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I did something stupid

29 Jul

…I’m not sure what. But somehow, I had a post almost completed, meant to press “ctrl B” to make something bold, evidently pressed something else, and DELETED AN ALMOST COMPLETED POST!!!!!!! Crying faceCrying faceCrying faceCrying faceCrying faceCrying face Lame!

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But I am not going to cry about it (except through my crying face emoticons above), I am just going to move on, re-type everything (while obsessively hitting save) but probably do so in a less wordy fashion, to save precious time.

First up: shoe review. Yesterday was my first run in my new Asics. I completed a wet 13 km (last week, extreme heat, yesterday, rain) in these guys. I actually don’t mind running in rain, as long as it’s not a torrential downpour (although I’ve done that too). I’m happy to report no soreness today, and no blisters from “breaking them in” (I’ve done that before – not pretty). I can tell these guys are way more supportive than any shoe I’ve had before. So far, so good!

It’s been one of those weeks where I feel like I’ve barely been home or eaten in my own kitchen. Observe: Monday: cater pool party for Aunt. Tuesday: Lunch with Lynne the Landlady in London (like the alliteration there?). Wednesday: Help with funeral food at church, lunch with sister, quick gym workout, then get-together for dinner with family friends. Thursday: market, lunch/pool party with friends, then Bible study. So that means Friday morning is being spent at home in pyjamas, putting off my workout until lunch. Smile

IMG_2318So, my Wednesday lunch was with my sister at Boo’s Bistro, one of her and my brother’-in-law’s favourite restaurants. I had a Wagjag coupon for $50 worth of food for $25, so it was a no-brainer! Since I’m trying to save on words this time around, I’m just going to give a brief description and let the food speak for itself. But let me say this – while a heavy meal and 80/20 splurge, I can summarize the meal in one word: YUM!

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Appetizers: mango salad (mostly me) and crabcakes (sister. I had one bite – not bad for crab).

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Main course: burger (both) with apple, gouda, bacon, caramelized onion marmalade. Mixed greens (me), frites (sister, but also me a bit because she shared).

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Dessert: chocolate pot de creme over top of a sweet cherry compote (shared). Delicious and adorable.

 

 

 

 

 

Thankfully, before the next food fest, I made a visit to The Athletic Club to go to UFC class, as it was the last day of my $19 one month membership. UFC is basically a high-intensity circuit class of weights and cardio. Example: burpees with a medicine ball: epic. I felt the burger at times (I am NOT used to eating such a big meal at lunch), but was glad I did the class afterward – I felt great!

No pictures of dinner – but it was a typical summer meal – beef on a bun, salads, corn on the cob, veggies and dip, cake, cake pops, fruit and ice cream. The amount I ate actually wasn’t a lot, and would have been fine if I hadn’t had such a huge lunch. I couldn’t resist a cake pop, ice cream and fruit for dessert. Needless to say, I was full when we left. Thank goodness for yesterday’s long run!

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My girlfriends and I potlucked for lunch yesterday. Nicky made tasty wraps with lettuce, tomatoes, corn and cheese in a dressing that was half Ranch and half salsa – yummy! Heather made a deliciously summer-y salad of cucumbers, peas, and onions in creamy cucumber dressing (which I haven’t had in forever and forgot how much I loved).

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I did dessert (naturally) and brought fresh cherries from the market and a quickie mini chocolate raspberry trifle I made (perfect size for a small group). Although trifle is usually a feed-a-crowd kinda dessert, you can easily make a smaller one if you have a small bowl (or do in wine glasses for individual servings and a cute presentation). And, as you know I was short on time this week, you can whip something like this up in 15 minutes if you’ve got the right stuff on hand (that’s all it took me). Here’s what I did:IMG_2314

Quick Chocolate Raspberry Trifle

Grab a bag of 5 chocolate zucchini muffins from your freezer (they may or may not have been there since last summer, but if you can’t use slightly freezer-burned muffins in a trifle for your girlfriends, where can you use them?).

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Thaw muffins in the microwave. Remove papers and crumble them (and please, eat any crumbs left on the paper liners like I did). Set aside.

 

 

IMG_2316Make a package of Jell-o fat-free chocolate instant pudding mix with just over 1 cup of skim milk. Gently whisk in about one cup of fat-free Cool Whip. Optional: add a couple teaspoons of unsweetened cocoa powder. I just like the added depth of chocolate flavour.

In a small glass bowl, layer half the crumbled muffins, fresh raspberries from your garden (ok fine, a store if you have to) and half the pudding. Repeat the layers, top with more Cool Whip, garnish with strawberries. Put in the fridge – you’re done!

This can easily be made with any combo of pudding/cake (or muffins)/fruit. And trifle (especially when it contains chocolate) is always a crowd pleaser!

The weekend is full of a LOT more food and fun – but thankfully, it’s all home-based, so I don’t have to go anywhere. We’ve got company coming tonight, and then we’re having a HUGE BBQ party Sunday.

Canadian friends – what are your plans for the long weekend? Whatever they are, enjoy. Hopefully, if you’re lucky (like me) you will be surrounded by good food, family and friends!

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Naughty and Nice

14 Jul

So, you’ve heard this before. The name of the blog is Hungry Healthy Hilary. And while I am always hungry, I try to always be healthy, but let’s be honest, it doesn’t always happen. As for the title of today’s post, I’ve made two chocolate IMG_2130things this week – one is a little more indulgent – the naughty. And one can be enjoyed on a more regular basis – the nice.

