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Lemon-Lime Basil Shortbread Cookies

Got plenty of extra citrus hanging around your kitchen,along with an abundance of fresh grown basil? Well combine lemon, limes and a hint of basil for a delicious cookie that taste like you bought them from a gourmet bakery! 

Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit Summer 2012


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Ingredients:

1 cup of all-purpose flour
1/2 cup of powdered sugar plus more for pressing cookies
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes.
2 Tbsp of sliced fresh basil leaves
1 tsp of finely grated lemon zest
1 Tbsp of freshlemon juice
1/2 tsp of finely grated lime zest
1/4 tsp kosher salt
Sanding Sugar (optional)

Directions:

Pre heat oven to 375 degrees. Place flour, 1/2 cup of powdered sugar, butter, basil, both zest, lemon juice, and salt in a food processor. Pulse until large, moist clumps form. Measure level tablespoonfuls of dough; roll between your palms to form balls. Place on a large baking sheet spacing 2 inch rounds, dusting cup with powdered sugar and press cookies into 2 inch rounds, dusting cup bottom with powdered sugar as needed to prevent sticking. Sprinkle tops of cookies with standing sugar, if using.

Bake until edges are brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire wake; let cool.

 

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Mediterranean Tapenade

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With summer in full swing you maybe pondering what to serve on a nice and warm summer night or when having friends over for wine tasting, well I’ve got an appetizer for you that has a Mediterranean feel that is quick to make and is also super delicious and very inexpensive to make.

This is probably one of the easiest appetizers one can learn how to make. You can also make this a day or two in advance, using a couple of amazing ingredients that pack great flavors, and is better than a jar of processed dip. Now if you are not a fan of Kalamata olives you can use regular black pitted olives, but you won’t have that same mediterranean taste

 

Ingredients:

16 oz  Kalamata olives 
16 oz pitted green olives
2 red bell peppers, roasted and peeled
1 bulb garlic roasted, and garlic removed
1 Tbsp capers
2 tsp crushed red peppers flakes
2-4 Tbsp of classic or extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste

Directions:

Wash red bell peppers and place on sheet tray, slice whole bulb of garlic in half and place on same sheet tray and roast.

Click here for guide to roasting peppers

Drain olives well and add to food processor or high-speed blender.

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Add capers and red pepper flakes.

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Once red peppers and garlic have roasted and cooled, peel peppers and add to food processor, along with garlic.

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Pulse five times, then remove lid and using a rubber spatula scrap down the sides and pulse another five times, and scrape sides.

Turn processor on and pour slowly about two tablespoons of the olive oil into the top opening. Stop and check for desired consistency, if you like your tapenade thick and chunky than salt to taste, if you want a smoother texture add more olive oil repeating last steps.
Again salt to taste, as the olives and capers contain fairly large amounts of sodium.

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Remove and serve with warm pita chips, a nice crusty baguette, or water crackers.

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A Blueberry Cheesecake, That’s Skinny Too…

Found this gem on Pinterest. Now you can indulge in a blueberry cheesecake and not feel a bit guilty. This “skinny blueberry” delight is only 5.9 grams of fat, while keeping its flavor, sweetness and richness.
Very easy to make, no pots or pans, it’ll set in your icebox!
Recipe courtesy of “Self Magazine”

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups finely ground reduced-fat graham cracker crumbs

4 teaspoons light (reduced-fat) butter, melted
2 cups fresh blueberries (or frozen and thawed)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons powdered unflavored gelatin
8 oz reduced-fat cream cheese
8 oz fat-free cream cheese
14 oz fat-free sweetened condensed milk
Several fresh mint leaves

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a 9″ springform pan or glass pie pan with melted butter or light olive oil

 

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Using a food processor or by hand break up graham crackers till a fine texture. 

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Combine crumbs and butter in a bowl and then press into pan. Bake 10 minutes.

 

 

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Puree 1 1/2 cups blueberries and mix with lemon juice in a microwave bowl.

Sprinkle gelatin on top and let stand 10 minutes.

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Microwave on medium 10 seconds to dissolve gelatin, then beat with an electric mixer or food processor at medium speed. Beat in cream cheeses and condensed milk.

 

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Pour mixture over baked crust and refrigerate until set.

Garnish with mint and remaining blueberries.

