Plenty Sweet Life

Grandma's Recipes One By One!

Valentine Meringues

Today’s recipe for Valentine Meringues is a twist on a recipe for Brown Sugar Meringues that I made about a year ago. This time, instead of using brown sugar in them, I’m making them with all white sugar. The flavor is a little different, and they look a little different, but they’re just as delicious as the brown sugar variety. I made these festive for Valentine’s Day, and I think they’d make a pretty gift for your special valentine. Speaking of special valentines, I had to share this photo of my two favorite valentines, my mom and dad. My dad is in his Matt Damon/James Dean phase here, and my mom has a very cute and stylish Audrey Hepburn type haircut.

They were probably seniors in high school here, and were already dating. The photo says “Thanksgiving”, and that would have been November of 1957. They were always “mushy” with each other. My dad would make my mom dance in the kitchen when we were growing up, and he would sing to her or come up behind her and give her a big smooch (she pretended she was bothered, but she loved it). He would even remember the date their first date and be sure to let her knew that he remembered! They started dating in the 1950’s and I think these meringues look like they could have been from the 1950’s – they’re in the shape of roses, and the sprinkles make them look a bit pink.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Valentine Meringues

Beat in a medium bowl until soft peaks form:

4 egg whites

Gradually beat in  until soft and glossy:

1 cup sugar (instead of using half brown sugar, like in the original recipe)

Add:

1 teaspoon vanilla (this was my own addition – it’s not in the recipe, but it added a bit more of a marshmallow flavor)

At this point you can tint the egg whites with food coloring if you wanted to make the roses a certain color.

Spoon into a piping bag (or a large zip-top bag with a corner cut off) fitted with a large M1 star tip.

Pipe onto parchment lined baking sheet, making twists, swirls, or roses.

Bake in 250 degree oven about 2 hours or until meringues are firm and dry (these were done for some reason after about an hour and 15 min).

Cool completely, peel off parchment, and store in airtight container up to 2 weeks.

When adding the sugar to the egg whites, make sure the sugar is dissolved before piping. Take a bit between your finger and thumb and rub them together. You shouldn’t feel any grittiness in the egg whites.

Try to get stiff peaks in the egg whites – it will hold a shape better.

When I made the Brown Sugar Meringues, I made a little swirl shape. Here I used the M1 tip to make a rose shape. I’m a bit obsessed with that rose shape. I just love it! It’s so pretty! The other tip for baking these meringues – make sure you can get them all on two baking sheets so they can all get into the oven at the same time.

You can use colored sugar or sprinkles before baking to add even MORE festive decoration.

This shape did get a little more chewy than the swirl shape I made with the Brown Sugar Meringues. I don’t mind that.

These meringues are so easy to do, and so much fun – you’re gonna get hooked on making them like I did. You can decorate them for any occasion, and they’re delicious. The possibilities are endless – different shapes, different colors, different flavors, different sprinkles. Make your valentine feel special, and give them a dozen of THIS kind of rose – try these Valentine Meringues!

 

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Roasted Chickpeas

I NEED this recipe for Roasted Chickpeas. I love salty snacks – I mean, who doesn’t – but since my problem with Ebenezer last winter (my pancreas – you can read more about that here), I’ve tried to stay away from things with too much fat. I’ve tried to be good, really I have, but it’s not easy. I have a “thing” for salty snacks – popcorn, chips, pretzels, you name it. There just isn’t much variety of salty low-fat snacks out there. Sometimes you have to just take matters into your own hands. You can find recipes for these chickpea snacks all over the internet, so I thought it was time I gave them a try. I found this particular recipe one night on Instagram – you can check out Hip Foodie Mom’s blog here.

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Roasted Chickpeas

Drain, rinse, and pat dry:

1 can chickpeas (or garbanzo beans)

Put beans into small bowl.

Toss beans with:

1 Tablespoon olive oil

Mix together:

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon lemon pepper

1 teaspoon salt

Toss with beans and pay out on parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake at 450 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until crisp.

You can put any flavor you want on these – taco seasoning, Mrs. Dash, Lowry’s Seasoned Salt, or make up your own – whatever YOU like.

Eat immediately, while they’re still crunchy (I found out the hard way that these don’t last too long, even in an airtight container – let me just say that they turned a nasty, fuzzy green – yes, moldy – after a couple of days).

I rinsed and drained the chickpeas.

Then I rolled the chickpeas on some paper towels to dry them off.

Next I tossed the chickpeas with olive oil so the spices would stick to them.

Then I mixed the oily chickpeas with the spices.

I recommend putting the chickpeas onto a parchment lined baking sheet so they don’t stick to the baking sheet.

After baking, the chickpeas are crispy and delicious. The longer they sat, the less crisp they were so eat them right away!

