Monday, March 31, 2014

Butter Measurements

This little chart has really come in handy since butter here doesn't come in the same pre-labeled-half-cup sticks that it does in the states.  I refer to it a lot because I use butter often and have a horrible time remembering the conversions.

Can I get an amen for butter?!      

Butter Measurements
¼ cup
½ stick
4 tablespoons
2 ounces
57 g
½ cup
1 stick
8 tablespoons
4 ounces ( ¼ pound)
¾ cup
1 ½ sticks
12 tablespoons
6 ounces
1 cup
2 sticks
16 tablespoons
8 ounces ( ½ pound)
1 ¼ cups
2 ½ sticks
20 tablespoons
10 ounces
1 ½ cups
3 sticks
24 tablespoons
12 ounces ( ¾ pound)
1 ¾ cups
3 ½ sticks
28 tablespoons
14 ounces
2 cups
4 sticks
32 tablespoons
16 ounces (1 pound)

Monday, March 24, 2014

Chocolate Mint Parfaits

I made these for a little St. Patty's Day get together last weekend and am happy to report that they taste very much like a shamrock shake from McDonald's. Apparently, shamrock shakes aren't really a thing here, even though there are a ton of McDonald's.  Boo.  This makes me sad.  They are so tasty and remind me of being a kid.  

These little parfaits are very similar to this peppermint pie, except for I made the marshmallow fluff from scratch (not hard at all), put them in individual glasses (or you can use plastic cups), and added a little green food coloring.  I think I like this version even better.  Oreo crust, chocolate silk pie, mint fluff, and a dollop of whipped cream?  Yes, please.  


Oreo Cookie Crust
  • 20 Oreos, crushed
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted

Combine crushed Oreos and melted butter and mix well.  

Add a teaspoon or two of Oreo mixture into the bottom of each cup or glass and use a tart tamper to flatten it out.  


Chocolate Silk Pie 
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups cocoa
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 eggs

Combine butter, sugar, cocoa, and oil in a mixer with the whisk attachment and beat for a significant amount of time.  

NOTE:  The sugar will not be dissolved yet.  Don't be alarmed. 

Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time.  Beat well after each egg and scrape the bowl several times.

Mixture will get lighter and fluffier as you continue to beat.

Transfer mixture to a piping bag and top crust with a small amount of chocolate pie mixture.

Place in refrigerator to chill while making the next layer.


Mint Fluff 
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract OR 1/8 teaspoon peppermint oil
  • 2 cups whipping cream, whipped

Combine egg whites, corn syrup, and salt in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment.  

Beat on high speed for 10 minutes or until thick.  

Add powdered sugar and beat on low speed until blended.  

Add vanilla and blend.  

Transfer marshmallow mixture to a large mixing bowl.  

Add milk to marshmallow and combine using a whisk.

Note: It takes a while to incorporate the milk into the blob of marshmallow cream.  Stick with it, it'll eventually come around.

Add peppermint oil and green food coloring (if using).

Fold in whipped cream. 

Carefully spoon mint mixture on top of chocolate pie and place in the freezer for at least a couple of hours.

Before serving, top with a dollop of whipped cream.  

Source:  Megan Porter

Monday, March 17, 2014

Chicken Fajitas with Corn Saute

I really, really love Mexican food, but it can be pretty time consuming.  So many ingredients, so much chopping, so much clean up.  These yummy fajitas are so simple; just throw everything in a slow cooker and leave it be for 4-5 hours.  The corn saute is delicious as well, but not totally necessary, so you could go either way, depending on how much time and/or energy you have.

AND, my favorite thing ever is this new tip for making crispy taco shells.  I like them just a touch chewy.  Y.U.M.


  • Heat oven to 375 degrees.  
  • Wrap several corn tortillas in a damp paper towel and microwave for 30 seconds.  
  • Brush both sides of corn tortillas with olive oil.
  • Drape tortillas over twos bars of oven rack so they hang down.  
  • Place a baking sheet on a lower rack to catch any oil drips. 
  • Bake for 7-10 minutes or until your desired crispiness.  

