Sunday, April 24, 2011

Outliers: Food for Thought with Strawberry Shortcake Kabobs

Strawberry Shortcake Kabobs with Chocolate

I recently read the book, Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell.  I'd read The Tipping Point before, and thought Gladwell was a fairly insightful writer.  In a nut shell, the book is about why certain people, or groups of people are successful.  He identifies trends to help explain why certain people get the "lucky" breaks, and certain don't.  His 10,000 hour theory is interesting - while timing and luck are critical, those who get the lucky break, all had practiced for 10,000 + hours in their field, whether it be hockey, violin, or golf.  A thought provoking read - or at least a little "food for thought."  You can find out more about the book at:

Along the lines of "food for thought," I thought I would make a "brain food" on this post.  I found a site about the Top 5 Brain Health Foods and 2 of them include Chocolate and Berries.  Chocolate, strawberries, in addition to blueberries and acai berries, are very high in antioxidants. The "darker" the chocolate, the better it is for you.

I decided to make Strawberry Shortcake Kabobs!

2 containers of strawberries
1 container of Baker's Dipping Chocolate - (Dark Chocolate)
1 vanilla creme cake, cubed
Bamboo Skewers

1) Purchase bamboo skewers (found near the grilling supplies at the grocery store)
2) Cut the tops off the strawberries and hull (take a knife to take out the little hard inside of the strawberry)
3) I purchased a pre-made vanilla creme cake from the bakery section at Publix and cut into large cubes about the same size of a large strawberry
* Note: You could also use the pre-made strawberry shortcake molds or pound cake
4) Alternate strawberries and cake (about 4 strawberries and 3 cubes of cake) onto each skewer
5) Melt the chocolate in the microwave. (Following directions on the container of chocolate - you basically microwave 30 seconds, mix, 30 seconds, mix, 30 seconds, mix well)
6) Pour melted chocolate into a zip lock bag
7) Cut a small end of the bottom corner of the bag and squeeze the chocolate over the kabobs for easy drizzling
8) Chill to harden and until ready to serve

These have a great presentation, are light, and you get your antioxidants in (food for thought!) in with the chocolate and strawberries!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Water for Elephants: Read with Scrambled Eggs for Breakfast

I purchased this book on my Kindle

I read the book Water for Elephants, by Sarah Gruen and it was a very entertaining book! I read it on my flight to Denver and back on my kindle.  The book is set in the 1920's during prohibition, and the narrator tells the story of his journey in the traveling circus of the Benzini Brothers.  It's also educational as well, as I was able to understand more about the traveling circus of the early 1900s....quite different from the Circus which comes to the arenas today.  I recommend for anyone looking for an entertaining book!  You can find more about Water for Elephants at

One thing about the circus workers back in the day, was that they worked for minimal wages, a place to sleep (rail car) and 3 big meals a day, which were fairly extravagant for the setting.

There is a lot of information about the Circus in America, which travevled by rail, at the following website: There is also good information about the food for the traveling circus workers

Big breakfasts were a staple of the circus worker's diet back then.  In the book, they reference this:

"And how are you this fine day?" says August.  He digs into a pile of scrambled eggs.

So, I decided to make the "Perfect Scrambled Eggs" by Tyler Florence: 

Tyler Florence's recipe for Perfect Scrambled Eggs takes about 10 minutes to cook over very low heat, but the end result are the best scrambled eggs you've ever eaten!  You basically whisk the eggs with a small amount of cream or half & half and then cook with a little butter over the low heat.  Tyler's recipe calls for sliced Avocados on the side, although I'm sure the circus performers ate them plain :). I garnished the eggs with chives, and since I had quite a lot of leftover chives, I whipped them with some cream cheese and put on a toasted english muffin.


Monday, April 11, 2011

It's your lucky day! "Hidden Thin Mint" Cookies for St. Patty's Day!

I made these cookies on St. Patty's day and I forgot to post them. By popular request, here there are!

1 box of yellow extra moist cake mix
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 stick of butter, melted
1 cup of chocolate chips (or more if you want!)
1/4 cup brown sugar
Green food coloring
Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies

1) Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
2) Mix together the cake mix, eggs, brown sugar, melted butter and vanilla. Stir by hand until the dough forms.
3) Add lots of green food coloring until the dough is the color green you want
4) Stir in the chocolate chips
5) Refrigerate the dough for an hour or so until it is firm and easier to handle
6) Take a small spoonful of dough (maybe about a Tbsp) and roll into a ball and then flatten so you have a disc.  Place a Thin Mint cookie on top (it should be about the same size as the flattened dough ball so just a little dough shows.  Take the same size amount of dough and repeat and place on top of the Thin Mint cookie.
7) Use your hands to seal the edges of the cookie so the Thin Mint is hidden
8) Bake about 9-10 minutes (they should look a little raw) and take out of the oven
9) Let cookies sit on the baking sheet for 2 minutes
10) Remove the cookies and let cool.

YUM!  I brought these cookies to work and everyone loved them!