Thursday, July 29, 2010

Brownie Berry Trifle

This is one of my favorite desserts to bring to parties because it looks super impressive even though it is very easy!  However, I must say that the key to the presentation is a trifle bowl.

  • One box brownie mix, prepared (I am partial to the Hershey or Ghiradelli triple chunk versions so you get big chunks of chocolate surprises in your trifle)
  • Two small boxes of chocolate pudding mix, prepared (You need 8 oz total, so the larger 6 oz box isn't quite enough.  I have even used the sugar free, fat free mix before and it was still delic!)
  • 8 oz container of cool whip (I use light and you can't tell the difference)
  • Frozen or fresh berries (I love the mixed bag of frozen blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries with a few fresh strawberries mixed in.)

Cut the entire pan of brownies into little bite sized squares and layer in the bottom of your bowl.  Top with pudding, then cool whip, then berries.  Start over with the brownies again and repeat three times.  Voila!  Easy as pie (actually way easier). 

A few notes:
  • If you use frozen berries, they tend to bleed all over the cool whip on top and ruin the presentation.  Rinse the ones for the top layer in a colander first.  They will still bleed, but not nearly as much.  I don't rinse the inside ones because the berry juice soaking into the brownies is what makes it so, so good. :)  
  • Sometimes I do a smaller version of just two layers.  The 6 oz pudding box is perfect for this.  

Thursday, July 22, 2010

South of the Border Pizza

This recipe was contributed by Rachel Nielson.  It was stolen from another food blog Best Recipe of the Week, which was started by a bunch of young moms at my church.  The recipe was originally posted by Stephanie Evans.

I have made this several times and really like it.  Ryan isn't sure about the lack of sauce and meat, but I think it is a yummy, quick, healthy, vegetarian option.  You could always add chicken and some sort of sauce if you are creative.  The crust only takes 10 minutes to rise, and the tomato is the only topping that really needs chopping.  Very easy.

You could serve this as a main dish or a side dish.  

Pizza Toppings: 
(I always improvise how much of each)

1 c. kidney beans, rinsed and drained (I've also used black beans)
1 c. whole kernel corn
1 large tomato, chopped
1/4 c. finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 jalepeno pepper, finely chopped (you can make it without this as well)
1/4 c (4oz) shredded Monterey Jack cheese

1 c. warm water
1 Tbsp white sugar
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
about 2 1/2 c. all purpose flour 

Stir water, sugar, and yeast together until dissolved. Add the olive oil and salt. Stir in the flour until well blended. Let dough rise for 10 min. Pat dough into pan using fingers dipped in olive oil. (Or you can use a pizza stone).  Sprinkle with basil, thyme, or other seasonings. Top with toppings and bake for about 15 min. (until cheese is melted and lighly browned) at 425.  You can dip it in ranch if you want to.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


This recipe was contributed by Sarah McKenna.  It is from a Silver Palate Cookbook.
My husband spent two years in Australia on a religious mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  While there, this was his definite favorite Australian delicacy.  Every time that I eat it I am shocked by how rich and delicious it is, especially since it's basically just egg whites and sugar!  Additionally, since it is basically just egg whites, it is not all that bad for you!  We have been doing Weight Watchers together, so we make this treat anytime we have people over now because it is relatively low in points.  A sixth of the pavlova---which is a sizable amount!---WITH the whipped cream is only 7 points on the old WW system (an eighth is 6 points) and on the NEW system a sixth is only 4 points (an eight is 3 points).  If you are someone who is satisfied with Cool Whip instead of real whipped cream (Um, LAME!) then you can drop your points to 3 per slice on the old system and 0 points per slice on the new system.  Um, WOW . . . . maybe I should reconsider my stance on Cool Whip.   

Anyway, I made this last night for a card making club that I was hosting and it got RAVE reviews.  In fact, I got so many requests for the recipe that I decided to just post it on this blog.  You will definitely need an electric hand mixer, and a spring form (cheesecake) pan is best for baking, but a round pan of any sort would probably work.  It is best with this recipe to have everything out on the counter and ready to use so there isn't much down time in the beating process.

And, yes, it is named after the famous ballerina.  On to the recipe . . . .


4 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 cup sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar (I just use white because it's what I keep on hand.)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
2 to 3 cups fresh berries (Strawberries are our favorite!)

1.  Preheat oven to 275 degrees.
2.  Beat egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar together in a bowl until the whites hold a stiff peak.
3.  Add the sugar, a few tablespoons at a time, beating until mixture is stiff and glossy.
4.  Beat in the cornstarch, then the vinegar and vanilla.
5.  Butter and flour (baking PAM!) an 8 inch spring form pan and fill gently with the meringue mixture, spreading it slightly higher around the edges than in the center of the pan to form a depression.  (You barely have to do this at all!)
6.  Bake cake for 1 to 1 1/4 hours, or until meringue is firm and lightly browned.  Pavlova will remain moist inside.  Cool slightly, unmold, slide onto a serving plate, and cool completely.  
5.  Lightly whip cream just before serving and prepare berries.  
6.  Serve with whipped cream and berries on top.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Easy Homemade Bread! For real!

I got this recipe from my sister Rachel.  She is an amazingly lazy cook, so if she says that she made homemade bread and that it was EASY then, well, it may sound too good to be true, but it isn't!  There is no kneading and no traditional rising time!  Impressive.  As you may suspect, iI\n all honesty it's not the most amazing homemade bread that I've ever had, but it is very easy and quick compared to most yeast breads, and it is still way yummier than any grocery store bread!  She makes it with part whole wheat flour and part white for a "light wheat" feel, but you could use fully whole wheat flour or fully white flour to accommodate for your particular taste buds.  I will list it as she makes it.  Enjoy it right out of the oven with some honey butter!  Yum!

Easy Homemade Bread
2 1/2 cups hot water
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 oil
1 Tbsp. salt
about 6 cups of whole wheat or white flour
1 1/2 Tbsp. yeast

1. In a mixing bowl, combine...
             2 1/2 cups hot water
             1/3 cup sugar
             1/3 cup oil
             1 tbsp salt
2. Mix for 30 seconds.  (I do not use a dough hook for this part.)
3. Add 3/4 cup WHITE flour.
4.  Mix for 30 more seconds
5.  Add 1 1/2 tbsp yeast.
6.  Mix for 30 seconds.
7.  Add 5 cups white or wheat flour (or a combination...I usually do 3 cups wheat and 2 cups white.)
8.  With the dough hook, mix until flour is mixed in.
9.  Let dough sit for 20 minutes. 
10. Oil counter and dump dough on oil.
11.  Cut dough in 2 equal pieces.
12.  Take the first portion of dough, and roll it out thin with a rolling pin. (Roll the dough wide enough to fit a bread pan but long and thin).
13.  Roll up dough and pinch along the crease.  Place the crease side down in a greased and floured bread pan. Repeat with second portion of dough.
14.  Place loaves in oven and turn oven onto lowest temp (170). Let bread rise for 25 minutes.
15.  Then turn oven to 325 for 30 minutes WITHOUT OPENING OVEN!
16.  Dump out of pan to cool and enjoy!