Low Fat Diva Blog

Low Fat Lifestyle Recipes & Lowfat Cooking Tips

Cucumber Lime Aid July 31, 2012

Filed under: Appetizers & Drinks,Low Fat Diva Blog — lowfatdiva @ 2:18 pm
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No, the title of the recipe is not a typo nor am I going off the deep end, this recipe is for real and tastes great!  A woman I know brought it to a gathering we had been invited to and asked us to try it.  The woman’s daughter in law had made it for them recently and they all really liked it.  I was game, it was a really hot evening and she told us it would be very refreshing.

When I was given the glass with the drink, the aroma of the cucumber was the first thing I noticed but when I took a sip, it was actually the lime flavor I tasted.  Weird, I know.  I first tried the drink just as she gave it to us, but the second time I tried it she added a bit of sparkling water or club soda on top and that too was wonderful.  Either way if you give this drink a chance I think you will really enjoy it and so will your kids.  It can be a new and exciting way to use of some of the cucumbers you have from your garden right now.  Enjoy!!!!  For comments/questions email  ramona@lowfatdivablog.com

Cucumber Lime Aid

Juice of 6 limes
1 cucumber mashed
1 cup sugar ( or less depending on how sweet you want it)
cold water

Instructions:
Juice limes.  Peel and place cucumber in a food processor.   Add cucumber and sugar to  the lime juice.  Add enough cold water to make 2 quarts. Let the drink rest in frig or on counter to allow the  flavors to blend.  Using a small drink strainer over a glass, strain  the  cucumbers from the drink before serving.  Serve over ice.  You can top the drink with a bit of sparkling water or club soda.       Delish!

 

Delicious Cucumber Lime Aid

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Children + Vegetables = ? July 30, 2012

My original article was going to be on fresh herbs and vegetables but when my editor said the magazine was going to focus on children this month and would like me to do the same, I thought what the hey, I can incorporate the two.  Well, that is easier said than done. When my two children were at home, vegetables were not an issue (of course I do remember the line “you have to eat as many as years old you are” was used a bit) and we ate quite a variety.  Our vegetable diet consisted of more than peas, carrots and corn, which is what some children/parents feel are the only vegetables farmers grow.

I asked a couple of my friends if they ever had any trouble with getting their children/grandchildren to eat vegetables…..well, let me tell you the words started flying!  “Mine don’t like the taste, well, mine think potato chips are a vegetable, our grandson will eat some vegetables if they are smothered with ranch dressing”, any of this sound familiar? I then decided to take up the question about vegetables with my granddaughters. My oldest granddaughter informed me that she could only take “certain” vegetables to school in her lunch.  When I asked her why, she replied that she didn’t want to be made fun of for bringing a “weird” vegetable (or any food for that matter) to school – she is only 5 by the way! Here are just a few on the list of “weird” vegetables; pea pods, broccoli, edamame, celery with cream cheese and baby cukes sliced.  I asked my 5 year old if she offered a taste to the other kids?…picture this, 5 year old rolling her eyes, “Nona, that would only make things worse”. So, I guess there lies the problem, how do we get parents/children to think outside the box about vegetables so they will be more open to eating them?

One of my first thoughts is to take children to a Farmers Market if you have one in your community.  Many farmers will allow you to select only a few pieces of a vegetable to try.  You can see if your family will like it so you don’t feel like you’re wasting money if there is too much negativity.  Introduce your children to the farmers so they get to know the farm to table process. There is ownership when there is knowledge.

Some other thoughts; do you as a  parent like vegetables, are you guilty of only making a few select vegetables that you like, do you smother them in some sauce, do you cook them so much that teeth are not required when they are eaten? Just changing the way a vegetable is cooked can make a world of difference, take brussel sprouts.  Throughout my life I never did quite acquire the taste for brussel sprouts but about a year ago our friend Jeff roasted his sprouts and had us try them.  Talk about waking up your taste buds, hello!  They were awesome.  My husband and I were both amazed how nutty the flavor of the brussel sprout became when you roasted them.  How about beets?  Oh, those things never touched my lips but I found some orange/yellow ones, cooked them with other vegetables and they were really good.

New varieties of vegetables are grown every year (purple carrots, purple potatoes, purple beans). If you don’t have a farmers market in your area, or timing does not work out, Plumb’s Market has fresh, local vegetables and herbs in their produce dept.  You broadening your views on vegetables will help your children do the same.  Check out my blog for delicious vegetable/herb recipes all month.

Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Clean sprouts by taking off outer layer.  Cut sprouts in half lengthwise.  Using tin foil (for the grill) or a cookie sheet (oven) that has been sprayed liberally with Pam Olive Oil scatter all the sprout halves.  Spray sprouts with more Pam and sprinkle with garlic or red pepper flakes or smoked paprika, etc.  Grill/bake at 375 until crisp tender – Delish!

