Fancy mini-trifles, also called Dessert Shooters

A couple of weeks ago I saw the cutest desserts ever at a Seasons 52 restaurant in Atlanta. We had a company dinner and the restaurant was amazingly crowded for a Monday night. Their unique approach to dining, offering a menu inspired by the seasons and the fresh market, is very popular.

For appetizers we had some flatbread, which is almost like a gourmet pizza on super-thin crust. I had curry Kobia fish with rice and grean beans and it was very good! Now, I’m not a big eater (quantity-wise) and my portion was sufficient, but if you are very hungry or used to big plates, then this place is not for you. What I really liked was the healthy twist they give to their dishes:  low-cal (under 475 calories), low-carb, fresh and seasonal ingredients, lots of veggies and moderate portions.

Their biggest hit however, was the dessert tray. I usually skip dessert when eating at a restaurant, but these desserts really looked tempting and they were only 200 calories each! Have you ever had, seen or heard of “shotglass desserts?” Also called “dessert shooters?”  It was created by Seasons 52 and they call it ‘mini-indulgences’, now copied by other restaurants. Before my visit to this place, I didn’t even know American restaurants served mini desserts!

The waitress offered a variety of mini trifles, from double chocolate mousse, to tiramisu and key lime pie (one of my favorites). How can you decline that? One of those was just enough to finish off a great dinner! Without feeling guilty…

As I was planning my Thanksgiving dinner, I kept wondering what to make that would actually get eaten. After a big meal at my house I usually get stuck with desserts because no one has room for anything else. And then … aha!!  Why not make some shotglass desserts? They’re mini and they’re cute!

Since I only learned about these a few weeks ago, I had no idea how to make dessert shooters, so off I went to surf the web. Don’t you love the internet? I found some great ideas that I will be trying out this Thanksgiving. Chocolate mousse, raspberry trifle, key lime pie, and more.

Here are some wonderful resources I found, plus a video on how to make these fancy, yet simple desserts. The beauty is in the presentation and I think that beautiful food makes you enjoy it even more.


Mini Desserts Recipe

If you are having problems viewing the video on this blog, go directly to the site at http://www.5min.com/Video/How-to-Make-Mini-Desserts-172964123 .

More ideas and instructions on how to make the dessert shooters: http://www.ehow.com/how_4862733_dessert-shooter-everyone-will-love.html
http://hubpages.com/hub/Restaurant-Food-at-Home-Dessert-Shots

Be sure to come back to find out how my experiment went.

In the mean time:

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Turn your holiday blues into holiday fun

Ever since Halloween was approaching – way back in October (how time flies!) – I wanted to write this post about the holidays. The sometimes holidaydecor“dreaded” holidays that are supposed to be happy times, but can be so stressful with all the errands and the events and the parties and the pressure 🙁  Let’s not even talk about getting the house cleaned before and after, decorating, organizing and shopping for dinners and all the other stuff your guests don’t see or won’t know about.

It’s very tempting to take a 4-week vacation in December or to go into hibernation, but with some careful planning it doesn’t have to be that bad. This planning applies to parties and dinners, but also to your survival of the holidays without throwing your healthy eating habits to the wind.

Give yourself enough time to get organized and start planning at least two-three weeks (or months for the type A’s) in advance. I use idea/mind mapping, mini-lists and my calendar to help me stay sane and enjoy the holidays too.

For your dinner or party:

  • Make your guest list and send invites by mail or email
  • Break up housecleaning tasks in small, daily chores so you will not be overwhelmed.
  • Set up your menu (be flexible because things may change), starting with the main entrees, adding the sides, appetizers and desserts.
  • Build your shopping list from the menu items.
  • Enlist family members to bring a dish to take some pressure off yourself, because you will have enough with hosting the event and cooking.
  • Create a list of items you will need, such as tablecloth, napkins, plates, etc. It will keep you sane in a hectic time and you will not forget anything.
  • Make a list of party games or activities if you plan to entertain.
  • Assign a “clean up” crew of family and friends if you don’t have a cleaning lady.
  • Keep track of all this on one sheet with your own mindmap, yes it will all fit!

giftsFor gift giving:

  • Make your list of recipients.
  • Add a gift to their name of something that you know or think they would like. Not knowing what to get adds stress to your shopping.
  • Stock up on gift wrap and ribbons.
  • Buy the gifts off-season or during the least busy time of the day if you can.
  • Collect all gifts in a room or closet.
  • Wrap as you go (don’t forget to label the gifts) or dedicate one day for gift-wrapping.

