We’ve all been told to eat our veggies, drink our milk and stop eating so much sugar and other junk food. While there has been a much-renewed focus on health and nutrition even in the last few years, there’s still the problem of obesity and lack of exercise. For some a healthy lifestyle is a must. Others may find it a little harder to get on board with proper nutrition, and with an astounding 34.9% of adults and approximately 17% of children (Source) in America suffering from obesity, it has never been more important to emphasize proper nutrition and good health.
Delicious food and travel come together in desserts from around the world! One of the finest parts of travel is exposure to new regional food favorites. Even if a Eurotrip is not in your near future, trying dishes from around the world is one way to experience other countries and cultures from the comfort of your own kitchen. While ice cream, brownies, and patriotic berry pie are certainly enough to satisfy any sweet tooth, you must try these desserts from around the world at least once.
This egg-based pastry makes its way to American kitchens from Portugal. The outside is crispy and brown, and a creamy custard tops this dessert. Pastéis de Nata is perfect paired with decaf coffee after an evening meal.
If you want to create this Portuguese pastry in your own kitchen, get a muffin tin with 2 by 5/8 inch wells, and follow the recipe from Leites Culinaria.
Baklava’s hometown is Istanbul, Turkey, although this dessert is enjoyed all over the world. Light and flaky, baklava is perfect if you want something sweet but not too heavy. Often filled with nuts, the layers of this pastry are held together by syrup or honey. Beware – this dessert can be messy to eat!
Check out Epicurious.com for the how-to!
Flan is a favorite Mexican dessert that has become popular in many other parts of the world. Although there are several variations of this tasty treat, flan typically has a pastry-like exterior with a sweet filling in the middle.
Read here for full details on making your own flan! Prep time is only 20 minutes, which makes this dessert an easy one for beginners.
Regardless if you ever visit Portugal, Turkey, or Mexico, you nevertheless will have enjoyed staples of their cuisine. Want more delicious dessert recipes? Check out The Food Network!
Are there any other international treats that you recommend? Comment below and let us know!
Chocolate chip cookies make life a little better, and these delicious treats from Pinterest have somehow managed to take chocolate chip cookies to the next level. If cookie dough dipped in chocolate isn’t enough incentive to try this recipe, consider that these tasty tidbits from Bakerella and Lindsay Landis’ “The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook: Cookies, Cakes, Candies, and More” are healthier than raw cookie dough alone! Why? The recipe takes the salmonella risks of raw cookie dough out of the mix by substituting uncooked eggs with other delicious ingredients. Next time you make a trip to the grocery store, pick up these items to make your chocolate chip cookie dough truffles!
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
- Small sprinkles
- Chocolate candy coating
You Will Also Need:
- 1-inch scoop or a spoon
- Popsicle sticks
To Make Your Truffles:
- In a large bowl, beat butter and sugars with an electric mixer until fluffy (about 3 minutes).
- Mix in milk and vanilla.
- Add flour and salt and mix on low until combined.
- Stir in chocolate chips.
- Chill dough in refrigerator for about 30 minutes until firm enough to scoop into 1-inch balls.
- Place rolled balls on a wax paper lined baking sheet and place in freezer for 15 minutes or more.
- Melt candy coating following instructions on the package. Remove a couple of balls from the freezer and insert the cut stick into each ball. Dip it in the candy coating and let any excess fall off back into the bowl.
- Add small sprinkles on top and place on wax paper to set. Note: If the chocolate pools at the bottom of the ball, dot the balls on the wax paper until most of it is pulled off the ball and then place it on a clean spot of the wax paper to set.
You can also decorate them to look like chocolate chip cookies! Flatten the balls before freezing. Take a popsicle stick, put it in the middle of the cookie, and dip into the candy coating. If you want to add sprinkles, do so before the candy coating hardens. Make sure to refrigerate these goodies. They will be good for up to a week!
