Chocolate Cornstarch Pudding



1/2 cup white sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cups milk
2 tablespoons margarine or butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract












1. In a saucepan, stir together sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt.



2. Place over medium heat, and stir in milk.


3. Bring to a boil, and cook, stirring constantly, until mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a metal spoon. Remove from heat, and stir in margarine and vanilla.


4. Let cool briefly, and serve warm, or chill in refrigerator until serving.





Cola Easter Ham



1 (8 pound) boneless ham
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 (12 fluid ounce) can or bottle cola-flavored carbonated beverage
1 cup grape juice
1 (20 ounce) can sliced pineapple, drained with juice reserved












1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).



2. Use a knife to score a diagonal pattern onto the ham with the lines about 1 inch apart.


3. Place the ham in a large roasting pan and pat brown sugar over the entire surface. Some will fall into the pan, that’s okay.



4. Bake the ham in the preheated oven until the sugar is melting off of it, about 30 minutes. Remove the ham from the oven and pour the cola, grape juice and juice from the pineapple into the pan. Baste the ham with the mixture and return it to the oven.
5. Continue to bake in the preheated oven, basting every 20 minutes, for about 2 hours.


6. Cut the pineapple rings in half. Remove the ham from the oven and float the pineapple rings in the drippings. Allow the ham to rest for about 10 minutes, then slice and serve with the pineapple and sauce.





Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese



4 large Jalapeno Peppers
3-4 ounces Cream Cheese, softened
4-5 Green Onions, minced
Black Pepper, to taste
4 slices Colby Jack or Cheddar Cheese
4 slices Sourdough Bread









1. On a hot grill {or in your oven cranked to 450}, char the jalapenos… about 10-15 minutes.



2. Place charred jalapenos in a bag to steam. After about 10 minutes, gently peel of the skin. Slice off the tops and discard. Slice down one side of the pepper and carefully remove the seed and ribs of the pepper.



3. Preheat griddle to 375 degrees. Next combine the cream cheese, minced green onion and black pepper in a small bowl. Spread desired amount of cream cheese on one slice of bread then layer jalapeno’s and cheese. Butter outer slices and griddle until golden and crispy.





* Always wear gloves while handling jalapenos or any spicy peppers.





Chocolate Cheesecake



1 1/2 cups chocolate cookie crumbs
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup white sugar
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract









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



2. In a small bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups chocolate wafer crumbs, 2 tablespoons sugar, and melted butter. Press onto the bottom and 1 1/2 inch up the sides of the prepared 9 inch springform pan. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 10 minutes. Allow to cool. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).



3. To Make Filling: In a small saucepan, heat 1/4 cup whipping cream and 1/4 cup chocolate chips, stirring constantly, until chips are melted. Remove from heat.



4. In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese and 1 cup of sugar until smooth. Add cocoa and beat well. Add eggs and beat on low until just blended. Stir in 1 teaspoon vanilla and reserved chocolate mixture until blended. Pour over crust. Bake at 325 degrees F (165 degrees C) for 45 to 50 minutes or until center is almost set.



5. To Make Topping: In a small saucepan, heat 1/4 cup whipping cream and 1 teaspoon vanilla until just before boiling. Stir constantly and be careful not to boil over. Have 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips ready in a small bowl. Pour in the hot cream and stir with a spoon until smooth. Spread over baked cheesecake and refrigerate overnight.





Diets and weight loss: separating facts from fiction

By Rosemary Stanton

Welcome to The science behind weight loss, a new Conversation series where we separate the myths about dieting from the realities of exercise and nutrition. In our first instalment, renowned nutritionist Rosemary Stanton explains how diets draw you in, but can’t deliver.

Let’s start with a few facts. Australians’ waistbands have increased over the past three decades, with recent data showing 68% of men, 55% of women and 25% of children are overweight or obese.

Excess body fat is a problem for the individual. And it’s ultimately a problem for society because it overloads the national health budget.

Health problems due to excess body fat include an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, asthma, sleep apnoea, musculoskeletal conditions (including osteoarthritis) and certain types of cancer (especially colorectal and breast cancer in post-menopausal women).

There is good evidence to show genes play a role in obesity and explain why some people gain more weight than others when their energy intake exceeds their body’s needs. But genetic factors can’t explain the rapid increase in excess body fat over the past 20 to 30 years.

So what has changed? Two obvious factors stand out.

Physical activity has decreased as we have embraced labour-saving devices and sedentary behaviours. Changes in urban design and the use of cars for transport also play major roles.

An increased reliance on cars means we’re not getting enough incidental exercise.

What we eat and drink has also changed. We eat more. We snack more often. We quench our thirst with sweetened beverages. Portion sizes for drinks, meals and snacks have all increased and foods and drinks that were once kept for special occasions are now daily “treats”.

In spite of calculations showing that our increased food intake and decreased exercise output have increased our national girth, we continue to ignore such obvious factors.

Instead we look for a magic bullet cure-all, with diets high on the list of possible saviours.

The need to consume less is generally an unwelcome message to individuals and to the corporate world, where the “economy” we worship depends on continued increases in consumption. Anything that might decrease consumption of any food or drink is strenuously opposed by those whose profits depend on market growth.

Diets and diet products are also money spinners. Diet books that target a specific scapegoat are also supported by companies who cash in with new product formulations to fit.