  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin 
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 4 chicken breasts, frozen or fresh
  • 1 lime, squeezed
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 onion, sliced 
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

In a small bowl mix together chili powder, cumin, oregano, garlic powder, and salt.  Rub the spice mixture on the chicken.  

Place the chicken in slow cooker and top with red peppers, onions, and garlic.  

Pour the soy sauce and squeeze the lime over the top.  

Cook for 4-5 hours on low.  Shred chicken and serve in crispy or soft tortillas.    


  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 cups corn, frozen or canned
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • squeeze of lime juice
  • salt to taste

In a skillet, melt butter. 

Add the onion and saute until translucent, 3-4 minutes.  

Add the corn and cilantro and cook for a few minutes more.  

Squeeze lime over the top and salt to taste.  

Source:  modified from Live Simply

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Granola Bars

When I first moved to this far away place and was figuring out where to grocery shop and what food to buy, I ate a lot of Nature Valley granola bars.  They were easy and familiar.  And, since the ingredients and nutrition information were in Arabic, I didn't even have to know how bad they were for me.  Ignorance can be bliss, or at least convenient.  But, deep down, I knew there was probably a truckload of sugar in them and little nutritional value.  That's when I started making these yummy breakfast bites.  And, as much as I love those guys, I thought it was time to mix it up and have another breakfast-y item in the mix that I can grab for an easy, at-school snack, which is where this recipe comes in.  

I was drawn to this recipe because of the sesame seeds, which I love, but a little deterred by the dates, since they can be pretty sweet.  Surprisingly, the dates really made these; they gave the granola bars a nice chewy texture.  I listed the chocolate chips as optional in case you want them to be a little more breakfast-like.

I love these granola bars.  So much better than store-bought and full of good, hearty, natural ingredients. Thank you, David Lebovitz, for another winner of a recipe.

  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/2 cup whole almonds
  • 1 cup pitted and diced dates
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips (optional)
  • 1/3 cup dried sour cherries, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup smooth natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Line the bottom of an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper.  

Spread the oats and sesame seeds on a baking sheet and toast for 10-12 minutes, until they are slightly browned.  

Scrape them into a large bowl. 

Spread the almonds on the baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes.  

Let cool, then coarsely chop and add the almonds to the oats and sesame seeds.  

Add dates, chocolate chips (if using), cherries, and peanuts to the bowl.  

Heat the peanut butter, honey, and salt in a small saucepan, stirring until warm, but not boiling.  

Pour the peanut butter and honey over the mixture in the bowl and stir until completely incorporated.  Use your hands if you want.  

Transfer the mixture to the pan and pat down so it's as flat as possible.  (Use a tart tamper if you have one.) 

Freeze the granola bars for 30 minutes.  

Cut and store in the refrigerator.  

Source:  David Lebovitz

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Honey Sesame Chicken

It doesn't get any easier than this, folks.  If you're looking for an easy and delicious dinner, this is the dish for you!  Serve it with rice and a vegetable and you're all set.

Note: I would suggest keeping the sauce and chicken separate since the sauce has a pretty strong flavor.  Top with the desired amount of sauce and enjoy!

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup onions, diced
  • 1 heaping tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup water
  • sesame seeds
  • green onions, sliced 

In a slow cooker, combine honey, soy sauce, ketchup, oil, garlic, pepper flakes, and pepper.  Add onions.

Place chicken in slow cooker, turn to cover with sauce.

Cook on low 3 to 4 hours or just until chicken cooks through.

Remove chicken from slow cooker, leaving sauce in ceramic insert.

Turn heat to high on slow cooker.

Whisk cornstarch into water and pour into slow cooker.  Whisk to combine sauce.

Replace lid and cook sauce on high for 10 more minutes or until slightly thickened.

Shred chicken.

Return chicken to pot and toss with sauce.

NOTE: You can also keep the chicken and sauce separate here.  I think I prefer keeping things separate so as to control the sauciness.

Sprinkle with sesame seeds and top with chopped green onions.

Serve over rice.

Serves: 4-6
Source:  A Bountiful Kitchen