea-saidaonline

Banana Bread Extravaganza!

I swear I just bought those bananas a few days ago!  Nevertheless, there on my counter were bananas that were so ripe they had fallen from the stand they perch on.  Nothing left to do at this point, but make banana bread, my husband’s favorite.

Now to be honest, I have a recipe from The Betty Crocker Cookbook that I like to use. However, I have made some changes to adapt the recipe to our needs.  The banana bread recipe is categorized as,  “Heirloom Recipe and New Twist,”  found on page 101.

2014-07-07 11.32.29The first thing I did was assemble all of the ingredients.  Everyone has made a version of banana bread so I will share the Betty Crocker recipe here with my changes in italics.

BANANA BREAD (Lower Calorie)

1 1/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened *** Instead of butter, I used 1/2 cup coconut oil

2 eggs

1 1/2 cups very ripe bananas  *** I used 6 small to medium bananas

1/2 cup buttermilk *** I used 1/2 cup Greek Yogurt (plain)

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

*** 1 teaspoon baking powder (gets fluffier and not so dense)

1 cup chopped nuts (if desired)

Heat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease the bottom of your pans.  I used glass baking dishes and a bread pan.

I beat the coconut oil, the sugar and the eggs first until they were fluffy.  Then I added the bananas, Greek Yogurt, vanilla, salt, baking soda, and the baking powder.  Lastly, I added the flour.  I used my hand mixer and blended all the ingredients until it was nice and creamy.

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I put the mixture evenly into the three pans.  I forgot to add the nuts, so I improvised and added them to the tops of the banana bread mixture.  It really turns out good like this although, it is a little harder to cut.

Baking time is always a challenge for me.  I have a convection oven and with the three different sizes of pans I have to adjust and watch closely.

In the picture above, the small dish (back left) took about 20 minutes, the dish at the left front took 35 minutes, and the loaf pan on the right took the full 45 minutes.  Test your banana breads as you go.  It all depends on how hot your oven cooks.

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Here they are!  Beautiful fragrant banana breads.  This recipe freezes well and I will wrap them in foil and then put them in a plastic freezer bag and store them.  They can be frozen for quite a few months.  This way, if you need a quick dessert, you can just pull a banana bread out, let it thaw, and enjoy the flavors of homemade banana bread!

P. S.  My husband likes whipped cream on his… he says that is the secret.

JULY = HEAT & Cucumbers

It appears to me that this summer is hotter here in Pensacola, Florida than it was last year.  It could just be me, or the mood I am in; although it feels unbearable outside.  Happy July everyone!

Since Saturday, I have mowed the grass, trimmed the bushes in the front yard, and tended to my garden areas.  I have sweated so much that I could wring out my clothes… no kidding.  The humidity is stifling!

A glutton for punishment, I picked tons of cucumbers yesterday and decided I was going to make some canned bread and butter pickles.  Sure, I had not done this in 20 years, but I was game!

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I washed all the jars and lids and left them to dry.

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Meanwhile, I washed all the cucumbers and sliced them into the largest containers I could find in my kitchen.  I wanted to be able to put my hands in the bowls so I could stir the ingredients well.

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I sliced them as you would for a salad, but not too thin.

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I like to add carrot matchsticks, red onion, and garlic to my recipe.  I used white vinegar, sugar and sugar substitute, pickling spices, dill, and the spice turmeric in the canning mixture that goes into the jars.  Combined with the sugar, the turmeric gives a little kick to your pickles.  I always try to cut calories whenever I use a recipe that relies on so much sugar.  The sugar substitute works well as long as you mix the two together.

After the cucumbers are all sliced in their respective bowls (or pots, whatever works will do) I sprinkled a 1/2 cup TOTAL of iodized sea salt between the three containers I had.  You must MIX WELL.  I like sea salt the best because of the flavor it imparts.  Pickling salt is too salty for me.  Season to your taste, however, you do not want your pickles too salty!

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I used a garlic press for the garlic and added two cloves per container.  I distributed the carrots the same way, splitting the package equally into each container.  I used all of the carrots.  I sliced the onion into long thin strands.

