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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

How to Basics: Homemade Whipped Cream

I’m not a huge lover of whipped cream. I like it but I just don’t NEED it most of the time. Especially on milkshakes or blended coffee drinks – I always order them without it.

Still, whipped cream has a place in the world…. maybe just not as big of piece in my life.

Making whipped cream at home is very simple and can really make an impression when serving a dessert at a dinner party. I know a lot of people think its intimidating – which I completely understand – but it is actually easy to do. And if you keep powdered sugar, heavy cream, and vanilla on hand most of the time – like me – it is actually cheaper than buying it.

Three things you need to know about homemade whipped cream:
- chill your bowl and whisk first – metal or glass is best
- you need HEAVY whipping cream
- powdered sugar works better than regular sugar, in my opinion

What you’ll need:
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar
- ¼ teaspoon – ½ teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

FYI – I only made half the amount because I didn't need two full cups of whipped cream.


Step one: Keep your heaving cream in the fridge until you are ready to whip it. Place your whisk attachment and bowl in the freezer for about 15 minutes before making whipped cream.

Step two: Place heavy cream in your bowl and start beating on low. If you’re using a hand mixer, slowly move the whisk around the bowl. Beat until cream nearly doubles in volume and soft peaks form.

Step three: Once soft peaks form, sift powdered sugar over whipped cream and add desired amount of vanilla extract. Beat on low again for just a few moments to incorporate sugar and vanilla.

Use immediately or store in the fridge covered in plastic wrap until needed. It will keep for a few hours. One cup of heavy cream will yield about two cups of whipped cream.

Here is the process in pictures:

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Super Easy Cilantro-Lime Rice

I suck at making rice.

I can’t buy the big cheap bags of rice and make perfectly fluffy rice. I always screw it up somehow. So I gave up trying and use instant rice instead.

And they lived happily ever after. The end.

So I shared this photo over the weekend of my little puppy Gravy (my dad calls him Gravy Boat), watching me try and get a fair photo of the Cilantro-Lime Rice. He was VERY interested in the rice but he got a puppy treat instead. I'm pretty sure he was just as happy with it.

This is a simple and easy recipe that makes a great side dish for when you have tacos or enchiladas or anything other Mexican meal. It’s also great for a burrito filling too. But the best part is that it’s ready in about 10 minutes!

What I love about this rice is the fresh and vibrant flavor it has from the lime juice and cilantro. I think it’s a great compliment to any spicy dish.

Cilantro-Lime Rice
*Makes 2 cups cooked rice

-          1 cup uncooked instant rice
-          1 cup chicken or veggie broth (water is fine but doesn’t add extra flavor)
-          2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
-          Zest of one lime
-          1-2 tablespoons fresh minced cilantro
-          Salt and pepper

Helpful Tools:
-          A sauce pot with a tight fitting lid


  1. In a medium sauce pot bring the broth to a boil. Add rice and turn off burner. Cover tightly and let sit for about 7-8 minutes. A little longer is fine.

  1. When broth is fully absorbed, fluff rice with a fork and add lime zest, lime juice, and up to 2 tablespoons of cilantro. How much cilantro you add will be up to your taste. Start with a smaller about and then season with salt and pepper.
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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Pulled BBQ Beef Sandwiches

I’ve been sharing a lot of slow cooked shredded meats with you lately. I haven’t really meant to but it just sort of happened. One thing I’ve learned as a food blogger is that two things have to happen in order for a post to come together. The food has to taste good and the pictures have to look good as well. Or in my case, the pictures have to look at least OK.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made something that was great and the pictures were awful, or the pictures were pretty good but the dish fell short of expectations.

I made this sandwich months ago….maybe even almost a year now. For whatever reason, it kept getting pushed down the list of recipes I want to share. It’s not because it’s a bad sandwich – it’s pretty perfect to be honest – but other recipes seemed more interesting.

That and I did lose the recipe for a bit as well. At the time I had it written down on a post it note.

I threw this together in the crock pot one morning in a desperate attempt to not have to cook dinner that night and it turned out so much better than I expected. It was Brent’s idea to add the spicy brown mustard in at the last minute to the BBQ sauce and I threw some shredded cheese on top that I keep on hand. I can’t help it, I see a sandwich and I NEED to put cheese on it.

