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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Heart Foods

How Does Your Heart Feel About Your Diet? Infographic

The 21 Germiest Places You're Not Cleaning

Germiest places
People avoid touching the obviously dirty things — toilet bowls, garbage cans, anything in a public restroom. But for every well-known nasty, there are a host of under-the-radar threats we put in our mouths, roll around on all night, and regularly rub on our faces. In an effort to keep clean, happy, and healthy, here are 21 surprisingly dirty things and what to do about them.


It's easy for bacteria and food particles to get trapped in the crevasses of sponges, creating ideal conditions for bacteria to breed [1]. Moist, dark — what else could bacteria ask for?!
What to do: Try antibacterial sponges and dish soaps to limit the lesser of bacteria evils — but neither are very effective at controlling the spread of big name baddies like E. Coli and Salmonella [2]. Be extra safe by disinfecting sponges at least once a week by soaking in a bleach solution for 5 minutes, or microwaving on high for two minutes. (The microwave method has even been shown to kill 99 percent of bacteria [3]!)
Kitchen Buttons, Knobs, and Handles
Taking something from the fridge, grabbing spices from the cabinet, preheating the oven, zapping something in the microwave — a lot goes into cooking a meal, including any bacteria from that raw chicken or unwashed produce.
What to do: To minimize the risk, some experts recommend using a disinfectant on any frequently used kitchen surfaces several times a day, especially before and after preparing a meal. Keep it carefree by keeping antibacterial wipes right on the counter for easy access.
Drip Coffee Maker
Even though coffee itself has some antimicrobial properties, coffee makers still need to be cleaned [4] [5]. Most home coffee makers don’t get hot enough to kill anything growing in the wet, dark environment of the water reservoir or the machine’s internal piping.
What to do: Running a 50/50 mix of water and white vinegar through the machine once a month may help inhibit the growth of mold and some bacteria. Let half the mixture run through the machine, then switch it off for an hour before finishing the cycle. And don’t forget to deep-clean the carafe!
Cutting Boards
With all the ingredients flying around that kitchen, it's hard to keep designated cutting boards for each type of food. (Fresh veggies tossed on a board right after a raw steak probably isn't such a good idea). But this hotbed for cross-contamination is essential to keep clean. Scientists debate whether wood or plastic makes for a better board: Plastic boards seem safer and easier to clean (because they're not porous), but once they're scored from repeated slicing, it's hard to clean the microscopic grooves [6]. Wood sucks bacteria down into its core, but researchers disagree about whether bacteria ever resurface; one study noted that heavily used wooden boards were more problematic than new ones.
What to do: Keep plastic boards clean by regularly running through the dishwasher (or washing with near-boiling water if the dishwasher isn't an option). Consider microwaving wooden ones to get the bad guys out. (But be careful — some folks have managed to catch their cutting boards on fire.) Let both boards air-dry completely before storing to minimize potential bacteria growth. But since the research is really mixed, just be sure to replace heavily nicked boards regularly.


Pillows aren’t just packed with feathers — turns out they can also be home to several types of allergy-inflaming fungi [7]. (Ick.) And all those hours spent sweating, shedding skin, and drooling like a sheepdog also create ideal conditions for dust mites, another potential allergy trigger.
What to do: In addition to regularly laundering bedding (specific instructions below), anti-allergen covers can help protect pillows from outside germs getting in and keep the sneezy stuff (down, anyone?) inside [8].
Take all the reasons to be worried about pillows and add sweat to the tune of up to one liter per night.
What to do: Washing and drying everything on the highest heat available is a good policy, but regular bleaching is a good idea, too. (In fact, studies suggest a good hot wash and dose of bleach will not only kill bacteria on the cloth, but also cleans out the machine so germs aren't continuously spread around [9].)


