Weekend Brunch Alert: Low Fat Pumpkin French Toast

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Photo Credit: The Minimalist Baker

Sometimes there is nothing better than sleeping in and cooking a late brunch for the family (or your post-bar hopping friends). One of our favorite blogs The Minimalist Baker combined the flavors of October (pumpkins!) with the traditional breakfast French toast to create a totally delectable and according to TMB not too fattening at just 120 calories per slice weekend treat. The batter is super easy: seven free-range eggs, 2 cups of milk, teaspoon of vanilla extract, two scoops of pumpkin butter (Trader Joe’s has a seasonal pumpkin butter) and some shakes of pumpkin pie spice (TJ’s again!). Pour the batter over cubes of raisin bread in a casserole dish. Leave overnight. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Pumpkin is also a super healthy vegetable with high levels of vitamins A, C and E.

Citrus Punch – Party Favorite!

In time for your weekend plans we wanted to share a no-fail party punch recipe. Last fall, we were lucky to meet with the charming celebrity chef Bradley Odgen a James Beard Foundation award-winning chef and restauranteur who had just published his second cookbook, Holiday Dinners with Bradley Ogden.

One recipe that we have sampled and approved is the Winter Citrus Punch a spinoff of classic sangria and can be made up to three or four days in advance in big batches to share with a crowd at a party. While the official name is Winter Citrus Punch, it can be enjoyed anytime of the year.

Winter Citrus Punch With Spiced Pomegranate Ice

Serves 8

Ingredients

3 star anise, crushed

2 cups pomegranate juice, freshly squeezed
2 cups tangerine juice, freshly squeezed
8–10 peppermint leaves, plus sprigs for garnish
2 cups pineapple juice, freshly pressed
2 cups blood orange juice, freshly squeezed
2 cups orange juice, freshly squeezed
½ cup Meyer lemon juice, freshly squeezed
8 shots of rum or Cointreau (one per person) or sparkling wine or champagne to taste, optional

To Make
1 In a small noncorrosive pan, combine the pomegranate juice, star anise and peppermint leaves and heat to a high simmer. 2 Turn down the heat and steep for 15 minutes, then strain. 3 Pour into ice cube trays and freeze. 4 Combine the remaining juices and refrigerate until needed. 5 Place juice and frozen cubes in a large punch bowl with slices of fruit on top or serve in individual glasses over the frozen cubes of pomegranate ice. 6 Garnish with peppermint sprigs. 7 For holiday cheer, add desired spirit.

Frozen Fruits – Cost Saver Huge Flavor!

D Sharon Pruitt

As we say so long to summer and bask in the glory of fall, we also bid adieu to many of the brightly colored, highly nutritious organic fresh fruits. Hence we did a bit of research on how  to freeze that last batch of summer fruit.

Thanks to AllRecipes.com for their tips of freezing fruit.

Wash fruits and sort for damaged fruit before freezing. Some fruits do best with a sugar or sugar-syrup preparation. Blueberries, currants, and cranberries do fine without sugar.

Here’s a trick for freezing delicate berries like strawberries or raspberries: Arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer to a plastic freezer bag or container. You can also prepare delicate berries with sugar or sugar syrup.

For fruits that tend to brown, like apples, peaches, nectarines and apricots, treat with ascorbic acid (Vitamin C). Look for the powdered form in health food stores, drugstores, and some grocery stores in the vitamin aisle. To make an ascorbic acid wash: Dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of ascorbic acid powder (or finely crushed vitamin C tablets) in 3 tablespoons water. Sprinkle this mixture over the cut fruit. An acceptable substitute: Slice the fruit and dip the slices  in an acidulated water bath — about one quart water plus a tablespoon of lemon juice — before drying and freezing.

For the elusive frozen bananas (ours seem to collect ice crystals and turn brown ;( ) We’ve gone to LiveStrong.com for their advice. For preparation for smoothies they suggest peeling, cutting into 1/2 slices and putting on wax or parchment paper and place the banana slices onto it in a single layer and then placing the bananas in the freezer in a level spot for 30 minutes to an hour to solidify Otherwise, peel the bananas. (peeled frozen bananas can last up to four months, while those frozen with the peel last only two months) And place your bananas into a zipper freezer bag. Push as much air as you can out of the bag before sealing it shut. Don’t crowd or squish the bananas because it will make them harder to separate when you want to use them.

$2 Lunch Recipe – Broccoli and Leek Soup

For a girl on a budget there’s nothing worse than hitting up the cute corner cafe for a midweek lunch and spending $20 for a salad and bottle of sparkling water, which is why we’re featuring this yummy, healthy (packed with vitamin C!) and wallet-friendly $2 lunch recipe.

Broccoli and Leek Soup (Makes 4 Lunch Servings)

1 leek, pale section only, halved lengthways, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 large potato, peeled, finely chopped

4 cups water

1 salt-reduced vegetable stock cube, crumbled

1 extra large head of broccoli, cut into florets

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves

  1. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat. Spray with olive oil spray. Add the leek. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  2. Add the potato, water and stock cube to the leek mixture. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the broccoli. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the broccoli is tender. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Place the cool broccoli mixture and basil in a blender and blend until smooth – or use an immersion blender. Transfer the soup to a clean saucepan. Stir over medium-low heat until heated through.
  4. Eat immediately, or pack for office lunches.