If you love chocolate chip cookies (who doesn’t, though) and are looking for a “no cooking required” recipe, this treat is for you. Thanks to this recipe, you can enjoy raw cookie dough without risking a salmonella episode.
In case you didn’t satisfy your chocolate chip cookie fix with the above recipe, here is another spin off of the chocolate chip cookie! This recipe from SugarHero takes the cake for making dessert even more delightful. Don’t be daunted by the long recipe – the Neapolitan chocolate chip cookie cake takes only 22 minutes to prepare before popping it in the oven. It serves 12-16 people, so everyone will get a piece (or two).
- 13¾ oz (3¼ cups) all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking soda
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp salt
- 9 oz butter
- 11¼ oz (1½ cups) brown sugar, lightly packed
- 4 eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 18 oz (3 cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 3 oz unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
- 2 cups freeze-dried strawberries
- 12 oz butter, at room temperature
- 36 oz (9 cups) powdered sugar
- ½ cup milk, divided use
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
To Make Your Cookie Layers:
- Line three 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper. Spray them with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside. Combine the butter and sugar in the bowl of a large stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat them together on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add one egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla extract.
- With the mixer running on low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix until just a few streaks of flour remain. Finish mixing by hand, and stir in the chocolate chips.
- Divide the dough between the three prepared pans. Bake the cakes for about 22 minutes until they’re golden brown, starting to pull away from the sides of the pan, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Set the cakes on a wire rack until completely cool.
To Make Your Frosting:
- Microwave the unsweetened chocolate in a small bowl in 30-second increments until melted. Once melted and smooth, set it aside to cool to room temperature.
- Place the freeze-dried strawberries in a food processor until they are a fine powder.
- Combine the butter, powdered sugar, ⅓ cup milk, vanilla extract, and salt in the large bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on low speed until the sugar is moistened.
- Raise the speed to medium and beat for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Divide the frosting into three portions, making one slightly larger than the other two.
- Stir the melted chocolate and a tablespoon of milk into the second portion.
- Stir the strawberry powder and the remaining milk into the third portion.
The Grand Finale:
- Place one cookie layer on your serving plate and spread the chocolate frosting on top.
- Add a second cookie on top and spread the strawberry frosting on the second cookie.
- Top the stack with the third cookie. Spread some vanilla frosting on top and use the rest to pipe rosettes or other decorations around the edge. Top with chocolate chips or sprinkles.
Chocolate chip cookie dough truffles and Neapolitan chocolate chip cookie cake not enough? Get chocolate chip cookie recipes and more delivered right to your door via the Food Network Magazine! Let us know how much you enjoy these decadent desserts, and start living more deliciously today.
Sometimes, it’s just too hot to be outside. When you and your children want to spend some quality time together but don’t want to brave the heat or spend money on indoor activities like going to a movie theater for the latest blockbuster, it’s time to get creative!
Make a taco bar with the whole family! Get out of the sun for a little while with this delicious, creative recipe from Food Network Magazine. Everyone can play “chef,” with each person in charge of his or her own part of the taco bar, from the guacamole station to the hot sauce station. An extra perk of this family friendly recipe? With a multi-compartment lunch box, you can even take your taco bar with you for work or school lunches for a tasty lunch that is much cheaper than dining out!
To make 2-4 servings, you will need:
- 4 thin slices roast beef (about 3 ounces)
- 4 (6-inch) soft flour tortillas
- 1/3 cup shredded cheddar or Monterey jack cheese
- 1/4 cup store-bought fresh guacamole
- 1/4 cup store-bought fresh salsa
- Mini bottle hot sauce
- 2-4 multi-compartment lunch boxes
- 2 tablespoons sour cream or plain yogurt (optional)
- “chefs” to help out
- Fold 1 slice roast beef inside each of 2 soft tortillas, and put in the biggest compartment of the lunch box
- Sprinkle cheese onto the roast beef and tortilla
- Pack other compartments with guacamole, salsa, sour cream and other favorite toppings each.
- Seal and send off to school or bring to work!
