Posts Tagged ‘cashews’
I know most of you are enjoying pleasant fall weather, but here in Memphis it’s still highs in the 80s and 90s. I cannot really complain though because we had a very moderate summer (for Memphis), with only a couple days over 100 degrees instead of entire months. As a result my electricity bill was never over $85 all summer! Normally I average around $140 because I live on the third floor and everyone’s heat comes to me (while during winter I barely turn my heat on). Add all my baking and cooking and it’s a never ending battle to keep the temperature under 80 inside.
Even though the battle against the heat isn’t very prevalent anymore, I still like to make no-cook meals or desserts from time to time. This meal is legit no cook because it doesn’t even require a stove top or a microwave – absolutely no heat involved. Well, except for some spicy heat from the cashew sauce!
Awhile ago I saw a post by Muddy’s with a picture of their Therapy Brownie which lead me to ask, “what makes it therapy other than being a delicious dessert?” Apparently it’s the genius addition of white chocolate and cashews! Although I have yet to try one for myself (because for some reason I only think of going there when they are closed Sun/Mon), I decided to whip up a version of what I imagine they would be like.
I used the recipe for The Baked Brownie, but omitted the espresso powder mostly because I don’t like coffee flavorings but also because I couldn’t find any in the store. And then I just added white chocolate chips and cashews. I cannot believe I never thought of adding white chocolate and cashews to a brownie before! The end result was the best freaking brownie I have had in a long time. It was thick, chewy and fudgy but not too dense and also had a flaky top. In other words it was my idea of perfection.
If you don’t like nuts or other foreign bodies in your brownies, you seriously need to at least try the base for these brownies. It is my new favorite brownie recipe!
Today is World Diabetes Day, and Carolyn from All Day I Dream About Food, along with many other bloggers (including myself obviously) are promoting Diabetes awareness by posting diabetes-friendly recipes today. Check out her blog for the chance to win a blue KitchenAid stand mixer (as blue is the color of diabetes awareness), and stay turned here on The Spiffy Cookie for a different giveaway!
Diabetes has not affected me personally (something to be thankful for next week), but I admire Carolyn for her refusal to give up on her passion of baking and cooking after being diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Instead, she fought on and found new ways to enjoy her passions, to the point where I find myself craving her low carb treats too! Her blog, All Day I Dream About Food, has opened my eyes to how you can make creative, flavorful foods that are still low in carbohydrates and suitable for diabetics, dieters and even the everyday hungry person. Many of her recipes are also gluten-free!
But unfortunately diabetes isn’t just about coming up with friendly foods. Diabetes is an increasing global problem, particularly in developing countries. Although the causes are complex in nature, the rapid increases in overweight, obesity and physical inactivity definitely have an impact. Worse still, the World Health Organization (WHO) projects that diabetes deaths will increase by two thirds between 2008 and 2030. Therefore, in an effort to stimulate effective measures for surveillance, prevention and control of diabetes and its complications, WHO is building awareness by participating in the celebration of World Diabetes Day.
There is good evidence that a healthy diet, regular physical activity, maintaining a normal body weight and avoiding tobacco may help in prevention and/or reducing complications. So eat healthy, get active, and put away those cancer sticks (aka cigarettes and that’s another good reason to quit). For my contribution to spreading awareness through healthy eating, I made these lettuce wraps using Swerve all-natural sweetener instead of brown sugar. proof that healthy eating can still be easy and fun.
Be sure to check out the giveaway for you own Swerve baking kit to try out yourself at the end of this post. Get your swerve on!
Sunday late at night I received a phone call from Katie, a friend taking care of my cat Brady during my travels. The first thing I heard was Brady sounding miserable in the background. He has had two spells of constipation in the past few months, and it appeared it was time for round three. Since the last two times both passed within 24 hours I decided to give him some time and tuna with a little oil to help out. As much as I hate seeing (or hearing this time) him in pain, it didn’t make sense to rush him off to the pet-ER late at night if he was just going to end up pooping in a few hours.
Monday evening he was still wailing, had not eaten a thing in two days and still had clean litter box. So Katie dashed off with him to the vet while I called to give them permission for her to admit my cat since I was boarding my plane home (thank goodness for Katie!). She got there just after 6pm, but still let her in and took their time checking him out even though they would normally be closing for the night. Good thing too, because had he been forced to wait to be seen until morning, he would have been in serious condition. His bladder was so full, it was the size of a softball and hard as a rock. Poor thing couldn’t pee! And his toxicity levels were off the charts. Thankfully they were able to relieve him with a catheter and stayed overnight. I was told her was a very sweet cat despite his miserable state.
Tuesday morning the doctor called to tell me his levels were much lower but still not yet at normal levels. The catheter was taken out later that afternoon to see if he would be able to urinate himself (sorry if this story just became unappetizing). He thinks the blockage may have been caused by crystals and will need to go on a special diet, but first they needed a urine sample to examine. He stayed overnight again yesterday to recover further and I am waiting to hear from the doctor today in hopes that I will be bringing my little cuddle-buddy home sometime today. My apartment seems so empty without him there.
