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St. Patrick’s Day Bake Sale: Green Treats Galore!

17 Mar

My school newspaper The Emerald and literary journal The Oracle held their annual charity bake sale this beautiful, sunny St. Patty’s Day. All the proceeds went to aid the relief in Chile. (Don’t worry other student clubs held previous drives for the people in Haiti). As members of either of these two publications, we were asked to donate our time, talent, and money to this bake sale. Some chose to buy their treats from local grocery stores while others like myself decided to push off homework for a while and get down to baking!

The Crew manning the Bake Sale Table

What did I end up baking up for this worthy cause? Well, I decided that I was going to risk baking two dozen vanilla cupcakes two nights before the actual bake sale. I didn’t have too much time to actually make cupcakes from scratch BUT I did try to make as homemade as possible. The major change that I made was whipping the egg whites and egg yolks (3 each) separate from each other to make the cupcakes fluffier and more like sponge cake. (This is always a request at home because I have a mom that simply loves sponge cake, angel cake, chiffon cake, and any other air-like cake possible).

Denautred Egg WhitesI would like to say that whipping the egg whites made the cupcakes better but I’m not too sure if I’m bias. I do not know if I mentioned this before, but I’ve actually denatured egg whites twice before … by hand. The first time, I did not really know what “denaturing” meant so it was only half-way whipped and consequently the cake was a flat dud. The second time, I had already attended the Sur La Table baking class so I knew what denatured egg whites were supposed to look like. However, what I did not know was how long it was going to take me nor how tired my hand was going to be after. I think it took me about 40 minutes to denature 6 egg whites. “Never again,” I remember thinking, “at least not without a hand mixer”.

So this time, I used my handy-dandy yellow hand mixer to denature the 3 egg whites. In the words from Wicked the Musical, “I couldn’t [have been] happier” to finally: 1) use my hand mixer and 2) denature egg whites ‘perfectly’. Still, I’m very proud to say that I denatured egg whites by hand. Too bad I didn’t have any pictures. Guess you’ll just have to take my word for it.St. Patty Cupcakes

Anywho, this is how my St. Patty- themed cupcakes turned out. I was just so glad that every single one of my cupcakes sold out! And to think that the entire table was filled with different delectable treats! The price of everything was the same too: $0.50 each. At the end, things starting for selling for $.25, but by that time, my cupcakes were all gone.

The exact amount we made today has not been officially released to us yet but I’m hoping for something in the range of $50 – $70. We’re crossing our fingers!

[On a random tangent…This gets me thinking though. Last year, I sold my baked goods at my mom’s office last year and was able to raise about $25 all by myself. I donated all the money to The Great American Bake Sale, which provides funding for after school and breakfast programs in the United States. I was thinking I could do this again, but somehow I wish I could raise more than that, like somehow sell on a larger scale. Hm… I guess I’ll have to think about it and let it simmer for a while on the back stove top.]

Well, at any rate, I hope your St. Patrick’s Day was as festive and fun as mine! And, I do hope that you wore green today or else your arm is probably sore from all the pinches. :)

Kraft Fat Free Shredded Cheddar Cheese, reviewed

19 Sep

I have been an honest cheese lover ever since I discovered pasta at the early age of 5 years old. I remember being served a hot plate of spaghetti with a marinara sauce and meatballs. I was about to dig right into it when my mom placed a green container of white sprinkly stuff. The label on the green container read, “Kraft Grafted Parmesan Cheese”. I had no idea what that meant at the time, but my mom sprinkled some over her spaghetti so I did the same thing. Once I took a bite, I knew I had tasted heaven. I instantly poured on much more and continued to do so on all future pasta plates. I even are the cheese by the spoonfuls. I soon learned of the best kind of cheese: the fresh-grated. :) It was heaven.

As I grew up and realized that I shouldn’t have too much cheese and that the pasta actually tasted good without a lot of the heavenly shreds. I began to eat less of the cheese as I experimented with new sauces. Eventually, I even forgot to add the cheese. I know, how could I?

Well, while I was at my local grocery store, the Lucky’s, I spotted something that just caught my eye: Kraft Fat Free Shredded Cheddar Cheese. Could it be? A truly fat-free cheese? Would it taste it? Was it lying? Was this a gimmick? Was there a camera crew waiting to jump out and say, “You’re on candid camera! Your friend sent you in, you crazy cheese lover!”

