Wednesday, April 29, 2015

STAR Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Sweet, hearty and crunchy-chewy, oatmeal cookies are  a traditional favorite. We substituted STAR Extra Light Olive Oil for butter and added in some white chocolate chips.

  • 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp. STAR Extra Light Olive Oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar (packed)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp. vanilla 
  • 1 cup flour or gluten free flour mix
  • 1 tsp. baking soda 
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon 
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips (optional)
  • 3 cups cups quick-cooking oats

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In large bowl, beat all ingredients except oats, flour, white chocolate chips and raisins with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon. Stir in oats, flour, white chocolate chips and raisins.

On greased cookie sheet, drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls about 2 inches apart.

Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until light brown. Immediately remove from cookie sheet to cooling rack. Store in a tightly covered container.
Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Swap Butter For Olive Oil: Healthier and Fewer Calories

Take a peak into any of your parents’ or grandparents’ classic cookbooks from the 1960’s or 1970’s. This is when French cuisine ruled the world, and every recipe always included loads of butter. For decades, few cooks dared to imagine replacing butter with a healthier option.

Now we know that while butter is rich in saturated fat, olive oil is packed with monounsaturated fatty acids, which our body finds easier to ingest. In addition, extra-virgin olive oil also contains polyphenols, along with other positive qualities, such as boosting circulation and helping the intestines.
Conversion Chart
Conversion Chart

We’ve revamped a few classic recipes by replacing traditional butter with healthier option of olive oil. Bear in mind, though, that you should replace 1 part butter with ¾ part of olive oil.

Sponge Cake: We can make this popular cake far healthier if we use olive oil. It’s just as spongy as with butter and we can also use olive oil to grease the tin to stop the cake mixture sticking.

Risotto: Although Italians aren’t fond of tinkering with their classic recipes, there’s no denying that more and more of them are now swapping butter for olive oil when making risotto. Not only is it a healthier option, but we can also more than make up for the missing butter by adding a little Parmesan cheese at the end.

Ham-and-cheese toasted sandwich: After a childhood spent spreading butter on rounds of sliced bread, there comes a moment in life when we discover we can achieve the same effect with olive oil. Try it: brush a little olive oil onto two slices of bread to make a ham-and-cheese toasted sandwich: it will come out of the panini press cooked to perfection.

Soups and purees: It can be quite a shock to come across a recipe for a soup or puree that uses butter. We say use olive oil instead! Olive oil is a lighter, more nutritious option that provides all the fat the dish needs.

Bread or pizza dough: In this case, olive oil isn’t only great for creating a lighter dish; it also helps avoid our bread or pizza turning into a cake!

White sauce: Although some people would be horrified at the thought of messing with a classic French recipe, this healthier version works perfectly well. It may be darker in color and slightly stronger in flavor, but some cooks see that as more of a plus than a problem!

Toast at breakfast: All the wonders of olive oil we’ve seen so far apply just as well at breakfast, so why not try swapping toast with butter and jam for toast with olive oil and salt? Let’s not be under any illusions: the result is completely different. But toast with olive oil, salt and tomato or cured ham is a great way to start the day.
Friday, April 17, 2015

Earth Day Tips!

Being more eco-friendly can be something that the whole family participates in. These tips are easy to implement and can make a big impact on the environment. 

  • Take reusable bags to the grocery store. A plastic shopping bag can take anywhere from 15 to 1000 years to decompose. 
  •  If you do have plastic bags of any kind in the house, reuse for your garbage, to carry wet clothes after swimming or when out walking the dog.
  •  Reuse packaging as much as possible. A lot of food comes in containers that are great for storage. Give your glass STAR and Cara Mia jars a second lease on life by washing and using them to store food or ‘fiddly things’ like buttons and nails. You can also give glass jars to friends, family or groups who make jams. 
  • For packaging you cannot reuse, save water and time when recycling cans and bottles. You no longer need to rinse them out or remove their labels. 
  • Use the Dishwasher. Appliances might seem energy-intensive, but running the dishwasher when it's completely full is actually more energy- and water-efficient than hand washing. For an extra green measure, skip the heated dry cycle and let your dishes air-dry. Use a reusable water container instead of buying individual bottled waters. The energy we waste using bottled water would be enough to power 190,000 homes.
Wednesday, April 1, 2015

STAR Homemade Salad Dressings

Ditch pre-made dressings and make your own using STAR Olive Oils and Vinegars. It’s a lot easier than you might think and you’ll feel better knowing exactly what you are eating.

Greek Vinaigrette
1/4 cup STAR Red Wine Vinegar
1/3 cup STAR Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbsp. sugar
1 tbsp. fresh oregano, chopped
1/2 tsp. ground mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine, stir and enjoy!

French Vinaigrette
4 tbsp. STAR Red Wine Vinegar
2 tbsp. STAR Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 tsp. paprika
1 garlic clove, crushed
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine, stir and enjoy! 

Dijon Vinaigrette
1/2 cup STAR White Wine Vinegar
1 cup STAR Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
2 tsp. garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine, stir and enjoy! 

Cilantro Lime Vinaigrette
2 tbsp. STAR White Wine Vinegar
3/4 cup STAR Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1-2 bunch cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tbsp. brown sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. spicy brown mustard

In a blender, mix lime juice, vinegar, & cilantro until smooth.
Add the brown sugar, garlic & salt; mix until smooth. Add the mustard. Slowly pour the olive oil into the vinaigrette; blend. Enjoy!

Red Wine Vinaigrette
1/2 cup STAR Red Wine Vinegar
1 cup STAR Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 tbsp. lemon juice
2 tbsp. honey
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients, except oil. Stir. Gradually mix in oil. Enjoy!

Blue Cheese Vinaigrette
3 tbsp. STAR White Wine Vinegar
6 tbsp. STAR Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/4 cup chicken broth (or water)
1 tbsp. minced shallot
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine, stir and enjoy!  

Balsamic Vinaigrette
1/4 cup STAR Balsamic Vinegar
3/4 cup STAR Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tsp. sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine, stir & enjoy!
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