Posts by Lauren Brennan

Lauren Brennan

Cornmeal-Blueberry Scones

 I was going through my pantry the other day trying to seek a little organization when I came across an almost full cornmeal container. Why was it so full? Because I only use cornmeal for cornbread. And when do I make cornbread? Whenever I make some chili.

Clearly it’s been a while since my family has eaten chili.

And cleaned out my pantry, apparently. Umm….anyways….

I headed to bhg.com in hopes to find a different way to use my neglected cornmeal and boy did I find a winning recipe!

I found a fabulous recipe for Cornmeal-Blueberry Scones. They seemed pretty simple to whip up, but the recipe called for lime zest and juice! A little unexpected, but definitely turned out to be the hero of this treat! The zest adds such a light and fresh flavor and the juice made the glaze tangy and delicious! I loved these and so did my husband’s co-workers!

My daughter wasn’t a big fan of the tangy glaze, so she opted for butter on hers which ended up tasting pretty good too! Duh.

Butter + anything = amazingness.

If you’d like to try these Cornmeal-Blueberry Scones out at home {which you totally should}, click here for the printable recipe.

Enjoy!


Lauren Brennan

In-Season Eats: Goat Cheese Toasts

You’re probably wondering why the first picture you’re seeing is a grapefruit, huh? You clicked a link for Goat Cheese Toasts and you see grapefruit? What’s the deal?

Well, when I ventured out to right this In-Season Eats article this month, the first food that popped into my head was grapefruit because {1} I’m pregnant and crave grapefruit 24/7 {2} it’s in season –shocking I know–and {3} it is so amazingly sweet and delicious this time of year!

But instead of just eating it plain or throwing it into a dessert, I wanted to use this in a savory and different way than you’d expect. After a quick search on bhg.com, I found the perfect appetizer, snack or light lunch using grapefruit: Goat Cheese Toasts. It’s a creamy, cheesy, salty, sweet, spicy and juicy bite. Seriously delicious and completely out of the box!

To prep for this recipe, start by segmenting some grapefruit. How juicy and yummy do these look?

Once your grapefruit is ready to go, it’s just a matter of spreading and stacking. Start out with some slices of baguette and spread with goat cheese. Top with salami, some grapefruit and coarse ground black pepper. I love the color of the pepper on the grapefruit! So pretty!

Then drizzle the whole thing with a little honey and serve! Feel free to omit the honey, the salami or the pepper. Make these how you like them and enjoy!

Believe it or not, my 4 year old loved these and tried to hog them all to herself! Next time I make them, I’ll make sure she’s down for her nap.

Print this Goat Cheese Toasts recipe here.

 

 


Lauren Brennan

Let’s Party: No-Drip Chocolate Dip

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I thought I’d share with you all a fun, fast and delicious recipe I found on BHG for No-Drip Chocolate Dip. This sweet and chocolatey treat is perfect for parties, special snacks or an intimate dessert for two and can be made well in advance. Plus, easy enough for the novice chef.

I made this dip with my 3 year old for a fun afternoon of Valentine card making.

We had a great day, plus had plenty of chocolate dip leftover for the next few days to share with company.

Here’s how you make it:

Start my chopping 8 ounces of unsweetened chocolate.

Put all that chocolate into a small pot and melt over low heat. Make sure to melt this low and slow. Chocolate says I love you. Burnt chocolate doesn’t really say the same thing!

Once the chocolate is completely smooth and melted, stir in a can of sweetened condensed milk. After you stir this in, the mixture will be a weird very thick texture. This is totally normal! Just keep stirring.

Measure out some light corn syrup,

and vanilla and stir those in. The corn syrup will make the dip shiny and the vanilla will make the chocolate taste even better.

Last thing to add is a little milk. The recipe calls for 1/2 cup, but I added a little more to get it to a thinner consistency. The recipe also calls for cinnamon, but I omitted that.

And just like that, you have some tasty chocolate dip!

I served mine with strawberries, bananas, apples and cubes of rice krispie treats but anything you have on hand would be tasty. Did I mention this is a great way to eat fruit? Everything tastes better dipped in chocolate!

To print this recipe, click here. And for more Valentines Day ideas, check out BHG.com.


Lauren Brennan

Healthy Eating Shortcut!

Happy Belated New Year! How many of you are getting healthy in 2013? This is something I always try to focus on because I’m a young Mom with a 3 year old and another one on the way. Pregnancy tires me out and I’ve noticed I’ve had less patience for elaborate dinners. But lucky for me {and you!} I’ve found a few healthy shortcuts to save time and keep things healthier in my family’s diet.

