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Tasty Tuesday Treats!-Cake!

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

Sometimes you just want to have your cake, and eat it too! Here are some of our healthy (but delicious) finds from our friends at Living Healthy With Chocolate, Life Made Full, and Elana’s Pantry

Paleo Chocolate Cake By: Living Healthy With Chocolate

Cake:    3 cups almond flour •  ¼ cup coconut flour • ¾ cup raw cacao powder • ½ cup raw coconut palm sugar • 2 teaspoons baking soda • 1 teaspoon salt • ½ cup coconut oil, melted • 1 cup coconut milk, full fat • 3 large eggs, room temperature • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract • 2 tablespoons raw honey

Chocolate Ganache:      1 can (13.5 ounces) full fat coconut milk • 2 tablespoons raw honey • 4 tablespoons raw cacao powder • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Frosting:    6 tablespoons coconut milk, full fat • ¾ cup dark chocolate chips

Cake:

Preheat oven at 350°F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 7-inch springform pan with coconut oil and line the bottom with parchment paper. In a large bowl mix together the almond flour, coconut flour, raw cacao powder, raw coconut palm sugar, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl whisk together the coconut oil, coconut milk, eggs, vanilla and honey.

Using a rubber spatula, gently mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients to form a batter. Do not over mix. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, approximately 45-50 minutes. If you feel you need to cook it longer, cover cake with aluminum foil to prevent burning the top and lower the heat to 325°F. Cook until toothpick comes out clean. Let cake cool completely then cut horizontally in the middle. Spread the chocolate ganache over the bottom half of the cake and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Top with other half of cake, then spread the chocolate frosting over the top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle top with shaved dark chocolate if desired.

Middle Layer Chocolate Ganache:

    In a medium saucepan, bring the coconut milk and honey to a light boil.

    Simmer on low heat for two hours, stirring occasionally. Do not cover the pan. You will know you cooked it long enough when the coconut milk is reduced to half and has a thicker consistency and darker color, similar to sweetened condensed milk. Mix in the raw cacao powder and vanilla extract and stir until all is combined and smooth. Let it cool and refrigerate until cake is ready.

Chocolate Frosting:

    Melt the chocolate chips in a bowl over simmering water (double boiler). Mix coconut milk with melted chocolate until all is combined and smooth. Let cool for 5 minutes before icing the cake.

 

 

Grain-Free Maple Cinnamon Bundt Cake By: Life Made Full

               

4 cups almond flour • 1/2 tsp salt • 1 tsp baking soda • 3 TBSP ground cinnamon • 3 eggs • 3/4 cup full-fat, unsweetened coconut milk • 1 cup pure maple syrup • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

               

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a bundt cake pan with coconut oil (VERY important!) In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, coconut milk, syrup, and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients and pour into greased pan. Bake in oven for 30-40 minutes, until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool for 30 minutes (VERY important!) on a wire rack before turning upside-down onto a serving platter. Let cool another 10-15 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Paleo Vanilla Cupcakes By:  Elana’s Pantry

Cupcake:

¼ cup coconut flour • ⅛ teaspoon celtic sea salt • ⅛ teaspoon baking soda • 3 large eggs • ¼ cup vegan shortening • 2 tablespoons honey • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Frosting:

1 cup dark chocolate chips • ⅓ cup coconut oil • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Cupcake:

    In a food processor, combine coconut flour, salt and baking soda. Pulse in eggs, shortening, honey and vanilla. Line a cupcake pan with 6 paper liners and scoop ¼ cup into each. Bake at 350° for 20-24 minutes. Cool for 1 hour. Frost with Paleo Chocolate Frosting.

Chocolate Frosting:

In a small saucepan over very low heat, melt chocolate and coconut oil. Stir in vanilla extract. Place frosting in refrigerator for 15-30 minutes to thicken. Remove from refrigerator and whip frosting with a hand blender until thick and fluffy.