Let’s go naughty first – I’m talking cheesecake pops! Now, to be fair, I didn’t make these for me. They were for the same meal as the fruit bouquet and the lemon thyme biscuits. So while I did eat one (and may have a couple more, as the recipe made A LOT), I am not the sole benefactor, and thankfully, I don’t have all 56 of these beauties kicking around my house – that would be trouble!

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The recipe is courtesy of one of my favourite decadent dessert cookbooks – Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Connor. There are just so many fun and over-the-top recipes in there. If you want to indulge, this book is it! And since kids were part of the group I’d be making these for, I figured they’d be a huge hit (they were – and I don’t think the adults minded either Winking smile). My only “complaint” was that the recipe made WAY  more than it said. 30 to 40 turned out to be 56!!!! Guess they were supposed to be bigger?!? So I’m taking the 14 or so I have left here to my ladies’ Bible study tonight. I figured with a group of girls, chocolate-covered cheesecake on a stick will go over well, don’tcha think? (so if any of my Bible study gals are reading this, you know what I’m bringing tonight).

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From Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Connor

Makes 30-40 (or 56 in my case)

  • 5 – 8 ounce/250 g packages cream cheese, at room temperature (you’ll notice I used reduced-fat, so this is practically health food Winking smile)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • boiling water as needed
  • 8 inch lollipop sticks (30 to 40 or 56, depending on how many pops you get)
  • 1 pound semisweet chocolate coating (the disk shapes – I couldn’t find these at my grocery store, so I had to use chocolate chunks – it turned out find)
  • decorations of your choice (I used sprinkles, mini m&ms and graham cracker crumbs)

Preheat oven to 325.

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer set a low speed, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, flour and salt until smooth. Add the whole eggs and the egg yolks, one at a time, beating well (but still at low speed) after each addition. Beat in vanilla and cream.

Lightly grease a 10-inch cake pan (not a springform pan) (I didn’t have one, so used a 9  inch square pan). Pour the cheesecake batter into the cake plan and place in a larger roasting pan. Fill the roasting pan with boiling water until it reaches halfway up the sides of the cake pan (my roasting pan wasn’t big enough to fit my square pan, so I used my large bar stoneware pan). Bake until the cheesecake is firm and slightly golden on top, 35 to 45 minutes (mine took over an hour, and I still think it could have been firmer. Likely this was due to using a smaller pan).

Remove the cheesecake from the water bath and cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until very cold, at least 3 hours or overnight.

When cold and very firm, scoop the cheesecake into 2 ounce balls and place on a parchment or waxed paper-lined baking sheet (if you don’t have a cookie scoop, you MUST get one for this task – it works perfectly) . Carefully insert a lollipop stick into each cheesecake ball. Freeze the pops, uncovered, until very hard, at least 1 to 2 hours.

When the cheesecake pops are frozen and ready for dipping, prepare the chocolate coating. Place half of the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high for 30 seconds. Remove from the microwave and stir. If the chocolate is not completely melted, microwave for 20-second intervals, stirring until smooth (this is what the recipe says, I microwaved less than half the chocolate for 2 minutes, then stirred in some unmelted pieces until they melted and the mixture was smooth. I melted more chocolate as needed).

Quickly dip a frozen cheesecake pop in the melted chocolate, swirling quickly to coat it completely. Hold the pop over the melted chocolate and shake off any excess. Place the pop on a clean parchment or waxed paper-lined baking sheet to set. If using decorations, sprinkle them on right away, as the chocolate sets quickly due to the frozen pops. Repeat with remaining pops, melting more chocolate as needed.

Refrigerate the pops until ready to serve (and store any leftovers in the refrigerator).

These would be great party food. Kids would love them, but they’d also be fun for bridal or bachelorette parties, birthdays, anniversaries, you name it! Also: they’re delicious! And you can personalize them by using decorations of your choice.

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On the left is just the cream cheese and sugar. On the right is in the middle of adding the eggs….beat, beat, beat!

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Hmm….5 packages of cream cheese, 2 cups sugar, 5 eggs and 2 egg yolks….I’m not sure if this is decadent enough yet. We better add some heavy cream just in case! Winking smile

 

 

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My square pan inside its water bath (in case you ever wonder why I have so much stoneware, I do love it, but I also used to be a Pampered Chef consultant).

 

 

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Let the scooping begin! I found it worked better if I let the scoop do all the work and I just left my hands out of things. The dangerous thing about a recipe like this is that no one will know how many cheesecake bits and bites you sample (strictly for quality control, you understand).

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These guys are scooped, sticked, and ready to chill out in the freezer.

 

 

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Chocolate is melted, decorations are set, let’s go for a dip!

 

 

 

 

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Don’t forget the sprinkles!

 

 

 

 

Now onto the “nice” chocolate item. I’ve IMG_2146already mentioned the copious amounts of zucchini that my garden produces. That means lots of zucchini baking ‘round these parts. I am about to share with you my favourite zucchini muffin recipes. It’s a recipe for chocolate zucchini muffins that I got off of the Weight Watchers Community Forum waaaay back in 2004. It comes from the kitchen of “Wootsy.”

Wootsy, I don’t know who you are or where you are, but if you’re reading this – thank you! Thank you for giving me a chocolate zucchini recipe that contains no oil, whole wheat flour, and still tastes amazing, and that I love with all my heart. I thought the 2 cups of white sugar seemed a bit much, so I cut down just a touch when I made these yesterday (I could hear the whole healthy living blog world “tsk tsk”-ing me for using 2 cups of REFINED. WHITE. SUGAR…..the horror!), but then I got to thinking – this makes a HUGE batch (30 muffins), so really, when you consider that, 2 cups isn’t SO much.

