Tuesday, February 01, 2011

On the move...

Currently holding at http://sarafinaskitchen.wordpress.com - working to send it to my own domain! Please be patient and I'll be up and moving soon!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Appetite for Life: Healthier resolutions

Appetite for Life: Healthier resolutions
Wednesday, January 26, 2011 | Special to the Ledger

By Meagan Warncke

Jan. 1: I hereby resolve to eat healthier in the New Year. I will take my lunch to work every day. It will be a salad, soup or healthy sandwiches. I will make them fresh every morning.
Jan. 2: I am so glad I have been taking my lunch to work. It’s so nice to have a homemade meal and I don’t have to fight lunch traffic.
Jan. 5: I’m getting a little tired of the same things every day. I’d really rather go out and get a bowl of pasta from that little Italian place.
Jan. 15: I had a burger and fries for lunch today. I overslept and just didn’t have time to make my lunch.
How many of us go through this every January? By the middle of the month we’ve already slipped or given up on our New Year’s resolutions. For a lot of people, their biggest resolution is to eat healthier, lose weight or both. However, when our busy, hectic lives get in the way of that, we easily fall back into our old habits of take-out and less healthy food options.
The good news is — thanks to a little invention called the Internet — we have a huge selection of websites offering easy and healthy recipes that can help us stick to our resolutions to eat better in the New Year. There are many ways to make the dishes we love better for us. A healthy meal doesn’t have to take an hour to make and doesn’t have to taste like cardboard. Healthy food is tastier and leads to much less guilt.
My personal resolution is to try to reinvent my favorite dishes into healthier, easier recipes for me and my family. I believe by that small step, I will be healthier and maybe even a few pounds lighter. I want to teach my son that healthy food tastes good and that it’s easy to prepare a home-cooked meal. Along with that, I hope to teach him that it’s OK to indulge in rich foods from time to time, as long as it’s in moderation. If we deny ourselves those foods all the time, we will end up on a road to overeating and bad food habits.
So, my New Year’s gift to you is a healthy pasta recipe that will satisfy and not leave you feeling guilty afterwards. I hope you all have a wonderful start to the New Year.

‘Healthified’ Fettuccine Alfredo

Prep Time: 40 min
Start to Finish: 40 min
Makes: 8 servings
1 lb uncooked fettuccine
2 cups whole milk
1 tablespoon Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash freshly ground black pepper
Dash ground red pepper (cayenne)
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
2 oz 1/3-less-fat cream cheese (Neufchâtel)
2/3 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1. Cook fettuccine as directed on package, omitting salt. Drain; return to saucepan. Cover to keep warm; set aside.
2. Meanwhile, in medium bowl, stir milk, flour, salt, black pepper and red pepper with wire whisk until smooth. In 2-quart saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly (do not burn). With wire whisk, stir milk mixture into butter mixture in saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat 6 to 8 minutes or until mixture thickens and boils.
3. Stir in cream cheese until melted. Stir in Parmesan cheese until melted. Pour over fettuccine; toss to coat. Sprinkle with parsley.

Nutritional Information
1 Serving: Calories 330 (Calories from Fat 110); Total Fat 12g (Saturated Fat 6g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 70mg; Sodium 310mg; Total Carbohydrate 42g (Dietary Fiber 2g, Sugars 4g); Protein 13g Percent Daily Value*: Vitamin A 8%; Vitamin C 0%; Calcium 20%; Iron 15% Exchanges: 3 Starch; 0 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Vegetable; 1/2 Lean Meat; 1 1/2 Fat Carbohydrate Choices: 3

*Percent daily values are based on a 2,000-calorie diet.
Recipe courtesy www.eatbetteramerica.com

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What Am I?

Chopped Liver

A bit of food humor for this Wednesday!

Friday, December 24, 2010

La Vista Hyatt Regency's Chocolate Rum Balls

3 9-inch layers cooked German chocolate cakes without frosting
1/2 cup fudge sauce (Smuckers Chocolate Fudge Sauce will do)
3/4 cup 151-proof rum
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
24 ounces semisweet dark chocolate
Chocolate sprinkles to garnish

Crumble the cake layers into a large mixing bowl. Add fudge sauce, rum, and chopped nuts. Mix into a paste. Roll into small balls (about the size of a golf ball) and freeze until hard. Melt dark chocolate over very low heat in a double boiler. Quickly dip a ball into the melted chocolate then immediately dip the ball into the chocolate sprinkles. Makes about 50 chocolate rum balls.

My notes: I used a German chocolate cake mix, which made one 9x13 cake. I omitted the nuts this time and used green sugar to sprinkle on top instead of rolling in chocolate sprinkles.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Creamed Spinach

My mother-in-law, Carolyn, made this amazing creamed spinach for Thanksgiving. It was hard to not stand over the stove and eat it straight out of the skillet!

Creamed Spinach

Serves: 6-8
Prep. Time: 0:35

5 Tbls. butter OR margarine - divided
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 dash ground nutmeg
1 cup half and half cream
4 oz. cream cheese - low-fat okay
1 sm. onion - minced
3 cloves garlic - minced
(2) 10 oz. pkgs. frozen chopped spinach - thawed
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

-In a 2-quart saucepan over medium-low heat, melt 3 Tbls. butter; stir in flour, salt, pepper, and nutmeg; slowly whisk in cream; stir in cream cheese.
-Increase heat to medium; whisk mixture constantly until thick and smooth; remove from heat and set aside.
-In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook onions and garlic in remaining 2 Tbls. butter until transparent; stir spinach and water into pan.
-Reduce heat to medium-low; cover; simmer, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes.
-Stir spinach mixture into creamy mixture; return to medium heat; heat, stirring often, until warmed throughout.
-Remove from heat; fold in Parmesan.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Four Foods on Friday

Excited to be participating in from the Kitchen now! (For my previous entries, please see my other blog, Ramblings of an Insane Redhead)

Tell me either the four strangest things or four non-food items that are in your fridge.

