Yum Peaceful Cooking: November 2015

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

GF Berry and Cocoa Cereal Bars #VansSimplyDelicious

Back in the day, before we thought too much about what we put in our bodies and what we fed our families. Back in the day when we were inundated with commercials boasting convenience, sophistication, new and improved and, in an ignorant (maybe?) manner.... good taste and nutrition, complete with (wait for it.....wait for it.....) THREE vitamins!

We sure have come a long way in the past several decades. Especially in the most recent 10 yrs. Consumers voices and dietary needs are being heard and responded to.

Which is great!

But do you ever miss some of your childhood favorites? Even though you knooooow they weren't and still aren't good for you?

Well guess what....Van's Simply Delicious must've read our minds! They've just added two new whole-grain, gluten-free cereals to their already wonderful line-up,

Van's has given us adults a guilt-free way to enjoy the flavors from our childhood with Blissfully Berry and Cocoa Sensation cereals. Oh sure, you can also feed it to your children too. They won't even notice that the cereal they're eating doesn't contain artificial flavors or high fructose corn syrup. All they'll notice is how these cereals taste and wonder if  their parents have thrown their sense of good nutrition to the wind. Ha! fooled them, didn't we?!

One of my favorite treats as a child were those yummy, simple marshmallow treats. I could eat a whole tray of those babies. Almost did once. Well, maybe I did, but in my defense it took 2 or 3 days.

This time, I combined two of my favorite desserts into one. I have a love of berries and chocolate, and a love of banana splits. Although I didn't add banana chips to this tray, but the idea is still there. These delicious, gluten free cereal bars contain both the Blissfully Berry and the Cocoa Sensation cereals, along with peanuts and gluten free pretzel sticks. Sweet, salty and crunchy. Takes care of it all, doesn't it?

GF Berry and Cocoa Cereal Bars

5 oz Van's Blissfully Berry cereal
5 oz Van's Cocoa Sensation cereal
3/4 cup roasted, salted peanuts, roughly chopped
3/4 cup gluten free pretzel sticks, broken into pieces
1/2 cup butter
20 oz mini marshmallows
1 cup dark chocolate morsels

Melt the butter in a large sauce pan. Add the marshmallows and stir over low heat until the marshmallows are completely melted. Add the cereals, peanuts and pretzels and stir until combined.

Spray a 13 x 9 casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Spread the cereal mixture into the dish. Top with the chocolate morsels. As the morsels melt from the heat, spread even along the top.

Let cool completely before cutting into squares to serve.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Italian Almond Tart

If you're looking for a decadent, simple to make, yet not too sweet of a dessert, or even a little something to accompany your coffee or tea, then look no further.

It's rustic form is charming in it's own right, but once you've tasted the sweet almond and slight orange tang, you realize there's much more to this tart than meets the eye.

Don't be fooled into thinking that a small chunk will be enough. Sure, you'll walk away satisfied but mark my words, it won't be long before you return for just one more bite. Then another.

And another.

Italian Almond Tart

Recipe found on Food and Wine

3/4 cup raw almonds
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
6 tablespoons fine cornmeal (I used regular cornmeal)
1/2 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 350' F
Butter a 9" springform pan

Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes in the oven.

Leave the oven on.

Allow the almonds to cool a bit, then roughly chop. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the egg yolk, orange zest, almond extract and vanilla extract. Set aside

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal and salt. With a pastry blender, or a fork, cut in the butter until the mixture resembles a course meal (which means it's not a fine powder, it's not large lumps, and it hasn't yet come together like a dough). Stir in the sugars and chopped almonds. With your hands (yes, you're going to down and dirty for a minute), gently work in the egg yolk mixture. The resulting dough should be crumbly.

Loosely press the dough into the buttered springform pan. Don't get all 'perfectionist' on me here. Remember, this is a rustic dessert. The surface should be uneven and bumpy.

Bake for 40 minutes or until a golden brown.

Allow to cool completely before unmolding.

Break the tart into chunks.

Go ahead...have a bit of fun with it. Break off chunks in all different shapes and sizes. Forget about even trying to be symmetrical here. It seriously isn't gonna happen. And don't even think about breaking out the knife.

Now that you've been inundated with the aroma, you know you're going to have to give it a try. Why don't you make yourself a hot cup of tea to go with it. Put on an old movie (Breakfast at Tiffany's perhaps) and relax a bit. No matter what kind of day you've had, you deserve it.