Recipe Testin’: Crescent Roll Apple Dumplings (Adapted from the Pioneer Woman)

appleI love Pinterest for its multitude of awesomeness. It’s no surprise it’s an extremely popular interactive vision board many use for ideas on an array of categories–food included. I often utilize Pinterest’s food boards and pins for cool recipes. Deciding after much procrastination to try a perfect fall treat incorporating basic ingredients, I found a simple, yet delectable recipe using sprite, crescent rolls, apple, butter, sugar and cinnamon. The original recipe comes from The Pioneer Woman, whose version includes 2 cans of crescent rolls and Mountain Dew. I had to improvise by adding Sprite and 1 can of crescent rolls, but it did the trick. (Click on this link for the original recipe. This has step-by-step pictures, and some of you may prefer that.)

The following is Pioneer Woman’s recipe with a few tweaks I added for creativity. It takes 10 minutes to prep, 40-45 minutes to cook (depending on oven and browning) and serves 6-8 people. The recipe is straightforward, the dessert is undeniably scrumptious and this is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Granny Smith apples
  •  2 cans of original crescent rolls. I used one can and it worked just fine.
  • 2 sticks butter
  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 oz/ 1 cup Mountain Dew or sprite.
  • Cinnamon to taste. I added nutmeg as well. (To put it in quantative terms,start with 1/2  of 1/4 of a tsp. I eyeballed it, and this is the best I’ve got.)

Directions: (Preheat over to 350 degrees)

  • Peel, core and cut apples into 8 slices. This is an opportune time to use that apple peeler and corer if you have one. If not, it’s a great investment.
  • Open box of crescent rolls, and separate them into triangles. Place dumplings into a 9 x 13 inch pan. I used a round clear pan, lightly greased with butter.
  • Roll each apple slice in a crescent roll, starting from the top of the triangle, rolling downward to the tip of the crescent roll. Secure by applying gentle pressure to create an adhesion.
  • Melt two sticks of butter over medium-low heat. Add vanilla, sugar, and gently stir. Mixture doesn’t have to be smooth.
  • Pour butter and sugar mixture over the apple crescent rolls, thoroughly covering apples. Pour Mountain Dew on the sides of the pan, around the appley crescents.
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon. (I got creative and used nutmeg and sugar in conjunction to cinnamon. I thought a good idea would be apple pie spice or a dash of sugar and ginger for next time.)
  • Place into oven and bake for 40-43 minutes, until apples are soft, butter bubbles and the crescents are golden brown and crispy.

Serve while warm. Toppings may include: ice cream, whipped cream, or whatever works for you! Why not try both versions/substitutions and incorporate the optional ingredients for variety? I’d love to hear your experiences in your comments.

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S’mores Coffee+ Goldfish Strawberry Shortcake=Worth the Diabetes

Summer time is in, and that means flavors of s’mores, strawberries and fresh berries that will infiltrate the snack isle. I scored a few fun snack items today: a bag of strawberry graham crackers by Goldfish,  and s’mores-flavored coffee via Archer Farms. But first, I’d like to express my gratitude for the Target. Yes, I meant to say the Target. I go there and constantly find myself amazed with the glistening fun items they parade on the shelve. Just a few days ago, there were flavored sugars (chai, vanilla, maple). This is relevant because this is where I found two blessings:

  • S’mores coffee (Archer Farms): For a limited time, you can find the summer-celebratory flavor of s’mores coffee. I’ve had other s’mores-related coffee concoctions, and what I like about this one is there is a balance of chocolate and marshmallow flavors. In previous situations, s’mores coffee flavored items have been too heavy on the chocolate, smelled like graham cracker, but I didn’t get much marshmallow. The downside is if you’re expecting graham cracker flavor (yes, this can be detected in SOME coffee flavors, depending on the brand), you won’t find much here, but this is worth a try.  4 out of 5 tongues. (4/5 stars) Just a note, International Delights released a s’mores coffee creamer that was rich and indulgent; however there was more chocolate and very little marshmallow. It was good, but not as balanced as this coffee in my personal opinion. 
  • Goldfish Strawberry Shortcake Graham Crackers: These, for me, are more enjoyable than the vanilla cupcake flavor. Why? The strawberry provides a fresh and fun burst of flavor, and doesn’t come across as artificial as other strawberry flavors. 3 tongues (3/5 stars).