Anyway, thanks to Wootsy (and me), you too can enjoy these delicious muffins (in fact, Donna has already – I surprised her with some after UFC class last night). If you need zucchini to make them, you know who to call! Please, please make these. Like all zucchini baked goods, they are incredibly moist, and they are totally delicious, and can be enjoyed for breakfast, snack or dessert! Also: this is a one bowl recipe – everybody’s favourite!

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One tip before I launch into the recipe. I always use a regular old box grater to grate my zucchini. With a little elbow grease, the zucchini you saw above was reduced to what you see on the right.

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins – Makes 30 regular muffins (or 24 plus 14  mini muffins. I like to make a few minis for snacking.)

From Wootsy on the Weight Watchers Community Recipe Forum in 2004

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  • 3 cups shredded zucchini
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce (which conveniently, is almost exactly 2 individual cups)
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line muffin tins with paper cups or spray with non-stick spray.

Sift (which I almost NEVER do, including here. Just use a fork/whisk/slotted spoon – save yourself some time) flours, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon together. Mix with remaining ingredients until just combined (did you know that over-mixing muffin/quick bread batter can result in a domed top? I learned that from Mrs. Douglas’ food and nutrition class back in grade 9).

Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes (about 10 for the minis) or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean (watch out for the melted chocolate chips though, they can mess with ya Winking smile). Cool and dig in and/or share with loved ones, as it makes a HUGE batch.

*Note: as with all muffins, these babies freeze beautifully.

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Blogging sin: I forgot to take a picture of the dry ingredients before I started adding the rest. So here’s the mixed dry ingredients with the shredded zucchini on top and nothing else added.

 

 

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Batter is mixed up and ready for action. And just because these are “healthy” muffins, it doesn’t mean the batter’s not delicious … not that I would know or anything, ‘cause I NEVER eat batter (if you believed that, you obviously haven’t been following this blog very long).

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Muffin cups filled up and ready to go. Let’s get these guys in the oven and get this party started!

 

 

 

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All done. It’s muffin time!

 

 

 

 

Ok, I promise, I’m done! Kudos to you if you made it all the way to the bottom of this post. It turned out a little longer than I thought, but I just had to share both of these recipes with you, and I thought the naughty and nice was a fun idea. So you can decide if you want to be naughty (although I truly don’t think it’s naughty to enjoy little indulgences like these every so often, and their small size makes it easy to treat yourself) or nice. Or be like me and do both!

When you make indulgent treats, do you gobble them down yourself, or try and get them out of the house as soon as possible? Or do you just avoid making decadent desserts altogether?

6 months ago today….

8 Jul

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…I wrote this post, and began my blogging journey at Hungry Healthy Hilary (which began as Hungry Happy Healthy, but was changed due to URL availability).

I’d been an avid healthy living and food blog reader for a couple of years. I had even been encouraged to start a blog by a family member (I tried and gave up several years back). But on January 8 2011, I finally took the plunge.

I’ve read on other blogs how blogging has changed the blogger’s life, but you really can’t understand until you become a blogger yourself and become part of this amazing community.

If you told me six months ago that I would be planning a 9 hour road trip to a Blogging Conference with someone I had never met (Donna) and have made a friend halfway across the country (Katie), I don’t know if I would have believed you….but I am SO glad that both things are true! I look forward to many more months and years of HHH and the amazing connections that come out of it. And of course, a HUGE thank-you to you, my readers, for for reading all of my ramblings. Without you, I’d just be talking to myself. Knowing that I inspire or help you even just a little makes what I do worthwhile.

Happy 6 months, HHH!

IMG_2018In honour of my blog birthday, I’m sharing the cake recipe that I made for my mom’s birthday on Wednesday. I made a chocolate cappuccino cake. The idea came from this PC Blue Menu Vanilla Latte cold drink mix I bought last summer, and have only used once or twice. While the stuff is good, I’ve come to the conclusion that for the same (or less) calories, I can make a cold coffee-ish drink that I like just as much (if not better). So what to do with the mix? Put it in a cake filling, naturally!

For the chocolate cake, I took an old WW recipe from the oldie-but-goodie All Things Sweet book I’ve mentioned before. Even though it was a light recipe, it had 2 cups of sugar, which seemed like a lot to me, so I reduced the sugar to one cup and used 3/4 cup Splenda…tasted fine to me. I also used plain yogurt instead of sour cream (‘cause that’s what I had), and baked 3 thin layers instead of 2 regular-sized ones (I wanted lots of room for that filling). Below is the recipe as I made it (I didn’t take a pic of the cake ingredients ‘cause I was living on the edge and feeling rebellious…crazy, I know).

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The filling was just a variation of the stuff that I made for my grandma’s birthday rhubarb angel food cake, only I used the latte mix instead of Splenda, and added vanilla extract and cinnamon at the end (those two were last minute additions, as I thought that the filling just lacked something, hence why they have their own photo). Please note that the quantities listed are as I would plan to make it. In actuality, it was slightly less  than 1/2 cup yogurt and slightly more than 2 cups Cool Whip, as I was in a “I-want-to-use-it-up-and-not-put-away-any-extra-or-open-a-new-container” kind of mood when I made the filling. Winking smile

Chocolate Cappucino Cake (cake recipe adapted from Weight Watchers: All Things Sweet)

Cake

Cooking spray

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup Splenda

10 tablespoons light margarine (recipe calls for softened light butter, which I find difficult to find, I used the light Becel margarine in a tub – it turned out fine)

3/4 cup egg substitute

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup fat-free plain yogurt (or sour cream)

3/4 cup boiling water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling

1/2 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt

1/2 cup fat-free cream cheese, softened

2 cups fat-free Cool Whip

2/3 cup PC Blue Menu Vanilla Latte Instant Drink Mix (although I’m sure any brand of instant vanilla cappuccino/latte mix would work)

A splash of vanilla extract

A couple dashes cinnamon

Optional: cocoa powder to dust and fresh strawberries to decorate (I also think chocolate shavings and/or chocolate-coated espresso beans would be lovely)

Preheat oven to 350. Coat  3 (8 inch) round cake pans with cooking spray; set aside.

