Tag Archives: Milk

Strawberry Shortcakes

Want to know how we celebrate the arrival of Spring?

Ta Daaaaa!

This is how we welcomed the beautiful season of rebirth and renewal. The season that’s going to take away the winter blues and lead us on that path toward the long awaited sunshine of gorgeous summer days.

I am so excited to know that spring has finally arrived. Even if the weather outside is barely 40 degrees… I don’t care. It will get better. Soon.

The strawberries I picked up from the Farmers Market had to be used up somehow before they went bad, and the vote was between a strawberry trifle or a strawberry shortcake.

As you can see, the shortcakes won. The trifle can wait.

Besides, the strawberry trifle does not translate well on photos. I tried it once before and it was a disaster.

These shortcakes are pretty to look at and even better to eat. I wanted to keep this recipe simple and traditional thus, for the cakes, I made biscuits with a bit of flour, some neufchatel cheese and orange zest. Beautiful.

The strawberries sat in their juices with some sugar for about an hour, and the whipped cream came out perfect. I chilled it for about 30 minutes before I whipped it with my mixer. That’s the secret – chill it before you whip it.

Strawberry Shortcakes

You will need:

For the Biscuits:

  • 1 cup AP flour
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
  • 4 ounces (1/2 of a 8 oz. package) neufchatel cheese, cut in cubes
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon milk for brushing the tops

For the Strawberries:

  • 1 1/2 lbs. of fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1/3 cup sugar

For the Whipped Cream:

  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon sugar


For the Biscuits:

  • Preheat oven to 425.
  • Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, and orange zest in a large bowl.
  • Pour in the neufchatel cheese and mash it with a fork until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

  • Stir in 1/3 cup of milk and form a dough.
  • Flour hands and divide the dough into 8 balls.
  • Place the dough balls 3 inches apart on a greased baking sheet or silpat.

  • With a glass flatten the dough balls to 1/2 inch thickness and brush the tops with milk and sprinkle a bit of sugar on top.
  • Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.

  • Take out the biscuits and allow them to cool down to room temperature.
  • In the meantime prepare the strawberries.

For the Strawberries:

  • Once you have cleaned and sliced them, take 1/3 of the strawberries and mash them with a potato masher.

  • Add in the rest of the strawberries and pour in the sugar.
  • Set aside for at least 20 minutes.

For the Whipped Cream:

  • Meanwhile prepare the whipped cream by combining together the whipping cream, vanilla, and sugar.
  • Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • When chilled, beat the mixture until stiff peaks form.

For the Shortcakes:

  • Assemble the shortcakes by cutting the biscuits in half.
  • Place a tablespoon of the strawberry mixture on the bottom half of the biscuit and top with whipped cream.
  • Cover with the top half of the biscuit, and top it with whipped cream and a few more strawberries.
  • Serve immediately or put the cakes in the refrigerator until ready to use.



Filed under Home, Sweets. Now. Please.

Pistachio Vanilla Wafer Pudding – Slainte!


Dear early 20’s,


When I think of St. Pat’s I think of my college days, not too far behind, but behind enough to make me feel a bit of nostalgia. Ahhh – I really miss those days of bar hopping! We would spend the entire week leading up to St. Patrick’s Day just hopping from one bar to the next. I behaved, I promise… ūüėČ

Now, since we’re no longer in college, and because we must act like responsible adults in front of our children, I am not going to present to you the best St. Pat’s drink I ever had… no, I am not going to do that… Ana is celebrating with us.

Instead,¬† I made a St. Patty’s green pudding that people of all ages can enjoy! Yippee! (sigh) ūüėČ

Pistachio Vanilla Wafer Pudding

  • Thanks to J.E.L.L.O., I used Pistachio flavored Instant Pudding.