What are your thoughts? Comment below. Image

Local Orlando Eats: Tibby’s and the Chicken Waffle

ImageTibby’s New Orleans Kitchen features a unique and flavorful trending dish to their menu—chicken and waffles. For $13, customers can appreciate the new chicken and waffles sandwich, paired with sweet potato fries. The new menu  features half of a powdered Belgian waffle topping fried chicken and bacon. Although this is not the healthiest of dinner choices, the combination of the savory spiced chicken and the sweet, airy waffles makes for a classic food favorite.  The side feature of brandy butter syrup pairs well with this dish.

Tibby’s Chicken and Waffles Yumfactor: 4 tongues (4 out of 5 stars). The waffles are pillowey, piled on tender, all-white meat chicken and bacon. The powdered sugar wasn’t needed. I personally would have liked a bit of kick, say cayenne in the chicken to balance the sweetness of the waffles and to par with the sauce.  Tip: Try it with hot sauce for extra kick.

Must Try Foods: Super Target’s Limited Time S’mores Cupcake.

The Talking Spoon

In honor of summer (which is nearly done)  Target has released their delicious s’mores cupcakes. I have been meaning to do a blog on these delights a few months ago, but was to busy cramming my face with these to blog about them. 😀 These mini desserts are made with a chocolate cake base and a divide of marshmallow creme icing, and chocolate icing. To top it all off you also receive a dash of crumbled graham crackers to add texture, and the authenticity of the classic s’mores flavor.

I have to say I have enjoyed snacking on these because I love s’mores. The marshmallow icing is delicious, and I can’t resist these. Another benefit is the size as you can control how many calories you intake and control the amount of sugar you consume. The serving size is 3 mini cupcakes, which total out to 330 calories, individually  110…

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Salads: They’re Only As Boring as You Make Them!

Many people frown up at the idea of eating a salad, providing endless excuses as to why they’re uneatable. With a little creativity, you can create appetizing salads, full or meat (or not) and fun toppings to satisfy the beast within. Below are quick tips to sprucing up greens, and adding a dash of colorful nutrition to your lifestyle.

  • Themed salads. Make salads with meats and follow through on flavor with themed ingredients. You can try a chicken taco salad, beginning with a layer of bagged salad, cheddar cheese, taco-seasoned chicken,  sour cream, tomato and beans. Adding rice underneath the layer of mixed greens can be a more filling option to give you carbs and a feeling of fullness.
  • Add fruit and be merry. Adding berries,  oranges and other fruits can fan any salad fun. Here’s an example. Take a half a bag salad, add mandarin oranges (1-2 8 oz. servings), a Asian Toasted Sesame flavored salad dressing, and add fried chow mein noodles. Stir until you’ve got a fun Asian-inspired salad your tastebuds will beg you for. This can be spruced up with cold grilled chicken strips or shrimp seasoned with peanut sauce. Adding cold noodles in place of the fried chow mein noodles will also rock your mouth’s tastebuds off.
  • Be creative and add seasonal touches to your salad. Fall usually beckons orange and red-colored fruits and veggies, savory flavorings such as apple or pears spiked with nutmeg and cinnamon, and the ever popular butternut squash. Why not try to expand the borders of plain salads and dressings to a mountain of colors, roasted veggies and ripened, yet tangy fruit? Cranberries, croutons and chicken with a balsamic vinaigrette would make anyone’s tastebuds rave. Here is another savory, autumn-themed salad for the spirit.
  • Pair up your salads with comforting and indulgent soups, sandwiches or fuller meals. Still think salads are for sissies? They can make fun side dishes and are a versatile, easy way to up your nutrition. The water content in salads hydrate your body and invigorates the living sludge out of your low energy levels. They perk up your day and are chock full of vitamins to help you live your best life possible. Just go out, have fun and make the salad your canvas.

