Laura Valaas

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Peanut Butter Trail Mix Bar

Some pro cyclists had left this recipe at Barb’s house so we decided to try it. I mean, they were fast so they must know how to cook, right?! (logical fallacy)

3 c crispy rice cereal
3 c toasted oats
1 1/2 c rasins
3/4 c sunflower nuts
1 c honey
1 (16 oz) jar natural peanut butter
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
1 c chocolate chips
any other yummy things from the cupboard

1. Combine cereal, raisins, sunflower nuts, chocolate chips in large bowl.
2. Heat honey to boil for one minute. Add peanut butter and vanilla, stir until peanut butter is melted.
3. Pour over cereal mixture; mix well.
4. Press mixture into greased (or foil-lined) baking pan. When cool cut into squares.

The cutting into squares part didn’t really work for me. It more just crumbled into chunks of various sizes. Next time I might try packing the mix into round balls and letting it cool down that way. This makes a great post-workout snack.

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One of my favorite summertime snacks. Kirsten and I made a huge batch last week and it vanished quickly. I like my jello mixed with whipped cream or yoghurt.

Jello mix
hot water
cold water
random fruits

Follow directions on jello box, adding random fruit.

We layered different flavors of jello, adding a different fruit (frozen, fresh, canned) to each layer and letting the layers set for at least an hour in the fridge before carefully adding the next layer.

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Blueberry Pound Cake

You know the Cooking Light Cookbook? The purple one with the luscious blueberry pound cake on the cover, I think it’s the best recipes from the year 2004. Everytime I look at that book I want to eat the cover. What could be better on a summer day then a fluffy lemon cake lightly glazed with frosting and full of juicy blueberries? Mine did not look like the picture on the cover of the cookbook but it was still delicious! Try this:

2 cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup (4 oz) low fat cream cheese, softened
3 large eggs
1 large egg white
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (yum!)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (hint: do not confuse baking soda and baking powder… they are NOT interchangeable)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (8 oz) carton lemon low-fat yoghurt (I think Kirsten and I mixed vanilla and orange creamsicle yoghurts and put more in just because I like yoghurt- still worked out)
Cooking spray
1/2 cup sifted powdered sugar
4 teaspoons lemon juice

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Beat granulated sugar, butter, and cream cheese in mixer at medium speed until well-blended (~5 min.). Add eggs and egg white, one at a time, beating well after each egg. Beat in vanilla.
3. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine 2 tablespoons flour and blueberries in a small bowl and toss to coat. Combine remaining flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with yoghurt, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Fold in blueberry mixture.
4. Pour batter into a 10-inch tube pan (I think what we used was actually a jello mold) coated with cooking spray. Sharply tap pan once on counter to remove air bubbles. Bake at 350F for 75 minutes or until done.
5. Cool cake in pan on wire rack for 10 min., remove cake from sides of pan. Cool on wire rack for 15 more minutes before removing from the pan.
6. Combine powdered sugar and lemon juice in a small bowl; drizzle over warm cake. Cut into slices using a serrated knife.

Yield: 16 servings. (So the recipe claims. Looks like four servings to me.)

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Not a recipe; I wish I could make this. Since I eat chocolate much more than I cook desserts, I thought I should keep a review of the chocolates that I try.

Name: Lindt Excellence Dark chocolate, Extra Fine.
Cocoa: 85%
Country: France
Price: 3.5oz/100g for ?
Review: This is one of my standards. It has a high cocoa content but it is fine enough that it stays creamy in your mouth instead of breaking into unpleasant granules like many chocolates with a high cocoa percentage do. It also has a savory aroma where, like a mature red wine, you can’t stop trying to pick out the myriad of different scents it exudes. I like how thin the chocolate is, so you get bites of chocolate wafer instead of a chocolate boulder. The packaging makes it difficult to travel with because it is hard to rewrap.

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