August 31, 2015

Reese Peanut Butter and Chocolate Greek Yogurt Cheesecake

The other morning a man from Fed Ex came to my door with a package. "Oh, sorry, did I wake you up?" he said. Taken aback a second, I wondered why he had asked. Then I realized I was in my "work-from-home" uniform, which usually involves pajamas. Oh, the joys of working from home. The Fed Ex person thinks you have just rolled out of bed and they are there to deliver two jars of Reese peanut butter spread. If he had known what was in the package, do you think he would have been like "you can't get dressed and go out to the store to buy your own Nutella?" Hershey's Canada sent me some of their new Reese peanut butter chocolate spread to develop a new recipe and try--or eat out of the jar with a spoon.

Reese peanut butter spread

The hardest part was not eating the entire spread by itself and on toast. It tastes exactly like a Reese peanut butter cup. I picture some person at the factory cranking Reese peanut butter cup candies through a machine and pouring it into these containers. I know I usually focus on healthy eating recipes on my blog however, I made an exception for this sweet treat. Cheesecake is my guilty pleasure. With this recipe I tried to make it a little less heavy by substituting half of the cream cheese for greek yoghurt. I also didn't add any extra sugar and used the Reese spread as sweetener instead.

Reese Peanut Butter and Chocolate Cheesecake

The jars were sitting on the counter for a few days until my husband asked if he could open them. Then I made this cheesecake, and the jars were set free for consumption. You know you live with a food blogger when there are rules as to what you can touch or eat before it has been recipe tested or photographed. I live a strange life...

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake

There is no beating around the bush that this is a rich and dense cheesecake. Adding Reese spread definitely added enough sweetness to the cake. I then made a topping with regular chocolate chips and peanuts to balance out the peanut taste. This is also a baked cheesecake as opposed to one you put in the fridge to set. I took inspiration from a few other recipes, including Nigella Lawson's Nutella cheesecake and this cheesecake recipe. Basically, substitute the Reese spread in any recipe calling for Nutella or peanut butter. I would also suggest making brownies with the Reese spread. 

Nutella peanut butter cheesecake

Reese Peanut Butter Chocolate Greek Yoghurt Cheesecake

1 cup chocolate baking crumbs (or crushed Oreo cookies)
4 tbsp butter, melted
1 tbsp Reese peanut butter chocolate spread
1/2 package of cream cheese (250g brick)
3/4 cup Reese peanut butter chocolate spread
3/4 cup Greek Yoghurt
2 eggs
1/4 cup crushed peanuts
1/4 cup chocolate chips with 1 tsp canola oil

chocolate baking crumbs

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Combine the first three ingredients in a bowl and mix. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of a greased pan.
2. In a stand mixer or in a bowl, mix the cream cheese and greek yoghurt until smooth. Add the Reese spread and then the eggs one by one until there are no lumps. 

Greek Yoghurt Cheesecake recipe

3. Pour the mixture on top of the crust. Bake in the oven at 350F for 60 minutes. Test the doneness of the cake by inserting a toothpick into the middle to check if it is clear. 

Peanut Butter Chocolate Greek Yoghurt Cheesecake Recipe

4. For the topping, sprinkle the crushed peanuts on top of the cake. Melt the chocolate chips in the microwave with the canola oil for 30 seconds. Drizzle the melted chocolate on top. 

Reese Peanut Butter Chocolate Greek Yoghurt Cheesecake recipe

5. Let the cake cool for 20-30 minutes in the fridge before serving. 

Reese Peanut Butter and Chocolate Greek Yoghurt Cheesecake

Reese Peanut Butter Greek Yoghurt Cheesecake

Follow the #doyouspoon hashtag on Facebook and Twitter for more recipes using Hershey's Reese peanut butter chocolate spread.  What would you make with the Reese peanut butter chocolate spread? Are you going to try it out? 

Disclosure: I received free product samples for review purposes and was compensated for this post by Hershey's Canada. The opinions expressed are my own based on my own experiences. 

