Crab and Swiss Quiche


2 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/2 pound imitation crab meat, flaked
1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust






1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2. In a medium bowl, mix together eggs, milk, mayonnaise and cornstarch. Mix in the imitation crab and Swiss cheese. Pour into pie shell.

3. Bake in preheated oven until a knife inserted into center of the quiche comes out clean, about 30 to 40 minutes.

Apple Pie Caramel Apples


1 bag Kraft caramels
4-5 large, tart apples (You can use red apples too but I like the contrast of the tart apple with the caramel)
1 bag white chocolate chips or white chocolate candy melts
cinnamon sugar


1. Wash, scrub, and dry apples. This is important or your caramel won’t stick because of the coating stores put on apples.

2. In a medium saucepan, melt caramel according to package directions.

3. Put popsicle stick in the apple. Dip in melted caramel making sure to fully coat it.

4. Place on parchment or wax paper that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

5. Cool in the fridge until caramel is set up. If you want a thick caramel layer, add another layer of caramel here and let it set up again.

6. Melt chocolate chips in the microwave in 30 second intervals. You can add a little shortening if the mixture is too thick.

7. Coat the apple with the chocolate.

8. Let it set up a little bit before sprinkling it with the cinnamon sugar mixture.

9. Cool completely in the fridge.

10. Cut into slices and serve.

Spaghetti with Tomatoes, Black Olives, Garlic, and Feta Cheese


1 1/2 pounds tomatoes (about 3), seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/2 cup Kalamata or other black olives, pitted
1/4 pound feta cheese, crumbled
3 tablespoons drained capers
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
3/4 pound spaghetti
6 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced



1. In a large glass or stainless-steel bowl, combine the tomatoes, olives, feta, capers, parsley, salt, and pepper.

2. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the spaghetti until just done, about 12 minutes. Drain.

3. Meanwhile, in a medium frying pan, heat the olive oil over moderately low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the cooked pasta and the garlic oil to the tomato mixture and toss.

Frozen Fruit Pops


1/3 cup diced kiwi
1/3 cup diced watermelon
1/3 cup diced strawberries
1/3 cup diced pineapple
1/4 cup fresh pineapple juice or orange juice



1. Combine diced fruit in a bowl and fill each 5 oz cup with fruit. Add 1 tbsp of juice and insert craft sticks into each cup. They easily stay in place because of all the fruit.

2. Place in the freezer a few hours until firm. To remove the pops from the cups, run under warm water a few seconds. Enjoy!

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup


2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 (1 pound) package frozen pepper and onion stir fry mix
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons ground cumin
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
3 (4 ounce) cans chopped green chile peppers, drained
4 (14 ounce) cans vegetable broth
salt and pepper to taste
1 (11 ounce) can whole kernel corn
12 ounces tortilla chips
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 avocado – peeled, pitted and diced



1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the pepper and onion stir fry mix, garlic, and cumin, and cook 5 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Mix in the tomatoes and chile peppers. Pour in the broth, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 30 minutes.

2. Mix corn into the soup, and continue cooking 5 minutes. Serve in bowls over equal amounts of tortilla chips. Top with cheese and avocado.

Lighter Buffalo Chicken Dip


4 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened
1 cup fat free sour cream
1/2 cup Franks hot sauce (or whatever hot sauce you like)
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1 tsp white wine vinegar
2 cups (14 oz raw) cooked shredded chicken



1. Mix the first 5 ingredients together until smooth.

2. Add the chicken and put this in the crock pot on low for 3-4 hours. Serve warm.

Herb Baked Salmon



Crisco Original No-Stick Cooking Spray
4 (6 ounce) salmon fillets
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup Crisco Pure Olive Oil
2 teaspoons dried tarragon
4 teaspoons fennel seeds, crushed
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Lemon wedges









1. Heat oven to 450 degrees F. Spray a shallow baking dish with no-stick cooking spray.


2. Arrange salmon fillets in prepared pan. Season both sides of fish with salt and pepper.
3. Whisk together oil, tarragon, fennel seeds, lemon peel and lemon juice in small bowl.


4. Spoon mixture over salmon. Bake salmon just until cooked through, about 12 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.





Homemade Almond Joy

Yield: Makes about 30 little bars



7 ounces sweetened condensed milk

1 cup powdered sugar

1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

pinch of salt

2 1/2 cups unsweetened flaked coconut

30 almonds

about 20 ounces (a bag and a half) of good quality semi sweet chocolate chips



1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, spread raw almonds onto a baking sheet and toast for about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together sweetened condensed milk, powdered sugar, salt and vanilla extract. Stir in the unsweetened coconut. The mixture will be thick. Place mixture in the freezer for 3o minutes. It’s easier to work with if it’s a little cold.

3. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the coconut mixture from the freezer. With clean hands shape one tablespoon of coconut into a little log about 2 inches long and 3/4-inch thick. Press the logs together very well so they don’t crack when dipped. Place the log on the lined baking sheet and continue until all of the coconut mixture is gone. Rinse hands occasionally if they get too sticky. Press an almond on top of each coconut log. It might not completely stick. That’s ok. Place the baking sheet in the fridge to chill while you melt the chocolate.

