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Archive for the tag “Recipes”

Is Seaweed the Next Big Superfood? – Healthy Living on Shine

By now, everyone knows about Superfoods. Here’s a surprise superfood that I never saw coming, but I’m glad is here. Now if only I can think of a way to use it in a cupcake…..

by SHAPE magazine, on Thu Oct 27, 2011

By Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD.

The other day as I walked through Whole Foods, I felt like I was in an aquarium. Everywhere I looked I saw seaweed! Seaweed snacks are the new coconut water, and varieties like wakame are popular in prepared dishes such as chilled seaweed salad.

It seems that sea veggies are a hot new superfood, with reported benefits ranging from heart protection to weight loss. Currently researchers are studying potentially protective compounds in eight species of seaweed from Ireland and Canada that may help reduce blood clots and hardening of the arteries , two major risk factors for heart disease. Another recent report published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry reviewed almost 100 previous studies and concluded that some seaweed proteins work just like blood pressure meds. And in animal research a component in brown seaweed was shown to help rats burn more body fat.

Research aside, sea vegetables , including kelp, nori, hijiki, wakame and others are rich sources of iodine and one of the few sources of this important mineral— just a quarter of a cup packs a whopping 275 percent of the daily value. Too little iodine can trigger hypo or hyperthyroidism, fatigue, weight gain, and depression. And they’re also a good source of magnesium, which can improve sleep and alleviate hot flashes in women going through menopause.

To reap the benefits try out a dried seaweed snack, such as Annie Chun’s. The sesame variety is made from just seaweed, canola oil, sesame oil and salt (so no artificial extras), and 10 sheets contain just 30 calories and 70 mg of sodium. Plus they’re portable, and you can crumble them as a topping for a garden salad or stir fry.

Other fun ways to eat more seaweed include:

Make a wakame, cucumber side dish dressed with brown rice vinegar and fresh grated ginger

Whip up a seaweed pizza ‚brush extra-virgin olive oil or sesame oil on a whole grain flatbread crust and top with garlic, onions, fresh sliced tomato and nori

Start your day with seaweed – add julienned nori, sesame seeds , green onions, shredded carrots and sliced mushrooms to one whole organic egg and two whites or scrambled organic tofu

Make a side of seaweed salad a staple in every sushi order

via Is Seaweed the Next Big Superfood? – Healthy Living on Shine.

Frosting a Cupcake: Pipe or Swirl?

There are a lot of ways to frost a cupcake. I’m putting piping against swirling. Each method creates a unique look that looks great. Whether you’re using a rich buttercream or a silky meringue, try each frosting technique to see which you like best. I’m sure you’ll definitely have a preference within the first 15 minutes. Both piping and swirling take practice to get it right. Don’t get too discouraged. After all, it’s only frosting! If you don’t like the results, simply wipe it off and try again.


Frosting Tips

Using a pastry bag with a wide star or round tip, pipe the icing onto the cupcake in a circular motion, starting from the outside and working your way toward the middle of the cupcake. I like to drizzle on hot fudge on top, use sprinkles, or small fondant flowers to create a finished look. A fun cupcake that uses piped on frosting is this Hi-Hat cupcake.


This is also a good way to frost a lot of cupcakes. Perfecting the swirl on top is the key to making these tasty cakes look professional. This demonstration video from Cupcake Royale makes it look easy but trust me, it takes a little longer than 2 minutes to perfect!

Both Magnolia Bakery in New York and Cupcake Royale in Washington use a flat cupcake spatula (large palette knife) to form their trademark swirl on top of their cupcakes.

Offset frosting spatula

I prefer an offset spatula instead of the flat spatula. It makes frosting easier by providing exceptional control. Offset blade icing spatulas keep your finger away from the frosting, especially when working with large cakes. Dragging your knuckles through the frosting does not count as a “design”.


Piping! (by a mile) This is personally my favorite way to frost a cupcake. I have an 18″ (huge) pastry bag which holds a lot of frosting. Piping seems to be the fastest way for me to frost cupcakes and still achieve a beautiful look. Changing the tips (open star, closed star and round) is also a quick way to change the look of your piped frosting. If I’ve got a lot of cupcakes to frost, piping is my first choice. There are also many more piping techniques than swirling, which will make your cupcake look beautiful and unique.