You will need:

  • 2 cups cold milk
  • 1 package (3.4 oz.) Pistachio flavored Instant Pudding
  • 1/2 tub (6oz.) whipped topping, thawed
  • 8 vanilla wafer cookies, crushed
  • shavings of dark chocolate for garnish
  • chopped pistachios for garnish


  • Pour milk into large bowl.
  • Add pudding mix and beat with wire whisk for 2 minutes.
  • Let stand 5 minutes.
  • Gently stir in whipped topping; combine.
  • Put half of the crushed cookies on the bottom of a medium-sized serving bowl, or two large glasses, then pour in the pudding mixture.
  • Garnish with the rest of the crushed cookies, chopped pistachios and shavings of dark chocolate.
  • Refrigerate until ready to serve.



Filed under Home, Sweets. Now. Please.

Becoming American: Muffins

I remember sitting up late at night thinking about how I was never going to fit in this society. That is, the red, white and blue society of the United States of America. I constantly thought about how I could become more American. I was 11 years old when we came to the States and at that age it’s kind of rough: you have to make friends, but you can’t speak their language, you go to the bus stop and you have no clue what a “quarter” or a “dime” is. Or, you sit down in the school cafeteria with your piece of bread that has a red pepper spread on it, while everyone else has this buttery light brown spread with some yummy jelly on top. (That was a tough day – they were all looking at me and saying “ewwww!” – all because of my Ajvar sandwich).

I started watching and observing – I wanted to see what it took to become an American, or at least Americanized. I noticed that most of the girls were shorter than me, so I started to pray night and day that I wouldn’t grow taller. I also noticed that they were mostly blond, so I decided that I also was going to be blond – eeeek not so fast! – said Mama. (I had to wait till I turned 18 to dye my hair … my parents were pretty strict.) Then my lunchbox started looking more like theirs; bologna and cheese sandwiches, hot dogs, PB and jelly sandwiches, brownies, and chocolate chip cookies.

One day a girl named Sarah opened up her lunch box and took out a roundish-cake-looking thing that had blueberries sticking out of it. At the beginning I had a deep foreign accent (which got better with the years – now I don’t even have an accent) and because of that accent I was too afraid to talk. But, I somehow gathered up enough courage that day to ask Sarah what that was that she was eating. With a huge surprised and disgusted look on her face, she said, “What the hell do you think it is, you stupid foreigner!” Oh I was crushed… As proud as I was/am of my heritage, at that point I just wished that I could be like the rest. The girl on the other side of her came to my rescue – she said something to Sarah (I wish I understood exactly what)¬† that made Sarah turn around and apologize. And she told me that her yummy treat was called a Muffin. From that day on I started to make muffins…lots of them! Savory, sweet, cheesy, meaty – you name it, I’ve tried it in a muffin. It was the roundish-cake-looking thing that was going to make me American. Gotta love a child’s mind. ūüôā

I wish that I could go back and tell that little “foreigner” girl that everything was going to be more than alright: That she was going to be accepted for who she was and not to force herself to become somebody else.

What do you want to tell that little girl or boy that you once were?

Cherry, Date & Nut Muffins

You will need:

  • 2 cups of white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons Splenda Sweetener, Granulated
  • 1 1/2 cups of 1% Milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 cup dates, chopped
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and chopped, or 1 (12-ounce) package frozen cherries, defrosted and chopped

When chopping the cherries, put wax paper on top of your cutting board because if you don’t, the board will end up looking as if you were in a war with your knife.


  • Preheat oven to 425.
  • In a deep mixing bowl, mix milk, egg, and oil.
  • In a separate bowl add in the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients all at once. Stir until dry ingredients are moist but not smooth.
  • Mix in the dates and walnuts.
  • Fold in the cherries.

  • Fill greased muffin pan 2/3 full.
  • Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes.
  • Let the muffins cool for 5 minutes, then remove them from the muffin pan and finish cooling on a baking rack.

Makes 12 muffins.


Filed under Home, Sweets. Now. Please.

