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Ice Pop Extravaganza & Zoku Giveaway

24 Jun

Zoku Ice Pop Maker

I LOVE ice cream. I’ll try any flavor. I’ll occasionally eat it for breakfast. I’m the person at the ice cream shop who asks for scoops of multiple flavors (yes, sometimes I ask if they don’t mind putting them in a certain order…). But, as much as I love this creamy treat, whole fat dairy with delicious chunks of chocolate and swirls of caramel is not the best food to consume in large quantities.

Enter ice pops. I don’t mean those full-of-sugar, five-types-of-food-coloring ice pops in the freezer section. I mean all-fruit, no added sugar, totally good for you ice pops. It’s not exactly ice cream, but it’s a refreshing way to satisfy my dessert cravings.

I’ve been eyeing the Zoku Quick Pop Maker for about a year, so when I saw it a few weeks ago on a beautiful spring day, it was a sign that I should go for it. There are different sizes of the ice pop maker; I bought the one that you can make two at a time in (there are a single pop maker, or three pops/time). What I love about this ice pop maker is that you store it in the freezer. Then, when you take it out and fill it with a cold mixture (see below for some ideas), it makes an ice pop in about 8 minutes. Instant ice pop satisfaction!

Mango Ice Pop

This was the first one I made: just fresh mango and a little water, pureed in a blender. It was so easy and yummy.

Ice Pop Grapefruit Mango

I decided to get more adventurous with my second try: equal parts fresh grapefruit and mango, pureed, with a little water and maple syrup.

Strawberry banana yogurt pop

For my third pop I made my regular smoothie in the blender of frozen strawberries and bananas, blended with yogurt and water, and then poured it into the mold to make a yogurt pop!

I’m not typically into specialized kitchen gadgets, but I have been thoroughly enjoying the Zoku Quick Pop Maker. I love the option to have almost instant ice pops. Plus, I’ve been making four at a time, eating one, and freezing the other three for later.

This contest ended on 7/1/14.

Thank you to all who entered!

The Giveaway!

Want to try out the Quick Pop Maker for yourself? I’m giving away a Zoku Quick Pop Maker! It looks like this:

our_products_quick_pop_maker (1)

(Image from the Zoku site)

Here’s how to enter: Click here to enter! You are required to leave a comment below sharing your favorite ice pop flavor. Then there are some additional ways to get more entries by following EatingPlaces and Zoku on Twitter and Facebook. If you win, you can choose which color you’d like (white, blue, purple, red, orange or green).

The giveaway ends Tuesday, July 1, at midnight EST. Please note: this giveaway is limited to US residents. I will use Rafflecopter to select a winner at random and individually contact the winner. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them below.

I bought the Zoku Quick Pop Maker on my own and was not compensated for this post. Zoku provided the giveaway Quick Pop Maker – thank you, Zoku! All opinions are my own.

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SSL: Desserts, March 1

1 Mar

Spicy Chocolate Pots De Creme

Saturday AND the beginning of March. I try not to rush away the seasons, but I am ready for spring.

I need to start by bringing back these delicious Spicy Chocolate Pots De Creme that I posted a while back. I created this recipe for a contest through Marx Foods. The recipe didn’t win, but I was inspired to create this dessert that I could not get enough of.

Coconut Rice Pudding with Mango Puree from a thought for food. This sounds perfect for spring and his pictures are beautiful, as always.

Spiced Double Chocolate Cookies, also from a thought for food, and not a new recipe…but after I found the coconut rice pudding, I started looking around, and you know how it goes.

I’ve never made anything like this Passionfruit & Red Bean New Year’s Cake from desserts for breakfast. I love most desserts with red beans.

gimme some oven’s 3-Ingredient Flourless Chocolate Cake. THREE ingredients. Mix it up, throw it in the oven. My kind of dessert.

Paleo Chocolate Chip, Coconut, & Almond Flour Cookies from Healthy Food for Living. I always feel like I can eat 500 of a somewhat healthier cookie.

Happy Saturday!

Coconut Rice Recipe

26 Dec

Have you ever wanted to make something for a while, but you thought it was super complicated? That’s how I felt about coconut rice. But I finally decided to do some research and put together a recipe that can be a side to a meal or a dessert (especially if you add a tiny more sugar and serve with ice cream – it could be dessert!) It’s easy and tastes way more complicated than it is, so why impress some family and friends while your house is full of them?

Variations of coconut rice are found in many cuisines and locations, including India, Thailand, parts of South America, and the Caribbean. Every region adds a different flavor – some versions are sweet with raisins and others are more savory. The texture also varies – I love Thai coconut rice made with glutinous rice and mango, which is like a very thick pudding.

