Vanilla Mocha Fat Bomb Pops

Vanilla-Mocha-Fat-Bomb-Pops

Ingredients

4 tbsp Unsalted Butter

2 tbsp Heavy Cream

½ tsp Vanilla Extract

4 tbsp Coconut Oil

1 ½ tbsp Cocoa Powder

½ tsp Coffee Extract

¾ tsp liquid Splenda

 

Directions

Make the vanilla layer with soft butter in the microwave until liquid.  Add 2 tbsp Heavy Cream.  Once cool, add the Vanilla and blend well.

Make the mocha layer by mixing together the Coconut Oil, Cocoa Powder, Coffee Extract and sweetener of choice.

Pour the vanilla mixture into a muffin liner creating the bottom white layer.  Place into the refrigerator until firm, about 15 minutes.

Remove from refrigerator and pour in the mocha mixture, filling cups to the top.   Optional:  top with a very thin layer of melted dark chocolate.  Add popsicle sticks and freeze 20 to 30 minutes.  Tip:  Cover the muffin tin with plastic wrap and push the popsicle sticks through.  The plastic layer will help support the sticks if your bombs aren’t firm enough.  Calories: 1004, Total Fat: 113g, Cholesterol 165mg, Sodium 19mg, Total Carbs: 5g, Protein 3g.

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Asparagus, Ham, and Cheese Frittata

Asparagus, Ham, and Cheese Frittata - NeighborFood

Ingredients
11 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup chopped ham
1 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
8-10 asparagus spears, with about 1-2 inches trimmed from the bottoms
Salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions
Grease a 9 inch deep dish pie pan or other oven safe dish (a cake pan or glass casserole dish would work fine too). Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. (If coming straight from the refrigerator add the pan to the oven before preheating).

In a large sauce pan, bring about 6-8 cups of water to a boil. Add asparagus spears and cook for 2 minutes or until bright green. Drain water and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet sauté oil and onion until soft and translucent, 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and milk until thoroughly combined. Stir in cheeses, ham, and onion.

Pour mixture into greased pan. Fan asparagus spears over the top of the dish. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Bake for 40-50 minutes or until outside is browned and center is set.

Perfect Apple Pie (Mom’s Recipe)

My mom baked this apple pie many times using the apples she grew in her backyard.

Maple-Apple Pie

 

Ingredients

6-8 Tart Apples, pared, cored, and thinly sliced (6 cups)

1 Cup Sugar

2 Tbsp Flour

1 tsp Ground Cinnamon

Dash Ground Nutmeg

Pastry for 2 crust 9-inch pie

2 Tbsp Butter

Directions

If apples lack tartness, sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.  Combine sugar, flour, spices and dash salt; mix with apples.

Line 9-inch pie plate with pastry.  Fill with apple mixture; dot with butter.  Adjust top crust, cutting slits for escape of steam; seal.  Sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 400 degrees F for 50 minutes or until done.

Get ready for the most wonderful aroma to drift throughout your home.

Serve with Blue Bell Vanilla Ice Cream and Redi Whip.

 

Cooking Oils and Smoking Points

 

Cooking Oils and Smoking Points

Not all fats are the same.  The more refined an oil, the higher the smoke point.  That’s because refining removes the impurities that can cause the oil to smoke.  Did you know that a fat is no longer good for consumption after it has exceeded its smoke point and has begun to break down?

 

Saturated Fats:

Saturated fats are mainly animal fats and are solid at room temperature.  These fats include butter, cheese, whole milk, ice cream, egg yolks, lard and fatty meats.  Some plants fats are also high in saturated fats such as coconut oil and palm oils.  Saturated fats raise blood cholesterol more than any other food you eat.  By using the right oils and fats for the right reasons, you can preserve the healthful benefits.  Your foods will not only taste their best, but also be healthy.

 

Unsaturated Fats:

These fats can come from both animal and plant products.  There are three (3) types:

Monounsaturated Fats – Usually come from seeds or nuts such as avocado, olive, peanut, and canola oils. These fats are liquid at room temperature.

Polyunsaturated Fats – Usually come from vegetables, seeds, or nuts such as corn, safflower, sunflower, soybean, cotton seed, and sesame seeds oils. These fats are liquid at room temperature.