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THE SKINNY
313 calories per serving, 5.9 g fat (3.5 g saturated), 52.3 g carbs, 1.8 g fiber, 11.4 g protein

Related articles

Blueberry Cheesecake Recipe (lifefoodhappiness.com)

Blueberry cheesecake (foodetcblog.wordpress.com)

National Blueberry Cheesecake Day (ireport.cnn.com)

Blueberry Cheesecake Ice Cream (utterlyruins.wordpress.com)

It’s National Blueberry Cheesecake Day! (ireport.cnn.com)

 

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Heavenly Chocolate Angel Food Cake With Fresh Berries and Cream

There’s a reason angel food cake is a favorite dessert among many — it’s tender, light as air, and tastes, well, heavenly.

The Divine Angel food cake is known for being a delicious, light and fluffy cake, made with almost no fat or cholesterol.

Angel food cake is made with just six ingredients, and none of those six are butter, oil or egg yolks. which makes it low in cholesterol and fat-free. Now lets put a spin on this classic dessert, by adding just a little unsweetened cocoa powder and you really can satisfy your chocolate craving with no extra calories, grams of fat or guilt. 

This recipe calls for cake flour now before you go pick up a rather small box for around five bucks, I’ll tell you how to make your own and its as easy as 1-2-3

To make cake flour:

Simply take 1 cup all-purpose flour leveled, then remove 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour and replace with 2 tablespoons corn starch. Sift both flour and corn starch through a sieve five to six times to make sure the two are well blended together. And that’s it!

INGREDIENTS

For the traditional Angel food cake.
1 cup cake flour (spooned and leveled)
1/4 teaspoon salt
12 large egg whites, room temperature
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Berries and Cream, for serving

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To satisfy your chocolate craving add the following steps the recipe above.
Take out 1/4 cup of cake flour and replace with 1/4 unsweetened cocoa powder, and put cake flour and cocoa powder through a sieve several times till it’s all blended together. Also reduce the vanilla extract from 2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon.

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DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl sift flour and salt in a sieve set and set aside. With a hand mixer, beat egg whites on medium-high until the whites get foamy, about 1 minute.

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Next Add cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. While mixing gradually add sugar and beat until stiff peaks form, about 2 minutes.

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Add in vanilla and beat to combine.

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Transfer egg-white mixture gently into a large bowl. In batches, using the sieve again, sift flour mixture over egg-white mixture.

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Use a rubber spatula and while turning the bowl fold in the mixture. Do not stir quickly, use a whisk or hand mixer.

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Carefully spoon batter into an ungreased angel food cake pan with a removable bottom.

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Using a spatula smooth the top of the batter, then using a knife or small spatula push through the batter to release any air bubbles.

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Bake until cake is golden and springs back when lightly pressed, 35 to 40 minutes. Invert pan; let cool in pan, 1 hour. 

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Use knife to release cake from bottom of pan, and remove.

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Top with fresh berries and cream and enjoy!!!

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Out Of The Darkness Walks

This Saturday a friend of mine is participating in an overnight walk across Boston for The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. So many have lost family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and even children. One of the first things you normally hear after learning one passed away from suicide is “why did they do it” or “if I had known, I would have tried to help”, “why didn’t they ask for help”. Well the stigma attached to mental illness and depression is in my opinion part of what keeps those in need away from getting proper help. That and we need more suicide prevention programs, support groups and affordable mental health coverage for everyone.

What we should never do is stop “talking about this”, because the more we talk about suicide prevention, the more people can be reached and a life saved.

I don’t always use my blog to post for a cause in need, but because this one hit so close to home for me I want to do this. So if anyone can show their support with a donation, please click on the link below.

Thank you and Thank you Joshua
Clarissa~

 

Out Of The Darkness

 

Drunken Melon’s

Drunken Melon’s

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Summer is the season for many outdoor activities, from hiking, camping, boating at the river, or getting your tan on at the beach. It is also the season for smoked meats, pitchers of fresh squeezed lemonade, berries, and lots of watermelon to keep cool and refreshed. As the summer season starts to wind down some of these cool refreshing treats become a tad boring, or perhaps your tired of making yet another watermelon basket.

