Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Monday Meal Make-Overs - FRUIT BARS

Another Version of a GRANOLA BAR/SNACK BAR

We are all busy and need healthy snacks to fuel our days.

To Make the Fruit Bars you need:
Three medium pieces of fruit (a hard fruit is best as it will hold up in the oven best)
(RED apples work for Valentine's Day...Green for St. Patrick's Day...Peaches, Nectarines, and Apricots in the summer when the fruit is abundant)
2 teaspoons of sugar (or to taste...it is to coat the fruit - can be omitted as I do quite often)
1 to 1.5 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1.5 sticks of unsalted (preferable) butter - cold, cut into small wedges
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract (your preference to match the fruit you use)
(often I am more generous here and reduce the sugar in steps above)

To Start: Preheat the oven to 375 and grease a baking pan

Step 1: Cut fruit into THIN slices and, if you wish, coat with sugar in a small bowl
Step 2: Mix dry ingredients THEN add egg and flavoring
Step 3: Use a fork to add the wedges of butter to the mixture...break them up as much as possible
Step 4: Add 1/2 of the mixture to the pan - press firmly to create a bottom layer
Step 5: Arrange the fruit slices on the bottom layer
Step 6: Add the remaining mixture to the pan...press firmly to create a top layer

Bake for about 30 minutes...or until edges start to turn golden brown.
Cut into pieces of desired size after it cools.

This FRUIT CRISP turned into FRUIT BAR can be made healthy or decadent.
Decadent add ins include:
coconut,chocolate or butterscotch chips,adding jam/jelly to fruit layer, or yogurt raisins
Healthy add ins include:
small size bits of dried fruit in bottom layer, adding sesame seeds, or adding ground flax seeds,

***If you add moist ingredients, increase the amount of oats.

30 minutes or so to bake
10 minutes to assemble/clean up
purchasing ingredients/figuring out what "version" to make

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Thursday Thoughts - CAFFEINE

February is HEART HEALTH MONTH. We exercise which works our heart muscle. Do we think about what we INGEST and how it effects our heart?

I made a new year's resolution to reduce my daily intake of caffeine. I drink a cup of regular coffee or tea when I awaken and then, at home, drink water or decaffeinated coffee or tea. At work, where caffeine is the only option, I limit myself to a cup when I arrive. I have to admit, on a chilly day I have had a cup to warm myself up! each day I am trying to be smarter about cooking and packing my lunch...on cold days I am trying to pack homemade soup to keep me warm, rather than a cup of coffee!

Caffeine is in many foods and beverages. Not only does chocolate contain caffeine but so too does herbs like guarana, kola nuts, and yerba mate. Many medications also contain caffeine.

The website ENERGYFIEND lists the caffeine content in many beverages.

According to the American Heart Association, studies are being done to determine if there is a link between caffeine consumption and heart disease. Why wait for the results? Attempt to reduce your caffeine consumption ... perhaps some day you will eliminate caffeine, "the world's most popular drug" from your diet entirely!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Monday Meal Make-Over Chocolate Chip Cookies TRANSFORMED INTO GLUTEN FREE

Monday Meal Make-Over the TUESDAY edition...Sorry I was unable to post yesterday. Life got in the way. Rather than miss a week...submitting a tardy recipe.

I have been experimenting with making over dishes to make them GLUTEN FREE and/or VEGETARIAN to meet the needs of my family. My latest experiment worked out well...although it did take a few experimental recipes to get it "right".

I remade the Hershey's Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe on the BACK of the Milk Chocolate Chips package.

RATHER than FLOUR ... I added 1/2 Almond Flour and 1/2 Oat Flour (Bob's Red Mill)
I used ROOM TEMPERATURE Butter and Eggs
I used Almond Flavoring rather than Vanilla
I used 1/4 cup sugar (BOTH white and brown)
I used extra chocolate chips (for moisture)

MY Remake:
2 1/4 c mix of "flours"
1 ts Baking soda
1/2 ts Salt
1 c Butter - softened to ROOM Temperature
1/4 c Granulated sugar
1/4 c Packed light brown sugar
1 ts Almond extract
2 Eggs - ROOM Temperature
12 oz Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (or cut up candy bars)

Bake at 375 for about 10 minutes

The CLASSIC COOKIE RECIPE can be found here