Trans Fatty Acids – Trans fats are produced when liquid oil is made into a solid fat, such as shortening or margarine. This process is called hydrogenation. Trans fats act like saturated fats and can raise your cholesterol level.

Smoking Points of Fats and Oils:

Based on the above classification, the ideal cooking oil should contain higher amounts of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, with a minimal or no saturated fats and trans fats.  Different fats and oils have different uses.  Each performs best within a certain range of temperature. Some are made for high heat cooking, while others have intense flavors that are best enjoyed by drizzling directly on food.

The smoke point of an oil or fat is the temperature at which it gives off smoke.  The smoke point of oil depends to a very large extent on its purity and age at the time of measurement.  A simple rule of thumb is that the lighter the color of the oil, the higher its smoke point.  When frying, it is important to choose an oil with a very high smoking point.  Most foods are fried between the temperatures of 350-450 degrees Fahrenheit so it is best to choose an oil with a smoking point above 400 degrees.

 

 

Fats or oils Description Cooking Uses Types of Fat Smoke Point Fahrenheit smoke Point Celsius
Almond Oil Has a subtle toasted almond aroma and flavor. Used in sauce and stir fry for Asian foods. Monounsaturated 420 216
Avocado Oil Vibrant green in color with a soft nutty taste and mild avocado aroma. This is a very healthy oil with a profile similar to olive oil. this oil can be used for very high temperature applications. Stir frying, searing Monounsaturated 520 271
Butter Whole butter is a mix of fats, milk solids, and moisture derived by churning cream until the oil droplets stick together and can be separated out. Baking, cooking Saturated 350 177
Butter, (Ghee) clarified Ghee has a higher smoke point than butter since clarification eliminated the milk solids (which burn at lower temps). Frying, sautéing Saturated 375-485 (depending on purity) 190-250 (depending on purity)
Canola Oil (rapeseed oil) A light, golden-colored oil. Good all-purpose oil . Used in salads and cooking. Monounsaturated 400 204
Coconut Oil A heavy nearly colorless oil extracted from fresh coconuts. coatings, confectionary, shortening Saturated 350 177
Corn Oil A mild medium-yellow color refined oil. Made from the germ of the corn kernel. Frying, salad dressings, shortening Polyunsaturated 450 232
Cottonseed Oil Pale-yellow oil that is extracted from the seed of the cotton plant. Margarine, salad dressings, shortening. Also used for frying. Polyunsaturated 420 216
Grapeseed Oil Light, medium-yellow oil that is a by-product of wine making. Excellent choice of cooking oil for sautéing or frying. Also used in salad dressings. Polyunsaturated 392 200
Hazelnut Oil The nuts are ground and roasted and then pressed in a hydraulic press to extract the delicate oil. Salad dressings, marinades and baked goods. Monounsaturated 430 221
Lard The white solid or semi-solid rendered fat of a hog. This was once the most popular cooking and baking fat, but has been replaced by vegetable shortenings. baking and frying Saturated 370 182
Macadamia Nut Oil This oil is cold pressed from the decadent macadamia nut, extracting a light oil similar in quality to the finest extra virgin olive oil. Sauté, pan fry, sear, deep fry, stir fry, grill, broil, baking. Monounsaturated 390 199
Olive Oil Oils varying weight and may be pale yellow to deep green depending on fruit used and processing. Cooking, salad dressings, sauté, pan fry, sear, deep fry, stir fry, grill, broil, baking Monounsaturated Extra Virgin-320
Virgin – 420
Pomace – 460
Extra Light – 468
160
216
238
242
Palm Oil A yellowish-orange fatty oil obtained especially from the crushed nuts of an African palm. Cooking, flavoring Saturated 466 230
Peanut Oil Pale yellow refined oil with a very subtle scent and flavor. Made from pressed steam-cooked peanuts. used primarily Asian cooking. Frying, cooking, salad dressings Monounsaturated 450 232
Rice Bran Oil Produced from the rice bran, which is removed from the grain of rice as it is processed. Frying, sauté, salad dressings, baking, dipping oil Monounsaturated 490 254
Safflower Oil A golden color with a light texture. Made from the seeds of safflowers. Margarine, mayonnaise, salad dressings Polyunsaturated 450 232
Sesame Oil Comes in two types – a light very mild Middle Eastern type and a darker Asian type pressed from toasted sesame seeds. Cooking, salad dressings Polyunsaturated 410 232
Shortening, Vegetable Blended oil solidified using various processes, including whipping in air and hydrogenation. May have real or artificial butter flavor added. Baking, frying Saturated 360 182
Soybean Oil A fairly heavy oil with a pronounced flavor and aroma. Margarine, salad dressings, shortening Polyunsaturated 450 232
Sunflower Oil A light odorless and nearly flavorless oil pressed from sunflower seeds. Pale yellow. Cooking, margarine, salad dressings, shortening Polyunsaturated 450 232
Vegetable Oil Made by blending several different refined oils. Designed to have a mild flavor and a high smoke point. Cooking, salad dressings Polyunsaturated
Walnut Oil Medium-yellow oil with a nutty flavor and aroma. More perishable than most other oils Sauté, pan fry, sear, deep fry, stir fry, grill, broil Monounsaturated 400 204

