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Should Toucan Sam Follow His Nose? Froot Loops; The Scoop, Cereal & Krispy Treats

cravingsofalunatic

“Follow your nose. It always knows. The flavor of fruit! Wherever it grows!” In truth the scrumptious, psychedelic colored O’s that make up Froot Loops don’t actually coincide with the jingle fruits “orange, lemon and cherry.” Sorry to burst your breakfast bubble, but according to Kellogg’s, all of those lip smacking loops are the same flavor…who knew?

If you’ve just fainted into your cereal bowl, you’re not alone. We’ve all been misled by those tempting lime green, orange, purple, yellow and red loops thinking they are orange, lemon and cherry flavored, when, in fact, they are all the same flavor. What is that flavor anyway? “Froot,” which according to Wikipedia, stems from “a blend of fruit flavors.” Is nothing sacred? Next thing you know they’ll be telling us that Cap’n Crunch isn’t really a captain. ;-)

cravingsofalunatic2

Captain Crunch and Froot Loop Marshmallow Krispy Treats

Makes 12 squares

Ingredients:

3 cups Captain Crunch Cereal

3 cups Froot Loops Cereal

4 cups Miniature Marshmallows (or about 40 large marshmallows, 10 ounce package)

3 tablespoons Butter

Non-Stick Cooking Spray

Candy Topping

cravingsofalunatic4Directions:

Add cereal in a large bowl and set aside. Place marshmallows in a medium size glass or ceramic microwaveable bowl. Place butter in the bowl with marshmallows. Heat in microwave for approximately 3 minutes or until butter melts.

Stir marshmallows and butter together until smooth. Add marshmallow mixture to the bowl of cereal and gently stir all ingredients until cereal is coated. Spray a casserole dish or pan (13 x 9 x 2”) with non-stick cooking spray and then add the marshmallow and cereal mixture.

Use a buttered spatula, wax paper, or add water to your hands to gently press the mixture evenly into the pan. Let cool and cut into squares. Optional, but pretty: dip the Krispy squares in colored candy topping.

cravingsofalunatic5

photo source: cravingsofalunatic

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Easy Gluten Free All Purpose Flour Recipe & Cranberry Pecan White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

heavenmills

Gluten Free White Bread photo source: heavenmills

Gluten Free All Purpose Flour: A Quick, Easy & Delicious Replacement

I wanted to develop an inexpensive and easy flour recipe to deliciously swap wheat for all of us gluten free people. After a few attempts here’s my best concoction. Use as you would regular flour in cakes, pies, breads, muffins and even as a thickener for sauces. Replace it cup for cup. Even double the batch because you may need more :-) There are many good gluten free bread recipes on the net. Simply find one you prefer and use this flour, cup for cup, as the replacement. Your tummy and taste buds will thank you. Bob’s move over :-)

culinaryartist

photo source: culinaryartist

Ingredients:

5 cups white (or brown) rice flour

3 cups tapioca flour

1 cup arrowroot powder

1 1/2 cups potato starch

2 tablespoons xanthan gum

1 tablespoon salt

Directions:

In a large bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 year.

Note: Yeast breads & doughs will not rise as high due to the need for high glutens, but it still tastes great & makes super sandwiches & pizza!

thecookiescoop

photo source: thecookiescoop

Cranberry Pecan White Chocolate Chunk Cookies Gluten Free

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 1/2 cups Gluten Free or all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup sweetened dried cranberries

1/2 cup chopped pecans

1 teaspoon freshly grated orange peel (dried if you are layering in a jar)

1 (12-ounce) package white chocolate chunks or baking chips, reserve 1/2 cup

Directions:

Heat oven to 350° Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Set aside.

Combine butter, brown sugar, sugar, eggs and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until well mixed. Add flour, baking soda and salt; beat at low speed until well mixed. Stir in cranberries, oats, pecans, orange peel and remaining baking chips.Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls, 2 inches apart, onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake 12-14 minutes or until light brown. Remove parchment paper with cookies onto cooling rack. Cool completely.