4. Place a medium pot with two inches of water over a medium flame. Bring the water to a simmer. Place chocolate chips in a heat proof bowl and place the bowl over the simmering water. Stir the chocolate as it melts. Turn off the flame once the chocolate has melted but keep the bowl of melted chocolate over the hot water.

5. Remove the coconut candies from the fridge. Place one coconut almond log on a fork. Use a spoon to scoop a bit of chocolate over the almond. This will help the almond stick to the candy and not fall off during dipping. Lower fork into chocolate and spoon chocolate over candy to coat. Lift fork and gently shake to release some of the chocolate. Scrape the bottom of the fork along the side of the bowl and place on the lined baking sheet. You might need a toothpick to help get the candy off the fork. Repeat until all candy is coated in chocolate. If chocolate gets thick, just turn on the flame and heat slightly.

6. Let dipped candy harden in the fridge for 45 minutes. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. If you need to layer the candy in a container, use waxed paper to separate the layers.

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups


1 cups creamy peanut butter
¼ cup unsalted butter
¼ cup light brown sugar
1¼ cups powdered sugar
4 cups milk chocolate chips (two 11.5-oz bags)
¼ cup vegetable shortening


1. Line a mini-muffin tin with paper liners; set aside. Line a baking with parchment paper; set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine the peanut butter, butter and brown sugar over medium heat. Heat until completely melted and starting to bubble a little, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat. Add the powdered sugar a ¼ cup at a time, stirring until completely combined with the peanut butter mixture after each addition. Set aside and let cool.

3. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate chips and shortening together in the microwave on 50% power in 30-second increments, until completely melted, stirring after each burst.

4. Using a small cookie scoop or a couple of teaspoons, spoon melted chocolate into the bottom of each lined muffin cup.

5. Use a heaping teaspoon to scoop out the peanut butter mixture. Roll it into a ball, and then flatten it slightly into a disk. Place on the prepared baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Once finished with all of the peanut butter mixture, refrigerate both the muffin tins and the peanut butter patties for about 30 minutes.

6. Place a peanut butter patty on top of each chocolate-lined muffin tin. Then use a scoop or spoon to add more melted chocolate on top and around each peanut butter patty. (If the melted chocolate firmed up, just pop it back into the microwave at 50% power for 30 seconds or so to re-melt.)

7. Refrigerate again for 30 minutes, then they’re ready to serve! Store in the refrigerator or freezer. You can keep at room temperature in an airtight container if you’re going to serve them the same day, but they’ll start to get soft if not at cool room temperature.

Apple-Cinnamon Pop Tarts


For the dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon fine salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 large egg yolks
1/4 cup milk (not nonfat)

For the apple-cinnamon filling:
2 medium apples, such as Pink Lady or Gala
7 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 pinches fine salt

To assemble the tarts:
Flour, for rolling the dough
1 large egg
1 teaspoon water
For the glaze:
3/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons reserved apple-cinnamon filling juices
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons milk (not nonfat), plus more as needed



For the dough:
1. Whisk the flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl until combined. Add the butter and toss with your fingers until well coated in the flour mixture. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut or rub the butter into the dry ingredients until reduced to pea-size pieces.

2. Whisk the egg yolks and milk in a small bowl until combined. Add the egg-milk mixture to the flour mixture and mix with your hands until large clumps form. Turn the mixture out onto a work surface and knead briefly, smearing the butter into the dough with the heel of your palm until the dough completely comes together, about 1 minute.

3. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions and shape into 2 (6-by-5-inch) rectangles. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Meanwhile, make the filling.

For the apple-cinnamon filling:
1. Using a vegetable peeler or paring knife, peel the apples and discard the peel. Core the apples, then cut them into 1/4-inch-thick slices and again into 1/4-inch pieces.

2. Combine all the ingredients in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved and the apple juices begin to release, about 5 minutes.

3. Continue cooking until the apples just begin to soften, about 3 minutes more. Remove the pan from heat.

4. Set a mesh strainer over a medium heatproof bowl and transfer the apples and all of the juices to the strainer; set aside to cool. Meanwhile, roll out the dough.


To assemble the tarts:
1. Heat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

2. Lightly dust a work surface with flour and roll 1 dough portion out into a rough 12-by-10-inch rectangle, rotating the dough and reflouring the surface and rolling pin often to prevent the dough from sticking.

3. Whisk the egg and water in a small bowl until evenly combined; set aside.

4. Roll out the second dough portion to the same dimensions as the first, trim, and cut into 6 rectangles. Using a fork, prick the dough all over.

5. Remove the baking sheet from the refrigerator and brush a thin coating of the egg wash over each dough rectangle.

6. Place the pricked rectangles on top of the apple-covered rectangles.


For the glaze:
1. Place all the ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until evenly combined. (You may need to add more milk by the 1/2 teaspoon if the glaze is too thick.)