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August 22, 2015


Litehouse Opadipity Greek Yoghurt dips

I still believe that spinach dip in a rye bread bowl is the best party appetizer of all time. Any party I go to I am always like "who has the spinach dip?" One party I went to I actually sat by the spinach dip and when the pieces of rye bread ran out, I resorted to eating the "bowl." That is how much I love it. When they are low-calorie I like them even more, as a snack with crackers or vegetables, on a sandwich or used as a sauce for dinner. Most of the time I make my own greek yoghurt dips by adding some dill and cucumber to make tzatziki or some caramelized onions for onion dip. Other times I buy pre-made dips. I was excited when Litehouse Foods asked me to try their new Opadipity Greek Yoghurt dips.


The Opadipity savoury dips come in Creamy Ranch (60 calories per serving), Chipotle Ranch (60 calories), Cucumber Dill (50 calories) and Spinach Parmesan (70 calories) flavours. They are low calorie made with zero preservatives, no MSG and no gluten. As you can see, the cucumber dill dip went fast. All of them disappeared at high speed in my fridge. I like the texture of the dips, as they are not too liquidly for dipping or spreading and not as firm as regular Greek yoghurt. The taste of the flavours comes through without being too overpowering. Unfortunately, chipotle is not my favourite flavour in general. I was willing to try it with these dips. I liked the actual Greek-inspired dips more, like the cucumber and dill and Spinach Parmesan, over the Ranch-based dips. If you like ranch and are looking for something with less calories than regular Ranch dressing, these would be a good choice. The dips sell for $3.99 each.

Litehouse Opadipity Greek Yoghurt dips

I made some quick, lunch-time wraps using the Opadipity dips. These spinach and feta wraps are adapted from this recipe, or you could make Greek-inspired quesadillas like these ones. They are easy to make and full of cheesy, creamy Greek dip goodness. The wraps are prepared "a la Florentine," which means "with spinach" or "featuring spinach." I learned that this week. Think of them as almost like a spinach and artichoke dip wrap although a lot healthier. You could also use cream cheese or another Greek yoghurt dip substitute. The recipe makes two wraps.

Spinach and Feta wrap

Spinach and Feta wraps

2 whole-wheat tortillas
4 oz Opadipity Spinach and Parmesan dip
1 tbsp olive oil
1 green onion, chopped
1/2 a zucchini, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
6 oz spinach
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled


Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350F
2. Heat olive oil in a medium or small skillet.
3. Add the zucchini and cook for a few minutes until soft.
4. Add the green onion and tomato and cook for a few minutes. Then add the spinach.
5. In a bowl, mix the dip and vegetable mixture.
6. Grease a baking sheet for the tortillas. Add the mixture on top.
7. Sprinkle the feta cheese on top.
8. Wrap the tortillas and bake for 15 minutes.


Spinach and Feta wrap

Let the wraps cool for a few minutes then cut them in half on a diagonal. Admittedly, this is not spinach dip in a rye bread bowl. This is a lot better for you. Or you can spread the dips on toast or crackers. I like to call them "vessels" for dip. The Opadipity dips would be great for entertaining and parties as something quick and easy to bring. Visit the Litehouse website or Facebook page for more recipe ideas. Which Opadipity dip sounds like the best to you? 


Litehouse Opadipity Greek Yoghurt dips

Disclosure: I received free product samples for review purposes. The opinions expressed are completely my own based on my own experiences. 
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August 11, 2015

shrimp and avocado salad

When Kevin Costner said "if you build it, he will come" in Field of Dreams--famously misquoted as "if you build it, they will come"--I don't think he was referring to your first house as a married couple. Since living in a place that has two bedrooms and plenty of space, we have had a lot more visitors, which I don't mind at all. It means there are more opportunities to entertain and spend time as a tourist in our own city. That is exactly what we did for the August long weekend. Both of our parents were spending the weekend in Ottawa, so the weekend was jam-packed with food and fun. 

