Bircher muesli

The month of love is almost done, therefore it is time to review this month’s Degustabox.
I am going to start with the recipe for my picture above. Bircher muesli is a delicious blend of yogurt and fresh fruit mixed with crispy stuff, usually coconut and oats. Invented by the Swiss I have never had a bircher muesli I didn’t like. Luckily, this month’s box included some Grace Foods coconut chips which I really liked on their own, crispy like a potato chip and just as addictive they were a great, low sugar way to add texture to my dish. I used Walker’s shortbread cookie crumbs in place of oats….these cookies are so good after the entire container was devoured by my family I had to find a use for the crumbs left in the package!
Bircher Muesli
1 cup yogurt, I used a full fat European style plain variety, but choose your own adventure here.
A handful of your favorite fresh berries or fruit of choice
A few tablespoons of Coco chips
1 Tablespoon of Walker’s shortbread cookie crumbs
A drizzle of honey
Seriously this is sooo simple and presents beautifully for guests at a brunch. Give it a go!
So I made Cincinnati style chili (recipe post to come) and topped it with a bit of the Nando’s peri-peri sauce I received, and I really enjoyed the diversity in flavor it provided in comparison to the usual sriracha or tabasco. Nando’s has really delicious citrus notes that highlighted the fruity elements of the Bird’s eye chilies in the sauce, I would use this anywhere you would use hot sauce and I would recommended it to any of the “Chili heads” out there.
I’ve always liked Jones soda, and this month we received a bottle of the “Orange and cream” variety. I tried a sip before I made the kids small Jones’ soda floats with vanilla ice cream. If I am going to give my kids soda I would pick Jones over many others because the flavors and delicious and they are made with pure cane sugar.
I have tried Popchips a few times, and I have never been a huge fan. I was really surprised by how much I loved the ones with ridges that were in our box. If I could tell the popchips folks directly, all of their products should have ridges! They make them so much tastier, and the texture is crunchy and light.
The Ricola immunity drops were great, they are packed with ginseng and they really came in handy while I had a cold.
I am yet to try the slendier noodles, but I am excited to use them in a recipe for traditional noodles. I can say my kids ate the PR bar I received before I got to taste it, but with they enjoyed it with gusto, so I am guess it is quite tasty and it is gluten-free and full protein. Last but certainly not least is the Green & Blacks dark chocolate with sea salt, the salt is the flaky variety and lends an addictive crunch to the rich, dark chocolate. Happy Cooking!
(I was given these products as a sample to review, the opinions are mine.)

Apple Strudel

Happy Lunar New year!!! The world is a strange and interesting place lately…and I must say it is odd to be alive in such a tumultuous environment. It’s hard to choose optimism and kindness for many folks who are struggling right now, but I think the only choices are.. well…optimism and kindness. I know the hip thing isn’t to be nice, but it’s the right thing. I haven’t always viewed things this way, for many being a jerk is a great way to put a wall up with others and to protect your insecurities…but in order to live authentically, this defense mechanism needs a kick to the curb. Even now when I expose my soft spots, acknowledge my hurt feelings and anxieties, I feel awkward about it, so I know it isn’t easy. As I get older I realize honest communication is actually a strength opposed to a weakness, it’s human to want others to like and accept you. Studies have shown that a sense of “community” can lengthen life span and overall happiness. I feel like my circle has shrunk considerably in the last decade, but I feel like those who are in it now are there for the long haul. We all want to be liked, but we also can’t control how others feel about us….so I figure…as my mother always told me “you will catch more flies with honey than vinegar” and I want my aura to give off kindness…GOALS! Not quite there yet….but I am done burning bridges…that’s easy to do….I want to have real, authentic relationships from now on…and I am willing to start over if the other party is willing. We all are just humans and humans are imperfect, and most things can be forgiven if both parties are willing to own their shit, it does take two to tango!
Well I made some strudel, apple strudel! My mom makes great apple pie, I used her filling recipe for the most part, but instead of pastry I used phyllo. Phyllo is great, it’s a quick and forgiving way to wrap things in buttery carbohydrates! This made quite a few, and in order to not eat them all I gave ¾ of them away to my kids teachers and some neighbors, nothing says “I appreciate you” better than apple desserts! Actually maybe fat stacks of cash are better….LOL.
Here it goes:
You will need:
6 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into chunks.
½ C. granulated sugar
1 vanilla bean split
¼ C. lemon juice
1 tsp. Cinnamon
Pinch of salt
Zest of 1 orange
Juice from same orange mixed with 2 tsp cornstarch.
Throw them apples in the pan with everything except the orange juice/cornstarch mixture. Crack your heat up to medium high, and bring apples to a simmer, cook for 10 minutes, add cornstarch mixture, stir well and reduce heat, cook an additional 10 minutes. Set aside to cool (I made mine the day before and refrigerated it).
1 box of phyllo thawed, or go crazy and make your own! Whatever you like.
2 stick of butter melted.
1 pastry brush
I used large phyllo sheets, so I had to do a bit of folding but the assembly is the same as my Tyropita recipe click here to follow see how I wrap them into triangles…basically like folding a flag!
I used about ⅓ of a cup of filling for each pie, I just made them until I ran out of filling, it made a bunch! I still have about five sheets of phyllo left, which I will use for some quick spanikopita! When you got your strudels rolled butter the tops and place on greased sheet pans. Cook in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 18 minutes until golden. One thing I may do next time is make a small slit on the top of each one before baking to release steam, a few of mine burst at the seams whilst baking. After they cooled I covered my pies in a mixture of ½ cup confectioner’s sugar and a heaping tsp of cinnamon. You can do a quick glaze if you prefer. I also cut each one in half, that is also optional.