May 31, 2012

Mini Frittatas

I had planned to make a breakfast casserole for a baby shower that I was helping with. But I couldn't find some of the ingredients. We are limited with our resources here. So, I had to resort to a plan B. At the time, I wasn't really sure what that was. Then I had remembered I saw a photo floating around on pinterest that had eggs in a muffin tin. I thought I would attempt to make something from that idea. I mixed all of my ingredients together and threw them in a muffin tin. I was a little nervous, not following a recipe and unsure of how the end result would turn out- especially making it the morning of the shower. Luckily, they turned out and tasted divine, especially topped with a dollip of salsa! Is it just me or is everything so much cuter when it is in mini form? Simply perfect for a brunch.

After I made them I thought, this would also be a great breakfast for school days as well. Throw the stuff together the night before, or at least have all of your chopping and shredding done, and then just bake them in the morning! Enjoy!

Mini Frittatas

12 eggs
3/4 cup milk
1 cup pepper jack cheese, shredded
5 slices deli ham, diced
1/2 medium sized green pepper, chopped
green onions, chopped
hand full of fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
crushed red pepper flakes, just a few shakes - depending on how much heat you like.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, beat eggs and milk. Add cheese, ham, green pepper, green onions, cilantro, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes.

Fill muffin tin with egg mixture. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until tops of frittatas are nice and golden brown. Take a knife and slide it around each egg. Carefully remove frittata from pan. Serve hot.

*When I made these, I filled each muffin tin to the very top with the egg mixture. And it made 12 muffin sized frittatas. I am sure you could just fill them 1/2- 3/4 of the way full and get about 20 out of the batch.

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May 28, 2012

Bloggin' Cafe & Malasada Tutorial

 My friend Chris, who is a fabulous chef, hosted a little blogging cafe. Since this was sort of a first for me, I wasn't really sure what to expect. Let me tell you though, it was so much fun! Seriously, what could be better than hanging out, yummy food and blogging?! Chris showed us how to make Malasadas, or otherwise known as Portuguese Donuts. They were to die for! So light and fluffy, topped with a little glisten of sugar. Chris has some pretty incredible recipes on his blog, you can check them out here. And if you want some other fabulous reads, you can also check out the other fellow blogger's amazing blogs: c squared w, Priceless Adventure, and Donuts at Midnight

Now onto these delectable little treats! 

<<Portuguese Doughnuts>> 
Courtesy of Chris McGilvery

1 package of dry active yeast (.25 ounce)
1 teaspoon of sugar
1/4 cup warm water
6 cups of flour
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup honey 
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup water
2 cups sugar
1 - 1 1/2 quarts vegetable oil

Mix yeast, 1 teaspoon of sugar and warm water. Set aside to proof. 

In a large bowl, mix the flour and the salt together. Make a well. 

Whip the eggs until smooth. Pour eggs, yeast, 1/4 cup sugar, honey, melted butter, evaporated milk, and water into well. Whip it until mixture becomes doughy. It may be a little sticky. Cover and let rise until doubled. This usually takes about 45 minutes.

Heat oil to 350 degrees. I would recommend that you heat up pan, add oil and lower the heat so the oil won't be too hot. The donuts will cook too fast and burn if the oil is too hot.

There are several ways to fry this treat. 
  • You can throw in dough by spoonfuls. Just make sure you throw it in carefully.
  • Roll out dough and cut into squares (this tends to be a sticky mess though).
  • Put dough in a pastry bag and squeeze donut hole sized balls into oil.
I think it would be okay to make the donut holes just a little bigger than a regular sized donut hole. 

Finally roll or shake cooked donuts in sugar. Serve hot and warm! You may even want to add cinnamon to the sugar or shake donuts in powdered sugar. Enjoy! 

For those of you who are thinking any sort of homemade doughnut is going to be way too much work, don't check out just yet. I was completely surprised at how easy these were to throw together. Here is a step by step tutorial, thanks to Chris, to convince you that these babies are not difficult at all to make. And really the thing that takes the most time, is just waiting for the dough to rise. I am pretty sure nothing compares to a light, fluffy, homemade donut dusted with sugar!  

Malasada Tutorial

Mix yeast, sugar and warm water. Set aside to proof.

In a large bowl, mix flour and salt together. Make a well.

In another bowl, whip eggs until smooth.

Add yeast to flour mixture.

Also add eggs, sugar, honey, melted butter, milk, and water. 

Mix together.

Whip it, until it becomes doughy.

The dough is really sticky at this point. Cover and let rise until doubled. 

After the dough has doubled in size, you are ready to fry these puppies!

We used the piping bag method. Not having any piping bags available we used a ziplock bag. Just put the dough in a ziplock and cut a good chunck off of the end.

When the oil is hot, you are ready to drop the dough. Just squeeze the dough (just a little bigger than a doughnut hole) into the hot oil. 

