Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dessert Wars: Go Green

Dessert Wars

March’s Dessert Wars challenge is Go Green. To celebrate St. Patty’s Day and the color green, the challenge is to create a dessert using naturally green ingredients. We must use at least one traditional dessert ingredient and at least one non-traditional ingredient.

Traditional Non-Traditonal
Green Apples Cucumber
Green Grapes Green Tea
Limes Wasabi
Pistachios Green Chilies
Basil or other green herbs
Green Pears Soybeans/Tofu
Vegetables like Spinach or Peas
Lemon Grass
Green Cheese

My inspiration came to me in a funny way. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do for this challenge. Then one day I was adding wax to my Scentsy warmer. It smelled so good, and I realized that the scent was Cucumber Lime. Perfect! Now what to make with that? I settled on a granita, something I’ve never made before, but it’s so easy I don’t know why I haven’t yet.

Granita is a Sicilian dessert with many variations. It can either be coarse and crystalline or smooth and slushy. The technique I’m giving provides the coarse texture.


Cucumber Lime Granita

Serves 4


  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • pinch of salt
  • zest of two limes, divided
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • 2 cucumbers


In a small saucepan, add the sugar and water. Swirl the pan to mix. Then bring to a boil on medium-high heat. Reduce to medium-low and simmer for 2 minutes to make a thin syrup. Take the pan off the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

Now is a good time to zest and juice your limes. Then, using a peeler, peel the cucumber, cut off the ends and slice the cucumber in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds using a melon baller or a spoon. Chop the cucumber into smallish cubes until you have 2 cups.

Add to a blender the cucumber, lime juice, half the zest, salt, and 1/3 cup of syrup. Puree until it is nice and smooth. Pour into a shallow dish, cover and stick it in the freezer for 2 1/2 hours.

Remove the dish from the freezer, uncover and rake a fork through the mixture. Recover and return to the freezer for another 1-2 hours. Repeat the raking/freezing process every 1-2 hours until you are left with nothing but tiny ice crystals.

Serve in chilled glass vessels of your choice. Garnish with the remaining lime zest.

Pioneer Woman has a great step-by-step for making granitas. Check it out!

Click here for the Printable Recipe at Tasty Kitchen.

As February’s Dessert Wars Winner, I’m not currently eligible to win any more challenges until December. But I can’t leave you without showing you what this month’s winner will receive.

The March prize package includes:

Whisk and cupcake necklace from Moon & Star Designs

Beanilla Sampler Pack of Vanilla Beans

Lenox Personalized Musical Cupcake

1,000 ideas for Decorating Cupcakes, Cookies & Cakes

Organic Valley $50 Gift Certificate

Organic Prairie $50 Gift Certificate

Theme Kitchen $50 Gift Certificate

BEKA Cookware Crepe Pan

Click here to see the Dessert Wars rules

Lark's Country Heart

Friday, March 25, 2011

Pizza Mia

Back in February, my husband and I went to a youth conference in Gatlinburg, TN with some teens from church. We stayed in a townhouse that weekend, so we took advantage of having a full kitchen and I cooked all our meals. Well, that’s not entirely true. I wrangled everyone into helping. That’s right, I got teen guys to cook.

Here’s the details on planning the menu. First, I had to find out if there were any food allergies or special dietary needs. We had one vegetarian, but other than that all the others said they would eat anything.

Next, I decided on meals that were easy to prepare, and could be done in an assembly line. The desserts would be easy too. A lot of the ingredients could be used in multiple dishes too. Here’s our menu:

Friday Dinner: Hamburgers/Veggie burgers with all the good stuff you want on a burger, French Fries and Mocha Pudding for dessert. (Mocha Pudding deserves it’s own post, coming soon.)

Saturday Breakfast: Omelets in a Bag, muffins, and cereal.

Saturday Lunch: Quesadillas, Mexican Rice, Refried Beans, Chips and Salsa.

Saturday Dinner: Pizza Mias, Gooey Butter Cake.

Sunday Breakfast: Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Rolls with How Sweet Eats’ Vanilla Cream Glaze, muffins, cereal.

Before going, I made sure that I had as much prepared as possible. Meats cooked, muffins made, ingredients mixed. Hey, I didn’t want to spend the whole weekend in the kitchen. It worked out really well. I’m so proud of how organized I was. Friday night after dinner, I had everyone mix up their omelets and store in the fridge overnight. That made Saturday morning go smoothly. I was so proud of our teens. Not only did they help me out in the kitchen, but by the end of the weekend were taking the initiative in getting food ready. You don’t see that everyday. Thanks guys!

Anyway, here is a recipe that is a crowd pleaser. Nothing fancy here, just something incredibly easy that can be adjusted to your tastes and easy to serve to a large group. We call them Pizza Mias, not just because they are personal pizzas, but because the recipe was given to me by my friend Mia. Here’s what you need:

  • Sub rolls
  • Marinara sauce
  • Your favorite pizza toppings
  • Shredded Mozzarella cheese, or whatever cheese you prefer for pizza
  • Aluminum foil to keep you sane

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Slice the rolls into two halves if not already sliced.


Add your sauce.


Then lay on the toppings.


Now the cheese.


Now stick it in the oven for 10 minutes or so until the cheese has melted. See how easy that was, I kinda feel goofy for spelling it all out for you, it’s such a no brainer.


Mia suggests that for a large crowd, use multiple pans so they are ready to go as soon as another comes out of the oven. She also sticks to just 3 options, cheese, peperoni, and sausage. Get an assembly line going and it couldn’t be easier!

Thursday, March 10, 2011





I hope you will allow me bragging rights here.  I have won February’s Dessert Wars with my Pain au Chocolat.  This means, not only have I won a great prize package, but I have a spot in December’s Ultimate Competition.  I’ll be going up against ten other Dessert Warriors, eleven runners-up and anyone who participated in all eleven challenges.

Because I’ve already won a challenge, I’m ineligible to win any other challenges until December, but I will still be participating each month to challenge myself and to use each challenge as warrior training.  Winking smile

If you have a blog and you want to challenge yourself in the dessert arena, go take a look at and join the fun!

Congratulations to February’s Runner Up

BriarRose of Flour Dusted

who made 

Dark Chocolate and Lemon Bundt  Cake


Click here to see February’s Dessert Wars Round-Up.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Just Peachy

Here’s another recipe from Nana. Peach Cobbler is one of my favorites, not only because it tastes so good, but because it is simple to make. It would be great as an impromptu dessert, to take to a potluck, or give away to a lucky friend. (A cute little loaf pan such as in the photos can be found many places. Mine came from Michael’s a few years ago, but I’ve seen them all over. They are perfect for gift giving.)


Yummy with vanilla ice cream!

Nana’s Peach Cobbler

3/4 stick margarine 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup milk 1 (29 oz.) can sliced
1 cup self-rising flour peaches with syrup
1 cup sugar

Place margarine in a 9x13 casserole dish and melt in oven at 350 degrees, (I do this while the oven is preheating). Mix milk, flour, sugar and cinnamon together. Pour mixture into the dish with the melted butter. Evenly arrange the peach slices on top of the batter. Pour the syrup from the can over the entire pan. Do not stir! Bake for 30 minutes.


It’s divine with a little cream poured over!

Click here for the Printable Recipe at Tasty Kitchen!