homemade fruit water

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Homemade infused water is so easy to prepare.  Choose your own fruit selection and steep overnight in the refrigerator.

The water is tasty, chilled to perfection, and can be a super refreshing drink right after exercise or just to hydrate during the day.  I was given an opportunity to test out this fruit water infuser, which is BPA and lead free.  Made in the United States, the clear bottle is 26 ounces and perfect for using on the go after exercise.

I have tried lemon, orange, strawberry, and even grapes in this infuser.  Every one of the fruits nicely infused into the bottle, giving just the right amount of flavor to the water.  So refreshing and so tasty.  I don’t have to worry about other artificial ingredients, and enjoy the taste of my own recipes. Mixing berries and lemon is so easy and gives a great taste to the water.

I love the clear container, no writing and just a clean appearance.

For more information on this infuser, please follow this link: http://www.amazon.com/FlavFusion-Infuser-Bottle-Flip-Sipper/dp/B00KHBAU0C

 

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

 

 

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

brownies in a slow cooker

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

After experimenting with a few different slow cooker recipes for a chocolate fudge brownie dessert, I created this recipe for brownies in a slow cooker. The closest recipe came from an online recipe found at Taste of Home.  Although I have several different types of slow cookers, many of them larger than what is needed for this recipe, I find that the smallest slow cooker works the best.  I used a 3 1/2 quart model, and the diameter of this slow cooker allows for the brownie to be turned upside down onto a cake plate for serving.

This recipe is almost like having a lava cake, or even a slice of hot fudge cake.  It is very easy to make, and can be put together before a party, and will cook up to 3 hours, depending on the temperature of your slow cooker.  The best part of this recipe is that it does not use eggs. So, no worries there. It is best served warm, and can be stored in the refrigerator and reheated in the oven or microwave.  Served with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, I am certain it will become a favorite of your family.

To make the brownies:

Combine these ingredients in a small bowl:  1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup all-purpose flour, 3 tablespoons baking cocoa, 2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Then add, 1/2 cup fat-free half and half, 2 tablespoons melted margarine, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.  Of course, other flavorings could be substituted, such as almond extract or orange extract.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Next, spread this mixture on the bottom of the slow cooker.

For the next layer, sprinkle 1 1/2 cups of milk chocolate chips over the ingredients.  For the last step, mix together 3/4 cup brown sugar with 3 tablespoons cocoa in a small bowl.  Add 1 3/4 cups boiling water and mix.  Pour over the other ingredients in the slow cooker, but do not stir.

Cover the slow cooker and allow to cook on high temperature for 3 to 3 1/2 hours.  Test to see if the brownie is done and coming away from the edges of the slow cooker.  The bottom of the brownie will show chocolate on the tester, even when the brownie is done.  Remember, the icing is on the bottom.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

When the cake part of the brownie is baked, loosen the sides of the brownie from the cooker with a metal spatula.  Invert the slow cooker onto a plate, and watch the chocolate lava icing flow over the cooked brownie.  Serve and enjoy.  This recipe will serve at least 8 people.

 

Asian inspired coleslaw salad

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Here is a delicious salad for ladies who lunch, with an Asian inspired salad dressing. Actually, this coleslaw could be used for a great pot-luck salad, for the weekend football party, or even as a great burger topping.  The salad dressing, make with Asian chili sauce gives the slaw a great flavor profile.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I purchased a cole slaw mix, but shredded red and green cabbage, along with other shredded vegetables such as jicama, cilantro, or even fresh corn kernels were suggested in the recipe found in the July, 2014 issue of Southern Living magazine.  I adapted the recipe, and found it to be extremely tasty with my changes.

To make the slaw:

In a large salad bowl, mix together one bag of coleslaw mix, which includes shredded carrots, with one sliced red bell pepper, 3-4 chopped green onions, a large handful of arugula, and 1-2 tablespoons of toasted sesame seeds.  Mix and chill the salad until ready to serve.  Then, add the dressing.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

To make the salad dressing:  Combine these ingredients.  Mix 1/2 cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 tablespoon rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon orange zest, 1 tablespoon mustard, 2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce, 2 teaspoons Asian chili sauce, 1 teaspoon sesame oil and 1/2 teaspoon minced ginger.  Keep this mixture chilled until ready to serve.