Thanks for sticking it out through that story. I hope you still want to look at food after that little tale of bowl movements. Maybe you can see some sort of transition between that and some granola bites? Yea? Ok just go with it…
Dried fruit, nuts, chocolate and oats. Typically these are the ingredients which one can play around with in order to produce a favorite granola bar. But there are times when preheating the oven is already too much effort, and passes too much time (but I want it NOW).
These granola bites are perfect for such a time. I tried them out first with the original recipe ingredients, but immediately knew the possibilities were endless. But first I need to restock on my dried fruits and nuts! What do you think would be your favorite combination?
Do you ever crave takeout food, but don’t feel like going out to get it? Yet somehow you will stop at the grocery store in order to make it yourself? It happens to me more than I can count. At first I feel lazy, but somehow head in the opposite direction. Whatever the explanation, I made this chicken and it was worth all the effort.
And can you believe it? This was my first time cooking with chicken thighs! Unless you are cooking the entire thing, I somehow had it in my head that people only used the breast meat. I am glad I have been set straight.
But as usual I forgot to sprinkle the scallions on top. And then I ate it before I could realize it in order to take more pictures – I’m a hungry girl! Sorry already chopped up scallions, I promise to give you another purpose!
GENERAL TSO’S CHICKEN
1-1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 egg white
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Canola, Peanut, or Vegetable oil for frying
1 Tbsp peanut, canola or vegetable oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger root
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp Chinese chile-garlic sauce
3 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup cashews, roughly chopped
4 whole scallions, thinly sliced
Steamed brown rice
- Prep the chicken: In a mixing bowl, stir together the sesame oil, soy sauce, egg white, and 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of cornstarch until a thick slurry forms. It will look gummy but smooth.
- Add the chicken pieces and stir until all are evenly coated. At first it may appear that it will not come together but it does!
Set chicken aside, covered lightly with plastic wrap, at room temperature for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Begin the sauce: Add the tablespoon of oil to a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over high heat. Stir the garlic and ginger into the oil and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining sauce ingredients until smooth. Pour into the garlic and ginger, stirring, until the sauce becomes thick and shiny. Once the sauce thickens, lower heat and keep the saucepan over a low burner partially covered to stay warm.
- To fry the chicken: Heat 1/2-inches of oil in a heavy-bottomed, high-sided frying pan or skillet over high heat.
- When the oil is shimmering, add one piece of chicken at a time, taking care not to crowd the pan. Cook chicken for 4 minutes on each side, or until deep golden brown and crisp on both sides.
- Transfer the fried chicken to a paper towel lined plate and repeat the process until you’ve cooked all the chicken.
- Then slide all of the fried chicken into the prepared sauce and toss to coat. (If desired, add some steamed broccoli and cashews to coat with the sauce also.) Increase the heat to medium, stir and cook just until hot all the way through.
- Sprinkle with sliced scallions and serve immediately over rice.
Source: Tasty Kitchen
Chinese and Thai are two of my favorite genres of food. Unfortunately I can’t seem to convince Brent to eat out at those locations much. He claims that it’s not that he doesn’t like it, he’s just never in the mood apparently. I crave it constantly, so I cannot relate. While he has been gone (BTW he’s now in Bocas del Toro Panama, about to take a scuba course/certification), I’ve have taken to eating things I don’t regularly get to have. First was Hawaiian pizza (fruit on pizza is beyond him), then it was time for Cashew Chicken! I have been wanting to make this for a long time, but was somehow worried it wouldn’t live up to my expectations. Rest assured that the fact I am posting this, must mean something .
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 Tbsp dry sherry
2 tsp minced, peeled fresh ginger (I had pickled and used that instead)
3-1/2 tsp cornstarch, divided
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp chili garlic sauce (optional)
2 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp + 2 tsp sesame oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2/3 cup unsalted cashews
2 green onions, white and green parts divided and thinly sliced
1/2 red pepper, sliced
- In a medium bowl, toss the chicken with the sherry, ginger, and 1-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch; season with coarse salt. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a small bowl whisk together the chicken broth, soy sauce, rice vinegar, chili garlic sauce, sugar and 2 teaspoons cornstarch. Set aside.
- In a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Add half of the chicken and cool until golden brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate and cover with foil. Add 1 teaspoon of oil to the skillet and cook the remaining chicken. Transfer to the covered plate.
- In the same skillet, add the remaining teaspoon of oil. Add the cashews, garlic, green onion whites, and red pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic begins to soften, about 30 seconds. Whisk the sauce again to combine and add to the skillet along with the chicken. Cook until the sauce thickens, about 30 seconds. Serve over rice or noodles (I did brown rice) and top with the green onion greens.
Source: Adapted slightly from Brown Eyed Baker