Holiday Baking: Lazy Woman's Fudge

I don't get into holiday baking as much as many people do, but one recipe I usually make is "Lazy Woman's Fudge." Seriously - this has to be the easiest fudge recipe out there. 

A number of years ago, I found the recipe for "Lazy Woman's Fudge" on Food.com and was instantly sold. Two ingredients, and probably less than 30 minutes start to finish. No digging for the candy thermometer, no waiting for the "soft ball" stage. And because I use mini muffin tins, no messing with sticky knives or cutting into squares. Basically foolproof fudge.

I usually make two batches - one milk chocolate frosting with milk chocolate/peanut butter chips, and one milk chocolate frosting with cinnamon chips (kind of a "Mexican fudge" flavor). I have also done milk chocolate frosting with mint chips, and recently heard of someone using lemon frosting with white chocolate chips - interesting!

Lazy Woman's Fudge

Makes 32-36 fudge pieces

Ingredients

  • 1 (12 ounce) package baking chips, any flavor
  • 1 (16 ounce) can frosting, any flavor

Directions:

  1. Line 2-3 mini muffin tins with mini muffin liners.
  2. Put baking chips and contents of can of frosting into a microwave-safe bowl.
  3. Heat on high for 1 minute,
  4. Stir until chips are melted and  fudge "batter" is smooth. I use a silicone spatula to stir and smash the chips.
  5. Spoon fudge into into lined tins, about 1T per cup.
  6. Chill until firm.

Fudge-in-tin

While the fudge is setting, I wash out the frosting container, then wrap it in scrapbook paper from my stash, then use my punches with more stash paper to make a label. It makes a cute little container to give yummy fudgy gifts - it makes a great neighbor, co-worker, or teacher gift!

Fudge-container-open

Fudge-container-closed

 


Father's Day Aebleskivers

Tomorrow is Father's Day, so I'm reacquainting myself with how to make aebleskivers (also sometimes spelled abelskivvers or ebelskivers), a Danish puff pancake. We've been making them for a special Father's Day breakfast for several years now - we invite both our dads over and have a 3-dad breakfast. But because I only make them once a year, I always have to look up a video on how to make them.

The video below is by aebleskiverarne, so I figure he knows what he's doing. The finished product looks right, so that works for me.


Here's our family recipe for aebleskivers.

Recipe: Sausage & Sweet Potatoes (gluten-free/dairy-free/paleo)

2012-sausage&sweetpotatoes

My family went NUTS over this recipe last night, and kept praising it for a couple hours after we'd finished eating. Bonus: it's paleo-friendly and naturally gluten-free!

I found this at PaleoBlocks, who modified it from Gluten-Free Goddess. It's originally a stuffed cabbage recipe, but I didn't mess with the cabbage - we just ate the "filling". My modified version below.

Sausage & Sweet Potatoes

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, diced
  • 1 red onion, peeled, diced
  • 1 large tart apple, such as Granny Smith, peeled, diced [I think I used Gala or Pink Lady]
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 4 sausages- these can be sweet Italian, chicken apple, turkey, buffalo, cut into chunks [I used Al Fresco Sweet Apple Chicken Sausage]
  • Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
  • 1 cup organic 100% apple juice
  • 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
  • Sprinkle of sea salt, cinnamon, nutmeg [I used pumpkin pie spice]

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Throw the vegetables, apple, and sausage into a roasting pan and drizzle with a little olive oil. 
  3. Add the apple juice, maple syrup, salt and spices and toss well to coat. 
  4. Roast in the oven till soft- about 40 to 50 minutes. Stir a few times during roasting to distribute the sauce and seasoning.
  5. Serve & sit back and wait for the accolades.

'Tis the season for Shamrock Shakes

Shamrock Shake

With the celebration of St. Patrick's Day later this week, it is also that special time of year to celebrate another highlight of March - the Shamrock Shake. How I do love their creamy minty green goodness.

Imagine my dismay, then, when I saw the shocking nutritional information for a 12oz Shamrock Shake!

  • 420 calories
  • 9g fat
  • 72g carbs
  • 0g fiber
  • 9g protein

Plug these stats into a Weight Watchers calculator, and you get a whopping 11 Points+! I never would have guessed it was that high.

So I went looking for some alternatives and, giving soul that I am, have compiled them here for you. Also for you, I did not link out to any wanna-be makeovers that included ingredients like spinach or kelp. I'm all for healthy eating (well, maybe not ALL...), but I do expect my ice cream to have ice cream in it!

Since my husband does P90X workouts, and likes the Beachbody Recovery Drink, I thought I'd link to this Shakeology recipe (though I suspect it wouldn't pass my personal taste test): Shakeology Shamrock Shake

Slainte!