2. Set the wire rack with the tarts on it over a baking sheet. Using a spoon, drizzle about 1 tablespoon of the glaze over each pastry. Let set before eating, about 15 minutes.

Hostess Cupcakes

Yield: Makes 24 cupcakes


1/4 cup coconut oil
2/3 cup cocoa powder
8 oz. 70% dark chocolate
2/3 cup maple syrup
1 1/4 cup quinoa flour
2 Tbsp. flax meal
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt
2 eggs, separated
1/3 cup applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup coconut butter
1/4 cup brown rice syrup
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. chia seeds

12 oz. dark (70%) chocolate
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
1 tsp. coconut nectar
2 oz. white chocolate

Eat for two during pregnancy

Susie de Jersey, Queensland University of Technology

We’ve all heard people sprout the phrase, “go on, you’re eating for two now” at barbecues, dinner parties and wherever food is being served, forcing pregnant women to decline offers of more and more food from well-meaning friends and family.

While pregnant women don’t have to eat twice as much food, the growth and development of a baby certainly does rely heavily on its mother’s nutrient stores and intake during pregnancy. The Dutch Famine during World War II demonstrated that poorly nourished mothers were more likely to give birth to babies with restricted growth. Their children were also more susceptible to chronic diseases in adulthood.

During pregnancy, a woman’s nutrient requirements increase by between 10% and 50%, depending on the specific nutrient. But her energy intake only needs to increase in the range of 15% to 25%. In Western societies, excess energy and body weight are more common than nutritional inadequacies.

The amount of food a woman consumes during pregnancy shouldn’t increase substantially. Generally, it should only increase by the equivalent of two medium-sized pieces of fruit and half a glass of reduced-fat milk averaged over the pregnancy term. But everyone is different.

If women do kick back and eat for two, they’re likely to gain too much weight, particularly if there’s not a substantial increase in physical activity. Recently, my colleagues and I found that one third of Australian women who were a healthy weight and just over half of women in the heavier-than-healthy category gained too much weight during their pregnancy.

The complications arising from gaining too much weight during pregnancy include a greater risk of developing gestational diabetes, problems during labour for the mother and baby, weight retention after delivery for mothers and an increased likelihood that the child will become overweight later in life.

Women who were a healthy weight before pregnancy should gain around 11.5 to 16kg.
Image from

This is not to say weight gain should be restricted. Not gaining enough weight can have negative consequences for both mother and baby, so it’s important to achieve a healthy balance.

There are several resources available to guide a healthy weight gain in pregnancy. Your doctor, nurse or dietitian will be able to give you information specific to you and your pregnancy, but here is a starting guide, based on pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI):

  • women who are underweight (with a pre-pregnancy BMI of less than 18.5) should gain around 12.5 to 18 kilograms,

  • women of a healthy weight (pre-pregnancy BMI 18.5 to 24.9) should gain around 11.5 to 16 kg,

  • women who are overweight (pre-pregnancy BMI 25 to 29.9) should gain around seven to 11.5 kg,

  • women who are classified as obese (pre-pregnancy BMI above 30) should gain around five to nine kilograms.

So how do women meet the extra nutrient needs without piling on the kilos?

A pregnant body becomes more efficient at absorbing nutrients. A high-quality diet is still important but there is not as much room for those discretionary foods that have few nutrients but loads of energy.

It’s important to eat four serves of fruit and five serves of vegetables every day. Lean meat, reduced-fat dairy products and wholegrain breads and cereal products will ensure women get plenty of nutrients without overdoing the kilojoules.

There’s not much room for junk food during pregnancy.
Frlick/What is in us

Physical activity is also important – maintaining an active lifestyle and getting 30 minutes of physical activity each day will help achieve a healthy weight.

It’s difficult to meet folic acid and iodine requirements during pregnancy through a regular diet. So folic acid and iodine supplements are now routinely recommended for at least one month prior to pregnancy and for the first trimester. Ideally, the iodine supplementation should continue during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

There is insufficient evidence to support taking other vitamins or a multivitamin unless low levels are diagnosed.

While it might be nice to indulge during pregnancy, the “eating-for-two” myth should be discarded to give babies the best chance of optimal development and future health.

The Conversation

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

Ultimate Bourbon Maple Bacon Chocolate Cake

1- 1 ½ C Bacon, cooked and chopped
2½ C Flour, sifted
¾ C Dark chocolate cocoa powdered, sifted
1 tsp Baking powder
¼ tsp Salt
¾ C Unsalted butter, melted
¼ C Vegetable oil
2 C Sugar
5 Large eggs
2 tbsp Vanilla extract
¼ C Light sour cream
1 C Bourbon

For the glaze:
1½ C Powdered sugar, sifted
½ C Unsalted butter (1 stick), browned
2 tbsp Pure maple syrup
2 tbsp Milk


4 large egg whites, room temperature
Pinch of salt
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups heavy cream, whipped
10 passion fruits, for serving (optional)
4 bananas, for serving (optional)
Mixed berries, such as raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, boysenberries, or blackberries, for serving (optional)

Bethanny Frankel’s Skinny Girl Daily Cleanse Smoothie


One skinnygirl daily on-the-go cleanse packet
1/2 frozen berries (or your favorite fruit)
*1/2 banana fresh or frozen
1 cup ice
1 cup unsweetened apple juice


1. Blend all of the ingredients together adding and reducing to meet your needs.

2. Enjoy!

*peel and freeze browning bananas to avoid waste. They’re great to store and use for smoothies.

