Friday, August 31, 2012

Nectresse Sweetener~The Sweet Without The Sugar

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of NECTRESSE™Sweetener for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

I have been searching for a good natural sweetener for a while now. Don't get me wrong. I love sugar!! But I know it isn't that good for me.  I have been rather picky about the sweetener I have been searching for. I don't want that chemical like taste, and I need something that is perfect for cooking and baking.

Well, I have found it! NECTRESSE™Sweetener is delicious, 100% all natural and calorie free! It is made from sweet monk fruit extract, which is from a small green melon that grows on lush vines in remote mountain regions in Asia. It is wonderful and Nectresse is 150 times sweeter than sugar, which means I can use so much less!

Listen to spokesperson Lisa Ling as she tells her story about why Nectresse is her favorite sweetener.          

As I stated, one of the things I was looking for in a sweetener was the ability to use it for cooking. I have a favorite Tiramisu Mousse that I make for parties and get togethers, so I made it with Nectresse to try it out.  Oh my goodness!  It is delicious and everyone loved it.



Tiramisu Mousse

(makes 4 individual mousse)

1/2 cup Mascarpone Cheese

4 teaspoons NECTRESSE

1/8 cup Coffee

1 Egg Yolk, beaten

Cocoa Powder

6 Lady Fingers

Whipping Cream

1 cup whipping cream

1 teaspoon NECTRESSE


1. Make your whipped cream first. Place the whipping cream in a bowl, and begin beating it on high. About 2 minutes into mixing the whipping cream, add the NECTRESSE, and continue whipping the cream until soft peaks form. Set aside.

2. Combine the mascarpone, NECTRESSE, coffee, and egg. Set aside.

3. Gently fold in 1/2 cup of the whipped cream into the mascarpone mix. Set aside.

4. Crush 4 of the 6 lady fingers, by placing them in a zip lock bag and rolling over them with a rolling pin.

5. Distribute the crushed lady fingers evenly over the 4 glasses.

6. Using a pastry bag with a large round tip, fill your glasses with the mousse. Fill to about 1/4" from the top.

7. Chill the mousse for approximately 30 minutes. Refrigerate the leftover whipped cream while the mousse is chilling.

8. Using a Wilton 1A tip, fill a pastry bag with the other 1/2 cup of whipped cream. Pipe the whipped cream on to the top of the mousse filling.

9. Dust the top of the whipped cream with cocoa powder.

10. Cut the remaining 2 lady fingers in half, so you have 4 short cookies. Place a cookie in each glass.

11. Chill the desserts until ready to serve. Enjoy!

Can't wait to get your hands on this wonderful product? Have your own recipe ideas?  How about a FREE sample of NECTRESSE™Sweetener! Nectresse is available in individual single serving packets or for cooking, you are going to want the Nectresse canister. Nectresse product family.jpg. It is available where you shop!

To see how much everyone is loving Nectresse stop by  facebook at








Visit Sponsor's Site

Friday, August 24, 2012

Cookie Journey Thursday ~ Back To School Pencil Cookies!

Monday starts the new school year here in town! I can tell by the crowds in the stores that everyone is very busy gathering new school supplies like notebooks, and lunch boxes, and pencils. Well, you can scratch pencils off the list because we have them right here!
Back To School Pencil Cookies
 I cut these out myself, which explains why
some of them are not as straight as they should be.
But anyway, I outlined and filled in the main part
of the pencil with Wilton Buttercup Yellow.
I used a #2 tip.
I outlined and filled in the eraser part of the pencil
with Americolor Soft Pink and Electric Pink mixed together.   
I used an Americolor Electric Green for the two lines.
Outline the lead area of the pencil with Americolor Super Black.
Fill in the lead area with the black.
Happy Back To School!

What I learned:
 I measured and cut out each pencil.
I should have made a stencil.
 As I cut and moved the dough,

I think it got too soft because it
took me so long and I didn't realize
how crooked they became.

 I am not happy with my green lines. My icing was too thin
 and I should have made it thicker before using it. I thought
it would work, and when I saw it didn't, I was a bit nervous
about taking it off and redoing it. I was afraid it would
make things worse.

So, I am still taking three steps forward and one step back in trying to
become a better cookie decorator. But I am still working on it.
Let me know if you are working with me. It's fun!

Thanks for joining me.
Don't forget about our Tiny Prints giveaway!!
Check out this post to enter!
We are giving away 2 ~ $50  promo codes for 
2 lucky winners!!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Back to School with Tiny Prints and a Giveaway!

Monday is the beginning of the new school year for students in our town. I don't know about you, but I just love this time of year. Fall has always been my favorite season, and a new school year starting brings about excitement, anticipation, and the very best of intentions!
Well, Tiny Prints wants to start the school year with you, and they are sponsoring a $50 giveaway so 2 lucky Freshman Cook readers can start the school year with class! :0) 
Here is what you could win!!!: A $50 promo code + free standard or USPS shipping to be used on the Tiny Prints web site! There is just so much to choose from. Their "Back To School" selection is stylish, colorful, and so, so cute!!
 Who wouldn't love these adorable stickers with their name on them?
Tiny Prints has stickers to please everyone and plenty to choose from.
What about these Allergy Alert Cards?
They are a great way to make sure everyone
takes the necessary actions to keep your child safe.
You can pick from several designs and order as many as you need.
These little Lunch Box Notes would brighten any childs day! 
Click here for a selection of over 50 cards to choose from.
They are bright, cheerful, and I know you will find one 
to fit your child's personality!
These are the best notebooks! These are hard to loose
 with your child's name on it, and they are durable and so cute!!
Check out the entire selection here!

