Friday, May 29, 2015

Strawberry Salsa


Remember, my Pineapple salsa I made a few weeks ago? Where I combined tropical pineapple with spicy salsa? Well, if you love spicy mixed with a little sweetness, then you are going to L-O-V-E the taste of strawberries in this salsa!

Fresh strawberries combined with cool cucumbers and spicy jalapeƱos. It wakes up your taste buds that have been sleepwalking through all of your meals over the last few days, months, or even years.

And the best part about this salsa, you can eat it with plain tortilla chips or you can pair it with cinnamon sugar tortilla chips for an entirely different snack.


Whatever you thought about salsa before, my Strawberry Salsa is sure to change the way you think about salsa from now on.

Strawberry Salsa

Recipe by Julie Murphy
A sweet & fruity twist on traditional salsa.
Prep time: 7 minutes
Cook time: 0
Total time: 7 minutes
Yield: 1 and 1/2 cups salsa
Ingredients
  • 4 strawberries, pureed
  • 1 cup whole strawberries, diced
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh cilantro, diced
  • 9 slices (about 1/2 of a whole) English cucumber, diced
Directions
  1. Puree 4 strawberries. Place into a medium bowl.
  2. Add diced strawberries, lime juice, cilantro, and cucumber to pureed strawberries. Mix together.
  3. Serve with tortilla chips, cinnamon sugar tortilla chips, or over vanilla ice cream.
  4. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

All content and images are property of Sweet and Spicy Monkey. Please do not reprint this content without my permission. If you wish to include this recipe on your site, please re-write in your own words and use your own photographs and link back to this post for original recipe.
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Sunday, May 24, 2015

Iceberg Lettuce Wedge Salad with Greek Yogurt Bleu Cheese Dressing


This week’s #letsgetfoodiechallenge from Amanda is for us to create our best recipe with green, in honor of National Vegetarian week which ran from the 18th to the 24th of May.

All your life, ever since you were a small child, (even though some of you still might be!) you've been told to eat your vegetables. Most people (kids and adults) hate eating their vegetables because ....well, because vegetables just don't taste as good as potato chips, fast food, and candy. And I hate to be the one to burst your bubble, but potato chips don't count as a serving of vegetables (I'm so sorry!). However, vegetables can taste good when made correctly with lots of flavor and without all the fat and calories.

I'm about to share with you a recipe for a simple salad that's easy to make and a Greek yogurt bleu cheese dressing that tastes just as good as the fat laden version. What better way to try this healthy bleu cheese dressing than on a simple wedge salad.


Yes, another two recipes on one post! Boy, y'all are just getting it from me these last few weeks! I hope you enjoy this recipe and for all the food challenge recipes, just search #letsgetfoodiechallenge and see what other dishes the other guys and gals are making.


Bon Appetit!

Iceberg Lettuce Wedge Salad

Recipe by Julie Murphy
An easy and healthy way to serve individual salads.
Prep time: 12
Cook time: 3 minutes, for the edamame
Total time: 15 minutes
Yield: 4 individual salads
Ingredients
  • 1 head iceberg lettuce, rinsed
  • 1 package grape tomatoes, rinsed
  • 1 English cucumber, washed and sliced
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 1 package edamame, cooked and hulled
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 small package fresh chives, rinsed and diced
  • dash Salt & pepper
Cooking Directions
  1. Edamame is best prepared the night before so it can cool down and absorb the lime juices. Prepare edamame as directed on package. Hull edamame so you're left only with the edamame beans.
  2. Place edamame in a small bowl. Add lime juice and a pinch of sea salt. Cover and refrigerate to let chill.
  3. To prepare your wedge salad, cut head of lettuce into quarters and place on plates.
  4. Prepare other ingredients and place around lettuce quarters.
  5. Dollop bleu cheese dressing over lettuce and garnish with chives, edamame, avocado, and remaining bleu cheese crumbles.
  6. Salt and pepper as desired.
  7. Best served with extra dressing on side.

Greek Yogurt Bleu Cheese Dressing

Recipe by Julie Murphy
A delicious healthy version of the classic bleu cheese dressing.
Prep time: 5
Cook time: 0
Total time: 5
Yield: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • 1 cup Plain Greek yogurt, nonfat
  • 2 teaspoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 5 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
  • 4 ounces Bleu cheese crumbles
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
Cooking Directions
  1. Add all ingredients into a blender or food processor and blend until combined. Dressing will be thick. If you prefer your dressing a little thinner, you can add a little more lime juice or olive oil.
  2. Place into small jar or bowl and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  3. Can store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Raspberry Lemon Panna Cotta with Raspberry Coulis


When the Daily Meal and Driscoll's asked me to use raspberries in a dish, I couldn't wait to make something yummy. I love fresh berries during the summer - strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries. I love them all. I know it's not summer yet but it's warm and sunny outside and that's good enough for me!


