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Recipe for a perfect Thursday

12 Aug

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1. Drive a few hours (TOTALLY worth the trip) to meet these two lovely ladies who you haven’t seen in WAY too long.

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2. Eat lunch at a cute little place in Port Elgin that your friend recommended – tomato and bocconcini salad and a Hello Dolly bar, enjoyed on a lovely outdoor patio. IMG_2540

3. Go for a walk on the Port Elgin beach on a beautiful, if a little windy, day. IMG_2543

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Be genuinely touched and surprised at the thoughtful early birthday gift (totally milking the extended birthday this year and LOVING it)from the girls – food magazines and CHOCOLATE (thanks so much ladies)! *FYI, they both loved the house-warming/engagement gifts of wine and s’mores truffles. And, best thing EVER – I walked in and gave them to my friend and she was like: “I just saw these come up on your blog!” – LOVE IT!

5. Drive home, enjoying the beautiful weather and countryside, and stopping at numerous little country markets/farmstands, eating some of the birthday chocolate (hey, put me in a card over the dinner hour with 3 chocolate bars – what do you think is going to happen?!?!), 2 peaches and a mini muffin that your friend packed you as “emergency snacks,” and then stop at Starbucks for a frappucino and a Sobey’s visit to re-stock on tofu shirataki noodles.

6. IMG_2542Arrive home, satisfy your craving for nachos for a late dinner after all your treats and snacking – made with Guiltless Gourmet chips, light shredded cheese, green onion, tomato and a mini pepper from your garden Smile, hot peppers, fat-free sour cream, refried beans and delicious homemade corn salsa that you bought at the cutest little Mennonite farm market. Eat the one s’mores truffle you saved for yourself (‘cause any more would be trouble), plus a few more snacks for dessert.

Insert contented sigh here….perfect day.

Now, because I don’t want to leave you without a recipe/food inspiration going into the weekend, I will share with you a delicious Hungry Girl recipe for PB cookies I made on Wednesday with another lovely lady I know. Try these! They are so easy and so so so good. It’s kinda a good thing that they make such a small batch, if you know what I mean (FYI, recipe says it makes 6, but those are 6 HUGE cookies…if you want ‘em a bit smaller, you can get about 8 reasonably-sized ones).

Hungry Girl’s Peanut Butter Oatmeal Softies

  • 3/4 cup regular oats (not instant)IMG_2530
    1/3 cup whole-wheat flour
    1/4 cup brown sugar (not packed)
    1/4 cup light peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp. Splenda No Calorie Sweetener (granulated)
    2 tbsp. light whipped butter or light buttery spread, room temperature
    2 tbsp. no-sugar-added applesauce
    2 tbsp. fat-free liquid egg substitute
    1/2 tsp. baking powder
    1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
    Dash salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine brown sugar, peanut butter, Splenda, butter, applesauce, egg substitute, and vanilla extract, and mix thoroughly with a wire whisk or fork.

Add flour, baking powder, and salt, and stir until completely mixed and smooth.

Add oats and mix until they are thoroughly coated with the batter.

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spoon batter onto the sheet in 6 evenly spaced mounds. Using the back of a spoon, spread and flatten batter into circles about 3 1/2 inches wide.

Bake in the oven for about 10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cookie comes out clean.

Remove baking sheet from the oven, and allow cookies to cool for 1 minute on the sheet. Then slide parchment paper onto a cool surface, and let cool COMPLETELY. (Really, they taste best once they’ve totally cooled.) Enjoy!

MAKES 6 SERVINGSIMG_2531

Serving Size: 1 large cookie
Calories: 170
Fat: 6.25
Sodium: 160mg
Carbs: 23g
Fiber: 2g
Sugars: 7g
Protein: 4g

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Make these! You know you want one (unless you’re allergic to PB, then maybe not so much…anaphylaxis is not where it’s at)! It’s supposed to be a rainy weekend, so what’s better for a rainy day than baking delicious cookies!