Everyone has the chance to contribute to the meal, and you get to spend a little extra time with the family!
On lazy summer days, sometimes we just don’t feel like being active, and even cooking a meal together seems too ambitious. Even energetic children need some downtime! Take the opportunity to read to your kids. You can even act out scenes from the stories to get them involved! Scholastic’s Parent & Child magazine has a few recommendations for places to start.
- Charlotte’s Web
- Tuck Everlasting
- A Wrinkle in Time
- Anne of Green Gables
- Where the Wild Things Are
Reading together will stimulate your children’s imaginations and will build memories that will last a lifetime! Support local literacy and save money by renting these books from your local library. Need more reading ideas for children? Magazines like Highlights can turn a lazy afternoon into a time of learning and discovery for children!
Indoor camping is another budget-friendly way to get the whole family involved. All you need are a few household materials before you and your kids are ready for a camping adventure!
- Graham crackers
- Small candles
- Additional snacks (optional)
Choose a “campsite” – a room with enough space for the project – and tie the rope to furniture. Drape the sheets over the furniture to create your tent. Once you are ready for the camping to begin, get the small candle, chocolate, marshmallows, and graham crackers for mini s’mores! Turn out the lights and use the flashlight to make the camping experience more realistic.
Even when the temperatures a tipping the 90s, you and your family can find fun, inexpensive ways to enjoy the summer. Let us know which of these ideas is your favorite!
Are you ready for the most patriotic day of the year? Whether you have a fully planned 4th of July event or still have more on your holiday to-do list than you would like to admit, add a little more red, white, and blue to your weekend with these American themed cooking and decorating ideas!
What is more American than apple pie? Red, white, and blue-themed cherry and blueberry pie! Try a twist on an American classic for an easy, delicious Independence Day dessert. Whether you are cooking for a potluck or a small event with family and friends, this mouth-watering recipe from Food Network Magazine is sure to please everyone. Preparation time is only 20 minutes, and Food Network Magazine gives this treat an “easy” level rating.
What You Need:
- 1 package double pie crust mix
- 1 (20-ounce) can cherry pie filling
- 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 pint fresh blueberries, reserve 1/4 cup for garnish
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 2 cups vanilla ice cream
What You Do:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Prepare pie crust according to package directions. Divide into 6 equal portions, roll into balls and refrigerate covered for at least 1 hour. On a lightly floured surface, roll each into a circle about 1/4-inch thick.
- Place each of the rolled out circles onto the baking sheet. Divide cherry pie filling into the center of each of the 6 pie crusts and sprinkle each with the pumpkin pie spice. Fold the edges of the pie dough over the cherry pie filling, making sure to leave the center of the pie exposed. Place a few of the reserved blueberries on top of each pie. Brush the sides of the pies with milk and sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of the sugar. Place pies in the oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
For Blueberry Topping:
- In a medium sauce pan over medium heat, stir together blueberries, sugar, and two tablespoons water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
- To serve, place 1 warm pie on 6 plates, top each pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a generous drizzle of the blueberry sauce.
Sometimes a delicious dessert alone is not enough. Go the extra mile with tasteful red, white, and blue DIY decorations! BrightNest’s DIY patriotic firework placemats are a simple, quick way to add a nice touch to your 4th of July event.
What You Need:
- White, beige, or light-colored fabric placemats
- Red and blue fabric paints
- A kitchen scrub brush
- A paper plate
- Water for rinsing the kitchen scrub.
What You Do:
- Pour a quarter-sized amount of red fabric paint onto a paper plate; repeat for blue paint.
- Dip the scrub brush bristles one of the colors of paint and firmly press the bristles into the fabric to start making your design.
- To create the appearance of fireworks, alternate and overlap paint colors. Make sure to rinse the kitchen scrub in water between alternations to avoid overly blending your colors.
- Let the placemats dry in a safe place and – voila! You have your own patriotic placemats.
Tip: Want to add a little more flair to your fireworks? Use a second, smaller kitchen scrub to create smaller fireworks!