Diet books make endless promises about easy ways to lose weight.
Flickr/coconut wireless

When health authorities suggested cutting kilojoules by eating less fat in the 80s and 90s, the food industry responded with literally hundreds of low-fat products, which replaced fat with sugars and refined starches.

When this move failed and was replaced by a low carb craze in the 2000s, a flood of low carb products followed.

Initially, any diet will “work”. Despite protestations to the contrary, every diet is based on some way of restricting kilojoule intake.

Some diets proudly proclaim you can eat as much butter and cream as you like, but then forbid almost everything you might have with these items. But there’s a limit to the number of fatty chops topped with butter that most people could eat.

Many people also like the rigidity of a diet’s rules – at least for a few weeks. After that, the rules are gradually broken.

We saw this with the CSIRO’s diets. After 12 months, those on low protein diets increased their protein intake to normal levels, while those on high protein diets reduced their protein intake.

Long term, no diet has proved effective. After the initial weight loss, most people on any diet regain most of what they lost. There’s no mystery to this.

You’re doomed to fail in your quest for weight loss unless you exercise.

Much of the early weight loss is due to a loss of water. Our muscles store about 500 to 600g of glycogen (a store of energy), each gram stored with almost 3g of water. A few days on a low carb diet will deplete these stores and produce a rapid weight loss.

A high protein/low carb diet will force the body to convert some protein to glucose to maintain essential blood glucose levels (humans can’t convert fat to glucose). The leftover parts of protein must be excreted by the kidneys, which increases urine output.

Gaining fat is a slow process, usually occurring over many years. So the aim to lose it in weeks is a pipe dream. Burning off fat stores occurs slowly and only the extremely obese can hope to lose a kilogram a week.

As weight is lost, it also takes less energy to move the body. And while movement is often easier with less bulk to carry, those who aim to lose weight without increasing physical activity are doomed to fail.

The plethora of diets, diet books and diet gurus prolong the hope for a magic formula that will melt away the kilos.

But it’s time to get real and realise diets don’t work. The best solution to the obesity epidemic is to prevent it with healthier eating patterns and more physical activity.

If it’s too late for that, the solution is to make gradual changes to poor eating and exercise habits – and to make changes you can live with forever.

This magic formula of moving more and consuming less will take time and effort but you can bet it will work.

This is the second part of our series The science behind weight loss. To read the other instalments, follow the links below:

Part Two: Want to set up a weight loss scam? Here’s how…
Part Three: Feel manipulated? Anxious? Tune out the hype and learn to love your body
Part Four: Food v exercise: What makes the biggest difference in weight loss?
Part Five: An online tool to help achieve your weight-loss goal (no, it’s not a fad diet)
Part Six: Ignore the hype, real women don’t ‘bounce back’ to their pre-pregnant shape
Part Seven: Quick and easy, or painful and risky? The truth about liposuction
Part Eight: Weight loss and the brain: why it’s difficult to control our expanding waistlines
Part Nine: Are diet pills the silver bullet for obesity?
Part Ten: Want to try the latest fad diet? Just ask your local pharmacist

Have you come across any unusual diets? Share your comments below.

The Conversation

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

50 Best Snacks Under 50 Calories

Satisfy your sweet tooth


1. 1⁄2 medium apple, baked, topped with 1 Tbsp lowfat yogurt sprinkled with cinnamon (45 calories)
2. 1⁄2 small banana, frozen (45 calories)
3. 4 oz unsweetened applesauce sprinkled with cinnamon (49 calories)
4. 1 miniature box of raisins (45 calories)
5. 2 sugar-free ice pops (30 calories)
6. 1 sugar-free fudge ice pop (35 calories)
7. 12 cherries (48 calories)
8. 1 individual serving sugar-free gelatin with 3 Tbsp light whipped topping (40 calories)
9. 1⁄2 cup strawberries with 21⁄2 Tbsp nonfat yogurt (47 calories)
10. 14 seedless red grapes, frozen (48 calories)





Indulge a salt craving


11. 11⁄2 cups salted air-popped popcorn (46 calories)
12. 1⁄4 cup shelled edamame with sea salt (37 calories)
13. 8 oz miso soup (36 calories)
14. 1 pretzel rod (37 calories)
15. 1⁄4 small bag of Glenny’s lightly salted soy crisps (35 calories)
16. 1 medium sliced cucumber mixed with 1⁄4 cup sliced onion, 1⁄2 cup chopped celery, 4 Tbsp vinegar and salt to taste (45 calories)
17. 6 oz eight-vegetable juice (39 calories)
18. 1 kosher dill pickle (10 calories)





Crunch and munch


19. 1⁄2 cup jicama with 4 oz salsa (49.5 calories)
20. 11⁄2 cups sugar snap peas (40 calories)
21. Small celery stalk smeared with 1⁄2 Tbsp natural peanut butter (49 calories)
22. 1⁄2 small apple with 1 tsp soy butter (46 calories)
23. 1 brown rice cake with 1 Tbsp sugar-free jam (44 calories)





Smooth and creamy


24. 1 Laughing Cow Light Garlic & Herb wedge spread on cucumber slices (35 calories)
25. 1 tsp almond butter (34 calories)
26. 1⁄2 cup fat-free Greek yogurt with 1 tsp sugar-free strawberry jam (43 calories)
27. 1 oz avocado (about 1⁄8 of an avocado) squirted with lime (45 calories)
28. 8 grape tomatoes dipped in 1 Tbsp light cream cheese (46 calories)