Three generations shopping at the farmers market

               Each child gets the opportunity to select favorite vegetables
 

Adding Flavor To Your Beer

While I  was talking to Bob, Clay Avenue Cellars, he gave me some great tips on flavoring my beer.  I wanted to share some of these  ideas with you and yes, I have tried one of his suggestions and actually my husband finally used one too.

(Here is the first tip he gave me and I actually tried it with one of the “kits” I  purchased from him). Add specialty malts.  You don’t have to be bre3wing all- grain to experiment with small amounts of specialty grains.  All you have to do is soak the grains in 170 degree water for about 20 minutes – 1 hour (depending on the intensity of the flavor you want) before you brew your main beer.  I followed this advice when I made my recent chocolate, coffee, vanilla porter.  I only soaked my grains for about 15 minutes and then addend that water to my kit ingredients.  I added 1 large vanilla bean when I placed the beer into the primary fermenter and have not decided if I will add more vanilla when I rack it today into the secondary or not.

Another option is to use fruit or spice extracts.  You can brew any basic ale or wheat beer and make it into an Oberon clone or add lime extract for a different flavor.  Flavor extract is not like a cooking extract and you can find these in most beer stores.  You can also add some fruit like an orange but you still need the extract because the fruit will not give enough flavor to make your efforts worthwhile.  My husband has used the zest of an   orange for his orange wheat beer and I kept encouraging him to add some extract too if he really wanted the flavor to pop a bit more.  After about 3 batches, he finally listened 🙂

Yeast is a crucial part of brewing beer and so is having the correct yeast.  Sometimes kits will supply you with some low end yeast but it really does pay to pick up a few different packs of good quality yeast at the brew store of your choosing and keep it on hand.  There is a pretty good shelf life to the yeast as long as it’s stored properly in the frig.  Paying attention to your yeast will be the difference between a good tasting beer and one that has poor character or lacks mouth feel (I know I’m really getting the hang of the brew lingo).

Happy Brewing.  Enjoy!!!!  For comments/questions email ramona@lowfatdivablog.com

 

Local Store For Beer Making Supplies July 26, 2012

Filed under: Low Fat Diva Blog — lowfatdiva @ 11:10 am
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Bob is a wonderful source of information and ideas if you an avid brewer or if you are just starting!

Clay Avenue Cellars has lots of stock for brewing with kits or all grain.  Their prices are very competitive and having Bob there is awesome!  Bob is knowledgeable in all aspects of brewing and was so patient as I asked a bazillion questions.  If you are in the neighborhood of Muskegon Michigan stop in and see Bob, the man is always there and must work 80 hours a week!    I promised him I would bring a sample of my chocolate, coffee, vanilla porter when it was ready.

Fermenting buckets, grain, yeast, bottles, caps, etc.

Beer Supplies

 

Quick & Easy Blueberry Lager Pancakes July 24, 2012

It’s blueberry season and lucky for us they are at one of the fruits that didn’t get froze out or the drought didn’t finish them off here in the Mitten.  I have probably bought at least 20 pounds of blueberries and not one has made it into the freezer yet, nor will the latest 5 pounds I purchased yesterday!

Tonight for supper we will be having blueberry lager pancakes, filled with fresh blueberries and topped with a blueberry syrup.  Then to cap the meal off, blueberry lager cake.  I have posted the beer cake recipe before (cake mix, pudding, beer – baked in a bundt pan) that is awesome and have given you some great beer/cake parings.  Now, I”m suggesting blueberry lager in your white cake (or yellow) with white chocolate pudding.  Delish!!!!!

I hope you are having as much fun as I am this month with recipes that you can use craft beers with or your own homebrew.   Enjoy!!!  For comments/questions email ramona@lowfatdivablog.com

Quick & Easy Blueberry Lager Pancakes

You can use any pancake mix for making the pancakes.  Some people are partial to Bisquick Low Fat or you can use Pioneer Low Fat Mix or you can stir the pancakes up from scratch.   Remember if the mix calls for an egg to use egg beaters. Which ever way you choose to go, just add Blueberry Lager for your liquid and be sure to not over mix your batter, it should be lumpy.  Add your fresh blueberries on the top of each pancake as you cook it.  Placing the berries in the mix can mush them or turn your batter blue.

Blueberry lager Syrup

All I did for this was to place some blueberry syrup (which is way to sweet for me out of the bottle) in a sauce pan.  I then added just a bit of the blueberry lager to thin the syrup down.  Let the syrup come to a boil, whisking constantly.  Turn off the heat and let the syrup cool a bit before you use it on the pancakes.  YUMMMM

 

 

Pretzel Based Chocolate Stout Cupcakes July 19, 2012

We finally had some rain here in the Mitten and it was awesome!  Not only did it rain but the temps finally dropped a bit where working in the test kitchen was not a chore, it was delightful.  This new cupcake is what came of about 2 hours of research and a couple more hours of creating, but oh what a creation.  The taste is out of this world and craft beer lovers will so appreciate it as well as anyone who likes the combination of beer and pretzels.

