Sunday, April 29, 2012

Easy, Lite Banana Cream Pie Parfait

Easy, Lite Banana Cream Pie (Parfait)

I was at the grocer picking up food for the week when I ran across some banana cream pie yogurt so I decided to try it. It wasn't bad but I found myself really just wanting actual pie. While pie is super delicious, it's not really on my diet (Weight Watchers) and it's not very quick. So I started poking around my kitchen and put this together. The whole thing is only 3-4 Weight Watchers Points Plus (depending on what cereal you use). Enjoy!



1 - Banana, Sliced
1 - 6 oz container of Banana Cream Pie Yogurt (Fat Free)
1/2 Cup - Dry Cereal
4 Tablespoons - Fat Free Reddi Wip

      Prep Time: 5 Minutes
      Cost for all ingredients: $9.00
      Cost Per Serving: $2.25

 1.) We're going to start by putting the cereal in a bowl. I used Fiber One's 80 Calorie Honey Squares that we got on special at Costco ( I've also used Golden Grahams but they're a little more expensive and are another Weight Watchers Points Plus point per serving.
Note: I've thought about trying to make an actual crust by crushing the cereal and adding some butter (or butter spray?) but haven't experimented yet.

2.) Next We're going to add about half of the sliced banana. When you slice it up, make sure you make sure the pieces are about 1/4 of an inch thick. We want them pretty small so that we have enough for two layers, one now and one later. Spread the pieces evenly over the cereal.
3.) Spoon the yogurt on top of the banana layer. I used Banana Cream Pie, fat free yogurt since it was my inspiration but you could probably use vanilla too

4.) Add the remaining banana slices in another layer on top of the yogurt. If you can remember where the spaces were between the previous pieces, try to put them there. We want to make sure we get banana in every bite!
5.) Finally, lets add the Reddi Wip. I love this stuff...  5 calories and zero WW Points+ per serving (2 tablespoons) and still zero points for 2 servings so of course we're using 2 servings right? Right. 

 Voila! Our finished product. I hope it didn't take you to much longer than 5 minutes to make as it is supposed to be a "quick and easy" breakfast or dessert. I've not tried refrigerating this and serving it later, if you do please let me know! The banana layer should protect the cereal from getting soggy. and you can add the Reddi Wip at the last moment.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

MGD 64

Miller Genuine Draft, 64 Calories

Brewer: Miller
ABV: %2.8
Type: Light Lager
My Rating (1-10): 5


I've drank a lot of light beers. A lot; lol. Being on Weight Watchers, we had this beer in the house quite a bit since it's only 2 Points+ for 1 and 5 Points+ for two. Really, when you drink this beer you're drinking it because you want a beer to go with your dinner. You're not not drinking it to get drunk (unless it was on super sale and/or you're drinking it through a beer-bong) or for the taste. I prefer the flavor over Bud-Light but for the flavor/ABV/Price, I'd rather pick up a thing of Coors-Light or a good pale ale.

64 pours a super crisp golden color with about a half an inch of head. The colder you can get it, the better it tastes. First wiff is a bit mild and the taste isn't much better but not awful.

My Suggested Pairings: Meh, light beer goes with about anything except chocolate and steak.

Elysian - The Men's Room

The Men's Room Original Red

Brewer: Elysian Brewing Company
ABV: %5.6
Type: Red
My Rating (1-10): 5


First of all let me say that I heart a good red beer. Killian's Irish Red is one of my long time "go-to" beers. You know, it's one of those beers that when you're at the grocer and can't find anything else that strikes you as perfect
for the night you just grab a sixer of it because you know that you will be pleased at the end of the night... That all being said, The Men's Room Original Red from Elysian is just "OK".

Men's Room pours gorgeous. It comes out the perfect coppery amber with about a half an inch of head. Sadly, the flavor just isn't there. You get hints of caramel with a touch of citrus and a LOT of bitter grains. The first scent that hit me was a tangy malt but when I took the first quaff all I got was bitter, burnt hops :(

My last thoughts on this beer is that for the $6 I paid for it, I wish I woulda grabbed the Killian's.