 

Re-using Cooking Oils

I, personally, never reuse cooking oils. The foods you cook the oils in will cause the oils to go rancid faster.

A recent study found that a toxin called 4-hydroxy-trans-2-nonenal (HNE) forms when such oils as canola, corn, soybean and sunflower oils are reheated.  Consumption of foods containing HNE from cooking oils has been associated with increased risks of cardiovascular disease, stroke, Parkinson’?s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, various liver disorders, and cancer.  Once absorbed in the body, HNE reacts with DNA, RNA and proteins affecting basic cellular processes.


That being said:

Reusing cooking oil has been done for ages.  There really isn’t a problem, if done properly.  The greatest hazard is allowing the fat to become rancid (spoiled) and deteriorated to the point it produces undesirable flavors and odors.  Besides ruining what would have been a perfectly good meal, rancid oils also contain free radicals that are potentially carcinogenic.  Rancid oil has fewer antioxidants but is not poisonous.

 

To re-use oil safely, use these tips:

  • Strain it through a few layers of cheesecloth to catch any food particles.  Be careful with hot oil, though, because you can easily get burned.
  • Shake off excess batter from food before frying it.
  • Use a good thermometer to fry foods at 190°C.
  • Turn off the heat after you are done cooking.  Exposing oil to prolonged heat accelerates rancidity.
  • Don’t mix different types of oil.
  • Store oil in a cool, dark place.
  • Avoid iron or copper pots or pans for frying oil that is to be reused.  These metals also accelerate rancidity.

 

Signs of Deteriorated Oil:

  • Oil darkens with use because the oil and food molecules burn when subjected to high/prolonged heat.
  • The more you use an oil, the more slowly it will pour.  Its viscosity changes because of changes to the oil’s molecular structure.
  • Loose absorbent particles accumulate as sediment at the bottom of the storage container or are suspended in the oil.
  • When smoke appears on the oils’ surface before the temperature reaches 190 degrees C (375 degrees F), your oil will no longer deep-fry effectively.
  • If the oil has a rancid or “off” smell or if it smells like the foods you’ve cooked in it, it should be discarded.

 

 

Sources:

Harvard School of Public Health.

Hormel Foods.

Spectrum Oils.

The Culinary Institute of America (1996). The New Professional Chef, 6th edition, John Wiley & Sons

 

Hot Corn Chili Dip (The Pioneer Woman)

 

Ingredients

5 ears fresh corn, shucked
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapenos, seeded and diced finely
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 cans diced green chilies
1 1/2 cups grated pepper-jack cheese
8 ounces cream cheese, softened.
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
3 green onions, sliced thin.
Tortilla chips or pita crisps, for serving

Directions

Heat a grill on medium heat. Grill the corn until lots of the kernels have color. Cut off the kernels and set aside.
If serving immediately, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, jalapenos, onions and green and red bell peppers. Cook for a few minutes, until the peppers get great color on the outside. Add the chiles and stir for 30 seconds. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine 1 cup of the pepper-jack, the cream cheese, mayonnaise, sour cream and green onions and stir until combined. Add the corn mixture and stir to combine thoroughly. Pour into a small baking dish. Bake immediately, or cover with foil and refrigerate up to 48 hours.
Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup cheese over the top and bake until bubbly, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve with tortilla chips or pita crisps.