 

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Watermelon is the go-to fruit of the beat the heat-wave gods. So as summer is in full swing and temperatures rise higher, the only thing I crave in this world is cold booze and watermelons, and boy do they go together.

 

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If you like booze and watermelons, here is a simple proof recipe to combine the cool, refreshing, healthy fruit, that’s been saturated with booze.
Use a variety of watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe. Use a little alcohol or a lot, use Midori, Tequila, Rum, or Vodka. With using melons the sky is the limit on how creative you want to get, just have fun, beat the heat and of course always remember to….

Please Drink Responsibly

 

Ingredients:

2 cups honeydew balls
3 cups watermelon balls
3 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup light rum or use a lot
1 Tbsp lemon zest
Juice of one lemon juice
1 Tbsp lime zest
Juice of half a lime

 

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Directions:

Make sure to clean the outside of your melons before you cut into them.

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Using a melon baller scoop out and place in a large bowl, one you plan to serve in. you can also make a serving bowl out of the melon you are using.

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Dissolve the sugar in the rum and add the lemon and lime juice.
Pour the liquid mixture over the melon balls and toss lightly to coat.
Sprinkle with lemon and lime zest.

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Place in the refrigerator or freezer for one hour before serving. I kept mine in the freezer and the melon balls held all the delicious alcohol.
Toss again slightly before serving.

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Its A Double Feature Starring “Chocolate” ….

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Chocolate Mousse, Its one of the easiest and most satisfying deserts around. What’s your favourite chocolate mousse recipe, and how do you like to serve it? I like to serve mine in a pie crust. What’s not to like about a rich  chocolate mousse topped with a semi sweet whipped topping, or a topping with a hint of mint that just cuts through the rich chocolate velvety mousse 

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A mousse (French for chocolate foam) is a prepared food that incorporates air bubbles to give it a light and airy texture. It can range from light and fluffy to creamy and thick, depending on preparation techniques. A mousse can be sweet or savory. Dessert mousse are typically made with whipped egg whites or whipped cream, and generally flavored with chocolate or puréed fruit.

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The two versions I have here are both adapted from Hershey’s

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Chocolate Mousse Pie
Ingredients;

1 envelope unflavored gelatin
2 tablespoons cold water
1/4 cup boiling water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa
2 cups (1 pt.)cold whipping cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 package packaged graham cracker crumb crust (6 or 9 oz.)
Refrigerated whipped light cream in pressurized can or frozen whipped topping, thawed

Directions;

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Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in small bowl; let stand 2 minutes to soften. Add boiling water; stir until gelatin is completely dissolved and mixture is clear. Cool slightly.

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Mix sugar and cocoa in large bowl; add whipping cream and vanilla.

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Beat on medium speed, scraping bottom of bowl often, until mixture is stiff.

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Pour in gelatin mixture; beat until well blended.

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Spoon into crust.

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Refrigerate about 3 hours. Garnish with whipped cream and chocolates.

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Store covered in refrigerator. 6 to 8 servings.

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Chocolate Mint Mousse Pie

 

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Ingredients;

1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 tablespoon cold water
2 tablespoons boiling water
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup HERSHEY’S SPECIAL DARK Cocoa
2 Tbsp Hersey’s cocoa powder
1 cup (1/2 pt.)cold whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 baked 8-inch or 9-inch pie crust, cooled

Mint Cream Topping recipe below 

Directions:

Sprinkle gelatin over cold water in small cup; let stand 2 minutes to soften. Add boiling water; stir until gelatin is completely dissolved and mixture is clear. Cool slightly, about 5 minutes.

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Stir together sugar and cocoa in a medium bowl;

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add whipping cream and vanilla. Beat on medium speed of mixer until stiff, scraping bottom of bowl occasionally.

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Add gelatin mixture; beat just until well blended.

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Pour into prepared pie crust.

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Mint cream topping; spread over filling. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.

Mint Cream Topping

 

1 cup cold whipping cream
2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
several drops green food color

Beat in a medium bowl until stiff. About 2 cups topping.

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UFC 188: Velasquez vs. Werdum

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Tonight is UFC 188 with the main card title match for the heavyweight championship

between the returning champ and my guy Cain Velasquez and the reining interim champion Fabricio Werdum.

