Cranberry Feta Orzo Salad

cranberry feta orzo saladEventually this cold, wet Spring will begin to warm (I hope). For now the best I can do is look forward to grilling and eating outside on a warm evening. Grilled makes me think of pasta salad and this recipe is near the top, if not at the top, of my favs list. The ingredients are basically what I put in my salad–feta, dried cranberries, slivered almonds, and some balsamic. Then you toss some pasta in, which is never a bad thing, and violá. Delish!

Now’s a perfect time for a salad with dried cranberries too. The latest Dietary Guidelines have advised Americans to consume less than 10 percent of total calories per day from added sugars as a way to help them lower their intake of foods that contribute little, nutritionally speaking. However, they understand that there are some foods with a good deal of nutrition to offer, such as dried cranberries, that do contain added sugar.  Cranberries are naturally very low in sugar as well as acidic, and to help make them edible as a dried fruit, a bit of sugar needs to be added.  However, once sweetened, the total sugar of dried cranberries is comparable to other dried fruits, like raisins and dried cherries. The guidelines say that the American diet has room for nutrient dense foods with added sugars, as long as calories from added sugars do not exceed 10 percent per day. So including a serving of dried cranberries can help you reap the benefits of the powerful little cranberry without fear that you’re going overboard on your sugar.

Cranberry Feta Orzo Salad
Serves 8
A tantalizing pasta salad with a touch of sweet, salt, and crunch.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
20 min
  1. 8 ounces uncooked orzo pasta
  2. 2 to 3 tablespoons red onion, minced
  3. 3-6 ounces baby spinach leaves, finely chopped
  4. 1/4 pound crumbled feta cheese
  5. 1/3 cup slivered almonds
  6. 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  7. 1/2 cup balsamic vinaigrette
  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add orzo and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain and rinse with cold water. While pasta is cooking, place red onions in a bowl of cold water to and let sit (this will help mellow some of the raw onion flavor) Transfer to a large bowl and stir in spinach, feta, and nuts. Drain onions and stir into mixture. Toss with dressing. Serve immediately or refrigerate and serve cold.
Foodie Mom, RD


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The Perfect Portion Cookbook: Review

I have to admit, when I was asked to review The Perfect Portion Cookbook, I was a bit hesitant. As a registered dietitian I’ve read countless “healthy” cookbooks in which the authors were more concerned with eliminating all the fat, or sugar, or getting the lowest calorie content possible without much concern about how the foods actually tasted. But when I learned who the authors are, I thought, hmmm, this might be something different. I’ve been familiar with Bob Warden for years thanks to my Mom’s love of QVC–he’s a frequent guest. Then, Anson Williams, I mean come on–Potsie Weber was always my favorite on Happy Days (after Fonzie, of course). So I decided to check it out.

The premise of the book is, of course healthy foods and fresh ingredients, but in addition, for each recipe there’s an example of what 100 calories would be. Now, this doesn’t mean you need to eat only the 100 calorie portion, in fact, in most cases the portions are more than 100 calories. But, if you know how much of a food consists of 100 calories, its much easier to create meal plans within your body’s calorie requirements. This feature also makes it easier to sneak in some extras. For example, say you’re usual daily calorie intake is right around where it needs to be but sometimes you want an extra snack or sweet treat–knowing how many cookies or how many “hot cocoa pretzels” constitutes 100 calories can make fitting that extra in.

The book itself is beautiful with full color pictures as well as graphics of the 100-calorie portion for each recipe. I have to admit, all of the foods look so good, it was hard to choose what to try first. I sat down with my daughter too look through the book and we decided to start the day with Steel-Cut Oatmeal on page 39 with a few of the mix-ins on the following page. It was so delicious and creamy, she had two servings before heading to school.  Here initial serving was less than that suggested in the book. 

The next day we tried the New England Clam Chowder, on page 53, for dinner and it was yummyIMG_6750, and quick and easy to make. It was flavorful, but not overly rich like some chowders made with lots of butter and heavy cream. My son enjoyed it so much he drank every last drop out of his bowl.

We paired the chowder with the BLT Tossed Salad, on page 59. IMG_6749I’ve tried BLT salads in the past, but the technique of pureeing some of the grape tomatoes into the dressing really made this salad stand out. Instead of just having a bowl of BLT ingredients mixed together, the dressing (especially on the croutons) really created that classic BLT flavor of the tomato juice and mayo combination.

