Red, White, & Blue Cheesecake Popsicles Without Food Dyes

Today I am featuring an oldie but a goodie, cheesecake popsicles without food dyes! These popsicles are packed full of great taste and fruit but completely free of artificial food dyes. Their festive colors come only from ingredients found in nature! Now, without further adieu, let’s take it back to 2015:

This week, General Mills announced that it will be removing all artificial flavors and colors from its cereals. To me, this is a big step in the right direction by a major food producer, but I am wondering what Trix is going to look like without artificial colors. Whether or not you believe artificial colors are harmful, my belief is that they are largely unnecessary. Why add artificial colors, why not eat food the color that it happens to be? Well, sometimes, like when a certain patriotic holiday is involved, you might want your food to match the occasion.

Remember Bomb Pops? What exactly were those made of? And how is “blue raspberry” a flavor? Are blue raspberries really a thing? They were definitely patriotic, but I never enjoyed the taste. In fact, I never really enjoyed popsicles of any kind. Why have frozen water/juice when I could have ice cream instead? Enter these patriotic “popsicles.” Read more

Strawberry Shortcake with Pie Crust

Well, it’s official. It is summer here in Michigan. Even though I know it’s not officially summer until June 21, when I can find strawberries ripe enough to make strawberry shortcake, then it’s close enough to call it. Being in Michigan has its upsides and downsides. Downside-we are about 2-3 weeks behind in the fresh produce department. Upside-we have SO MANY options when it comes to fresh produce. Especially in the berry and cherry department. There are lots of berries, along with different types of cherries, that grow well in the not too hot Northern climates. As soon as those incredible, tiny (when compared with grocery store types), and super sweet strawberries appeared in my CSA basket, I couldn’t wait to make this classic pie crust strawberry shortcake.

Something else that is official? I think I am officially a Northerner. I have lived in Michigan for close to five years now. I own a home. I married a native Michigander. BUT, until now it hasn’t been official. Until now, I have never, not once, felt like it was TOO HOT. Northerners, or at least Michiganders, are babies when it comes to the heat. Taste Tester complains about the heat ALL THE TIME. To which I would say something along the lines of, “you don’t even know what hot is.” (sidenote:Have I become my father?). BUT, this year, whew, it’s been hot. And I have felt that, perhaps, it was indeed TOO hot. And it wasn’t really that hot when I said it was too hot. Which means, I am officially a baby about the HEAT. And it’s only June. But it has been a particularly dry and hot summer thus far. The upside of my northerner-ness is that I am now pretty tough when it comes to the cold. Just ask anyone who has been to my house in winter. So, upsides and downsides. Read more

Peeps Ice Cream

I know I have mentioned this on the blog before, but I will say it again. I was a strange kid. Or at least, I had strange taste buds. For a kid. Looking back, I like to think my non-kid friendly eating habits were a reflection of a more sophisticated palate. I loved chocolate, but as far as things kids are “supposed” to like, that was about it. I didn’t like ketchup, mayonnaise, most sugary cereals, pretty much any candy that wasn’t chocolate, cotton candy, un-cooked marshmallows, cold pizza, McDonald’s cheeseburgers (#chickennuggest4life) or Peeps. I did not like Peeps. Unfortunately for my waistline, as an adult I developed a taste for most of these things. I still am not overly fond of any mayonnaise based salad (should it really be called a salad if it contains mayonnaise?), but I will eat mayonnaise on a sandwich, if it comes that way. I would never seek out most ketchups, but Trader Joe’s ketchup is a different food all together. It is delicious and I could eat in on basically anything. And I’m not really sure what I was thinking on the cereal front because kid cereals are incredible! Although I would never in a million years let a kid actually eat that for breakfast-said the person who has no human children. (Remind me I said that in 5-10 years!). Read more

Shepherd’s Hand Pies

In honor of the holiday yesterday, I wanted to drop in today with a quick little celebration post. What, you didn’t know yesterday was a holiday? Your work and school didn’t close in honor of National Pi Day? That’s Pi, not Pie, as in 3.14 or March 14. So maybe it’s not the most famous holiday, but any holiday observed with the eating of pie is worthy of celebration to me. So, if you forgot to celebrate yesterday, let’s roll out our crusts and make up for it this weekend.

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Green Muffins with Banana and Kiwi

Lately, I have been on a bit of a smoothie kick. I would say the Taste Tester and I have been on this smoothie kick, except that the Taste Tester has been less than enthusiastic and supportive about this recent habit. I love the idea of starting our day with a whole bunch of fruits and veggies. TT, on the other hand, loves the idea of starting his day with nothing but coffee and maybe a granola bar mid-morning. And, I will admit, some of my smoothies have been less than delicious. Without going into too many gory details, let’s just say that sweet potato in a smoothie doesn’t exactly work. We have always been protein shake drinkers, but I was recently given a NutiBullet Rx, which has greatly broadened the realm of fruits and veggies that I can blend into a smoothie. This thing will blend anything. I have been using it for several weeks now and it consistently produces completely smooth smoothies in 1-2 minutes. (#notsponsored!). The introduction of this new appliance and the cookbook that came with it has lead to the purchase of many items I would not have previously considered purchasing. One such item is the gigantic box of pre-washed spinach.