Laundry Bag
All the grime from sweaty workout gear, underwear, and bedding sits in that laundry bag, soiling the hamper itself.
What to do: Try using one bag for dirty clothes, and one for the clean stuff, and wash the dirty bag along with the clothes! For hard plastic hampers, use any hard surface disinfectant, but be wary of anything with the potential to discolor (i.e. bleach).
Makeup and Makeup Brushes
People shouldn’t get diseases from getting dolled up, but cosmetics have been known to do just that [10]! Eye makeup seems to be the greatest cause for concern; one study found that within just three months of use, 40 percent of tested mascara tubes had some creepy crawlies growing in them [11] [12].
What to do: A good rule of thumb is to replace eye makeup every season; toss lotions and liquid foundation every six months; and get fresh power-based products, lipstick, and nail polish every two years.
Contact Lenses
One study found that more than 80 percent of tested contact lens cases were contaminated with bacteria, regardless of the system used to clean (no-rub solution or hydrogen peroxide) [13]. (And some suggest inadequate cleaning instructions are to blame! [14])
What to do: Star by wiping out contact lens cases after each use and replace it every month (or at least clean by soaking in near-boiling water for a few minutes). If using a fancy hydrogen peroxide cleansing case, just allow fresh solution to sit in the case for 24 hours before using [15].
Studies have found that flushing the toilet can spew bathroom-related bacteria into the air [16] [17]. (Ick!) Needless to say, it's a good idea to store that toothbrush far away from the potential contaminants (and close that lid before flushing!).
What to do: The ADA suggests making sure to rinse toothbrushes thoroughly after use, allow them to dry completely, and replace every three to four months. And while they don't deem sanitizing necessary, they do discourage sharing toothbrushes. That said, for those who were recently sick (or are sickened by the thought of germs) rinsing in a milk bleach solution is am effective disinfectant, as is running toothbrushes through the dishwasher [18]. And while it may seem that antibacterial mouth rinses (like Listerine) could be a good alternative to bleach, one study found that it was only about as effective as allowing the brush to air dry, although there are other brands (specifically Crest-Pro Health) which worked better [19].
We shower to get clean, so it’d be silly to get dirty drying off. But reusing damp bath towels could be doing just that! Drying down after the shower doesn't just get rid of the excess water — it takes with it dead skin cells and bacteria, too (including the dreaded staph infection).
What to do: The risks are low if towels are changed out about once a week and are allowed to dry completely between uses. While antimicrobial towels do exist, their efficacy and necessity are debatable — they could help cut down on smells, but that seems to make it easier to forget about cleaning them.
Bath Mat
Bath mats sit there, soaked with shower water and pressed up against the floor, slowing evaporation and providing the dark, damp environment mold and bacteria love. Add to that the fact bathroom floors have been shown be one of the most contaminated parts of the bathroom (toilet bowl excluded, of course) and it’s obvious why we should put some brainpower towards that bath mat [20].
What to do: Launder mats once per week on the highest heat and with bleach (if possible — defer to the mat’s washing instructions, especially if it has rubber backing). And (clearly) keep separate from any bedding or clothes. Wooden mats may be an easier option, since surface disinfectants can replace regular laundering, but it’s important to remember to disinfect the floor to avoid re-infecting a clean mat.


