Friday, March 6, 2015

Skating Fridays

My Snowplow Sam Skater


Addie has completed her first learn to skate session! She had a blast in class and really enjoyed learning from Miss N and Miss K. I am pleased to share that she has passed both Snowplow Sam 1 and Snowplow Sam 2. She starts Snowplow Sam 3 this week and will be learning how to glide on one foot and how to do some basic forward skating.

Miss K also let us borrow one of her old skating costumes, which her mom hand-made (!). This gorgeous pink dress has tons of beadwork that is perfect for a little girl who loves her sparkles. Addie has been asking to wear it every day and cannot wait to wear it to class this week.

Addie continues to enjoy figure skating, which makes me tickled pink (pun intended)!



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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Triple chocolate chunk copycat VitaTop Greek yogurt muffins

An easy, homemade version of VitaTop deep chocolate muffins. With no oil or butter, these Greek yogurt and applesauce based muffins are made in the food processor and are only 95 calories each!


I have a love-hate relationship with Whole Foods. I love that their foods are all-natural and I have a blast discovering new products in the store. What I don't love are their high prices. While their store brand items can be quite affordable, other products can cost a lot of money.

While I haven't personally bought VitaTop muffins from there before, I have heard that a 4-pack can cost $6 (or more). That's a pretty steep price for muffins. Rather than shell out the money to try these often-raved about breakfast treat, I set out to make my own.



These had to have been one of the easiest muffins I've ever made. You throw everything into a blender or food processor (minus the chocolate chips), bake, top with chocolate chips and you're done. You don't need to separately mix the dry ingredients or wet ingredients, so I loved the preparation of this recipe.

And what's best about this recipe is that each muffin is only 95 calories. Yes, 95 calories for an entire muffin! It uses wholesome ingredients like oats, egg whites and Greek yogurt and there is no butter or oil.

The resulting muffins are nothing short of amazing. These are chocolate-y, moist and have a bit of oatmeal texture to them. Addie happily proclaimed that she loved these muffins, and I have seen my husband sneak in his fair share of them. Next time make these, I may swap out the granulated sugar for brown sugar to get a more pronounced molasses flavor. Other than that, these were fantastic.

Triple chocolate chunk copycat VitaTop Greek yogurt muffins
  • 1 and 3/4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 3 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa (I used Hershey's Dark)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (6 ounce) container plain Greek yogurt (I used Chobani 0%)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Directions
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Generously grease 2 standard muffin pans and set aside. (I used a silicone muffin pan and did not grease it)

In a food processor or a high powered blender, blend everything together except the chocolate chips. The batter should be smooth and the oats should be nicely ground.

Transfer the batter into a large bowl and add half of the chocolate chips.

Evenly distribute the batter into your prepared muffin pans and bake in your preheated oven for 10 minutes. Then take the muffin pans out of the oven (be sure to leave the oven on). Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with the remaining chocolate chips and bake for an additional 3-5 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Allow the muffins to cool completely before serving.

Muffins should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator and will keep for several days. They can also be frozen and thawed.

Yield: About 17 standard sized muffins

Source: Dashing Dish

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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Jeni's lemon buttermilk tart frozen yogurt

Light and refreshing, this copycat of Jeni's lemon buttermilk tart frozen yogurt is sure to please all lemon fans. Infused with lemon syrup, the buttermilk frozen yogurt is swirled with fresh lemon curd and crunchy shortbread crust. It's like a lemon tart in frozen yogurt form!
Boy, do I love a challenge.

My former manager, N, is a huge fan of lemon. She and her husband have a monthly subscription to Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams. One of the flavors that they received this month was a lemon buttermilk tart frozen yogurt. N asked me if I could recreate it.



I looked everywhere online, and because this is a brand new seasonal flavor, there wasn't a recipe readily available. I asked friends who owned Jeni's cookbook to see if there was a recipe for lemon frozen yogurt or any type of buttermilk frozen yogurt. My friends said that there was a lemon frozen yogurt recipe in Jeni's cookbook but it wasn't for the buttermilk frozen yogurt. Bummer.

I eventually decided to create my own version of Jeni's lemon buttermilk tart frozen yogurt. I adapted a buttermilk frozen yogurt recipe I found online and then used Jeni's recipes for lemon syrup and lemon curd. When N said that the frozen concoction also contained sweet shortbread crusts, I found a recipe for that too.

