Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program: Duncan Hines Raspberry Red Velvet Trifle and a GIVEAWAY!!!

Hello! I hope you all had wonderful Thanksgivings! Hopefully you are not tired of desserts (how could that happen!) because recently as part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program with Duncan Hines, I was sent some free coupons in the mail. What's really exciting is that they sent some for my readers too! I'm so excited to host my first giveaway so check at the bottom of the post for details on how you can win!

When you have the time, it's nice to bake a cake from scratch but most days the convenience of having a boxed mix in the pantry is ideal. I picked out the Duncan Hines Moist Deluxe Red Velvet cake mix and decided to put together one of my favorite desserts: Trifle. I received my trifle dish for our wedding from a good friend's mother and I love getting it out to use! A couple of ingredients and you can put together a layered dessert that's easy to make and even easier to eat up because it's so good! Plus, red velvet is one my favorite cake flavors!

Raspberry Red Velvet Cake Trifle
(Serves 8)

1/2 of a baked Duncan Hines Red Velvet Cake (2 9-inch cakes, set one aside for later eating!)

1 15.75-ounce can Wilderness-Comstock Premium Raspberry Filling (this one has no high fructose corn syrup!)

1 package instant French Vanilla Pudding, prepared

1 8-ounce container Cool Whip, thawed

Red food coloring, optional


1. Cut cake into 1-inch pieces.
2. Mix 1 cup of the cool whip into the pudding. Add about 5-10 drops of red food coloring and set aside. 3. Layer ingredients into a large trifle dish in this order: cake, pudding mixture,
    and 1/2 cup raspberry filling.
4. Repeat layers again and then top the trifle with the leftover white cool whip and raspberry filling.
5. Dust the top with cocoa powder and dish up!

I hope you're still reading because it's time for the giveaway:

 TWO readers will each receive three coupons for free Duncan Hines products! 
The giveaway ends Saturday, December 3 at midnight.  (US residents only)

Leave a separate comment for each entry.

1. Mandatory entry: Leave a comment below telling me your favorite cake flavor!

2. For an additional entry: Follow me on Twitter (@dancerkitchen)

I hope you win and you can enjoy some cake, muffin, or brownie mixes to add into your pantry or bake right away!

~This giveaway is now closed! Winners will be announced soon, good luck!~


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

FAGE Good Living (Part 3): Pumpkin Oatmeal with Yogurt Maple Creme

I love oatmeal! That's all there is to it! There are a lot of bloggers that chronicle everything they eat and I'm not one of those bloggers. The fact is that during the week, my mornings consist of waking up, making a big pot of coffee and usually pouring myself a bowl of cereal. When the weekends come around, I indulge in having more time in the mornings. Breakfast goes from boring cereal to eggs, omelets, French toast, and batches of hot oatmeal.  Recently, I was craving some oatmeal on a Saturday morning so I made this recipe with some leftover pumpkin. Sometimes I like to put a little milk on my oatmeal or for a treat a little half-half or soy creamer. Pretty much whatever I have on hand goes on top. Since I had some leftover Greek yogurt, I whipped up this simple yogurt maple creme. The maple creme was so yummy that I will definitely be making it again! Another great thing about this recipe is that it makes a lot so I was able to indulge in leftovers during the week and spice up my weekday mornings! As part of being a Foodbuzz Tastemaker I might win a trip here.....


 Don't worry though, you could also be on your way to Greece if you go and enter here! Until then whip up a batch of this seasonal oatmeal to start some "good living." Oatmeal is such a healthy start to your day and since most of us (me too!) are rushed in our mornings, at least we can start by putting something good in our bodies. The Greek tradition of "good living" makes perfect sense to me. What's better then combining good food and fine taste to help live a healthy, positive life!? Sounds good! Good luck and maybe we'll win a trip to Greece!

The ingredients:

Pumpkin Oatmeal with Yogurt Maple Creme


  • 1 (14-ounce) can pumpkin puree (the unseasoned kind)
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups unsweetened soy milk, or water
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice OR 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon plus 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon plus 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 cups quick cooking oatmeal (not the instant kind)
  • 1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
Yogurt Maple Creme
1 cup Greek Yogurt (I used FAGE Total %0)
1/2 cup Maple Syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In large saucepan over high heat, combine the pumpkin puree, water, milk, cranberries, salt, and pumpkin pie spice (alternative spices). Bring to a boil.
Add the oatmeal. Turn the heat down and cook according to your oatmeal instructions; about 15 minutes. Stir often.
Meanwhile, in a small cast iron skillet over medium heat, toast the pepitas until they're fragrant and a gentle golden brown, about 10 minutes (watch the seed so they don't burn!). In a small bowl mix the ingredients for the yogurt maple creme and set aside. 
Once the oatmeal is cooked (each grain should be tender), serve with yogurt maple creme and sprinkle pepitas on top.
*oatmeal recipe adapted from Food Network