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Bananas: The Feel Good Fruit & Banana Crumb Muffins

desibantu

photo source:desibantu

You’ll never look at a banana the same way again after discovering the many health benefits and reasons to add them to your diet. Bananas combat depression, make you smarter, cure hangovers, relieve morning sickness, protect against kidney cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis and blindness. They can cure the itch of a mosquito bite and put a great shine on your shoes.

  1. Bananas help overcome depression due to high levels of tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin — the happy-mood brain neurotransmitter.
  2. Eat two bananas before a strenuous workout to pack an energy punch and sustain your blood sugar.
  3. Protect against muscle cramps during workouts and nighttime leg cramps by eating a banana.
  4. Counteract calcium loss during urination and build strong bones by supplementing with a banana.
  5. Improve your mood and reduce PMS symptoms by eating a banana, which regulates blood sugar and produces stress-relieving relaxation.
  6. Bananas reduce swelling, protect against type II diabetes, aid weight loss, strengthen the nervous system, and help with the production of white blood cells, all due to high levels of vitamin B-6.
  7. Strengthen your blood and relieve anemia with the added iron from bananas.
  8. High in potassium and low in salt, bananas are officially recognized by the FDA as being able to lower blood pressure and protect against heart attack and stroke.
ilovebananas

photo source: ilovebananas

Eating Bananas Aids Digestion

  1. Rich in pectin, bananas aid digestion and gently chelate toxins and heavy metals from the body.
  2. Bananas act as a prebiotic, stimulating the growth of friendly bacteria in the bowel. They also produce digestive enzymes to assist in absorbing nutrients.
  3. Constipated? High fiber in bananas can help normalize bowel motility.
  4. Got the runs? Bananas are soothing to the digestive tract and help restore lost electrolytes after diarrhea.
  5. Bananas are a natural antacid, providing relief from acid reflux, heartburn and GERD.
  6. Bananas are the only raw fruit that can be consumed without distress to relieve stomach ulcers by coating the lining of the stomach against corrosive acids.

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Natural Cures From A Simple Banana

  1. Eating bananas will help prevent kidney cancer, protects the eyes against macular degeneration and builds strong bones by increasing calcium absorption.
  2. Bananas make you smarter and help with learning by making you more alert. Eat a banana before an exam to benefit from the high levels of potassium.
  3. Bananas are high in antioxidants, providing protection from free radicals and chronic disease.
  4. Eating a banana between meals helps stabilize blood sugar and reduce nausea from morning sickness.
  5. Rub a bug bite or hives with the inside of the banana peel to relieve itching and irritation.
  6. Control blood sugar and avoid binging between meals by eating a banana.
  7. Eating a banana can lower the body temperature and cool you during a fever or on a hot day.
  8. The natural mood-enhancer tryptophan, helps to relieve Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
  9. Quitting smoking? Bananas contain high levels of B-vitamins as well as potassium and magnesium to speed recovery from the effects of withdrawal.
  10. Remove a wart by placing the inside of a piece of banana peel against the wart and taping it in place.
  11. Rub the inside of a banana peel on your leather shoes or handbag and polish with a dry cloth for a quick shine.

Source: Foodmatters

edibleexistence

photo source: edibleexistance

Banana Crumb Muffins

Makes: 10

These are basic banana muffin made extraordinary with a brown sugar crumb topping that will melt in your mouth.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 bananas, mashed

3/4 cup white sugar

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/3 cup butter, melted

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon butter

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375* Lightly grease 10 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers.

In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.

In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.

Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

5

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

Best Apple Slice

Tis the season for baking! As easy as pie? You bet! This is no store bought! It’s real, luscious and completely satisfying–you will find new best friends with this one; they’ll flock to you! I’ve jumped on the bandwagon and incorporated the “salted caramel” aspect and it’s a winner! The brown sugar offers the caramely, buttery flavor and the salt, well, the salty notes. No need to fear, I will take through each step. This apple pie is award winning; firm not runny, perfectly sweet with the perfect amount of spices. It is sure to become one of your family’s favorites–it is in ours. If the homemade crust intimidates you, a good quality, store bought crust will do, but this classic pie crust is well worth the little time and effort…it’s buttery, flaky and simply AMAZING! So, get that rolling pin out, and join me for a tasty, appley, spicy adventure!