And of course we couldn’t end the day without a sweet treat. We thought about several IMG_6754before finally deciding on the Cheesecake Minis on page 295. They were creamy and delicious without being overly dense. I couldn’t make the raspberry sauce described in the helpful tip (another great addition to the book) because my daughter ate too many of the berries, but at least we had enough to top a few with a fresh berry.

There’s a lot to be said for quick and easy recipes, at least for me. And I should tell you that on the night I made the chowder, salad, and cheesecakes my kids and I didn’t get home until about 5:30 and I still had dinner on the table at a very reasonable time–before 6:30.

The book usually retails for $29.95 but is available for pre-order now on Amazon $21.61 . But, it officially launches this Sunday, February 7th on QVC with a special pre-order price of $19.95. That would be a great opportunity to actually see many of the recipes in the book brought to life.

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Don’t forget the Cranberry

cranberryOnce we hit late September and October we’re inundated by pumpkin and apple spice everything, but what about the cranberry. The cranberry’s peak harvest time is September-October, so now is the perfect time to be thinking about all of the benefits cranberries have to offer. Don’t get me wrong, I adore pumpkin and apple foods as well–check out this round up of pumpkin and apple recipes–I’m just saying let’s be sure to include the mighty little cranberry when we start our Fall baking, cooking, and eating.

First just a few facts about this tart-little bites:

  • Cranberries may help reduce the risk of stomach ulcers by reducing the amount of a specific type of acid in those at risk.
  • Dried cranberries are a good source of fiber. You’ll get 2.3 grams (10% of the Daily Value) in just under a half a cup (40 grams).
  • Cranberries resist bacteria stickiness. Bacteria, like the kind that causes urinary tract infections, adhere or “stick” to the urinary tract leading to infection. Cranberries help prevent that sticking and therefore can help reduce the risk of a urinary tract infection.
  • Cranberries also help prevent plaque from “sticking” to your teeth, helping to prevent cavities.

Cranberry juice is often recommended as a way to get more cranberry into your diet. Pure cranberry juice, however can be quite tart. If you’re not crazy about the tartness, you’ll be happy to learn that a recent study in the journal Nutrition Research found that participants who drank cranberry juice cocktail (a sweetened cranberry juice) still obtained the cranberry benefits. In addition, even though they were drinking a sweetened drink there was no link between the cocktail and weight gain. Note that the cranberry juice cocktail contained no more and in some cases less sugar than other commonly consumed 100% fruit juices.

So go ahead and enjoy a glass or two of cranberry juice cocktail. Obviously its delicious chilled, but as the weather cools, we often look for warm drinks. Cranberry juice cocktail is delicious heated up, as you would do to apple cider, to help take the chill off on a cool afternoon.

Of course, in addition to drinking, you can also eat your cranberries. Since Fall is a great time for baking, thought I’d include a couple of yummy recipes for baking pairing apples and pumpkin with cranberries.