 

 

Happy weekend my friends! There are, dare I say it, not that many summer weekends left – so enjoy it!

If I was a normal person…

11 Aug

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…who had spontaneously decided on a Tuesday night to go see Captain America (loved it, by the way) and then after the movie, go to one of my favourite local restaurant’s weekly Tapas nights (and so not be eating until well after 9 o’clock), and wanted a snack to tide me over, I would probably have just grabbed a granola bar, or some fruit and a cheese string or something.

But, as we all know by now (or if not, I sure have been doing one heck of a job pretending), I am not normal. So, for a “light snack” before the movie, I made a salad with loads of fresh corn (I had been planning on eating corn on the cob for supper,  and so was really craving it), veggies and herbs; ham slices wrapped around some of my homemade dills (I made even MORE…we have a HUGE jar now) and a peach. Not your average “snack,” I know, but it was full of fibre and some protein, so it tided me over so well that, come 9 o’clock, I wasn’t even that hungry.

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And the tapas? Also quite delicious. The Belworth House, a local gem of a restaurant, has started offering tapas on Tuesday nights. Now they’re not tapas in the sense that they’re Spanish, more in the sense of small plates for sharing. You get a menu, and highlight the selections that you want, and they’re brought out for you one at a time. You can get 4 for $25 or 6 for $35. My mom and I each got 4, and shared (except for the seafood ones she got, which I do not care for). It’s a fun night out, and I didn’t leave feeling stuffed at all.

Here are my tapas:

August 10 2011

(sorry for the bad photos…low lighting). Clockwise from top left: potato bites with goat cheese and bacon, cowboy steak and corn on the cob, sesame chicken with bell peppers and crispy wontons, beets with haloumi cheese. All were REALLY good! The beets/haloumi were quite unique – haloumi is a cheese that you can grill without it melting all over the place, so it had a nice smoky flavour. The cowboy steak was really good too, it had a sweet sauce on it, which I liked.

My mom’s tapas:

August 10 20111

hummus with olives, caprese salad with olive vinaigrette, perch frites, scallops. I had some hummus (no olives), Caprese, no perch and a tiny bite of scallops. All around, it was a delicious, fun evening out, and a nice spontaneous Tuesday!

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Another case of “if I was a normal person.” If I was a normal person, and going to visit two good friends from university who I hadn’t seen in a while, as I am today, and one of them had recently gotten engaged, and the other bought a house, and I wanted to bring something, a normal person would just grab a bottle of wine for each of them, right? Not this insane-live-in-the-kitchen kinda gal, nope. I bought them each a bottle of wine AND made them homemade s’mores truffles (yesterday was national s’more day, I’d love to say that’s why I made these, but I’d be lying. I really made them because I wanted to bring a chocolate creation, and I wanted a way to use up some hot chocolate mix in my cupboard). These are an original creation, and as they have not yet been eaten, I cannot give you a review…but the bits and bites I *didn’t* eat (wink wink) while I was making them sure tasted good! Winking smile

S’mores TrufflesIMG_2504 – makes about 25, depending on size you choose

  • 1 heaping cup hot chocolate mix (this measurement is not exact because I used up what was in the container, but that’s what it came to)
  • 1/3 cup cream cheese, softened
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup icing sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not in the original ingredients shot because I added it later IMG_2505on to thicken up the mixture without getting it too sweet)
  • mini marshmallows, as desired (depending on how marshmallowy you want the truffles to be – I used about 1 to 1 1/2 cups, I’d say)
  • chocolate to coat (melting wafers are best, if you can’t find them, use what you’ve got)
  • vegetable shortening, if necessary, to thin the chocolate
  • graham crackers, crushed, for sprinkling (I opted to crush whole graham crackers rather than use crumbs, ‘cause I wanted a chunkier, more homemade look/texture)

In a small to medium bowl, combine icing sugar, cocoa, hot chocolate mix, butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until combined. If the mixture seems a little sticky to you, add more cocoa/icing sugar as needed.