"As part of the Foodbuzz Featured Publisher program, I have been entered for the chance to win a trip to Greece courtesy of FAGE. You too can enter to win one of three trips to Greece by entering the FAGE Plain Extraordinary Greek Getaway here:"

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

FAGE Good Living (Part 2): Second Helping Cheesy Potato Casserole

I am sooooo happy it is Wednesday! My body is sore, I hurt my back, and I was punched in the mouth today at rehearsal (dance can be a contact sport!) Hence, I'm very thankful that I have the next two days off from work. I feel so bad for retail employees who have to work on Thanksgiving night to open stores one day earlier for our over-consuming society. I definitely like to shop but I feel like this is all a bit extreme. I only did Black Friday shopping once and it was only to buy a new bedroom set from a furniture store. I've had my fill! The crowds and the craziness are not my thing. I did see on Facebook recently that on November 26, American Express is hosting shop Small Business Saturday. A day to focus on supporting small businesses and shopping small by shopping local. Things like this make me aware of things we can do in our own lives to make our communities better. Shopping local is one way for sure. One of my goals this year is to try to find and buy more things that are made locally.  There are quite a few local boutiques and holiday shows coming up that I can't wait to go to this year!

My second post for a chance for myself (and for you by clicking here!) to win a trip to Greece also incorporates some more yummy Fage Greek yogurt. I love this recipe because it reminds me exactly of some "good living" in my past. Growing up, Thanksgiving at my house, at times,  had to revolve around my performances in The Nutcracker. I knew I couldn't eat a ton because then I would have to go and perform. However, I always enjoyed the side potato dishes so much that I had to have seconds! When I look back to my childhood, I realize I've been on this great ride of trying to bring "good living" to my life. Even though I had to perform on those days I never deprived myself of a little second helping. I may never have been the skinniest ballerina in the Nutcracker but I sure was a happy one!

Now that I'm older, I've even more conscious of what I put into my body. Those recipes that are healthier recreations of classic recipes always catch my eye. Thanks to one of my favorite magazines, Cooking Light has come to the rescue again! They recreated this popular dish but made it a bit healthier so you can go back for seconds! The original recipe was made with canned soup, sour cream, and potato chips. Wow, a lot of not very healthy things...........BUT: In this recipe the Greek yogurt gets a standing ovation because it has the perfect starring role in replacing that unhealthy sour cream!

Cheesy Potato Casserole


  • Canola oil cooking spray
  • 2 pounds red potatoes, diced
  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 8 ounces sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
  • 1 cup nonfat Greek yogurt (I used FAGE Total %0)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon plus a pinch of salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cups crushed unsweetened corn flakes


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch (or similar-size) baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Place potatoes in a large pot, add water to cover and bring to a boil. Immediately drain and rinse with cold water; drain well. Return to the pot.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk milk and cornstarch in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking often until bubbling and thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon, 2 to 4 minutes total. Remove from the heat and stir in Cheddar, yogurt, onion, 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper until combined. Pour the sauce over the potatoes and mix well. Spread evenly in the prepared pan.
  4. Sprinkle the casserole with corn flakes. Using short bursts, coat the corn flakes with cooking spray; sprinkle with the remaining pinch of salt. Bake until browned and bubbling at the edges, about 1 hour. Let cool for 20 minutes before serving.

I only got one picture of this dish and now it's already been eaten! While most of you already probably have your Thanksgiving menus down, this is a great dish to make for potlucks and other holidays! In fact, I'm already planning to make this one again very soon.....and I'll be sure to have seconds!

I have some other great recipes for Thanksgiving/Holidays coming your way!

Question: What's your favorite Thanksgiving side dish?