Photo credit: DinahSaysNothing


Recipe: Creamy PB2 spread

Heart bagel

Tried an experiment for breakfast today - a creamy peanut butter-y spread on a light bagel. It turned out to be more Points(Plus) than I estimated, but still tasty.

I used PB2 powder to add peanut butter-y essence - my kids don't care for it, but I've found it useful in recipes. And it's actually fine that my kids don't like it - that means there's usually some left in the container when I go to use it!

PB2 is 1 PointsPlus (PP) for 2T powder, which is a LOT better than the more typical 5 PP for regular reduced fat peanut butter. I optimistically hoped 1T powder would be 0 PP, but alas, no (according to both the WW PP handheld calculator, and the Weight Watchers iPhone app. Darn the consistent results!)

Today's breakfast - 5 PointsPlus:

Place cheeses in small microwaveable dish. Nuke at 50% power for 20 seconds. Sprinkle PB2 & Splenda over cheeses & mix well. Slice bagel & slather with creamy peanut butter-y goodness.

5 PP is more than I like to "spend" on breakfast these days (see my 2 PP omelet, as a preferred alternative), but it was nice to change things up a bit, and I do like my peanut butter.  I think this spread would be great on a sliced apple, too, which would make it a great 3 PP snack (since an apple is 0 PP).

Be sure to check out the manufacturer websites for more WW-friendly recipes:

Photo credit: micropig


Recipe: Angie's Svelte-Inducing Spiced Vanilla Latte, and Amazon Subscribe & Save

In addition to my 2 PointsPlus (PP) omelet/scramble (omelet or scramble, depending on my skill with the spatula that morning), I also have a large mug of what I call "doctored" coffee. Generally, I like my coffee to, well, not taste much like coffee, so I have to "doctor" it. :)  My favorite fancy coffee ever was the "House" coffee at St. Louis Bread Company, and this is my Weight Watchers friendly version of it (or "svelte-inducing", if you prefer).

Angie's Svelte-Inducing 2-Point Spiced Vanilla Latte

Pour Splenda packets into mug. Add Pumpkin Pie spice. Fill mug with prepared coffee (my big mugs hold about 12oz). Add honey, Torani syrup, & milk. Stir with spoon & enjoy!

What's really cool is that I discovered recently that you can set up "subscriptions" at Amazon so you never run out of grocery staples. Here's how Amazon explains it:

When you order through Subscribe & Save, you'll automatically receive a new shipment of the item in intervals you select at a discount on our everyday price. Plus, all subscription orders ship free. We'll charge your credit card for each order only when the item is shipped, and you may cancel at any time.

Grocery items at Amazon are usually bulk quantities - the Splenda Flavors for Coffee, for example, is a 6-pack of 30-count packages. I use 2 packets of the French Vanilla in my coffee every morning, so each box lasts me about 2 weeks.  A 6-pack would last me about 3 months, so I set up a subscription to receive a shipment every 3 months. It will auto-bill to my credit card, and auto-magically show up at my door, just when I'm about to run out, AND at a 15% savings.  Nice!

I also use Crystal Light Green Tea Honey Lemon in my water every day at work. Amazon ships that as a 6-pack of 10-count boxes. I use 1 packet every week day, so each box lasts me about 2 weeks, and a 6 pack would last me 3 months, just like the Splenda. So I set up a 3-month subscription for that too. What's nice about this subscription is that I have trouble finding that particular flavor locally, so now I don't have to go to multiple stores hoping to find it - it will just show up!

I'll probably also set up a subscription for my husband's favorite granola bars (Kashi GOLEAN Crunchy! Bar, Chocolate Almond). It's 17 cents more expensive per bar at Amazon, than the best sale price locally, but the subscription "locks in" that price, so I wouldn't have to keep watching for the sale, and stock up.

Have you used this subscription program at Amazon? Do you like it? What would you order by subscription to make your life easier?

             

[FCC disclaimer: the links above are Amazon Associates affiliate links, so I would make a small referral fee, should you order anything from Amazon, after clicking on the links. But I would also smile at the next stranger I see, and hug a puppy, which would make the world a better place.]


Recipe: Super Amazing, Incredibly Filling 2 PointsPlus Omelet

Broccoli & Spinach Omelet

Photo credit: ccharmon

Since the recent revamp of the Weight Watchers program to the PointsPlus program, which uses a algorithmic calculation of fat, carbs, protein, and fiber grams, I've started eating eggs for breakfast, instead of my former fav, high fiber multigrain flakes cereal.  With a little tweaking, I've gotten my breakfast down to a mere 2 Points(Plus).