Awhile back I was doing some research on beer infused cupcakes and was not finding a great deal that would work for me.  But, I did run across this web site called Cupcake Project (http://www.cupcakeproject.com/).  It was on this site I discovered  a pretzel base that was used for a cupcake they were making.  The concept was right on however the fat content was out of site and so not my style, so I decided to see if I could make over their idea.   I worked around with a couple of different versions and really like what I came up with.  Instead of 132 grams of butter in just the crust I made mine with only 40 grams, can we say huge difference?  I also decided not to re-invent the wheel regarding great cup cakes, I mean I already had an awesome chocolate porter cupcake recipe with chocolate ganache on top.    Enjoy!!!!  For comments/questions email ramona@lowfatdivablog.com

Pretzel Based Chocolate Stout/Porter Cupcakes

1 stick of room temp Blue Bonnet Lite (it will be very soft)

3-4 Tlb. honey

2 1/2 cup crushed pretzels

Mix the crushed pretzels with the honey and the Blue Bonnet Lite until it’s totally incorporated and will stick together.  Line 24 muffin tins with liners.  With a small ice cream scoup drop mixture into the bottom of each cupcake liner.  Using a spoon or a muddler, press the pretzel mixture into the bottom of each cupcake liner.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.  While the base bakes start making your cupcake batter.

CHOCOLATE PORTER CUPCAKES

 12oz. Porter Beer or you can use Chocolate Espresso Stout or a Chocolate Ale – yummmm

½ cup No Fat ½ & ½

3 Tablespoons Canola Oil

2  Tablespoons  No Fat Vanilla Yogurt

1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

¾ cup Egg Beaters

¾ cup unsweetened dark cocoa (Hershey)

¾ cup no fat sour cream

2 cups white sugar

2 ½ cups flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking soda

In a large mixing bowl, combine all the liquid ingredients.  In separate bowl, whisk all the dry ingredients.  Gradually add the dry ingredients to the wet.  Divide the batter among the muffin cups with the pretzel base.  Bake 15 minutes (depending on oven) or until risen and set in the middle (toothpick comes out clean but still tender)  Cool before removing from the tins.  Make a chocolate ganache and dip tops of cakes in.

Chocolate Ganache

 In sauce pan bring 2/3 cup of No Fat ½ & ½ to a boil.  In a bowl place 6 ounces of chopped white/semi sweet  baking chocolate. When ½ & ½ is boiling, remove from heat, add 6 tablespoons of no fat sweetened condensed milk and 2 teaspoons of Blue Bonnet Lite.  Whisk until combined. Pour over  chocolate, wait 5 minutes before whisking the chocolate and cream mixture.  Whisk until chocolate is very smooth.  I also add about 3 Tlb of dark chocolate cocoa powder.  Chill until mixture has firmed enough to spread or dip the tops of your cup cakes.  You can also drizzle it over a cake (don’t chill as long).  If ganache is too firm, you can lightly warm the mixture over very low heat to get the consistency you want.  Be sure to whisk the ganache after chilling before you use it.

 

 

Smokey Chili July 18, 2012

Filed under: Diva's Brew-ha,Soups & Veggies — lowfatdiva @ 8:51 pm
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Too hot for you?  No worries, just add this recipe to your favorites until the weather turns a bit cooler, it will so be worth the wait.  This chili recipe is smoky and delicious.  You can adjust the smoky flavor by the beer you use as well as the smoked paprika.  Enjoy!!!  For comments/questions email ramona@lowfatdivablog.com

Smokey Chili

  • 12 ounces ground turkey breast
  • 4 ounces lean ground pork
  • 3 ounces smoked apple and chicken brats, casing removed  (about 2 brats)
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced roughly
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped red chile peppers, such as Fresno peppers
  • 4 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 (22-ounce) bottle smoked beer
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1  can kidney beans
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 6 medium scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
  • Sour cream, for garnish
  1. Spray Pam Olive Oil on the bottom of a  large Dutch oven or large, heavy-bottomed pot with a tight fitting lid. On medium-high heat add the ground turkey, pork, and roughly chopped brats and cook, stirring to break up the meat with a wooden spoon, until the meat is browned and no bits of pink remain, about 5 to 6 minutes.
  2. Stir in onion, chiles, garlic, chili powder, cumin, 1 teaspoon of the salt, fennel seed, cayenne pepper, and tomato paste, and cook until the vegetables are softened, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the 1/2 of the beer and bring to a boil. Simmer until the beer flavor is cooked off, about 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1 teaspoon salt, tomatoes, kidney beans, and sugar. Add smoked paprika to taste.
  3. Bring the chili to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer about 1 1/2 hours.  Add other half of beer in the last 30 minutes. Taste and season with salt as needed.
  4. Serve the chili garnished with the scallions, sour cream, and, of course, a smokey beer 🙂

NOTE:  I like more “stuff” in my chili so I do add more beans.  This recipe has a lot of liquid which is fine if you like your chili like that.  You can also add fresh tomatoes to cook in the pot too.

 

 
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