And did you know that raspberries are good for your heart? That's right, the American Heart Association has certified raspberries as heart healthy because they have the flavonoids quercetin and gallic acid, which aid in the prevention of heart diseases by helping to keep the heart healthy.

Plus a one cup serving of raspberries has only 4 grams of sugar, which makes these little red berries even more scrumptious to eat! And berries make the best kind of desserts during the warmer months with their natural sweetness that comes from being kissed by the sun.

I have to admit, it wasn't that difficult to figure out what I was going to make with raspberries.



You know that feeling...the one when you're in love and you want to spend every waking moment with each other? Yes, that warm and fuzzy all over feeling. Well that's the way I feel about Panna Cotta, my new love!

After my Lemon Panna Cotta a couple days ago, I just couldn't get enough and found myself thinking about it day and night. I was obsessed with it. I knew I had to do something and that's how this Raspberry Lemon Panna Cotta came about.


A combination of sweet and tangy lemons mixed with the fresh sun kissed taste of raspberries all in one decadent creamy dessert. It's a match made in Heaven!

Raspberry Lemon Panna Cotta

Recipe by Julie Murphy
A lightly sweetened, chilled Italian raspberry and lemon treat for summer.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon raspberry extract
  • 1 package (6 ounces) Driscoll's raspberries, rinsed
  • 1 package unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 3 Tablespons cold water
Cooking Directions
  1. Add raspberries to food processor or blender and puree.
  2. Place pureed raspberries into a fine strainer, place a clean bowl under strainer, and using a spatula, gently push down on raspberry puree to help remove seeds from raspberries. You should end up with about 3 to 4 Tablespoons of strained raspberry puree. Don't worry if it still has a few seeds. If too many seeds push through, you can always repeat straining process. Set strained raspberry puree aside.
  3. In a medium saucepan, add heavy cream and half & half with honey. Heat over low to medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until honey is dissolved, about 7 to 10 minutes. You want to warm cream blend, not boil it. You should be able to stick a finger into the cream to test warmth.
  4. Remove from heat and mix in vanilla, raspberry extract, strained pureed raspberries to cream and honey blend. Cover and set aside.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, add cold water. Sprinkle powdered gelatin over cold water. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes as gelatin blooms.
  6. Meanwhile, remove serving cups with Lemon Panna cotta from refrigerator and uncover cups/and or bowls. Set aside.
  7. After gelatin blooms, slowly add in warm raspberry cream blend, stirring to help dissolve all of gelatin. Continue to add in cream mixture and stirring.
  8. After gelatin is completely dissolved, pour or ladle into prepared cups and/or bowls.
  9. Place in refrigerator and let chill for at least 4 hours before serving.
  10. If serving in cups/bowls, top with lemon curd, raspberry coulis, and fresh raspberries.
  11. If unmolding out of cups/bowls, gently run a clean knife around the edges of the Panna Cotta and turn upside down over serving plate. Panna Cotta should slide out. Top same as if serving in cups or bowls with lemon curd, raspberry coulis, and fresh raspberries.

Recipe for Lemon Panna Cotta can be found here. Recipe for Raspberry Coulis below. Recipe for Lemon Curd here.

When making this Raspberry Lemon Panna Cotta, prepare Lemon Panna Cotta as directed, filling serving cups and/or bowls halfway. Place in refrigerator for at least 4 hours to chill before adding Raspberry Panna Cotta. Chill for another 4 hours before serving.


Raspberry Coulis

Recipe by Julie Murphy
A quick and easy way to make Raspberry Coulis, a sweetened raspberry sauce used for decoration of desserts.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25 seconds
Total time: 6 minutes
Yield: 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons
Ingredients
  • 3 ounces fresh raspberries, rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon honey
Cooking Directions
  1. Using a food processor, puree raspberries.
  2. Place pureed raspberries into a fine strainer. Place a clean, small bowl under the strainer. Using a spatula or back of a wooden spoon, gently press down on raspberry puree and push through the strainer. Repeat process until seeds have been removed from raspberries. Its ok if a few seeds are still in the strained raspberry puree. You will have to use a clean spoon to scrape the strained raspberries off of the bottom of the strainer. You should end up with about 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons of strained raspberries.
  3. Add honey to strained, pureed raspberries and mix together.
  4. Place bowl in microwave for 10 seconds on High setting. After 10 seconds, remove bowl and stir.
  5. Place bowl back into microwave and cook for another 10 to 15 seconds. Watch carefully as you do not want raspberries to boil or overcook. You just want to heat up. Remove from microwave and stir together.
  6. Let cool to room temperature and then place bowl into refrigerator for at least 15 to 30 minutes before using.