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
Yields 12
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  1. 1/4 cup white sugar
  2. 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  3. 1/4 cup canola oil
  4. 2 eggs
  5. 3/4 cup canned pumpkin
  6. 1/4 cup water
  7. 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  8. 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  9. 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  10. 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  11. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  12. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  13. 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  14. 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease and flour muffin pan or use paper liners.
  2. Mix sugars, oil, eggs. Add pumpkin and water. In separate bowl mix together the baking flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt.. Add wet mixture and cranberries.
  3. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes.
  1. Recipe adapted from
Foodie Mom, RD
Cranberry Apple Cider Bread
A delicious bread with all the flavors of Fall. Makes 2 loaves
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  1. 4 1/2 teaspoons Fleischmann's Rapid Rise Yeast
  2. 1 cup warm water (100 - 110F)
  3. 1/2 cup granulated sugar, divided
  4. 2 large eggs
  5. 1 cup apple cider
  6. 1 tablespoon salt
  7. 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  8. 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  9. 6 - 6 1/4 cups King Arthur Bread Flour, divided
  1. 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
  2. 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
  3. 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel
  4. 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  6. 1 2/3 cups peeled, cored, chopped Jonathan apple
  7. 3/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries, chopped
  8. 3/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped
  1. 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  2. 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
  3. 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  4. 1/4 cup apple cider
  1. 1/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped, divided
  2. 1/4 cup sweetened dried cranberries, divided
  1. In mixer bowl, with paddle attachment, combine yeast, warm water, and 2 teaspoons sugar. Let stand 10 minutes. Stir in remaining sugar, eggs, cider, salt, lemon juice, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, and 3 cups flour. Beat on low speed 2 minutes.
  2. Beat in 3 cups flour. Knead with dough hook until moderately soft dough forms, about
  3. 5 to 8 minutes, adding additional flour as necessary. Use remaining 1 tablespoon vegetable oil to grease a large mixing bowl. Place dough in bowl, turn to grease top. Cover; refrigerate dough overnight.
  4. Remove dough from refrigerator and let stand 30 minutes.
  5. To make filling: In a small bowl, stirring with spoon, mix together butter, confectioners' sugar, lemon peel, cinnamon, and vanilla. Set aside.
  6. Punch down dough; divide in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll each half into a 15 x 10-inch rectangle. Divide butter filling evenly and spread within 1 inch of edges of each rectangle. Sprinkle evenly with apples, cranberries, and pecans. Starting from long side, tightly roll up and pinch edges to seal.
  7. Using a floured knife, cut ropes lengthwise in half. With cut sides up, twist two ropes around each other to form a single piece. Place on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheets. Pinch ends together. Cover loaves, let rise 30 to 40 minutes, until puffy but NOT double.
  8. Bake in preheated 350F oven 30 to 35 minutes or until golden and done. To prevent overbrowning, tent loaves with foil last 5 minutes.
  9. To make glaze: Mix all ingredients with spoon, beating until smooth.
  10. Drizzle glaze over cooled loaves. Garnish by sprinkling each loaf with 2 tablespoons cranberries and 2 tablespoons pecans.
  1. Recipe from the Cranberry Marketing Committee
Foodie Mom, RD
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Recipe Redux: Grilled Pineapple with Sweet Vanilla Butter

IMG_1601While I can’t remember the first time I tried grilled pineapple, I remember how surprisingly delicious it was. And so simple too! Its a perfect dessert for a warm summer evening of barbecuing. 

In order to meet this month’s recipe redux requirements, I needed a recipe that used some sort of alcohol, even vanilla extract (and I LOVE vanilla!) The first idea that came to me was some sort of fruit and vanilla. Add in thoughts of summer and grilling and it all combined in my brain to come up with this yummy, juicy, sweet treat. Perfect for a lazy summer afternoon lunch or a big ‘ole BBQ with a whole gang. 

Grilled Pineapple with Sweet Vanilla Butter
Serves 4
A fresh and sweet summery dessert.
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  1. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  2. 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  3. 4 slices of fresh pineapple
  4. 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  1. In a small sauce pan over medium heat, combine butter and brown sugar. Heat, stirring often, until butter is melted. Once melted, turn to low and keep warm until pineapple is ready.
  2. Heat grill to low to medium-low. Place pineapple on the grill and grill until brown grill marks form on bottom, about 3-4 minutes. Flip pineapple and continue cooking until golden brown grill marks form, another 3-4 minutes.
  3. Place each slice on a plate. Remove butter mixture from heat and stir in vanilla. Spoon a bit of butter mixture over each slice.
  1. I had some extra bananas lying around so I sliced and grilled one up and added it to this--turned out yummy.
  2. This would also be delicious with a scoop of peach or raspberry sorbet.
Foodie Mom, RD
I hope you like this as much as my family did. Feel free to try with peaches, nectarines, or even plums. I’m sure they’d all be delicious.

Check out what my fellow reduxer’s did with the challenge.



Recipe Redux: Lemon Meringue Pie Cookie Cups

From what I remember and hear, my grandmother (Nanny) was a great cook and baker.  I began baking with her when I could barely reach the counter, in fact, I needed a and nanny But my grandmother had 4 daughters, and between them, there are 9 grandkids, so when it came to passing down, things got spread a bit thin. Not that I’m complaining, I have plenty to remember Nanny by–a recipe box, many recipes, and many non-cooking items. So when I saw that this month’s Recipe Redux Challenge was a recipe using a favorite passed down kitchen tool, I had to put on my thinking cap.