To find more organizing ideas: Get Organized Now!

Party going:

  • Select which ones you will attend. Yes, it’s okay to be selective and decline invitations if it means you will be stretched too thin!
  • Mark your calendar.
  • Find out what the proper attire is, whether you are bringing a gift, etc.
  • Go shopping to get what you need at least 1-2 weeks before the event. Or go closet-shopping. There maybe something in there you have not worn yet.
  • Schedule your hair and nail appointments at the salon or at home.
  • Give yourself enough time to get there, because traffic can be awful during the holidays.

Dining:

  • Best way to survive holiday eating is to relax and avoid “all or nothing” thinking. There is no point in punishing yourself by not eating some of the food you really enjoy; a small piece is better than nothing.
  • Instead of skipping dessert try some low carb, low-cal alternatives like strawberry2strawberries and whipped cream with a thin slice of angel food cake.
  • Tiramisu has mascarpone cheese, a source of protein and fat.
  • Avoid chocolate bars, baked goods like cakes, cookies, brownies because they contain lots of sugar and trans fats.
  • Dark chocolate (70-80% cocoa) is healthier thank milk chocolate.
  • European chocolate is less sweet, but creamier and more satisfying.
  • Eat small portions of bread, mashed potatoes and other simple carbs or skip some of them.
  • Enjoy a slice of pie, with light cream on top instead of vanilla ice cream.
  • Eat some carbs to feel satisfied but in moderation.

You can get these and other tips in the The No-Diet Plan. (sorry, no longer available)

 There you have it! My way of beating the holiday blues and stress. How do you handle yours? Do share in the comments section below so everyone can learn.

Happy Holiday Planning!

 

Baka Bana (Javanese plantain fritters)

Baka bana is Surinamese for baked (fried) bananas (plantains) and much easier to remember than the Javanese name Pisang Goreng.
Pisang = banana, and Goreng = cooked or fried.

We call plantains bananas, which is a bit confusing in English as the banana is the type that does not require cooking. Plantains should be cooked first by boiling or frying before eating, and can be consumed either when ripe or unripened.

Baka bana is a very popular snack in Suriname and Holland and can be found in any warung (Javanese cafe) or street vendor selling Indonesian food.

The plantains have to be really ripe to enjoy this snack. Ripe plantains feel soft but firm when squeezed and may show black spots on the peel. The more black spots and softer, the riper and sweeter the plantain will be.

Ingredients:
2 very ripe plantains
100 grams flour
2 tsp sugar
salt
1 egg
2 dl water
oil
(cinnamon) sugar for sprinkling

Preparations:
Peel the plantains and cut ½ cm (less than 1/4 inch) diagonal slices of about 3 inches in length.
Mix the flour with sugar and salt, add the egg and water, mix well into a smooth but thick batter. Batter should not be runny and when turning a slice of plantain over, the batter should stick to the plantain. Heat the oil. Turn each plantain slice over in the batter and scoop out to fry in the hot oil. Turn the heat down a little if the batter browns too quickly. The plantain should cook inside the batter until it’s done, for about 5-7 minutes, turning over a few times for even browning and to avoid burning.
Drain the baka bana on papertowels and sprinkle sugar while still hot.

Baka Bana (Banana fritter)
Baka Bana (Banana fritter)

Serve your baka bana plain or with spicy peanut sauce. Be forewarned that you will not stop snacking! However, be carefull because baka banas retain the heat for a while. No point in doing all this work and not being able to enjoy it!

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