"As part of the Foodbuzz Featured Publisher program, I have been entered for the chance to win a trip to Greece courtesy of FAGE. You too can enter to win one of three trips to Greece by entering the FAGE Plain Extraordinary Greek Getaway here:"

    Saturday, November 19, 2011

    FAGE Good Living (Part 1): Vegetarian Gyro Bowls and Healthier French Onion Dip

    I've been able to travel a lot in my life, but one place I haven't been and is on my list of places to visit is: Greece! When I got an email that FAGE Total Authentic Greek Yogurt was giving away an 8-day trip to Greece to a Foodbuzz Featured Publisher I got very excited. Of course, FAGE hasn't forgotten about all of you!  Go here to enter to win a trip for yourself too! Foodbuzz wants to know how we as bloggers, "combine good food and fine taste for a positive, healthy life--just like the Greek tradition of
     "good living"."
           So when I think about "good living" it brings me to thinking about the way I lead my own life. I feel like life is too short not to enjoy the things that make you happy. If you love chocolate, eat the chocolate. If you love salty things, eat those things. However, I also truly believe in enjoying everything in moderation. If you indulge in the rich things then you might have to work out and exercise a little harder to even things out. This doesn't work for everyone but I feel like when you don't allow yourselves to indulge in your favorite things sometimes then you'll never learn to live equally and healthfully with them. Positive health and well-being is something I've always believed in. These are ideas and notions that originated with Plato and the ancient philosophers.

          I love finding ways in my cooking to make my favorite recipes a little healthier so that I can enjoy them more often then just on a special occasion. The thing I love about Greek yogurt is that it is such a versatile cooking tool for doing just that. It can be used to replace sour cream and mayonnaise in most recipes. It's delicious in oatmeal and great mixed with berries for a fresh dessert.

        I decided to take one of my favorite childhood dips and use Greek yogurt to update the recipe. Growing up, my mom use to get the Lipton French Onion soup mix and make dip which was always served with potato chips. I loved this dip and always ate too much of it! At age 28, I still love that dip and when I find it at parties I still get excited.........

    But here is a new version of the recipe, one that I actually think tastes better than the original! I've used it all week in other recipes but it is really tasty in the Gyro Bowls below:

    French Onion Dip With Greek Yogurt


    • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
    • 1 large yellow onion, finely diced
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1 garlic clove, minced
    • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 cup Fat-Free 0% Greek Yogurt 
    • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
    • 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
    • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
    • Vegetables or chips  for serving 


    In a fry pan over medium-high heat, melt the butter. Add the onion and salt and cook, stirring often, until soft and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat. Add the Worcestershire sauce and stir to scrape up the browned bits from the pan bottom. Transfer the onion to a small bowl and let cool to room temperature.

    In a bowl, stir together the Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, cayenne pepper and black pepper. Stir in the onion. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 1 week. Serve with chips and vegetables for dipping. Makes about 2 cups.
    *adapted from Williams-Sonoma

    Once I made this dip I knew I had to try it on top of one of my vegetarian gyro bowls. I came up  with this recipe awhile back when I was eating Field Roast's Wild Mushroom Loaf and thought that it tasted a lot like gyro meat to me. This recipe is so easy to make on a weeknight. I usually use a box of Near East cous-cous. So here is the gyro bowl we can pretend we are in Greece, in case we don't win the trip!

    Vegetarian Gyro Bowls
    Serves 2

    1 Tablespoon
    1 box Near East Cous-Cous (any variety)
    1 tomato, diced or sliced
    4 Tablespoons French Onion Dip
    salt & pepper to taste

    1. Prepare cous-cous according to the directions on the box.
    2. Meanwhile in a separate skillet add oil and cook Field Roast and saute until edges start to brown. 
    3. Fluff cous-cous and divide between two bowls. Top each bowl with tomatoes, Field Roast, and 2 tablespoons of French Onion Dip, salt & pepper. 

     "As part of the Foodbuzz Featured Publisher program, I have been entered for the chance to win a trip to Greece courtesy of FAGE. You too can enter to win one of three trips to Greece by entering the FAGE Plain Extraordinary Greek Getaway here:"


    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program: Green Giant Vegetables and a World Wide Pizza Party!

    If you are like me you probably don't have a ton of time to get things done when you come home from work. In order to learn to love cooking and creating healthy, meals I truly believe in finding easy short-cuts that can help you with your meal planning. As part of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program I was offered an opportunity to try a free sample of Green Giant vegetables. I like to use fresh vegetables as much as I can but some days I want the ease of the frozen kind. With the amount of BPA in cans these days I try to avoid canned goods as much as I can. The frozen kind works well and I usually always have a stock in my pantry. I picked up a bag of Green Giant Select Frozen Broccoli Florets and whipped up this recipe below. It would make a great side dish for Thanksgiving/Holidays and for some picky kid eaters this might be a good way with the cheesy sauce to get them to eat some veggies (but since I don't have kids I have no idea if that would work!).