Monday Morning Mojo-The Story of the Butterfly

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

The Story of the Butterfly

A man found a cocoon of a butterfly.
One day a small opening appeared.
He sat and watched the butterfly for several hours
as it struggled to squeeze its body through the tiny hole.
Then it stopped, as if it couldn’t go further.

So the man decided to help the butterfly.
He took a pair of scissors and
snipped off the remaining bits of cocoon.
The butterfly emerged easily but
it had a swollen body and shriveled wings.

The man continued to watch it,
expecting that any minute the wings would enlarge
and expand enough to support the body,
neither happened!
In fact the butterfly spent the rest of its life
crawling around.
It was never able to fly.

What the man in his kindness
and haste did not understand:
The restricting cocoon and the struggle
required by the butterfly to get through the opening
was a way of forcing the fluid from the body
into the wings so that it would be ready
for flight once that was achieved.

Sometimes struggles are exactly
what we need in our lives.
Going through life with no obstacles would cripple us.
We will not be as strong as we could have been
and we would never fly.

Tasty Tuesday Treats!-Pie

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

Today we wanted to share with you some of our favorite healthy, paleo friendly pie recipes from our friends at Fed & Fit, Elana’s Pantry, and Nom Nom Paleo.

Paleo Chicken Pot Pie By: Fed & Fit

CRUST:

3 cups Almond Meal • 1.5 tsp Kosher Salt • 1 tsp Baking Powder • ½ cup Coconut Oil (room temperature) • 1 Tbl Cool Water

PIE:

2 Chicken Breast Halves Roasted and Cubed (about 1 lb raw) • 2 cups Yellow Onions Chopped • 2 cups Frozen Green Peas • 2 cups Frozen Carrots • ¼ cup Coconut Milk (full fat) • ¾ cup Almond Meal • 4 cups Low Sodium Chicken Stock • 3 Tbl Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) • 1 tsp Black Pepper • 1 Egg (for egg wash)

ROASTED CHICKEN:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Wash chicken breast and pat dry. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Drizzle and rub 1 Tbl EVOO on the chicken breast. Sprinkle with generous amount of kosher salt and cracked black pepper. Bake at 350 F for 35 minutes. Remove from oven when finished and let cool. Cut into about ½” cubes when cool enough to handle.

CRUST:

In a food processor, mix the dry ingredients together (almond meal, salt, and baking powder). Add the coconut oil and slowly pulse until it’s evenly mixed. It should have the consistence of peas. Slowly add the water and pulse until it forms a dough-like texture. Remove from food processor, roll into a ball and wrap in cling wrap. Put the dough into the refrigerator for 30 minutes. [Now is a good time to start on the pie fillings] Dust a pastry board (or cutting board) with almond meal. Place the ball of dough on the dry almond meal and cut into 8 even sections. (Roll into one large piece if you’re making one large pie.) Using your hands first and then a rolling pen for even thickness, press and roll each of the 8 pieces into a circle. Keep dusting the top and bottom of dough with dry almond meal so that it doesn’t stick. Use the ramekin or dish you are baking in to cut the right-size circle in the dough.

PIE:

Heat the EVOO in the bottom of a large pot. Add the yellow onions and cook on medium/high until they’re brown. Slowly add the almond meal and reduce the heat. Slowly add the chicken stock and stir. Add the coconut milk, 1 tsp salt, and black pepper. Add the peas, carrots, and chicken. Spoon an even amount into each of the 8 ramekins (or other oven-friendly bowls). Place the crust on top of the filling. Scramble one egg and paint the crust of each pie generously. Sprinkle with kosher salt and cut 3-4 slits in the top. Bake at 375 for one hour. Let cool, then ENJOY!

Chocolate Pie with Raw Graham Cracker Crust By: Nom Nom Paleo

CRUST

    1 cup (100 g) walnut halves and pieces • ¼ cup (about 4) soft, pitted Medjool dates • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon • Pinch of sea salt

FILLING

  1 cup coconut cream* • ½ cup (about 8) soft, pitted Medjool dates • 3 ounces dark chocolate, melted • ¼ cup melted coconut oil •  2 teaspoons vanilla extract

*For the filling, use the cream at the top of a can of separated full-fat coconut milk. To get it to separate, refrigerate a couple of cans overnight.