Those little buds aren’t just at risk from what they pick up in the bottom of that gym bag — using them for just one hour has been shown to coat headphones with bacteria from the ear [21].
What to do: Using water with electronic accessories is tricky, but audiophiles can clean detachable rubber nubbins (technical term) by soaking them for 15 minutes in a vinegar and water solution and letting them sit for 10 more minutes in water before drying. For the un-detachable kind a gentle mixture of soap and water should be used on the plastic exterior, and a clean toothbrush can remove any lint from the grill.
Anyone who drives — or just plans on returning home at the end of the day — probably has a set in their pocket, but who thinks about keeping keys clean?
What to do: The fact that many keys are made of brass, a copper alloy, offers some protection because it's naturally antibacterial [22] [23] [24]. But occasionally scrubbing keys with plain ol' soap or using a disinfectant probably won’t hurt, and at the very least shining them up offers some aesthetic benefits.
A study of office workers found that women's purses were one of top three dirtiest things they touched throughout the day. In fact, one (very small) study found E. Coli on 25 percent of purses tested (out of a 50 purse sample).
What to do: Common sense (don’t rest it on the bathroom floor) and regular cleaning are enough to minimize risk. Wipe leather purses with a disinfectant wipe every few days, and put washable ones through the laundry (or send to the dry cleaner) as often as once per week.
Studies have repeatedly cited mobile phones as risk factors for infection, and we largely have our own unwashed hands to blame [25] [26] [27]. (One study found fecal bacteria on 1 in 6 phones!)
What to do: The clean up is simple: Power down the device once per week (more during cold and flu season) and wipe with a disinfectant cloth.
Gym Bag
If it’s regularly being packed with sweaty shirts that have been exposed to all manner of germs from the gym, why don't we wash it as often as the clothes themselves? And this may not just be a smelly misstep — some researchers believe dirty gym bags could be responsible for spreading infections.
What to do: Consider storing dirty clothes in a separate mesh pouches or a sealable plastic bag (just make sure not to forget and let it fester) for transporting. Empty and air out bag between uses to limit bacteria growth. But the bag itself is likely getting left on locker room floors, which are known to harbor infectious microbes, so give it a once-over with disinfectant wipes and send through the wash on the hottest setting once per week.
Studies have found shoes can track significant amounts of bacteria indoors, infecting clean floors [28] [29]. Some research has found shoes to more specifically transport E. coli and bacteria that can cause pneumonia. And it's no surprise — sidewalks certainty aren't regularly disinfected!
What to do: There’s no perfect solution, but an easy fix one study suggests instituting a no-shoes policy inside the house [30].
Water Bottle
Staying hydrated and healthy seem to go hand in hand, but be wary — coliform bacteria (which E. coli falls under!) can coat the inside of reusable plastic bottles if they’re not cleaned carefully [31]. In fact one study of students’ water bottles found they were so dirty that, had the water come from the tap, the government would have classified it as unfit to drink [32]!
What to do: Choose a wide-mouthed bottle for easier cleaning and drying, and opt for a hard material that won’t get scratched during vigorous cleaning (like stainless steel). In addition to regular washing, soak in a bleach solution for two minutes once per week (and rinse and dry completely).
Yoga Mats
The idea of a communal mat is inherently gross. Who wants to roll around in somebody else's sweat for an hour? Wrestlers have long dealt with outbreaks of ringworm, staph, and even herpes from similarly sweaty wrestling mats, and now some doctors are suggesting the new surge in cases of athlete's foot and plantar warts is tied to the growing popularity of yoga [33] [33].
What to do: Bringing a mat to hot yoga or Bikram may be even more important because of all the nasty fungi and bacteria sweat expels from pores, but bringing a personal mat isn't much better if it isn't cared for properly (or if loaned to friends). To keep it clean, pick a side that will always face up and attempt invest in a yoga towel to keep sweat off the mat itself. And a routine Clorox wipe swipe isn't a bad idea, either. After every use make sure to hang mats up so both sides can dry completely, and periodically scrub mats with a tiny bit of dish soap and water.

Living Room

TV Remote
A hospital hygiene study found that the remote controls were three times dirtier than anything else in the room, while another study found that nearly half of the remotes tested positive for antibiotic-resistant staph [35].
What to do: Wipe down remote controls with any hard surface disinfectant or a handy dandy antibacterial wipe regularly — and especially if it's been used by a sick person recently!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Sky Parfaits

chilled blue jello + Fat Free cool whip

Sweet Cinnamon Biscuits

  • Grandma made these for me whenever I was sick. The love that went into them was sure to cure.


  • 2 cups sifted unbleached flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 8 tablespoons Fat Free sweetened condensed milk
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup Fat Free milk, optional
    Combine flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl and mix well. Stir in applesauce. Add buttermilk and stir just until blended.
    Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Roll dough into a 15 x 8-inch rectangle.
    Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease with cooking spray a 9-inch round baking pan lightly.
    Spread sweetened condensed milk over the dough. Combine granulated sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and mix well. Sprinkle over sweetened condensed milk. Roll up rectangle, jelly roll fashion, starting from one long side. Pinch seam to seal.
    Cut the roll into 1 1⁄2-inch slices. Arrange the slices, cut side up, in prepared baking pan. Bake until lightly browned, about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Pour milk over the top, if desired. Serve hot.


    1 cup white or cider vinegar
    1/4 cup olive oil
    1 tablespoon pickling spice (tie in a bag) discard later
    1/4 cup water
    1 teaspoon canning salt
    Bay leaves
    Wash peppers. and slice 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.Pack loosely in a jar with 1 bay leaf in each jar.Heat ingredients to a boil and pour over peppers in jar.Place jar lid after wiping jar rim clean; tighten band.Process 10 minutes in a boiling water bath.Do not forget the oil. The oil is the secret. For a clear liquid, use white vinegar; for the best flavor, use cider vinegar.,1636,153172-229199,00.html

