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Welcome to my food blog!

Featuring delicious recipes made healthier and reviews to give you some new ideas, plus, some toddler food ideas.

Paul Smith Limited Edition Evian Bottle

Posted by Ann | Posted in Food Chatter | Posted on 10-12-2009

Paul Smith Limited Edition Evian Bottle

All you foodies into fashionable impressive presentations will like this.  In fact, I feel a little divaish just talking about this:)  I have to admit, I have a hard time with presentation.  I put so much time and effort into the flavor of the food- I often forget how to make it look pretty.  Er, sometimes I just don’t want to take the extra time on looks.  But I always appreciate and notice when someone else tries to make nice impressions and it really works!  You go into a creative atmosphere where everything flows together and some effort was put into appearance, and it just seems to help the party feel like a party and also get a nice mood going.  Ambiance.

A friend of mine who is an interior decorator came by the other day.  She’s attempting to help us finish our house nicely- tie everything in together and attempt to make it NOT look like a cute kid took over the whole place (he really did).   She brought me a bottle of this Paul Smith Evian thinking it might be of interest to me

Every year about this time, Evian has a famous designer or two design a limited edition water bottle.  You may have heard the the British designer Paul Smith.  My husband has some of his cologne and it smells fantastic!  The stripes on this year’s Evian bottle are basically his signature stripes, which are on the cologne bottle as well as his shopping bags.  It’s a nice and fun whimsical look that will effortlessly add a little pizazz to your gatherings.  However, this fun and different look does not come without a hefty price tag for water.  At $13.95 per 750ml bottle or $118 a case - you’d better make sure wherever you’re serving this water is worth it!  In fact, per bottle, this is more expensive than my usual wine!  Since my husband and I are huge wine-lovers, we prefer to buy some excellent yet affordable Italian table wines and treat ourselves when we’re in the mood.  Of course, I  usually serve nicer wines to guests or for special occasions, so the same holds true for water presentation- whether you’re putting a nice pitcher full of water with thinly sliced cucumbers on the table or this Paul Smith Evian bottle - it’s probably a little something different to show you’ve put some thought into it.

Anyone remember the movie Reality Bites?  It’s from 1994 with Ben Stiller, Janeane Garofalo, Winona Ryder and Ethan Hawke.  I think it was Janeane’s character that said, “Evian is naive spelled backwards.”  Love that movie.  Well, the quote is true, but it’s still a nice bottle and conversation piece!  Is there anything special you do with your water to impress guests?  I usually don’t get past lemons or cukes!

Gluten Free Chocolate Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

Posted by Ann | Posted in All Recipes, Ann's Favorites, Cookie and Bar Recipes | Posted on 06-12-2009

Gluten Free Chocolate Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

I’m in love.  Seriously, I’ve turned into the cookie monster.  I’m not sure why this is, but every winter I turn into a chocolate and mint fanatic.  My friend Chris made the yummy Nestle seasonal chocolate and mint chip chocolate cookies a couple of weeks ago and I about died and went to heaven when I tasted them.  On the other hand, knowing the ingredients that went into them and also reading the label on the chips tells me that they’re pretty awful for you.  I basically needed a healthy alternative and I’m happy to say I succeeded!  This is going to be a go-to cookie for me all winter.  My whole family likes them- my husband wants to eat them with ice cream!   I decided to develop my own recipe when I was meandering on Goop.com and saw the gluten-free chocolate chip mint cookies on there made by Erin McKenna of Baby Cakes - but they didn’t look how I wanted them to look.  So, I took to the pen and paper and wrote my own recipe like I always do when I bake….and then crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.

Through Healthy Yum and Musselmans, I received two jars of applesauce, one regular and one chunky.  The regular version is what I used for this recipe - and it worked perfectly!  This way, the cookie is lightened up a tad and has a little healthy boost as well.  Not to mention the applesauce is yummy.  It reminds me of when I was a kid and couldn’t sleep at night.  My dad was always up reading and so when he saw me he’d pop two slices of heavy whole grain seedy bread in the toaster and top it off with applesauce.  He sometimes used prune or poppy seed pie filling as well.  Though my son loves his applesauce- he hasn’t quite gotten used to it on toast yet! 

I used real organic sugars in this recipe rather than agave, honey or fruit syrup because my husband can always detect it and usually doesn’t like the end result.  The perfect cookie would’ve used alternative sweeteners - but this is pretty close:)  In the close-up picture of the cookies- they appear a little grainy - they’re not!  They’re very smooth!  They’re not as thick as the Nestle flour version though - but still have a nice chewy thickness hard to find in many gluten-free cookies!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup applesauce (I used Musselman’s)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup sugar (I use organic white)
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar (I use organic brown)
  • 1 TB vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp peppermint extract
  • 2/3 cup baking cocoa
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed meal
  • 1/2 cup oat flour (for gluten-free, you have to grind your own GF oats)
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp xantham gum
  • 10 oz chocolate chips (I mixed minis with regulars, but next time will stick with regular)

Method:

  • Pre-heat oven to 350
  • Warm coconut oil and butter until coconut oil is almost liquid and butter is softened, blend using mixer
  • Add applesauce, blend, add eggs, blend
  • Add sugars, vanilla and peppermint extract, mix
  • In a separate bowl, combine remaining dry ingredients except chips
  • Slowly add dry to wet, then add chocolate chips
  • Using a small cookie scoop, scoop dough onto cookie sheet
  • Bake about 9 minutes - allow to cool on sheet for a couple of minutes and then transfer to a wire rack. 

I think these make about 7 dozen when using a small cookie scoop.  I always forget to count but 7 dozen sounds about right!

Nutella Swirls

Posted by Ann | Posted in All Recipes, Cookie and Bar Recipes | Posted on 01-12-2009

Nutella Swirls

Via the Foodbuzz Tastemaker’s program, I received some free Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry.  Since I made these Spinach and Feta Swirls, my mouth has been thinking of making these with Nutella and hazelnuts.  I love puff pastry!  I can’t say it’s healthy- but you can put healthy fillings into it!  Check out my Runza Casserole!  One of my favorite things to do with puff pastry is to just put some Ham and good Swiss and a little dijon in between two sheets rolled a little flat and baking it.  Makes a fun and tasty sandwich.

Ingredients:

  • Two sheets (1 box) frozen Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry - thawed
  • Nutella
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted
  • Chocolate chips - optional
  • Melted butter- optional

Method:

  • Pre-heat oven to 375
  • Grind toasted hazelnuts
  • Brush puff pastries with melted butter- unless you want to go a little lighter - the pastry gets drier without the butter once cooled, however, once warmed, the moisture from the fat inside comes back.
  • Spread Nutella around pastry near the edges- enough so that you don’t see pastry under the Nutella
  • Sprinkle hazelnuts evenly amongst both pastries
  • If you want a little more chocolate (and a little more moisture) sprinkle some chocolate chips or minis on top of the hazelnuts
  • Roll tightly - cut each roll into six pieces totaling 12
  • Place spiral side down into greased muffin pan
  • Bake about 25-30 minutes
  • Cool slightly- serve a little warm - if you eat it right out of the oven, the Nutella flavor doesn’t come through!
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