PS…Check out this peeler, slicer gadget! If you use and enjoy apples in any form, it’s a must!

amazon

photo source: amazon

Ingredients:

Pie Crust:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for bench and cutters

2 tablespoons sugar

½-1 teaspoon fine salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 sticks chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

4 tablespoons ice water mixed with 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar, plus more as needed

Filling:

3-4 pounds cooking apples (7-8 cups) sliced thin…I used the peeler corer slicer

1/2 lemon, juiced

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup granulated sugar

3/4- 1 cup brown sugar, packed firmly

2 teaspoons apple pie seasoning (or 2 tsp ground spices; 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp cloves & a pinch of nutmeg)

1 teaspoon fine salt

3 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

1 tablespoon instant tapioca

1 tablespoon course sugar

1/2 tsp course ground sea salt

Chef’s Note: You can increase the amount of sugar to 2 cups, depending upon your sweet tooth :-)

For the crust: In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar, salt and cold butter.

Pulse the processor until the mixture resembles fine sand. Remove lid and add ice water vinegar to mixture. Run processor just until mixture rolls itself into a little ball. If mixture is a bit dry, add more ice water by the tablespoonful until it comes together. Gather the dough into a ball. With a bench scraper or knife, divide the mixture evenly in half. Shape each half into a disk. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and chill at least 30 minutes. Dough will keep in the refrigerator for a few days or you may freeze for later use.

Preheat the oven to 425*

veronicascornucopia

photo source: veronicascornucopia

Flour a rolling pin and roll out 1 pie crust over a piece of floured waxed paper roll to about a 12-inch round and drape over a 9 1/2-inch pie plate—remember curbs not driveways. Roll out the other pie crust to about a 10-inch round. Scatter tapioca on the bottom—this will prevent a soggy bottom

Filling: Peel, core and thinly slice apples (corer, peeler, slicer highly recommended) add lemon juice and stir gently. Whisk flour, sugar, spices and salt in another bowl, making sure there are no lumps. Stir flour mixture into apples and mix well. Pour into pie crust. Scatter with pieces of butter. Top with 2nd 10 inch round. Crimp edges to seal. Cut a hole in the center and make several slits in between. Sprinkle top with course sugar & salt.

Place in preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes, lower heat to 350 degrees and bake until crust is golden; about 55-65 minutes. If the edges brown too fast, cover them with strips of aluminum foil about halfway through baking. Cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.

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Guest Chef! Sarah’s Healthy Lower Fat Italian Meatball Sub Super Bowl Bake

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On Facebook, my good friend Thad posted a fabulous looking meatball sub casserole recipe a couple of weeks back, so my wheels started to turn and simply had to develop my own. My friend Sarah and I wanted to create a feel good, healthier recipe that was, of course, delicious, but with a much lower fat content. This is the version we created; still with all of the ooey gooey Italian goodness, but with fewer calories and slightly guilt free. If you’re not concerned about fat & calories, by all means, feel free to use the whole milk cheese versions.This quick and easy bake is the perfect center for the upcoming Super Bowl festivities as well. Party On!

Thanks for the collaboration, Sarah!

nashvillescene

photo source: nashvillescene

Ingredients

1 loaf french bread, cut into 1 in thick slices, toasted

1 (8 oz) package cream cheese (low fat or regular), softened

1/2 c. mayonnaise (low fat or regular)

1/4 cup grated parmesan

1 tsp onion powder

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp Italian seasoning

1/4 cup parsley, chopped fine

1/4 tsp pepper

2 c. shredded 4 Cheese Italian cheese, divided (low fat or regular)

1 lb package fully cooked frozen meatballs, thawed (turkey or beef)

1 (28 oz) jar good quality pasta sauce; Classico 4 cheese or Emeril’s Marinara

DSC03516

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Arrange bread slices in a single layer on bottom and sides of an ungreased 9×13 baking dish. Fill in gaps with smaller chunks of bread. In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, parmesan, mayonnaise, parsley and seasonings. Spread mixture over bottom bread slices. Sprinkle with 1/2 c. shredded cheese.