My Suggested Pairings: Like most ambers/reds, this beer goes well with a good tender meat. To be honest, I'd probably order a Killians if the place I was at had it but if the only red on tap was Men's Room it would go well with corned beef (if you don't do stouts) or prime rib.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Mixed Greens Strawberry Walnut Salad

Mixed Greens Strawberry Walnut Salad

I remember a little over a year ago, before going on Weight Watchers and losing 90+lbs, looking at the salads that my mother took to work every day (I work with her, not live with her) and thinking there was no way I was eating THAT. All that green and fruit, blah. There wasn't even any meat! Now that I've actually tried a few salads and have gotten a bit more healthy, I love them. I make this salad and take it to work every day (literally) and there isn't a day that goes by someone doesn't look at like they want to steal it. I find myself covering it with a paper-towel as I walk back to my desk. So instead of hiding it, I think I'll just share how to make it. Enjoy!



1 Tablespoon Sliced Honey Roasted Almonds (I use the All Natural Almond Accents)
1 Tablespoon Candied Walnuts (Any candied or raw walnuts will do but I like the store bought walnut frisco with little dried raspberries and cranberries)
1-2 Tablespoon(s) Craisins
5-7 Strawberries, Sliced
Greens of Choice
Dressing of Choice

Cheese - To change things up, sometimes I'll add in some crumbled feta or shredded mozzarella
Extra protein - My wife likes to add Salmon or Tuna and I will occationally add grilled chicken breast

Note: Don't forget to rinse your produce! Even "pre-washed" produce can pick up contaminates.

1.) We're going to start with taking our whole strawberries and slicing them up. I like a lot of strawberries in my salad so I normally use 7 or 8 but I think that 5 or 6 would be a fair amount.

2.) Next we'll get out our greens; this is a Spring Mix by Earthbound Farm and contains baby leaves of red and green romaine and oak leaf lettuces, lollo rosa and tango lettuces, red and green chard, mizuna, arugula, frisée and radicchio. I also like to add in some baby spinach when I have it (I don't at the moment, sadly).

3.) Because I usually use a honey mustard vinaigrette (spray), I add the dressing next and lightly toss the greens but feel free to wait until the end if you decide on something heavier.

4.) Now add in your dry toppings (Almonds, Walnuts and Craisins). If you decided to use extra protein, it would be a good idea to toss it with the greens prior to adding in the dry ingredients. This will allow you to get an even bite throughout the entire meal and not just have a bunch of lettuce left at the bottom of your bowl after being half way done.

5.) Lastly we're going to garnish (I use the term lightly since they take up the majority of my dish lol) with the strawberries. You should be left with something resembling this:

6.) The only step left is to dig in!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Lemon Poppy-Seed Cookies

Lemon Poppy-Seed Cookies

I'm not the biggest fan of cookies in general but these are addicting. They are light, fluffy and have a kick of citrus from the lemons. Although they almost taste healthy, they're not! Don't let the airy, fruity feel fool you; I've let my inner Paula Deen out with this one. :)

My biggest tip with this recipe is to try out your own ideas. I personally like mine cooked a little longer (12-15 minutes) so that they get more crispy and my wife likes them pulled out after 8-10 minutes so they're still chewy and gooey.


3-4 Lemons, Zested and Juiced
6 Ounces (1.5 sticks) Unsalted (very important) Butter
1 Egg
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
2 Cups of All-Purpose Flour
1 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoons Salt
1 3/4 Cups Sugar
2 Tablespoons Poppy Seeds


1.) Preheat the oven to 375º. This is one of the most important part of baking! Do Not skip this step!! If you do, you will have to watch your baking like a hawk. When preparing to bake, always preheat your oven or your timing will be off and that 4-8 minutes that it takes your oven to preheat can ruin your recipe.