I picked up the bag of cheese, paid, and left the store ready to try my new cheese. It was this new cheese that prompted me to make the thin crust pizza dough mentioned in the previous post.

The Krat Fat Free Cheese

$3.59 with a decent taste (pile it on!), 25% of calcium too!

Well, I can honestly say that it’s not as great as Kraft’s – or rather any normal brand’s – cheese. The taste isn’t as sharp, though I truth be told I did not buy sharp, so my taste buds might be off. There wasn’t as much flavor as cheese usually has.

Having said that, I must give it some credit. It is fat free after all. It’s definitely a good alternative to the regular cheese if you’re looking to stay healthy or cut back on fat/calories.  In just 1/4 cup, you get 25% of your daily Calcium with only 45 calories. Not too shabby. If you pile it on your food, you can actually get a decent taste and not feel guilty. I do have to mention that in the 1/4 cup, it has about 11% of your daily sodium so be careful if you’re watching your sodium intake. Also, on sale at my grocery store, it was $3.59, a dollar less than the $5 price tag. Not that bad, but I’m hoping that it’ll go down some more with time.

Personally, I love to sprinkle some garlic powder and the cheese on my Alvadaro’s Whole Wheat Sprouted (Non-Fat) Sourdough toast. It becomes a kind of garlic toast, but ditching the garlic is just as good for some cheese toast. It’s also great in tacos, on pizza, on pasta (duh!), and chili. As the days are getting colder, this is especially a tasty match.

If you end up trying the cheese, post a comment on what you think. I’d love to know what recipe you used too. :)

Noteworthy Store-Bought Breads :)

9 May

For any of you who wish to cut down on calories or like to try something new, then read on! I am listing the best healthy breads. However, I haven’t tried all of them, so try them at your own risk. And remember that these breads may or may not taste the same as the other “un-healthier” breads out there. Something’s gotta give, right? :)

White Breads:

Wonder Light Bread

With only 40 calories and 5 fat calories per slice and 8% of the daily amount of fiber as well as calcium, this white bread is a great alternative to the Wonder Classic White Bread, which has 60 calories and no fiber at all. The Classic White Bread has about 2% more calcium, but perhaps it’s worth the trade off.

Sara Lee ® 45 Calories Delightful White Bread

This delightful white bread has only 45 calories – and Sara Lee is quite proud of it. However, I can’t say much about the rest of it because Sara Lee does not list any of its nutrient facts online! Definitely check this out at the store though.

Wheat Breads

Wonder Light Wheat Bread

Again, only 40 calories and 5 fat calories per slice and 8% of the daily amount of calcium. Compared to the Wonder Light White Bread, the wheat bread has 12% of the daily amount of fiber.

Fiber is said to be good to make the stomach feel fuller longer, so you might just end up eating less slices of bread. :)

Sara Lee ® 45 Calories Delightful Wheat Bread

Like the Sara Lee’s delightful white bread, this one has 45 calories and 9g of fat per slice. Not sure about the rest of the specifics, but worth checking out at the store or if you have a coupon for it.

Special Breads

Ah hah, now this is where I would like to debut a special bread that I myself have tasted and love! From the looks of it, it seems just like every other wheat bread out there, but it’s not. Oh no, it’s special. Because first off, it isn’t wheat. It tastes like wheat and looks like wheat, but it’s actually sourdough.

Now for those of you who like sourdough, you are probably cringing at the thought of such an awful sourdough bread that it looks like a wheat bread! But trust me on this, it’s like combining the technique of sourdough with the great texture and taste of wheat: pure bliss.

If you like wheat and sourdough and are willing to take a chance, then this is the bread for you!

This bread is absolutely wonderful. Though it has 80 calories per serving, it has no fat calories at all. It is completely organic and made without any flour. It is made entirely of sprouted wheat berries, water, wheat gluten, honey, fresh yeast, sea salt, soy based lecithin, and cultured wheat.

This company is also worth checking out as they offer different kinds of breads such as the Diabetic Lifestyle Bread, Essential Flax Seed Bread, No-Salt Bread, Sprouted Rye Bread, Sprouted Barley Bread, Sprouted Wheat Bread, and even Kids Bread! They even sell bagels, pizza bread, rolls and buns, tortillas, and granolas! Check out their website:

English Muffins:

Try this Thomas’s Double Fiber Honey Wheat english muffins. These are delicious with 32% of the daily fiber suggested with less than 110 calories per muffin. Fiber keeps you full longer. :)