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Friday, June 26, 2009

My Blog is on the move…

I'll be officially closing my Blogspot blog sometime next week. I loved my home here, and have a lot of good memories--it's where I first started blogging, after all. But I was ready for a change. Squarespace is a great new home for my blog! The people behind the scenes are extremely helpful. And when you ask a question, you get a quick answer. From a real person. Huge, in my  book! If you're at all curious, check out their free trial! There's no catch.   Plus, they have a lot of built in features to offer.   I can change my site design, add extra columns, change the widths of the columns, add extra pages (archives, about, etc), and lots more--all with a few easy clicks!

Here is the link to the new site--it’s just about ready.   Just a few more behind the scenes details.

Please remember to subscribe to the RSS feed for this new blog if you're currently subscribed to the old one, and if you're not--now's your chance. ;) That way you won't miss any posts!   For those of you that subscribe by email, I’ll get Feedburner email services running there asap (probably right after I post this, hehe).  You’ll have to subscribe again, since the site address is different, but there shouldn’t be any problems. 

Thanks to all of you for reading my blog.  I hope you’ll join Elle’s New England Kitchen at it’s new home!


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Monday, June 22, 2009

Raw Food, Part 3: Raspberry Ganache Fudge Cake

You are all going to LO-V-E this one. If this is the first time you dip your toe into the raw food waters, then let this recipe be the one you try. You will not believe how good this is. It’s from Ani Phyo’s new book, Ani’s Raw Food Desserts: 85 Easy, Delectable Sweets and Treats.


Think of the most fudgy, chocolaty, rich cake, covered in a delicious, dark ganache.

Are you thinking of it? It’s a nice thought, right? Now, think of all of the cream and chocolate, butter and sugar. Do you really want to eat those things? I’ve got to be honest, if you’re like me, you do! But you don’t want to feel the guilt after you do. You also most likely don’t want all of the empty calories and bad fats. Here is an excerpt from an interview with Ani Phyo, by way of Crazy Sexy Life:

“Let’s take my Raspberry Ganache Fudge Cake as an example. The cake is made with walnuts, considered a super food by the FDA for it’s high levels of omega-3. Walnuts provide amino acids, vitamins E, A, calcium, iron, and have been found to keep our blood cholesterol levels in check. Walnuts are mixed with raw cacao powder, which is defined as a superfood by the FDA for it’s high levels or antioxidants, which fight free radical damage, premature aging and illness. I use dates, a whole food fruit, to sweeten and to bind together the nuts and cacao powder into a flourless cake texture. Dates are full of fiber, potassium, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. All of the ingredients in my cake are good for you super foods.

On the other hand, the baked version uses bleached white flour that’s been stripped of any nutrient value. It’s sweetened with refined white sugar and empty calories, and uses eggs and butter, which contribute to high cholesterol levels. The baked version doesn’t offer much nutritional value.”

Plus, avocados are good for you. So you don’t have to feel one bit of guilt eating this icing!

I only had to make one substitution, and that was in the icing. I had just enough cacao to make the cake, and had to use regular cocoa for the icing. But the rest of this cake is completely raw. In the recipe, they don’t specify raw walnuts, but that’s what I used. If you don’t use raw, it’ll still be delicious, but technically not raw.


Do you remember that dark, rich chocolate cake covered in ganache that I asked you to think about? Guess what?! You can have that cake! And you can eat it without an ounce of guilt, because Ani’s version is packed with things that are good for you. But when you’re eating it, you may feel that “knee-jerk guilt” reaction like I did. Because it’s that good. I’m serious!

This recipe got eight thumbs up from the kids, and four more from my husband and I. I hope you’ll try it! You won’t be disappointed.


Oh! For easy serving, and no messy cake slicing, I made this recipe into eight cupcakes. Just divide the “batter” into about eight equal portions, and press into a cupcake pan. A little chill in the fridge (about 5 minutes), and a nudge with a knife, and they easily come out. And while we’re on the subject, when mixing this up in the food processor, let it go until you can’t see bits of the nuts anymore. I also gave it an extra squirt or two of raw agave. You may see some of the walnut oil coming out, but just go with it, and press them into the pan, or into 2 cake layers. **For these photos, I stacked two cupcakes like a layer cake, with icing between. Find the recipe by clicking here! And in case you’re wondering, you can’t taste the dates, or the avocado.