 

To make the crust, in a food processor with an “S” blade, purée the walnuts, dates, cinnamon, and salt for about 20 seconds or until very fine. Transfer the crust mixture to a glass pie dish, and press it across the bottom and halfway up the sides. Rinse the food processor. In a small saucepan, heat the coconut cream just slightly. Add the heated coconut cream, dates, chocolate, coconut oil, and vanilla extract to the food processor, and purée for 1 minute or until the filling is dark and completely smooth.  Pour the filling over the crust, and chill to set. When you’re ready to serve the pie, top it with whipped coconut cream. ;)

 

Cinnamon Apple Tart with Pecan Crust By: Elana’s Pantry

CRUST

1½ cups pecans • 1 egg • 1 tablespoon coconut flour • ⅛ teaspoon celtic sea salt

FILLING

4-5 medium Jonagold apples, peeled, cored and sliced ⅛-inch thick • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder • 1 tablespoon honey • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

CRUST

Place pecans in food processor and pulse until the texture of coarse gravel. Pulse in egg, coconut flour and salt until mixture forms a ball. Grease a 9-inch tart pan. Using your hands, press crust onto bottom and up sides of tart pan. Top off crust with your favorite filling. Bake until filling is done (length of time dependent upon filling recipe).

FILLING

In a large bowl, toss apple slices, lemon juice, arrowroot, honey and cinnamon. Fan apples out on top of uncooked crust, forming a circle. Layer more apples over circle and in its center. Cover tart with foil, and bake at 350° for 45 to 70 minutes, or until juices are bubbling. Remove foil and cook uncovered for 5-10 more minutes

Monday Morning Mojo-The Value of Time

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

TO REALIZE...

  • To realize the value of one year:

    Ask a student who has failed a final exam.

 

  • To realize the value of one month:

    Ask a mother who has given birth to a premature baby.

 

  • To realize the value of one week:

    Ask an editor of a weekly newspaper.

 

  • To realize the value of one hour:

    Ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.

 

  • To realize the value of one minute:

    Ask a person who has missed the train, bus or plane.

 

  • To realize the value of one second:

    Ask a person who has survived an accident.

 

  • To realize the value of one millisecond:

    Ask the person who has won a silver medal in the Olympics.

Time waits for no one.

Treasure every moment you have.

You will treasure it even more when you can share it with someone special.

Tasty Tuesday Treats! Valentine's Day!

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

Want to make something special for your someone special? Want to do something different than getting the same old box of chocolate? We’ve got you covered! We gathered some of our favorite sweet treats for the season, and best yet, they’re way healthier for you than a box of chocolate! Special thanks to our friends at The Fit Cookie, The Civilized Caveman, Ditch the Wheat, and Grass Fed Girl.

“Black Forest Brownie Hearts” By The Fit Cookie

1/2 cup dried bing cherries •1/2 cup applesauce (room temperature) • 3 Tablespoons coconut oil • 1 teaspoon vanilla • 1/4 cup coconut flour • 1/4 cup cocoa powder • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda • 1 teaspoon baking powder • 1/4 teaspoon salt • 1/4-1/3 cup milk of choice • 1/3 cup chocolate chips

 

    Pre-heat the oven to 350 ˚ F and spray a heart-shaped tin or silicone mold with spray oil. If you don’t have a heart shaped mold, you can cook these in an 8″ x 8″ pan and use heart-shaped cookie cutters to cut out heart shapes once they have cooled completely.

    Put the dried cherries and the applesauce into a food processor and process until pureed. Add in the coconut oil and vanilla and process again until well blended.

    In a separate bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Add in the pureed fruit and mix together with a hand blender. Slowly add in the milk while blending until incorporated.  Stir in the chocolate chips if using.