The resulting frozen yogurt is exactly how I pictured it. The lemon syrup infused in the lemon buttermilk base gives it a bit of tartness that I expected. Swirls of lemon curd add bursts of tartness and a nice textural contrast. And the crisp chunks of shortbread crusts really tie it all together to make the frozen yogurt taste like a fresh lemon tart.

N, I hope that I was able to successfully able to recreate this frozen yogurt for you and your husband. Even if I didn't, it still tasted pretty dang good.

Lemon buttermilk tart frozen yogurt
Frozen yogurt base
  • 1 quart plain low-fat yogurt
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) cream cheese, softened 
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup light corn syrup
  • Zest of 1 lemon (use a knife to make large pieces of zest so you can strain it easily)
Lemon curd
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 Tablespoon corn starch
  • Slightly under 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon
  • Slightly under 1/2 cup of lemon juice (from about 1 lemon)
  • 4 Tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
Lemon syrup
  • 2-3 lemons
  • 3 Tablespoons sugar
Shortbread
  • 1/4 stick (4 Tablespoons) butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 cup confectioner’s sugar
Directions
Do ahead: Add two layers of cheesecloth on top of a fine mesh sieve. Place the sieve over a large bowl and cover. Strain the yogurt over the bowl up to 8 hours or overnight.

Reserve 1 and 1/4 cups of the strained yogurt, add the buttermilk and set aside.

Make the lemon curd (make ahead): In a medium saucepan, mix together the egg yolks and corn starch until completely smooth. Add the sugar, zest and juice until everything is well blended. Turn the stove on medium-high heat. Constantly stir until the mixer simmers (about 7-10 minutes). Let it keep simmering for about 45 seconds. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add in the butter one cube at a time. Whisk until smooth. Chill the curd in the refrigerator until cool, about 2 hours, until ready to use.

Make the lemon syrup:  In a small saucepan, squeeze the lemons to make 1/2 cup of lemon juice. Add the sugar and boil on medium-high heat until the sugar has dissolved. Allow the syrup to cool and set aside.


Make the yogurt base:  In a small bowl, mix 2 Tablespoons of milk with the cornstarch to make a slurry. Set this aside.

In a large bowl, break apart the cream cheese and mix it until it is smooth. Set a fine mesh sieve above it and set aside.

In a medium sized saucepan, heat the cream, remaining milk, sugar, corn syrup and lemon zest on medium to medium-high heat until boiling. Allow the mixture to boil for 4 minutes.

Take the saucepan off the stove and very carefully add the cornstarch/milk slurry. Mix until everything is well incorporated and put the pan back on the stove. Allow the mixture to come back to a boil and until the liquid becomes slightly thicker, about 1 minute.

Turn off the stove and pour the liquid through the sieve into the large bowl with the cream cheese. Strain out the lemon zest and discard. Add the buttermilk mixture and lemon syrup and mix well until everything is fully incorporated.

At this point, you have two options. You can either set the frozen yogurt base over an ice bath (pour the contents into a large zip-top bag, seal it shut and place it over a large bowl with ice cubes), or put it in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.

Once the mixture is completely cool, churn it in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's directions.

Make the shortbread: Mix all ingredients in a small bowl until a soft dough forms. Add more flour if needed. Roll into a rectangle and cut into 1/4" to 1/2" pieces. Bake in a 350F degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until the crust is golden. Allow the crust to cool.

Assemble the frozen yogurt: Alternate layering the frozen yogurt base, lemon curd and shortbread pieces in a freezer-safe container. Freeze until hardened, at least 4 hour or overnight.

Sources: Inspired by N; Frozen yogurt base adapted from The Post and Courier; lemon syrup from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home; lemon curd from Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream Desserts; shortbread from Add a Pinch

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Friday, February 27, 2015

Skating Fridays

Aiming High


I mentioned earlier this year that one of my goals for 2015 is to place in the top 4 at Sectionals. The top 4 ladies in my event will earn a spot in the Championship Gold event at Nationals in April. Well, Sectionals is fast approaching, and I have about 2 weeks to prepare for the big competition.

This year, there are 16 ladies vying for a top 4 placement. Ladies that place 5th and 6th will be the first and second alternates at Nationals. In the event that someone has to withdraw, an alternate will take her place.

I have been working on running my program on a daily basis and practicing my program in chunks. We altered my footwork slightly and revised one of my connecting elements near the end of the program. Since my spins did not count at my previous competition, we fixed it so they should receive their full value. I want to skate a clean program.