I like this recipe. The chickpeas are crispy and tasty and low-fat. Just remember to eat them right away, or within a day or two – you don’t want them getting moldy like mine did. That was just a waste. I may have to try making these with a lot of different spices and flavorings. They’ll keep Ebenezer happy and that keeps ME happy! I needed this low-fat snack, and so do you. Give this healthy and delicious snack of Roasted Chickpeas a try!

 

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Nutty “Raw” Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls

Here is a healthy recipe for Nutty “Raw” Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls that I saw when watching “The Kitchen” on Food Network a while back. Katie Lee was making these and I knew it was something I could use for a snack without too much fat and added sugar. This is another low-fat snack that will make Ebenezer (my pancreas – you can read more about that here) happy, and we definitely want to keep him happy. We don’t need any more issues with him moving forward. I think he’s finally seen the light and is behaving himself – he’s been nice and friendly and good to everyone (even after the holidays)! Because it’s a health issue, I may be trying some low fat recipes here from time to time. Don’t we all have the same New Year’s resolution – to be healthier in the new year? Well, let’s do it. I just don’t believe we need to eat crappy food to be healthy. If I find a delicious, yet healthy recipe (or at least healthier recipe), I’ll pass along the good word and we’ll all try these new recipes together. Sound fair? Good!

 

Here is the recipe as I made it:

Nutty “Raw” Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls

Soak in 1/4 cup hot water:

3 dates, pitted

Soak for 5 minutes and reserve the water.

Combine in food processor:

3/4 cup unsalted, raw almonds

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Pulse until it forms a fine meal.

Add:

1 Tablespoon creamy peanut butter

3 soaked dates

3 Tablespoons of the reserved water the dates were soaked in

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Process until of a cookie dough consistency.

Transfer to a bowl and fold in:

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Using a scoop, portion dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

Refrigerate until dough is chilled and set, about 20 minutes.

Store in refrigerator with parchment between layers.

Mmmm. Soaked dates.

These are full of healthy, good for you ingredients.

This looks like meal to me.

All mixed up and the chocolate chips are folded in and ready to go. I found that if I held the dough in my hands for a few seconds, it was easier to roll them into balls. I’m wondering if you could spread these into a 9″ x 9″ square pan, chill them, and cut them into small squares.

Ahh. There we go. Delicious. These babies are a lifesaver. I’m technically not supposed to eat much chocolate (too much fat), but I can handle these. They really do taste just like cookie dough, and I’m just going to keep a batch of these in my frig at all times – from now on! They’re so good! I love these and you will, too. Try these Nutty “Raw” Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls and give yourself a delicious, healthy treat!

 

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Gluten-Free Snack Mix

I made this Gluten-Free Snack Mix when my sister visited recently (she watches her gluten intake for health reasons), and it’s so good – I might make it all the time! It makes a big batch, and you can even add doubles of your favorite snacks to make it just the way you want it. It’s easier than ever to go gluten-free these days, but you still have to read labels and do your research to make sure it’s exactly what you’re looking for. People with allergies, celiac disease, or other life-threatening gluten sensitivities should always be on guard and read labels or go to the snack maker’s website to make sure you’re all good to go. This is the easiest and fastest snack mix you’ll ever make!

Here is the recipe as I made it (this really isn’t a recipe – it’s just mixing bags of snacks):

Gluten-Free Snack Mix

Mix in a large container, 1 package of each:

Pik Nik Shoestring Potatoes

Angie’s Boom Chicka Pop Light Kettle Corn

Cheetos

Fritos Corn Chips

+Lay’s Poppables (sea salt) – made on the same line as some gluten containing products, but technically don’t contain gluten

+Peanuts – doesn’t say gluten-free on package, but technically gluten-free

+M & M’s – doesn’t say gluten-free on package, but website says they’re gluten-free

You can add any combination of tasty gluten-free snack you want, but this is what I came up with when perusing the snack aisle at my local grocery store.

Combine gently and enjoy.

When you use bags of snack, you have to make sure your container is big enough or you’re gonna have a problem mixing those delicious goodies all together.

I tried to find a lot of different textures, colors, and flavors.

At this point you could leave out the M&Ms or add them. We decided to add them – they added that little pop of sweet at the end because, of course, the peanuts and the M&Ms sink to the bottom a bit.

It’s definitely a colorful mix!

This is a tasty mix of colors, textures, sizes, shapes, and flavors. I think I’ll be making this particular snack mix over and over again – it’s delicious! Be careful – you’ll be hooked – but if you’re going gluten-free (or even if you’re not), try this tasty Gluten Free Snack Mix and you’ll see why I’m going to be making more of this soon!

 

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