I decided to go with using her old wooden-handled scoop that I use in my flour bin.  And, then, thinking of passing down, I also decided to use my kitchen-aid mixer.  While I’m its original owner, I’m hoping to get the opportunity to pass it down myself to one of my kids or perhaps grandkids.  

Using this flour scoop
and my mixer means I’ll be baking, yeah! 

I’d been wanting to make these cute little lemon meringue pie cookies for awhile now. But every recipe I found called for using store-bought sugar cookie dough. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I prefer to make my cookies from scratch. Luckily I finally found a recipe for cookie cups here and then I used it as my base for my mini lemon meringue cookie cups. They came out perfect! I ended up having them for our Easter dinner dessert (that’s why you may see a glimpse of candy eggs in my picture).

Mini Lemon Meringue Cookie Cups
Yields 48
A mini lemon meringue pie with a sweet cookie crust.
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Cookie Crust
  1. 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  2. 1 teaspoon baking soda
  3. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  4. 1 cup butter, softened
  5. 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  6. 1 egg
  7. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Lemon Filling
  1. About 2 cups lemon pudding/pie filling*
  1. 2 egg whites
  2. 1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
  3. 1/4 cup sugar
For the cookies
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a mini muffin tin with a spritz of canola oil. In a small mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and baking powder, set aside. In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Gradually beat in dry ingredients until combined. Roll into 1" sized balls and place in muffin tin.** Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool about 5 minutes, and then turn over onto cooling rack and gently tap to let them fall out. Cool completely before filling.
  2. Once cool, place 1 to 2 teaspoons of lemon filling into each cup.
  3. For meringue: Turn oven to 350 degrees. Place egg whites in a the bowl of a standing mixer or a large bowl. Beat until foamy, a minute or two. Add cream of tarter and beat on high several minutes until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar and continue beating on high until stiff peaks form.
  4. Spread about a tablespoon of meringue on each cookie or use a piping bag and star tip to squeeze about a tablespoon onto each cookie. Place on a cookie sheet, and bake 8-12 minutes, until meringue turns golden brown.
  5. Let cool, and enjoy!
  1. *made from your favorite recipe or a box mix if you prefer--the amount needed depends on how much filling you put in each cookie cup
  2. **you may want to press the center of the balls down a bit prior to cookie to create a cup. However, I found if I simply tapped the pan gently on the counter or oven rack as I was removing them, the centers sank a bit creating a perfect indent.
Foodie Mom, RD
I have quite a sweet tooth, but I don’t buy a lot of store bought cookies.   I prefer enjoying sweet treats made with real sugar, butter, etc. that I make for my family when I have time and a holiday is the perfect time to splurge on just such a treat.

Check out what passed on kitchen gadget my colleagues chose to create with, and what they created.


Recipe Redux: Pinabanana Smoothie

So I’ve never had a green smoothie. You know what I’m talking about, those super healthy, veggie and fruit filled drinks that people are gulping up all over the place? Yes, this dietitian has never had one. Why? I have to admit I’ve always been a bit unsure afraid to guzzle down a cold, thick, green liquid. Well my friend Sally over at Real Mom Nutrition posted about one the other day on Facebook and she really made it sound good. So after sharing my concerns with her, she reassured me and I decided to Go For It!

IMG_0229Why am I telling you all of this? Because it’s time for this month’s Recipe Redux and the topic is drinks! As I said, I was inspired by my friend’s Peaches and Vanilla Green Smoothie but mine is a bit different. I have to admit, it tasted pretty darn good and I couldn’t even taste the spinach. However I didn’t actually drink that much of it. Not that I didn’t want to but because as soon as my 8-year-old walked into the kitchen, she took a sip and didn’t stop until it was gone. I hope you enjoy it as much as she did. Let me know what you think.

Pinabanana Smoothie
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  1. 1/2 cup 1% or skim milk
  2. 1 medium banana, peeled and roughly chopped
  3. 1 cup fresh or frozen pineapple, roughly chopped
  4. 2 handfuls of baby spinach
  1. Add all to blender and mix until it reaches your desired consistency. (for me that was until I couldn't see any more leaves). :o)
Adapted from Real Mom Nutrition
Foodie Mom, RD

Check out all the yummy hot and cold drinks my colleagues created this month too.


