Giveaway Archives - Parsley, Sage, and Sweet

Peanut Butter Cream and Berries Crepes plus a VISA Card and Peanut Butter Giveaway!

March 16, 2012 at 7:21 am | Posted in Breakfast, Dessert, Fruit, Giveaway, Healthy | 358 Comments
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I’m a peanut butter freak.  You might not have known that because I don’t have a lot of peanut butter treats, sweet or savory, on my blog.  Oh, I do have some, like..

OK, so maybe it’s a little more than I thought.

…but, the main reason I don’t have TONS, is because if I cooked or especially baked with peanut butter as much as I wanted to, I’d eat it all.  No giving most of it away, no one slice then ‘into the freezer’, no dumping the rest into the trash – all to eliminate the big gorge.  I’ve had an ongoing love affair with peanut butter since I was a child, and no amount of restraint can keep me from it’s creamy or crunchy ‘come hither’ lure.  This is why one of the above actions must take place when I do bake with it.

I even keep a jar of peanut butter in my bedroom.  Wow, that was kind of embarrassing to admit.

The first crepe in the upper left hand corner ‘went to the dog’ aka me.

So, I’ve got peanut butter desserts and a few savory lunch or dinner peanut butter treats, but what about BREAKFAST?  Yes, peanut butter for breakfast!

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by Lakeshia for the National Peanut Board about Promoting Peanut Butter for Breakfast.  I was offered a $50 VISA card, plus one to give away to one of you, along with a variety of peanut buttes, and a mug and spatula.  Obviously, the VISA card is definitely the biggie, the main lure, the Hell YES, right?  Not exactly in my case..all I could think was..

‘Yeah, yeah, just get that peanut butter to me ASAP’

I’ve eaten peanut butter for breakfast, again, since I was a child.  It started with the goofy blue suited captain cereal – ONLY the peanut butter crunch version.  I think I had that for breakfast almost every day kindergarten through 4th grade.  Then that morphed into just a snack I ate straight from the box, while I started my mornings with peanut butter pancakes, or peanut butter french toast (NOT actual peanut butter French toast or pancakes, I just spread peanut butter in between the pancakes or slices, then poured on the syrup).  Once I was in High School, if I wasn’t skipping breakfast, which I did most of the time, it was peanut butter on whole wheat toast, with or without apple slices.  I still eat that for breakfast to this day.

According to the National Peanut Board;

While 93 percent of Americans agree that breakfast is the most important meal, less than half eat a morning meal every day .Reasons for skipping out often include trying to lose weight or not having the time (That’s me!).

They also mentioned that peanut butter is full of fiber, protein and good fats.  Why not eat it for breakfast?  However, I’m willing to bet the goofy, blue suited Captain peanut butter cereal doesn’t fit into any of those categories.  Funny thing is, as a kid, it tasted SO peanut buttery to me.  As an adult, I cannot taste one bit of peanut butter, just a sugary, salty, kind of distant relative of peanut butter.  Bottom line, open up a jar, or grind your own..there’s no substitution for the real thing.

Well..I’ve created a breakfast offering (although it can be construed and eaten as a dessert) that I think you’ll all love.  This is probably more of a Sunday ‘breakfast in bed’ kind of treat, considering it’s not super quick to put together.  Making crepes takes some time, and a little technique, but once you get the hang of it, it starts to move along a lot faster.  However, don’t be put off when that first crepe doesn’t turn out.  This happens to even the best chefs, hence the saying….

“The first crepe always goes to the dog.”

I think it’s a matter of the pan hitting the right temperature.  If you’re new to crepe making, I strongly suggest using a non-stick pan.  Actually, I recommend you always use a non-stick pan, no matter how advanced!  Much, much easier to produce perfectly golden crepes that don’t stick.  Plus, it’ll cut the time in half.  The crepe recipe I’m using contains canola oil and skim milk rather than butter and whole milk, so there’s your ‘healthier’ factor.  The filling is another issue.  Yes, it’s a bit rich, but you’re using a small amount of it to fill each crepe (the beauty of the PB cream is you can adjust the sweetness and consistency to your liking – just taste along the way)..and then fresh berries to top it off..a huge DING on the healthy meter again.

You can splurge and gussy it up a bit, like I did with drizzles of melted chocolate or chocolate syrup on top, and, heck..even a spoonful of whipped cream, plus powdered sugar wouldn’t kill ya.

Who wouldn’t want a plate of these served to them for breakfast?  It’s like breakfast out, not in.

Now to the Giveaway…

To help make mornings easier, the National Peanut Board is equipping peanut butter fans with nutritious breakfast tips and recipes at . Visitors are also encouraged to vote for their favorite peanut butter breakfast dishes. For every vote, America’s peanut farmers will donate $5, up to $10,000, to help serve a nutritious breakfast to the hungry.

     Photo of above prizes courtesy National Peanut Board

Not only can you help those in need with a click, you also have a chance to win a variety of Peanut Butters and Peanut Butter samples – a mug and spatula, and a $50 Visa gift card by posting your favorite way to eat Peanut Butter for breakfast and sharing away. I will select a winner on March 23rd, 11:59 pm, using A winner will be announced March 24th.

In order to enter this giveaway, you must

1. Leave a comment here about anything  – whether it be my crepes, and/or your favorite way to incorporate peanut butter into breakfast or a way you might incorporate it into breakfast.  THEN,

2. Tell the National Peanut Board how you like Peanut Butter for breakfast on the Peanut Butter Fanatic Facebook wall.

3. Vote for your favorite PB for Breakfast recipe, while you’re there.

4. Leave a comment here telling me you did # 2 and #3.

Of course I couldn’t leave you without bonus entries..