Cheesy whizzes


29. 6 pieces of endive filled with 1⁄2 oz reduced-fat feta cheese (49 calories)
30. 1 slice fat-free American cheese (30 calories)
31. 1 large tomato, sliced, topped with 1 Tbsp Parmesan, broiled (44 calories)
32. 1 oz fat-free cottage cheese on 1 slice caraway Finn Crisp Crispbread (38 calories)
33. 1 oz fat-free mozzarella dipped in 1 tsp marinara sauce (46 calories)





Power up on protein


34. Turkey rollups: 2 slices white meat turkey rolled in 2 lettuce leaves (46 calories)
35. 1 oz smoked salmon (about 1 slice) on 2 Wheat Thins crackers (Multi-Grain) (48 calories)
36. 1 tofu dog with 1 Tbsp sauerkraut (48 calories)
37. 1⁄2 cup plain fat-free yogurt sprinkled with 1 tsp sunflower seeds (49.6 calories)
38. 1.3 oz water-packed tuna with 1 tsp Dijon mustard (48 calories)
39. 2 large hard-cooked egg whites with 1 cup sliced cucumber (48 calories)
40. 1 slice Wasa Fibre Crispbread with 2 tsp hummus (45 calories)
41. 1 medium water-packed sardine with slice of red onion (35 calories)





Solid standbys


42. 1⁄2 cup melon with 2 Tbsp 1% cottage cheese (47 calories)
43. 1⁄2 small grapefruit (32 calories)
44. 1⁄3 cup blueberries with 1 Tbsp light sour cream (47 calories)
45. 1⁄2 cup carrots with 1 Tbsp light ranch dressing (45 calories)





Thirst quenchers


46. 1⁄2 cup nonfat milk with 1 Tbsp Walden Farms calorie-free chocolate syrup (40 calories)
47. 1 packet of sugar-free hot chocolate made with 1⁄4 cup skim milk and 3⁄4 cup hot water (47 calories)
48. 3⁄4 cup almond milk (45 calories)
49. 3⁄4 cup seltzer with 1⁄4 cup cranberry juice and a lime wedge (33 calories)
50. Homemade iced green tea (with artificial sweetener if desired) (0 calories)





Thin Mint and Bailey’s Chocolate Float

Yield: 1 Serving




2 oz. Bailey’s Irish Cream
2 3 oz. scoops of chocolate ice cream
2.5 oz vanilla cream soda
3 tablespoons of crushed Thin Mints














1. Pour Bailey’s into bottom of glass.


2. Sprinkle one tablespoon of crushed Thin Mints on top.


3. Place two scoops of chocolate ice cream on top and then sprinkle a second tablespoon of crushed Thin Mints on ice cream.


4. Pour vanilla cream soda on top and finish with final layer of Thin Mints.





Health Check: what’s the best diet for weight loss?

By Clare Collins, University of Newcastle

When it comes to weight loss, there are no magic tricks that guarantee success. What works for you is likely to be different to what works for your partner, neighbour or workmate.

The best advice is to find a healthy eating regime – let’s call it a diet – that you can stick to. You may choose a specific diet book or commercial program to kick start your weight loss, but in the longer term, switch to an eating pattern you can live with for good.

The diet that works best will depend on many factors: your current weight, dieting history, how much weight you need to lose, reasons for wanting to lose weight, your knowledge and skills around food preparation and nutrition, personal supports and the time you have to focus on weight loss.

But first, a warning about fad diets.

Fad diets can work in the short-term because they lead to a reduction in total kilojoules but are usually nutritionally inadequate.

They often ban specific foods or food groups, such as carbohydrates, and promise miraculous results. Or they may promote unproven fat burning or other supplements. Fad diets generally contradict advice from credible health professionals.

Research shows the more radical the diet approach, the more likely you are to give up because of boredom or unpleasant side-effects including bad breath, constipation, and even gall bladder disease.

Getting started

First up, decide on your weight loss goal. If your body mass index (BMI) is over 25, aim to lose up to 10% of your body weight in six months.

Next, decide how you’re going to monitor your progress. You can record your weight weekly using an app, at your weight-loss group or program, or use a pen-and-paper diary.

If you’re overweight or obese, aim to lose 10% of your body weight.

Reducing your energy intake

Everybody’s total daily energy needs are different, depending on your level of activity – this calculator can help you work out your individual energy needs.

A weight-loss diet should reduce your daily energy intake by at least 2,000 kilojoules (kJ) per day compared to what you usually eat when weight stable.

That is enough of a kilojoule reduction to lose a quarter to half a kilogram per week, which can add up to 12 to 25 kilograms over a year.

Sounds easy, but it’s a lot more difficult in practice. You have to be consistent every day and every week. This is why you need to choose a diet that really appeals to your tastes and preferences. It doesn’t really matter which diet that is, so long as it specifically targets a reduction in total energy (kilojoules or calories), and you can stick to it.

When it comes to weight-loss diets, there are three levels of energy restriction:

Reduced-energy diets (RED)

Cutting out TV snacks will help you stay within your kJ limit.

REDs aim to reduce a person’s usual energy intake by 2,000 to 4,000 kJ per day from their usual needs. You can achieve this by changing some food habits, such as cutting down your portion sizes, swapping soft drink for diet versions or soda water, or not eating after 8pm to reduce snacking.