Use a spatula to gently fold in the marshmallows.

Line a cookie sheet with waxed paper. Use a cookie scoop and/or your hands to roll the mixture into balls. I left mine imperfect – it was easier with the lumps or marshmallows and, again, I was going for a homier look. Chill in the freezer for at least 30 minutes or up to several hours, or refrigerate overnight.

Melt the chocolate in a small bowl in the microwave. Use a spoon to dip the balls into the chocolate, one at a time. Tap off any excess chocolate, return balls to waxed paper-lined sheet and immediately sprinkle with crumbled graham crackers. Chill until set, and store in the refrigerator.

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We’re all mixed up, how about some marshmallows?

 

 

 

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In you go! (if you’re like me, and don’t use marshmallows all that often, chances are they’ve been sitting in your cupboard for longer than you’d care to admit and they might be slightly stuck together. That’s ok, you just need to use your fingers to separate them and help things along a little bit)

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The marshmallows you see in the above photo weren’t enough….I added more! But now these guys are ready to play ball, or balls, that is. *Note: your truffle mixture will be quite thick and a little hard to stir, but that’s how it should beIMG_2508.

 

 

I love cookie scoops, they make my life so much easier. You really should get one if you don’t own one yet.IMG_2509

 

 

 

The truffles are rolled and ready to go into the fridge. And remember, don’t let that stuff in the bowl go to waste! Smile

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The “outside” ingredients. If you find whatever chocolate you’re using is a little too thick to coat easily, just add a tiny bit of shortening to thin it out – works like a charm (thanks Bakerella)!IMG_2511

 

 

Just wanted to show you guys a close-up of my crushed graham crackers and the coarse texture I was going for.

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Let’s take a dip, shall we?

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Graham crackers top it all off, and we’re done! Just a quick trip in the fridge and you’re ready for truffle perfection.

Try these! They’re a perfect summer gift for anyone, or great for a party! And since there are fire bans due to the dry summer, this may be the only s’more chance you get (unless you try Tina or Donna’s s’mores on a stick) – so go for it, I say!

*Just to clarify, since tone doesn’t always come through in blog posts, I am not telling you about about all my crazy culinary exploits to brag or say “look how great I am,” I’m just poking fun at myself and my desire to do all this stuff in the kitchen where normal people would go with something simpler – okay?

Where are you not normal/go a little crazy or over the top sometimes?

Confessions of a “healthy” food blogger

6 Aug

You’ve heard it here before. I’m not perfect. I like to eat things that are not always healthy for me (read: I am obsessed with dessert). My kitchen “experiments” don’t always turn out. I’m actually kind of jealous of Jamie of The Sometimes Healthy Living Blog for coming up with such a perfect name. I like to say that hungry comes before healthy in my blog name because I’m ALWAYS hungry and sometimes healthy. So are you ready for a round of HHH IMG_2412confessions? Fasten your seatbelts, ‘cause here we go!

Confession Number One: On Thursday night (designated as a splurge night back when I did WW, and can’t get the mentality out of my head) I ate 1.5 pieces of better than you-know-what cake and the little bit of homemade ice cream leftover from Sunday’s BBQ. I smartly gave most of it away, but kept these little pieces for myself. I didn’t post the recipe (because it’s dangerously addictive, and I care about you guys), but it’s basically chocolate cake soaked in the Nectar of the Gods (AKA sweetened condensed milk) and caramel sauce, then topped with Cool Whip and SKOR bars. It is, as Professor Harold Hill would say: “trouble with a capital T.”

I also ate a couple of jelly beans, a brownie, a cookie with PB (but both were small and low-fat), cereal, and a few frozen mango chunks (no, you’re not mis-reading, this is all in the SAME NIGHT). Oh well, just get on with things, start the next day with a workout, and it all works out in the end, right?