This is the most decadent chocolate cake you’ll ever “uncook!”


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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Cashew Toffee Cookies

You know you want these! When you have that first bite, you’ll know it was meant to be. When you bake them, you’ll thank me. Or, you may hate me--because these are hard to stop eating.

I bought this tub of little cookies at Trader Joe’s months ago. In fact, I made these months ago, but I’m just getting around to posting them now. You know how it goes. You make something, take the photos, eat or give away all of the goodies, and the cycle begins again. Before you know it, you have a bunch of recipes and photos sitting around, waiting their turn. Plus, life happens and you’re busy, maybe you can’t get to your blog as much as you’d like. My train of thought has left the station…

Back to the cookies! I can’t remember what the Trader Joe’s cookies were called, but oh my gosh, were they good! Bits of cashew, pockets of caramel, crunchy cookie. I’d guess they were called something along the line of Caramel Cashew Cookies. See how I made that connection? ;)

I wanted to try to make them at home, and figured it couldn’t be too difficult. And as it happened, I’d picked up the April edition of Everyday Food. There was a recipe in it for Pecan Sandies that had all of the flavors I was looking for in the cookie base, so I ran with it. And don’t believe the reviewer on the site that said the recipe needed an egg, it doesn’t. It’s basically a shortbread cookie, which doesn’t need an egg. (Yes, I know, my mom’s shortbread does use an egg, but it’s an old family recipe, and I’m not messing around with that one. It’s untouchable, like most treasured family recipes are, right? Plus, my mom loved it, and she’d be thrilled that I shared it with all of you.)

I didn’t change much in the recipe, but I did double it. Because if you’re making cookies, why would make only 18 of them? And I increased the salt, to play off the sweetness of the toffee bits. mmmmm….

Bonus! There’s no egg in this, so if you’re inclined to eat raw cookie dough (and seriously, who isn’t?), then this one’s for you.

Cashew Toffee Sandies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cashews, coarsely chopped
1 cup toffee bits (like Heath)

Heat oven to 350. In the bowl of your mixer, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy.
Beat in the vanilla and salt.
With the mixer on low, gradually add the flour, mixing until combined.
Fold in cashews and toffee bits.

Roll the dough (it's really easy, not sticky!) into 1 1/2 inch balls, and place them on parchment lined sheets.
Wet the bottom of a glass, and lightly flatten the dough balls. (you'll need to re- wet the glass a few times.)
Bake 15-17 minutes, or until golden brown. If you put more than one sheet at a time in the oven, rotate them halfway through baking time.
Cool on wire racks, and store in airtight container.
Makes about 36 delicious cookies.

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Friday, June 12, 2009

Funky Chunks Gift Basket Giveaway--Winner Announced!


Congrats, Rachelle! And thank you to everyone that entered and retweeted about the giveaway!

It’s time for a giveaway! Michele from Life, Lightly Salted has started a bath and body company called Funky Chunks. She has some very cool soaps and equally cool packaging! Add to that that she’s very creative and a sweetheart, and you’ve got a winning combination. You can also check out her soap blog called Funky Chunks for news and new items. We have a winner! Rachelle, from Mommy, I'm Hungry has won the basket.

Anyway, Michele contacted me last week to see if I’d like to host a giveaway for her. Um, hell, yes! So she immediately got some samples in the mail for me to check out. Not only are they in cool packages, but they look, smell and feel great! My favorite has to be the Hot Chocolate Sugar Scrub, and the Pucker! The Pucker! is an herbal dill blend that smells so fresh and clean. But the Tuscan Summer smells great, too. Really, they all do!

So what do you get? A basket with a $30 retail value, including, from Funky Chunks:

  • 4 full size Chunks of Tuscan Summer, Pucker!, Sweet Basil and Root Beer Float
  • 1 Sample Chunk of Green Tea Zen, a soap dish and a big bath scrubbie.

And bonus! Janine, the owner operator of Things That Make Scents has thrown some stuff in, as well!