Beat sugar, Splenda and butter/margarine until well-blended (by hand or with a mixer – you choose. I did by hand). Gradually add egg substitute; beat well. Combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Gently stir in boiling water and vanilla.

Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake at 350 for 21 minutes (if you know me, you know I don’t like to be exact in my kitchen timing or alarm clock setting, so you can bake for a nice round number, but proceed at your own risk – you’ve been warned), or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10-15 minutes in pans on a wire rack, then turn cakes out onto the rack to cool completely.

To make filling, combine softened cream cheese and yogurt with a spatula, stir in the latte mix. Gently fold in Cool Whip, then the vanilla and cinnamon.

To assemble, put one layer on a cake plate and evenly spread with filling. Repeat with remaining two layers. If desired, dust with cocoa powder and garnish with berries. Store cake covered in the refrigerator. ***Cut with a serrated (bread) knife – after a few hours in the fridge, it cuts beautifully.

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IMG_2021Side note about putting this cake in the fridge. Since our fridge was full of birthday supper food (which I will potentially share in upcoming posts), I had to take the cake out to our extra garage fridge. Since it was on a tall, covered, footed cake plate, I needed to remove a shelf from the fridge. However, my car was too far forward, so I had to go grab my keys and back up a bit. First attempt, not far enough. Second attempt, I could just barely get the shelf out, but in the process of doing so, knocked out a glass jar of maraschino cherries and it broke on the garage floor! Sad smile You can bet that was a treat to clean up! I just thought you’d enjoy one of the many kitchen mishaps in the life of a food blogger.Winking smile

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This question is mainly for my fellow bloggers (although anyone can put in their two cents): How has blogging changed your life?

Oh, and HAPPY FRIDAY everyone!

I fit a whole state in the oven!

26 Jun

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Did anyone guess what I was talking about when you read my title? I’m talking baked Alaska here, people, which, in case you didn’t know, is a dessert that consists of cake and ice cream which gets covered with meringue and baked in the oven.

Why did I make one on the weekend? My little cousin is graduating from grade eight (I must be getting old) and her grad party was yesterday. A few years back, she and her sister helped me make a baked Alaska at my house and were pretty impressed. So, as a graduation gift, I offered to make one for her party….although it’s not that hard to make, it does have several steps and requires lots of freezing time, so I opted to stay over the night before. IMG_1916

As impressive as this dessert is, I promise, it’s not that hard to make…you just need time! And another plus is that it’s totally customizable. You can see that the recipe tells you to use raspberry sorbet, and chocolate and vanilla ice creams, but the flavours are totally your call – my cousin picked chocolate, vanilla, and butterscotch ripple. You could also use frozen yogurt and a lighter cake recipe, and this would be a pretty reasonable dessert, considering that meringue is totally fat free. Try this next time you really want to impress at a summer party – you won’t regret it, I promise!

Baked Alaska

from Food Network Magazine August/September 2009

IMG_1904For the Ice Cream Cake:
  • Vegetable oil, for brushing (I used PAM)
  • 1 pint raspberry, passion fruit or other sorbet, softened
  • 1 pint vanilla ice cream, softened
  • 1 quart chocolate ice cream, softened
  • 1 cup chocolate wafer crumbs (about 17 crushed wafers)
  • 1 loaf pound cake
For the Meringue:
  • 1 cup egg whites (about 6 large), at room temperature
  • Pinch of cream of tartar
  • 1 cup sugar

Directions

Make the ice cream cake: Brush a 3-quart metal bowl with vegetable oil; line with plastic wrap. Fill the bowl with scoops of the sorbet, vanilla ice cream and half of the chocolate ice cream, alternating small and large scoops to create a mosaic of colors and shapes. Place a piece of plastic wrap on top of the ice cream; press down to close the gaps between scoops and even out the surface. Remove the plastic wrap, sprinkle the ice cream with the wafer crumbs and re-cover with the plastic wrap, pressing gently. Freeze until set, about 30 minutes.

Remove the wrap and spread the remaining chocolate ice cream in an even layer on top of the crumbs. Cut the pound cake into 1/2-inch-thick slices; completely cover the ice cream with the slices, trimming as needed (you’ll use about two-thirds of the cake). Cover with fresh plastic wrap and freeze until firm, at least 2 hours or up to 2 days.

Make the meringue: Whip the egg whites and cream of tartar in a large bowl with a mixer on medium-high speed until foamy, about 2 minutes. Gradually beat in the sugar on high speed until the whites are glossy and hold stiff peaks.

Remove the top layer of plastic wrap, then invert the cake onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. (If necessary, let the cake stand overturned until it slips out.) Remove the rest of the plastic wrap and cover the ice cream completely with the meringue, making the dome-shaped top slightly thicker than the sides. Form swirly peaks in the meringue using the back of a spoon. Freeze for at least 3 more hours.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Bake the cake until the meringue peaks are golden, about 4 minutes, or brown the meringue with a blowtorch. Let the cake soften at room temperature for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing. Freeze any leftovers.