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After adding the salt, I used my hands and mixed each container thoroughly. Immediately, I covered each cucumber mixture with ice cubes and let the containers sit for two hours.  The ice slowly melts and leaves you with a salty liquid (brine) that helps to preserve the pickles.  The ice bath helps the vegetables to retain their color.

I began to boil the water in my canning pot that I will need to submerge the jars in to seal them.

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After two hours, I drained each container into a colander.  You do not want the salty water or ice in your cucumbers.  I then filled the canning jars with the cucumber mixture.  I packed mine fairly tight, but left room up at the top of the jar.

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In a separate pot, I placed the following ingredients and brought it to a boil:

  • 4 1/2 cups of sugar, 2 cups of sugar substitute
  • 4 cups of white vinegar
  • the whole container of pickling spices
  • 2 teaspoons of ground turmeric

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Once the mixture had boiled, I spooned this pickling mixture into each jar.  I ended up with a dozen pint jars and a small bit I put into a plastic container I could keep in the refrigerator.

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Now it is time to put the lids on.  Place the flat lid on first and then add the ring jar lid.  Screw them on securely.

 

I placed the jars into my canning pot filled with boiling water.  I used a tongs and carefully placed each jar into the pot.  You need at least an inch covering the top of each jar.  Boil the jars for 10 minutes and remove them the same way you put them in… carefully.

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This step can be time consuming.  I only had a dozen jars to can, and four at a time was all I could put into my pot.  Once you take the jars out, put them on a towel to dry.  I wait about 15 minutes or so and press the center of the lid to see if it has sealed.  If you can still push the lid up and down, you need to immerse the jars into the hot water bath again until they do seal.  If your jars do not seal, you must refrigerate the jars.

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I was lucky and only had to redo a couple jars.  Hours later, my husband and I could hear the jars “popping” as their lids sealed into place.

There are recipes galore to be found for canning.  To me, this was an excellent way to preserve some of the vegetables I had grown in the garden.  A bit old fashioned maybe, but I have the best memories of my mother-in-law teaching me how to can years ago.  After all, some things never go out of style do they?

A Garden Breakfast

I am obsessed with breakfast!  I know, I know, it is the most important meal of the day! Of course it is, however, I have found that it is more than that to me.  Since I began my weight loss journey a few years ago, I find myself with breakfast as the largest meal of my day!  And guess what?  It keeps the weight off!  At least it does for this silver haired middle-aged goddess!

I fluctuate my breakfast days – oatmeal one day, egg beaters the next, and so on and so forth.  I try to make my egg days more than just about the eggs.  Nothing dull and boring here. I have that garden out back and it has supplied me with numerous ingredients to make my breakfasts special.

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I use 3/4 cup of egg beaters (Weight Watchers Points Plus Points = 3) and add whatever I have in the house or garden… mushrooms, kale, long onions, zucchini, tomatoes – whatever vegetable you like, add it.  I only count the points values of things with points: eggs, meat, cheese, etc.  I do not count the points values of fruits or vegetables.  This keeps me eating more of them and less of the other stuff that packs the pounds on.

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I chop the kale quite fine so that it binds with the eggs.  I find it helps to thicken the eggs and hold them together with the other vegetables.

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Chop all the vegetables and put them in your non-stick cooking pan.  I use Pam with olive oil as it adds a special taste to the eggs and makes it easier to cook the eggs with no sticking.

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Add the egg beaters to the mixture and cook slowly over a medium flame.  Cook it until the vegetables are done the way you like.  I like my eggs to be cooked through, not runny.

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Put your finished eggs on a plate and serve it immediately.  There is actually enough here for two servings if you wish.  Add some fruit to your plate and you are ready for another spectacular day!  Enjoy!

15 Things to Eat in Bangkok Chinatown, Thailand

Here are some examples of fine Thai cuisine… check it out, don’t be afraid!

Always Travelicious !

As always, Bangkok’s Chinatown is one of the best places to find good food.  Besides the uber affordable food, the most extraordinary part is you find gourmet ingredients such as bird’s nest and fish maw, prepped on a mobile cart by the roadside. Thanks to my bestie, Kat from SpoonSpatulaSaturday, we went on a gastronomic adventure and tried more things than we could stomach and still wished to try more.   You will be able to find most of the food featured in the post along the main road of Chinatown, Yawarat Road, except for No. 8, which is hidden in a small lane.   

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