     Fill the heart shapes full (there is no need for liners with these). The batter is quite thick, so you will have to press the batter/dough into the shaped tin.

    Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the brownies have set well (in an 8″ x 8″ pan, these would cook for about 30 minutes). Let cool for a bit before removing from the pan. These hold together better and taste the best when they have cooled for several hours (sometimes overnight). It takes a bit for these to set up completely, so they will be wet inside if you dig in too soon!  Enjoy!

 

“Paleo Chocolate Haupia” By: The Civilized Caveman

Chocolate Crust

⅔ cup raw almonds⅔ cup raw pecans • 10 large medjool dates •  6 tablespoons raw cacao powder

Haupia

    ½ cup arrowroot powder • ¾ cup water • 1 can full fat coconut milk •2 tablespoons raw honey • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract • ¼ cup dark chocolate, chopped or chocolate chips

 

Chocolate Crust

Grind the almonds and pecans, one at the time, in a food processor leaving a few small chunks remove pits from dates and process in the food processor until creamy. Mix all crust ingredients until well combined and then evenly spread it on the bottom of an 8×8-inch pan lined with parchment paper.

Haupia

    Combine the arrowroot powder and water in a bowl and mix until all the arrowroot has dissolved.  Add the arrowroot mixture to a saucepan along with the coconut milk and raw honey. Slowly cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly until it thickens. Remove from the stove and stir in the vanilla extract.  Pour mixture over the crust and refrigerate overnight or until the coconut layer is firm. Cut into squares and drizzle with melted dark chocolate or chocolate chips. I like using a Ziploc bag to drizzle the chocolate. Cut a small hole on one end of the bag and fill it with the melted chocolate.

 

“Cinnamon Heart Cookies w/Strawberry Icing” By: Ditch the Wheat

1 cup almond flour • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon • ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice (any pie spice will probably work) • 1/8 tsp salt • 2 tbsp molasses • 2 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil, melted • 1 tbsp vanilla extract

    Preheat the oven to 350 F. Using a mixing machine, mix the dry ingredients together (almond flour, cinnamon, pie spice and salt). Add the wet ingredients (molasses, coconut oil and vanilla). Mix until spice and no clumps. Place the dough in the freezer until cold to the touch, about 10 minutes. Roll the cold dough to about ¼ inch flat between two pieces of wax paper. Use a heart shaped cookie cutter and cut out heart shaped cookies. Place the cookies on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Cookies will be slightly soft to the touch but will harden when cooled.

Strawberry Icing

¼ cup of organic cane sugar or any granulated sugar • 1 strawberry (or you could use raspberries, or blueberries for a purple color, an orange fruit for an orange color etc.)

    Use a coffee grinder to grind the cane sugar to a powder. In a separate dish, puree the strawberry and add the powdered sugar to the strawberry and mix. Use immediately. The icing is a paste. To mix it smoother you can add a fat like coconut oil. Spread a little icing on each cookie. The icing will dry quickly.

 

“Mint Chocolate Gelatin Hearts” By: Grass Fed Girl

3 tbsp grass fed gelatin • 1/4 cup water • 1 can coconut milk (13-15 oz) • 2 Tbsp honey • 1 handful fresh mint leaves • 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate bar

Dissolve the gelatin in the water and stir. Heat up the coconut milk over medium heat until it is warm. Add the gelatin to the coconut milk and stir in honey and mint and mix for 3 or 4 more minutes until everything is dissolved. Strain the coconut milk mixture through a strainer and pour into a bowl with the chocolate chips. Pour the coconut and chocolate chip mixture into a silicone mold and let it sit in the refrigerator for two hours. Unmold and enjoy!

Monday Morning Mojo-Love is in the Air!

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

I just wanted to take a minute to wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day with the “holiday” taking place this week. Here are some simple, but great, gift ideas for your loved ones!