Tiny Prints has so much more to offer. Don't forget about your
Mom Contact Cards, what a great way to remember who everyone is,
and with one of these cards you can immediately give your info, without having to 
hunt all over for pen, paper, or phone.

Of course, school hasn't begun until your child meets their teacher!
Tiny Prints has great personalized teacher gifts so you can make 
any teacher feel loved and appreciated. 
(They would make great holiday gifts too!)

Ready to enter our giveaway?
Here's what you get:
 Tiny Prints has given me 2 -$50 promo codes
 + free standard or USPS shipping to be used on the Tiny Prints web site! 
(Please note promo code excludes, calendars, photo books, Erin Condren notebooks & planners, and gift certificates)
That means there will be 2 winners!!!! Yah!!

Here's what to do:
Do any or all of the following and let me know what you did by leaving me a separate comment for each thing you did. Each comment is an entry.

#1. Visit the Tiny Prints Back To School collection and leave me a comment
telling me what you would select if you are a winner!

#2. Like The Freshman Cook on Facebook

#3. Like Tiny Prints on Facebook

#4. Follow The Freshman Cook by Email or RSS  Post

#5 Follow Tiny Prints on Pinterest (Their boards are adorable!)

This giveaway ends August 31st at 11:59pm Pacific Time.

Thanks for joining and Good Luck!!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Chocolate Cake~It's Good for the Soul!

One of my husbands favorite desserts is chocolate cake. So, why don't I make it very often? I guess it's because it's not fancy and different and something new, it's just chocolate cake. But, it's not really just chocolate cake, is it? It's memories. It's comfort. It's home. It's sneaking in to the kitchen at midnight, sitting at the  table with a glass of ice cold milk, and polishing off a slice with your best friend who is staying over for the night. It's sharing the last piece with your mom after she has had a long day at work, and listening to her tell you about her day. It's what you know will be served at the picnic, because grandma makes her special chocolate cake for every family get together. So when my husband asked for a chocolate cake, who am I to say no? I wouldn't dare thumb my nose at something so rich in tradition!
Chocolate Cake
 with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
(this recipe is straight from The Cake Doctor)
1 package Duncan Hines Devils Food Cake Mix
3 tablespoons unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 1/3 cups Buttermilk
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
3 Large Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Place all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Blend on low for 1 minute.
Stop and scrapes down the mix on the sides of the bowl.
Blend for 2 more minutes on medium.
Scrape down your sides again.
Prepare your pans by greasing the pans, 
and then flouring them with cocoa powder. 
Place your batter in your pans.
Bake at 350 degree for 20-25 minutes.
I used mini cake pans, and refrigerated the rest of the mix.
Immediately after removing your baked cake from the oven,
take a spatula knife around the edge between the cake and the pan.
Let the cake cool for 15 minutes, them remove from your pan.
Once the cake was cool. I placed it in the freezer for about 20 minutes.
This made frosting the cake a lot easier.
 Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces Softened Cream Cheese
1/4 cup Softened Butter
2 cups Confectioners Sugar
1/4 to 1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
 1 teaspoon Vanilla
Cream together the cream cheese and the butter.
Add the confectioners sugar  and cocoa powder
and mix on low.
Add the vanilla and continue mixing until completely
combined. I had my husband try the icing until it
was the chocolatey goodness that he wanted.
That is why I varied the amount between 1/4 -1/2 cup.
 I split the cake in half, and iced the top of the
bottom layer. The mini cake pans are very tall, so it
worked well. Then I iced the sides and top of the cake.
I placed the cake on a candle plate. Perfect fit!
I decorated around the edge of the top layer with
Orange Non Pareils, then I placed
10 Pearl Lime Sixlets around the edge also.
I sprinkled Yellow Jimmies on top and on the side.
I made this table decoration just for fun. I am
planning a big graduation party for next May
when my son graduates, and I am experimenting
with different ideas. I will be making one in his
school colors next week. I think these colors
look happy and summery, don't you?

Thanks for joining me today!
Cookie Journey Thursday is back tomorrow
with a special "Back To School" cookie.
Hope to see you then!

The Freshman Cook is attending the following parties!!!!:
Foodie Friends Friday
Mouthwatering Mondays
Made By You Monday
Melt in Your Mouth Monday
Recipe Sharing Monday
Crazy Sweet Tuesday

Monday, August 20, 2012

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers~SRC Day!

