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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Be active! Be healthy!

There are plenty of ways to get your family involved in the cooking. If you love to cook and you can make the time, you can find endless recipes on healthy eating in 30 minutes or less. Giada, for instance, has some great recipes. Desserts can be lighter too, if eaten in moderation, and it's a great way to involve your family. When using fruit, ask the kids to help chop some strawberries (they can use a plastic knife). Show them the safe way to chop (finger tips pulled under, slowly slice) and let them help. Kids love to be in the kitchen and feel important. I start my cooking classes with children at 4 years old - I've had kids cracking eggs at that age! Let them know that cooking is fun for everyone and they can always help at any age. Here are some healthier recipes to get you started:

This one is from Nick Malgieri. His cake cookbook is one you need on your shelf if you are looking for basic, classic cake recipes. For a special treat, have a little bit with some cool whip and add a few berries on the side.

Lemon Buttermilk Poundcake
Makes 1 10-inch cake

1/2 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
4 large eggs
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 egg yolks
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

Lemon Glaze
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon strained lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 10-inch Bundt pan, buttered and floured

1.                  Set a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees.
2.                  Combine butter, sugar, flour and baking powder in mixer with paddle. Beat on low speed 2 minutes. Combine remaining ingredients and add to mixer in three additions, beating 1 minute between each addition. Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake until cake is well risen and well colored and a knife inserted between the edge and tube emerges clean, about 1 hour. Place cake on a rack in pan.
3.                  For glaze, combine 1/2 cup water and sugar and bring to a boil in a saucepan. Remove from heat and add lemon juice and vanilla. Unmold cake and brush glaze evenly all over outside of cake. Allow to cool.

Try this healthier adaptation to the classic strawberry shortcake. This recipe comes from the Food Network kitchen...not bad from a TV station that doesn't want to hire pastry chefs.

Strawberry Shortcakes


·         1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
·         3 tablespoons sugar
·         1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
·         1/2 teaspoon salt
·         3 tablespoons cold (salted) butter, cut into small pieces
·         1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon low-fat buttermilk
·         1 large egg, slightly beaten
·         1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
·         1 tablespoon sliced almonds


·         Cool whip
·         Strawberries, sliced
·         Confectioners' sugar for dusting (optional)


1.      Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
2.      Shortcakes: Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and work it into the flour mixture with your fingers until it resembles coarse meal.
3.      Whisk together 1/2 cup buttermilk, the egg, and lemon zest in a small bowl. Add to the flour mixture and lightly mix with your hands just until the dough just comes together. Do not over mix.
4.      Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. With lightly floured hands, gently pat the dough into a 7-inch round about 1/2-inch thick. Cut into 8 equal sized wedges.
5.      Space the shortcakes evenly on the prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops with the remaining 1 tablespoon buttermilk and sprinkle with the almonds. Bake until golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes.
6.      Once cool, split shortcakes in half and fill with a dollop of cool whip and some strawberries. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar and serve.

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