  • Brew This! coffee - Jersey Girl flavor (apples, toffee and peanuts)
  • Tea light candles in Melon Mania and Blue Sea Glass scents (descriptions HERE )

Michele let me know she may toss a few extra things in there, too--so that’s an extra bonus.

I took a few photos of the samples Michele sent me. I thought you may want to see her products and packaging:

Here is a photo of the Gift Basket:


To enter!

1) Visit Funky Chunks and have a look around. Come back and tell me which soap you’d most love to try. Leave it in a comment here for one entry.

2) Visit Things That Make Sense. Take a look around, pick a candle scent that you love, and leave another comment here letting me know which one it is--for a second entry.

3) Tweet about this giveaway, come back here, and leave your Tweet link in your comment--for a third entry.

4) You can Tweet about this giveaway as much as you like, for additional entries. Just leave your Tweet links in your comments, please! (When you Tweet, click under your message where it says, for example, One Minute Ago, and it will take you to a page where you can copy your Tweet’s link.)

5) DON'T forget to leave a valid email address!

This gives you a ton of chances to win the gift basket!

Open to US entrants only on this one. Winner will be chosen next Friday. But in the meantime, get your butts over to Michele and Janine’s sites and make your wish lists!

Guys, you should enter, too! If you win, share the basket to your favorite girl!

And taking care of a little business: MySpiceSage is now offering 50% OFF the Ultimate Fathers Day Gift Set that includes Ten 1 Cup Bottles of Gourmet Spices and Seasonings perfect for dad, now $29.75! Normally, this gift set is valued at $60.25 when sold separately. Also, we are offering FREE SHIPPING for this item if ordered by 06/15/2009 AND a free personalized card for dad!

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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Raw Food, Part 2: Raw Burgers on Raw Bread

Welcome to installment two in my raw food journey!  We’ve been doing well, considering that we’ve been “cooked food + meat eaters forever.  My husband is doing slightly better than I am.  He’s got the willpower of…I don’t know what, but he’s almost unbending in this raw food journey.  A bull!  He’s stubborn like a bull.

We’re still in the “integrating” stage, where we do a lot of raw, some vegetarian/vegan, and meat once a week.  We had some beef ribs on Memorial Day weekend that we smoked--and oh man, they were delicious and mouthwateringly perfect!  But we both felt sort of sick after eating them.  Not only bothered in our stomachs, but it felt weird not being able to get the taste out of my mouth.  Beef, I’ll miss you.  You were always such a tasty treat…hehe.  But back to the integrating--we still have some baked bread and non-raw stuff, but overall, we’re eating much healthier than we were a month ago. 


Which brings me to these raw burgers, from Ani Phyo.  They were really tasty!  Perhaps need just a bit of playing around with as far as seasonings go--I’d like to add the Weber Burger Seasoning that we always use.  Used, hehe!  And maybe a little Bragg’s Liquid Aminos.  (Which tastes just like soy sauce, only lighter, for those of you who have never tried it.)

Overall, they were really good, and we’ll have them again, for sure.  I loved the flavor that ketchup added, too, surprisingly!  I didn’t make Ani’s raw ketchup, but the one we used was organic.  They definitely need some crunch, so go ahead and pile on your crisp greens and sliced onions. 


I dehydrated the bread and burgers in my oven with the door propped opened, but as we prepare more and more raw foods, I am starting to see the need for and advantages of a dehydrator.  We like to have crackers and chips to snack on--and it would be nice to pop them in there and let them do their thing.  But in a pinch, the oven did the job. 

The recipe for the burgers can be found here, on Ani’s site.   And the bread recipe can be found by clicking here.  My tip--if you’re making this without a dehydrator, make the bread on parchment paper, because when it’s time to flip it, it’ll be much easier.  Then peel the paper off.  And although the bread looks cracker-ish, it’s not.  It’s very pliable.

Raw Burger Porn:


All of this healthy stuff…

becomes this super healthy bread:


raw-burgers-on raw-flax-bread

I hope you’ll continue on with me on my raw food journey.  It won’t be all I make and post, for sure.  I love to bake, and we’re still eating meat at least once a week, so there will always be something for everyone.

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