Disclaimer ~ I am not employed by Driscoll's and was not paid nor compensated for this post. All ideas and opinions are my own.
 
All content and images are property of Sweet and Spicy Monkey. Please do not reprint this content without my permission. If you wish to include this recipe on your site, please re-write in your own words and use your own photographs and link back to this post for original recipe.
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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Lemon Panna Cotta


Yes, a lemon recipe. However, this isn't just your ordinary lemon recipe. This is an easy to make recipe that looks elegant and is perfect for any get together. It's lightly sweet and cool on the tongue and not to mention looks like you spent all day making it.

Panna Cotta is a classic Italian dessert. It reminds me of a cross between custard and Jello, a sweet and creamy jiggly dessert.


Traditionally, Panna Cotta is made with cream, honey, egg whites, and a gelatinous form of cooked fish bones. Lucky for you (and me) home cooks have simplified the recipe by using unflavored gelatin so you can make this under 30 minutes.

It's a most versatile dessert as you can make it with heavy cream, half and half, buttermilk, coconut milk, almond, or cashew milk. Plus you can use your choice of sweetener or flavor you desire.


Believe it or not, I never had Panna Cotta before, let alone made it. I stumbled upon it while looking for semifreddo recipes, another recipe I've never had or made. Semifreddo is (still) on my bucket list. I hope to make it sometime this year.

Back to this Panna Cotta, I found a basic Panna Cotta recipe by David Lebovitz, added a little lemon extract, lemon juice and zest, a little dollop of homemade curd, blackberry or lemon (because you can never have enough lemon) topped it off with a fresh blackberry, and Wa-la!

It really is effortless, yet looks so elegant, and everyone will love it. Your family and friends will be wowed by your skills of perfecting this Italian dessert ( even though you and I know this is your first time making it!).


I think I'm in love......with this Lemon Panna Cotta!

Lemon Panna Cotta

Recipe by Julie Murphy
A lightly sweetened, chilled lemon treat for summer.
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10 minutes
Total time: 25 minutes
Yield: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 2 cups buttermilk, full fat
  • 2 cups buttermilk, reduced fat
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon extract
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 lemon, zest from
  • 2 packets unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 6 Tablespoons cold water
Cooking Directions
  1. In a medium saucepan, add buttermilk and honey. Heat over low to medium heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until honey is dissolved, about 7 to 10 minutes. You want to warm buttermilk not boil it. You should be able to stick a finger into the buttermilk to test warmth.
  2. Remove from heat and mix in vanilla, lemon extract, lemon juice, and lemon zest to buttermilk and honey blend. Cover and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, add cold water. Sprinkle powdered gelatin over cold water. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes as gelatin blooms.
  4. Meanwhile, prepare serving cups and/or bowls by lightly spraying with an unflavored cooking spray or oil. Wipe off excess with a clean paper towel.
  5. After gelatin blooms, slowly add in warm buttermilk blend, stirring to help dissolve all of gelatin. Continue to add in buttermilk mixture and stirring.
  6. After gelatin is completely dissolved, pour or ladle into prepared cups and/or bowls.
  7. Place in refrigerator and let chill for at least 4 hours before serving.
  8. If serving in cups/bowls, top with lemon curd, blackberry curd, or fresh fruit.
  9. If unmolding out of cups/bowls, gently run a clean knife around the edges of the Panna Cotta and turn upside down over serving plate. Panna Cotta should slide out. Top same as if serving in cups or bowls with lemon curd, blackberry curd, or fresh fruit.


*Helpful Hints*

- Recipes for Lemon curd can be found here.

- Recipe for Blackberry curd can be found here.

Adapted from David Lebovitz basic Perfect Panna Cotta Recipe.