Super Amazing, Incredibly Filling 2 PointsPlus Omelet

  • 1/2c Egg Beaters/substitute (2 servings = 1 PointsPlus)
  • 1 egg white (0 PointsPlus)
  • 1/4c frozen chopped spinach, thawed (0 PointsPlus)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (0 PointsPlus)
  • seasonings to taste - I use seasoned salt, minced onion, and dill (0 PointsPlus)
  • 1 full wedge Laughing Cow Light swiss cheese (1 PointsPlus)

Combine all ingredients except cheese, and mix well. Pour into heated skillet and cook until set.  Add the  wedge of cheese toward the end of the cooking and heat until melty.

Please note I am terrible at making omelets, so I won't provide those cooking instructions - just google "how to make an omelet".  And if your omelet goes south on you, just mix it all together with your spatula and call it a "scramble". :)

EDITED TO ADD: I've fiddled around with different combinations of eggs/substitute. Variations have different PointsPlus values - the option I list above is a total of just 1 PP. Here are a couple of other options:

3/4c Egg Beaters (3 servings) = 2 PointsPlus
1 whole egg + 2 eggs whites = 3 PointsPlus

You could also use just 1/2 wedge of the Laughing Cow for 0 PP, but it's SO much creamier and fabulous with the full wedge.


Gluten-Free Christmas Dinner

We have hosted a special family meal at our house every Christmas for about 14 years now, and - I must say - we put out a pretty good spread. I've used the same Christmas Dinner menu every year, and it includes something for everyone - many favorite family recipes.

My brother threw me a bit of a loop this year when he was diagnosed with celiac disease and GERD - due to his dietary concerns with gluten, dairy, citrus, garlic, and onion products (plus others), I had to scrutinize my recipes to see what could be substituted, revised, or otherwise tweaked. Believe me, the emails flew fast and furious between him, my mom, and I the weeks leading up to Christmas!

For some recipes, I checked with my brother, and discovered he didn't actually plan to eat some things (e.g., he's not a big salad eater), so I didn't even bother revising them.

For other recipes, I was able to just verify the ingredients, and tweak to use friendlier ingredients, such as lactose-free margarine.

This year I added the following gluten-free, dairy-free dishes:

My brother's plate seemed plenty full at the dinner, so I guess the dishes turned out all right! :)

I'll be looking for more celiac/GERD-friendly dishes, and see what I can surprise him with next year!  Feel free to share links to your favorite "company" recipes in the Comments section below. How have you coped with family meals due to recent diet-related diagnoses?

 

 


Recipe: Chicken Ham Bake (with WW Points)

I (re)joined Weight Watchers (again) today, so I used their Recipe Builder to calculate the Points for tonight's dinner casserole. I thought I'd share the recipe, with corresponding Points, here.

Chicken Ham Bake

POINTS® Value: 7
Servings: 4

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup fat-free evaporated milk
  • 11 oz (1 can) Campbell's 98% Fat-Free Cream Of Celery Soup
  • 1 Tbsp minced onion
  • 1 large egg(s), beaten
  • 8 oz turkey breast lunch meat, cubed
  • 8 oz (1c) Hormel deli ham, diced
  • 2 cups cooked white rice
  • 1/2 cup Kraft 2% Milk Reduced Fat Shredded Mild Cheddar Cheese

Blend first four ingredients. Fold in rest. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes.


Gluten-free/Dairy-Free Recipe: Peanut Butter cookies

Here is the recipe for the yummiest chewy PB cookies ever. My teenagers love them, as well as my co-workers, and none of them even need a GF diet.  I always have to make a double batch - my kids like to eat them for breakfast! :)

Makes 12-15 large cookies, or 24 smaller cookies.

1 C. peanut butter
1 C. sugar
1 large egg (use egg substitute if you want to go egg-free)
1 tsp. pure vanilla

Mix these four ingredients very briefly, just to combine. Don't overmix - this is the key to the cookie's texture.

Scoop very full spoonfuls onto a prepared cookie sheet. OR, I use scant ice cream scoopfuls (to stretch the dough to 24 cookies, in a nice round shape).

Bake at 350 for exactly 12 minutes.

EDITED TO ADD:

I ran this through the Weight Watchers Recipe Builder. For a batch of 24 cookies, 1 cookie = 3 PointsPlus value. 2 (of 24) = 5 PointsPlus.

 

GFpeanutbuttercookies-angiepedersen

Digi-scrapping credits:

background: Cranberry from the Basic Grey Blitzen kit
JeanellePaige_HolidayJournalCard
Fonts: AnAkronism and LD Olympia Portable