    Healthier Cheesy Broccoli Bake

    • Ingredients:

    • 1 cup Organic Cornflake cereal
    • 2 teaspoons olive oil
    • 4 cups Green Giant® Select® frozen broccoli florets
    • 1 tablespoon  butter
    • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon mustard
    • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
    • 1 1/2 cups fat-free (skim) milk
    • 1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese (I used Black Pepper White Cheddar)


    1. Heat oven to 400°F. Place cereal in resealable food-storage plastic bag; seal bag and crush with rolling pin. In small bowl, mix cereal and olive oil; set aside. In 1 1/2-quart casserole, place broccoli; cover and microwave on High 3 minutes. Drain; set aside.
    2. Meanwhile, in 2-quart saucepan, heat butter until melted. Stir in flour, salt, mustard and pepper. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with wire whisk, until smooth and bubbly. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute; remove from heat. Stir in cheese until melted. Pour sauce over broccoli in casserole. Sprinkle with cereal mixture.
    3. Bake uncovered 18 to 20 minutes or until hot.

    *adapted slightly from Green Giant

    In other exciting news, today I'm celebrating a world pizza party!! When I was at the Foodbuzz Festival I was given copy of this book by the authors:

    I've been wanting to get one of their books for awhile and so I was so excited to get this one! Plus it was signed copy...I should have gotten a picture with them! They are hosting this world wide pizza on Twitter! I decided to make the following recipe from the book and it was delicious. My husband liked the way this one sounded especially since it's an adapted version of maybe one of the first pizza recipes ever written. I came home at lunch to make the dough and I loved the use of spelt flour in this recipe. I'm a whole grain lover and this dough recipe makes a a lot, so look out for more pizza recipes soon. 

    100% Whole Grain Spelt Dough

    Makes enough dough for at least eight 1/2-pound pizzas or flatbreads (12 inches across). You can always double or halve this recipe. 


    3 1/4 cups Lukewarm water
    1 Tbsp Granulated yeast
    1 Tbsp Salt
    2 Tbsp Sugar, honey, malt powder, or agave syrup
    1/8 cup Olive oil
    8 cups Whole Grain Spelt Flour 

    1. Mixing & storing the dough: Mix the yeast, salt, sweetener, and olive oil with the water in bowl, or a lidded (not airtight) food container.

    2. Mix in the remaining dry ingredients without kneading, using a spoon, a 14-cup capacity food processor (with dough attachment), or a heavy-duty stand mixer (with paddle). 

    3. Cover (not airtight), and allow it to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses )or flattens at the top), approximately 2 hours. 

    4. The dough can be used right away after initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate and use within 7 days or freeze it for up to 3 weeks in 1/2 pound portions. 

    Ancient Greco-Roman Pizza with Feta, Honey, and Sesame Seeds

    Makes one 12-inch pizza

    1/2 pound (orange-size portion) spelt dough
    1 cup feta cheese
    3 Tbsp honey
    2 tsp sesame seeds
    Flour, cornmeal, or parchment paper for the pizza peel

    1. Prepare and measure all toppings in advance.

    2. Preheat a baking stone at 450 F for at least 30 minutes. Sprinkle a pizza peel liberally with flour. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1/2-pound piece. Dust with more flour and quickly shape into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter turn as you go. 

    3. Stretch the pizza crust:Flatten the dough with your hands and/or rolling pin on a work surface, or directly onto a pizza peel. Dust with flour to keep the dough from adhering to the surface. 

    4. Add the toppings: Sprinkle the cheese over the dough, then drizzle with honey. Finish with a sprinkling of sesame seeds. 

    5. Slide the pizza onto the preheated stone: (you could also make this on a sheet pan and place it right on the stone!) Check for doneness in 8-10 minutes and turn the pizza around in the oven if one side is browning faster than the other. Feta cheese doesn't flow like mozzarella, so don't wait for that to happen. 

    6. Allow to cool slightly, on a wire cooling rack. Cut into wedges and serve. 
    * Both recipes adapted slightly from Artisan Pizza and Flatbread in Five Minutes a Day

    I served the pizza with the cheesy broccoli bake as a side. Pizza can take a bit more time on a weeknight but you could easily make the dough on the weekend and then you'll have it on hand to throw a quick pizza together! With a glass of wine (or a carafe!) make a toast and eat as the Ancient Greco-Romans might have: Pizza and wine, life is good!!!



    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...