Watch them carefully. When they look like they are browning on the bottom, flip them over. 

When the doughnuts are nicely browned, take them out of the oil and let cool on a paper towel. 

It's a good idea to break one of the first ones open to make sure they are completely cooked and not doughy in the middle.

Then place the doughnuts in a rubbermaid container that has sugar in it. Place lid on and shake around until the doughnuts are covered with a nice sugar coating.

These little bites of heaven are seriously amazing! Enjoy!

Thanks so much Chris for hosting this! Everything was so much fun! I can't wait for the next
Un Poquito Cafe con Blogging y Comida! 
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May 26, 2012

Brown Sugar Scrub

I tried out a recipe I came across for a brown sugar scrub. It was so easy to throw together and made my skin feel so nice and soft, even added a little glow! I found the recipe here. I thought it needed a little something more by way of scent though. I made two different batches, one using peppermint extracts and another using vanilla and almond extracts. Both smelled amazing. I can't wait to try this out again experimenting with different scented oils. 

I made this scrub for a Young Women's activity (I teach the young women in my church). I taught the girls how to make their own brown sugar body scrubs. They got to make them for their moms for Mother's Day! The girls loved making them and they were such a hit that a week later some of them were asking me to help them make more! This makes such a great inexpensive gift! Try it, I promise you will love it!

Brown Sugar Scrub

1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
peppermint oil (or use whatever oil you like best)

Combine all ingredients. Place in a cute jar.

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May 23, 2012

No-bake Cheesecake with Mango Passion Fruit Drizzle

One of the best things about living in the Caribbean is the delicious tropical fruits available. The mangos here are so much better than the ones we would get in the states. There are a few different kinds of mangos and there is one in particular that is my favorite. It is a greenish red mango and it has a silky texture inside, it falls right off of the pit and the strings don't get stuck in your teeth. My favorite so far! I had a few mangos and passion fruits that were just laying around waiting for me to make something with them. So I decided to use them to make a fruit drizzle to top off my mom's no bake cheesecake recipe. The lemon in the cheesecake complimented the tropical fruits and the flavors just came together. Typically, I top this cheesecake with blueberries or raspberries, but since berries are scarce here in the Caribbean, I experimented with something more tropical. I used coconut cookies for the base of the crust. Delish. This is one of those desserts that is even better the next day as well. Unfortunately, this didn't last longer than the day after, but I can tell you it is just as good a week after. I love this dessert. And the cheesecake takes me back to my childhood. This was a staple at our house growing up. You would never know it was so easy to make.

Coconut Cookie Crust

3/4 package coconut cookies
1/2 - 1 stick butter, melted
1/4 - 1/2 cup sugar

Crush cookies and place in a bowl. Add in melted butter and sugar. Mix to combine. Press into a round 9" pie dish. Refrigerate while making cheesecake mixture. (I typically put mine in the freezer just to set it a little faster.)

*Note: Mom's cheesecake is made using 1 package graham crackers. Same measurements of everything else.

Mom's Amazing No-Bake Cheesecake

1- 8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat cream cheese with mixer until smooth. (Don't skip this step- If you just add everything together before beating cream cheese alone it will  go lumpy). Add sweetened condensed milk, lemon juice and vanilla. Mix until smooth.

Pour cheesecake into crust. Chill for 3 hours. Serve.

Passion fruit on the left, mangos on the right

 I peeled the mango and cut it up, and then threw in the pit as well. I wanted to get as much juice as possible. With the passion fruit I just scraped out all of the seeds and juice and added it in the pan.

Mango Passion Fruit Drizzle

3 mangos
3 passion fruits
1/4 cup water
1/4-1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Add fruit of mangos and passion fruits to a medium size saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently and mashing fruit with the back of spoon. Add water and sugar. Boil about 7 minutes. Add vanilla.

Holding the strainer over a bowl, strain the fruit, reserving the juice. It helps to press the fruit with the back of spoon to make sure you get as much juice as possible. Taste and add more sugar, water, vanilla, etc... to taste.

Pour juice back into pan and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cool. Drizzle over cheesecake.

We actually made sushi the same night we made this cheesecake. And used some of the Mango Passion Fruit drizzle to make a dipping sauce for the sushi! It was so good! When it comes to mangos and passion fruit the options are endless! And if you don't have mangos and passion fruit available you can always substitute another fruit that is in season. Happy baking!
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May 21, 2012

BBQ Chicken Salad with Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing

I love this salad! I love that it is a light, easy, quick to throw together, plate licking good meal. The dressing is so incredible, I seriously could drink it. The hint of bbq tops it off to pefection. For Mother's Day, my sweet husband  made me this for dinner. I just love that he knows me so well. I had been telling him lately, that I had been craving a really good salad. He must have noted that and made the perfect dinner for me! It was delicious and what was even better was that I didn't have to cook! 

