Cream Cheese Cranberry Stuffed Celery

Cream Cheese Cranberry Stuffed Celery
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Thanksgiving Day, and I have an extra bunch of celery after making the stuffing, what to do with it? We were having a small dinner party, and I think it’s nice to have a little appetizer with your wine whilst waiting for the big attraction, the turkey.

I wanted to make something that would stick with the theme of the dinner. Usually, I stuff celery with blue cheese and cream cheese, but this time, I wanted something different. Stalk the pantry, and there, in the front, is a bag of dried cranberries. Perfect!

This was a real hit at our gathering. Thankfully, as chef, I made one for myself to taste test. Good thing, because I didn’t get one when I set the tray out – it was gone in minutes. My guests really liked them!

When you make this, please use the hearts of celery. If you cannot get hearts, then at least remove the tough strings. There is nothing more embarrassing than biting into a piece of celery and having strings hanging out of your mouth! Just take a knife, start at either end of the stalk, and pull the strings out. That’s better!

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Blueberry Cream Cheese Lemon Tart

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Blueberry Cream Cheese Lemon Tart

I was thrilled when I went to the market and saw fresh blueberries on the counter. Spring is almost here! I had a box of cream cheese, and a can of sweetened condensed milk, and some frozen lemon cubes. I also had a chocolate cookie crumb pie shell sitting in the pantry that I needed to use up. Blueberry Cream Cheese Lemon Tart sounded like the way to go.

This pie is actually good for you. I put turmeric in it to increase the yellow color. Turmeric is a root in the ginger family, that makes things yellow and has a very mild peppery flavor. In the laboratory, the active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, has been shown to have anti-cancer properties. The herb has been used in Asia for centuries for its healing properties. It’s also a great way to give a nice yellow color without using artificial color, which some people, like my son, are allergic to.

If you are wondering about the lemons, I have a friend who gave me a whole bag of lemons from his tree. I squeezed them all, and put the juice into ice cube trays. I also froze the skins to put in the garbage disposal to keep it fresh smelling.

Lemons also react with milk products. If you add lemon to cream, it immediately starts to thicken, and so does sweetened condensed milk.

I happened to have that chocolate wafer crust sitting around in my pantry. But, you can use whatever crust you want. The Stove Top Cooked French Sweet Tart Dough would be wonderful, as well as a Graham cracker crust would also be perfect.

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Strawberry Torpedoes – Balsamic Infused Mocha Stuffed Strawberries

Strawberry Torpedoes - Balsamic Infused Mocha Stuffed Strawberries
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I recently joined a great MeetUp, Entrepreneurs Professionals Glendale, and wanted to bring something nice for everyone to share. One of the members, Aron Ganz of Ganz Media gave the berries their name, Strawberry Torpedoes, a much shorter name, and I am grateful for that!

This is a group of entrepreneurs and professionals, who own small to medium businesses. We are not drones of the corporate world, and realize that even though being self-employed has its difficulties, it has huge rewards. Our group, led by Lynn Sarkany of MarketFinders, meets to exchange ideas to help our businesses, share stories, and network with each other. If you are a like-minded individual, you might consider joining us. Please visit Entrepreneurs and Professionals to find out more.

I had recently found a whole bunch of baking chocolate on sale, had some strawberries and a package of cream cheese. But, instead of making the Cheesecake Stuffed Chocolate Dipped Strawberries that I made last time, I thought I would add a little more adult flavor to the dish.

I added cocoa, coffee, vanilla, almond and cinnamon to the cream cheese filling, and I injected the berries with balsamic vinegar. When you bite into these berries, they explode flavor into your mouth.

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Red Velvet Cake with Mocha Cream Frosting

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Tuesday, November 21, 2012 was Spane’s 9th birthday. He originally asked for a Red Velvet Cake, but then said he wanted Chocolate Cake with Mocha Frosting that I made for his 7th birthday, and was the base for the Jolly Roger Cake of the Pirate Rack Rachham that I made for his 8th birthday. At the last minute, I decided to give him his original request, a Red Velvet Cake.

Yes, I know that Red Velvet Cake is all over the place, and mostly nasty, truly horrific. When Red Velvet cake became popular all over the country, short cuts were made, and what resulted was a dense, flavorless cake, with a greasy shortening “cream cheese” frosting, that I am sure was made with cream cheese flavoring, and nary a bit of real cream cheese. I make a real Red Velvet Cake, that uses real cream cheese, cake flour, and vinegar/baking soda leavener.

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I just can’t make an ordinary anything, I always have to umph it up a bit, and this cake was no exception. Instead of using white vinegar, I used Balsamic vinegar. I also used a Mocha frosting instead of the traditional cream cheese frosting. It was a real hit.

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Mediterranean Lentil Salad with Olive Toast

Recipes in this PostLentil Salad with grilled peppers, tomatos, onions and celery with a light olive oil, white wine vinegar dressing

It had been so hot lately in Los Angeles, and even though the day promised to be only in the high 70’s, I still did not want to heat up the house. It was also Friday, which in our house, means no meat. We had some left over grilled sweet peppers that I wanted to use, and some remnants of other vegetables. My friend, Amber, had planted a basil plant I had brought home into two larger containers, and they had plenty of leaves to go with my vegetables. So, what kind of good, cool salad could I make and still have the protein that our bodies require? Lentils were the perfect answer!

As I was checking out at my favorite store, the Adams Supper Market in Glendale, I mentioned my plan to the cashier, and said I would be back later to get some nice crusty bread to go with it if I didn’t have any at home. As it turned out, I did have bread at home, but by the time I discovered I didn’t have any butter, Adams Supper Market was already closed. No problem, Olive Toast to the rescue!

It’s a recipe for a cool, protein rich salad on a hot day.

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Almond Joy Coconut Cream Pie

Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t, Almond Joy’s got nuts, Mounds don’t. Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes, you don’t!

Hersey’s jingle

Recipes in this PostSlice of Almond Joy Coconut Cream Pie

I like Mounds because I like dark chocolate a lot better than milk chocolate, and besides, dark chocolate is a lot better for you. Almonds are good for you too, and if you have an acid stomach, a drop of almond extract will fix you right up. If you don’t have access to almond extract, an Almond Joy will work, too, not just as quickly.

When I was perusing Pinterest I saw a picture of something called Almond Joy Pie that looked just wonderful, but when I read the recipe it called for custard. I’m sorry but I just can’t stand custard, so I decided to use the same lemon cream that I used for the Balsamic Strawberry and Blueberry Trifle with Lemon Cream instead.

This is a very simple pie to make, and unlike a real Almond Joy that has milk chocolate, this one uses dark chocolate. You get the best of both worlds, what more could you ask?

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