October, 2013

Oct 27, 2013

More whole wheat pastry flour in desserts

Jennifer asks… I was wondering if more of your dessert recipes can use all whole wheat pastry flour in place of all purpose flour? Would there be any changes needed to ingredients or baking times if using all whole wheat pastry flour? The only one I’ve found that does is the chocolate brownies.

My response… Your question is timely because every time I cook or bake, if I can make something even healthier than the last time, I always try.  And because I love to bake, that means using more whole wheat flour in my desserts. Just tonight I made 100% whole grain chocolate chip-cherry cookies and they were fantastic (that recipe is coming soon). With desserts 100% whole grain is always best but not at the expense of texture and taste. That’s why I still make my pizza crust and cinnamon rolls with all purpose flour. I’ve tried using whole wheat but in those cases, it just didn’t deliver.

We all know it’s better to eliminate white flour and you will find a lot of my upcoming baking, especially cookies, will be made with 100% whole wheat pastry flour. It’s not that I haven’t been trying to use it more, I just haven’t always loved the results. Otherwise, I would use nothing but whole wheat. Currently, besides my brownies, my chocolate French toast, kitchen sink cookies and my crispy crunchy oat cookies are 100% whole grain. I have also made my apple muffins with 100% whole wheat pastry flour and my tortillas too. Coming soon will be my: 100% whole grain chocolate chip-cherry cookies, my crunchy munchy cookies with crisped rice, a delicious apple cake, and my farm bread – all 100% whole wheat. Rest assured I am on the case!

UPDATE/Nov. 7th: I made my apple muffins again this morning using 100% whole wheat pastry flour and they were great. So I am changing the recipe. Thanks, Jennifer, for the nudge I needed!

Oct 24, 2013

Sweet & Salty Popcorn

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As if anyone needs it, I just posted a printable recipe for my sweet and salty popcorn, also known as kettle corn. I could eat this every day! I prefer mine just sweet with no salt but I know lots of people crave sweet & salty so you can make it that way too. Either way, it’s ready in 5 minutes. Making your own homemade kettle corn is easy in the microwave and it tastes way better than anything from the store. Click here for the recipe.

Oct 23, 2013

Botox

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Oct 16, 2013

Quick & Easy Kettle Corn

Gone In Sixty Seconds wasn’t just a movie. It also describes what happens when I make my easy microwave kettle corn. It’s so good it’s usually gone in a matter of seconds. This delicious kettle corn is lightly sweet and unbearably easy to make… start to finish: about 5 minutes! It can be made simply sweet or if you’re craving something sweet and salty, that too. Just add a little salt. This snack is so easy to make and so easy to eat, it always disappears in one sitting.

Microwaving is the easiest way to make this kettle corn using a paper lunch bag and stapler. It’s just popping corn, a little oil, a little sugar, (and salt if you like), into the bag, into the microwave and done. You can also make it on the stove the standard way: add popping corn to oil in the pot, add sugar, and pop! Don’t eat the store bought stuff that always seems to have mystery ingredients. There’s nothing like fresh homemade kettle corn. It’s healthier, it will taste better, and you’ll save money. That’s a win-win-win! Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

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Oct 8, 2013

Sweet & Sour Chicken

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Yes, it tastes as good as it looks – but only if you use fresh pineapple. I promise that if you use fresh pineapple in this delicious meal, you will never use canned again. It makes all the difference… well, most of the difference. Different colors of peppers add more complexity to this dish as well as a variety of antioxidants. Each color brings its own anti-aging benefits.

Stir frying is great for weeknight dinners because by the time your rice is cooked, dinner is ready. This one cooks in less than ten minutes. Homemade Chinese will always be healthier because you can use less oil and add more vegetables. The day I decided to create my own healthier sweet & sour chicken was the last time I ordered it in a restaurant. I got the chicken (and too much sauce) with two pieces of green pepper and one red one. Seriously. Three pieces of peppers. And canned pineapple! Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones

Oct 4, 2013

I ate the whole thing!

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I just posted my 100th recipe and there are still so many more to come. But no one has ever asked me what MY favorite is. So what is my favorite recipe of all one hundred? Up until yesterday, I might have had to think about my answer because if I didn’t love something, I wouldn’t be making it, right? But last night, it became clear. It’s my delicious, yummy, creamy rice pudding.

As comfort foods go, especially when you feel stressed out, rice pudding is hard to beat. It’s creamy, sweet, and when served warm… it could help avoid some expensive psychotherapy! My low fat version is made with the only rice you should ever use for pudding – Arborio. So last night after dinner, I ran out of those peanut butter cookies so I made some rice pudding. It only takes 30 minutes so as soon as it was done, I transferred it to my orange bowl, planning to have a small serving and keep the rest for tomorrow. I failed.

I started by skimming spoonfuls off the top (it was still pretty warm – actually, it may have still been cooking) and before I knew it, there was hardly any left. I transferred it to a smaller container to refrigerate, tasting as I went along. I went to cover the container and realized there wasn’t even one serving left. I decided it wouldn’t be fair to the next person (me) who’d be eating it.

So I ate the whole thing. It’s not something I’m proud of but I feel I need to share. Keeping it a secret was causing me stress and stress makes us crave comfort foods, and well… it’s a vicious cycle, my friends. So I’ve cleared my conscience, just like I cleared out that orange bowl.

The next time you’re craving some comfort, click here for the recipe.

Oct 3, 2013

How to Prevent Sinking Cupcakes

Debbie asks… Hi lately my cupcakes have become wrinkled and flat once out of the oven can you to me what might cause this please.

My Response…

Baking is such an exact science that almost any small change in a recipe can cause it to fail. Here are a few possible explanations:

  • Your baking powder or baking soda is expired.
  • Your ingredients are not room temperature.
  • Batter was over-mixed.
  • Oven door was opened during baking.
  • Batter was too liquid.
  • Improper measuring.
  • Oven was not preheated long enough.
  • Oven temperature is not accurate.

Make sure you follow your recipe exactly, right down to the size of the eggs (usually large) and use fresh ingredients. I hope this helps. Does anyone else have cupcake advice for Debbie?

Oct 1, 2013

Easy Peanut Butter Cookies

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Wow! I love this incredibly easy recipe. It’s so simple. One bowl. No mixer. No shaping. And no cleanup if you use parchment paper. There is no butter and no flour is this simple cookie recipe. And my version has less sugar than most. Wait ’til you try one – the taste is out of this world!

Even the most amateur cook can’t mess this up. Here are the steps: 1) Mix ingredients together in a bowl. 2) Drop on sheet and bake. 3) Done.

I’ve always used natural peanut butter, like Laura Scudder’s or Santa Cruz organic, but always chunky. You can use smooth… but why? With chunky peanut butter, you get some nice peanuty crunch with every bite. When cookies are this easy to make, anyone can make cookies from scratch – in 15 minutes.  Click here for the recipe. – Jenny Jones