1.  Like Peanut Butter Fanatic on Facebook

2.  Follow me on Twitter @parsleynsage

3. Subscribe to Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives via email or RSS feed.

4.  Tweet this giveaway – I just entered to win a $50 VISA card, a variety of Peanut Butters plus more at #giveaway #peanutbutter

Leave a separate comment for everything you did.

Peanut Butter or Plain Cheesecake and Berries Crepes

4 -6 servings
Recipe from Jacques Pepin via Delish

2/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup skim milk
1 tablespoon corn or canola oil
A little additional oil for greasing the skillet

Peanut Butter Cream
8-oz cream cheese, softened (make it skinnier using Neufchatel or low-fat cream cheese)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons peanut butter *
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar (you can add more or less depending on how sweet you like it. If it gets too thick if you increase the amount, just add more cream or milk)
2 to 4 tablespoons heavy cream, or milk, or soy milk, or almond milk etc.. your choice.
Assorted mixed berries of your choice, sliced or cut up

* If you don’t like peanut butter and want plain cheesecake crepes, omit the peanut butter and use another 1/2 cup cream cheese plus an extra 1/4 cup powdered sugar.

1. Combine the flour, eggs, sugar, and 1/4 cup of the milk in a bowl, and mix with a whisk until smooth. The mixture will be pretty thick. Add the remaining milk and the tablespoon of oil, and mix until smooth.   Let sit for 1 hour.

2.  In the meantime, make the peanut butter cream.  Combine peanut butter and cream cheese in the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a medium bowl if you use a hand mixer.  Beat until smooth.  Beat in powdered sugar and vanilla and combine until smooth.  Drizzle in cream (or whatever milk you’d like) until it’s of a frosting like consistency, and fluffy.  Fill a piping bag with a small or medium tip, or a ziplock bag with the end snipped off, with the cream if you want to get fancy, or just cover the bowl and set aside until ready to spoon onto crepes.

3. Lightly grease the bottom of an 9 or 10-inch non-stick skillet with a little oil, and heat the pan over medium to high heat. When it is hot, add about 1/4 of the crepe batter, and quickly tilt and move the skillet so the batter coats the entire bottom of the pan. Move quickly, or the batter will set before the bottom of the skillet is coated, and the crepes will be thicker than desired.  If there’s a hole anywhere, just add a little more batter to cover it.  Like I mentioned above, don’t be deterred if the first crepe doesn’t turn out.. this is the one usually goes to the dog anyway (In my case..I was the dog).

4. Cook for about 45 seconds on one side, and then turn and cook for about 20 seconds on the other side. As you make the crepes, stack them on a plate, browned side down, so that when they are filled and folded this brown side will be visible. Don’t start making the crepes until you’ve got the filling and berries ready to go, not to mention the ‘crew’ you’re going to serve them to.

5. Pipe or spread about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the peanut butter cream, in a line, on one side of the crepe (In my photos, I did a little piping twist, which used a lot more filling – this was all for show, unless you love A LOT of filling). Top with a few tablespoons of mixed berries. Roll up gently so most of the berries end up on top – some might get lost in the peanut butter cream. Top with some powdered sugar, a few drizzles of chocolate ganache or syrup and tuck in some extra berries in between each crepe and/or around the plate.  Pipe on some whipped cream, if you’re feeling especially ‘splurgy’.

Part 8 of Bad Boy First Love coming in a few short days.

The National Peanut Board provided me with a gift card to promote their Peanut Butter for Breakfast campaign, but the thoughts, opinions and recipes (except the plain crepes) shared in this post are my own. The National Peanut Board is providing the product giveaway and gift card.
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Banana Carrot Cake with Cream of Coconut – Cream Cheese Frosting

July 28, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Posted in Cakes, Dessert, Fruit, Giveaway, Vegetables | 66 Comments
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Warning – I’m all over the place today, so bear with me.

I preface a lot of my blog entries, don’t I?  Well, here’s another one before I get to this post.  I couldn’t take part in this month’s Daring Baker’s Challenge because of time constraints due to another obligation – a sort of last-minute obligation, but a good one, which you will all see soon.

However, I’m kind of bummed because the challenge was the classic french cake ‘Fraisier’, hosted by Jana of Cherry Tea Cakes, and I was reeeeaaaally looking forward to making it.  I will make one and post it eventually, but until then, please take a few moments to check out the beautiful Fraisier’s created by all the talented Daring Bakers, via clicking on the links to their blogs, HERE.

Banana Carrot Cake with Cream of Coconut - Cream Cheese Frosting

Since I don’t have a Fraisier to show off *sniff*, I present to you a carrot cake I made a few weeks ago – after I preface once again…

It’s funny how the weirdest things from early childhood stick to your brain eternally.  I can still remember the lyrics to every chorus class song between the ages of 8 and 13 yrs old.  When I try to impress people by reciting all 50 states in alphabetical order, super fast, it’s because ‘Fifty, Nifty United States’ permeated my fresh, young brain, permanently, not because I was born with this amazing ability to recite the states in alphabetical order on a whim.

Banana Carrot Cake with Cream of Coconut - Cream Cheese FrostingThese are not real carrots, they are macadamia marzipan carrots and yes, I made them.  The carrot fronds are real.  I did not make those, just an unfortunate, inedible decoration decision that didn’t turn out as I’d hoped.

When I was maybe 4 or 5, there was a TV interview with Shaun Cassidy (I think it was Shaun Cassidy (???).  Apparently it was his birthday, and the host asked what his favorite cake was.  He said carrot cake.  Ewwww..a cake with carrots in it??  Yuck!  I couldn’t believe anyone would eat a cake with vegetables in it!

Several years later, I tasted some for the first time.  Oh my Gahh, moist, spicy, sweet, delicious..and the cream cheese frosting..I was in love.  I spit bullets when I order a slice of carrot cake and the frosting is buttercream or anything other than cream cheese frosting.  I feel the same about red velvet cake, but I’ll get to that another time.  My point is, I still think of that interview every time I bite into a slice of carrot cake.  No idea what to make of it – especially since I was never a Shaun Cassidy fan.