Vanilla Buttercake Recipe

from Cupcake Royale

For those of you who don’t live near a Cupcake Royale location in Washington, or who prefer baking at home, here’s recipe for the shop’s new vanilla cupcake, scaled down for the home baker, which Cupcake Royale owner Jody Hall kindly shared. (recipe from eatallaboutit.com) A few of the brands listed might be tough for the home baker to find, unless you live in Washington, so go ahead and support your own local economy by substituting what’s available where you live. I’m a big fan of shop local, eat local, whenever possible.

makes 1 dozen

2 3/4 c. Shepherd’s Grain cake flour
2 3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 c. local egg whites
1/2 c. warm water
1/3 c. Medosweet sour cream
5 ounces Medosweet butter
3 tbs expeller-pressed canola oil
1 tsp Gahara vanilla bean paste

Line a cupcake tin with your favorite cupcake wrappers, and set your oven to bake at 350 degrees. Combine dry ingredients in a mixer and mix on low speed. In a separate bowl, combine water and sour cream. Add vanilla paste and egg whites to this mixture and stir until combined. Add the butter, oil, and 1/4 of liquid mixture to your dry ingredients, and mix on low speed until moistened. Increase to medium speed and mix for one minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and gradually add the remainder of the liquid mixture in three doses, beating for 20 seconds after each dose.  Scoop batter into wrappers. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until edges are slightly golden. Set cupcakes aside until they are cool to the touch, then frost ‘em up with real buttercream.

A fond farewell to summer

Today I found myself wanting to hang on the last bit of summer, even though it’s technically fall.  It’s been a gorgeous sunny day and 74 degrees outside. I dabbed on a little Hawaiian Tropic Golden Tanning Oil behind my ears just to get a perfect summery scent that’s really keeping me in a great mood. This is a very inexpensive way to keep summer around just a little longer.

We’ve had such a fantastic summer this year. Our family became new boat owners when the summer started  and we’ve thoroughly enjoyed boating, BBQing and fishing on the lake all summer long. I went on the tube for the first time this year and continued to yell, scream, laugh and get thrown off every time we went. The kids thought this was very amusing, as well as helping me zip up the “obviously mislabeled” size large life jacket. It’s a good thing I’m a good sport 😉

Since the lake is probably too cold to go boating and swimming, I still wanted to enjoy the feeling of summer somehow. I convinced my hubby to put a brisket in the smoker. He bought a beautiful 5lb. all natural brisket from S&S Produce and all the fixins for his famous Sweet and Smoky Baked Beans. These beans are so good you can eat them for breakfast….cold….(with a glass of milk, of course!)

Sweet and Smoky Baked Beans

(recipe adapted from (Food Network) Steven Raichlen, author of The Barbecue Bible and Barbecue Bible Sauces, Rubs, and Marinades (Workman Publishing)


  • 4 strips thick sliced bacon, cut into 1/4-inch slivers
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 gloves garlic, minced
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans  kidney beans, drained and rinsed in a colander
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans  pinto beans, drained and rinsed in a colander
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 4 tablespoons dark brown sugar, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon prepared yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon dry mustard
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tablespoon liquid smoke, or to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper


In a heavy pot, cook the bacon over medium heat to render the fat, about 5 minutes. Discard all but 2 tablespoons fat.

Add the onion, pepper, and garlic and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the beans,molasses, barbecue sauce, ketchup, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, mustards, vinegar, and liquid smoke. Simmer the beans, uncovered, until rich and thickly flavored, 10 to 15 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon. Alternatively, place the baked beans in a deep baking dish and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Add salt, pepper, or any other ingredient to taste.

The brisket is on the smoker as we speak and smells DEEEELICIOUS! He’s smoking it for 6 hours and I’m sure our neighborhood is already drooling by now. He’s using his original recipe for flavor injection, which will make it extra juicy and flavorful.

Better than Smokin’ Mo’s Flavor Injection

¼ cup olive oil

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon dry mustard

2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  1 tablespoon molasses

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Fill flavor injector, inject into meat and repeat until all the mixture has been used.  This yields enough for a 5lb brisket. – enjoy!

I bought a seedless watermelon on Tuesday and thought this would be the perfect day to have it. I decided to make a fresh Watermelon Punch. In each glass, I muddled some fresh mint we have growing in the garden and garnished with a sprig on top. This refreshing summery drink was quick and easy to make.

Watermelon Punch

1 small seedless watermelon (it helps if it’s very cold)

Juice of 1 lemon

Juice of 1 orange

1/4 cup simple syrup  (more or less to taste)

Mint for garnish

Lemon slices for garnish

Cut rind off entire watermelon and discard. Cut watermelon into medium size chunks. Working in batches, fill blender with watermelon chunks and puree. Turning the blender off periodically, use a wooden spoon to help incorporate the watermelon so it will blend well.  Pour watermelon juice into a large pitcher. Add the lemon and orange juice. Add simple syrup to taste. Stir well. Pour over ice, garnish with mint sprig and lemon slice.

It smells as good inside with the sweet and smoky baked beans in the oven, as it does outside with the brisket slowly smoking. Not to mention the smell of the pina colada with the suntan oil I put on. Even though I’m saying goodbye to summer, we are definitely going out with a bang!

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