Recipe Redux: Pizza!!!

Boy was this an easy one. Most Saturday nights we have family movie night when I make pizza and we all sit in front of the TV and watch a movie–often a cartoon, but we’ve also done the first Star Wars trilogy and several Disney nature/animal movies.

So when I learned this month’s recipe redux challenge was pizza I was thrilled.  I already had the perfect recipe. The theme is “healthy” pizza, and to me there’s a wide range of possibilities that can make pizza healthier. For starters we always use reduced fat cheese, and I’m guessing, probably less than most pizzerias. For the crust, you can easily swap in some whole wheat flour, but I’ll admit I use bread flour because I enjoy the texture it gives the crust. I also make my own sauce, which is super easy, (and yummy!) This helps cut down a good deal on the sodium content vs using a premade sauce, several of which tend to be high in sodium.

Then of course, the toppings. We change it up sometimes, but our go-to is usually pineapple for my son, pineapple, caramelized peppers and onions for my daughter and I, and the caramelized veggies plus some sort of meat for my my husband. Often, I’ll just brown up some lean ground beef, but as a treat once in a while I’ll throw in a wee bit of ground sausage. So we end up with a good amount of fruit, veggies, and even meat, we just keep in lean.

I’ll admit, I use a bread machine for the dough.  For years I tried by hand and certainly had an edible pizza, but once I tried the bread machine I knew I’d found the tool I needed to make it over the top! If you prefer to do it by hand, simply use the ingredients below with the technique from a by-hand recipe.

This dough recipe will make 2 medium size pizzas.  The sauce is enough for 4 pizzas, and freezes well.

Yummy Pizza!
Crisp, slightly chewy crust with a flavorful sauce and your favorite toppings.
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  1. SAUCE
  2. 2 teaspoons olive oil
  3. 1 to 2 garlic cloves
  4. 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  5. 2 tablespoons sugar
  6. 1 to 2 teaspoons dried oregano, crushed in palm
  7. CRUST
  8. 1 1/3 cups water
  9. 1/4 cup olive oil
  10. 3 1/2 cups bread flour
  11. 1 tablespoon sugar
  12. 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  13. 2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine or regular yeast
  14. cornmeal
  15. TOPPINGS--choose your favorite
  16. shredded mozzarella, cheddar mozzarella mix, or your favorite cheese
  17. sauteed veggies such as peppers, onions, mushrooms
  18. chopped fresh or canned/drained pineapple
  1. Place olive oil and garlic in sauce pan and heat over medium heat until garlic just begins to turn golden. Add sauce, sugar, and oregano. Turn to low, cover loosely, and simmer for half hour. Set aside until ready to use.
  1. Add all ingredients except cornmeal to bread machine in order directed by your machine. Turn on to dough cycle and start. When done, take dough out of machine, divide in half and place on counter or non stick mat dusted with cornmeal. Cover with clean, damp dish towel and let rest for 30 minutes.
  2. While dough rests, begin preheating oven to 500°.
  3. After dough has rested, shape dough into desired shapes (circle, oval, rectangle) and place onto pizza stone, pizza pan, or lightly oiled jelly roll pan. Top each pizza with 1/4 of sauce, sprinkle with cheese, and desired toppings.
  4. Place in preheated oven and cook 10-14 minutes, until its done to your liking. Let cool slightly, slice, and eat!.
  1. Note: I've found the earlier in the day I make the dough and let it sit in the refrigerator, the better the texture of the crust is. I simply put it in an oiled bowl and cover it with a damp cloth, then chill. I take it out about half an hour before I plan to begin to shape it.
Foodie Mom, RD

What toppings would you put on your pizza?

Check out how my colleagues took on the healthy pizza challenge:


Recipe Redux: Hot Cocoa Mix

I was thrilled when I read the topic for this month’s redux–mixes! I Love making and giving food mixes, well, just food gifts in general. And I knew immediately I was going to make a hot cocoa mix. Who doesn’t love a steamy mug of hot cocoa on a chilly day? No one in my house that’s for sure.

I started looking around at various hot cocoa mix recipes and found a common ingredient, one I didn’t care to use in mine–powdered non-dairy creamer. Yes, with all the various flavors available you can make a variety of kinds of hot chocolate mixes. But for my mix, I wanted one that was more au natural. So I measured and mixed and mixed and measured until I came up with a mix that I liked. And of course, one that my kids gave their stamp of approval on.

