Jul 31, 2007

product review: Pie Oh My's

They are good. In a pinch, if you don't have the time to make a pie, you can pop open a Pie Oh My.

Though nothing is as good as homemade, these pies---we tried both Apple and Wild Berry---were far closer to grandma's pie than those nasty, sugary, all processed no fruit and very scary pies we found in lunch boxes when we were kids.

Do you remember them? The lemon pie or berry pie and all that was inside was a scary, thick berry colored syrup mess (or yellow ooze?) with a sugar glazed crust that made your teeth hurt? I think those original, over-processed pies received some award for epitome of nothing redeeming, overly processed, bad-for-you food.

But not the Pie Oh My's. Perhaps there is hope? Where care is taken to provide snacks---sweets even---with good health and good taste in mind?

Pie Oh My's are Nature Path products; the individual pies are frozen, made with organic whole grain flour and are microwavable. The crust was a pie crust flavor, light but closer to chewy than flaky. The fruit is real.
I probably won't buy Pie Oh My's too often, because there are so many choices for food items and I like to keep it varied. But my eldest son will certainly smile when he finds these pies in his brown bag.

Pie Oh My Apple & Pie Oh My WildBerry**: Easily bagable.

This product was discovered by---and the review coordinated with---my friend Alisa from GoDairyFree.

*Rated on a Bagable Scale: Not---Possibly---Probably---Easily---Absolutely

Jul 23, 2007

life is a muffin full of cherry.

I am always on the lookout for special treats to put in the boys' lunch. A twist, something new, and in this case a muffin with a surprise inside.

When I saw these little gems in Martha Stewart's July magazine, I knew I had to give them a try. Any kids would think how cool, when they saw a cherry---stem included---baked right into the middle of a mini muffin.

In fact, I baked this lunch-worthy muffin at a recent brunch that I made for extended family. I loosened these little 'cherry envelopes' and then served them right in their muffin tin. Everyone was delighted; the cherry gave a surprising and sweet burst in the middle of an almond-meal muffin.

Cherry Almond Mini Muffins
Makes 24.

1 1/4 sticks butter
1 cup flour

1 1/4 cup finely ground almonds

1 cup sugar

1 tsp coarse salt

5 large egg whites
4 tsp cherry brandy
24 stemmed cherries

Preheat oven to 400. Butter and flour muffin tin. Melt 1 1 /4 sticks (10 T) butter in skillet over medium high; when sputtering, lower heat, swirling, until butter just begins to brown. Off heat; skim off foam. Mix flour, almonds, sugar and salt in bowl. Whisk in egg whites. Add brandy and butter (pour in all but the brown residue) and blend. Put 1 T batter in each muffin cup, press cherry into each and top with enough batter to cover. Back 12-15 minutes. Let cool slightly; loosen in molds and serve.

Jul 15, 2007

Yummy Granola from my kitchen.

I always had thoughts of making granola, but the recipes I found seemed too complicated. Then my mother-in-law put a recipe in front of me that was easy to make. So I tried it: and loved it. The flavor is spot-on and the recipe simple and unassuming. It is a granola my children would be willing to try, in part because it is not overdone or filled with too many unknowns.

4 cups oats 1
1/2 cups sliced almonds

1/2 cup brown sugar

pinch salt

pinch cinnamon

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup oil

2 tsp vanilla

optional: raisins, dried cranberries/cherries/blueberries/apple

Oven to 300 degrees. In large bowl mix first five ingredients. In a small bowl, blend honey, oil and vanilla. Pour over dry ingredients and stir to blend. Spread in big pan and place in oven for 40 minutes. Stir occasionally. Keeps for a week sealed at room temp, or frozen up to 3 months.

Jul 4, 2007

kids like festive drinks too.

When I host a dinner party, I love making cocktails for my guests. But adults aren't my only guests; I like to serve special drinks to kids too! It makes them feel included and important. And I love sending them that message!

To celebrate the fourth of July, I decided to concoct festive beverages for both the adults and children. The adults will be served BLUE citrus drops, a twist on the famed lemon drop cocktail.

For the kids, an equally eye-appealing drink: Raspberry Italian Sodas.
I usually make my own simple syrup, but this time broke down and bought a bottle of raspberry simple syrup. With half and half or whip cream on top, and maybe some blueberries or a blue straw, you can deliver a flag in a glass! Who wouldn't feel patriotic drinking the American Flag on Independence Day?

Raspberry (or Strawberry) Italian Soda

Raspberry simple syrup
Club Soda

Half & Half

Optional: whip cream

Fill pint glass with ice. Pour syrup and fill glass 1/3 full. Pour remaining 2/3 with soda, leaving enough room for some cream. Top with half and half and/or whipping cream.

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