NOTE: I've been told that if you let your cookies sit (covered) in the fridge for a couple of hours that they bake better but I haven't had a chance to test with this recipe yet; feel free to let me know if you do!

2.) If you haven't already, zest and juice your lemons (in that order). I suppose you could use bottled lemon juice and skip the zest but then your cookies would be awful and you will probably write a nasty comment on my blog so lets just assume that you're following my suggestions to the tee, ya?

3.) Bring 1/4 cup lemon juice to a simmer over a medium heat for a few minutes until it reduces by about half. The longer you reduce the lemon juice the stronger flavor you get but the less liquid which equals dryer (but more tart) cookies. Add 3/4 stick (3 ounces) of butter, stir until melted.

4.) In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder and salt; set it aside.

5.) Cream the remaining 3/4 stick (3 ounces) of butter with 1 cup of the sugar (I use the paddle attachment of my Kitchen Aid on medium speed). Add the egg and the lemon butter that you had simmering. Mix for about 3 minutes; it should be a pale yellow/white and very smooth.

6.) Next add in the vanilla extract and 2-3 teaspoons (I prefer more) lemon zest. Once the wet ingredients are all together you are going to add the flour mixture and a tablespoon of poppy seeds.

7.) In a separate bowl, stir together the remaining sugar, poppy seeds and zest (there should be about 4 teaspoons, feel free to use less if you want it to have less pop).

8.) Roll the dough into balls (roughly 1 1/2-inch) and roll them in the sugar mixture. Place them about 2 inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheets (I used Pam). Press the balls down lightly with the bottom of a glass or fork and sprinkle with a few more poppy seeds to make them prettier.

9.) Bake until the edges just start to brown (this is where I leave them in for another couple of minutes if my wife isn't going to be eating them) then transfer them to wire racks to cool.

10.) Enjoy and share! Cookies are awesome when you have them all to yourself but I think they are just a little bit better when someone asks you for the recipe :)

Iron Horse Brewery - Irish Death

Quilter's Irish Death

Brewer: Iron Horse Brewery
ABV: 7.8%
Type: Dark Smooth Ale
My Rating (1-10): 8


This is my first review so please be gentle with the comments! This beer isn't necessarily my favorite, I'm not even sure I have one, but it is an awesome dark ale. I thought long and hard about how to start my blog off and while I debating I decided to start with what I was drinking at the moment.

The first time I tasted Irish Death, it was on tap at the local Iron Horse Brewery here in Spokane Valley, Washington (One of my most frequented local pubs). I'm not going to lie, the name is what made me order it. I mean how can you not order a beer named Irish Death?! The first thing that hit me as I walked the pitcher back to my pool table was the scent. By the time I got back to my buddies I couldn't wait to pour our pints. As I took my initial drink the first taste I got was the roasted malt with undertones of chocolate (and maybe caramel?). Very sweet and very smooth with almost no aftertaste lets this dark ale easily hit my top 10. It pours a fairly dark brown, almost black with hardly any head at all. Just looking at the beer made me expect something different, like a stout vs the porter it tastes like. When held up to the light I was just barely able to see through it.

My Suggested Pairings: Drink this beer with something hearty like a steak or some dark chocolate. Iron Horse's website suggests drinking it with "your friend's meatloaf" but I don't. Stay away from light, tangy foods and buy this one to go with something that has body.


First Post

Welcome to my Food & Beer blog!

So I was talking to my sister the other day and we were talking about all the cooking I do. I have to admit there are few things in this world that I enjoy more than working in my kitchen or enjoying a great beer. She was trying to convince me to make a cookbook but I know that when I need a recipe I just look for it online. Why should I pay for a book of recipes when I can just find millions of them online and bookmark them for free? So after we talked about all of that, she suggested a blog. I'm not looking to make any money with it or know if anyone will ever read it. I'm not even sure if I'll like blogging since I've never tried my hand at it before but I figure I'll try. Sooo... Thanks for visiting my blog, Azrael's Kitchen. I hope you enjoy it.