Today is reveal day for The Secret Recipe Club and this month I was so lucky to be assigned the blog, Inquiring Chef. The blog is written by Jess, an American living in Bangkok with her husband Frank. Please stop by and see all her mouthwatering recipes and interesting posts about her amazing life! I was thrilled to see a recipe for southwestern food, as I dearly love the flavors and scents. Just yesterday I was at the grocery, and I realized that there was an incredible aroma in the air, and I was still in the parking lot!! As I walked closer to the store, I realized that the employees were roasting New Mexico Hatch Chili Peppers out in front of the store. Oh my goodness, there is nothing better. My nose was in heaven, and I didn't want to go in to the store. The peppers had just arrived, and the store will roast them for free, if you purchase a case. Unfortunately, I can not use an entire case, but I am glad a lot of people can, because I got the benefit of that satisfying, comforting scent that stayed with me all day, and just made me sigh with pleasure. Oh, so good! 

Anyway, back to this incredibly, wonderful Southwestern Style Stuffed Peppers recipe!
You must make this! You will love it! I am giving you the recipe amounts as Jess wrote it. I cut it in half when I made it, as there were only two of us eating, and we ate every bit of it. I did add corn to the recipe and I left out the cilantro. I served them with a steak for my husband and a chicken breast for me. Yum!
Southwestern Stuffed Peppers
4 medium Bell Peppers (any color)
1 1/4 cup Grated Cheddar Cheese
2 cups Cooked Rice (brown or white)
3/4 cup Black Beans
1/2 teaspoon Chili Powder
1/2 teaspoon Cumin
1/2 teaspoon Salt
3/4 cup Salsa
1/2 small Onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup Cooked Corn
3 tablespoon Cilantro, chopped (more for garnish)
Sour Cream (optional for serving)

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Thie first thing I did was make my beans from dried ones. 
I don't eat much salt, and canned beans have salt.
You have to start your beans the day before for best results!
 Fill a bowl with water, and pour your beans in.
Rinse the beans thoroughly to remove dirt..
Sort them to get rid of any bad beans or possibly stones.
I sort them as I place them in the pot I will be cooking them in.
Add 3-4 cups of cold water for every 1/2 lb of beans.
Let the beans soak overnight, or at least for 6-8 hours.
Then drain the water, rinse again, and add 6 cups of hot water
to the beans. Simmer the beans until desired tenderness is
achieved, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. You should lid your pot,
but leave a little escape for the steam. You can't see
mine, but it is on the side.
Slice your peppers in half, lengthwise.
Scrape out the core and remove the seeds.
Set 1/4 cup of the cheese aside.
In a large bowl, combine the 1 cup of cheese and the cooked rice.
Add the black beans.
Also add in the chili powder, cumin, salt, salsa,
corn and onion. Add the cilantro also.
Mix all the ingredients together.
Doesn't it look so gorgeous?
Gotta love the colors!!
Spray your baking dish with pan spray, and then
arrange the peppers in the dish.
Place the rice mixture into the peppers. Pack it
gently to compress  it to get in all the
nook and crannys of the peppers.
Bake the peppers until the rice starts to turn
golden and crisp on the top, and the peppers soften,
15-20 minutes.
Remember that 1/4 cup of cheese we
set aside in the beginning of the recipe? 
Sprinkle that cheese over the peppers and continue
baking the peppers until it melts, about 3-4 minutes.
Remove the peppers and place them on the plate.
Serve immediately, topping with sour cream if desired.
Thanks for joining me!

Thanks Jess, for a wonderful recipe that I will make again and again!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Chicken Fajita Pocket Appetizers

Today is reveal day for the Improv Cooking Challenge, and this months ingredients are tomatoes and peppers! I love those two ingredients, don't you? They just say summer and freshness and yum! This month I made Chicken Fajita Pocket Appetizers. I know, a mouthful, right?  But, what a taste sensation, and the perfect, perfect  party food. I used these little whole wheat pita pockets, and stuffed them so full with chicken, tomatoes, peppers, onions, sour cream and guacamole. They are tasty and wonderful,  and you can just savor that summer freshness! What a treat!!
Chicken Fajitas Pocket Appetizers
1 Chicken Breast
Garlic Powder
1 Roma Tomato
1 small Onion
1 each Mini Red, Yellow, and Orange Peppers
Sour Cream
Kangaroo Itsy Bitsy Whole Wheat Pockets
Pan fry, or grill if you prefer, the chicken breast, 
sprinkled with garlic powder.
While your chicken is cooking, cut your peppers,
and take the seeds out. 
Cut the peppers into small, thin strips. The peppers
have to fit in the mini pockets, so they should be small in length,
but they will shrink some while cooking.
Cut your onions the same way as the peppers.
Chop your tomatoes.
Make your guacamole, by smashing your avocado....
add a 1-2 tablespoons of sour cream, 
and a few of your chopped tomatoes.
Add some garlic powder. Mix well.
Finish cooking your chicken.
Sautee your peppers and onions in a pan.
Shred lettuce, and place in the bottom of the mini pocket.
Top with a couple pieces of chicken.
Add peppers, onions,
sour cream,
and avocado.
Serve to all your friends! They will love them!

Check out what everyone else made:

The Freshman Cook is partying at the following fun spots:
Church Supper
Nifty Thrifty Sunday