    Baked Sweet Potato Pie

    3 C mashed sweet potato (pre-bake and take off the skin--usually 3 to 4 sweet potatoes depending on size.
    1/2 C melted butter
    2 eggs--beat well
    1 C sugar
    1 t. vanilla
    1/2 C Fat Free evap milk

    mix above ingredients and put in a 9 x 13 glass dish

    1/2 C flour
    1/2 C brown sugar
    1/2 C softened butter
    1 C chopped pecans

    mix topping ingredients and sprinkle on top of the pie mixture

    Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes

    Thursday, March 28, 2013

    Eerie Eyeball Cookies

    • 1/2 cup shortening
    • 3/4 cup REESE'S Creamy Peanut Butter
    • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
    • 1 egg
    • 2 tablespoons Fat Free milk
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1-1/2 cups unbleached flour
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • Additional granulated sugar
    • About 1 cup vanilla frosting (homemade or ready-to- spread)
    • Red and black decorator frosting in tubes
    • WHOPPERS Malted Milk Balls


    1. Heat oven to 375° F. Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.
    2. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet.
    3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.
    4. Frost center of cookie with vanilla frosting to form white portion of eye. Decorate with red and black frostings to form outline of eye and bloodshot markings. Press malted milk ball "iris" into center of eye. Makes about 48 cookies.

    Pumpkin Spice Bars


    • ingredients
    • 2 cups graham cracker or gingersnap crumbs
    • 7 Tbsp. butter, melted
    • 1 2/3 cups plus 1/4 cup sugar, divided
    • 2 cups unbleached flour
    • 2 tsp. cinnamon
    • 2 tsp. baking powder
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 4 eggs
    • 1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree
    • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
    • 1 can (16 oz.) cream cheese frosting
    • Halloween shaped sprinkles


    • 1
      Preheat oven to 350°. Line a 15“ x 11” pan with foil; set aside.
    • 2
      In small bowl, mix graham cracker crumbs, butter and 1/4 cup sugar until well combined. Spread mixture into prepared pan. Using a measuring cup with a flat bottom, smooth mixture to form an even crust.
    • 3
      Bake crust until fragrant, about 6 minutes; let cool completely.
    • 4
      In medium bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, beat eggs, remaining sugar, pumpkin puree and applesauce; stir in flour mixture.
    • 5
      Using a rubber spatula, spread the pumpkin mixture evenly over the cooled crust in pan.
    • 6
      Bake until filling pulls away from the pan, 25-30 minutes; let cool completely in pan.
    • 7
      Frost the top of the cooled bars with cream cheese frosting. Gently drag the tines of a fork from side to side through the frosting to create a wave pattern. Sprinkle with Halloween shaped sprinkles. Cut into 24 bars and serve.

    Foil-Pack Bruschetta Chicken Bake

    Foil-Pack Bruschetta Chicken Bake recipe

    What You Need

    can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
    pkg. (6 oz.) STOVE TOP Stuffing Mix for Chicken
    cloves garlic, minced
    small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1-1/2 lb.)
    tsp. dried basil leaves
    cup KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

    Make It

    HEAT oven to 400ºF.
    STIR tomatoes, stuffing mix and garlic just until stuffing mix is moistened.
    PLACE 1 chicken breast on center of each of 6 large sheets heavy-duty foil sprayed with cooking spray; top with basil, stuffing mixture and cheese. Bring up foil sides; fold to make packets. Place in 15x10x1-inch pan.
    BAKE 30 to 35 min. or until chicken is done (165ºF). Cool 5 min. Cut slits in foil to release steam before opening packets.

    Perfect Pie Crust

    One of the secrets to a flaky pie crust is to work with very cold butter. Cut the butter into cubes and freeze, at least 15 minutes, best over an hour or even overnight. The minute I even think I might want to make a pie, the first thing I do is cut some butter into cubes and put it in the freezer.


    All Butter Crust for Sweet and Savory Pies (Pâte Brisée)

    • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
    • 1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 6 to 8 Tbsp ice water