Other approaches that fit this category are low glycemic index (GI) diets or avoiding foods with added sugar.

Low-energy diets (LED)

LEDs prescribe a daily energy intake of about 4,200 to 5,000 kJ per day. This is usually a list of specific meals and snacks that you follow closely to ensure your kilojoule intake matches the daily target.

Most commercial weight-loss programs – such as Weight Watchers, Biggest Loser Club, Jenny Craig or home delivery Lite n Easy – provide this. Weight-loss diets that give you a meal plan, such as those designed by accredited practising dietitians, are usually LEDs.

Very low-energy diets (VLED)

VLEDs limit total energy intake to only 1,800 to 2,500 kJ per day.

This approach uses formulated meal replacements (FMRs) to ensure your energy intake is kept very low. FMRs are supplemented with vitamins and minerals to try and meet the body’s requirements, despite the severe energy restriction.

VLEDs, such as Optifast or KicStart, are used when you need to lose weight quickly for health reasons or ahead of surgery. Talk to your GP first because they need to be supervised by a doctor or dietitian due to potential side-effects such as gall bladder or liver inflammation, constipation, headaches and bad breath.

Long-term change

The level of energy restriction to aim for depends on what you think you can stick to. If your weight is going up by a few kilograms each year, then your current energy needs are probably around 9,000 to 11,000 kJ per day.

If you have never been on a diet before, then start with an RED.

If you want to lose weight faster, you will need the lower kilojoule target of an LED, but it will be harder to stick to.

For weight loss, it doesn’t matter what diet you choose, as long as you decrease your energy intake.
cleber/Flickr, CC BY-NC

Once you have set the level of energy restriction, then further manipulating nutrients – by eating more or less protein, for instance – will not lead to greater weight loss. This applies to altering the proportion of total fat, the glycemic load or glycemic index of the carbohydrate.

For weight loss, it is kilojoule total that counts.

Monitoring your success

The National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) 2013 guidelines for weight management, which are based on the best available scientific evidence, highlight the importance of recognising and avoiding triggers that prompt eating and learning to modify unhelpful thinking patterns that become barriers to following a diet.

The guidelines also note that self-monitoring is key to weight-loss success. If you track your progress in a weight-loss diary and monitor your dietary intake, physical activity, body weight and measurements, you’re more likely to lose weight and keep it off.

Once you have found the eating pattern that allows you to lose 250 grams to one kilogram per week, share your success story. That way more people will discover that “the best diet” for weight loss might not have a fancy name, but is an approach that you can live with, for good.

Editor’s note: thanks to all who took part in our author Q&A.

The Conversation

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

Meatball Nirvana



1 pound extra lean ground beef
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 small onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 dash hot pepper sauce (such as *Frank’s RedHot), or to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/3 cup skim milk
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs









1. Preheat an oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).



2. Place the beef into a mixing bowl, and season with salt, onion, garlic salt, Italian seasoning, oregano, red pepper flakes, hot pepper sauce, and Worcestershire sauce; mix well. Add the milk, Parmesan cheese, and bread crumbs. Mix until evenly blended, then form into 1 1/2-inch meatballs, and place onto a baking sheet.



3. Bake in the preheated oven until no longer pink in the center, 20 to 25 minutes.





Click here to buy Frank’s RedHot on Amazon.





Girl Scout Cookie Thin Mint Gooey Cake Bars

Yield: Makes 12 bars




1 Yellow Cake Mix
1 stick softened butter
1 large egg
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup Andes Mint pieces
1 small can Sweetened Condensed Milk
20 Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookies, broken into pieces











1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line a 9×13 inch baking dish with non stick cooking spray.

2. Place cake mix, butter and egg into a large bowl, mix until dough forms. Using hands is easiest to mix together. Press dough into bottom of prepared baking dish.


3. Top evenly with chocolate chips and Andes mints. Drizzle sweet milk over top and top with broken pieces of Thin Mint Cookies. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until baked through.


4. Immediately after removing from oven, take a plastic knife around edges to loosen. Let cool completely. Cut into squares and serve.





Pasta With Shrimp, Oysters, and Crabmeat



1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons minced garlic
1 1/4 cups chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 pinch crushed red pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 (16 ounce) package bow tie pasta
2 (10 ounce) containers shucked small oysters, drained
1/4 cup butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/4 pounds peeled and deveined small shrimp
1 pound fresh lump crabmeat
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley









1. Melt 1/2 cup butter and 1/2 cup olive oil together in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the garlic, and cook until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Stir in the 1 1/4 cups of parsley, and cook for 1 minute more. Season with lemon juice, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper; set aside.



2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.



3. Meanwhile, bring a few cups of water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Stir in the oysters and turn off the heat. Allow the oysters to stand for 3 minutes, then drain and set aside. Melt 1/4 cup butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil together in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the shrimp, and cook until they turn pink and begin to firm. Add the crab meat and drained oysters; continue cooking until the shrimp have turned opaque in the center, and the crab is hot.



4. Toss the seafood with the drained pasta, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour in the sauce, and toss gently to coat. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup of chopped parsley before serving.





Amazing Peach Cobbler



9 fresh peaches
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup white sugar
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup butter, chilled
2/3 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons white sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg









1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F ( 205 degrees C).

2. Submerge peaches in boiling water for about 1 minute. The amount of time required to make the skin easy to peel varies with the degree of ripeness: if really ripe, it may take less time. Remove peaches with a slotted spoon, and run cold water on them. Slip off the skin.