Gently mix together spaghetti sauce and meatballs. Spoon over cheese. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes until bubbly. Serves 6

1

Money Money Money Mon-Ay, Chocolate! & The Aztec Hot Chocolate Recipe

bahamaschocolate

photo source: bahamaschocolate

As I write today’s entry, the early 70’s song “For the Love of Money” by the O’Jays rings loudly in my head. “Some people got to have it, Some people really need it” but where did it all begin?

Chocolate history starts in Latin America, where cacao trees grow wild. The first people to use chocolate were probably the Olmec of what is today southeast Mexico. They lived in the area around 1000 BC, and their word, “kakawa,” gave us our word “cacao.” Unfortunately, that’s all we know. We don’t know how (or even if) the Olmec actually used chocolate.

We do know, however, that the Maya, who inhabited the same general area a thousand years later (from about 250-900 AD), did use chocolate. A lot. And not just internally. It is with the Maya that chocolate history really begins.

The cacao beans were used as currency. 10 beans would buy you a rabbit or a prostitute. 100 beans would buy you a slave. Some clever person even came up with a way to counterfeit beans – by carving them out of clay. The beans were still used as currency in parts of Latin America until the 19th century!

The Maya also used chocolate in religious rituals; it sometimes took the place of blood. Chocolate was used in marriage ceremonies, where it was exchanged by the bride and groom, (I think I will have to revive this tradition), and in baptisms. They even had a cacao god.

gaiahealthblog

photo source: gaiahealthblog

But the Maya prepared chocolate strictly for drinking. Chocolate history doesn’t include solid chocolate until the 1850s. Except for that, the way the Maya prepared chocolate wasn’t too much different from the way it’s prepared today. First, the beans were harvested, fermented, and dried. The beans were then roasted and the shells removed, and the rest was ground into a paste. The paste was mixed with hot water and spices, such as chili, vanilla, annatto, allspice, honey, and flowers. Then the mixture was frothed by pouring it back and forth between two containers. The Maya thought the froth was one of the best parts. Chocolate was also mixed with corn and water to make a sort of gruel. It was probably similar to the chocolate and corn drink pinole, still enjoyed in Latin America today.

weddinghellsbells

photo source: weddinghellsbells

If dollar bills were edible, would you eat them? Probably not, unless you had some to spare. The same was true of the Maya – usually only the rich drank much chocolate, although working folks probably enjoyed chocolate every now and then too. The rich enjoyed drinking their chocolate from elaborately painted chocolate vessels. Emperors were buried with jars of chocolate at their side. Clearly, they wanted to make chocolate history themselves.

So it’s no surprise that when the Aztecs conquered the Maya, they kept the chocolate tradition alive. From about 1200-1500, the Aztecs dominated the region and continued using cacao as currency. Because cacao could not grow in the capital city, Tenochitlan (where Mexico City is today), it had to be imported through trading and, what else? Taxes!

chocladkultur

photo source: chocladkultur

The Aztec drank their chocolate much like the Maya, although they sometimes liked it cold. One chocolate history legend has it that the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl brought cacao to earth and was cast out of paradise for giving it to man. Only the gods were fit to drink chocolate!

In 1502, Columbus and his son, Ferdinand, were in the area, doing the usual conquering and such, when they came across a dugout canoe laden with supplies. They promptly captured it and ordered the natives to carry the loot on board their ship. In the process, somebody spilled some cacao, and the natives ran for the beans “as if an eye had fallen from their heads,” according to Ferdinand. Columbus could have been known as the first white guy to “discover” chocolate, but he blew his chance to make chocolate history by forgetting all about the incident.