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The softened ice cream scooped into the lined bowl, before I packed it all down.

 

 

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….now add a layer of cookie crumbs and freeze.

 

 

 

 

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…add another layer of ice cream, then some cake slices (I made my favourite pound cake recipe, but you could easily buy it), then freeze again.

 

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On the left, you can see what the dessert looks like after being frozen (overnight) and unmolded. Be patient! It takes a few minutes (and a bit of assistance from a butter knife), but you will get it out. On the right, we have the meringue whipped up and ready for action.IMG_1913

 

Action shot: the cake is partially covered with meringue.

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Now it’s all covered with the meringue, ready to freeze some more and then get toasted (both times I’ve made this, I’ve done the oven method, as I don’t have a blow torch – works just fine).

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My Aunt also requested that I make some appetizers for the graduates to enjoy – on the menu were BLT pizza, hot broccoli and cheese dip, and taco/nacho dip…not exactly “healthy” fare, but it wasn’t my party! I have to admit, although I didn’t take huge portions of any of them, I did pick a bit too much as I cooked and as the food sat out afterward….but there were some healthier options (veggies and PC blue menu chicken skewers) so I tried to load up on those. Another side note: one benefit of having a healthy eating blog and an Aunt who reads it is that when you come to IMG_1910stay overnight, she announces she has lots of healthy food for you to choose from: SCORE!

I was able to come up with this breakfast (berries, yogurt, special K yogurt and berries) from her pantry/fridge….thanks for thinking of me Auntie Rue! Smile

 

What are your favourite summer desserts to make (or eat)?

Guess what this ISN’T

17 Jun

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Happy Friday, dear blog friends! Let’s take a look at the photos above, shall we? You’re probably looking at them, and thinking, “oh, Hilary’s making some chocolate chip cookies, this sounds yummy” (unless you considered the title of today’s post). Well, if that’s what you’re thinking, then you are WRONG!

Do these pictures help you out a little bit more?

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Ok, I can’t hold it in. You are looking at several stages of making COOKIE. DOUGH. TRUFFLES. You heard me right. Yes, they are every bit as delicious as they sound (possibly even more). And yes, these guys are DANGEROUS! Make sure you have somewhere to take them and share them, because if you’re anything like me you can NOT be trusted around these little bombs of deliciousness.

I first saw this recipe on the show Paula’s Best Dishes on the Food Network quite some time ago and could NOT get it out of my head! I googled it, bookmarked it, and first made these beauties last summer for the guests at my birthday party (I hosted my own birthday party, made all the food, and take-home treats for the guests….does this surprise anyone?). I made them again this week for our Worship Team Practice at churchIMG_1782…it was our last practice before we break for summer, so I figured we should go out on a sweet note (pun INTENDED)!

Since Paula and the Food Network people have it written up so nicely, I’m just going to send you over there if you want to make the recipe. If you or a family member are allergic to nuts, please accept my deepest sympathies, as these contain pecans. *Please note, although the name of the blog is Hungry Healthy Hilary, I do like to indulge now and then. These truffles are one of those times…but anything can fit into a balanced diet…one of these is 80/20 eating at its finest! The good thing about these truffles is they are pretty small, relatively speaking. So eating one isn’t going to derail your day.

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These guys are good enough on their own, but I wasn’t about to stop there. I remembered reading on Oh She Glows about Angela making a “cookie dough blizzard” of sorts with banana soft serve. I decided that one of these babies would be a delicious option. And, since I had just one chocolate peanut butter ball left, I figured, why not chop up that little guy too?IMG_1797

Making this tremendous treat is so simple too. All you do is make basic banana soft serve (1 chopped frozen banana, touch of almond milk, process until smooth in a food processor) and add a little unsweetened cocoa powder. Then put it into a glass or small bowl and stir in your cookie dough truffle and chocolate pb ball pieces (note, just like blizzards, you could go any way with this…use a bit of your favourite chocolate bar, crumbled cookies…possibilities are endless).

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This was the perfect dessert for “I wanna be a little naughty and decadent, but not totally over the top.” You’ve got the healthy goodness of banana soft serve with the totally decadent cookie dough truffle…the angel on one should and the devil on the other are both satisfied, right?

So…speaking of being naughty… last night was Thursday Night, aka Hilary’s “treat”/temptation night. I was hoping that my little blizzard treat would do the trick, but alas, I fell into my old traps.

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I was baking, making these delicious lime cookies for a function for my Aunt. There was dough to eat, broken cookies that I couldn’t use (but couldn’t let go to waste). Then there were all the bits and bites here and there….frozen yogurt out of the container, jelly beans, other things that I can’t even remember! All that to say is, even as a “health food blogger,” I still have my struggles…I am a work in progress! But the healthier you are in the day-to-day, the less one night of not-so-stellar choices has to derail you, right? (Or so I tell myself).

On a happier note, Shape up for Summer is going well for me. In the past week, I’ve noticed that two of my pairs of “tight pants” aren’t quite as tight as I remembered….this is HUGE for me! I’ve been keeping up with hooping for 10 minutes a few times a week. And I met with my personal trainer this week who totally beat me up (arms. were. so. sore). Military Tone was cancelled again last Saturday (fingers crossed for this week), but I made up for it by pushing myself through some treadmill intervals and a few weights. And HUGE score? I got a Wagjag deal for $19 for a one month membership to The Athletic Club!!!!! Sweet! Yes, I still pay for and will go to my regular gym, but I am excited to take advantage of the pool and different classes there, to switch things up a little (plus, Donna is a member, so we can go together). I’ve been doing pretty well on the special occasion eating, but I’ve got two food-filled weekends coming up, so wish me luck and stay tuned!