Confession Number One point five: This is one point five and not 2 because it relates to number one. I ate a sliver of a piece of better than you-know-what cake after my long run on Monday. Here’s my rationale: chocolate milk is supposed to be the perfect workout recovery food because it its protein/fat/carb ratio. And this cake was chocolate soaked in sweetened condensed milk, so pretty much the same thing, right? (just smile, nod, and agree with my rationalizations to eat insanely decadent desserts before noon). Winking smile

IMG_2450Confession Number Two: Inspired by Nourishing Flourishing’s Savory Summer Squash pancakes I decided to try and create my own variation on it with zucchini, adding fresh corn and black beans, and using a piece of crumbled leftover cornbread . I also added onion and fresh basil, and seasoned with garlic salt, pepper and cumin. While the results were delicious, they weren’t pancakes AT ALL.

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Everything crumbled and fell apart in the frying pan, creating what I called “zucchini hash.” Like I said, delicious, but not pancakes. I think I needed to better drain the zucchini and add some sort of binding agent. It isn’t really a “confession,” but I just HAVE to tell you about the sauce on the chicken in that photo. I made a red wine cherry onion sauce by simmering leftover onion relish (make it. Make it NOW. So good that you’ll eat it by the spoonful) with Dijon mustard, a splash of red wine and pitted fresh sweet cherries. Yeah. It was awesome. You know you want some.

IMG_2462Confession Number Three: I ate chocolate for breakfast yesterday morning. Okay, this really wasn’t a “bad”/unhealthy breakfast, it just sounds like it should be, and it was a really good breakfast and I wanted to share it with you and it’s my blog so I make the rules…okay? I had a deep chocolate VitaTop, a mix of fat-free regular and Greek yogurts, unsweetened cocoa powder, Splenda, fresh raspberries (last of my garden I think for this year) and a few strawberries. I finished it off with an iced coffee made with sugar-free caramel syrup (not chocolate, but still delicious). Mmm…if you want to get your day off to a great start, eat chocolate for breakfast! This one hit all the right spots! Smile

Happy Saturday! Do you have any healthy (or not-so healthy) eating/kitchen mishap confessions of late to share?

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?

Berried Treasure

2 Jul

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I picked these today. All of them. By myself. It only took me 35 minutes and cost $12.87! If you have the time (and don’t have a bad back), picking your own strawberries is TOTALLY worth your while. Most of these guys are destined for the freezer….so as you’re reading this I’m probably washing, hulling and freezing.

EXCITING NEWS! Remember my trip to Philadelphia in August to go to the Healthy Living Summit? Well, click on over to their home page, you might see someone you recognize! Winking smile On their facebook page, the HLS was looking for newbies and conference veterans to feature, so I emailed to say I was interested, got a reply asking me to answer some questions and submit a photo and VOILA…there I am on the homepage!

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And how was Buffalo, you may ask? Wonderful! Full food re-cap to come tomorrow or Monday….but for now, I’ll just show you a photo of the bad boy my mom and I shared at the Cheesecake Factory. Ohh….it was SO GOOD and absolutely worth every calorie.

Hope everyone is having a great long weekend so far (both Canadian and American readers)….I’m planning some good grillin’ tonight…hope you are too!

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)?

Recipe for a Super Saturday and a Delightful Dip

19 Jun

June 18 2011

Recipe for a Delightful Summer Saturday

1. Go to Military Tone that is (finally) not cancelled.

2. Get all prettied up and go on an hour and a half road trip to London, city that you loved and lived for five years. Eat carrots, cucumbers, fresh strawberries IMG_1827and a fibre one 100 calorie bar on the way there.

3. Go shopping and successfully use your first groupon at Old Navy, buy coconut sugar to use in recipes in your new Biggest Loser dessert cookbook and fancy sea salt at Winners, and a grad gift for your cousin and impulse-buy fancy mints at HomeSense.

4. Meet up with a university friend (and feel old for meeting up with a university friend) at Loblaws to follow the President’s Choice Summer Tour, be a little disappointed that Galen Weston wasn’t there, but enjoy your free (adorable) mini pink lemonade ice cream cone, sparkling cranberry pomegranate juice and mini sausage on a bun, and have an amazing time catching up.