In 1519, Cortez and his cronies arrived in the Aztec capital, where cacao trading was in full force, and Montezuma, the Aztec ruler, was rumored to have a billion beans in storage. They tried chocolate, hated it, and one writer eloquently called it “more a drink for pigs than a drink for humanity.” Without sugar, cacao was fairly bitter.

cazphoto

photo source: cazphoto

After Cortez and pals conquered the Aztecs, they kept right on using cacao as currency. By this time a rabbit cost 30 cacao beans. Must have been inflation. But chocolate history would soon change forever, because Cortez also kept right on conquering other people. Conveniently, the Spanish had taken over lots of Caribbean islands. And on those islands was sugar. Next thing you know, somebody put sugar in chocolate and everybody was clamoring for the stuff.

Source: factaboutchocolate

aztec-hot-chocolate

photo source: food

Aztec Hot Chocolate

Ingredients:

4 cups milk

2 cups half-and-half

1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate pieces

1 teaspoon instant espresso coffee powder

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

Sweetened whipped cream (optional)

Ground cinnamon (optional)

Directions:

In a 3 1/2- to 4-quart slow cooker, combine milk, half-and-half, chocolate pieces, coffee powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and ground cayenne. Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 4 hours or on high-heat setting for 2 hours, whisking vigorously once halfway through cooking time. Whisk well before serving. If desired, garnish each serving with whipped cream and sprinkle with cinnamon.

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The Best Old Thyme Chicken Noodle Soup

Best All

Few things are as warm and satisfying as a steaming bowl of chicken noodle soup on a cold winter’s day; Campbell built a legacy of it all on its own. This soup is different in that it’s somewhat of a double process; using stock instead of water for tremendous depths of flavors. You can purchase a good store bought stock if you are in a time crunch, but the recipe as stated is simple and pure heaven. Serve with crusty bread slathered with pure, organic, creamy butter and a side salad of choice.

Soup Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 medium carrots, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick slices

1 rutabaga or parsnip, peeled and cut into thick slices

2-3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into thick slices

2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices

4 fresh thyme sprigs

1 bay leaf

2 quarts chicken stock, recipe follows

8 ounces dried wide egg noodles

1 1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

indiochinekitchen

photo source: indiochinekitchen

Chicken Stock:

1 whole free-range chicken (about 3 1/2 pounds), rinsed, giblets discarded

2 carrots, cut in large chunks

3 celery stalks, cut in large chunks

2 large white onions, quartered

1 head of garlic, halved

1 large yam or sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks

1 turnip, halved

1/4 cup fresh thyme

1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped rough

3 bay leaves

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

kristenschell

photo source: kristenschell

Directions

Stock:

Place chicken and vegetables in a large stockpot over medium heat. Pour in just enough cold water to cover (about 3 quarts); too much will make the broth taste weak. Toss in thyme, parsley, bay leaves, and peppercorns, and allow it to slowly come to a boil. Lower heat to medium-low and gently simmer for 1 ½-2 hours, partially covered, until the chicken is done. As it cooks, add a little more water if necessary to keep the chicken covered while simmering.

Carefully remove the chicken to a cutting board. When it’s cool enough to handle, discard the skin and bones; hand-shred the meat into a storage container.

Carefully strain the stock through a fine sieve (or through cheesecloth) into another pot to remove the vegetable solids. Use the stock immediately or if you plan to store it, place the pot in a sink full of ice water and stir to cool down the stock. Cover and refrigerate for up to one week or freeze.

Soup:

Place a soup pot over medium heat and coat with the oil. Add vegetables, thyme and bay leaf. Cook and stir for about 6 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but not browned. Pour in the chicken stock and bring the liquid to a boil. Add the noodles and simmer for 5 minutes until tender. Fold in the chicken, and continue to simmer for another couple of minutes to heat through; season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving. Makes approximately 2 quarts

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