Tuesday, June 22, 2010

i am so mia

i haven't blogged for a bit! i am still taking pictures of food, but realize that i have maybe been blogging too much about food lately. i'll be back when i have something good! until then, happy summer!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Cranberry Oatmeal Bar Detour

Two days ago it was in the mid 80's today the mid 60's, stupid Chicago weather. This combined with the fact that my allergies are killing me and I feel like I have a cold made me skip on the Mojito Freeze in the freezer and want something warm and oaty.

After a 1/2 successful dinner of ceviche tacos I was still kind of hungry. My dinner failed due to shrimp gone bad. I bought the damn shrimp from the seafood counter on Sunday! Two days later they were stinky although Mike still felt the need to taste test one and pronouced them "ok". I said, we are not risking it with seafood!!

Unfortunetly I'd already spent 30 minuted chopping avocados, tomatos, cilantro ect. so I ended up cooking up some fake chicken aka quorn and served it all together it was ok.

Anyways.. back to my Cranberry Oatmeal Bars:

The recipe is as follows thanks to cookinglight.com, but first my changes were:

splenda brown sugar, whole wheat flour, water instead of oj, fat free sour cream and no orange zet, basically I had nothing orange related in the house. I also double the crust recipe and for the filling I added 1/2 more of everything so that I could use the 9x13" pan that I have!

4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons orange juice
Cooking spray

1 1/3 cups dried cranberries (about 6 ounces)
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
1. Preheat oven to 325°.

2. To prepare crust, weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through cinnamon) in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Drizzle butter and juice over flour mixture, stirring until moistened (mixture will be crumbly). Reserve 1/2 cup oat mixture. Press remaining oat mixture into the bottom of an 11 x 7–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

3. To prepare filling, combine cranberries, sour cream, granulated sugar, and remaining ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring well. Spread cranberry mixture over prepared crust; sprinkle reserved oat mixture evenly over filling. Bake at 325° for 40 minutes or until edges are golden. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

These were really good, but now Mike and I are very angry. While we were out of the room our freak of nature dog ate the entire pan, minus the two bars we had eaten, poo.

Mojito Freeze

I have been experimenting a lot in Kitchen a la Violet (sounds good to me?) I have a few winners to share starting with a tasty dessert from the summer Kraft Food and Family mag.

I wanted a quick dessert. I usually have homemade brownies on hand, I make a pan about once a week, but with the warm weather I was in the mood for something different! I perused my Kraft mag and cookinglight.com and ended up going with the Mojito Freeze.

I made this on Sunday so we have already had a chance to indulge twice. The recipe said to let it freeze 4 hours before serving. I waited about 2.5 and it was perfect.
The next night it was really frozen so it needed to sit out for about 30 minutes before indulging. This was a great treat, it really tasted like a mojito, which, well, made me want a mojito! The recipe some alternate options such as below. I may try the strawberry version next time!

On a side note, the leftover mint leaves make a great addition to ice tea! I've been tearing up 2 or 3 leaves and throwing them into my crystal light green tea along with a lime for a refreshing summer mocktail!

To keep this on the lighter side I used fat free cream cheese and splenda sugar. I also use blue bonnet butter because I find it to be slightly less in fat than other brands. I went with regular cool whip because, hell, a little fat is good for you!

What You Need!

1 cup finely crushed pretzels 1/4 cup
(1/2 stick) butter melted
1 pkg. (8 oz.) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese softened
2/3 cup sugar
Zest and juice from 1 large lime
2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh mint
2 cups thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, divided

Make It!
MIX pretzel crumbs and butter. Press onto bottom of plastic wrap-lined 9-inch round pan. Freeze until ready to use.

BEAT cream cheese, sugar, zest, juice and mint with mixer until well blended. Whisk in 1-1/2 cups COOL WHIP; spoon over crust.

FREEZE 4 hours. Serve topped with remaining COOL WHIP.

Kraft Kitchens Tips

Strawberry Margarita Freeze Omit Mint, Mash 1 and 1/2 c strawberries. Add to cream cheese mixture with coolwhip.

Pina Colada Freeze Omit lime zest, juice and mint. Add 1 can (8 oz.) DOLE Crushed Pineapple in juice and 1/4 cup toasted BAKER'S ANGEL FLAKE Coconut to cream cheese mixture with the COOL WHIP. Garnish with additional coconut, if desired.Make AheadDessert can be stored in freezer up to 24 hours before serving.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Sunday morning I met up with my good friends Erin and Maureen for brunch. Maureen is expecting and I hadn't seen her baby bump yet! We decided to try out a new place so we could catch up and the bump could be revealed :)

Treat is an inventive restaurant in an up and coming neighborhood called Humboldt Park in Chicago. It features American fare with inspiration from India. I really wasn't sure what to expect but I was very pleasantly surprised by the fresh, flavorful creative dishes!

I decided to go with an omelet, I ordered one up with leeks, mushrooms and spinach. It came with rye toast and fantastic spicy potatoes. They were so good!

I kept on my very bad streak and also ordered a single pancake. I really wanted to try them because they sounded to good to pass up. I figured eh, what the hay.

The pancake was topped with honey chevre mousse and chai syrup. I was so glad I ordered it, I only ate about half, but would have finished it if I could!!

Treat is now on my top 5 brunch spots in the city and this is despite the fact that they don't serve alcohol. A bloody mary and/or mimosa are pretty integral parts of the brunch equation for me, but Treat is so good, I have no problem forgoing. In fact, I already told Mike we are going next weekend!

a fabulous weekened of good eats and shopping

this weekend was just off the charts as far as food goes! i have to admit, i went into the weekend knowing i needed to be bad. i just felt empty and like i'd been too good all week.

friday night we dodged a thunderstorm, which would have left us house bound because of Finn, and headed out to Dunley's on the Square. It was not an easy decision, sometimes when I am really hungry my expectations are unreasonable, but as it was we figured it out.

One thing I LOVE about Dunley's is their ceviche, a citrus marinated dish served as an appetizer. SO GOOD! I inhaled this along with am AMAZING cocktail that really hit the spot, it was some sort of bourbon, triple sec and lemonade concoction. O yes, it was a dream, and yes I ordered another.

We hadn't been to Dunley's since before we moved so you can imagine how excited I was when I saw a new addition on the menu, the grilled vegetable platter. I was in heaven and snapped a pic after I had already dug in.

Mike ordered the cuban sandwich, a fav of my Dad's, he enjoyed his too.

After a lovely dinner outside, we decided to walk around the square a little bit to burn off some cals, lol. I snapped a few pics.

On the way back to the car I spotted New Wave coffee house and got a chai tea, and umm a vegan chocolate chip cookie. Yep, I ated a lot Friday night!