New York Cheesecake


15 graham crackers, crushed
2 tablespoons butter, melted
4 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup milk
4 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9 inch springform pan.

2. In a medium bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs with melted butter. Press onto bottom of springform pan.

3. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese with sugar until smooth. Blend in milk, and then mix in the eggs one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate. Mix in sour cream, vanilla and flour until smooth. Pour filling into prepared crust.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour. Turn the oven off, and let cake cool in oven with the door closed for 5 to 6 hours; this prevents cracking. Chill in refrigerator until serving.

New dietary guidelines – evidence for healthy choices more certain

Warwick Anderson, National Health and Medical Research Council

After nearly four years in the making, around 55,000 research publications reviewed, nutrients modelled into food and food groups, independent expert review and several rounds of consultations, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) launches its revised Australian Dietary Guidelines today.

What has changed since the 2003 guidelines? Surprisingly little in the way of main conclusions but the evidence base for recommendations has strengthened.

Enjoy a wide variety of foods from the five food groups – plenty of vegetables, fruit, grains (mainly wholemeal), lean meats and other high-protein sources, milk and alternatives and drink plenty of water. Match this with physical activity. Limit intake of foods with saturated fats, added salt and added sugars and drink alcohol in moderation. Support breastfeeding. Prepare and store food safely.

You knew all that, right? Then, why are so many of us overweight?

While NHMRC has being developing the guidelines, there has been media commentary attacking various drafts, even up to last week. This was not unexpected; there are many competing interests in this field. Producing and selling food is a major part of our national economy; television cooking programs rate highly and eating is something we all do every day.

There are many advocates of particular “diets”, especially those that promote weight loss; there are researchers funded by food companies and organisations and movements with their own interests and views; there are strong cultural and even religious views and practices about food; and growers and sellers of food have an understandable interest in the public buying their particular products.

Perhaps too, in a country where the majority of adults are overweight and a quarter are obese, there are complex personal sentiments at work. The foods that are particularly attractive to us are often also the ones we know we shouldn’t eat so much.

Of course, there is room for debate – that’s the stuff of science. But the community needs always to think about the possibility of vested interests influencing the debate about what is healthy and what is not, and of the potential influence of sponsors of nutrition research findings, just as we have become more aware of and vigilant about conflict of interest in pharmaceutical research and clinical trials.

There are many challenges to people adopting the new Australian Dietary Guidelines: awareness of them, personal inclinations and motivation, access to affordable healthy food by some people and communities, the many conflicting messages in the public debates and the power of advertising. Easy-to-use resources to support the guidelines will shortly appear on our website.

Australian farmers provide us with an abundance of healthy foods. Will we chose them and limit eating energy-dense convenience foods?

A quarter of all adult Australians are already obese and around two thirds overweight, so for our own sakes let’s hope so. Unless we do, the health problems and their costs will be a major burden on our future.

Further reading: New Australian dietary guidelines: The Conversation’s experts respond

The Conversation

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

Sinful Samoa Cake

1 box Betty Crocker Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix
¼ C Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder
¾ C Vegetable oil
3 Large eggs
1 C Light sour cream
2 tsp Vanilla extract
For the filling
2 pk Cream cheese, softened
¼ C Caramel sauce
2 tbsp Heavy whipping cream
¾ C Toasted Coconut

For the frosting
1 C (2 sticks) Unsalted butter, softened
½ C Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa Powder
3 C Powdered sugar
2 tbsp Heavy cream
1 tsp Vanilla extract

For the topping
1 C Toasted coconut
Caramel sauce
Hot fudge sauce
Samoa Cookies

Korean Beef


1 pound lean ground beef
1/4 – 1/2 cup brown sugar (I like it sweet so I usually do closer to 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup soy sauce (I use low-sodium)
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced (see note)
1/2 – 1 teaspoon crushed red peppers (to desired spiciness)
salt and pepper
1 bunch green onions, diced (don’t skip this!)


1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and brown hamburger with garlic in the sesame oil. Drain most of the fat and add brown sugar, soy sauce, ginger, salt and pepper and red peppers.

2. Simmer for a few minutes to blend the flavors. Serve over steamed rice and top with green onions.

Cheese Soup with Broccoli


1 onion, chopped
6 tablespoons margarine
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
salt and pepper to taste
4 cups milk
3 cups chicken broth
1 carrot, shredded
1 cup broccoli florets
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 pound processed cheese food (eg. Velveeta), cubed


1. In a large saucepan on medium high heat, saute the onions in the butter or margarine until tender. Add the flour and salt and pepper to taste. Mix until smooth. Add the milk slowly, until mixture is thick and bubbling.