This recipe will make rice that keeps the same texture as white rice cooked in water or stock, but with an added kick of coconut and slight sweetness. It’s also a one-pot meal, because I try to avoid doing extra dishes whenever possible.

Coconut Rice

Coconut Rice (makes 4 servings)

Ingredients

1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup white rice (I used jasmine rice)
14 oz light coconut milk (one can)
1/4 cup water
1 T coconut oil (or butter/oil)
1 T brown sugar
1 t salt

Instructions

  1. In a medium-sized sauce pan, toast the shredded coconut on low heat. Stir occasionally. When the coconut is slightly brown (2-3 minutes), remove from heat and pour coconut into a little bowl or plate.
  2. Using the same pot, add coconut oil, sugar, and salt over medium heat. Stir until the sugar begins to combine. The sugar clumped a little for me, but don’t worry, it will combine while the rice is cooking.
  3. Add the rice and stir until the rice is covered in the oil.
  4. Turn the stove to high. Add the coconut milk and water, stirring once (only once!) and covering with a lid. When the rice comes to a boil, turn down to a slow simmer.
  5. Cook rice (covered) for 18 minutes. When the time is up, remove from heat and let sit, still covered, for about 10 minutes.
  6. When it’s done resting, serve and top with the toasted coconut.

Have you tried coconut rice? Who makes it best?

2nd Annual Cookie Swap for a Cause and After-Party

20 Dec

View over Fort Point from Space with a Soul

On Sunday I attended the 2nd Annual Cookie Swap for a Cause event at Space with a Soul in Fort Point, Boston. Boston Food Swap organized the event to raise money for Cookies for Kids’ Cancer through the Glad to Give Campaign. Glad donated one dollar for every cookie swapped and attendees were asked to bring at least 4 dozen cookies. I made 53 cookies, which means I donated $53. In total the event raised over $4,000. A huge success!

This was my first time visiting Space with a Soul. The image above is the view from their event space. Nice even on a rainy Sunday.

I made ginger snap cookies in the shape of snails (I know, they look like whales, too – whatever you want to call them is fine by me).  The recipe is from America’s Test Kitchen, which I’ll post soon.

My ginger snap cookies in the shape of snails

The atmosphere was fun and I had a great time catching up with Shannon and Adri from Google+ Local (sponsoring the event), along with my friend Krystal who joined me for the swap and after-party.

As guests arrived, we placed our cookies on tables throughout the room and then enjoyed some drinks and activities while we waited about an hour until swapping began.

Mint Chocolate Seltzer from Polar

So I didn’t think I would ever try these crazy Polar seltzer flavors like mint chocolate and eggnog, but I did at the swap. I the mint chocolate was good – refreshing with a hint of sweet. I wasn’t sure how thick and creamy eggnog could translate to fresh and bubbly…I learned not too well. It was fun to try, though.

Deep Eddy Vodka was also there mixing drinks with their regular vodka and sweet tea vodka. I had a sweet tea lemonade and then a pear vodka (using Polar’s spiced pear seasonal flavor) – both were delicious. Deep Eddy is based in Austin, Texas and their products can be found in larger liquor stores throughout the Northeast.

My decorated Google + Local Cookie

Then I ventured over to the Google+ Local table and decorated a cookie! Note to self: marshmallows are delicious on frosted cookies. I also tried a yummy mint M&M (not pictured above) for the first time.

I learned about the Neiman Marcus Urban Legend Cookie – I’m not sure who made them, but they were delicious. I’m going to make them sometime. Although I didn’t get to try Hiroshi’s Green Tea Cookies (below), I did get the recipe and I can’t wait to try those out because 1. I love using matcha and 2. they’re pretty!

Green Tea Cookies from the Cookie Swap

Some other bakers gave me great ideas for my own projects, including maple snickerdoodles, chocolate-dipped cookies, and beautiful Italian rainbow cookies (the ones with pink, yellow, and green layers covered in chocolate).

As the swap came to an end, a group of Google+ Local reviewers and I headed over to Lucky’s Lounge with Adri and Shannon to enjoy cookie-themed cocktails and post-swap snacks. I had a ‘thin mint’ style martini (maybe I was still craving those mint M&Ms?), burger slider with a tiny fried egg, mac & cheese, a deviled egg, and veggies and cheese. Everyone at Luckys was helpful and friendly to our group – I was glad to finally check them out.

Have a favorite cookie you’ve swapped or shared for the holidays? Let me know in the comments and feel free to leave a link to a recipe!

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