Banana Carrot Cake with Cream of Coconut - Cream Cheese Frosting

SO, I had an urge to make carrot cake a few weeks ago. and not just any carrot cake – a carrot cake I’ve been coveting for some time at (I shall covet thy carrot cake!).  I think it’s been in my saved recipe box for at least 5 years.  It’s a tropical carrot cake and it contains macadamia nuts instead of the usual walnuts or pecans, and pineapple and coconut.  Normally, I don’t flip over cooked pineapple unless it’s doused with sugar and grilled.  I have similar feelings about strawberries, but again, I’ll get to that another time.

As always, I digress – this was supposed to be a tropical carrot cake, but the only two things, outside of your basic carrot cake that made it tropical, were, the macadamia nuts, and this luscious sounding coconut – cream cheese frosting, containing cream of coconut.  Cream of coconut, not to be confused with coconut cream, is this amazing, thick, glossy sweetened, condensed milk like can of coconut something or other concoction.  I really don’t know exactly how it’s made, but I do know I’ve actually eaten it with a spoon right out of the can.  It’s sosososo bleepin’ good.

Banana Carrot Cake with Cream of Coconut - Cream Cheese Frosting

That said, I didn’t want pineapple in this cake and wasn’t feeling most other tropical fruits like mango or papaya.  I had an urge for banana, and three, ripe mashed bananas did the trick.  I’ve always liked (yes, liked, kind of have to be in the mood for it. so that does not qualify as ‘loved’ to me) banana bread and banana cake, and I was in the mood for it.

The cake and frosting turned out terrific..the cake is superdupercalifragilistic moist with a hint of warm, gingery heat surprising you with each bite, and the frosting, PHENOMENAL, although the heat wave wouldn’t let me get decorative with it (my rosettes keeled  – then morphed into lumps).  It was hard not to ditch the layer cake deal and tear off hunks of cake to dip in the frosting, but somehow, I managed.  However, I broke one of my cardinal rules when it came to decorating it.

I don’t believe in ever putting inedible* things on anything edible, whether it be a plate of food, sweet or savory, a cake..whatever.  Not only did I do it, but I OVERDID it.

Banana Carrot Cake with Cream of Coconut - Cream Cheese Frosting

Carrot fronds jammed into homemade macadamia marzipan (omit coffee) carrots.  I got the frond idea from Martha Stewart (I only used orange gel paste).  Martha Stewart only puts one small frond in each carrot.  I thought a bunch would look cool, especially hanging over the sides of the cake.  Once I looked at the photos, after it had already been cut into and attacked with savage, voracious ferocity, I hated it.

Regardless, I wasn’t going to make another one any time soon – we had our fill, so here it is in all it’s greenery glory and 70’s psychedelic orange background.  Ignore that and make this cake.  It’s worth it.

One final noteCarrot fronds are not inedible, but they don’t taste good (unless they’re from baby carrots), especially with cake.

Banana Carrot Cake with Cream of Coconut - Cream Cheese Frosting
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 8 to 12 servings
This cake is 'stick to your fork' moist, and the frosting is to die for!
Adapted from Epicurious
Carrot Cake*
  • 2⅓ cups sifted all purpose flour (sifted, then measured)
  • 1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 cup dry-roasted macadamia nuts, toasted
  • ¾ cup chopped crystallized ginger *
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon*
  • ½ teaspoon fresh, grated or ground nutmeg
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup melted coconut oil or vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups finely grated peeled carrots
  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed, with some chunks remaining
Cream of Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting **
  • 4½ 8-ounce packages (36 ounce total) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup (2 sticks), plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons canned sweetened cream of coconut (such as Coco López or Goya)
  • 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¾ teaspoon (scant) pure coconut extract
Optional Decoration
  • Toasted coconut shreds of flakes
  • Macadamia marzipan carrots or frosting (tinted orange and green) piped carrots
For the Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter three 9-inch-diameter cake pans with 1½-inch-high sides. Line bottom of pans with parchment paper. Combine ⅓ cup flour and next 3 ingredients in processor. Process until nuts are finely chopped. Whisk remaining 2 cups flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in medium bowl to blend.
  2. Using electric mixer, beat sugar and oil in large bowl to blend. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Beat in flour-spice mixture. Stir in coconut-macadamia mixture, then carrots and mashed bananas.
  3. Divide batter among pans ( I weighed out close to even layers..about 1 lb 6 oz batter per pan). Bake until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool in pans on racks for 15 minutes, then run knife around edge of pans to loosen cakes. Turn cakes out onto racks; cool completely.
For the Frosting
  1. Beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl until smooth. Beat in powdered sugar, then cream of coconut and both extracts. Chill until firm enough to spread, about 30 minutes.
Assemble Cake
  1. Place 1 cake layer, flat side up, on platter. Spread heaping cup frosting over top of cake. Top with second cake layer, flat side up. Spread another heaping cup frosting over the top. Top with third cake layer, pressing slightly to adhere. Spread thin layer of frosting on top and sides of cake. Chill cake and remaining frosting 30 minutes. Spread remaining frosting over top and sides of cake. Arrange whole nuts and ginger (or whatever decor you decide on) around top edge of cake. Chill 1 hour. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and chill. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving.)
* For a less spicy cake, reduce crystallized ginger to ¼ cup or just use 2 teaspoons fresh, grated ginger and reduce cinnamon to 2 teaspoons.
**This recipe makes a lot of frosting. I originally developed it to do a basket weave piping around the cake, but changed my mind, so I was left with a lot of frosting, which I used for cupcakes the next day. You can cut the recipe in half and still get a decent amount to fill and frost the cake.