2. In a smaller saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Add the carrot, celery, and broccoli. Cook about 5 minutes, or until tender. Combine the broth mixture with the milk mixture and stir until fully blended.

3. Add the cheese. Allow soup to heat over medium heat until cheese is melted. Important: DO NOT let the soup boil because the cheese will separate and curdle the soup. Serve hot and enjoy!

California Roll Salad


1/2 cup uncooked white rice
1 cup water
1 small head iceberg lettuce, shredded
1 English cucumber, cut into 1 inch strips
2 avocados – peeled, pitted, and cubed
2 cups shredded imitation crabmeat
2 teaspoons wasabi powder, or to taste
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil


1. Place rice and water in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until rice is tender. Set aside to cool.

2. In a large serving bowl, toss together the lettuce, cucumber, avocado and imitation crabmeat. Stir in cooled rice. In a small bowl, stir together the wasabi powder, mayonnaise, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sugar and sesame oil. Toss salad with dressing (recommended), or serve with dressing on the side.



For the peanut nougat:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1 large egg white, at room temperature
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup natural crunchy peanut butter (no added sugar)

For the caramel:
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup light corn syrup
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups roasted salted peanuts
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the chocolate coating:
2 pounds milk chocolate couverture or coarsely chopped milk chocolate


For the peanut nougat:
1. Spray a 13-by-9-inch baking pan with cooking spray, then line the pan with a 16-by-13-inch piece of parchment paper, leaving a few inches of overhang on each side. Set aside.

2. Combine sugar, corn syrup, and water in a small saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer and place over medium-high heat. Stir mixture until sugar completely dissolves. Place egg white in the base of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment.

3. Spray a rubber spatula with cooking spray and set aside.

4. Once sugar mixture is at 270°F, add salt to egg white and beat at high speed to stiff peaks, about 2 minutes.

5. Once sugar mixture reaches 275°F, remove from heat. Keeping the mixer on high speed, very slowly pour 1 tablespoon of the hot syrup in a thin stream down the side of the bowl (avoiding the whisk) and let it completely incorporate before adding more. Repeat until you’ve added all the syrup; it should take about 2 minutes. Continue to mix until nougat pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 1 minute more. Turn off the mixer and, using the oiled spatula, stir in peanut butter; mixture should be thick and spongy.

6. Immediately turn nougat into the prepared pan and, using the oiled spatula or your hands, spread mixture evenly. Let sit uncovered while you make the caramel, at least 5 minutes.


For the caramel:
1. Combine all ingredients except peanuts and vanilla extract in a heavy-bottomed 4-quart saucepan fitted with a candy thermometer and place over medium-high heat. Stir mixture until sugar completely dissolves, about 2 minutes. Wash down the inside of the pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystallization. Boil mixture, swirling pan occasionally (but not stirring), until syrup is at 248°F, about 8 minutes.

2. Immediately remove the saucepan from heat, stir in peanuts and vanilla extract, and mix until peanuts are evenly distributed. Pour caramel mixture over nougat and, using an oiled rubber spatula, spread evenly in the pan. Let cool until caramel is no longer warm to the touch and is opaque, about 70 minutes. Remove nougat-caramel mixture from the pan, transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet, and place in the refrigerator until caramel is cool and gives slightly when pressed.

3. Remove nougat-caramel mixture from the refrigerator and place on a cutting board, caramel side down. Cut into 4-by-1-inch rectangles (you need at least 24). Return to the parchment-lined baking sheet and place in the refrigerator to harden while you temper the chocolate, at least 20 minutes.


For the chocolate coating:

1. To temper chocolate, fill a large bowl with 2 inches of cold water, add 3 to 4 ice cubes, and set aside.

2. Bring a saucepan filled with 1 to 2 inches of water to a simmer over high heat; once simmering, turn off heat. Place 1 1/2 pounds of the chocolate in a dry heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over the saucepan and stir until chocolate is completely melted and reaches 118°F. (Make sure chocolate does not come in contact with water or exceed 120°F. If either happens, start over, as the chocolate is no longer usable.)

3. Remove the bowl from the saucepan. Add remaining 1/2 pound chocolate and stir until all chocolate is melted and cools to 80°F. To speed the cooling process, after all chocolate has melted place the bowl over the reserved cold-water bath.

4. Return the bowl to the saucepan and stir until chocolate reaches 86°F; immediately remove from heat. Do not remove the thermometer from the bowl; check the temperature periodically to make sure it stays between 85°F and 87°F. (Chocolate must remain in this temperature range while dipping or it will not set up properly.) Keep the saucepan over low heat and use it to reheat chocolate as necessary.

5. To test if chocolate is properly tempered, spread a thin layer on parchment paper and place it in the refrigerator for 3 minutes to set. If chocolate hardens smooth and without streaks, it is properly tempered. (If it is not properly tempered, you need to repeat the process.)

6. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove undipped candy bars from the refrigerator and drop them one at a time, nougat side down, into tempered chocolate.