1) Coffee - It stays fresher if you keep it in the fridge. Unopened bags go in the freezer.

2) Baking Soda - Can't have a stinky fridge!

That's it for my fridge...but in the freezer:

3) Teething Rings

4) Ice Packs

Richness of Life through Antioxidants

Richness of Life through Antioxidants

These days we are constantly bombarded by the media with the latest health crazes and buzz words. One that has prevailed over the last few years is “antioxidants.” We are supposed to eat more foods full of antioxidants to improve our quality of life. But what exactly are antioxidants and which foods offer these mysterious molecules?

According to an article in “Experimental Physiology”[1], an antioxidant is a molecule capable of inhibiting the oxidation of other molecules. They can, therefore, stop chain reactions between molecules that can damage cells. Because of this characteristic of antioxidants, it is widely believed that they can prevent diseases such as cancer.

Antioxidants can be found in many dietary supplements, but they are also naturally found in a variety of foods. According to WebMD.com[2], three major vitamins high in antioxidants are beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Some of the common foods that are high in these vitamins are broccoli, carrots, and dark greens such as mustard and turnip greens. However, there are other tasty options such as cantaloupe, mangoes, and strawberries. Other antioxidants can be found in zinc, such as that found in seafood, and selenium, which is found in foods such as poultry and whole grain breads. Science Daily[3] recommends artichokes and beans as the foods to put at the top of your antioxidant food list, along with Russet potatoes, pecans and even cinnamon. The United States Department of Agriculture[4] (USDA) has a thorough list of over 300 foods if you need more inspiration on foods you can add to your daily diet that are high in antioxidants.

One of my personal favorites of all of the foods rich in antioxidants are blueberries. One of my close friends makes an excellent blueberry pie which I will share with you. Instead of his traditional pie crust, I’ve included a Whole Wheat Pie Crust recipe which will boost the antioxidant power of this pie. So, sit back, dig in, enjoy…and don’t feel bad about going back for seconds!

Blueberry Pie

· 5 - 6 cups blueberries

· 1 1/2 cups sugar

· 1/2 cup flour

· 1/2 tsp cinnamon

· 2 tbsp butter

· 2 (9 inch) pie crusts

1. Line a pie pan with an unbaked pie crust of your choice. (See below for the recipe for a Whole Wheat Pie Crust.)

2. Next, mix the sugar, flour, and cinnamon in a bowl.

3. Then place about half of blueberries level in the pie shell.

4. Top berries with half of sugar mixture.

5. Place rest of the blueberries in the pie shell, then the rest of the sugar mixture.

6. Scatter dots of butter evenly over the top.

7. Place top pie crust on top and seal with the bottom.

8. Cut 8 slits or so in the top of the pie.

9. Sprinkle the top with a light layer of sugar.

10. Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes, then turn heat down to 350°F for another 60 minutes.

11. Let the pie cool for 15-20 minutes. You can serve it warm, but the filling will be runny. If you let it cool completely, the berry filling should "set".

Whole Wheat Pie Crust[5]

Makes one (9-inch) pie shell

· 1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour

· 1/8 teaspoon salt

· 7 tablespoons very cold butter

Mix flour with salt in a medium bowl or food processor. Add cold butter and cut in using a pastry blender, or pulse in food processor. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons ice water, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, until dough forms into a ball. Gather up and pat into a disc. If possible, cover and refrigerate dough for 30 minutes before rolling out. When ready to use, roll dough out on a lightly floured surface into a 10-inch circle. Gently fold into quarters using a little flour as needed to prevent sticking. Place dough in pie plate and carefully unfold, fitting loosely and then pressing into place. Trim the edges and crimp for a decorative crust.

[2] Antioxidants and Your Immune System: Super Foods for Optimal Health http://www.webmd.com/diet/guide/antioxidants-your-immune-system-super-foods-optimal-health

[3] American Chemical Society (2004, June 17). Largest USDA Study Of Food Antioxidants Reveals Best Sources. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 11, 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/06/040617080908.htm#

[4]Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) of Selected Foods, Release 2 (2010) http://www.ars.usda.gov/Services/docs.htm?docid=15866

[5] http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/952

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thanksgiving Playlist

For your family's Thanksgiving meal, I offer up my Thanksgiving playlist from last year. Enjoy!

Home - Michael Bublé
Shine on Harvest Moon - Betty Carter
Baby, It's Cold Outside - Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Jordan
There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays - The Carpenters
Thanksgiving Theme - Vince Guaraldi Trio
Our House - Crosy, Stills, Nash, & Young
Mashed Potatoes - Rufus Thomas
I've Got Plenty to be Thankful For - Bing Crosby
Plymouth Rock - Count Basie
Mayflower Rock - Dizzy Gillespie
Turkey in the Straw - Vassar Clements
Gobblers - Jay Ungar & Molly Mason
Homeward Bound - Simon & Garfunkel
Happy Together - The Turtles

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