Thursday, April 5, 2012

Healthified Rice Pudding

Ever since I was a kid enjoying my mom's homemade rice pudding, I have loved the stuff. For some unknown reason, however, I rarely make it. Lately though, I seem to be going through a rice phase and I've rediscovered my love for rice pudding. I've also discovered that it's not the healthiest dish on the planet, but then what dessert is? Well, I made a few changes to a traditional recipe and came up with what I hope is a slightly healthier version. I have a few ideas to take it a little further into "healthy land". I'll let you know if any of those turn out yummy. For now, I hope you enjoy this version.

Healthified Rice Pudding
Copyright 2012 Brendilly Bakes, All Rights Reserved

I had a picture of it in the dish I stored it in, but somehow it got deleted.

1-1/2 cups cooked Brown Rice
2 cups Almond/Coconut Milk blend (Almond Breeze makes this and you should be able to find it in your grocery store)
1/4 cup Turbinado Sugar
1/4 t. Sea Salt
1 Egg
1 cup Dried Cranberries
1 T. Unsalted Butter
1 t. Vanilla Extract

1. In a medium saucepan, combine rice, 1-1/2 cups milk, sugar and salt. Cook over medium heat until thick and creamy, 15-20 minutes.
2. In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, combine 1/2 cup milk and the egg until egg is beaten.
3. Add milk mixture and dried cranberries to rice and cook 2 minutes more, stirring constantly.
4. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla.

Serve warm or cold with a sprinkle of cinnamon.

NOTE: Personally, I found the flavors blended better after the pudding sat in the refrigerator overnight.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Nutella Caramel Swirl Cheesecake Bars

This recipe came from a fellow blogger at The Kitchen Prep. I saw "Nutella" in the name and had to try it. I am glad I did. I only made a couple of minor changes; adding more vanilla and using half heavy cream in the caramel sauce. Making the caramel sauce from scratch was the most difficult part of this recipe, but even then it wasn't THAT difficult and they are well worth the effort. And, you have enough sauce leftover for a couple of sundaes or another batch of bars. I actually gave the majority of this batch away, much to my family's disappointment. I think it'll make a great gift. I left a few bars on the cake plate for the fam'. I don't want them getting fat, after all. ;-)

Nutella Caramel Swirl Cheesecake Bars
recipe adapted from The Kitchen Prep

Nutella Caramel Sauce

1/4 cup Half & Half
1/4 cup Heavy Cream
1/4 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Water
3/4 cup Nutella
1 T. Light Corn Syrup
1 t. Vanilla Extract
Pinch Sea Salt

Warm half & half and cream in a microwaveable cup (about 30 seconds to 1 minute) until steaming.
Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil without stirring, until amber brown - keeping an eye on it as it can burn very quickly.
Carefully whisk in warm cream until smooth and let cook for 1 minute. Caramel will bubble and rise, so use a big enough saucepan so it does not overflow.
Remove from the heat and whisk in the Nutella, corn syrup, salt, and vanilla until smooth. Allow to cool until thickened, then transfer to a jar or container for storage in the refrigerator.

2 cups All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup firmly packed Brown Sugar
1 1/2 sticks, Butter, cut into small pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 13x9x2 inch baking pan with foil and set aside.

In a medium bowl; combine flour, sugar, and butter with a pastry blender until the mixture is crumbly. It will hold its shape when a clump is pinched. Press mixture evenly into foil lined baking pan. Bake for 15 minutes until crust is slightly golden. Set aside.

1 8oz. block Creme Cheese
1/3 cup Sugar
1 Egg
1 t. Vanilla
1/4 cup Greek Yogurt

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine cream cheese and sugar until fluffy and incorporated. Add egg, and beat until combined. Add vanilla and Greek yogurt and mix until smooth. Pour into crust.
Spoon globs of Nutella Caramel sauce onto cheesecake batter, dotting throughout the mixture. With a skewer, toothpick, or tip of a knife, carefully swirl caramel throughout cheesecake to create marbleized effect.
Bake at 350 for 30 minutes, until filling is mostly set. If caramel is cooking too rapidly or becoming too bubbly, cover lightly with a sheet of foil for the last 10 minutes.
Cool to room temperature, then refrigerate and let cool completely before cutting into bars.

Fresh out of the oven. Doesn't that swirl look gorgeous?

Cooled, cut, and looking good!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Monday Monday!

Monday is a big work day around my house. I do the majority of the laundry and food prep for the week ahead. Today, we froze strawberries for smoothies and any other thing we want to have strawberries in; made panini ahead of time and tucked in the frig for tonight plus a few extra in the freezer for later; frosted the last of the banana "cakeins" I made last week; made a big batch of brown rice to have on hand for porridge or pudding; and threw together some homemade condiments (mayostard and homemade caramel sauce).

I make a lot of my own homemade condiments like jam; dressing for sandwiches and salads; coffee creamer; caramel sauce....whatever I feel like having on hand and would rather make myself than buy complete with artificial this and those preservatives. Most of what I make is pretty simple and doesn't take a lot of time. Well worth the effort to know what's in my food. If I could be a subsistence farmer I probably would. When I was young enough to do it, it wasn't even a part of my wildest dreams. Now that I'm older and it's all the body can do to maintain a couple of raised garden beds, I could imagine milking my own cows and keeping laying hens.....and growing a really big garden with lots of fruit trees! Sigh! Oh well....back to the kitchen to make some meatloaves for the freezer. Maybe later I'll share some of my prep recipes.

Happy Monday!

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