3. Cut peaches into wedges, and place in either a deep 10 inch pie plate or a 2 inch deep 2 quart baking dish. Toss peaches with lemon juice and 1/2 cup sugar. Cover with foil.

4. Bake 15 minutes, or until the peaches are hot and bubbly.

5. Whisk together flour, 3 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles small peas. Pour buttermilk over top, and toss with a fork until the mixture clumps together. Drop heaping tablespoons of dough over the peaches. In a small cup, mix 2 teaspoons sugar and nutmeg. Sprinkle over biscuits.

6. Bake until biscuits are golden brown, about 30 minutes. Set dish on wire rack to cool 10 to 15 minutes before serving.





Chicken and Pasta



4 (6 ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into 1 inch strips
1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
1 (10 ounce) package frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1 (8 ounce) package cold cream cheese, cubed
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 (16 ounce) package dry penne pasta









1. Bring large pot of water to a boil, and stir in penne pasta.



2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, cook chicken cubes in broth; simmering until done, about 10 minutes. Stir in cubed cream cheese and spinach. Return to simmer, and cook about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in cherry tomatoes, and cook about 3 minutes more.



3. In a large bowl, mix together cooked, drained pasta and sauce. Let stand a few minutes before serving.





Almost Stuffed Peppers



1 pound ground beef
2 cups water
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 large green pepper cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 cups uncooked instant rice









1. In a large skillet, brown beef; drain. Set beef aside and keep warm.



2. In the same skillet, combine water, tomatoes, green pepper, onion and seasonings; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, until vegetables are tender.



3. Stir in rice; cover and remove from the heat. Let stand for 5 minutes. Stir in beef; return to the stove and heat through.





Italian Meatball Sandwich Casserole



1/3 cup chopped green onions
1/4 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound ground beef
1 (1 pound) loaf Italian bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
3 cups spaghetti sauce
1 cup water
2 cloves garlic, minced









1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).



2. Mix together onions, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and ground beef. Roll into 1 inch diameter balls, and place in a baking pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until beef is no longer pink. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).



3. Arrange the bread cubes in a single layer in an ungreased 9×13 inch baking dish. Mix together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, Italian seasoning and black pepper until smooth. Spread this mixture over each bread cube. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the grated mozzarella cheese.



4. In a large bowl, mix together spaghetti sauce, water, and garlic. Gently stir in meatballs. Pour over the bread and cheese mixture in the baking pan. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese evenly over the top.

5. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes, or until heated through.





Crock Pot Roast



2 Cups of Beef Broth

1 Can of Cream of Mushroom Soup

3 Pounds of Pot Roast

1 Packet of Onion Soup Packet

6 Small Potatoes – Diced

1/2 Cup of Carrots – Chopped

1 Cup of Celery – Chopped

1/2 Cup of Onions Diced














1. OPTIONAL – I personally like to sear my meat on the stove top. I think it helps the pot roast retain flavor.
2. Place onion soup packet, cream of mushroom soup, beef broth and pot roast into crock pot and cover. Cook for 3 hours on high or 6 hours on low.


3. Turn over pot roast. Place veggies into the crock pot + add some pepper ( personal choice how much). Cook for either 1 hours on high or 2 hours on low.


4. Enjoy~!





Pumpkin Spice Kiss Cookies

Yield: makes 4 dozen cookies


1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
2 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 package Pumpkin Spice Hershey Kisses


1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Unwrap Hershey Kisses and set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla and eggs and beat until light and fluffy.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Gradually add to butter mixture. Mix until just combined.

4. Place rounded tablespoonfuls 1 inch apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately press a Hershey Kiss into the center of the cookie. Move to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Crock Pot Santa Fe Chicken

Yield: 8 Servings




24 oz (1 1/2) lbs chicken breast
14.4 oz can diced tomatoes with mild green chilies
15 oz can black beans
8 oz frozen corn
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
14.4 oz can fat free chicken broth
3 scallions, chopped
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)
salt to taste









1. Combine chicken broth, beans, corn, tomatoes, cilantro, scallions, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, cayenne pepper and salt in the crock pot.


2. Season chicken breast with salt and lay on top.


3. Cook on low for 10 hours or on high for 6 hours. Half hour before serving, remove chicken and shred.


4. Return chicken to slow cooker and stir in. Adjust salt and seasoning. Serve over rice or in a tortilla (extra pts).





Creamy Grape Dessert



1 lb green seedless grapes, washed and dried well
1 lb red seedless grapes, washed and dried well
8 oz fat free Chobani Greek yogurt
4 oz light cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup agave (or sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tbsp brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)









1. Cut grapes in half and set aside.



2. Mix yogurt, cream cheese, agave and vanilla until blended well. Stir grapes into mixture, and pour in large serving dish.



3. Combine brown sugar and crushed walnuts. Sprinkle over top of grapes to cover completely. Chill until ready to serve.





Strawberry Cupcakes

Yield: 12 cupcakes or 48 mini cupcakes 




For the cake: 

120g unsalted butter at room temperature
180 g of white sugar
2 eggs M
230 g flour
2 teaspoons baking Royal
120 ml of semi-skimmed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
200g Strawberry



For the cream:

250g unsalted butter at room temperature
400g icing sugar (or, alternatively, icing sugar)
3 tablespoons milk
240g Strawberry



For decoration:

12 strawberries









1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees (160 degrees if fan). Prepare cupcake pan with 12 paper pod.

