Sweet & Simple Fruit Dip

Jul 21, 2012

Did you know that there are a lot of ways to make fruit dip? I just wanted a healthier recipe that included Neufchatel cheese and Greek yogurt that was sweetened with maple syrup (and didn't include marshmallow fluff). Since I couldn't find any recipes that fit my requirements, I came up with my own. With just four whole food ingredients, it is sweet and simple.

Sweet & Simple Fruit Dip

8 oz Neufchatel or regular cream cheese, softened
8 oz (1 cup) plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
maple syrup, to taste

Using whisk or mixer, blend all ingredients until smooth. Start with 1-2 teaspoons of maple syrup and add more as needed, until you reach desired sweetness. Cover and chill until needed or eat immediately.

Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake

This past Easter, my niece contributed a wonderfully moist strawberry yogurt cake.The tangy lemon glaze complements the sweet strawberries for a delicious treat. I never got around to asking for the recipe, but luckily I ran across it on Pinterest recently and traced the pin back to A Spicy Perspective

If you have been around here long, you have probably figured out that I like to tweak recipes to make them healthier, if possible. The only thing I altered was to reduce the sugar to 1 1/2 cups instead of 2. Trust me, you won't miss the extra 1/2 cup of sugar! You may even be able to reduce it a little more, either in the cake or the glaze. I also recommend using organic lemons and strawberries because you will be using the zest of the lemon (you'll avoid the waxes and fungicides used on conventional lemons) and strawberries are on the dirty dozen list. Of course, the next time I make this, I will try whole wheat pastry or whole white wheat flour and I may even use blueberries instead of strawberries. Click HERE for the recipe.

Allergy-Friendly Food for Families {Review & Giveaway}

Jul 17, 2012

*Giveaway has ENDED*

As a Moms Meet Mom Ambassador for Kiwi Magazine, I get the occasional opportunity to sample and review some great natural and organic foods and family products. As a blogger, I was glad that they started their Mom Ambassador Blogger program because now I can share them with you, my reader, and my local natural moms group.

Parents who have discovered that they and/or their child have food allergies will be happy to add this kid-friendly cookbook to their collection. Allergy-Friendly Food for Families is from the editors of Kiwi Magazine and has 120 gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, egg-free, and soy-free recipes.

My first impression of the cookbook is that it is a good-quality book. Beautiful, full-color pictures printed on thick, sturdy pages in an easy-to-hold 9" x 8" size. It starts out with a brief explanation of food allergies (not sensitivities or intolerances) and a few expert-answered questions. At the back of Allergy-Friendly Food for Families, you'll find a list of products to stock your allergy-free pantry and two recipe indexes, one alphabetical and one by allergen. A special treat waits for you on the last page - a mail-in form for a free one-year (six issue) subscription to Kiwi Magazine!

The recipe section is the bulk of the book, of course, and is broken down into Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Dessert, Snacks and Parties, each having its own recipe index with an allergy-free key to help you find the right recipe. In addition, there are color-coded "tabs" on the edges of every page to tell you which allergens that specific recipe is free of. These are very helpful as you are flipping through. Sprinkled throughout are pages with ideas for cooking with kids and special tips. One possible negative is that there are not pictures for most recipes. For example, in the Breakfast section, there are 22 recipes and only five with pictures. Personally, I don't have an issue with it, but some might. 

You're ready to hear about the recipes now, right? Of course, if you have already been cooking for someone with food allergies, you will be familiar with some or most of the ingredients used. Considering that most allergy-causing foods are also the most commonly consumed, like wheat, eggs, and dairy, it is not surprising that their substitutes may be less common. Some of the recipes call for specialty items, like tofu, rice milk, chickpea flour, tahini, or soy-free, non-hydrogenated margarine, but the majority use ingredients found in most grocery stores. 

Here is a sampling of recipes:
  • Quinoa Maple Crunch
  • Fresh Almond or Rice Milk
  • Sweet Summer Corn Salad
  • Barbecue Chicken Salad
  • Tofu-Stuffed Shells
  • Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Lentils
  • Easy Lemon Chicken
  • Coconut No-Cream Pie
  • Cherry Chocolate Sorbet
  • Salted Caramel Hot Cocoa
  • Raw Summer Peach Tart
  • Gluten-Free Pie Crust
  • Pear Dunkers with Cashew-Cinnamon Yogurt Sauce
  • Chickpea Herb Crackers
  • Fruity Guac
  • Green Monster Dip with Carrot Coins
  • Black Bean Brownie Bites

You'll find more recipes, articles and tips at their companion website, Allergy-Friendly Cooking.

To purchase your own copy now, click HERE. If you would like to try to win a free copy, enter my giveaway below! *Giveaway ended.*

Open to U.S. residents, 18 and older. Ends at midnight on Sunday, July 22, 2012. Raising Knights is not responsible for delivery of prize; it will be sent directly from the company.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: In exchange for an honest review, I was provided with a free copy of the cookbook for myself and Kiwi Magazine will be providing another copy to the contest winner. 

Green Awesomeness {AKA Pasta, Pesto and Peas}

Jul 1, 2012

Ina Garten's Pasta, Pesto and Peas
"Green Awesomeness" is the name given to this dish by our 10 year old neighbor. It is Ina Garten's Pasta, Pesto and Peas. Although her name is an accurate description of the dish, I like his name better, don't you?

This is the perfect summer picnic or potluck dish, as it's a nice change from the usual pasta salads. We had it for a simple dinner and the boys weren't complaining, that's for sure. Even my pea-hater ate it and just quietly pushed the peas to the side. It's not lacking in flavor (or calories, I'm sure) due to the pesto, Parmesan, spinach, lemon juice, and mayo. 

Needless to say, this one will be added to the recipe box. The changes I made were to use a 16 oz. box of mini bow tie pasta, fresh baby spinach instead of frozen, jarred pesto instead of homemade (the original recipe includes a pesto recipe), less than half of the mayonnaise, and omit the pine nuts. Oh, and I totally forgot to toss the pasta with extra virgin olive oil. If you wanted to make a more substantial meal with it, you could easily add cooked chicken.

With two of my big guys gone right now, we had plenty left over. I suppose you know what I'll be having for lunch tomorrow.  
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