Monday, February 11, 2008

Recipes--Desserts, Real Age tip, Valentines day help

Good Morning!  It's another new week.  I'm still sticking to my low carb diets, however I wanted to share a couple of yummy dessert recipes.  You might find one that you want to try out for Valentines day.  If you do, then be sure to come back and let me know how it worked out for you.

These first ones come from Pillsbury.

Heavenly Chocolate-Raspberry Torte
1 bag (12 oz) dark chocolate chips (2 cups)
1 container (6 oz) Yoplait® Original 99% Fat Free raspberry yogurt
6 Nature Valley® roasted almond crunchy granola bars (3 pouches from 8.9-oz box), finely crushed (heaping 1 cup)*
1 cup egg whites (about 7)
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon fat-free half-and-half
2 teaspoons raspberry-flavored syrup (for coffee drinks) or red raspberry syrup (for pancakes)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
Fresh raspberries, if desired
Fresh mint leaves, if desired
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray bottom of 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray; line bottom with parchment paper. Spray paper and side of pan with cooking spray.
2. Reserve 1/2 cup of the chocolate chips for glaze; place remaining chips in medium microwavable bowl (or place in top of double boiler). Stir in yogurt until chips are coated. Microwave on High in 1-minute increments, stirring after each, until chips are completely melted (or heat in double boiler over simmering water, stirring frequently, until melted). Stir in crushed granola bars and egg whites until well blended. Pour batter into pan.
3. Bake 20 to 30 minutes or until side of torte has risen and center is shiny but firm when touched (if center rises, torte has been overbaked). Cool in pan on wire rack, about 30 minutes (as torte cools, side will pull away from pan and torte will slightly sink). Refrigerate until chilled, about 1 hour.
4. In small microwavable bowl, microwave reserved 1/2 cup chocolate chips and the half-and-half on High in 30-second increments, stirring after each, until chips are melted. Cool slightly, about 2 minutes.
5. Place wire rack upside down over pan; turn rack and pan over. Remove pan and parchment paper. Pour chocolate mixture over torte; spread over top and side. Slide torte onto serving plate.
6. In small bowl, mix syrup and sugar. Place in small resealable food-storage plastic bag; seal bag and cut tiny hole in one bottom corner. Drizzle over top of torte in spiral pattern; gently run toothpick back and forth through spiral pattern to feather. Refrigerate until glaze is set and firm to the touch, about 20 minutes.
7. Before serving, garnish tray and/or individual dessert plates with raspberries and mint. Cut torte into wedges with warm, dry knife, cleaning knife between cuts. Store torte in refrigerator.

White and Dark Chocolate Raspberry Tart

1 Pillsbury® refrigerated pie crust (from 15-oz box), softened as directed on box
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 package (6 oz) white chocolate baking bars, chopped
1 bag (10 or 12 oz) frozen whole raspberries, thawed, juice reserved
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup fresh raspberries, if desired
2 oz semisweet baking chocolate, cut into pieces
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1. Heat oven to 450°F. Bake pie crust as directed on box for One-Crust Baked Shell, using ungreased 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom or 10-inch springform pan, and pressing 1 inch up side of pan. Cool on cooling rack 15 minutes.
2. Place orange juice in 2-quart saucepan. Sprinkle gelatin on juice; let stand 5 minutes to soften. Stir in 3/4 cup of the whipping cream; heat over low heat, stirring frequently, until gelatin is dissolved. Stir in white chocolate until melted and smooth. Transfer to medium bowl; refrigerate about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cool but not set.
3. In blender or food processor, place thawed raspberries and any juice. Cover; blend until pureed. Set strainer over 2-cup measuring cup. Press puree with back of spoon through strainer to remove seeds. If necessary, add water to raspberry puree to measure 1/2 cup. In 1-quart saucepan, mix cornstarch and sugar. Gradually add raspberry puree. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. Fold in fresh raspberries; spread over crust. Refrigerate 15 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, in chilled large bowl, beat remaining 3/4 cup whipping cream with electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Fold whipped cream into white chocolate mixture. Spoon and spread over raspberry layer. Refrigerate about 1 hour or until filling is set.
5. In 1-quart saucepan, melt semisweet chocolate and butter over low heat, stirring frequently; carefully pour and spread over white chocolate layer. Refrigerate at least 2 hours until set. To serve, let stand at room temperature about 30 minutes to soften chocolate layers. Cover and refrigerate any remaining tart. Garnish each slice with fresh raspberries and white chocolate curls.