    1 Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor; pulse to mix. Add butter and pulse 6 to 8 times, until mixture resembles coarse meal, with pea size pieces of butter. Add ice water 1 Tbsp at a time, pulsing until mixture just begins to clump together. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it's ready. If the dough doesn't hold together, add a little more water and pulse again. Note that too much water will make the crust tough.
    2 Remove dough from machine and place in a mound on a clean surface. If you want an extra flaky crust, shmoosh the dough mixture into the table top with the heel of the palm of your hand a few times. This will help flatten the butter into layers between the flour which will help the resulting crust be flaky. You can easily skip this step if you want. Gently shape the dough mixture into two disks. Work the dough just enough to form the disks, do not over-knead. You should be able to see little bits of butter in the dough. These small chunks of butter are what will allow the resulting crust to be flaky. Sprinkle a little flour around the disks. Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, and up to 2 days.
    3 Remove one crust disk from the refrigerator. Let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes in order to soften just enough to make rolling out a bit easier. Roll out with a rolling pin on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch circle; about 1/8 of an inch thick. As you roll out the dough, check if the dough is sticking to the surface below. If necessary, add a few sprinkles of flour under the dough to keep the dough from sticking. Carefully place onto a 9-inch pie plate. Gently press the pie dough down so that it lines the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Use a pair of kitchen scissors to trim the dough to within 1/2 inch of the edge of the pie dish.
    4 Add filling to the pie.
    5 Roll out second disk of dough, as before. Gently place onto the top of the filling in the pie. Pinch top and bottom of dough rounds firmly together. Trim excess dough with kitchen shears, leaving a 3/4 inch overhang. Fold the edge of the top piece of dough over and under the edge of the bottom piece of dough, pressing together. Flute edges using thumb and forefinger or press with a fork. Score the top of the pie with four 2-inch long cuts, so that steam from the cooking pie can escape.

    All Butter Crust with Almonds

    • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
    • 1/2 cup finely ground blanched almonds or almond flour
    • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, very-cold, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 heaping teaspoon brown sugar
    • 6 to 8 Tbsp ice water, very cold
    Follow directions as for the All Butter Crust Pâte Brisée, but with the above ingredients. Include the ground almonds in with the flour and the salt and sugar in step 2 above.

    To Pre-Bake a Pie Crust

    If your recipe calls for a pre-baked crust, as many custard pie recipes do, follow all the steps above until you get to the point where it says to put in the filling. Note that you will need to make only a half recipe if you are only doing a bottom crust. Freeze the crust it for at least a half hour, until chilled. This is an important step in pre-baking. Otherwise the crust will slip down the sides.
    Preheat your oven to 350°F. When the pie crust is sufficiently chilled, line the pie crust with parchment paper, wax paper, or aluminum foil. Fill at least two-thirds full with pie weights - dry beans, rice, or stainless-steel pie weights. Bake with weights for 20 minutes. Remove from oven, cool a few minutes and carefully remove pie weights. Poke small holes in the bottom of the pie crust with a fork and return to oven (without the weights) and cook for an additional 10 minutes, until the crust is golden. Cool completely before filling. You may need to tent the edges of the pie with aluminum foil when you bake your pie, to keep the edges from getting too dried out and burnt.

    Combination Butter and Shortening Crust

    Ingredients for one double-crust 9 inch or 10 inch pie:
    • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 2 Tablespoons sugar
    • 3/4 cup (a stick and a half) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
    • 1/2 cup of all-vegetable shortening (8 Tbsp)
    • 6-8 Tablespoons ice water
    1 Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a food processor; pulse to mix. Add the butter and pulse 4 times. Add shortening in tablespoon sized chunks, and pulse 4 more times. The mixture should resemble coarse cornmeal, with butter bits no bigger than peas. Sprinkle 6 tablespoons of ice water over flour mixture. Pulse a couple times. If you pinch some of the crumbly dough and it holds together, it's ready. If the dough doesn't hold together, keep adding water, a tablespoon at a time, pulsing once after each addition, until the mixture just begins to clump together.
    2 Remove dough from machine and place in a mound on a clean surface. Divide the dough into 2 balls and flatten each into 4 inch wide disks. Do not over-knead the dough! Dust the disks lightly with flour, wrap each in plastic, and refrigerate for at least an hour, or up to 2 days before rolling out.
    3 After the dough has chilled in the refrigerator for an hour, you can take it out to roll. If it is too stiff, you may need to let it sit for 5-10 minutes at room temperature before rolling. Sprinkle a little flour on a flat, clean work surface and on top of the disk of dough you intend to roll out. (We use a Tupperware pastry sheet that has the pie circles already marked.) Using a rolling pin, apply light pressure while rolling outwards from the center of the dough. Every once in a while you may need to gently lift under the dough (a pastry scraper works great for this) to make sure it is not sticking. You have a big enough piece of dough when you place the pie tin or pie dish upside down on the dough and the dough extends by at least 2 inches all around.
    4 When the dough has reached the right size, gently fold it in half. Lift up the dough and place it so that the folded edge is along the center line of the pie dish. Gently unfold. Do not stretch the dough.
    5a If you are only making a single crust pie, use a pair of kitchen scissors to trim the dough to within 1/2 inch of the lip of the dish. Tuck the overhang underneath itself along the edge of the pie dish. Use your fingers in a pinching motion, or the tines of a fork to crimple the edge of the pie crust.
    5b If you are making a double crust pie, roll out the second disk of dough. Gently place onto the top of the filling in the pie. Use a kitchen scissors to trim the overhang to an inch over. Fold the edge of the top piece of dough over and under the edge of the bottom piece of dough, pressing together. Finish the double crust by pressing against the edges of the pie with your finger tips or with a fork.
    6 Use a sharp knife to cut vents into the top of the pie crust, so the steam has a place to escape while the pie is cooking. Optional Before scoring, you may want to paint the top of your crust with an egg wash (this will make a nice finish).

