Thursday, July 31, 2008

Once again, BlakeMakes' timing is impecable - You Bar

Well, I'm married! This is my first blog back from the festivities. Don't worry about Jason, I've been cooking up a storm for him, and I actually have a few things to blog about, but generally it's stuff I've already blogged about or I'm to hungry/lazy to take pictures before I dig in.

Anyway, the purpose of this post is to blog about some food I won from Blakemakes! I don't really know if "won" is the operative word because I didn't exactly do much to get it (unless you count posting a comment on his blog!), but anyway....
So, to make a long story short, I gained around 8-10 lbs on my honeymoon eating the most fabulous and delicious foods and drinking the most amazing, refrseshing cocktails EVAR (seriously, Couples Swept Away in Negril is freaking AWESOME I really want to get it off before it keeps packing on and I end up huge! I didn't really think about it, until I came to the realization that the only time is now at the start of this week when my work clothes aren't fitting as well as they could...

Then I met You Bar! With the same perfect timing as the fabulous Amano chocolate I won previously, You Bar showed up on my doorstep when I needed it most. I know a lot of people might use them for protein bars before they work out or climb mountains (or whatever athletically inclined people do...), but I found that they can also be wonderful meal replacement bars. As a matter of fact, I had one for breakfast every day since it came in the mail! I'm seriously going to have to order a box! Averaging at around $3 a bar, that's a pretty inexpensive meal, too. It was delicious, interesting, and filling, and I really enjoyed it!

There were four bars in the box, two of them are standard You Bar flavors, and two others were custom bars. Blake created one of them (I'm assuming? correct me if I'm wrong!), and I'm not sure if maybe the other one is a combination someone else created... But nevertheless, they're all great!

I'm with Blake, I didn't care for the one called "A Date With Chocolate" as much, I just generally don't care for chocolate flavored protein bars. They're usually too bitter, and chewy chocolate stuff freaks me out. I'm so used to dark chocolate bars and how wonderfully non-chewy they are, that the chewiness was kind of a turnoff. (btw, note to Amano chocolatiers: you have created a monster in me, I am completely obsessed with dark chocolate now and refuse to even touch the milk or white varieties. I kid you not!)

I absolutely loved the honey and cashew one! Cashew butter makes my heart sing as it is, and throw honey in as a natural sweetener and I was hooked! There was crunchy rice cereal in it to give it a little kick, and all in all it was fabulous.

Also fabulous were the custom bars! I really enjoyed the one titled "your name here" that had dried cherries, shredded coconut, and some kind of nut (almond?) with a cashew butter base. FABULOUS. By far, my favorite. I was dissapointed when I finished it, it was so good!

I thought Blake's concoction was just ok (Sorry, Blake!). It's nothing personal, I just don't like cinnamon or dates. It was good, don't get me wrong, it just wasn't my favorite.

The best part about it is, if you're doing WW (I'm about to start back) and you use them as a meal replacement bar, you can create versions that are only around 3-4 points. The BlakeMakes bar was 5, well within a reasonable amount for a meal replacement bar!
All in all, they were great, and I think that You Bar is a fabulous idea, their webpage is rediculously easy to navigate, and most importantly the bars are delicious!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Orchard Cobbler + A New Camera!

I finally got a new camera! It wasn't the Nikon D40 I've been lusting after for months, but I couldn't afford one and I really wanted to get something before I head for my honeymoon on monday. I got an Olympus advanced digital camera. It's not quite a digital SLR, but you have a lot more options and presets than a regular point and shoot. One of my favorite things... a culinary preset! You can all be jealous now.

Orchard Cobbler

This is a recipe that I tweaked from what was originally Paula Deen's peach cobbler recipe. (View Paula's recipe here.) The only thing I did differently is instead of using self rising flour, I used bisquick instead because that was all I had! The breading ended up being amazingly cakey and fluffy and soaked up the juices from the peaches and berries beautifully.

For the filling (where this recipe differs), follow Paula's directions for preparing the peaches. When I made this recently, I threw my berries in with the peaches and they really didn't hold up as well as I had hoped they would and lost some of their color and flavor. It still tasted AMAZING, but I found on PW's blog where she just tossed them in sugar and lemon juice and threw them into the baking dish without cooking them down beforehand, so next time I'm going to try that.

I used a mixture of raspberries and blueberries for mine (about half of a bag from Walmart of each) but you could use whatever you fancy! Also, I used frozen berries because the fresh ones weren't looking so hot at the grocery store, but no doubt some nice fresh berries would be even better.

Heed my advice: if you do decide to use frozen, be sure to bake them frozen without thawing them out. They hold up better in the long run that way! Don't ask me why =)

Also, this is DELICIOUS fresh (note the caramelization on top of the cakey stuff- it provides a nice little crunch on top!), but can be successfully reheated in the microwave and the filling tastes better the next day, IMO.

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