Hot Cocoa Mix

Hot Cocoa Mix


  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/4 cup powdered milk
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Whisk until well blended.
  2. If you're powdered milk is more granular than powdery, you may want to mix ingredients in a food processor to let it blend better.
  3. To serve, put 1/4 cup powdered mix in a mug and mix in 3/4 cup heated low fat milk. Enjoy!
  4. This mix will make enough for about 12 cups of hot cocoa

See what my colleagues mixed up:



Recipe Redux: Champagne Cloud

No cook desserts is this month’s theme and it couldn’t have come at a better time for me. When I think no cook desserts I think of recipes that can literally be thrown together in minutes and boy could I use a recipe like that this week. Right on the heels of school restarting, we’ve had soccer start, are beginning cubscouts, PTO activities, oh yeah, and work has to fit in there somehow. Anything that needs little to no cooking gets my vote.

This recipe came from my mother-in-law, Gail. It was one of those dishes she used to make for my husband that he asked if I could make. And, lucky for me, it was super easy. It’s also very forgiving. Keen eyes may notice there are raspberries in the pictured dish, however the recipe calls for strawberries. The dish also originally called for Cool Whip, but any favorite non-dairy topping would work fine as well. In fact, I actually used some leftover whipped cream (a rarity because I never have it in the house and just happened to be doing some experimenting which left me with some). And, you can play around with the sugar amount as well. Since raspberries often have a tendency to be a bit on the tart-sweet side, I used the amount called for, but you could certainly use less if you desire.

I also love the fact that while this is a sweet treat, you’re actually getting 3 types of fruit, and a fair amount too, not just a measly speck here and there. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.  Let me know.

Champagne Cloud

Champagne Cloud


  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 8 ounces reduced fat cream cheese, softened
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
  • 16 ounces non-dairy whipped topping
  • 16 ounces crushed pineapple, drained
  • 10 ounces frozen sliced strawberries
  • 4 bananas, sliced


  1. Cream together sugar and cream cheese.
  2. Fold in the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Chill at least 3 hours before serving.

For more no-cook treats, check out what my colleagues have to offer:

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Recipe Redux: Ice Cream in a Bag

Ok, I’ll be the first one to admit, I’m taking a bit of liberties with this month’s topic–Food in a Jar. But, as we’re in the dog days of summer and I just returned from a family camping trip (where we made this), this recipe is all I can think about. And really, how much different is a bag from a jar, right?

So, ice cream in a bag, yes you read it correctly. Sounds weird, but yum! Keep in mind, this is ice cream and therefore will contain real cream and real sugar, but that’s pretty much it, except for a splash of pure vanilla extract. And personally, I’d much rather feed my family a small amount of the “real” stuff than a bunch of stuff with words I can’t pronounce–seems kinda strange to me that some store bought ice creams have an ingredient list that’s over an inch thick. Really, how much room do the words “cream, sugar” take?

Something else to keep in mind about this recipe–it’s portion control at it’s finest. If you can’t stop yourself with just a scoop of ice cream, no worries here, you have to, that’s about all there is.

Plus, it’s a great activity for the whole family. My kids are amazed that I pour a liquid into a bag and a few minutes later we’re scooping out a solid, a sort of solid at least.

This recipe is pure vanilla, but we’ve experimented with adding a little chocolate syrup which of course is yummy too. Let me know if you try any fun flavors.

Ice Cream in a Bag

Ice Cream in a Bag


  • 1 cup half and half
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • dash of vanilla
  • additional needs:
  • 1/2 cup rock salt
  • crushed ice


  1. Place first three ingredients into a quart-sized freezer ziplock bag and close tightly.
  2. Place salt in a second quart or gallon-sized freezer ziplock bag.
  3. Place first bag in second bag. Add a couple of cups of ice to second bag, on both sides of first bag. Seal second bag.
  4. Begin squeezing, kneading, and shaking bags (may want to wrap them in a thin dish towel, as it gets VERY cold). After about 10 minutes cream mixture will begin to thicken, continue squeezing and kneading until it reaches desired consistency. You may need to add more ice if it melts before your ice cream is thick enough.

See how my fellow bloggers dealt with this challenge: