Sunday, October 30, 2011

Best FOOD Product of the YEAR

This product deserves an award! I would love to know the history of this product:who thought it up, who designed the very appealing packaging? It is so comfortable to hold and lovely to look at! Inside this genius packaging is one of my favorite dried fruits. What is it?


Plum Amazins! Look! It almost sounds like raisins, which is very appropriate since they are a dried fruit like raisins. For some reason, people don't like the word "prune" and I have noticed that in the last little while packages of prunes were being labeled "dried plums".
I found these at the Apple Valley Wal*mart this past week. I paid $2.00. The plastic container is definitely re-usable...just peel off the plastic label.

I looked for them at WinCo and at Stater Brothers grocery stores. Not there.

Here is the Nutritional label.... the other side of the box has bar graphs that show that this product has 50% more fiber than raisins or cranberries....and half the sugar! Wow!
Have you ever tried to dice a prune? ...the pieces stick to your is just a mess. Well, here you have chopped prunes ready to go...ready to sprinkle on your hot oatmeal, put in cookies...
...or sprinkle on your yogurt fruit salad. Thank you Sunsweet!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Moores Pasta Salad

Whenever we go to Moores Cancer Center in San Diego, love to go up to the snack bar where they serve great chicken curry sandwiches on the best fresh bread and always with aside of this wonderful savory cold pasta salad.
I was craving it again...(I made some while we were at Megan's,too) so got the ingredients and made some.

Moores Pasta Salad

1/2 box whole wheat rotini, cooked
1/3 cup basil pesto
1/3 cup diced celery
1/3 cup diced red pepper,
2 Tablespoons chopped parsley

Finished product! You can add more diced celery and red pepper and even more pesto if you want. If you don't have parsley, it still will be very good. I love the fact that the whole wheat pasta has lots of fiber.

Butternut Squash

I found butternut squash at the 99 Cents Only Store Today!

This is how I cook it.

I first poke it with a sharp knife in several places and microwave it for about 90 and a half minutes.
Then I take it out of the microwave and cut it in half. Then I scoop out the seeds, and place cut side down in a glass baking dish and bake at 425 degres for 45 minutes...sometimes less...It is done when you poke it with a fork and it goes in so easy...The softer the finished product, I believe, the better.
Golden and sweet...with a little is my FAVORITE squash.

Taste Test Today

At Winco today I was ready to by some La Victoria Salsa (Medium) for $1.78 when I noticed an new brand: Spikes...which was $1.03. They were both 16 oz. And in glass jars. So I bought both of them and took them home to try.
I already had some Mission tortilla chips and it was time for "second breakfast"so I dug in.
The winner was Spike. Why? It was chunkier (well I did bring home the bean and corn style instead of their regular style), and sweeter. I still will eat La Victoria, though, when I want a more tomato-y and "hotter" taste.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Black Bean Brownies

Thanks to Kelsy for sharing these recipes with me. I put off making these for the longest time, thinking they would not taste very good. Finally I made them and took the pictures you see here. I got 16 brownies form one 8 x 8 pan. They are light and chocolate-y...very good! I look forward to making the variations.

Flourless Black Bean Brownies

1 can (15 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
4 eggs
1/2 cup sugar (can substitue agave nectar)
3 Tbsp. oil
3 or 4 Tbsp. cocoa powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
2 Tbsp. peanut butter (optional, but I always go for this one!)

Blend everything up in a blender or food processor. Pour into a greased 8 by 8 pan and bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes (mine were done in my superhot oven at around 25 minutes. Test for doneness with a toothpick). Cut in pieces and enjoy!

Here are some Canellini (white bean) variations I'm excited to try:

Lemon Ginger: Use canellini beans instead of black beans. Add 1 tsp. lemon extract, 2 tsp. ground ginger and zest of one lemon to bean mixture. Top with sliced almonds.

Cranberry orange: Use canellini beans instead of black beans. Add 1 tsp. orange extract, 2 tsp. ground ginger and zest of one orange to bean mixture. Top with minced dried cranberries.

Cherry almond: Use canellini beans instead of black beans. Add 1 tsp. almond to bean mixture. Top with minced dried cherries and sliced almonds.

Pumpkin: Use canellini beans instead of black beans. Add 1 cup pumpkin puree, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp cloves, 1/4 tsp nutmeg and 1/4 tsp salt to bean mixture. Top with chopped pecans.

Apple spice: Use canellini beans instead of black beans. Add 1 cup unsweetened applesauce, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp cloves, 1/4 tsp nutmeg and 1/4 tsp salt to bean mixture. Top with chopped walnuts.

This recipe I copied exactly from what Kelsy sent me via email. I have not made them yet, but when I do, I will not use espresso flavor...just cocoa.

Amazing Black Bean Brownie Recipe

For those of you who have a hard time tracking down agave nectar (which is becoming much more readily available) substitute honey 1:1 for the agave nectar. Ania's head notes encourage you to keep these brownies in the refrigerator, they will slice much better if refrigerated several hours or preferably overnight. I used instant coffee this time around, but you can find natural coffee substitute at many natural food stores.

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups soft-cooked black beans, drained well (hs: canned is fine)
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
¼ cup (granulated) natural coffee substitute (or instant coffee, for gluten-sensitive)
¼ teaspoon sea salt
4 large eggs
1½ cups light agave nectar
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line an 11- by 18-inch (rimmed) baking pan (hs note: or jellyroll pan) with parchment paper and lightly oil with canola oil spray.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a glass bowl in the microwave for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes on high. Stir with a spoon to melt the chocolate completely. Place the beans, 1/2 cup of the walnuts, the vanilla extract, and a couple of spoonfuls of the melted chocolate mixture into the bowl of a food processor. Blend about 2 minutes, or until smooth. The batter should be thick and the beans smooth. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the remaining 1/2 cup walnuts, remaining melted chocolate mixture, coffee substitute, and salt. Mix well and set aside.

In a separate bowl, with an electric mixer beat the eggs until light and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the agave nectar and beat well. Set aside.

Add the bean/chocolate mixture to the coffee/chocolate mixture. Stir until blended well.

Add the egg mixture, reserving about 1/2 cup. Mix well. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Using an electric mixer, beat the remaining 1/2 cup egg mixture until light and fluffy. Drizzle over the brownie batter. Use a wooden toothpick to pull the egg mixture through the batter, creating a marbled effect. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the brownies are set. Let cool in the pan completely before cutting into squares. (They will be soft until refrigerated.)
Makes 45 (2-inch) brownies