Today was a professional development day, better known as a half day for kids, work for the teachers, but in our school it is BEST known for food. Yep, that’s right! You may be thinking that the teachers in our district get a lot of training so therefore the kids must be a lot smarter.
Right? Well, that is true, we have a bunch of smarty pant teachers and students, but we also learn to fine tune our culinary skills on these days. Today was no different. It was Itallian Buffet Day and that goes without saying is a buffet with Itallian food. Hmm. Not too hard to plan for this one. (Mantineo-great Italian name). I also recently received a jar of Nutella from one of the most giving people I know, Heather Blanchard. I happened to mention to her that I had never tasted Nutella and lo and behold the next day I receive a jar. Not something I really needed, but who in their right mind says no to food gifts. Tried the stuff and OMG it is so freakin’ delicious. Is it healthy?
Yeah, right! 200 calories for 2 tbsps. and I am sure the size of their tablespoon does not equal mine. My thoughts were to get rid of this jar as soon as possible as I have an addiction to good food (like most normal people on the planet) so I decided to rid myself of this jar by creating an absolutely delicious calorie packed dessert for the Italian buffet. Nutella must be Italian. Sounds like it. Gina says she eats in when in Italy so I have all my bases covered with this one. Italian buffet dessert and, AND, I get to get rid of the evil Nutella! Not so, as the recipe called for a jar of this concoction of crushed hazel nuts and cocoa and because it is so delish I had already eaten 1/4 of the jar, so I had to go get another jar of it and now I am right back where I started from! But, one good turn deserves another so I made my dessert and watched little tiny Miss Heather enjoy eating them! I hope everyone else did too. Here is the way to make these incredible bars. Now, what to do with the rest of the other jar…
Nutella Oatmeal Bars
- 1- 21 ounce jar Nutella
- 2 sticks butter, melted
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups steel cut oatmeal (not the instant or quick kind)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- Butter a 13 X 9 in pan and preheat the oven to 350*.
- Place flour, oatmeal, sugars, salt, and baking powder in a bowl. Mix well.
- Pour melted butter over flour mixture and stir til crumbly.
- Press about 3/4 of this into the bottom of the pan.
- Zap the Nutella in the micro for about 20 seconds and spread on top.
- Sprinkle the remaining crumble mixture on top.
- Bake for about 25 minutes or until light brown.
- Go to the store and get the next size pants because you’re going to need them!
I love mangoes and I love salsa so what would be better than combining the two? There are many ways to make it and many ways to utilize it so that it improves a favorite dish. It is quite scrumptious just sitting on a white corn nacho or as a topping for a fajita, which by the way, is my favorite way to eat it. MMMMMM.
I know that not everyone likes mangoes but that is probably because the mango chosen was overripe or underripe and probably not very tasty. If you’ve ever tried one and thought, “Blah!”, try it again. I also love apples but every once in a while I have one that is totally disgusting and mushy. Would I give up apples because of one bad one? Hell no!
The perfect mango can be found by either smelling or squeezing it gently. A ripe mango will have a full, fruity aroma emanating from the stem end. Mangoes can be considered ready to eat when slightly soft to the touch and yielding to gentle pressure, very similar to that of a ripe peach. The best flavored fruit have a yellow tinge when ripe; however, mangoes may be red, yellow, green, orange or any combination. It is best to store mangoes at about 55º F. which will allow them to be edible for 1 to 2 weeks. The best way to ripen a mango is at room temperature, on the kitchen counter but should be eaten soon after ripening.
Mangoes are high in vitamin C, have lots of fiber, and are low in fat. Sounds perfect for an addition to any healthy diet. Also, they are known to have digestive benefits. Here is a great little recipe for mango salsa.
- 1 ripe mango-peeled and chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped red pepper
- 1 small chopped onion
- 1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries
- 2 tbsps. chopped cilantro
- 2 tbsps. fresh lime juice
- 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
- 1 small clove garlic, minced
- salt and pepper to taste
Prepare all ingredients. Mix together and let stand for at least one hour before serving.
I love to have friends over so why don’t I have them over more often? No clue. But I do have a clue to a yummy dessert to serve when guests do come over, especially when you don’t want their hands to get sticky. (Not that I have friends that don’t know how to eat and clean up after themselves). Oh boy, I feel myself putting the ol’ big foot in my mouth. Let me explain. 🙂
Last evening I had a Silpada party, which, by the way, was very successful! When one has a jewelry party, the guests spend their time looking at lovely jewelry while chatting and munching. Now, would you want your guests to touch the jewelry with sticky hands? Is that enough of an explanation? Well, with that said, I decided to make a couple desserts, one of them being an apricot bar, that would be a non messy treat. Mmmm. My favorite, apricot. This bar is very easy to make and the task becomes even easier if you use a pouch of sugar cookie mix.
The entire recipe is below, but I know many of my readers have lives, busy lives, while I don’t. So, if you use a prepared sugar cookie mix, make it according to the package directions but include a tsp. of almond extract. Enjoy, and by the way, if you get a chance to go to a Silpada party, go! Even better, host one! I am not a representative for the company, nor is this a plug by any means, but at my party last night I earned over $500 worth of the beautiful sterling silver jewelery, enjoyed berry martinis, and most importantly enjoyed the company of some very dear friends!
Apricot Almond Bars
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 6 tbsps. butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp. milk
- 1 tsp. almond extract
- 1 cup apricot preserves
- Preheat oven to 350*.
- Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- Beat butter, sugar, and egg til smooth.
- Stir in milk and almond extract.
- Add in dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
- Press half of the batter into a greased 8 X 8 inch pan.
- Bake for about 9 minutes til light brown. Remove from oven.
- Spread with apricot jam (or jam of your choice).
- Top with the rest of the cookie dough, crumbling it as you place it on the top.
- Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Don’t over cook!
I recently went to Colorado to visit the family. I love to go there to be with my sons, daughter-in-law, and of course my grandchildren. While there, Amy and Dan decided that homemade doughnuts would be a superb treat on Sunday morning. Okay! Sounds just great to me. I decided to help Amy out by making the chocolate cake doughnuts while she put together the raised ones. Hmm. Notice that I said I decided to help Amy out? Well, just what you would think. Everyone wants the donuts, even suggests making them, and then where are they when the time comes to make them? That’s okay Dan. We appreciate all the cooking you do.
Back to the doughnuts. Pretty good. I’ve gotta say that I had wished I did not glaze them as they were sweet enough. I do think a light glaze with coconut on top would be delicious. Maybe next time…after a few weeks of dieting.
Chocolate Cake Doughnuts
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1/2 cup baking cocoa
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup sour milk or buttermilk
- 1 1/2 tbsps. butter, melted
- 6 to 8 cups vegetable oil for frying
1. In a large bowl, mix flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt.
2. In a separate small bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, sour milk, and melted butter.
3. Stir into dry ingredients until well blended.
4. Chill until cold, at least 1 hour or up to 3 hours.
5. Put dough onto a generously floured surface.
6. Pat dough out to about 1/2 inch thick.
7. Cut out doughnuts with a 3 inch floured cutter.
8. Fill a deep fryer or pan with oil til the fill line. Heat to 375*.
9. Carefully drop each doughnut, one at a time, into fat.
10.Cook about 2 minutes each side until puffy. Drain on paper towels.
11.Glaze with a sugar glaze if desired. Sprinkle with coconut, chocolate sprinkles, etc.