Healthy Dessert: Rice Pudding

I, once again, woke up with a sweet tooth. Never ending story. BUT, I need to get back to diethood because bits of that wonderful Christmas Feast can be found on my hips, cheeks, and flabs – ahem – abs. That food was so good, though – worth all those extra calories, carbs, fats…!

Today I decided that I was going to please my sweet tooth with a healthy version of Rice Pudding. I love Rice Pudding! I grew up on this stuff. It was a weekend treat and my mom would make tons of it because my sister hated milk, but she loved the dessert and this was my mom’s way of satisfying the needed amount of calcium in my little sister’s diet.

There are many variations for this dessert, but I think I have found one of the simpler recipes out there. A while ago I was looking at Splenda.com recipes page – I went through all of them and this one just popped out at me. With a couple of tweaks, I now have one of the better, healthier rice pudding recipes out there! Yeah, I’m sure yours is just as good, but I like mine (or theirs), too. ūüôā

You will need:

  • 3 cups Soy Milk, unflavored, or you can use Skim Milk
  • 1/2 cup Splenda No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup uncooked long grain rice, white or brown
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins, or any other dried fruit
  • 2 tablespoons Bacardi Rum
  • nutmeg
  • your choice of chopped or ground nuts (optional)


  • Pour milk, splenda, cinnamon, and vanilla into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.

  • Add rice and salt. Cover and cook over low heat for 30 minutes or until most of the milk is absorbed. Stir occasionally.
  • Remove saucepan from heat.

  • Drizzle rum over the raisins and place them in a small microwaveable bowl. Warm in a microwave briefly, about 1 minute, to plump the raisins.

  • Add the raisins to the rice pudding.
  • Spoon into dessert dishes and sprinkle with nutmeg and nuts. I use ground walnuts.
  • Serve warm or chilled.


Filed under Home, Sweets. Now. Please.

Vegetarian Moussaka with Portabella Mushrooms

Vegetarian Moussaka


Moussaka¬†is a dish that is very popular in the Balkan region of Europe, and the Near East, but every country has a different way of preparing it. And, every one of those countries will claim that moussaka¬†is their national dish. Where I come from, Macedonia, moussaka¬†is filled with a ground beef mixture and it is layered with potatoes.¬†Looking to make a healthier version of it, I opted for a mixture that includes portabella mushrooms, tomatoes, and carrots. It is absolutely delicious… heavenly¬†when you pair it with a glass of Pinot Noir.¬†¬†¬†

Preheat¬†oven at 375 degrees fahrenheit.ÔĽŅ

You will need:

  • 5 medium-sized russet potatoes
  • 2¬†(8 oz.)¬†packages of portabella mushrooms, diced
  • 1 large carrot, cleaned and sliced crosswise
  • 2 medium-sized onions, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 3-4¬†fresh tomatoes, diced, or you can use 1 (15 oz.) can of diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1/2 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic salt
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp. EVOO
  • 1 cup unflavored¬†Soy Milk
  • Egg substitute equivalent to 3 eggs – I use¬†Ener-G substitute¬†=¬†4 1/2 teaspoons of¬†Ener-G¬†egg replacer plus 6 tbsp. of water.


  • Boil and peel the potatoes – cut into 1/4 inch slices.
  • In a non-stick pan throw in the mushrooms, carrots, garlic, onions, tomatoes, cover with EVOO and stir. Set the pan over medium-low heat for 5 minutes.
  • In the meantime, in a deep baking dish, arrange the potato slices one next to another and cover the bottom. Bring over the mushroom filling and throw it over the potatoes, evenly. Cover with another layer of potato slices.
  • In a medium bowl,¬†whisk together the soy milk and the egg substitute. Pour it over the potatoes.
  • Put the baking dish in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour. Allow it to cool for about 10 to 15¬†minutes before serving.

Vegetarian Moussaka With Portabella on FoodistaVegetarian Moussaka With Portabella


Filed under Dinner A la Diethood, Macedonian Cuisine