    Egg Wash

    A lovely coating for a pie can be achieved with a simple egg wash.
    • 1 Tbsp heavy cream, half and half, or milk
    • 1 large egg yolk
    Beat egg yolk with cream and brush on the surface of the pie with a pastry brush.

    Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies



    • 1-3/4 cupsall-purpose flour
    • 1-1/2 cupssugar
    • 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter or margarine , softened
    • 2/3 cupHERSHEY'S Cocoa
    • 3/4 teaspoonbaking soda
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 tablespoonsmilk
    • 1 teaspoonvanilla extract
    • CHOCOLATE FOR DIPPING (recipe follows)
    • 1/4 cup finely chopped peanuts (optional)
    • 1-3/4 cupsREESE'S Creamy Peanut Butter


    1. Heat oven to 350°F.
    2. Combine flour, sugar, butter, cocoa, baking soda, eggs, milk and vanilla in large mixing bowl; beat until well blended. Refrigerate until firm enough to handle, about 2 hours. Roll chilled batter into 1-inch balls; place on ungreased cookie sheet.
    3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until almost set. Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.
    4. Line tray or cookie sheet with waxed paper. Prepare CHOCOLATE FOR DIPPING. Dip half of cookies into prepared coating, covering one-half of each cookie. Place on prepared tray. Sprinkle peanuts over top of cookies, if desired; let stand until chocolate is set.
    5. Spread about 1 tablespoon peanut butter on flat side of remaining cookies; top with dipped cookies, pressing down gently. Tightly cover; store at room temperature. Makes about 25 sandwich cookies.

      CHOCOLATE FOR DIPPING: Place 1 cup HERSHEY'S SPECIAL DARK Chocolate Chips or HERSHEY'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips and 1 teaspoon shortening (do not use butter, margarine, spread or oil) in small bowl. Microwave at MEDIUM (50%) 1 minute; stir. If necessary, microwave at MEDIUM an additional 15 seconds at a time, stirring after each heating until chips are melted when stirred.

    Easy Chicken and Cheese Enchiladas

    1. Stir the soup, sour cream, salsa and chili powder in a medium bowl.
    2. Stir 1 cup salsa mixture, chicken and cheese in a large bowl.
    3. Divide the chicken mixture among the tortillas. Roll up the tortillas and place them seam side up in 11 x 8" shallow baking dish. Pour the remaining salsa mixture over the filled tortillas. Cover the baking dish.
    4. Bake at 350 degrees F. for 40 min. or until the enchiladas are hot and bubbling. Top with the tomato and onion.

    Vanilla Or Cinnamon Pears


    Fourth of July Festive Fruit Wands

    Basic Greens

    Kitchen Cheat Sheet

    Wednesday, March 27, 2013

    Orange Sherbet Jello

    2 (3 oz) packages Orange Jello
    1 cup water
    1 (8 oz) container Fat Free Cool-Whip
    1 pint orange sherbet

    Boil water and remove from heat. Add the 2 packages of orange jello and stir until dissolved. Set jello aside and let it cool for a couple of minutes.
    In a separate bowl, mix together Cool Whip and orange sherbet.
    Add Jello to Cool Whip mixture and mix thoroughly until well combined (I used an 8x11 baking dish).
    Refrigerate for about 4 hours to set. Top individual servings with whipped cream and mandarin oranges.

    Jello Fruit Snacks

    1 (3 oz) package gelatin, any flavor
    2 (.25 oz) envelopes unflavored gelatin
    1/3 c. water

    Sprinkle the gelatin over the water in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat and stir until gelatin is completely dissolved. Pour into molds and allow to set at least 20 minutes.