1. Add more veggies to all your meals! My favorite thing to do is hide lots of zucchini and carrot in my Spaghetti Sauce or making something with Mexican flavors, like Portobello Fajitas or Chicken Enchiladas, and throwing in a few extra peppers and using corn tortillas. I used to hate corn tortillas because they were dry and I never had the patience to fry each tortilla individually to soften it up. Seriously, who has time to babysit seventeen tortillas in a shallow oil bath? Not this girl! I’ve seen people ‘dry fry’ their tortillas in a hot pan just to warm them through, but again I don’t have time for that! I tried microwaving them dry too, but it didn’t seem to help. Mine kept cracking. Well, one day I got an epiphany that seriously has been such a caloric time saver! One that will keep corn tortillas soft and pliable. Are you ready for my shortcut? It seriously takes 2 minutes or less to do.

First, grab a wad of paper towels and make them damp.

Unwrap these paper towels and place your stack of tortillas in the center.

Wrap the paper towels up and around your corn tortillas and microwave 30 seconds to 1 minute, depending on how strong your microwave is and that’s it! 

The water helps steam the tortillas, turning them into pliable, soft extra tasty tortillas! Perfect for any Mexican dinner like these Portobello Fajitas or Chicken Enchiladas! So tasty and packed full of veggies! If you think you’re not a corn tortillas person, give this trick a whirl and see if it changes your mind! It definitely changed mine!

2. Bake instead of fry chicken. Baking chicken is a great way to lower the fat content in a dish. Season it up and throw it in the oven. The best part about this is you don’t have to babysit the chicken on the stovetop. This is such a time saver for me! This Roasted Cranberry Chicken sounds simple and super delish!

3. Choose to drink water over juice or other beverages with calories–I’m pretty sure my child is the only one on the block who would rather have water than apple or orange juice! If you don’t like water or seem to have to force it down, try squeezing in a little lemon or experiment with this Cucumber Mint Water.

Hope you all have a happy and healthy new year! Enjoy!


Lauren Brennan

Ingredient Obsession: Shrimp Scampi

Something I’ve been seeing more and more of these days is coconut oil. Basically, it’s a healthy animal-free oil that a lot of Vegans use. Since I’m not Vegan in the least, but try out new things here and there, I’ve been purchasing and using coconut oil regularly in place of butter. It bakes and cooks very similar to butter and adds a hint of coconut taste to anything you add it to. I love coconut, so naturally I loved this stuff from the get go.

I couldn’t find any recipes on the BHG site using coconut oil specifically, so I picked a recipe that uses a lot of butter and did a little swap-out. Enter Shrimp Scampi: a quick and easy dinner or appetizer that everyone loves. AND, it takes about 15 minutes to whip up. Here’s how I did mine:

Start out by chopping a bunch of garlic and zesting a lemon. Feel free to chop up parsley too.

You’ll also want to keep your shrimp handy.

Now onto the coconut oil. The original recipe calls for 1/4 cup olive oil and a 1/4 cup of butter. Instead of using the butter, I just used coconut oil. Easy peasy.

So, to make this recipe, you throw all your ingredients into a baking dish or skillet and broil. I used precooked shrimp so didn’t cook ‘em very long. Overcooked shrimp = rubbery and gross. No bueno. If you’re using raw shrimp, then the time listed on the recipe will do. After a quick broil, you have your delicious garlicy, lemony and coconutty shrimp. It’s weirdly and addictingly delicious.

I’d also recommend dunking crusty bread into this hot mess. SO heavenly :)

To print the original Shrimp Scampi recipe, click here.

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Lauren Brennan

In Season Eats: Quick Pomegranate Cheesecake

Ever since I brought home a Costco-sized pack of pomegranates, I’ve become a little obsessed and started throwing these little cuties into everything: tossed into salads, stirred into oatmeal, blended into smoothies, mixed into desserts and shoved straight up into my mouth for a quick snack. Pomegranate seeds {or arils} are itty-bitty, crunchy, juicy and sweet little bites of healthy goodness that come into season right around this time of the year! They taste delicious and happen to be chock full of antioxidants, Vitamin C and several of the B Vitamins.

While browsing the BHG website, I came across this Quick Strawberry Cheesecake recipe. It’s a sophisticated take on a no-bake free form cheesecake that takes about 20 minutes to pull together start to finish. Totally do-able for anyone…even through this busy holiday season!

For this recipe, you simply mix a combination of cream cheese and brie cheese together with a little sugar and lemon juice. Then you layer that ‘cheesecake’ into cute little cups with strawberries {or in this case pomegranates} and some butter toffee glazed almonds. I didn’t feel like buying or making these special almonds so I added a little more sugar to my cheesecake layer and used toasted plain almonds instead. Still tasted sweet, creamy and refreshing! Not bad for 20 minutes of work!

The recipe also mentions that you can add a drizzle of honey as well. I thought it was sweet enough without, but it’s totally up to you!

You can find the printable version of this recipe here.

Happy Holidays!

Categories: In-Season Eats | Tags:
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