7. Cover caramel side with more chocolate, then remove candy bar. To do so, use a poultry lifter or hold two dinner forks in one hand, crossing the ends of the handles to form a V, with the tines pointed outward. As you remove each candy bar, tap the fork(s) several times against the edge of the bowl and scrape the bottom of the fork(s) across the edge to wipe away any excess chocolate.

8. Place Snickles on the baking sheet by tilting the fork(s) so the edge of each candy bar touches the parchment-lined pan, then smoothly pull the fork(s) out. Repeat until all candy bars have been dipped. Let sit at room temperature until completely set, at least 20 minutes.

9. Trim any excess chocolate from edges of candy bars and place Snickles in an airtight container. Snickles will last up to three weeks in the refrigerator or up to two months in the freezer. Let come to room temperature before serving.



Fijis Recipe


For the cookie base:
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), chilled and cut into small pieces

For the caramel topping:
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
6 tablespoons water
1/4 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon fine salt
6 tablespoons heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For tempering the chocolate and assembling the cookies:
1 1/2 pounds semisweet chocolate couverture, separated into 1 (18-ounce) portion and 1 (6-ounce) portion
1 1/2 cups sweetened, flaked coconut, toasted



For the cookie base:
1. In a small bowl, beat together egg and vanilla extract until the yolk is broken up and evenly combined; set aside.

2. Combine flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and pulse a few times to aerate and break up any lumps. Add butter and pulse until the mixture looks like sand, about 25 1-second pulses. Add egg mixture and pulse until the dough just forms into a ball, about 25 1-second pulses.

3. Turn dough out onto a clean work surface and form into a circle, then flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

4. Heat the oven to 375°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Lightly flour a 14-inch piece of parchment paper and place the chilled dough disk on top. Lightly flour the top of the dough disk.

5. Peel the parchment paper off the dough and then lightly press it back down onto the surface of the dough (this will prevent the dough from sticking to the parchment as the cookies are cut out). Flip the dough over and remove the other piece of parchment paper.

6. Using a small round cookie cutter about 2 inches in diameter, stamp out as many cookies as possible. Then, using a smaller round cookie cutter about 1 inch in diameter, stamp out the center of each cookie. Reserve the dough centers.

7. While the cookies are baking, gather the scraps of dough and reserved centers, form them into a flattened disk, and wrap in plastic. Place the disk in the freezer for 5 minutes, then repeat the process until all the cookie dough has been used.

For the caramel topping:
1. Combine sugar, water, and salt in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring once to dissolve the sugar. Continue to boil, swirling the pan occasionally (but not stirring), until the mixture turns a deep amber color, about 15 minutes.

2. Remove from heat, carefully pour in cream and vanilla (the mixture will bubble up and steam), and stir until evenly combined. Transfer to a heatproof bowl; set aside.

To temper the chocolate:
1. Prepare an ice water bath by filling a large bowl with 2 inches of cold water and adding 3 to 4 ice cubes; set aside.

2. Bring a medium saucepan filled with 1 to 2 inches of water to a simmer over high heat; once simmering, turn off heat. Place 18 ounces of the chocolate couverture in a dry, heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over the saucepan and stir until the chocolate is completely melted and has reached 118°F. (Make sure the chocolate does not come in contact with water or exceed 120°F. If either happens, start over, as the chocolate will no longer be usable.)

3. Remove the bowl from the saucepan. Add the remaining 6 ounces chocolate and stir until all the chocolate has melted and the temperature has cooled to 80°F. To speed up the cooling process—but only after all of the chocolate has melted—place the bowl over the reserved ice water bath.

4. Return the bowl of chocolate to the saucepan and stir until the chocolate reaches 88°F; immediately remove from heat. Do not remove the thermometer from the bowl; check the temperature periodically to make sure it stays between 87°F and 89°F. (The chocolate must remain in this temperature range while dipping the cookies or it will not set properly.) Keep the saucepan of water over low heat and, when needed, set the bowl of chocolate over it to reheat.

5. To test if the chocolate is properly tempered, spread a thin layer on parchment paper and place it in the refrigerator for 3 minutes to set. If the chocolate hardens smooth and without streaks, it is properly tempered. (If it is not properly tempered, let the melted chocolate harden and start the tempering process over again: Bring the chocolate up to 118°F, then down to 80°F, then up again to 88°F.)

To assemble the cookies:
1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

2. Pick up a cookie by the outer edge. Dip only the flat bottom into the chocolate, then scrape the bottom against the edge of the bowl to remove any excess chocolate.

Slim Mints


For the cookies:
1 large egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon peppermint oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon fine salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

For the coating:
2 pounds semisweet chocolate couverture, separated into 1 (24-ounce) portion and 1 (8-ounce) portion


1. Place egg yolk, peppermint oil, and vanilla extract in a small bowl and whisk to break up the yolk.

2. Combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment and pulse a few times to aerate and break up any lumps. Add butter and pulse until the mixture looks like sand, about 25 (1-second) pulses. Add yolk mixture and pulse just until the dough forms into a ball, about 15 (1-second) pulses.