Enjoy the weekend everyone!

Sweet Success

15 Jun

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I did it: I made my first recipe from The Biggest Loser Dessert Cookbook (with some assistance from my dear friend Megan, who was over for dinner, and can always be counted on for all things dessert). What was the first dessert I tried? Chocolate peanut butter balls! Sounds promising, right?

If you look at the picture below or read the recipe, you’ll see that there are only 4 ingredients! So that’s a huge plus if you want a sweet treat in a hurry. From IMG_1761start to finish,this recipe took probably less than 10 minutes, and since there’s no baking, you can enjoy them right away. These balls are not insanely decadent (you won’t mistake one for a Reese’s peanut butter cup) , but I’d say this is a good go-to recipe if you want something to satisfy your sweet tooth in a hurry but is still somewhat healthy/natural and won’t make a HUGE batch (it only makes 8). Megan thought they could have used more peanut butter. Hmm….I wonder if the Ethel M pecan brittle we ate afterward would be Biggest Loser-approved? Winking smile 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls (makes 8 with 56 calories each)

From The Biggest Loser Dessert Cookbook

1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons old-fashioned oats

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tablespoon unsweetened all-natural creamy peanut butter (or you can be rebellious like us and just use good ol’ Kraft, I promise I won’t tell!)

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl (the recipe says to use an electric mixer, but I found this completely unnecessary…I’ve got the pipes! Plus it seems silly to drag out a mixer for such a small amount).

Lay a large piece of waxed paper on a flat surface. Using your hands, divide the mixture into 8 equal portions (the mixture will be sticky) and roll each one into a ball (I actually didn’t find the mixture as sticky as I thought).

Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

I will keep you posted as I try more recipes. Many of them have more unusual ingredients (like agave nectar and coconut sugar), so I will have to go on a special shopping trip before trying some of them.

BUT, I do have another dessert treat to share – this one’s my own creation! IMG_1773As per the Shape up for Summer challenge, yesterday was my designated “low carb day,” so that meant another DELICIOUS soft serve sundae – banana peanut butter chocolate with strawberries – oh yeah! And it was just as good as it sounds!

IMG_1771My base was the basic banana soft serve. I made a sauce by mixing 2 tablespoons of PB2 with a bit of Brown Sugar Twin, a touch of unsweetened cocoa powder and enough water to make a pourable consistency. I swirled some of the sauce into the soft serve, topped with sliced fresh strawberries, the rest of the sauce, and a sprinkling of cacao nibs for crunch.

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…as you can see, it was terrible and I had a lot of trouble choking it down! Winking smile

I love soft serve sundaes! I am so glad I’ve got a whole summer ahead of me to try more flavour combinations, and also experiment with my new cookbook. Do you have any new cookbooks/recipes you’re wanting to try? (Or good ones you’d recommend to me, not that I need more)?

Weekend Baking

13 Jun

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It doesn’t seem like many weekends go by when I’m not baking something, quite often more than one thing.  This weekend was a case in point. I owed my brother-in-law some baking for his monthly birthday sweets instalment. Inspired partly by his love of chocolate mint and partly by the package of mini peppermint patties that had been in my cupboard for some time, I whipped up a quick batch of chocolate mint brownies. To make ‘em, follow this recipe and add a bit of peppermint extract and stir in the patties.IMG_1752

Baking project number two was a birthday cake for my dear grandma, who turned 82 yesterday (love you grandma). Appearance-wise, it’s not the best cake I’ve done, but taste-wise it was a big hit. It was a rhubarb-filled angel food cake with a tangy vanilla frosting. Super-light, but not light on taste at all. Several at the table had seconds, so that’s always a good sign, right?

Rhubarb Filled Angel Food Cake

1 package angel food cake mix, plus necessary water

3 cups chopped rhubarb

Splenda or sweetener of your choice, to tasteIMG_1732

1/2 cup water

3 tablespoons cornstarch, dissolved in 4 tablespoons water

1/2 cup fat-free Greek yogurt

1/2 cup fat-free cream cheese, softened

2 tbsp Splenda

1 tsp vanillaIMG_1728

2 cups thawed fat free or light Cool Whip

 

1. Make angel food cake according to package directions in a tube pan. Let cool completely.

2. To make filling, bring rhubarb, Splenda and water to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, and simmer for about 5 minutes until rhubarb is tender and broken down. Stir in the water/cornstarch mixture, increase heat, allow filling to come to a boil and thicken. Remove from heat, cool completely.

3. To make frosting, stir together the cream cheese and yogurt with a spatula. Stir in vanilla and Splenda. Gently fold in the cool whip.

4. To assemble cake, use a serrated knife and gently cut the angel food cake into 3 layers. Spread cooled filling over the first layer. Top with second layer and spread filling over it (you will have a little extra filling). Cover top and sides of cake with icing, decorate if desired.

5. Slice cake with a serrated knife, and store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

Mmmmm! I love rhubarb (the filling was basically just stewed rhubarb, thickened with cornstarch) and angel food cake is always a sure bet if you want a “healthy” dessert. Feel free to make it from scratch if you want to, it’s just a bit time-consuming, and I didn’t have time to spare this weekend. And the frosting! The Cool Whip made it super fluffy, and the yogurt gave it a nice tang. It wasn’t overly sweet at all (even my mom, not an icing fan, loved it). Try this! If rhubarb isn’t in season, you could make the filling with any number of fruits.