    *ingredients for four servings less than $8 — let us know if you scored them for cheaper!

    Photo via  jules:stonesoup

Best Roasted Tomato Recipe Ever!

This is the time of year we seem to have an abundance of gorgeous, sweet, fresh-from-the-garden or Farmers Market tomatoes … and calendar full of BBQs. We loved this EZ recipe from the Hawaii Farmers Market Cookbook.

Maria Tucker from Aloha Gourmet suggests topping with fine bread crumbs or Parmesan cheese during the last five minutes of roasting. We served them as is -and they were a crowd pleaser!

Recipe:
8-10 Tomatoes
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme, basil, chevril or marjoram
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (of course Hawaiian sea salt is best)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black or white pepper

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Slice tomatoes in half, place in a bowl and toss with remaining ingredients. We didn’t have chevril or marjoram, just lots of fresh basil, Arrange a single layer with the cut sides up and bake about 30 minutes.  Serves 6.

Best part is they are sooo good for you – check out this breakdown from SELFnutritionaldata.com

Cocktail Time! French 75 With a Twist

You’ve probably seen a French 75 on a menu–or perhaps you remember your grandparents drinking this vintage cocktail. One of our favorite blogs Eat Love Drink has a fun twist on this old standby with antioxidant rich blueberries!

Ingredients:

2 ounces of gin

1 teaspoon of sugar

Squeeze of a lemon

Handful of blueberries

5 ounces of brut Champagne

What to do:

Muddle the blueberries (but don’t mush them), add the lemon juice, gin and some ice. Stir it up and top with Champagne.

What’s so special about blueberries? At just 80 calories per cup and basically no fat blueberries are a total superfood, packed with 25 percent of your daily Vitamin C and your full fiber requirement in just one serving!

 

Fantastic photo via Eat Love Drink.

The EZ-est Salsa Ever – Texas Caviar


One of our favorite readers (we said “one!” of many) served up this addictive salsa the other night and it was gone in minutes. Grown men, children, teens and ladies all stood over the bowls scooping chips full of this tasty combo of crunchy veggies, beans and corn. Not since the famous easiest and best cabbage salad ever recipe have we been so excited about a side dish. Why? Simple—it is so easy to make and the longer it sits in your fridge, the better it tastes. When we made this recipe we used organic non gmo canola oil and half the sugar (and it tasted delicious) but for the purest, we wanted to share the original recipe.

 

Recipe

Mix together:

1 1/2 cup diced celery
1 can pinto beans-drain
1 can yellow corn-drain
1 can black beans-rinse and drain
pimento-drain
1 green pepper-diced
1/2 cup green onion-diced
Mix these items together in a container with a lid and shake. Then mix the following in a separate bowl.
1/4 cup vegetable oil (original recipe calls for 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup sugar (original recipe calls for 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. garlic salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
Mix all ingredients together and enjoy!

Make a Lemonade Stand: The Skinny

OK ladies – look out for this adorable eight year old, Vivienne Harr, who is heck bent on stopping child slavery. Inspired by a photo of two child slaves in Nepal, she with the help of her dad, Eric, a CARE ambassador and uber marketer, bought the url, makeastandlemonade.com and set up shop on the corner of their street in the town of Fairfax in Marin County.

Her goal is to raise $150,000 for Not For Sale, a non-profit organization that combats modern slavery and human trafficking of some 30 million adults and children around the world.

In her first 15 days, she’s earned, $4k, for NFS, and has nearly 15,000 twitter followers, including pop idol, Katy Perry.

Since we are interviewing her for an upcoming issue of Marin Magazine, we got a little insider info on how she came up with the recipe, which she shared with us. Well, actually her dad, Eric gave us the scoop.

We literally started in the kitchen with ingredients from Good Earth in Fairfax and had no clue. After some truly spit-worthy efforts, we decided to bring in the professionals. We are working with a mixologist Tzeira Sofer (Founder of Pomega5) and Matteo Boussina, owner of Taco Jane’s — on a lemonade that is not what you expect.

When most people think of lemonade stand lemonade, they think sugar, warm water and…lemons. Very sweet, very lemony. MAKE-A-STAND is “lemonade to the next level.” As Vivienne Harr, 8, “makes a stand” to fight slavery, she “makes a stand” on her ingredients: 100% organic, 100% fair-trade, 100% fresh.
Ingredients:
  • 6 cups of spring water
  • 9-ounces of fresh squeezed, organic Meyer lemon juice
  • 6-ounces of maple crystals (Maple crystals offer a more delicious, and lower glycemic, sweetener. We don’t need more refined sugar in our diets.)
  • 1/8 cup of fresh, organic, mint
  • 3 cups of fresh, organic raspberries
  • 3 tablespoons of freshly-juiced organic ginger
Preparation:
  1. Boil mint and maple crystals in two cups of water. Let sit one hour to cool.
  2. Extract ginger juice in traditional vegetable juicer.
  3. Stir all ingredients together.
  4. Remove mint from boiled water and pour into mix.
  5. Mash raspberries and stir into mix.
  6. Serve over lots of crushed ice.
  7. Garnish with sprig of mint and two fresh raspberries in a bamboo skewer across the top as garnish. (Manners matter!)
  8. Enjoy The Sweet Taste of Freedom!