2. Picamos chiquititos diced strawberries. Reserve.

3. Sift the flour with the baking powder into a bowl and reserve.

4. Whisk the butter and sugar until blended and mixture is clear. We add the eggs, one at a time, beating until just incorporated.

5. We add half the flour and beat on low speed until incorporated. Then add the milk mixed with vanilla extract, and beat back.



6. We add The other half of the flour and beat at low speed until the mixture is homogeneous. We incorporate the strawberries using a spatula. Handed out the mixture in capsules without fill more than 2/3.



7. Bake 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

8. Leaving templar 5 minutes in pan on a wire rack then. To prepare buttercream, crush the strawberries with potato masher and set aside. then we sift the icing sugar and place in a bowl along with the butter and milk.


9. Covering the bowl, beat on low speed first minute. then beat at least 4 minutes at high speed until mixture is fully integrated. We incorporate the strawberries and beat 2 minutes more. decorate cupcakes using a pastry bag with large star Boquila and natural strawberry.





Alaskan BBQ Salmon



1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1 dash liquid smoke flavoring
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 (4 pound) whole salmon fillet












1. Preheat grill for high heat.



2. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, honey, liquid smoke, and vinegar.



3. Brush one side of the salmon with the basting sauce. Place the salmon on the grill, basted side down.

4. After about 7 minutes, generously baste the top, and turn over. Cook for about 8 more minutes, then brush on more basting sauce, turn, and cook for 2 minutes. Take care not to overcook the salmon as it will loose its juices and flavor if cooked too long.





Breakfast Pizza

Yield: Makes 2 (12-inch) pizzas




1/2 teaspoon dry active yeast
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons bread flour, plus more for dusting
Kosher salt
6 strips bacon
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 cups grated mozzarella
6 large eggs
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons minced chives
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 shallot, minced









The night before, prepare the dough:

1. Place 3/4 cup lukewarm water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Sprinkle in the yeast, stir and let sit for 5 minutes.


2. Add the flour and 1 teaspoon of salt and mix on low for 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 2 minutes, then increase the speed to high and mix until a smooth dough forms, about 2 minutes more.


3. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface, divide into two equal pieces and form each half into a tight ball. Place on a large floured sheet pan, place the pan in a plastic garbage bag, tie the bag loosely and refrigerate overnight.



4. One to two hours before baking, place the dough in a warm spot.


5. Adjust the oven rack to the lowest position and set a pizza stone on it. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees 30 minutes before you are ready to bake the pizza.



Prepare the dough and toppings:

1. Fry the bacon in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until crisp. Cool on a paper-towel-lined plate; roughly chop.



2. Dip your hands and a ball of dough into the flour. On a lightly floured countertop, pat the dough into a disc with your fingertips, then drape the dough over your fists and carefully stretch it from beneath to form a 12-inch circle.



3. Generously dust the surface of a pizza peel or large inverted sheet pan with flour and place the stretched dough on it. Sprinkle the dough with half of the Parmesan, mozzarella and bacon. Crack 3 eggs over the top and season with salt and pepper.



Bake the pizza:

1. Shake the pizza peel slightly to make sure the dough is not sticking. Carefully lift any sections that are sticking and sprinkle a bit more flour underneath, then slide the pizza directly onto the baking stone in one quick forward-and-back motion. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, rotating after 5 minutes.


2. When the crust is golden, the cheese is melted and the egg yolks are cooked, use the peel to transfer the pizza to a cutting board. Sprinkle half of the parsley, chives, scallions and shallot on top. Let cool for 2 minutes, slice and serve immediately. Prepare the second pizza in the same way.




* The original recipe suggests that you take the dough out one hour before baking but I took mine out two hours earlier, because I always find it takes a looong time to get dough back to proofing at room temperature. In this time, you can lazily prepare the toppings and get your oven nice and hot.





Chocolate Caramel Cheesecake



Oreo Crust
300g oreos
100g butter, melted



600g cream cheese
1 can of sweetened condensed milk (397g)
½ cup sugar
4-5 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 large eggs
100g dark chocolate(70%)





2 ½ cups cream
2 cups sugar
30 g butter



100 grams of dark chocolate
1 cup cream










1. Crush Oreo biscuits to fine crumbs and mix the crumbs with the melted butter.

2. Place the baking paper in the bottom of a spring form, 18-24 cm in diameter (if the shape is 18 cm in diameter should be at least 7 cm high). Press the dough into the bottom and up the edges of the springform mold. Set in the fridge.



1. First Preheat oven to 160 °.

2. Boil a pot of water to a water bath.

3. Whisk cream cheese, condensed milk, sugar, lemon juice and vanilla cream. Add the eggs and beat for 1 more minute. Chop the chocolate and melt it in a water bath or in the microwave. Allow to cool and mix it with about 1/3 of cheesecake batter. Take the prepared baking pan from the refrigerator and pour in chocolate batter first. Smooth layer if needed. Then pour the rest of the cheesecake batter into the mold.

4. Set baking pan in a larger baking dish and pour hot water around. The water should go up to half of the baking tin. Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until cheesecaken still slightly dallrig but firm around the edges. Let cool completely in shape before covering the mold and set it in the fridge overnight.