The picture you see if of my 2nd sandwich that night. I didn’t take a picture of my first because I wasn’t expecting much. So I had to make another sandwich to take a picture. And then I had to eat that sandwich too….

Pulled BBQ Beef Sandwiches Recipe
*Makes 6-8 sandwiches

Monday, February 11, 2013

Giveaway Winner!!!

Thank you to those of you that entered the giveaway for a $25 gift card to Applebee’s!

The winner is:

Congratulations, Edward! I hope you enjoy it!

Please contact me at kittenwhisk [at] yahoo [dot] com to claim your prize!

*Numbers were assigned to each comment starting with the first comment. 

Be sure to follow Kitten with a Whisk on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Lazy Man's Donuts

Yesterday I posted about low-calorie menu options at Applebee’s, today I’m going to talk to you about donuts.

By the way – if you haven’t entered for the giveaway for a $25 gift card to Applebee’s, CLICK HERE and go enter! The giveaway ends tomorrow at 6PM.

When I was in middle school a friend of mine had an all girl sleepover for her birthday. I think there were about a dozen of us, which I’m sure for her parents it was probably a nightmare. The next morning before we all left to go back home, we made donuts….from a can of biscuits. I’d never seen that done before and was completely amazed that you could make freaking donuts at home.

Remember, I was in middle school.

Anyway, I’ve been making them on occasion ever since. I call them Lazy Man’s Donuts because while they still take a bit of work, they are so much easier than making donuts completely from scratch.

The recipe below makes 8 donuts and 8 “munchkins” as Dunkin Donuts calls them. I’ve included ideas for a chocolate icing, glazed, powdered, and cinnamon sugar donuts. Each will yield enough for two donuts and a few munchkins, so you’ll need to adjust if you want them all glazed or all with chocolate icing accordingly.

Lazy Man’s Donuts Recipe
*Makes 8 donuts and 8 munchkins

-          1 16.3oz can of 8 Grand Home-style biscuits (DO NOT buy the layered kind)
-          Enough canola or vegetable oil for about 2 inch deep oil for frying.

-          2/3 cup powdered sugar
-          ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
-          1 tablespoon milk

Chocolate Icing:
-          1/3 cup powdered sugar
-          3 ½ teaspoons cocoa powder
-          2 tablespoons melted butter
-          ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

-          3 tablespoons powdered sugar

Cinnamon Sugar:
-          2 tablespoons powdered sugar
-          ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Helpful Equipment:
-          small brown paper bags
-          1 inch biscuit cutter or sharp pairing knife
-          Thermometer for oil


  1. Start by preparing the donuts “toppings”. For the chocolate and glaze icings, mix them (separately) in two shallow bowls. For cinnamon sugar and powdered, add them (again separately) to two small brown lunch bags.

  1. Heat your oil to approx 350 degrees.
  1. While oil is heating cut the holes in your donuts. Use a 1” diameter cutter or take a small pairing knife and cut a hole in the center of each biscuit. Remove the center hole and set aside. TIP: Keep the biscuits in the fridge and take them out one by one to cut. They are easier to cut – especially with a knife – if they are cold.
** If you are using a knife, don’t drag it. Bring the knife up and down, moving in a circle. Repeat two or three times to fully cut through. 

  1. When oil is ready, take one donut hole and test. The hole should float quickly and bubble. Donut holes take about one minute each and be sure to flip them so they brown evenly. When lightly golden brown, remove from oil with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel lined plate. You can do several of these at a time and repeat until done.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Applebee's Under 550 Calories Menu Review and a Giveaway!

Shortly after I posted my recreation of Applebee’s VeggiePatch Pizza, I was contact by a representative for them asking if I’d like to try out their new Under 550 Calories menu. I’ve seen the commercials over the last month so I was already familiar with the concept, and while I hadn’t tried any of the dishes yet I was eager to give them a chance.

Last night we went to the Applebee’s around the corner from our house and overall had a great experience.

To start off I ordered the SkinnyBee Margarita to keep with the low-calorie theme.

 From Applebee’s website: 100% delicious margarita flavor with around 100 calories. 
Made with Hornitos™ 100% Agave tequila and Applebee’s® signature SkinnyBee™ Margarita Mix.

The margarita was light and refreshing. There wasn’t a strong sour mix taste, which I quite enjoyed.