    Healthy Baking Substitutions

    Monday, March 25, 2013


    I sure do miss eating this wonderful fruit, but without my gallbladder, they make me so sick.  Here is some information I found on them.

    Fat Content of Avocados

    A serving of 170 grams contains 285 calories. Fats account for about 25 grams. Most of these are monounsaturated fats, which are considered as healthy fats. They account for about 63 percent of the total fat content. The fruit also contains a low amount of polyunsaturated and saturated fats. These represent 20 percent and 17 percent of total fat content respectively. Although the fruit is often shunned by weight watchers because of the high fat content, avocado fats are actually good for you.

    Zesty Chicken and Pasta

    Zesty Chicken and Pasta recipe

    What You Need

    pkg. (8 oz.) fusilli pasta, uncooked
    cup KRAFT Lite House Italian Dressing, divided
    lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
    cups small broccoli florets
    large red pepper, chopped
    small onion, thinly sliced
    Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
    cup KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese

    Make It

    COOK pasta as directed on package, omitting salt.
    MEANWHILE, heat 1/4 cup dressing in large skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook and stir 5 min. or until done. Add vegetables and parsley; cook 5 min. or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.
    DRAIN pasta; toss with chicken mixture and remaining dressing. Top with cheese.

    Raspberry Cream Pie

    1 6 oz. reduced fat graham cracker crust
    1 14 oz. can Fat Free sweetened condensed milk
    2/3 C. frozen raspberry lemonade concentrate, thawed
    8 oz. Fat Free Whipped topping, thawed
    1 C. fresh or frozen whole raspberries

    In a large bowl, conbine sweetened condensed milk and juice concentrate;  mix well.  Fold in whipped topping.  Spoon 1/2 C raspberries into bottom of crust;  top with filling.  Freeze 6 hours.  Top with remaining raspberries just before serving.  Refrigerate or freeze leftovers.

    By Western Family

    Saturday, March 23, 2013

    Healthy 'Candy Corn' Fruit Cups

    layer pineapple chunks & cuties oranges, then top with Fat Free CoolWhip :)

    Fruit Pizza



    1 small package Pillsbury sugar cookie dough

    1 8 oz package Fat Free cream cheese, softened

    1 large container Fat Free cool whip

    4 cups of any kind of fruit


    Cook sugar cookie dough either as 1 large pizza, small cups or small cookies at 350- cooking time will depend on what type of cookie you are making (generally 6-7 minutes for small cookies, longer for one large cookie), do not over cook. Whip softened cream cheese, then add in cool whip until nice and smooth. Place in Ziploc bag, cut off tip, pipe frosting onto cookies. Decorate with fruit.

    No Drip Popsicles


    What you will need:
    1 Package of Jello (4 serving size)
    1 Package of Kool Aid (you can use the little sweetened pkgs or use a little unsweetened pkg and add 1/8cup sugar)
    2 Cups boiling water
    1 1/2 Cups cold water
    12-14- 3 oz Paper cups
    12-14 Popsicle sticks

    Dissolve Jello, Kool Aid and sugar in boiling water.
    Add cold water.
    Pour into paper cups and freeze for 2 hours.
    After 2 hours they should only be partially set. At this point insert a popsicle stick in the center and return to freezer for another hour or two.

    Strawberry Lemon Fruit Dip

    • 1/2 cup strawberry reduced-fat cream cheese spread, from 8-ounce container, softened
    • 1/2 cup marshmallow creme
    • 1 container (6 ounces) Fat Free Lemon yogurt
    • Assorted fresh fruit pieces like Cantaloupe and Berries


    1. Mix cream cheese and marshmallow creme in medium bowl with wire whisk until smooth. Stir in yogurt. (let your cream cheese set on the counter a bit just to get soft)
    2. Pick your favorite fruit to dunk in this sweet and creamy dip. Whole strawberries, melon cubes, grapes or papaya slices are super summer choices.
    3. Serve dip with fruit.
    Here’s how to help keep the marshmallow creme from sticking to the utensils. Rinse the measuring cup and rubber scraper used to measure the marshmallow creme with cold water, but don’t dry them.
    For Raspberry-Lemon Fruit Dip, use Raspberry cream cheese spread instead of strawberry.

    Friday, March 22, 2013

    Apple Banana Cinnamon Smoothie

    Blend together 5 raw almonds, 1 red apple, 1 banana, 3/4 cup nonfat Vanilla Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup nonfat milk, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.