1. Heat cream gently in a small saucepan.

2. Pour sugar in a saucepan and heat it over medium heat. Do not stir! Once the sugar begins to melt and become brown on the edge, gently with a spoon inside the center until all the sugar has melted. Let stand on the heat until the sugar turns golden brown, but be careful that it does not get burned!

3. Add cream slowly – watch out for that will bubble to properly! stir gently, add the butter and stir some more. Let cool for a few minutes and pour into a clean jar.



Toasted pecans
1. Heat oven to 175 ° C.

2. Spread the nuts in a form and roast in the oven about 10-15 minutes or until the nuts are golden brown. Allow to cool.



Assemble the cake:
1. Take up cheesecaken out of the fridge. Place it on a cake dish or on a cake plate. Remove the edges of the form (let the ground be left if you think it’s hard to take it off).

2. Pour caramel (all you want) over the cake and let run down over the edges. Allow to set for a while in the fridge. In the meantime, you can prepare chokladganachen.



1. Hack chocolate and place it in a bowl.

2. Heat cream in a saucepan until it reaches boiling point

3. Pour cream over the chopped chocolate. Wait 30 seconds and then stir the mixture glossy and smooth. Allow to cool.






Strawberries and Cream Angel Food Cake Roll



For the Cake:
9 egg whites
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
¾ teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
¾ cup cake flour
1 tablespoon powdered sugar



For the Filling:
2 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled
6 tablespoons powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups diced strawberries









1. Place the egg whites in a large mixing bowl; let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.



2. Meanwhile, line a 15×10-inch baking pan with waxed paper; lightly coat paper with cooking spray and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.



3. Add vanilla and cream of tartar to egg whites; beat on medium speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, on high until stiff glossy peaks form and sugar is dissolved. Fold in flour, ¼ cup at a time.



4. Carefully spread batter into prepared pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched. Cool for 5 minutes.



5. Dust a clean kitchen towel with 1 tablespoon powdered sugar. Turn the cake out onto the kitchen towel. Gently peel off waxed paper. Roll up cake in the towel jelly-roll style, starting with a short side. Cool completely on a wire rack.



6. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, beat the cream on medium speed until it begins to thicken. Add powdered sugar and vanilla; increase the speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form. Gently fold in the strawberries. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.



7. Unroll cooled cake; spread filling to within ½-inch of edges (you will have some filling leftover). Roll up again. Place seam side down on a serving plate; sprinkle with additional powdered sugar, if desired. Serve with any leftover strawberries and cream filling. Store leftovers, covered with plastic wrap, in the refrigerator.





25 Uses for Leftover Scraps

It’s easier to toss the orange rinds, apple cores, steak fat and pepper peels when you’re cooking a specific meal, but it’s also a total waste of perfectly good food. In this article we will go over some of the uses of leftover cooking scraps that will spare your garbage can of bad odors and open the door of creativity in the kitchen.

Beef Fat
Most people see beef fat as unhealthy to eat no matter what form it’s in, but it’s actually been proven to be very healthy since it contains the same monounsaturated fat called oleic acid which is found in olive oil, and if you’re in the kitchen a lot then you most likely use olive oil a lot. Furthermore, the LDL (bad) cholesterol in your blood is actually lowered by eating beef. By now, you may be aware of the controversial Atkins diet, yet the American Heart Association themselves have admitted that the real cause for obesity is carbohydrates, not fat. Either way you look at it, a balanced diet is always going to be best, so eating beef in excess should be avoided, just like carbs.

Yorkshire Pudding

Yorkshire Pudding Servings

In the meantime, however, instead of tossing your beef fat, you can either use it right away or save by freezer storage for some great dishes later on such as:
1. Yorkshire Pudding
2. Gravy
3. Pasty Dough
4. Pet Food Mix with your dog or cat’s food (they will LOVE you for this)
5. Pie Crust
6. English Suet Pudding
7. Frying Frying Vegetables like Onions, Garlic, Peppers, etc can give them a unique flavor
8. General flavor enhancer for any sauce, you can add the fat for flavoring

Orange Rinds

If you’ve ever tried eating an orange rind (or peel), you have undoubtedly discovered why people go through the trouble of peeling them. But throwing them out, while it may help to make your garbage smell better, there are better uses for them that you may not have thought about before.
Orange Rind
9. Composting if you don’t live in the city, all of your vegetable scraps can be added to a compost in your backyard. Be careful though, it will attract animals and smell very strong! It’s important to keep it guarded and away from where your neighbors might frequent. In the end, though, you are left with some very very clean dirt for gardening and you could even sell it if you take care of it well.

10. Exfoliation Scrub mix orange or lemon rinds with other natural exfoliation ingredients such as sea salt, coffee grounds, oatmeal and water then apply to your skin and scrub gently to remove dead skin cells and reduce dry skin
11. Bath Oil or Powder squeeze the oil from the peels and add them to your bath or soap, or dry the peels and grind them for a powder
12. Potpourri
13. Flower Arrangements
14. Kindling or Firestarter orange oil is flammable and even after a peel is dried, it contains quite a bit of the oil
15. Cat Repellent if you have a garden or other outside area that keeps getting invaded by a nosy neighborhood cat, this is a great way to keep them away, or even to keep your own from going into certain areas in or around your house.
16. Candy while peels alone may be too strong to eat, mixing them with dark chocolate or sugar glaze is a treat to remember
17. Orange Spice for Flavored Olive Oil and Sauces adding ground rinds to various cooking mixes and sauces may give it the zest you were looking for. Experiment!
18. Ant and Silverfish Repellent these bugs hate the smell of oranges and if they keep showing up, your leftover peels may be the solution to your problem. Set them around the house where you tend to find these pests and you’re sure to see them disappear.
19. Deodorizer wherever you leave orange peels around the house will help to deodorize the area, which makes orange rinds a multitasker!
20. Tea adding orange oil squeezed from the rinds, or even the rinds themselves after drying and grinding can be a tasty way to enjoy your tea