What we should have asked her is how she got so many twitter followers in such a short time!

Can’t make it to Fairfax? Buy a virtual cup?

DIY: 5 Minute 5 Layer Greek Dip For a Healthy Heart!

We’re always reading about the health benefits of a Mediterranean diet — studies have shown following the ‘Med plan reduces the risk of heart disease and cancer! So, when we stumbled across this tasty five-layer Greek dip on Pinterest, we couldn’t resist sharing with you! Plus, the recipe took less than 5 minutes to make! Speaking of Pinterest…follow us now (shameless plug).

What you’ll need:

-Hummus (homemade or store bought)
-red bell pepper
-kalamata olivws
-cucumber
-feta cheese
-fresh dill
-pita
How to make it:

1. Finely chop olive, bell pepper, cucumber, and dill.
2. Spread hummus about 1-2 inches thick in the bottom of a wide serving dish.
3. Sprinkle the vegetables evenly over the hummus.
4. Crumble feta cheese on top.
5. Sprinkle bits of dill and serve with warm pita slices. Enjoy!
Photo and recipe courtesy of The Lovely Cupboard.

DIY: Sauvignon Blanc Ice Pops!

One of our MISS readers emailed us this tasty recipe and after immediately forwarding it to every Sauvignon Blanc fan we know we put together this tasty post…just in time for your Fourth of July barbecue plans!

Kim Crawford Wines (think New Zealand award-winning Sauvignon Blanc that won’t break the budget) collaborated with the folks at People’s Pops for one of the best DIY recipes (and very Pinterest-worthy) we’ve seen in a long time!

We’re featuring the recipe for an adult-friendly twist on a summer staple in three flavors:

o   Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc-Infused Strawberry Lemongrass Ice Pops

INGREDIENTS

  • - 1 1/2 pounds fresh, ripe strawberries
  • - 5 ounces dark organic cane sugar
  • - 5 fluid ounces water
  • - 1 piece of lemongrass about 2 inches long
  • - 7 ounces 2011 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc
  1. Crush lemongrass stalk using a rolling pin or the dull side of a knife blade to release its essential oils. Combine sugar and water in saucepan and gently heat while stirring until sugar completely dissolves. Add lemongrass and simmer for 5 minutes, then turn off heat, allowing lemongrass to steep. Once cool, remove lemongrass pieces from infused syrup.
  2. Wash strawberries and remove the green leaves and stems. Lightly puree, and combine with 8 ounces of lemongrass syrup. Add 7 ounces of Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc and stir well.
  3. Pour into molds, add sticks and freeze until solid, 4 to 6 hours. Unmold and serve at once, or place in plastic bags for storage.

o   Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc-Infused Yellow peach and Vanilla Ice Pops

INGREDIENTS

  • - 3 to 4 baseball sized ripe to overripe yellow peaches
  • - 4 ounces dark organic cane sugar
  • - 4 fluid ounces water
  • - 1 inch piece of vanilla bean cut lengthwise
  • - 7 ounces 2011 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc
  1. Combine sugar and water in saucepan. Gently heat while stirring until sugar completely dissolves. Remove from heat, add cut vanilla bean and steep for 15 minutes. Remove bean and allow syrup to completely cool.
  2. Rinse peaches and pat dry. With paring knife, remove pits and stems. Lightly puree peaches, being sure to leave some texture, resulting in about 16 fluid ounces. Combine puree with cooled vanilla syrup and 7 ounces of Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, stirring well.
  3. Pour in to molds, add sticks and freeze until solid (about 4 to 6 hours). Unmold and serve at once, or place in plastic bags for storage.

o   Kim Crawford Pinot Noir-Infused Blackberry Ice Pops

INGREDIENTS

  • - 1 1/2 pounds fresh, ripe blackberries (about 5 cups)
  • - 4 ounces dark organic cane sugar
  • - 4 fluid ounces water
  • - 6-8 ounces 2010 Kim Crawford Pinot Noir
  1. Combine sugar and water in saucepan. Gently heat while stirring until sugar completely dissolves. Allow to cool completely.
  2. Rinse blackberries and dry with paper towel. Lightly puree with blender or mash blackberries, resulting in about 16 ounces of puree. Add 6 ounces of cooled liquid sugar, 6 ounces of Kim Crawford Pinot Noir, and taste. The sweet, lightly acidic blackberries will highlight the natural fruit notes of Pinot Noir, leaving a nice, slightly tannic finish. If stronger Pinot Noir flavor is desired, add remaining 2 ounces.
  3. Pour in to molds, add sticks and freeze until solid (about 4 to 6 hours). Unmold and serve at once, or place in plastic bags for storage.

 

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