    Vanilla Dream Float

    Vanilla Dream Float

    Place 2 large scoops of Fat Free vanilla ice cream or Fat Free vanilla yogurt in the bottom of each of four 8-ounce glasses. Fill each glass with cream soda.

    Apple-Cranberry Dessert in Slow Cooker

    apple cranberry dessert in slow cooker 200x200 Apple Cranberry Dessert in Slow Cooker


    • 21-oz(630 g) can More Fruit Cinnamon Spice Apple pie filling
    • 16 -oz(480ml) can whole-berry cranberry sauce
    • 1/2 cup raisins
    • 1½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • nonfat ice cream or frozen yogurt,to serve

    Apple-Cranberry Dessert in Slow Cooker

    1.Lightly grease inside of slow cooker with cooking spray.

    2.Spoon apple pie filling into mixing bowl and chop apples into small pieces.

    3.Add remaining ingredients and mix well.

    4.Pour mixture into slow cooker.

    5.Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 4 hours.

    6.Serve apple-cranberry dessert warm or cold as a topping for ice cream or frozen yogurt.

    Coconut Cream Marshmallow Eggs

    • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
    • 1 T. Chobani Fat Free Vanilla Yogurt
    • 1 c. powdered sugar
    • 1 c. marshmallow creme
    • 3 c. flake coconut
    • 2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
    • 1 T. shortening
    In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese and yogurt until smooth. Add powdered sugar, marshmallow creme, and coconut, stirring to blend completely. Refrigerate mixture for 1 hour. Then use your hands to mold the coconut mixture into egg shapes. I rolled about a tablespoon of coconut mixture into a ball, laid it on a baking sheet lined with wax paper, and then flattened the ball a bit and shaped it into an egg. Once your pan is full, place it in the freezer or refrigerator for an hour or two to firm up.
    Melt chocolate chips and shortening over very low heat. Place melted chocolate in a small but deep bowl. Remove a few coconut eggs at a time from the freezer and dip them into the chocolate mixture. I like to use a fork to remove them from the chocolate...just pick up the egg on top of the fork's tines, gently tap any excess chocolate off, and then slide the bottom of the fork out over the edge of your bowl to remove excess chocolate underneath the egg. Return the chocolate coated egg to the wax paper. Refrigerate again to set. Store in the refrigerator.

    Invisible Cookie Dough Ice Pops


    • 2½ c. Fat Free milk
    • ⅔ c. light brown sugar, packed
    • couple pinches salt
    • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
    • ¼ c. + 1 tsp. mini chocolate or carob chips
    Place milk in a microwave-safe bowl and heat for ~1 minute, or until warm to the touch. Stir in brown sugar and salt until dissolved. Stir in vanilla.

    Place ½ tablespoon of chocolate chips in the bottom of your popsicle molds. Fill to the top with milk mixture. Insert sticks and freeze until solid.

    Creamy Green Chilie Enchilada Soup

    Creamy Green Enchilada Soup

    • 32 oz chicken both
    • 24 oz chicken breasts
    • 2 cans or Green Chili enchilada sauce
    • 4 oz can of diced green chilies
    • 3/4 cup of water
    • 2 tbsp of ground cumin
    • 1 tbsp of chile powder
    • 1 tsp of onion powder
    • 1 tsp of garlic powder
    • 1 cup of frozen corn (defrosted)
    • 1 block of Fat Free Cream Cheese (cut up into a few pieces)
    • 3/4 cup of instant rice
    • salt and pepper to taste (depending on the sodium level of your broth, you may need more salt.)
    • table spoon of corn starch (only if needed)
    1. In your slow cooker, mix together the broth, green enchilada sauce, green chilies, water, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder and cumin.
    2. Add the chicken breasts to the crock pot and cook on low for 7 hours.
    3. At the 7 hour mark, remove the chicken to another dish. Shred the chicken and put back in your slow cooker. Add the rice, corn and cream cheese to the soup mixture and replace the lid. Cook for another 30 minutes and stir the soup, making sure to get the cream cheese mixed in. You may need to cook just a bit longer to ensure the cream cheese is melted completely.
    4. At this point, you can judge to consistency of your soup. If you would like it thicker, mix a table spoon of corn starch with about 1/8 cup of water and then mix into the soup, after 10 to 20 minutes the soup should thicken considerably.