3. Turn dough out onto a clean work surface and roll into 2 logs, each about 1 1/2 inches in diameter.

4. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate until just firm but still pliable, about 1 hour. (The logs will flatten slightly while chilling. If you have a paper towel tube available, cut it in half lengthwise and nestle the cookie dough in there; this will help the dough keep its cylindrical shape while it chills.) Reshape the logs so they are perfectly round and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour more.

5. Heat the oven to 350°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.

6. Remove a dough log from the refrigerator, remove the plastic wrap, and slice the dough into 1/8-inch coins. Place the cookies 1/2 inch apart on the prepared baking sheet. (About 30 cookies will fit on 1 sheet.) Rewrap the extra cookie dough in plastic and refrigerate until ready to bake the second batch.

Goldfish Crackers

Yield: Makes 120 crackers



1 cup rice flour plus more for dusting
1 tsp. guar gum
3/Tbsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
2 Tbsp. safflower oil
8 oz. vegan cheddar

Ingredient Info: Rice flour is available at some supermarkets and at specialty foods stores and natural foods stores. Smoked paprika is available in most supermarkets.



1. Pulse 1 cup rice flour, guar gum, salt, and paprika in a food processor; drizzle in oil and pulse until a coarse meal forms. Pulse in cheese in three additions; add 3 Tbsp. cold water and process until dough comes together. Pinch dough; if it feels too dry, add 1 more Tbsp. water. Transfer dough to a baking sheet. Divide into 2 portions, flatten each into a disk, and cover with parchment paper. Chill for at least 30 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dust a rolling pin and work surface with rice flour. Roll out 1 dough disk until 1/8″ thick.

3. Cut out fish shapes and transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough disk. Bake until crackers are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer baking sheet to a wire rack and let cool.

Fancy Caramel Toffee Shortbread Bars


Shortbread Layer
½ cup butter, melted
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg
½ teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup flour plus 2 tablespoons
½ cup toffee chip

Caramel Layer
1 cup sugar
6 tablespoons water
4 tablespoon butter
¼ c heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon salt (optional, for salted caramel sauce)

Chocolate Layer
6oz chocolate
1 teaspoon corn syrup
5 tablespoon butter



To make chocolate chip cookie layer
1. Melt butter and let cool to warm. Add in brown sugar and mix to combine.

2. Add in egg and vanilla extract and mix to combine. Add in flour and food to combine. Fold in toffee bits and combine.

3. Pour mixture into pan and flatten top to a smooth finish. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 12-15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

To make caramel layer:
1. Place sugar and water into a saucepan over medium low heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Dissolve any crystals forming on the side with a wet pastry brush.

2. Once sugar has dissolved increase heat to high.

3. At this point do not stir the mixture directly. Now and then, using the handle, give the pot a swirl to keep the mixture moving. The mixture will start to bubble after a minute or so.

4. After 3-4 minutes the mixture will turn from light amber to medium amber. Add the butter and heavy cream and stir to combine. The mixture will bubble wildly. Whisk to combine (bubbles will subside upon cooling). Set aside to cool completely.

To make chocolate layer:
Place all ingredients in a heat proof bowl set over simmering water. Stir until melted. Pour mixture on top of cooled bar, using an offset spatula evenly spread chocolate layer.

1. Pour cooled caramel on shortbread. Pour chocolate on top of caramel, using an offset spatula evenly spread chocolate layer to a smooth finish.

2. Transfer fully assembled bars to refrigerator to chill until chocolate has set.

3. Cut to desired size and serve.

Twice-Baked Potatoes in a Dish and Potato Skins

Yield: Makes about 9-10 servings.



9 medium russet potatoes
4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
4 tablespoons butter
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 to 1/2 cup milk (if potatoes are too thick)
1 jar bacon bits, or a half pound of bacon, fried and cut into bits, or cut into bits and fried
2 1/2 to 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
canola oil to fry in
sour cream, if desired
3 green onions, sliced



1. Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit. Scrub and pierce potatoes several times with a sharp knife.

2. Bake potatoes at 350° for about an hour, or until potatoes give when squeezed gently with an oven-mitted hand.

3. When potatoes are done, cut in half and carefully scoop out insides, leaving about a 1/4-inch layer of potato inside. Set skins aside.

For the Twice Baked Potatoes in a Dish:

1. Place potato insides in a large bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer.

2. Mix briefly to break potatoes down a little. Add cream cheese, sour cream, butter, chopped garlic, and about 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon or so of pepper.

3. Beat until thoroughly mixed, but don’t mix to the point of gumminess. If the mixture seems really thick, add up to 1/2 cup milk to smooth it out to the consistency of mashed potatoes.

4. Spray a large casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Spread potato mixture into the prepared pan.

5. Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes at 325°.

6. Immediately after removing from oven, cover the top with 1 cup of cheese. Then sprinkle with about 2/3 of the bacon. Allow to sit for about 10-15 minutes before serving. The heat from the potatoes will melt the cheese perfectly.

For the Potato Skins:

1. After scooping out potato insides, you should have 18 half skins. Cut each of those in half, so you have quarter skins.

2. Heat about 2 inches of canola oil in a pan (about 325°). Fry potato skins in batches, careful not to crowd the pan. Once skins are a deep golden brown, remove to a paper towel-lined cooking rack to drain.