As the recipe suggests, serve the Asian slaw over crispy won ton crackers.  I shared the directions on how to make the won ton crackers on the blog yesterday. The salad can also be served with shredded grilled chicken, as in the photograph below.  Delicious.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

 

 

 

appetizer crackers

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Have you tried making won ton crackers or crisps?  I have used these over the years for salad garnishes or for appetizer crackers.  Everyone seems to like the crunch, and they are so easy to make.

They can be seasoned a variety of ways depending the type of appetizer dish.  Usually, I use a dash of sea salt and sesame seeds.  However, ground pepper, many herbs or even cinnamon could be used SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESon top.   Recently, I used these with an Asian slaw recipe that I found in Southern Living magazine.  Watch for that recipe in tomorrow’s blog posting.

 

To make the won ton crackers:   Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Unwrap 9-12 won ton wrappers per cookie sheet.  Spray the wrappers with original cooking spray and sprinkle with seasonings.  Bake 9-11 minutes, rotating the pan during the cooking process.

Enjoy with dips, spreads or even with a fruit and cheese platter.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

trip to a cider mill

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Two weekends ago, we stopped at a cider mill in Fenton, Michigan.  The historic Parshallville Cider Mill is a

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES 136 year old grist mill on the North Ore Creek in Livingston County. It is one of the few water powered mills left in Michigan today. Formerly, it was a flour mill for Success flour.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Today, they make cider, during the apple harvest season, spiced donuts, caramel apples and even apple pies.  A variety of apples are also sold to customers of all ages.  The cider is made with Michigan apples that are delivered in 20 bushel wooden boxes. They are pressed with a hydraulic press and other equipment in the Press Room.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

During the month of October, more apples continue to ripen on the trees.  I am looking forward to Granny Smith, which are some of the last apples of the season.  Also, Ida Red and Northern Spy apples will be coming from the trees.  Ida Reds are perfect for baking, with Spy apples mostly used for applesauce.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I used my Honeycrisp apples for apple crisp this past week. Here is my mother’s apple crisp recipe.  Yum.  Slice and peel 3-4 apples.  Add them to a baking dish, along with 1/4 cup water, and 1/4 cup raisins or walnuts.  Combine 3/4 cup flour, with a dash of salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/2 cup margarine.  Cut margarine into the flour mixture until it becomes coarse crumbs.  Sprinkle the flour mixture over the apples.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until the apples are tender. Serve with whipped cream or ice cream while the apples are still warm.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

old fashioned chili mac

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Growing up in the sixties, I remember my family serving this budget-friendly dish.  I think it was a favorite back then, and could be a great one to serve at those fall sports parties.  This is one that the men seem to love.  It is easy and can even be transported in a slow cooker to keep warm.

There are many variations, but this is the one that I seem to favor.  It was a real surprise when I served the dish a couple of weeks ago.  And, the leftovers were gone within one day.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Depending on the guest number, brown 1/2 to 1 pound of lean ground beef in an electric skillet or on the stove top.  While browning, add one chopped white onion and continue to cook until the meat is no longer red.  Add one 15 ounce box or can of chopped tomatoes.  I used fire roasted tomatoes from Whole Foods.  I also added one cup of water to the pan and allowed to come to a boil. This is where the variations come in, chopped red or green pepper could be added when the onion is browning. Even one teaspoon of chili powder could be added here.

Then add, one cup of UNCOOKED elbow macaroni to the pan and allow to cook at least 10 minutes until the noodles are done. I finish this dish with salt, pepper, parsley flakes and stir.  Most of the water should be evaporated, leaving a nice tomato base to the dish.

Served with a crusty bread for a football party, this is always a big hit.  Even as a quick weekday supper, the noodles could be changed up to penne or shells.

herb roasted bone-in chicken breasts

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

There are those nights when roasting a whole chicken is not desired.  It is still possible to have that great herb roasted chicken taste in a shorter time frame.  I often choose to roast bone-in chicken breasts with the same seasonings and herbs that would be used for a whole chicken.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I do use a ceramic pan with a small roasting rack. I add 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth with 1/2 cup white wine to the bottom of the pan.  I drizzle a bit of olive oil over the chicken breasts, and season with salt, pepper and parsley flakes to taste.  I also use thyme and rosemary from my garden, for this recipe, as it really adds a depth of flavor to the chicken. Dried herbs would be just as good. The rack and liquid keep the chicken breasts very moist.

I don’t think my technique is unusual or special, but I wanted to include this recipe on the blog as it is so tasty.  I roast the chicken uncovered at 425 degrees for about 45 minutes or more, until done.  Check with a meat thermometer to make certain.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

We enjoyed this recipe last week with a side salad.  Delicious.