shrimp and avocado salad

Having a table that fits six to eight people somewhat comfortably also helps to encourage people to visit. That means more room for good food. On Sunday night, we had dinner at our place with steaks, the shrimp and avocado salad pictured above and green beans and potatoes. I find making a bunch of salads great for entertaining because everyone loves salad and they are versatile for lunch the next day or as leftovers. It was my interpretation of "surf and turf." We bought some amazing aged steaks from Seed to Sausage in Ottawa. I mean, look at those things.

dinner party

dry rubbed aged steaks from Seed to Sausage, Ottawa

The focus of the weekend was Mike's parent's boat. They were taking a six-week long journey from Midland, Ontario to Ottawa, Ontario on their boat for their summer vacation. It was neat that we could see them and spend some time on the boat while it was docked in Ottawa. Of course, who wouldn't want in on some boating action? My parents wanted to join and decided to visit that weekend as well. My favourite boating activity is boating "happy hour," which we did a lot of when the weather wasn't nice enough to go out on the boat. I am perfectly alright with using a boat as a glorified patio.


Living in Ottawa, we are surrounded by culture, history and attractions that we sometimes forget about living here. Museums are also a nice activity to take visitors to for an afternoon. Many of the museums in Ottawa are amazing for the architecture alone, like the Museum of History formerly known as the Museum of Civilization located across the bridge from downtown Ottawa in Quebec. We visited the museum last time we visited Ottawa before moving there and watched one of the IMAX films. The Museum of History is one of Canada's most visited museums with more than 1.2 million visitors each year. The Grand Hall is an impressive indoor space with six-storey windowed walls and an homage to the First People of Canada's Pacific Coast. 

Museum of History, Ottawa

Grand Hall, Museum of History, Ottawa Ontario

That weekend happened to be the last weekend the Magna Carta was in town for a special touring exhibit. The copy of the Magna Carta with the exhibit, as well as the Charter of the Forest, was written around 1300 and stamped with the seal of King Edward. To see the documents that are more than 700 years old, to read every word and to admire the penmanship was truly amazing--coming from someone who loves words. The documents were in Ottawa for a few weeks before traveling to other cities in Canada. 

Magna Carta

The Magna Carta paved the way for modern ideas of democracy. It established that no one, not even kings, were above the law. Much of the current Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and other international charters were based on the ideas of the Magna Carta. The law also says you probably shouldn't take photos of rare documents in museums, but somehow my husband sneakily took a non-flash photo of the document in the exhibit.  



Can you get any better than this for a city to show people when they come to visit? Ottawa, although you are far away from a lot of things, you are alright. Now it is August and the summer is practically over, so soon it will be back to the crippling cold of Ottawa, which I can maybe deal with after this beautiful summer. This photo is the view from the museum looking over to Ottawa and the Parliament buildings:

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Now, on to that salad I made for dinner. Even if you are not a fan of sea crawlies, you may still like this salad. I adapted from this recipe that originally called for nacho chips with it to serve. You could put it in the middle of crackers or chips as a kind of guacamole. I liked it as a fresh, side salad. Depending on the avocados you have, the mixture might be more of a guacamole texture than a salad. I promise you it will still be tasty as a side salad or even as a meal. 

Shrimp and Avocado salad

Shrimp and Avocado Salad 

Ingredients:
1/2 pound shrimp, peeled and cooked
10 oz spinach
1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped
2 avocados, diced
1/3 cup parsley, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp chilli powder
salt and pepper

Shrimp and Avocado salad

Directions:

1. Defrost or cook the shrimp and peel them.
2. Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, honey, mustard and parsley and whisk together.
3. Coat the shrimp with a few tablespoons of the dressing and let marinade for 20 minutes.
4. Chop the tomatoes and scoop out the avocado into cubes if possible, depending on how ripe.
5. Combine the shrimp, tomatoes and avocado.
6. Layer the serving bowl with spinach and then the shrimp, tomato and avocado mixture.
7. Pour the rest of the dressing over top. 

What is your go-to recipe for dinner parties? Where do you like to take people when they come to visit? Let me know in the comments or like Food.Love.Happiness on Facebook

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