The first time I saw Cain fight was for the heavyweight title against Brock (lol) Lesner and after the beat down Lesner took from Velasquez I was hooked on this man, and is he a force to be reckoned with. Standing 6’0 tall he maintained and held 6’4 Junior dos Santos against the fence for five rounds landing blow after blow, and a few elbows in their second match. Cain also has the best cardio in the UFC, no one can match it. Cain’s insane cardio has been a plus in being able to go five rounds and not get “gassed” while maintaining his title defenses.  

Is Cain Velasquez superhuman? Seriously after five rounds you would think a fighter got to be tired and breathing heavy, but he isn’t. 

Cain may look a little pudgy but he is incredibly strong and I envision him putting Werdum up against the fence and working his dirty boxing, then dropping Werdum for a takedown, to land some massive ground-and-pound, and use his elbows to the face. Anyone remember what Cain did to Bigfoot Silva in 2012?

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Now Werdum’s I’ll admit I have only see one of his fights, so I can’t comment objectively, though I’ve read that Werdum has rapidly improved on his stand-up and could pose Cain some major problems.  Sports analyst say Werdum lacks a true KO punch and I just don’t think he can corral Cain into any dangerous Muay Thai positions.

My prediction Velasquez TKO/KO 1st Round!

We shall see soon…

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Mario’s Mexican Food-Huntington Beach

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Located in the Five star plaza 18603 Main St Huntington Beach, CA 92648

I’ve meant to write this review sooner since I last ate at Mario’s back in March, and I’m saddened to learn the Founder and owner Mario Valenzuela passed away on April 6, 2015.

In 1969 Mario established his first restaurant with his wife Consuelo and his four kids, and soon after went on to open six more locations in Orange County over the years with only two remaining today, The 5-Points Plaza at Main St, and Springdale site (Springdale is no longer owned by the Valenzuela family).

Salsa is made daily in five gallon buckets, they go through a lot of salsa each day.

Salsa made daily in five gallon buckets, they go through a lot of salsa each day.

Mario’s is one of my favorite places to dine at, the ambiance is always mellow, laid back and service top-notch, I’ve never left Mario’s hungry or dissatisfied. Experts will say a good restaurant will need updates both the decor and menu to keep up within the community, and that may be true in some instances but not in Mario’s case.

Seafood cocktail served in a goblet, chunks of avocado... YUM

Seafood cocktail served in a goblet, chunks of avocado… YUM

In over the fifteen years I’ve been a patron at Mario’s the food is always on point and delicious. The salsa I have tried to replicate for years to no avail and I consider myself very good at replicating a dish by taste. The Salsa its killer, not too hot and not too mild the perfect balance.

Mario's Signature Margarita. Two of these is my limit...lol

Mario’s Signature Margarita. Two of these is my limit…lol

Margarita lover? If so try Mario’s Signature Margarita, it’s really good and a pitcher is $12 more than enough for 2-4 people or two if you want to get hammered.. The shrimp cocktail served in a goblet cause they give you so much, same goes with the fajita platters and it won’t bust your wallet!

 

Everything is made to order and not sitting under a heat lamp.

Everything is made to order and not sitting under a heat lamp.

My favorite  ala cart items are the Seafood Cocktail and Beef Flautas

My favorite ala cart items are the Seafood Cocktail and Beef Flautas

So check out Mario’s Mexican Food the next time your near Huntington Beach, you wont be disappointed! 

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Cool Refreshing Mango Orange Sorbet

Craving something cool and refreshing on a hot afternoon?
Well how does a mango-orange sorbet sound, made from fresh-cut mangoes and oranges.

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Ingredients:

6-7 large ripe mangos
2 large oranges, segmented, including the zest of one orange.
1-2 cups simple syrup

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Directions:

Ice cream maker
Food processor

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Using a food processor place all ingredients, and pulse 3-5 times

Simple Syrup, is equal parts water and sugar combined and heated till all sugar is dissolved.

Simple Syrup, is equal parts water and sugar combined and heated till all sugar is dissolved.

Pour in 1/2 cup simple syrup continue to pulse 3 times, then add another 1/2 cup simple syrup. Continue to add syrup till smooth or desired texture. Pour into ice cream maker set to desired settings.

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In a few hours you’ll have a freshly made fruit sorbet! Fruit Juices can be used in place of simple syrup.

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Don’t forget to enjoy! 

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