Banana Carrot Cake with Cream of Coconut - Cream Cheese Frosting

Finally, the winner of the hunka hunk of Grana Padano Riserva cheese, and $40.00 worth of custom goodies from (I thought today was the 27th! So sorry for being a day late!).

#93 is Barbara of Barbara Bakes, one of my favorite blogs!  Congrats, Barbara!  Sending you an email to get your info so the cheese can be mailed out asap, and will send your email to so they can send you your coupon code for $40.00 worth of custom goodies!

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I Found My Thrill……With Coconut and Lime Plus the Winner of the Custom T-shirt Giveaway and another Giveaway!

July 4, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Posted in Cakes, Dessert, Fruit, Giveaway, Puddings | 158 Comments
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First off..Happy 4th of July to all in the USA, and Happy July 4th to everyone outside the USA!  I’ve got the blue and the white (well..yellowish) but not the red.  No matter, this dessert is pretty awesome, red, white and blue. or not.

So what do you do when you ask someone to pick you up blackberries, and instead they bring you blueberries?  Nothing, because summer berries are so interchangeable..and all will taste great in whatever recipe that called for one berry in particular.  Just my luck, about 5 minutes after receiving these blueberries, a tweet from Mark Bittman scrolled past.  Blueberry Pudding Cake.  I clicked on the link, then ditched my plan for a coconut blueberry custard pie.  I could essentially have all the components of my pie in this easy, quick, one batter cake.

I’ve made plenty of chocolate pudding, aka hot fudge, cakes in my day, and who hasn’t?  It’s one of the simplest cakes you could quick batter in a square pan, pour boiling water on top, and voilà, chocolate cake with a fudgy pudding/custard saucy deal underneath.  When rushed for a dessert, or a sudden bout of PMS chocolate craving, it was always a win-win situation, and it only took about 30 minutes from mixing bowl to table.  Before anyone/I could say ‘cake’ they/Iwere/was eating big scoops of cakey, chocolatey goo with vanilla ice cream.

Before anyone/I could say ‘cake’ they/Iwere/was eating big scoops of cakey, chocolatey goo with vanilla ice cream.

Blueberry Coconut Lime Pudding Cake

This pudding cake is simple, but it involves eggs and the separating of eggs.  I don’t know why, but when I see a recipe that involves separating eggs and beating the whites, which are then folded in, I cringe a little.  It’s not that it’s difficult, but when I’m in a ‘simple recipe’ mindset, it’s kind of like someone telling me the elevator is out-of-order and I need to take the stairs…the number of flights depending on the number of eggs.

Sometimes I’m a rebel – and just crack the amount of whole eggs in as is.

Sometimes the issue is forced when there’s a lopsided amount of yolks to whites. I’m going to have leftover yolks or whites.  I’ll have to scour the net to find something to do with them outside of meringues, macarons and crème brûlée.  I’m not an egg white omelet person.  I like my omelets yellow.

In any event, I obeyed the recipe, and the results were worth it.  Of course, I made a few revisions to said recipe. As my usual mantra goes, I can’t leave most recipes alone..I always feel some could be better, or more to my liking.  I’m a futzer, a fiddler (a joker, a smoker and a midnight toker..sorry, had to) and I just can’t stop.  It’s a common thing in cooking, but baking not as much because baking is a SCIENCE and any little sway from the formula can completely change or destroy it.

My changes didn’t destroy it.  All I did was add some extra flavor, coconut and lime.  Kelapo Coconut sent me a sample of their coconut oil, so I used that instead of the melted butter, and I used lime zest in lieu of the lemon zest listed in the recipe.  Small changes, no big whoop, right?  Well..I felt it needed more coconut flavor, so I toasted some coconut and ground it with the sugar in the recipe.  Then, instead of plain buttermilk, I made coconut buttermilk by adding a tablespoon of  lime juice to the coconut milk.  The end result was perfect – plump, juicy blueberries floating in a sea of custard with a light, fluffy, slightly crisp, cake topping..a subtle background of coconut and the perfect hint of lime to cut the richness.

This is all great and good, but for the most part, you can’t tell that there’s coconut and lime in this cake pudding via the photos because I only had one lime and a bit of shredded coconut for the recipe.  When it came time for photos, I had nothing to top it with that said..’There is lime and coconut in this pudding cake!’.

Another reason I’m a bad food blogger.

I don’t think of these things until the last-minute, when it’s already too late.  As far as all of you can see, it’s just a blueberry pudding cake.  I suppose I could type ..’with coconut and lime’ under every photo, but I’m not that obsessive a person..I think…I hope.

Magic Blueberry Coconut Lime Pudding Cake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 1 8 x8 square pudding cake
Adapted from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything, with my revisions. For the original recipe minus coconut and lime - click HERE. About 6 servings, but I prefer 4 big ones Total Time: About 1¼ hours, plus time to cool
  • 4 tablespoons Kelapo Virgin Coconut Oil, melted, plus more for greasing dish
  • 1 cup coconut milk minus 1 tablespoon, plus 1 tablespoon lime juice (or lemon juice or cider vinegar)
  • 3 /4 cup sugar, divided
  • ¼ cup shredded coconut, toasted (sweetened or unsweetened, entirely up to you)
  • 3 eggs, separated, plus one extra white (extra white not necessary, but I like adding it for more fluff)
  • 1 /3 cup all-purpose flour
  • Pinch salt
  • 1½ cup blueberries
  • 1 tablespoon grated lime zest
  1. Combine the coconut milk with the cider vinegar or lime juice..let it curdle. Grind ½ cup of the sugar and toasted coconut together in a food processor or blender. Set both aside. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease an 8- inch square ceramic or glass baking dish or a deep dish pie plate with Kelapo coconut oil.
  2. Put the coconut oil, coconut buttermilk, the ½ cup of coconut sugar, the egg yolks, flour, and salt in a blender or food processor and purée until smooth. Pour the batter into a bowl. Stir in the blueberries and lime zest and set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the 4 egg whites until they hold soft peaks, then sprinkle in the remaining ¼ cup sugar while beating until the whites hold stiff peaks.
  4. Fold the whites into the batter, gently but thoroughly.
  5. Turn the batter into the prepared dish and put the dish in a baking pan large enough to hold it comfortably. Add enough warm water to the baking pan to come to within an inch or so of the top of the dish. Transfer carefully to the oven and bake until the top is golden brown and the center is just set but slightly jiggly, about 50 minutes.
  6. Remove the cake from the oven and cool the dish completely on a rack, cover with plastic wrap, then refrigerate until chilled, at least 3 hours, before serving. This will keep in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 days. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.