All content and images are property of Sweet and Spicy Monkey. Please do not reprint this content without my permission. If you wish to include this recipe on your site, please re-write in your own words and use your own photographs and link back to this post for original recipe.
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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Coconut Cream Truffles


I've done it again. I've put myself up for another food challenge. However, unlike my last challenge, the Sugar Crush Challenge, this current one is specific to me challenging myself to create a food from one of my fellow foodies, Amanda Bootes, food picks. And this week Amanda has challenged us to creating a recipe with chocolate.

Amanda chose chocolate to start off our challenge because she cares about raising awareness for the Sick Children'sTrust, who hosts a Big Chocolate Tea Party each year to help raise awareness, monies, and support for their charity.

 If you're interested in raising awareness for the Sick Children's Trust, you can also host a party, either online or through an organization such as schools or your workplace. Just go to their website here and check it out. It's a great way to give back to those in need of help.
Yes, that's a strawberry you see in the back there. With the leftover chocolate, I made chocolate dipped strawberries.
 
So in honor of the chocolate food challenge this week, I made a recipe I've had my eye on for some time now, Coconut Cream Truffles covered in dark chocolate.
A creamy coconut filling surrounded by a thin layer of dark chocolate. They remind me of a Mounds bar. So if you love Mounds bars, you're going to love these scrumptious little coconut bites.

And the best part is that I made them a little more healthy so you don't have to feel so guilty about eating them! I substituted coconut oil for the butter and pure coconut cream for the sugar laden cream of coconut. Plus I used organic unsweetened coconut flakes instead of the ones covered in sugar. And we all know dark chocolate is much better for you than milk chocolate.
 

The result is a sweet, creamy coconut center with a thin chocolate shell that satisfies any sweet tooth. If I never told you, you would never have guessed the ingredients I substituted to make these truffles good for you.
Stay updated to my blog for more food challenges this month from Amanda's  #letsgetfoodiechallenge.
 
 
Coconut Cream Truffles

Recipe by Julie Murphy
Scrumptious bites of creamy coconut covered in dark chocolate.
Prep time: 15
Total time: 25
Yield: 1 dozen
Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup organic coconut oil, softened
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut cream (separated from coconut milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract*
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1 cup organic unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 and 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 6-8 ounces dark chocolate melting wafers
Cooking Directions
  1. Line a cookie sheet with wax paper. Set aside.
  2. In a medium to large bowl, beat together coconut oil and coconut cream until smooth.
  3. Blend in coconut extract, vanilla, and salt.
  4. Gradually add in powdered sugar until thoroughly blended.
  5. Fold in coconut flakes, making sure everything is mixed together.
  6. Take Tablespoon size balls and roll between your palms until mixture is made into a uniform ball shape.
  7. Place onto wax paper and repeat.
  8. Once all of coconut mixture is shaped into balls, place cookie sheet into freezer for at least 1 hour so balls can set up. Can even leave in freezer overnight.
  9. When you're ready to dip ball shapes, prepare melting wafers as directed on package.
  10. Have 2-3 clean forks, a large spoon, and toothpicks available nearby.
  11. Place chilled ball into prepared dark chocolate. Leaving the ball in one place, take spoon and gently drip chocolate over the ball.
  12. Once ball is covered with chocolate, place ball onto spoon, lift out of dipping chocolate, gently transfer chocolate covered ball over to fork. Tap off excess chocolate using edge of bowl or two fingers from your free hand. Swipe fork on edge of bowl and repeat tap, swipe at least 2-3 times. You do this to remove excess chocolate so the chocolate doesn't overpower the coconut cream filling of your truffle.
  13. Once this process has been repeated 2-3 times, take truffle ball on fork over prepared cookie sheet with wax paper, place toothpick at bottom of truffle ball and gently swipe off of fork using the toothpick. Immediately sprinkle with coconut flakes or candy sprinkles if desired.
  14. After all truffles have been dipped in chocolate, place cookie sheet into refrigerator and chill for at least 1 hour to let chocolate set.
  15. Best served at room temperature.
 
*Helpful Hints*
 
- Watch me and learn how to dip your truffles here.

- I used Madagascar Vanilla extract, which is also known as bourbon vanilla.

-  As in the directions above, I state to have a few clean forks available while dipping your truffles. This is because you want a clean fork for dipping the truffles. Sometimes the truffle filling will get stuck between the tines. If this happens, just grab a clean fork that is nearby or wipe fork off clean with a towel.

Recipe inspired by ~ Dorothy at Crazy for Crust.
 
All content and images are property of Sweet and Spicy Monkey. Please do not reprint this content without my permission. If you wish to include this recipe on your site, please re-write in your own words and use your own photographs and link back to this post for original recipe.