Sweetheart Cookie Bouquet
1 roll (16.5 oz) Pillsbury® Create 'n Bake® refrigerated chocolate chip cookies
24 craft sticks of various lengths
24 dark or milk chocolate heart candies, unwrapped
Decorative container
Plastic foam
Tissue paper
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Cut cookie dough into 24 slices; shape each into 1 1/2-inch ball. Place each cookie dough ball over one end of a craft stick; press gently to adhere dough to stick. On ungreased cookie sheets, place 2 inches apart, overlapping craft sticks as needed.
2. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Press 1 heart candy in center of each cookie. Cool 5 minutes. Remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks. Cool completely, about 45 minutes. (Do not pick up cookie pops using sticks until completely cooled.)
3. To assemble each cookie bouquet, place plastic foam in decorative container. Arrange six cookies in container as desired. Tuck tissue paper in between sticks to fill out bouquet.

Nutty Caramel Cookie Tart
1 roll (16.5 oz) Pillsbury® Create ‘n Bake® refrigerated sugar cookies
1/3 cup Fisher® Dry Roasted Peanuts
1/3 cup SMUCKER'S® Caramel Ice Cream Topping
1/4 cup JIF® Creamy Peanut Butter
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup peanut butter chips
1/4 cup white vanilla baking chips
1. Heat oven to 350°F. Press cookie dough evenly in bottom of ungreased 9-inch springform pan. (If dough is sticky, use floured fingers.) Bake 17 to 22 minutes or until light golden brown.
2. Meanwhile, place peanuts in resealable food-storage plastic bag; seal bag. Crush peanuts with rolling pin or meat mallet; set aside.
3. In medium microwavable bowl, microwave caramel topping, peanut butter and cinnamon uncovered on High 30 to 60 seconds or until hot and bubbly; stir well. Drizzle mixture evenly over partially baked crust. Sprinkle with peanut butter chips, vanilla baking chips and crushed peanuts.
4. Bake 12 to 18 minutes longer or until edges are golden brown. Cool completely, about 1 hour 30 minutes.
5. Run sharp knife carefully around edge of tart to loosen; remove side of pan. To serve, cut tart into wedges. Store tightly covered at room temperature.

The next one is from Nestle.

Chocolate Chip Cheesecake
Estimated Times:
Preparation - 20 min | Cooking - 55 min | Cooling Time - 2 hrs refrigerating | Yields - 16 servings
1 1/2 cups crushed chocolate sandwich cookies (about 15)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
2 cups (12-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Semi-Sweet Chocolate Mini Morsels, divided
2 pkgs. (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk
1/2 cup sour cream

PREHEAT oven to 300° F.
COMBINE cookie crumbs with butter in medium bowl until moistened; press onto bottom of ungreased 9-inch springform pan. Sprinkle with 1 cup morsels.
BEAT cream cheese, sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until smooth. Beat in eggs and flour. Gradually beat in evaporated milk and sour cream. Pour over crust. Sprinkle with remaining morsels.
BAKE for 25 minutes. Cover loosely with foil.
BAKE for an additional 30 to 40 minutes or until edge is set but center still moves slightly. Place in refrigerator immediately; refrigerate for 2 hours or until firm. Remove side of springform pan.
NOTE: Cheesecake may be baked in 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Prepare as above. Bake in preheated 300° F. oven for 20 minutes. Cover loosely with foil. Bake for an additional 20 to 30 minutes.