Mels Kitchen Cafe is one of my amazing go to websites when I need another idea for dinner. I have tried so many of her recipes and they have all been wonderful! I made this salad for a bridal shower and everybody raved about it! It really is amazing. 

With summer coming up, this would be a perfect summer meal to make. You can just throw your chicken in the crockpot in the morning and everything else comes together really fast. Super easy delicious meal. 

BBQ Chicken Salad
Courtesy of Mels Kitchen Cafe

3 cups cooked, shredded chicken
2 cups BBQ sauce
½ head iceberg lettuce
cored and chopped
2 romaine hearts chopped
1/2 red onion diced
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained
4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, cubed small or shredded
4 ounces Monterey jack cheese, cubed small or shredded

Creamy Cilantro Lime Dressing

1 cup mayonnaise, light or regular
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 to 1/2 cup BBQ sauce

For the salad, combine the cooked chicken and BBQ sauce in a medium bowl. Refrigerate until ready to use. In a large bowl, toss together the iceberg lettuce, romaine lettuce, red onion, cilantro, corn, black beans and cheese. Toss the mixed salad with about 1/4 to 1/2 cup of the dressing, if desired. Otherwise, you can serve the dressing on the side. Place salad on plates and top with the prepared BBQ chicken and additional dressing.

For the dressing, combine all the ingredients together and whisk (or shake, if using a jar) vigorously to combine. You could also run this through a blender to make it even more smooth. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
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May 17, 2012

Marinated Tuna with Garic Lime Sauce

This is one of our family's favorite dishes, hands down. I came up with it during my first attempt at cooking fish. Yes, I had never cooked fish during the first 7 years of our marriage. I really didn't love fish and I had no idea how to cook it. Shortly after moving to Dominica, I got brave and bought some fresh yellowfin tuna from the beach (it doesn't get fresher than that).  I decided to attempt to make something with it and the flavors came together beautifully. I changed up a few recipes I use to make our favorite lime chicken. Let me tell you, it was divine. There is just something about that garlic lime cream sauce that adds a bit of perfection to the fish. I was not a huge fan of fish before coming to Dominica. But this recipe changed my ways! Yes, we are all huge fish eaters here and our kids love this dish. For those of you who aren't fish fans, or for those of you who are scared to cook fish, make this recipe. It is actually really easy. And doesn't take too long to throw together. I usually make my sauce while the fish is cooking. I promise you will love it! 

Garlic Lime Ginger Tuna Marinade
Adapted from Jen's Lime Chicken recipe

1/4 cup Sprite or 7-up
1/2- 3/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
1-2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
black pepper

Marinate 1-2 hours. Grill

Garlic Lime Cream Sauce
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse

1/2 cup Sprite or 7-up
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
2 tablespoons shallots, minced (I have used green onions when I couldn't find shallots)
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 turns freshly ground black pepper (if you don't have a pepper grinder just add a few shakes)
1/4 cup heavy cream
8 tablespoons butter (1 stick), cut up, at room temperature
Esscence Seasoning, to taste (I found this at Wal-Mart, but if you don't have this, see bottom for recipe)

Combine the soda, lime juice, shallots, garlic, cilantro, salt, pepper and Esscence seasoning in saute pan over high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce by half. (Or just boil for about 7 minutes).  Stir in the cream and simmer for 3 minutes. Whisk in the butter and remove from the heat. Continue whisking until all of the butter is incorporated. Garnish with chopped green onion. Serve over grilled Garlic Lime Ginger Tuna.

*Note: Evaporated milk can be substituted for the heavy cream. I have made it with both and it does not affect the taste or texture.

Emeril's Esscence Seasoning

2 1/2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 tablspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablspoon dried leaf oregano
1 tablespoon dried thyme

Combine all ingredients and store in an airtight jar or container.
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Easter Traditions: Bunny Tail in Door

I got this cute idea from my friend Kristen! And I couldn't wait to do it this year! 

Oops... Easter Bunny's tail got stuck in the door on his way out! Oh I just love this! 

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Easter Traditions: Hunting for Baskets

The great thing about getting married is that you are able to take traditions that you each grew up with and combine them. This one particular tradition came from Broc's family. I loved it and was excited to keep this tradition going. Broc and I even did this before we started having kids. So much fun! On Easter morning, you not only have to hunt for eggs, but you have to try to find your own basket as well! 

Our kiddos have loved it! And squeal with joy when they find their basket! That funny bunny hides your basket along with your colored egg!

And sometimes that old Bunny hides it inside and sometimes he hides it outside! Anything is fair game! 

He even hides Mom and Dad's baskets! I love it. And it is so much fun to still be surprised, even at 29! 

Happy Easter!

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