3. Place fried skins, open side up, on a baking sheet. Sprinkle each with cheese and a little bacon. Place in 325° oven for about 5- 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Top with sour cream and green onions, if desired.


The Mojito Party


1 cup of sugar
1 large sprig of Mojito mint*
1 cup fresh lime juice
a bunch of mojito mint
1 bottle (750 ml) 3-year-old rum


1. Beat the sugar, lime juice and mojito mint with the stems until you get a greenish liquid and the mint is completely chopped. Add the rum and beat for one more minute. This can be kept in the fridge for a week.

2. To prepare the mojito, fill a tall glass 1/4 full with the base liquid, add 3 ice cubes and then fill the glass with sparkling water. Add a sprig of mint, stir and serve.

Forget fast food, slow down for better well-being

Lauren Williams, Griffith University and John Germov, University of Newcastle

There’s an old saying, you are what you eat. If you look at the average Australian diet, we’re in trouble.

The rise of the 24/7 society, unsocial work hours and an accelerating pace of life have led the consumption of fast food to soar. Nearly one in four of the meals we eat are prepared outside the home and they tend to contain more fat, salt and sugar than the homemade equivalent.

Alongside the negative health outcomes of fast food are the environmental impacts of industrialised food production and packaging, and management of food waste.

Time to slow down

A slow food movement has arisen to counteract fast food and fast life, by encouraging us to revalue the time we spend on preparing, sharing, and consuming food. It aims to enhance the personal connection between food producers and consumers, and reduce our reliance on mass-produced foods purchased from supermarket monopolies.

Slow Food is a global alternative food network, founded in 1989 in Italy by left-wing food activist Carlo Petrini (though its origins can be traced back to 1986), which has grown to over 100,000 members across 153 countries, including 31 local branches within Australia. These branches, known as convivia, are run by volunteers who coordinate activities in their area: shared meals and tastings, visits to local producers and farms, and educational events about the source of food, farming methods and sustainability.

Local convivia have also become involved in school kitchen garden projects and supported the growth of farmers’ markets.

More broadly, Slow Food promotes the purchase of local produce with a reduction in food miles and a celebration of regional cuisines and local food traditions.

Fair trade is a central concern, with the aim to reduce worker/farmer exploitation and facilitate equitable trading relationships between developing and developed nations.

The movement also advocates for sustainable agricultural techniques and encourages the reduction of food additives, irradiation, and genetic modification.

Perhaps most importantly, Slow Food attempts to show how we can revalue the time we spend on food so as to invest in quality food time for our personal (health and pleasure) and collective (social, cultural, and environmental) benefit.

Studying Slow Food

We have explored what motivates or deters people from engaging in ethical (slow) consumption, and their experiences with the Slow Food movement.

Our first study explored the representation of Slow Food within the Australian print media to provide insights into how public opinion may be formed. Slow Food was portrayed in a positive but largely uncritical, apolitical way, despite the left-wing origins of the movement.

In examining the theme of time in our data, we found an emphasis on slowing down the pace of life. Time was both an opportunity to be taken, and a harsh master:

The Slow Food philosophy enjoins us to take
the time to enjoy one of life’s daily pleasures… there’s no doubt that cooking, eating and life in general is a lot more enjoyable when we’re not slaves of time.

Australian Slow Food branches have helped support local farmers’ markets.

Our second study explored the experiences and motivations of consumer and producer participants in a Melbourne-based Slow Food festival. From our interview data, “time” emerged as a key theme underlying people’s interest in Slow Food as a form of virtuous consumption, but also a key challenge in terms of adopting a Slow Food lifestyle.

As one participant said:

I think that is why everybody is in a hurry
because they don’t actually value that that’s the important thing to stop and do.

Another participant put the time challenge this way:

I’m still part of the rush of modern life but… I would want to eventually live that
way. I just have to figure out how to do it… it’s a time issue. It’s a matter of changing my life to go into that time mode.

Why isn’t everyone slowing down?

Our participants acknowledged many barriers to adopting a Slow Food lifestyle, such as cost, time, and inconvenience. Slowing down requires a major investment of time in educating oneself about food and then procuring ethically produced food.

While many of our study participants said they supported the movement and held ethical consumer values, they weren’t necessarily prepared to change their behaviour.

Critics of Slow Food have argued the movement caters to the privileged and wealthy who can afford the time and cost involved. They suggest that its focus on gourmet experiences reflect elitist connotations of “good taste”, luxury goods, and social distinction. One study in the United States reports that Slow Food members tended to favour gastronomic experiences over political action.

What can we learn from Slow Food?

For individuals, the movement reminds us of the need to be aware of the origins of our food, including the implications of food production on personal health and the wider environment.

But individual action can only go so far, and the barriers are likely to be too great for most.

At the societal level, Slow Food highlights the need for changes to our food system. Our continuing studies in this area aim to gain an understanding of what attracts people to Slow Food and how this attraction may be translated into behavioural and wider social change.

The Conversation

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.