Friday, July 30, 2010

S'mores Stuffed Brownies

With a recipe name like this, how can you not make it?
I love s’mores, and when I saw how easy this was, I jumped at the chance to make it. These brownies have a chocolaty brownie base, topped with a layer of graham crackers, then Hershey bars, and finally a layer of marshmallows, which is then topped with more brownie batter. This was absolute heaven!

S’mores Stuffed Brownies
1 box brownie mix (and whatever other ingredients you need to make the brownies according to the box)
Graham crackers
Hershey bars (around 5 or so)
Mini marshmallows (about 1-1/2 cups)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. Make brownie batter according to box instructions.
3. In a greased 8x8 pan, layer half of the brownie batter, top with whole graham crackers (a single layer), then Hershey bars, then marshmallows; top with remaining brownie batter and spread evenly over the marshmallows.
4. Bake for 40-55 minutes, or until the brownies start to pull away from the edges a bit. Inserting a toothpick won’t be much help, due to the melted Hershey bars.
5. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Source: Picky Palate

Picture courtesy of Picky Palate

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Chicken and Couscous Salad

This dish was out of this world. Incredibly tasty, and refreshingly delicious. It is a great way to eat healthy without breaking your budget or skimping on flavor- and without all the guilt. I wanted to marinate the chicken, so I doubled the dressing ingredients, and used half of it to marinate it. I am so glad I did, as the chicken had a remarkable flavor (though if you don't have time to marinate, it would still taste fabulous.) This dish presents beautifully, and would be great at any occasion. This dish is good warm or cold, and I loved the bright colors.

Chicken and Couscous Salad
1-1/4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth or stock
5.7 ounce (1/2 cup + 1/8 cup) box uncooked couscous
1-1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken (about 6 ounces)
1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions (this was 4 green onions, chopped 2/3 way up)
1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup chopped seeded peeled cucumber
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 Tbsp pine nuts, toasted*
2 ounce crumbled feta cheese

1/2 cup white wine vinegar
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp ground oregano
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic clove, minced

1. Prepare the marinade and dressing. Combine vinegar and remaining ingredients, stirring with a whisk.
2. Place the chicken breasts in a non-reactive (Pyrex is good) shallow baking dish.
3. Pour half of the dressing/marinade on top of the chicken, and allow it to marinate for 6-8 hours. (I made it in the morning, and allowed it to marinate while I was at work.)
4. To prepare salad, bring broth to a boil in a medium saucepan; gradually stir in couscous. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Spoon couscous into a large bowl; cool slightly.
5. While the couscous is cooking, grill the chicken. Once cooked, cube the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
6. Add chicken, onions, tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, pine nuts, and feta cheese; toss gently to combine.
7. Drizzle the remaining dressing over salad; toss to combine.

* Note: You can toast nuts quickly in a dry skillet over medium-high heat. Stir frequently, and as soon as they become fragrant, remove the nuts from the pan.
* Note: You can prepare this dish ahead of time- just sprinkle in the feta and pine nuts right before serving (or else the feta and pine nuts could soften.)

Yield: 4 servings

Source: Adapted from Cooking Light

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Gadget Rave: Lightscoop

I was still trying to understand all the functionalities of my dSLR when I was hearing positive reviews about the Lightscoop. The Lightscoop produces natural, flattering light on your subject.

Here is what the Lightscoop looks like:

You just place it on top of your dSLR by slipping the Lightscoop over the flash in its pop-up position, and shoot away. I was taken aback by how much more natural my shots looked.

The before and after difference is incredible. Check it out:

This is my BEFORE shot:

This is my AFTER shot: (See how it produces natural light on my subject?)

How does this work, you ask?
The Lightscoop bounces the light from the pop-up flash to a white or light-colored ceiling or wall for even lighting. I was honestly stunned by the difference. Therefore, there must be a bounce surface for it to work properly. At only $25 with free shipping, we are so glad we took a chance and tried this gadget!
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