As you prepare for an all-American celebration full of potlucks, get-togethers, fireworks shows, and more, these quick Independence Day extras will add a little more bang to your weekend. Have a fun and safe 4th of July, and remember those who sacrificed for our freedom.
If you want more easy DIY decoration ideas, check out http://bit.ly/1o7EWSd. Have any other 4th of July cooking or decorating ideas? Feel free to share them below in the comments section.
“Interwoven as is the love of liberty with every ligament of your hearts, no recommendation of mine is necessary to fortify or confirm the attachment.”
– George Washington in his Farewell Address
Did you know that June is National Fresh Fruits & Vegetables Month?
According to the National Gardening Association, one in three Americans households now grow their own food. In the past five years, the number of Americans with some type of garden increased by 17%. The largest increase came from those in the 18-to-34 year old bracket. Reasons given for gardening included: the produce tasted better and cost less than at the supermarket, it was healthier and of better quality, and it enabled individuals to spend time outdoors and feel productive. Many parents also noted that they enjoyed teaching their children how to garden.
The top 10 garden-grown vegetables in the United States are:
2.) Sweet peppers
4.) Hot peppers
8.) Summer squash
Farmers’ markets are a popular alternative for individuals who don’t have the time or space to garden. They have increased in popularity throughout the last five years: in 2009, there were around 5,000 registered farmers’ markets in the United States; today, there are over 8,000.
Despite the growing popularity of gardening and shopping at farmers’ markets, however, Americans are still not eating the recommended daily amount of fruits and vegetables. ABCNews.com found that only 11% of Americans consume the recommended daily intake of fruits and vegetables.
If you’re looking for ways to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your meals, follow these tips from Cooking Light:
1.) Eat More Fruits for Breakfast
* Stir berries (fresh or frozen), dried fruit, or banana slices into yogurt, cereal, or oatmeal.
* Eat a fruit salad or drink fruit juice.
* Cut up a banana and eat it with peanut butter toast.
* Make a fruit smoothie. There are thousands of great smoothie recipes. You can whip them up in a matter of minutes. They’re a healthy and delicious breakfast alternative! You can find lots of great smoothie recipes in Taste of Home magazine.
2.) Add More Vegetables to Each Dish
* Add extra vegetables to a pizza, casserole, or sandwich. If you’re making Eggplant Parmesan, double the amount of eggplant. If you’re making Chicken Pot Pie, double the amount of vegetables in the dish.
* Add extra vegetables to your sandwich. Switch up traditional sandwich toppings such as lettuce and tomatoes with unique alternatives like cucumbers, zucchini, or apples.
3.) Sneak Fruits/Vegetables into Meals
* Add mushrooms, eggplant, onions, peppers, and squash to your spaghetti sauce recipe. Add grated vegetables to your meatloaf or soup. For more recipes ideas, check out Taste of Home!
* Make carrot cake, pumpkin bread, corn muffins, blueberry coffee cake, and other healthier options.
4.) Make Meatless Meals
* Make meatless meals one day a week. You can make meatless salads, omelets, pizzas, soups, wraps, sandwiches, and other recipes. Make Eggplant Parmesan, Broccoli Cheddar Soup, and other hearty, healthy recipes. If you need ideas, peruse Vegetarian Times for inspiration!
5.) Try a New Fruit or Vegetable Each Week
* Try a new seasonal fruit or vegetable each week. Check out your local farmers’ market for ideas. Let your kids pick out a new fruit or vegetable that they want to try.
6.) Choose Healthy Snacks
* Keep a bowl of fresh fruit on the counter at home or at work.
* Eat dried fruit or pre-cut fruits and veggies for an afternoon snack.
* Drink fruit juice instead of soda. Half a cup of 100% fruit juice is equivalent to an entire serving.
7.) Make Fruity Desserts
* Dip bananas in antioxidant-rich dark chocolate and freeze them for a delicious dessert option.
* Top ice cream or frozen yogurt with fresh fruit.