Lemon, Cantelope, Cucumbers, Bananas and Celery

21. Lemon & Cantelope Baths the same way you would use orange rinds for bathroom scents and cleanses, you can use these two fruits as well. Lemon peel bathing has actually been known to reduce age spots and other skin discolorations
22. Cucumber Baths cucumbers are known to soothe dry and irritated skin fast. Instead of tossing your cucumber peels, next time try them in your tub!
23. Alcohol Flavoring if you occasionally enjoy a cocktail, try putting your rinds and peels in a bottle of vodka for a couple weeks and enjoy something new next time you relax
24. Banana Peel Shoe Shining banana peels are actually useful? No way, you say! Well, their oil is great for shoe shining, try it by rubbing the inside of the peel over the outside of your shoe and buffing off with a clean rag
25. Jams, Preserves and Pickles fruits are great for jams and preserves, and what’s more is that melons like watermelon and honeydew are great for pickling, a Southern staple

More Uses for Food Scraps

This concludes our food scraps ideas for today, but we will post more soon!

Sugared Apricot Financiers

Yields: 12 financiers




1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
1 cup unsifted powdered sugar
1/2 cup ground almonds
1/3 cup sweet rice flour
pinch of salt
4 large egg whites
2 -3 apricots, washed, pitted and sliced into wedges
turbinado sugar











1. Preheat the oven to 375 F and position the rack in the center. Lightly spray or butter the inside of 12 financier molds or muffin cups with cooking spray and place them on a baking sheet, set aside.


2. In a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat, melt the butter until it turns into a rich hazelnut brown color, about 5 minutes.


3. Remove from the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes before straining it to remove the little dark butter particles at the bottom of the pan. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the powdered sugar, ground almonds, flour and salt on low speed until just combined.


4. Add the egg whites and mix until all the ingredients are coming together. Add the brown butter, increase the speed to medium and beat until smooth.


5. Divide the batter among the molds and divide the apricot slices evenly among the top. Sprinkle with a generous amount of turbinado sugar and Bake for 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown.





Donut with Lemon



250 g of butter
200 g of caster sugar
Finely grated zest of 2 lemons untreated
3 eggs
315 g of white yogurt
50 ml lemon juice
220 g flour 00
80 g of potato starch
10 g of yeast
For the syrup
75 ml of water
75 ml of lemon juice
peel of 1 lemon
100 g of sugar











1. Preheat oven to 180 ° C and a mold fluted butters from ciambellone wide and 24 cm deep at least 10.
2. Fitted with electric whisk the butter with the sugar and the lemon rind until it becomes soft and fluffy.
3. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mounts until they are incorporated.
4. Add half the yogurt and half the lemon juice, then gently incorporates half the flour sifted with the flour and baking powder. Add the rest of the yogurt and lemon juice and finish with the remaining flour.
5. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in a hot oven for about 50 minutes, until it is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry.
6. Leave to cool Ciambellione for 10 minutes in the mold, then capovolgilo on a grid.
7. In the meantime prepare the syrup: boil in a saucepan the water, lemon juice, sugar and lemon zest thinly sliced for about 5 minutes, until it becomes the consistency of a syrup.
8. Pour the syrup over the cake, sprinkle with the lemon zest and let cool before serving.





Peach Oatmeal Muffins

Yield: make 12 muffins

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs

For the topping:
2 medium peaches
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup sugar

Pre-heat the oven to 500 degrees

For the topping:
1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, add the sugar and grated ginger and cook until the sugar is dissolved.

2. Add the peaches to the pan and cook until they start to release their juices. Set aside to cool slightly while you prepare the batter.

Danver Stainless Outdoor Kitchens Explains How Color Influences Outdoor Design

WALLINGFORD, Conn., Jan. 10, 2015 /PRNewswire-iReach/ — Danver Stainless Outdoor Kitchens, a leading manufacturer of stainless steel outdoor cabinets, details how color influences design and adds personality to dining or living spaces outside. Color has a powerful influence on design because of its ability to affect the mood and energy in a certain space. Designers and… Continue reading

Ben & Jerry’s Launches New Ice Cream Flavors in the Winter

You may wonder why an ice cream company wants to launch their new products during the winter.

We’re deep in the throes of winter, there’s a good chance it’s colder than 20 degrees wherever you live, and you’ve probably just resolved to drop five pounds. It also happens to be the beginning of ice cream launch season.

Today, Ben & Jerry’s is launching three flavors with cookie cores, which join the brand’s existing “core” lineup of ice creams that have such fillings as fudge, caramel, and raspberry jam. They’re called Boom Chocolatta! Cookie Core, Peanut Buttah Cookie Core, and Spectacular Speculoos Cookie Core. The center has a texture that’s kind of like cookie dough, but crunchier, says John Henry Siedlecki, senior brand manager at Ben & Jerry’s. (Read More)