Blueberry Bars

DSC_0829 (1600x1060)We spend more time than I’d like to admit just looking at Google images of prepared foods.  It’s a good way to discover recipes and to learn how other people arrange things for useful ideas on food photography.  That’s how we came across this recipe for blueberry bars. We did question the addition of basil in the recipe and so we did a search.  It’s really a thing – who knew!  We didn’t have any peaches so we went straight blueberry.DSC_0814 (1600x1060)It’s easy to make creme fraiche at home!  I started this one the other day when we decided to go with this recipe, it has a pint of heavy cream and one of those little cups of plain Greek yogurt along with the seeds scraped out of a vanilla bean.  It set out overnight so the magic could work, I let it go 24 hours at room temp before refrigerating.  This is good stuff all by its own self!DSC_0815 (1600x1060)Here it is sans the crumb topping, the bottom layer is as much like a cookie as anything, it was made with half sugar and half sweetener.  Mrs J subbed Splenda for all the sugar in the filling, but she did go with real brown sugar on top so it would brown.DSC_0826 (1600x1060)Fresh from the oven!  We set this into the big freezer so it would firm up nicely for cutting into individual bars.  An hour or two and it was good to go.  I feared it might stick to the pan but it came out easily, be sure to remember to butter the pan!

Cookie Pr0n – Oatmeal Chocolate Chip

20150605_200808King Arthur Recipe of the Year for 2015!  Mrs J baked a couple of trays this evening, subbing Splenda brown sugar blend (1/2 c for 1 c of packed regular brown sugar) and the regular Splenda for the granulated sugar per package directions – I think it’s 1 for 1 with that.  They came out really well.  Mrs J reminds me to add that you have to press the raw dough flat with your palm because the Splenda sweeteners won’t let them spread out like you would expect with cane sugars.  You know how to make these even better?20150605_202341

Mmm… Cookies

DSC_0003 (1600x1060)Mrs J busied herself in the kitchen after dinner and tried out a new cookie recipe she found written on the Splenda sweetener blend package but it’s also online here.  They are amazingly good, even considering my expectations were low because of the artificial nature of the substitute brown sugar stuff.  I does contain significant parts of the real thing so it’s better than the Kroger store brand of the same sort of sweetener.  I will note that she added pecans to her batch.  We both give this recipe thumbs up!

Summer Slaw

DSC_8194 (1600x1060)We swung by the supermarket deli to pick up some of their fried chicken and a couple of sides – we had been shopping garden centers and were getting hungry with nothing quick to eat in the fridge.  We really didn’t want to go to a burger joint or the Chinese buffet.  Mrs J picked a pair of cold salads while I grabbed a box of chicken.  She opted for a mustard potato salad and something that was labeled as “summer slaw”.

The summer slaw was pretty good, we looked online for a copycat recipe but didn’t find anything that looked close.  It had tomato bits, cabbage, and  green bits that were sliced green onion tops and something else – green bell pepper or maybe cucumber with the skin on.  We went with “both”.  The dressing was thin and white and put me in mind of the dressing I use for the copycat KFC slaw dressing.

I whisked a dollop of mayo with buttermilk and rice vinegar, added Splenda to taste, and celery salt with ground white pepper.  It may not be what the deli used in theirs but it came out pretty good!

Summer Slaw

one small head of cabbage, shredded fine

half of an English cucumber, minced

1/4 cup of minced green bell pepper

two small tomatoes, seeded and chopped small

a small bunch of green onions, thinly sliced tops only


1/4 – 1/2 cup mayo

1/4 cup buttermilk

1/4 cup rice vinegar dressing (the flavored stuff)

sugar (Splenda) – go with 1/8 -1/4 cup

celery salt and white pepper to taste

* Just guessing after the fact on the dressing quantities.

Mmm…pasta salad

TaMara’s macaroni salad had me jonesing for my own this fine day.

I didn’t follow a recipe, exactly.  I knew there needed to be pasta of some sort and a half bag of these bowties seemed to fit the bill.  I knew I wanted to use some of the cherry tomatoes our patio plantings are bearing for us.  Half the battle, right there.  Mayo seemed obvious, and that took me to the sour cream right there by it in the fridge.  So far, so good.  OK, celery, diced a few stalks, and that suggested celery seed, in went those things.  Onion, check-red bell pepper, check-dill weed, check-a little minced dill pickle? Why not, check.  Hmm..hard boiled eggs!  Yes, absolutely!  A little touch of sour?  Aah, some rice vinegar is pretty mellow, some sweet to balance the sour?  Splenda-splendid!  Some kosher salt and some black pepper and Ta Da!

Mmm…chocolate filled cannolis

We made up a bunch of cannoli shells for the picnic last week but Mrs J came down sick and we never got around to filling them till today.  They’ve been in the freezer and seem none the worse for the wait.

Last filling she made up was the basic vanilla filling of sweetened riccota and cream cheeses.  They were pretty good but I prevailed upon her to do something chocolaty with these.  I found a filling recipe and printed it out but she went her own way on this batch.

We made a smallish batch using the following recipe:

1 c riccota

1/2 c cream cheese

1/3 c cocoa powder

1/2 c Splenda

1/2 c semi sweet chocolate chips-whirled for a bit in a processor

3/4 c chopped hazelnuts

Mix in a bowl and then pipe the mixture into both ends of the cannoli tubes.