Hoe Cakes (Paula Deen’s Recipe)

Paula Deen’s Hoe Cake Recipe makes the most delicious hoe cakes you will ever taste!  My husband and I first had these hoe cakes when we visited Paula Deen’s Buffet in Tunica, MS years ago.  The cooks were constantly at the grill cooking up these yummy delights to keep up with all of the guests.  They are great hot off the griddle with soft butter and a little syrup as a side with your lunch or dinner.

Ingredients

1 cup self-rising flour

1 cup self-rising cornmeal

2 eggs

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

3/4 cup buttermilk

1/3 cup water

1/4 cup vegetable oil (or bacon grease)

Butter, (or oil) for frying and more for spreading

Directions

STEP 1

Mix all ingredients together (except for frying oil and butter for spreading).

STEP 2

Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Drop mixture 3 tablespoons at a time into hot skillet. Brown until crisp; turn and brown on other side. Drain on paper towels. Serve with butter, for spreading. Leftover batter will keep in refrigerator for up to 2 days.

NUTRITION (PER SERVING): 123 calories, 10g fat

 

 

Biggest Softest Ginger Cookies

Biggest Softest Ginger Cookies

Ingredients

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup margarine, softened

1 cup white sugar

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

1/4 cup molasses

2 tablespoons white sugar

 

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Sift together the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg then stir in the water and molasses. Gradually stir the sifted ingredients into the molasses mixture. Shape dough into walnut sized balls, and roll them in the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar. Place the cookies 2 inches apart onto an ungreased cookie sheet, and flatten slightly.

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Peanut Cup Cookies

Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

Ingredients

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup white sugar

1/2 cup peanut butter

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons milk

40 mini chocolate covered peanut butter cups, unwrapped

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda; set aside.

Cream together the butter, sugar, peanut butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in the egg, vanilla and milk. Add the flour mixture; mix well. Shape into 40 balls and place each into an ungreased mini muffin pan.

Bake at 375 degrees for about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and immediately press a mini peanut butter cup into each ball. Cool and carefully remove from pan.

Oyster Stuffing

 

 Oyster-Stuffing

Ingredients
1 cup (2 sticks) of butter

1 medium onion, chopped

3 stalks of celery, chopped

1 tablespoon of chopped green bell pepper

6 cups of cooked, crumbled cornbread

6 cups of dry, toasted bread, crumbled (toasted white bread, leftover biscuits, or rolls)

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning optional

1/4 teaspoon of freshly cracked black pepper

1 teaspoon of sage

1/2 teaspoon of poultry seasoning

4 to 6 cups of turkey or chicken stock

5 eggs, beaten (or 3 raw, 2 boiled and chopped)

1 quart of oysters, liquid reserved

 

Directions
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 9 x 13 inch pan with butter or non-stick spray.
Toast the bread in a toaster or in the oven. Remove and set aside to cool. Make a pan of cornbread, remove and set aside uncovered to cool completely. You want the breads to be very dry.
Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion, celery and bell pepper. Add the salt, Cajun seasoning, pepper, Bell’s seasoning and poultry seasoning. Continue cooking and stirring for 2 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Crumble the cornbread into a large bowl. Add the bread and toss. Add the sautéed veggies, scraping out all of the butter; stir. Pour in 2 cups of the broth and toss. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Add the beaten eggs; stir. Using a pair of kitchen shears, roughly chop the oysters. Add the oysters, with their juices, to the cornbread mixture. This is where you fix the consistency. If you want a fluffy stuffing, you’ll use less stock. If you prefer a wetter stuffing, add additional broth as needed to reach desired consistency, taking care not to get too soupy! Lightly spoon into the casserole dish, but do not pack.
Transfer to the prepared baking dish and bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes. For a moister stuffing baked covered. For a drier stuffing with a crunchy top, bake uncovered.