Monday, January 14, 2008

Bridge Mix, Beer Bread and key lime Bars

Weekends are always a bit hectic for erin and I, and normally the cooking takes a back seat to take out menus and TV. I'll admit it, I give myself the weekends to indulge the "cheater" that lies within us all. I think I deserve those two days to order greasy food, bring out the whole bag of chips instead of just a bowl and down a few extra drinks. With that said I also put my running shoes on every weekend as a precursor to my festivities.

This past weekend we got invited to a football party. Sports and parties, two of my favorite weekend pastimes. When faced with what to bring there was the first easiest selection, Bridge Mix. Now to be fair not only is this not my recipe, but I don't even cook it. This is Erin's specialty. If erin had formed the rating system back when i tried Bridge Mix for the first would most definitely be a 10 for me. Although most may look at it and think it's your typical chex mix cereal party mix, to me it's heaven. Unfortunately I can't share this recipe (because it's not mine to share!) however believe me when I say it's worth trying to win erin over for a taste!

The next item selected was our Beer Bread. Now here comes another disclaimer. I do not consider this cooking as the instructions are simply to add a can of beer to the mix of bread. But come on, it was a football party doesn't that just seem fitting?! And need I remind you of my philosophy regarding weekends? The mix is from a company called Tastefully Simple. They carry a lot of yummy mixes and dips. If you are interested in getting some let me know and I can hook you up with a great consultant. This bread has a sweeter flavor so I like to serve it with a dill or onion dip on the side. The bread takes almost and hour to bake, but the wait is well worth it!

The final dish I brought was in fact a new recipe AND it did fact require actual cooking! I often come across deserts that sound super simple, healthy and fun to make. However unless we have company it can be quite dangerous to leave erin and I with an entire desert, even if it is healthy! Recently I came across a Weight Watchers Key Lime Pie Bars recipe. Now I know it may sound strange making a citrus desert in the middle of winter, but if you live anywhere near NYC you can believe that this past week felt anything but wintry. Inspired by the weather I set out to make this summery desert. I substituted the sugar in the crust for Splenda, mainly because I ran out of sugar and didn't want a substitution to change the taste of the filling, and I also added a bit of extra fresh lime juice because I like tart flavors. It came out great, a bit foamy on top but that settled a bit the longer it sat.
In order to transport these bars I decided to cut them ahead of time. Now another rule of mine is to take note of the serving sizes mentioned on recipes and try my best to follow them. If you disregard how many servings the dish creates you could end up undoing the choice to eat healthy in the first place. This rule also helps me eliminate some recipes where I would find myself having one bite for a serving. The Key Lime Bars were said to serve sixteen. Now in my weekend induced haze I began to cut the bars eight on one side, eight on the other. As I began to struggle with plating them, and hold myself back from throwing away the entire dish, erin calmly mentioned that in fact I had cut them into 32nds...not 16th. The other half of the pan made it out mathematically correct. The one plus side to this was as erin and I ate the leftover 32nds that held even fewer calories than their counterparts. The guilt of desert slide right off the plate.