Now, the GIVEAWAY.  Part one is a yummy one. Jen from Kelapo Coconut contacted me a few weeks back and asked if I would like a sample jar of their virgin coconut oil to try.  Of course it was an affirmative, I love trying new things.  However, I thought it would be cool if she could also provide an extra jar to give away to my readers.  Affirmative again.  SO, when the winner is announced, Jen will personally ship a 15 oz jar of Kelapo Virgin Coconut Oil to that winner.

Blueberry Coconut Lime Pudding Cake

I admit, at first I was iffy on coconut oil..I heard a buzz here and there that it was bad for us.  Apparently, new studies have reversed that charge and now they say it’s good for us.  UPDATE: a commenter named Jean said that only the virgin and unrefined coconut oils are good for you, so Kelapo organic VIRGIN coconut oil, IS good for you! Refined coconut oil is NOT good for you.

Good to know, because coconut oil is also a flavorful replacement for butter, which is a plus for those who are allergic to dairy or just dairy-free in general.  It’s great for vegan cooking and baking too, not to mention a good substitute for neutral oils in most recipes. Personally, I love the stuff because it tastes and smells amazing, and I wanna saute something savory in it soon.  Coconut seared chicken something or other keeps sprinting through my brain.  Also, my friend, Suzanne, just let me know that a health food store she shops at pops their popcorn in coconut oil.  Is that not a fantastic idea?  I’m definitely trying that!

The second part of this giveaway is the cookbook How to Cook Everything (10th anniversary Edition), by Mark Bittman.  I always wanted this cookbook, so I bought one for myself, and one for one of you!  It’s become sort of a habit now when I buy things.  One for me and one to give away here.

To enter this giveaway for both the coconut oil and the cookbook,
leave a commentFor extra entries, you can leave separate comments for all or any of the below;

1.  Follow @parsleynsage on Twitter

2.  Follow @kelapo_coconut on Twitter

3.  Like Kelapo Coconut on Facebook

4. Tweet the following: A Kelapo Coconut Oil & Mark Bittman cookbook GIVEAWAY @parsleynsage #giveaway

I’ll be choosing the winner 10 days from today using random integer.

Speaking of winners..the winner of the $50.00 worth of custom designed t-shirts from is…

…number 19, which lands on Carolyn of Cookin’ for my Captain!  Congratulations, Carolyn.  I will pass your email to Colleen at so she can email you the code for your $50.00 worth of custom printed shirts!  I’m sure you’ll have fun making them!

Magic Blueberry Pudding Cake - One batter morphs into cake, pudding and blueberry filling.Bookmark and Share

My Guest Post at A Culinary Journey and the THREE Giveaway winners!

June 3, 2011 at 1:18 am | Posted in Baseball, Cakes, Dessert, Giveaway, Puddings | 49 Comments
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Hi everyone, hope you all had a great Memorial Day Weekend! Summer is here and the time is right..for…the…STOP ME. OK, to let’s get to the good stuff. A few weeks ago, Chef Dennis of A Culinary Journey, asked if I could do a guest post Friday on his blog. Could I? You bet I could! There wasn’t even the slightest hesitation. just “Yep, yes, definitely” kind of reply.

I’ve known Dennis for 6 months now, and outside of being a terrific person, he’s an amazing chef and a wealth of information, help and knowledge to food bloggers all over the world wide web. His blog is phenomenal – you get beautiful and tasty food, all kinds of links and tutorials to help food bloggers find their way around sites such as Foodbuzz, blog etiquette, using social media for your blog etc..just loads and loads of information for food bloggers.  He also has a fantastic ‘Ask Dennis’ feature that I read regularly and look forward to.

I sort of wracked my brain through what I was going to make. It ran the gamut from banana verrines to a savory, layered torta milanese (coming soon) which I love. Whal I wanted it to be was something incredibly decadent with a bit of ‘Wow’ factor.

That being said, obviously you’ve noticed these cute, little cakes. Well, this is what I made for my guest post. They’re Chocolate Panna Cotta – Berry Mousse Cakes with Toasted Hazelnut Ganache. Of course there’s a side of disaster along with the cakes. It seems to have become an ever-presen part of my cooking/baking these days! If you’d like to read about it and get the recipe, head on over to Dennis’ blog and see it HERE. You might even see Brian Boitano skating on the cake.

Now..what most of you have eagerly been waiting for (well…sporadically waiting for, maybe?)  The winners of my three year blogging anniversay giveaway.

First off, I’d like to say it was fun reading what you eat at sporting events.  The most popular were hot dogs, nachos, peanuts, popcorn and the beverages of choice, diet pepsi and beer.  Funnel cakes, boiled peanuts, cotton candy, garlic fries (YUM), hot pretzels with mustard etc..Siobhan brings a stash of peanut butter to dip her popcorn in!  Love it!

I figure I’d start with the two 14- piece cake decorating sets, and then work my way down to the 55 piece pastry tube set and food colors.

The first winner of the first 14-piece cake set is,  random Number 75 (can’t post the random integer photo because WordPress suddenly started bugging and won’t let me scroll bneath any other photo I post).  Number 75 is Aparna E of!  Congrats, Aparna!  Will send you an email to get your info so I can send it out asap.

The winner of the second 14 piece cake set is random Number 131.  Number 131 is Amelia Zwiebel.  Congrats, Amelia!  Sending you an email to get your info so I can send it right out.

And now the winner of the Ateco 55 piece pastry tube set and 12 bottles of food gel colors.  The winner is random Number 9.  Number 9 is, wow, Katrina from In Katrina’s Kitchen!  She’s definitely going to put these to good use..check out her blog! Katrina, I’m sending you an email so I can get your info and mail it right out to you!

Congratulations to all three winners.  If someone does not respond to their emails within 72 hours, I will be choosing another winner for that prize, so stay tuned all, just in case!

Don’t forget to check out my guest post at A Culinary Journey   Until next time, have a great weekend, all!

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Salted Pretzel Macarons, 3 Years Blogging, and 3 GIVEAWAYS!

May 22, 2011 at 1:53 pm | Posted in Baseball, Cookies, Dessert, Giveaway, Macarons | 227 Comments
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So I had an idea, and it’s been blistering my brain for months now.  I wasn’t sure it would work, but I had to try it.  Things just kept getting in the way, and soon this idea was in limbo, wanting to move on, but unable to move out.  Well, I finally got to it, and I’m finally taking part in a MacTweet – regardless of that bendy joint in between my thigh and calf that tries to ‘trip’ me up.  If I had a nickel for every time the word ‘knee’ has been used on this blog, I’d have about …1 dollar.

Salted Pretzel Macarons

This month’s MacTweets theme is ‘Ballpark Snacks – Take me out to the Ballgame’, aka, food you usually find at a ballgame – as or in a macaron. It sort of went like this…

“Hey, Jamie (MacTweet co-founder, along with Deeba), I came up with this amazing salted pretzel macaron, and the shell really tastes like a pretzel, well, a sweet pretzel, like chocolate dipped pretzels..but I did add powdered mustard to a white chocolate ganache..and it’s actually good and…blah blah..zzzzz”

I lucked out, Jamie made this month’s theme a baseball one.  Big, soft, hot, chewy pretzels with gobs of mustard, at a Yankee game.  Yeah, that’s the life, well, when I’m there, and I haven’t been to a game in a while.  I’m pretty sure, if I recall, you can get chocolate dipped, crunchy pretzels at the new Yankee Stadium, too.  SO, I began to whip up my second go round of this macaron I created about 2 months or so ago.

Salted Pretzel Macarons

On your left, the salted pretzel powder.  This one needed to be sifted just once or twice more, as you can see there’s still tiny shell bits in it.  On the right, The color your finished/baked macarons should be – similar to graham cracker crumbs, to emulate a golden, baked pretzel.  I placed two small pretzel sticks on top to show youHowever, and very important, you want your tant pour tant about two shades  lighter than  above, as the color deepens when folded with the egg whites.  The wrinkled macarons below were made from this tant pour tant.  See how much darker they are than the original tant pour tant above , which looks to be the perfect baked pretzel color match?

Salted Pretzel Macarons

The above are filled with Nutella.  The rest of the photos, just plain, dark chocolate ganache.  AS promised, I supplied a recipe for the white chocolate – mustard ganache, below, even though I couldn’t show it to you in a macaron.

Well, guess what?  Two NEW ‘typical Lisa’ disasters!  I think it’s getting to the point where a disaster is to be expected with every new post here.  Sorry.

1.  Batch #1 – The tops deflated and wrinkled.  No idea why.  They looked like old ladies after years and years of sun worshiping.  Tan 1.5-inch raisin rounds.  If anyone has a clue, please fill me in.  I’ve dealt with no feet, flat shells, too poofy shells, and big feet, but never wrinkly faces.  They’re being bitches again.

2. Batter #2 spilled onto my lap.  I don’t want to say how.

Salted Pretzel Macarons

     This is the ‘too dark  and wrinkled’ batch.  In all of my years (well. three) of wrestling with these divas. I’ve never seen this before.

So, I had a choice, try again or use these photos from my first try creating the salted pretzel macaron.  They sat in my photo program as a sort of a back-up in case of sudden bitchiness.  I hated this attempt because the color was off, the feet were weird, and I piped them so quickly I ended up with too many baby shells. I also accidentally sprinkled pretzel salt on all the drying shells, instead of every other one, so I had to use two salted shells per macaron. Oh, and and the word – BAD.  BUT, they had to do, since I wasn’t sure I had the time or patience to make them again within the next two weeks.  So here they are and they taste SO good, so eff the aesthetics for now.

Are you happy, Ms. Meanie Macaron Goddess?

I basically took one shot of them from different distances.  I have no idea why I used a light blue mug and red ribbon, especially since light blue is the death of food photos.  Oh, and that white lace background?  Out to pasture for good.

Had I not encountered any problems the second and third time around, I had some great background ideas, like broken pretzels, chocolate and mustard as props, and maybe a beer or two.  And, I was going to fill them with this perfect white chocolate -mustard ganache I came up with (sounds gross but it isn’t, I promise), but I never got around to it, so I think  these will be making another appearance on this blog, the way I originally planned them. (Yeah, I was going to perfect my Twoffle for another entry, and the third Levain Copycat attempt I keep promising everyone. I’m a bad blogger.)

Salted Pretzel Macarons


Even though you didn’t get to see my perfectly ‘pretzel colored’ macs, you can see the color in the tant pour tant photo above. Notice the pretzel stick I placed to show you how close the color was? mentioned above..under the photo of it, you have to go about two shades lighter than that because when folded with the egg whites, the color deepens considerably.  I said it twice because it sucked for me when that tant pour tant turned a deep, reddish brown after being combined with the whites – far from the golden, baked pretzel looking shells I so coveted.

I assume the wrinkled ones wrinkled in protest of the ugly color they were made to wear. Once again..little bitches.   Oh, and that perfectly baked pretzel colored tant pour tant? That ended up being the batter that became my lap puppy.  Go figure.

So, here is the perfect pretzel color for these macarons..not what you see in the photos. Americolor gels – equal parts warm brown and egg yolk, plus 1 part gold.

I color the tant pour tant and let it dry overnight.  You don’t have to do that.  You can color the egg whites while beating, or drop in the color during your ’50 strokes’.

Salted Pretzel Macarons

             Some of those ‘baby’ macarons from inconsistent pressure on the piping bag.

All in all, if you love sweet, dipped pretzels, these shells hit that flavor perfectly.  Fill them with whatever you like, from sweet to savory, you won’t be disappointed!

Now onto the good part, minus the whining and bitching.  Myy three year blogiversary is upon me. (ME ME ME..again).  It’s actually May 26th, but I probably won’t have a post up on the 26th, so I want to celebrate it now….with 3  Giveaways!  I love you guys, and love that you like my blog.  I even love those of you who are just coming for the giveaway, because, well..Oh, I don’t know, just feeling the love today.  These prizes will definitely help in your macaron making, or cookie and cake decorating…or whatever floats your boat (I won’t go there).  This is not a promotion, I bought all of the prizes myself to give away to YOU.

I’m giving away 1 big prize (well..bigger in relation to the two others).  An Ateco 55 Piece Pastry Tip Set ((Set includes coupler, flower nails and Ateco’s most popular stainless steel decorating tubes in a plastic hinged storage box)  plus 12 Ateco gel paste colors (black, blue, yellow, green, pink, red, teal, orange, fuchsia, violet, sky blue, and brown – remember, a little bitty drop goes a long way!)

For two runners up. I’m giving away two Ateco 14-Piece Cake Decorating Sets (12 inch flexible bag with hem and hanging loop and 12 stainless steel decorating tubes. Also includes a plastic coupler (pre-attached to bag), instructions, recipes, and a clear plastic storage box)

How to Enter:  You have three chances to win any three of the prizes.  Three separate comments for each entry. You can just leave one comment if you want, but why not increase your chances? :)

1.  Leave a comment telling me what you like to eat at sporting events, and/or just a comment on this macaron entry if you don’t go to sporting events.

2.  Follow me on Twitter @parsleynsage, or you can click on the little blue tweety bird at the top right of this page to go right to my profile and follow.

3 Tweet about this giveaway – 3 #GIVEAWAYS, 3 #WINNERS  @parsleynsage – 55 Piece Pastry Tip Set plus 12 gel colors, & 2 Cake Decorating Sets

All three winners will be chosen via random integer on Jun 2nd, so that’s 12 days you have to enter!  Good luck, everyone!

Salted Pretzel Macarons with Chocolate Ganache

Salted Pretzel Macarons
1 cup(110 grams) icing sugar
3/4 cup (84 grams) almond meal
2 tablespoons (10 grams) pretzel powder (method follows)
2 large(70 grams) egg whites
3 tablespoons (37 grams) granulated sugar
Pretzel salt or coarse salt
Warm Brown, Egg Yolk Yellow and Gold Americolor gel pastes

DIRECTIONS: (adapted from Tartelette)
1. Place the powdered sugar, pretzel powder, and almonds in a food processor and give them a good pulse until the nuts are finely ground. Add in the gel food colors and pulse until you reach a golden pretzel color you’re satisfied with.  I used about 3-4 drops of each of brown and yellow, plus 1 big drop of gold, for 2 egg white macarons. Let the tant pour tant dry overnight, or spread on a cookie sheet and let dry in a turned off oven for a few hours.

2. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to a foam, gradually add the sugar until you obtain a glossy meringue. Do not overbeat your meringue or it will be too dry.

3. Add the tant pour tant (nut, sugar, pretzel powder amalgamation) to the beaten egg whites and sugar.  Give it a quick fold to break some of the air and then fold the mass carefully until you obtain a batter that falls back on itself after counting to 10. Give quick strokes at first to break the mass and slow down. The whole process should not take more than 50 strokes. Test a small amount on a plate: if the tops flattens on its own you are good to go. If there is a small beak, give the batter a couple of turns until you obtain a batter that falls back on itself after counting to 10.

4. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip (Ateco #807 or #809) with the batter and pipe small rounds (1.5 inches in diameter) onto parchment paper or silicone mats lined baking sheets. Lightly sprinkle every other round with pretzel or coarse salt.

5. Preheat the oven to 300F. Let the macarons sit out for 30 minutes to an hour to harden their shells a bit and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on their size. Let cool. If you have trouble removing the shells, pour a couple of drops of water under the parchment paper while the sheet is still a bit warm and the macarons will lift up more easily do to the moisture. Don’t let them sit there in it too long or they will become soggy. Once baked and if you are not using them right away, store them in an airtight container out of the fridge for a couple of days or in the freezer. To fill: pipe or spoon about 1 big tablespoon of ganache in the center of one shell and top with another one.

Salted Pretzel Powder
About 2 handfuls of lightly salted pretzel bites, or thin sticks, or twists, shape doesn’t matter.

1.  In a food processor, grind the pretzels as fine as you can.  Now this is the important part, you need to sift the powder because small bits of the golden shell do not break down to a fine powder.

White Chocolate – Mustard Ganache
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon mustard powder
3/4 cup white chooclate
Yellow gel paste..optional

1. Boil the cream and the mustard powder in a saucepan and pour over the chocolate in a bowl. Let it sit for a minute and stir until the chocolate is completely melted.  Add 1 or two drops yellow gel paste color and stor until uniform and a yellow mustard color.  Add more if needed. Let ganache sit in the refrigerator overnight and whip the next day until a thick cream is formed.  You don’t have to whip it, you can just stir and pipe it on as is, a more truffle like consistency.

2. Pipe or spoon about 1 big tablespoon of ganache in the center of one plain shell and top with a salted shell.

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Easy Skinny, Spicy, Saucy Shrimp Fusion and a Le Creuset Giveaway!

March 6, 2011 at 6:03 am | Posted in Dinner, Giveaway, Healthy, Lunch, Pasta, Seafood, Vegetables | 91 Comments
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It’s very rare that you’ll see something healthy on this blog.  Once in a while, though, I get the urge to post something fat- free, or at least veggie or fruity fresh and healthy.  This is the first time I’m going there.  I mostly eat this way in real life (I’d be six feet under if I ate my blog food on a daily basis), but never thought to post some of my ‘healthier’ creations.

I would say I’m a food ‘everything’ blog, from the fattiest, most gourmet creations you can imagine, to the fattiest, most down-home creations you can imagine, both sweet and savory, to well..sort of healthy if the mood strikes.  I know shrimp is loaded with cholesterol, but you could substitute other fish.  Regardless, I think this dish is a pretty low-calorie meal.  You be the judge.

I once tried this dish of shrimp, tomatoes and feta, by Ellie Krieger that was pretty tasty and healthy (think it’ll wipe out several quarts of cassoulet fat?)!  What a flavor blast of briny kalamata olives, sweet cilantro and tomatoes.  Ideas popped through my head as I ran into my Sriracha Sauce in the cupboard.   Yep, Sriracha was key.This was going to be fusion healthy, because I was definitely going to pair up Japan and Greece for a bounty of flavor profiles.  Salty feta, briny kalamata olives, sweet tomatoes, spicy heat, and luscious cilantro.  I knew this would all taste great with shrimp before I even tried it..and it did.

Why didn’t I add a slice of lemon or some lemon zest to like umm…show it’s a LEMON orzo?

It may not be the prettiest dish, but trust me, it’s so worth it.  It’s a quick, easy, almost super-healthy lunch or dinner.  I say ‘almost’ because I took it off the super healthy chart by spooning it on top of lemony-scallion orzo.  Orzo isn’t bad for you, but it’s carbs nonetheless.  You don’t have to make the orzo, so it’s back to ‘super-healthy’.

Then again, sometimes I use fat-free feta, so that’s got to cancel out something by way of fat, right?  So, I think that puts this dish at a level I’d call, somewhat super healthy, and even healthier with a green salad in lieu of the’s that?   Alright, enough with all of this ‘healthy’ rambling because it simply tastes awesome and that’s what matters most.  Ease of preparation, quick cooking, and again, it tastes awesome.  Is this not a Mom’s dream?  A bachelor/bachelorette’s dream?  Wait, anyone can eat and make this, so forget all that..just make it, and you’ll marvel at the flavor explosion that takes place in your mouth.

I need to interrupt this entry because I have to post this photo.  Don’t worry, I’m NOT cooking them….

Seriously, HOW CUTE ARE THESE BABIES??  Look at the little feeties!  This photo doesn’t belong in a post about food, but I couldn’t resist and had to share.  I want a baby platypus! (pot-bellied pig or baby chick syndrome).

Now back to the dish..

One more thing I need to add – if you use the skinny feta cheese, do NOT add it until the dish comes out of the oven.  Fat-free cheese doesn’t melt well – turns kind of rubbery (it’s the milk fat that makes full fat cheese melt), but raw or slightly melted, you wouldn’t know the difference between full fat and fat-free feta.  Sprinkle a good handful of the fat-free feta on top of the baked shrimp and let it soften as it’s brought to the table.  For full fat feta, add it to the dish  (as shown in the photos, although I used the fat free feta and found out the hard way that it doesn’t cook well) before you put it in the oven and let it melt and bubble away.

Now, the giveaway!!  I have a beautiful, brand new, Le Creuset Stoneware 14-Inch Oval Baking Dish, in Cherry Red up for grabs.  This is not to promote anything – this was given to me and I already have one in blue, so I’d like to give it away to one of you!  Just leave a comment, Tweet it, and maybe a Facebook share and/or like!  I’ll be choosing the winner using random integer one week from today!  Good luck!

Skinny Shrimp with Feta and Tomatoes
Adapted from Ellie Krieger, with my revisions

Serves 4
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced (about 1 1/2 cups)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5-ounce) cans of no-salt-added diced tomatoes, with their juices
2 tablespoons Sriracha Sauce (more or less depending on how hot you like it)
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined (I leave the tails on..looks prettier)
1/2 cup pitted and sliced kalamata olives
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup finely minced fresh cilantro
2/3 cup crumbled Full-Fat or Fat-Free feta cheese (about 3 ounces)

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

2. Heat the oil in an oven proof skillet over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and Sriracha then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for about 5 minutes, until the juices and sauce thicken.

3. Remove from the heat. Stir in the parsley, shrimp and sliced olives. Season with salt and pepper. IF you’re using full fat feta, sprinkle the feta over the top and bake until the shrimp are cooked through and cheese melts, about 12 minutes. If you’re using Fat-Free Feta, sprinkle it over the top AFTER it bakes in the oven for 12 minutes.

4. Top with chopped cilantro and serve.

Lemony Orzo with Scallions
Recipe from Martha Stewart
Serves 4

1 lemon
coarse salt and ground pepper
1 cup orzo
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 scallions, thinly sliced

1. Using a vegetable peeler, peel half the lemon (avoiding bitter white pith); thinly slice peel. Squeeze 2 tablespoons juice; set aside.

2. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add orzo and lemon peel. Cook until orzo is al dente, according to package instructions. Drain and return to pot.

3. Add lemon juice, oil, and scallions. Season with salt and pepper; toss to combine.

 Baked Spicy (or not) Shrimp with Feta. Low-Fat but tastes Full-Fat and rich, Just exploding with flavor!

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