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The cake came out of the pan a bit roughly, but as I always say, icing covers a multitude of sins. Smile

 

 

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There were lots of moist, delicious crumbs that clung to the pan when I turned out the cake. I didn’t let them go to waste, and I trust you won’t either (after all, there’s no fat in them, you’re practically eating air!) Winking smile

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This is what the filling looks like right after you add the cornstarch, but before it’s totally thickened up.

 

 

 

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Two layers of the cake, covered with filling, waiting for the top layer and the frosting.

 

 

 

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The frosting’s all whipped up and ready to go!

 

 

 

I just love rhubarb desserts, Unfortunately. even though they contain fruit, desserts like rhubarb pies and crisps are typically pretty high in fat/calories (unless of course you make Katie’s crockpot version), and reserved for special occasions. This cake puts rhubarb back within reach for for any day! What are your favourite ways to use rhubarb?

Secret Ingredients

7 Jun

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Do you make something that has a “secret ingredient”? You know, that one thing that enhances your dish somehow, but no one would ever guess what it was? Saturday was “secret ingredient day” over at HHH.

I went to my grandparents’ for dinner on Saturday with my mom, and she asked me to make a salad (see above photo). I just threw a bunch of veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, snap peas, celery, green onion, broccoli slaw mix) together for a slaw-ish salad, and it turned out really well. But the secret ingredient’s in the dressing: pickle juice! I was pulling out ingredients for the salad, and was putting fresh dill in anyway, and I saw a pickle jar with one lonely dill pickle (which I ate), and thought, why not? It’s just dill-flavoured vinegar, and I would have put in vinegar anyway. Confession: after eating the pickle and putting the juice in my dressing, I ate some of the garlic straight outta the jar! Embarrassed smileThe other dressing ingredients besides the pickle juice were: ranch dip mix, Epicure French Onion dip mix, Dijon mustard, fresh dill and chives, and fat-free Miracle Whip. Mmmm….really good! Use this on any coleslaw/broccoli-type salad this summer – sure to be a winner at any BBQ or potluck!

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After dinner on Saturday, we went over to my Aunt’s house and I brought cupcakes since her birthday is today (happy birthday Auntie Rue!). But not just any cupcakes – black-bottom cheesecake cups – and healthy ones at that! What makes them healthy? That’s the secret ingredient! There are no butter or oil in these babies, instead they use….

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…PRUNE BABY FOOD! I can’t take credit for the idea, it’s an old Weight Watchers recipe. It’s kinda like the applesauce idea, keeping the moisture, cutting the fat. But the prune thing would only work in chocolate baked goods I think – you’d get some pretty funky cookies if you put in just a chocolate chip cookie dough or something like that! Smile with tongue out The recipe calls for almonds on top too, but I omitted them this time, because my cousin’s allergic to nuts. That means there’s even less calories, so I can have 2, right? With the nuts though, these cupcakes only have 151 calories and 3.5 g fat each – a bargain if you ask me!

Black-bottom Cheesecake Cups – makes 18

from Weight Watchers: All things SweetIMG_1672

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

3/4 cup white sugar

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

1 tablespoon instant coffee

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 4 oz jar prune baby food (my jar was 4.5 oz, so I ate a bit…it was actually pretty good! Mind you, I like prunes)

1 cup water

1 tablespoon white vinegar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

8 ounces (one tub) fat-free cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup icing sugar

1 large egg

cooking spray

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup toasted chopped almonds (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Combine prune butter, water, vinegar and vanilla; stir well. Add to flour mixture, stirring with a whisk until blended. Set chocolate batter aside.

3. Beat cream cheese in a bowl at medium speed of a mixer (or vigorously with a spatula and a fork) until smooth. Add icing sugar and egg, beating until well blended; set cream cheese mixture aside.

4. Place 18 paper muffin cup liners in muffin cups; coat liners with cooking spray. Divide chocolate batter evenly among muffin cups; spoon cream cheese mixture evenly on top of chocolate batter in each up. Sprinkle chocolate chips and almonds over cream cheese mixture. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in centre comes out clean. Let cool in pans 5 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pans and let cool completely on wire rack.

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Now since these  are so healthy and all (practically fat-free, and think of all the fibre from the prunes!), I think it’s only right that I licked the bowls pretty clean, don’t you? Winking smile Good, glad you agree. If you do make these, make sure you get a bit of both kinds of batter on your spatula, so you can lick the chocolate and the cream cheese goodness at the same time!

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These are a great go-to recipe for those times when you want to take a dish to a get-together, and you want it to be something you can indulge in without going over the top, and you also want it to be something everyone will LOVE! I promise you, no one will ever guess the secret ingredient if you don’t tell them!

 

 

 

What’s the most unusual “secret ingredient” you’ve ever used (that is, if you’re willing to share your secrets)?

Favourite Things: Online HG Recipes

19 May

I was scrolling through pictures on my computer, looking for un-posted ones that I could write into a post for this week. I found a couple of photos from my recent catering extravaganza of a favourite Hungry Girl recipe of mine. Then I thought, why not make a post dedicated to my favourites? I was just going to make it a regular post, but then I thought another favourite things post would be fun for while I’m away. So without further ado, I give you some of my favourite online HG recipes (some of her recipes are cookbook exclusives, for this post, I’m just using the ones online, and I’m just giving you the links, rather than typing out all the recipes here).