Visit this site to find out more about salads and their purpose in life.  Don’t forget to rate, comment and subscribe to this blog for fun food ideas, restaurant reviews and must try products! 

A Gulp of Gold: Guayusa Tea

Guayusa tea, a full-bodied, mellow, yet rounded tea from the Amazon rain forest is a great coffee alternative. Cousin to the popular tea, Yerba Mate, guayusa contains a host of health benefits that can boost your mood, or strengthen your stamina. So, what’s the big deal? An 8 ounce cup of tea contains about the same caffeine content of a cup of coffee. Compared to some teas, guayusa is not bitter as it steeps in a cup of boiling water. Its smooth flavor can make for many cups from on tea bag, and also goes great with lemon.

I sampled guayusa tea from Sacred Tea entrepreneur Luis Olguin (interview coming soon), whose company is devoted to allowing the world experience the healing benefits of guayusa. I tried guayusa  to kick the post-two-thirty-slump to the curb; I drank a cup sweetened with honey. What I discovered–aside from the woody scented steam from the tea–was a drink that gave me sharper mental focus to carry out my work until the end of the day without crashing. I had a slow surge of energy without the crash from coffee, I had the same attributes of caffeine without the irritability hyperness and the jitters. Olguin states that this tea, shared as a communal tea among an indigenous tribe in the Amazon rain forest, is known to have many health benefits: three times the antioxidants in green tea, balances the blood sugar, increases stamina and blood flow, and enhances relaxation. Olguin also practices fair trade by giving the people of the indigenous tribe fair wages, and packages guayusa in sustainable, recycled material. Try it cold for an icy refresher, or brew guayusa in an espresso maker for a stronger flair.

 

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Flavor Pairing Ideas: Butterscotch and what?

Butterscotch is a cousin to caramel since it features the same flavor overtones. The butterscotch flavor features brown sugar and butter to create a flavor-rich delicacy that is versatile with vanilla, dark rums, coconut and even sea salt. The caramel and sea salt concoctions have been a staple ingredient to many households and restaurants, but Image compared to caramel, many have not considered pairing butterscotch with the likes of sea salt. Here are a few ideas to help you experiment with butterscotch flavors in any sweet dish.

  1. Butterscotch, sea salt and chocolate coffee. I just ordered a custom coffee brimming with sweet buttery notes of butterscotch coffee syrup, rich chocolate syrup, a mild sweetener and a dash of sea salt. This flavor combo created a well-balanced tone of rich, buttery sweet butterscotch, and a mouth watering salty swallow. The barista also commented of the innovation of the flavors, since it’s a less commonly requested order.
  2. Butterscotch and sea salt blondies. I searched the web for a recipe featuring this pairing, and came across this one here. Adapted from the domestic rebel this recipe features a moist blondie cake with butterscotch chips and sea salt. The sea salt additives can be exchanged or combined with a rum and caramel glaze, a vanilla and sea salt glaze, or a maple or pecans infusion to give the blondies more texture. Don’t forget to try smoked almonds with a dash of sea salt to compliment the butterscotch notes.
  3. Whiskey-Brown Butterscotch Pudding with a Ganache and Sea Salt. This creative  recipe stems from hungry girl por vida’s blog and combines chocolate, dark rum butterscotch and sea salt in a pudding. Genius.
  4. A Butterscotch Milkshake with whipped cream and a sea salt garnish. This doesn’t come from any site in particular, however, you can create an easy butterscotch  milkshake by making a butterscotch syrup, adding it to milk, sugar, a dash of sea salt and vanilla, then topping it with whipped cream and sea salt to taste. Not too much–you want the sea salt to be a light topping to shave off some sweetness.

Since butterscotch is a warm flavor that pairs well with other fall flavors (cinnamon, clove, vanilla, dark rum, apples and waffles) you can use any flavor combo (including a maple bacon flavor)  to taper off the sweetness of butterscotch tones.

What are your thoughts? Do you prefer butterscotch over caramel? Do you know of any dish that features these flavors I should discuss? Don’t forget to rate, comment and subscribe.