5. Decide that it’s a hot day and that the mini cone just wasn’t enough and go for AMAZING tart frozen yogurt with loads of fruit, some cool passion fruit juice ball thingys, and just a few Reese’s Pieces, 1 piece of chocolate, and one slice of chocolate-covered banana.

6. Say good bye, drive home, and be hungry when you get there. Don’t know what to eat because you feel like you’ve sort of been eating all day, but yet haven’t really had a full meal. Decide on this:

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7. Even though you’ve had fro yo already, clearly, you still need dessert, so make a relatively healthy but refreshing banana chocolate smoothie (1/2 frozen chopped banana, ice, 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk, cocoa powder and Splenda).

8. Sheepishly admit you got sunburned, berate yourself, and tell yourself to do better next time.

That was the Saturday recipe, now onto the dip. IMG_1829What I am about to share with you my friends, has to be pretty much my favourite dip of all time. It’s always a huge hit whenever I make it. It may take a little time (chopping the onions and then caramelizing them), but it is SO worth it! If you like the kind of dip you make with Lipton Onion Soup Mix and Sour Cream, you will LOVE this…it is 10 000 times better (that is a fact)! And waaaay better for you than Helluva Good French Onion Dip (although that stuff is pretty tasty).

Surprise, surprise, this is a Hungry Girl recipe….so you know it’s gotta be good! I made it last night for today’s family Fathers’ Day BBQ. I’m planning a mostly make-ahead menu since we’re going to a concert in the afternoon then coming back here for a BBQ. The only thing we’ll have to do is throw the meat on the grill. Like all dips, it’s better if you can make this one ahead to let flavours blend. It’s great with veggies, crackers, chips, or by the spoonful (I won’t tell)!

Hungry Girl’s Sweet Caramelized Onion Dip

2 large sweet onions, chopped
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
1/2 cup fat-free mayonnaise
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp. fat-free cream cheese, room temperature
1 tbsp. light whipped butter or light buttery spread (I used Becel light)

1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

Heat butter in a large pan over medium-high heat on the stove. Once butter has coated the bottom of the pan, add onions, salt, and cayenne pepper. Onions may be piled high in the pan, but they’ll cook down. Sauté for 10 minutes, stirring often.

Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for an additional 25 – 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are browned and caramelized.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine sour cream, mayo, and cream cheese. Whisk until smooth. Then refrigerate.

Once onions are caramelized, add mustard and vinegar to the pan. Continue to cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
Once cool, add onions to the large bowl and mix thoroughly. Refrigerate overnight to allow flavors to combine.

Serve at room temperature with your favorite veggies, chips, and/or crackers for dipping.

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This is what the onions should look like when you add the balsamic and Dijon….and they smell AMAZING right now!

 

 

 

 

With summer BBQ season coming up, this is a great recipe to have in your roster. Make it….seriously! DO IT!

Happy Father’s Day to all the great Dads out there!

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!

You’ve been (soft) served!

3 Jun

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Happy Friday everyone! It’s the weekend. It’s getting close to summer (18 days, but who’s counting?) and the weather’s getting warmer. You want a cold, creamy, treat, but there’s that bathing suit laughing at you from the back of your closet (or maybe you’ve decided to join me for my Shape up for Summer Challenge). You need to whip up some fruity soft serve – stat!

There are so many delicious variations. If you’re new here, or have missed a few posts, maybe you haven’t seen them all. Have no fear! I am linking you to all the ones I’ve tried (so far). The procedure’s basically the same for all of them: put frozen, chopped fruit in a food processor with a touch of almond/skim/soy milk if needed, then process until smooth – that’s it!

So, you can try:

By no means do I think I am the originator of the banana soft serve idea. I’ve seen it on the Rachael Ray show, and on Tina’s blog. I’ve just taken it, and given it my own spin (like I do with most recipes Winking smile).