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Hungry, Hungry Artichoke Hummus This is the recipe in the pictures above, the one that inspired this post. Obviously, you know it’s a good recipe if it’s a healthy one that’s good enough to use for catering! And I’ve already told you how I love artichokes. Just a heads-up on one ingredient: the fat-free Greek yogurt can be swapped for regular plain yogurt or sour cream. This recipe originally comes from the 200 under 200 cookbook, and once I made it – I fell in love! Luckily for you, it’s available online. Winking smile

Fettuccini Girl-Fredo I consider this one of HG’s greatest hits. I hardly ever eat it as is though. I like to top it off with grilled or roasted veggies, some cheese, and maybe a homemade tomato sauce. It’s totally worth seeking out tofu shirataki noodles to make this. Another note: I always use the whole wedge of Laughing Cow even though the recipe only calls for half – FYI: Canadian Laughing Cow is lower in calories and fat than American – great, eh? ‘Winking smile 

HG’s Fiber-ific Chicken Parm It’s chicken parm, without the harm! Cheesy, braded foods are NOT off-limits. Try this, you’ll love it! And pair it with the above recipe and a salad, and you’ve got an Italian feast fit for a queen.

HG’s Top Banana Bread Who doesn’t love banana bread? Even my brother-in-law, who doesn’t like bananas, likes banana bread. The only thing better than banana bread (which, although it’s made with fruit, is also usually high in fat and sugar) is guilt-free banana bread. This recipe makes 8 HUGE delicious, slices!

HG’s Bake-tastic Butternut Squash Fries I love squash. I love fries. When they unite, it is SO good! I like seasoning mine with garlic salt and cumin, maybe a few other Epicure seasonings, and whipping up some sort of dip on the side (of course, ketchup always works).

HG’s Lord of the Onion Rings It’s been a while since I made these things, but it’s not because they’re not delicious. It does take a bit of time to grind up the cereal, slice up the onions, then dip them in the egg substitute and cereal, but it’s well worth it. Try adding different spices to the breadcrumbs for your own delicious variations.

HG’s Raspberry Mocha Madness Swappucino I LOVE this drink…make it so much. Although sugar-free raspberry syrup is hard to find (you can order online here, but I’ve found mine several times at Home Sense/Winners….random, eh?), it’s worth seeking out for this drink. I have the recipe in an HG cookbook, the only difference to the online version is that you can use any type of milk you want – I usually go for skim.

HG’s Sweet ‘n Salty Caramel Cocoa You have to go to Buffalo (or another US city) to get most of the ingredients for this drink, but it’s well worth it. If you’re a sweet and salty fan like me, you’ll love this great drink.

HG’s Swirls Gone Wild and Nutty-good PB Brownies  I just made the peanut butter variation a couple weeks back. You heard how good they are. And as I said before, the cheesecake version is basically the same recipe, only with a cheesecake swirl instead of a peanut butter one. Both are delicious and guilt-free. Try one recipe, or try both and pick your favourite!

I could go on and on, but I think I’ll stop here. There are SO MANY more HG recipes that I love, these are just some of my favourites. Are there any you think I’ve missed? Do you have a favourite HG (or other online) recipe?

Moms are amazing

8 May

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…especially mine. The older I get, the more I am overcome and overwhelmed with how much my mom has done for me, sacrificed for me, and given me so many opportunities. She has never wanted me to be anything more or less than what I am, and has been an amazing support through good times and bad. Happy mother’s day Mom …. and to all the mothers who may be reading this.Red heart

I have a longstanding tradition of making my mom breakfast in bed. But this IMG_1039year, my mom was spending mother’s day with her mom, so I made breakfast and brought it to her and my grandma. I opted to go with a Weight Watchers recipe for cinnamon raisin biscuits, as we’ve been to lots of food-centred events lately (and are leaving for Vegas in 5 days…eek!). The biscuits were loved by both mothers (and one father/grandfather who snuck some too). It’s nice to have a recipe that feels special but is still healthy, so these biscuits fit the bill. On the side, I made some maple butter (mixed maple syrup with softened butter) and fruit and yogurt parfaits, topped with the rest of the mango curd and some granola I found in my grandparents’ cupboard. Smile

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Here’s the recipe for the biscuits if you want to try them…each one has only 153 calories and 3.3 g fat…a bargain if you ask me!

Cinnamon-Raisin Biscuits

from Weight Watchers: Simple Goodness

2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 tbsp sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp salt

3 tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup raisins

3/4 cup 1 % milk

1/2 cup icing sugar

1 tbsp 1 % milk

Preheat oven to 350. Combine first 5 ingredients in a bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add raisins; toss well. Add 3/4 cup milk, stir just until dry ingredients are moist.

Turn dough onto a heavily floured surface; knead dough 4 or 5 times (note: in this recipe and most scone/biscuit recipes I make, I usually skip the kneading step, and just finish mixing it in the bowl using my hands and give a knead then, before turning it out on the counter). Roll dough to a 1/2 inch thickness; cut with a 2 1/2 inch biscuit cutter. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 450 for 11 minutes or until golden.

Combine powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon of milk; stir well. Drizzle over the biscuits. Yield: 1 dozen.

So…wondering how all the catering craziness went? Update to come! Now, I leave you with some pictures of the spring beauty in our yard…just to prove I can take pictures of something other than food! I am blessed to be able to live in the house I grew up in, and always enjoy the beautiful flowering trees around Mother’s Day.

 

May 8 2011