  1. Collect a variety of inexpensive sweet smelling candles such as cinnamon, apple, strawberry, coffee, cookies or cake. You can also include a red handled lighter tied with a small bow that matches a bigger bow around the edge of the basket.
  2. Find a new or used fondue set (thrift stores have them all the time!) Arrange in large basket with fresh berries or a seasonal fruit, angel food cake and chocolate for melting.
  3. Put together the ingredients for a romantic dinner for two...or a whole family. For example, you can include gourmet pasta and a jar of your favorite marinara sauce with some French baguettes.
  4. Give a valentine gift basket that is sure to get used. Purchase several pairs of new underwear or boxers in fancy or sassy styles. Fold and roll each pair and pack into the basket with the rolls standing on end. Slightly poof out each top to look like a flower blossom.
  5. For your spouse or loved one, purchase a small photo album or scrapbook, pretty paper & special stickers to create a memory book of your relationship. Get all the supplies together in the valentine gift basket including scissors, photo safe glue or tape and plenty of pictures of the two of you. At the top of the basket put an invitation to join you for an hour or two of preserving loving memories.
  6. Find a large red bucket and fill it with car washing supplies and fun new items for the car like a romantic CD (once again, check the thrift store - I find some of the best music there), homemade air freshener, bottle of Dawn dish soap, etc. Be sure to include a red or pink sponge cut into a.....heart shape, of course.
  7. For a young girl or woman, choose a variety of sweet or flavored lip glosses to put in a miniature basket.
  8. The last valentine gift basket idea is a low cost way to present a very special gift. Put a couple of snack foods in the basket, but ahead of time rig one of the packages with a special prize! Carefully open one package (Cracker Jacks or a box of Junior Mints would work well) and insert a gift certificate or tickets to an event, then reseal the package to make the surprise complete.

Monday Morning Mojo- It's short because nobody liked poor old February.

by Diane Cardano-Casacio & Her Team

February has always had 28 days, going back to the 8th century BC, when a Roman king by the name of Numa Pompilius established the basic Roman calendar. Before Numa was on the job the calendar covered only ten months, March through December. December, as you may know, roughly translates from Latin as "tenth." July was originally called Quintilis, "fifth," Sextilis was sixth, September was seventh, and so on.

 

To meticulous persons such as ourselves, having the calendar run out in December and not pick up again until March probably seems like a pretty casual approach to timekeeping. However, we must realize that 3,000 years ago, not a helluva lot happened between December and March. The Romans at the time were an agricultural people, and the main purpose of the calendar was to govern the cycle of planting and harvesting.

 

Numa, however, was a real go-getter-type guy, and when he got to be in charge of things, he decided it was going to look pretty stupid if the Romans gave the world a calendar that somehow overlooked one-sixth of the year. So he decided that a year would have 355 days--still a bit off the mark, admittedly, but definitely a step in the right direction. Three hundred fifty five days was the approximate length of 12 lunar cycles, with lots of leap days thrown in to keep the calendar lined up with the seasons. Numa also added two new months, January and February, to the end of the year. Since the Romans thought even numbers were unlucky, he made seven of the months 29 days long, and four months 31 days long.

 

But Numa needed one short, even-numbered month to make the number of days work out to 355. February got elected. It was the last month of the year (January didn't become the first month until centuries later), it was in the middle of winter, and presumably, if there had to be an unlucky month, better to make it a short one.

 

Many years later, Julius Caesar reorganized the calendar yet again, giving it 365 days. Some say he made February 29 days long, 30 in leap year, and that Augustus Caesar later pilfered a day; others say Julius just kept it at 28. None of this changes the underlying truth: February is so short mainly because it was the month nobody liked much.

 

PS: We've Gone Digital with our Newsletter! Check out CardanoNewsletter.com for the latest newsletter, event updates, Quiz Question and MORE!

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Diane Cardano & Associates
CARDANO Realtors
1021 Old York Road, Suite 401
Abington PA 19001
Office: 215-576-8666
Fax: 215-576-8677