Sunday, December 30, 2007

Easy Tasty Cookies

Ok, so I'm far from home. I want to make a treat. I don't have a lot of cash, I need to please a lot of people. What should I make?


My sister found this recipe, and we've been playing with it for the past 10 years. Are you ready for this?

Characters -
One box cake mix (lemon and chocolate are both delicious) (18.25 oz size)
One large egg, beaten
2 cups Cool-Whip
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Combine cake mix, beaten egg and Cool-Whip in a large bowl.

The mix can be chilled at this point for easier handling.

When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350, roll the mix into walnut-sized balls, coat in powdered sugar, and place on a parchment lined or greased cookie sheet, two inches apart. Bake for 10-12 minutes until set, but not brown.

Cool on a wire rack, and watch them disappear! This makes a lot of cookies - enough for half a dozen women to scarf at a playdate before their husbands even know they are there! (About 3 dozen, if you want to get technical!)

Or you can share. Your choice.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Ten Terrific Tips

The folks over at compiled this list of 10 Ways to Make Better Smoothies than Jamba Juice:

1. Store frozen fruit – In cold drinks, frozen trumps fresh. Keep frozen strawberries, blueberries, and bananas in your freezer at all times. Frozen fruit will keep your smoothies icy and will taste good no matter what’s in season. Surprisingly, frozen fruit almost always tastes better than fresh fruit when added to a frosty beverage.

2. Use frozen drink concentrate – Unfortunately, most home blenders don’t crush ice very well. Unless you’re willing to shell out four hundred bucks for a fancy contraption, frozen drink concentrate is the secret to making killer smoothies. Add half a can of frozen juice concentrate to your blender (Dole’s Pine-Orange Banana is a great one to start with). Then, just add other fruits, juices, and dairy products. Don’t add the suggested amount of water or you’ll negate the frosty effect.

3. Crush your own ice – When a recipe absolutely needs ice, crush the ice yourself before throwing it in the blender. Use the ice crusher on your fridge or resort to the traditional method of banging the ice bag against something solid. Taking a few minutes to pre-crush is better than finding huge ice cubes floating around in your smoothie.

4. Add dairy – If you’ve ever tried a Jamba Juice all-fruit smoothie, you probably asked yourself “what’s missing?” The answer is the dairy. Adding a little bit of dairy to your smoothie will make it taste rich and finished. You don’t have to load it up with ice cream (although, ice cream will make it taste amazing it will also negate any health benefits). Try throwing in a cup of non-fat yogurt or add in a few Tablespoons of milk. If you don’t think you’ll be able to taste it, give it a try. A little bit of dairy can make a huge difference in taste.

5. Don’t forget the bananas – Second only to dairy is the banana. While most fruits used in smoothies are rather acidic (think: orange juice, raspberries, etc.), bananas even out the taste. They add richness and balance. To freeze bananas ahead of time, slice them into thin rounds. Place the rounds on a cookie sheet and freeze until solid. Scrape the banana slices off the cookie sheet and store in an air-tight Tupperware container until you’re ready to use them.

6. Order matters - Don’t throw all of your ingredients in to the blender at the same time. Adding them in order will give your smoothie the ideal texture will let everything blend just right. First, crush and add your ice. Second, add any whole fruits. Third, put in the frozen fruit concentrates. Fourth, pour in the fruit juices. Finally, add the dairy. Blend for a few seconds between each step.

7. Forget the vitamins – Smoothie joints add vitamins so that their customers feel extra healthy when ordering a drink. Don’t make this mistake at home. Swallowing a vitamin takes half a second – crushing a vitamin into your smoothie will mess with the entire flavor of your drink, always in a bad way. When a Jamba Juice employee says “actually, vitamins aren’t recommended with that smoothie,” what he’s really saying is “that smoothie doesn’t taste strong enough to mask the bad flavor of the vitamin.” Be warned.

8. Create balance – A smoothie made from raspberries, cranberries, and ice will taste too acidic. A smoothie made from bananas and yogurt will taste too bland. Smoothies need to balance sharp citrus flavors (orange juices, berries, etc) with calming tastes (bananas, dairy, etc.) When making a smoothie be sure to add at least one acidic ingredient and one calming ingredient. Your taste buds will be pleased.

9. Serve in a margarita glass – Alright, so this one might be a little much. Presentation isn’t everything…but it can give your smoothie some style. If you’re serving smoothies at a party (or just want to treat yourself) pouring them into fancy glasses is a lot more fun.

10. Top with a straw – Even if you serve your smoothie in an old office mug, this step is actually important. For some reason, using a straw will greatly improve your smoothie-drinking experience. Smoothies are too thick without a straw. Try sipping from the edge of the cup and you’ll end up with a smoothie ‘stash. They’re easier to drink with a straw and I honestly think they taste better that way too.

Ten Terrific Tips for your enjoyment!

I've Altered the Plan

Howdy folks. This is news to authors (2) and readers (0) alike!

Down With Jamba, the smoothies only blog, has now been rechristened "Chow Review", a place where recipes, cooking tips, and restaurant experiences will be shared.

Rest assured, my quest to create delicious smoothies will continue, and will be posted on this blog, but it will also contain lots of other cool stuff, including cooking tips and recipes from Max and Teah, and weekly restaurant reviews from Don!

Stay tuned and learn where, what, and how to eat!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Chineese Food

Hey! Sue and I went to Yea's Wok last night, but it was full with a 30 minute wait. So... We discovered a great new and very LARGE place with wonderful food and lots of room: South China Perry Ko's. It is located in Newport Hills. You gotta go there!

South China Restaurant
5606 119th Ave SE # A
Bellevue, WA 98006
(425) 643-5085

Rats: I just found out I can only write about smoothies on this blog... Rats.... No Chineese food here, I'm busted and don't drink smoothies....

EDIT FROM TED: Due to the revised nature of this blog, these posts are now totally acceptable! Look forward to weekly restaurant reviews from our most frequent eat-outer, Don!

New to the Blog

First Blog posting of my life: "Hi"

More content to follow.

A Quest

I've come to discover that there is no better way to start a day than
a smoothie.

This concentrated injection of fruit, water, vitamins, anti-oxidants
and good sugars gets you going in the morning, without dragging you

I have also come to discover that no one makes smoothies better than
jamba juice.

I don't like that.

I have two problems with jamba:

First: Price. These ridiculous prices are what relegate jamba
smoothies to the 'occasional treat' category instead of daily healthy

Second: Styrofoam Cups. While nicely insulating, styrofoam is not very
eco-friendly, and is quite toxic. I never feel good about drinking
from a disposable styrofoam cup.

So I come to the conclusion, we need to make smoothies better than jamba.

To do this the authors of this blog will share tips, recipes,
oppininions, experiences, and, above all, drink copious amounts of
healthy, delicious smoothies.

We will do this until we can replicate all of our jamba favorites and
have invented smoothies of our own more delicious than can possibly be

Join us on our quest.

Down with the flavor monopoly!

Down with jamba!