Brent ordered the Roasted Garlic Sirloin for his entrée. I knew that he would order this. He has a weak spot for steak and roasted garlic.

From Applebee’s website: 
If you like garlic, you’re at the right steak. We marinate this 7 oz. sirloin in garlic and serve it over sautéed onions.
 Herbed potatoes and a grilled portobello mushroom cap filled with creamed spinach add even more flavor.

Brent and I both thought the steak had great flavor and he said it was very similar to their Bourbon steak. The portion size of the steak was good and we both liked the spinach stuffed Portobello. The steak didn’t have a strong roasted garlic flavor to us, but we use a lot of garlic at home. Brent felt the meal was light on potatoes but considering it is suppose to be low calorie it was understandable.

I chose the Lemon Parmesan Shrimp for my entrée. At the restaurant this item was in the Under 550 Calories section but on their website it is listed under Weight Watchers. I looked up the nutritional value and several sources say the calorie content is 510 calories. So either I screwed up or the dish fits in both. Either way, I can’t believe it is less than 550 calories because it was so much food.  

From Applebee’s website:
 Blackened shrimp sautéed with tomatoes, onions and basil. 
Served over creamy rice with a decadent lemon cream sauce and Parmesan cheese.

If you don’t like spicy food, don’t let the blackened shrimp scare you away. They were very lightly blackened and they were cooked nicely. The rice had just a touch of creaminess to it but could have used a bit more flavor. Nothing a little salt and pepper didn’t fix really. The lemon parmesan sauce was tasty, not overpowering and was used sparingly. They definitely didn’t drown the dish in it which is a good thing. I loved the onion, tomato, and basil on top – it had great flavor and a little kick. I did feel that the dish could have used a good squeeze of lemon to brighten the flavors and bring the whole dish home.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Healthier Snack: Chocolate Peanut Butter Oat Balls

If I had one wish I could make – and have it actually come true – it would be that I could eat whatever I want and not have to worry about gaining weight or having to exercise to keep it off. I don’t need to be supermodel thin, but I don’t want to be overweight either.

Generally, I stick to a pretty simple “regimen” (I hate the word diet) during the work week. Some yogurt and fresh fruit for breakfast, a small lunch with protein, veggies, maybe some healthy carbs, and then I try to not eat a lot at dinner. Many times when I come home from work, I’m starving so I eat a spoonful of peanut butter to hold me over.

One day I saw these balls on Pinterest and it got me thinking. So I went ahead and used a calorie calculator to see how they would compare to the peanut butter calorie-wise. Based on the calculations, I could eat 2 of them and it would be less calories and fat – with the chocolate! I've been making them ever since.

I made some adjustments to the original recipe (from, and I've played around with other variations but this one is the basic one I use most often. Even Brent likes them and he is not a peanut butter chocolate combination fan.

These are very easy to make and the best part about them is they taste good and not really “healthy”. You can’t really beat that in my opinion. 

Chocolate Peanut Butter Oat Balls Recipe
*Makes about 30 balls

-          1 ¼ cups whole grain old fashioned oats
-          ½ cup slivered almonds, roughly chopped
-          ½ cup peanut butter
-          ¾ cup ground flaxseed
-          ½ cup dark chocolate chips, room temperature
-          1/3 cup honey
-          1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls with Blue Cheese Dip

So in case you haven’t heard yet, there is this big – HUGE really – football game tomorrow. Which means pizza, wings, beer, and tons of other fat and calorie laden yumminess to indulge on.

I confess that I don’t love buffalo or chicken wings and I refuse to eat them in public. In general, I don’t like any meat that is still on the bone. I do love buffalo sauce though. I've posted a few things on here already that are for buffalo sauce lovers, and I can’t help but always think of new ways to use it.

Like these egg rolls. Why is it so much fun to fuse different types of cuisines together? I've seen egg rolls stuffed with all kinds of non-traditional fillings – the craziest might be the Mac n cheese stuffed ones I saw recently. Not sure if I’d ever go there but these Buffalo Chicken ones are pretty awesome.

They have a crispy, slightly chewy outside with a sharp and spicy inside. Serve them with my blue cheese dipping sauce and you might not even miss the real thing. And I added bacon in them just for good measure. You can’t get that with a chicken wing.

Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls
* Makes 16

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