I also want to be able to prove to myself that I can do this.  I can't imagine how exhilarating it would be to represent my Section in my first attempt at the championship level. I would appreciate any words of wisdom, encouragement and high-fives you can spare!

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

{Giveaway} Bob's Red Mill flours

As a special thank you to all my loyal readers, I have 4 exciting giveaways this week for some fantastic products. Come see what I have in store!
 
This is the end of giveaway week on Eva Bakes!  Today I've partnered with my friends at Bob's Red Mill for a four-pack of their fantastic flour products. Some of my favorite items include their whole wheat flour, pastry flour and whole wheat pastry flour. I love the fact that Bob's Red Mill offers one of the largest lines of organic, whole grain foods in the country and that they are certified organic.



While I love to bake, I often try to alter recipes so that they are somewhat healthier than the original. Some recipes will remain full-fat (and full flavor), but I will often substitute butter for applesauce and sour cream for Greek yogurt. I often will swap out all-purpose flour for whole wheat flour, and nobody  has been able to taste the difference. Bob's Red Mill offers plenty of whole grain flours that you can use to make your own substitutions, so I hope you'll try their products.



And now onto the giveaway! One lucky winner will receive four of Bob's Red Mill flours. Simply enter by completing the Rafflecopter widget below. You can enter once a day for a full week (no blog commenting required). Please be patient, as sometimes the widget is slow to load. No entries will be accepted via any other method.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A special thanks to Bob's Red Mill for providing the products for this giveaway. I did not receive any additional compensation or free products for this post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

{Giveaway} See's Candies

As a special thank you to all my loyal readers, I have 4 exciting giveaways this week for some fantastic products. Come see what I have in store!

What a fun week! I hope you have been enjoying all the giveaways as much as I have. And remember, it's all thanks to you that I've gotten this far. So THANK YOU for reading my little blog.

Today's giveaway is from one of my favorite chocolate companies, See's Candies. I first learned about See's in college, when my suitemate's grandmother would send her a box of assorted chocolates or Bridge Mix every year for the holidays. We always fought for the last piece because each chocolate was amazing.

As the years passed, I would get excited when I was a See's kiosk or store when I traveled around the country. Much to my chagrin, we didn't get See's anywhere near me. So, I always made it a point to buy something whenever I did see a See's around the country. I've made purchases in airports, malls and standalone stores. My favorite See's product are the Mint Krispys. It's basically a chocolate-mint covered honeycomb. Check out the new packaging below:
I don't know if you have a See's around you, but if you don't, no worries. One winner will receive a $25 gift card to See's, and they will also throw in free shipping if you order your goodies online (the free shipping is for the winner only). You'll want to try out their peanut brittle (my dad's favorite), Assorted Lollypops (Addie's favorite) and boxed chocolates like my suitemate always got. Everything is delicious!

So what are you waiting for? Enter via the Rafflecopter widget below to win the gift card. You can enter once a day for a full week (no blog commenting required). Please be patient, as the widget can be slow to load.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
A special thanks to See's for providing the products for this giveaway. I did not receive any additional compensation or free products for this post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. 
 
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Monday, February 23, 2015

{Giveaway} OXO baking tools

As a special thank you to all my loyal readers, I have 4 exciting giveaways this week for some fantastic products. Come see what I have in store!

The week of giveaways continues!

Today I am partnering with my friends at OXO to provide you with an OXO prize pack. Here is what it contains:
I'm a huge fan of OXO products and can honestly say that I use my 6 piece measuring cup and 7 piece measuring spoon set every time I bake. The cups and spoons nestle into each other and are attached with a plastic hook so everything stays together for easy storage. They are easy to clean and are dishwasher safe too. My favorite thing about the measuring cup set is that each cup has a line marked for that particular size's halfway mark! So if I'm too lazy and don't want to measure 1 and 1/2 cups of flour using two cups, I can just use the 1 cup measurement and do it in one shot. Genius!

Here are my OXO POP canisters with flour, granulated sugar and brown sugar
In case you are curious, here are some of my other favorite OXO products that you need to get!
And now onto the giveaway! Simply enter by using the Rafflecopter widget below. You can enter once a day for a full week (no blog commenting required). Please be patient, as sometimes it is slow to load. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A special thanks to OXO for providing the products for this giveaway. OXO sent me some complimentary items for me to use but did not provide any additional compensation. As always, all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.
 
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