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Heart Shaped Wontons

Wayyy back in the day when I first started this blog and had nothing but time and next to no obligations to fill it, I was very creative in the kitchen. I had lots of ideas, some of which never made it to the blog because they were disastrous and some of which never made it to the blog because I was either unsatisfied with the photos or lazy or a combination of both. One of such recipes was a wonton recipe, which I have re-created several times but never actually posted. The idea was quite simple. Basically, I got wonton wrappers, filled them with a mixture of habanero jelly and cream cheese, fried them, and blew the Taste Tester’s mind with their deliciousness. It was a super simple, super impressive, and super delicious recipe. And, I have been keeping it from you for YEARS.

Annd that doesn’t change today. Instead, today, I have taken that recipe and turned it into these cherry, Nutella, adorably heart shaped wontons. I will be honest though, once you have mastered this recipe you can change the filling to pretty much anything and it will taste phenomenal. Read more

The Recipe Club

My sister's version

 

Yesterday, I posted about my New Year’s Resolutions. I am happy to report that for the second day in a row, I woke up with no snooze alarm! Lest you think I am a bastion of willpower, let me let you in on a secret. At night, before I go to bed, I set the alarm on my cell phone. Then, I get out of bed and put my phone far out of my arm’s reach. Then, in the morning, I am forced to get out of bed to turn off the alarm. Once I’m out of bed, my dogs are looking at me longingly and my workout clothes are all laid out, so I figure I might as well go ahead and get dressed instead of crawling back into bed and hitting that snooze button.

So far, this technique is working for me. The Taste Tester (TT), however, is not a fan. Jealous of my newfound resolve and willpower and also a big believer in snoozing, he has decided to set his alarm earlier than my alarm, thereby waking me up and giving me the effect of the snooze alarm, even though I am not actually hitting the snooze button. The joke’s on him though, because this gives me the best of both worlds. I still get the gradual wake-up the snooze alarm gives me, but I am also out of bed at just the right time. No over-sleeping and starting the day off rushing. Instead I am up at 6:30, ride my exercise bike, make my coffee, and slowly get ready for the day. Aside from letting my dogs out 3-4 times, chasing one dog up and down a steep hill in our backyard because she won’t come inside, and spending part of the morning outside in frigid temperatures in my bathrobe; it’s pretty much the perfect start to an excellent day. Read more

New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year! Did you make any New Year’s Resolutions? If you did, have you abandoned them yet? Because New Year’s Day is a holiday and my workplace observed the holiday yesterday (Monday), I decided not to start my New Year’s resolutions until today. So far, I am 100% on-track to achieving my resolutions, but it’s only been one day.

According to statistics, most of us (somewhere between 80-92%, studies disagree), will totally fail at our New Year’s resolutions. Why is that? Well, it seems most of us make resolutions that are either impossible to achieve or impossible to gauge success. For example, maybe you resolved to lose weight or live a healthier lifestyle. Well, how exactly can you measure that? Technically, if you lose one pound, you have “lost weight.” But, I imagine most who resolve to lose weight want to lose more than 1 pound. And, what if you lose 5 or even 10 pounds but then gain it all back over the course of the year?

So, today, as we officially get back into our new year routines, let’s take a minute to re-vamp our resolutions and set ourselves up for success, shall we? Read more

Reese’s Peanut Butter Brownie Bites

Second on the list of fastest cookie recipes is a recipe that is not a cookie at all. Or really even a holiday treat per se. At least I don’t associate these with the holidays. I associate these Reese’s Peanut Butter Brownie Bites with every single event which required me/my mom to show up with a dessert. This was definitely my mom’s go-to recipe when I was growing up because it checks all the boxes that moms (and everyone else!) needs: Easy. Fast. Can keep all ingredients on hand. And it has the perfect job for little helpers, whose little fingers are perfect for unwrapping all those Reese’s cups. Read more

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Before starting the fastest cookie project, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies were not really on the radar in the Foodiocentric household. My great grandma used to make oatmeal cookies that my family LOVED, but I think they had raisins and at that point in life, I wasn’t going to go near a cookie with raisins. Some things never change. Tell me, seriously, what is the point of an oatmeal raisin cookie when oatmeal chocolate chip cookies exist? Who are these people who would choose RAISINS over chocolate-and what is wrong with them? The only thing worse than oatmeal raisin cookies is when you think you are picking up an oatmeal chocolate cookie, only to discover that the “chocolate chips” are actually raisins. #firstworldproblems. Read more