Now, to go in the complete opposite direction.  I received an email from Real Age that said to lose more weight eat this before every meal...and then included a link to the article.  Well, I clicked and found that they did a study and women  who dieted and ate an apple or pear before every meal lost more weight than those who just dieted.  Here is a link to the REAL AGE ARTICLE.

The following is addressed mainly to those men who tend to forget anniversaries, birthdays, mothers day and Valentines day.

Is everyone planning on doing something special for their loved one on Valentines day?  Yes, fella's...I've heard that it is just a holiday made up by the card companies.  I know that your budget may not allow for you to hire a limo. take her out for a romantic dinner, buy a dozen roses or give her a beautiful piece of jewelry.  Yeah, yeah...I know you'd like to but just can't afford to do any of those things.  And I know you would have stopped to buy that card, aw but shucks...ya forgot all about it with work and bills and everything on your mind.

So let's get a head start.  Doing something special to let someone know how they mean to you and how much you love them doesn't have to cost a penny.  Grab a piece of paper, it doesn't have to be fancy (although pretty stationery would probably get you a few extra points) and start a love letter.  Ahhhh, you don't know how?  You poor thing.  Okay, here we is a wee bit of a starter letter to help ya out. not leave the blanks, you fill that in with your personal information.

My darling ________, (Now that is where you would fill in her or his name) 
I remember the first time we met like it was yesterday.  (Now relate the story and how you felt when you first saw them)  Include details, if you remember what she was wearing write about it.  If it was raining, include that.  Etc, etc.

The first thing I noticed about you was your ___________.  (eyes, smile, hair, booty, etc)  I loved the way you ____________________________ and it still gets to me today.  Talk about her/his beauty, the beauty of her soul or whatever.

I felt lost until you came into my life.  (Or something about how she/he changed your life for the better)  Tell her/him how they've made your life better and how you can't imagine life with them. 

Has she blessed you with children?  Is she a good mother?  Thank her then.

Does she keep your house well kept?  Is she a good cook?  Talk about what you think is special about her and what she means to you.

Are ya getting the idea?  I think once you sit down and start I think you'll be able to write a really beautiful love letter.  It doesn't matter how stupid you think it is.  The important thing is that you made the effort to do something.  She will NOT think it is stupid.  I would almost guarantee you that if you give her a letter from your heart...she will love it and treasure it forever. 

And hey, don't freaking write it on the computer and email it to her!  Take the time to actually write it down on paper.  Most likely she is going to want to save this, so having it handwritten is going to make it more special.  You could practice on the computer and then once you get it just right, then write it out.

So you have absolutely no excuse not to do anything special for your loved one on Valentines Day.  Excuse me...did I hear a male say it doesn't really matter anyway?!  Um, I beg your pardon, but I have to disagree with that.  Do you love her or not?  Is she worth taking the time to sit down for 15 minutes and writing a love letter or not?  Unless your doing special things to express your love at other times, this is really important.  Maybe not to you, but to her it will mean the world! 

Yes, as women we know that this is just one day in the year, like every other day.  But it has been set aside as a holiday for people to express their love to each other.  If your not doing special little things throughout the rest of the year...then this holiday was designed just for people like you.  How do you think she feels when she talks to her friends and they all tell her how wonderful their man treated them, and then when they ask her and she has to tell them you did absolutely nothing at all?! 

Yes, I understand that you think she may know you love her and that you think you don't have to tell her that.  However, I think that most women imagine how it would feel to be treated like their man absolutely adores her and loves her more than anything in the world.  Including football, baseball, Nascar or whatever it may be.

All I can say is take the time to make the effort and see how she responds.  I think it will mean the world to her that you took the time to do something special just for her. 

Have a good day!
Welcome to any new readers & hugs to all my friends! 

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