Now for a couple of updates on the Shape up for Summer challenge:

  • I checked off my one “low carb day” for this week already on Tuesday – yay (again, it was fairly painless – included all kinds of deliciousness, like a smoothie in a bowl with mango chunks, and even steak for dinner)
  • I want to add one little post-script to my workout goals: hoop at home for 10 minutes at least 4 days a week. I think this will really help whittle my middle back down to where I like it, and the hoop I paid $20 for has been collecting dust in my room! I’ve done this 2 days in a row so far, and since the weather’s been nicer, I’ve been taking it outside…the time goes SO MUCH faster when I’m walking around my yard in the sunshine. Smile
  • I’m trying my best to bump up the intensity in my workouts, but it’s just been so-so this week. Tomorrow I’ll do military tone class, which is always good, and I need to schedule a session with a trainer (I have a half hour left that’s paid for, I just need to get around to it!)

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Another update: this time on the rhubarb front. I used some of my stewed rhubarb to make a strawberry-rhubarb cheesecake shake! Sadly, it wasn’t quite as good as it sounds. I mean, I liked it, and (no surprise) I obviously finished the whole thing off, but it didn’t WOW me…and the cheesecake flavour didn’t come through like I’d hoped. In any case, I’ll tell you what I did and then you can repeat and/or improve on it.

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Nice overhead blender shot, eh? Into a blender, I put 1/3 cup of the rhubarb, 3/4 cup frozen strawberries, 3 tablespoons fat-free cream cheese, a touch of Splenda and 1 cup almond milk and blended away. It seemed a little thin, so I added a couple ice cubes right at the end. Again, still good, but not particularly memorable (I sound like an American Idol judge or something). Since Ontario strawberry season is fast approaching, I’m trying to finish off the end of last year’s stash in the freezer: less than 1.5 bags to go!

Hope you have a great weekend…enjoy the sunshine! Any exciting plans?

Wynn-ing Big

22 May

Our hotel in Las Vegas, the Wynn, was awesome. So awesome, and so much to eat, drink and do, that I just couldn’t fit it all in to all of the posts I wrote. To that end, here’s a post of some of my (mostly food, but some other) highlights from the Wynn that I haven’t previously mentioned.

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Mini desserts. The Lakeside Grill, where we went on our first night, has a selection of mini desserts – you can pick just one, or get 3 for a set price….so delicious and so much fun! See those truffles in the back? Champagne truffles covered in chocolate-coated popping candy! Isn’t that so much fun?!

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This is how you control everything in your room. That’s right: lights, curtains, temperature, room service…all in one spot, beside your bed. I’m going to miss being able to open and close curtains with the touch of a button….sigh!

 

 

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IMG_1295This is what they feed you on a conference lunch buffet (and that’s only the stuff I took)! Amazing salads, toasted crostini with ricotta cheese and other spreads, meats, cheeses and bread for sandwiches, tomato basil soup, fruit salad, panna cotta and biscotti (plus a bunch of other stuff, which I resisted) for dessert….YUM!

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They have amazing (if expensive) mocktails. As someone who doesn’t really enjoy or drink alcohol on a regular basis, I still like to indulge in a “special,” “fancy” drink. While at the Wynn, I had an exotic sparkling lemonade, a tropical dreams smoothie, and a Wynn signature fruit punch – all delicious! Funny story: I had to show id to get in to the outside cocktail area where I ordered my fruit punch!

IMG_1290Beautiful flowers are everywhere! Seriously, they do an amazing job at this one! I can’t even begin to imagine what their flower budget must be, but they really do make the hotel look lovely. Not only are there arrangements everywhere, but there are also flowers growing in the lobby!

Now do you see why I enjoyed it there so much?My mom and I both agreed it’s the nicest hotel we’ve ever stayed at. We probably never would have stayed there had it not been for her conference – so thanks, CI, for introducing us to the Wynn.

I’m not sure when this will be posted due to internet issues. I’m typing this on Saturday night from the Grand Canyon – we saw a great sunset tonight. How has everyone’s long weekend been?

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