Coconut Mango Chia Seed Pudding

Coconut Mango Chia Seed Pudding 1

So, who isn’t thinking about losing weight and looking hot in a two-piece right now?!  I for sure am thinking about it more and more as the weather warms up and summer gets closer.  And since I don’t have quite as much time to exercise right now (who knew babies could be so demanding?!) I am watching my diet like a hawk and definitely limiting my sugar intake.  Which led me to this recipe for Coconut Mango Chia Seed Pudding.  Did you know you could make pudding with chia seeds??  I love it!  Once this mixture sets overnight, the chia seeds plump up and thicken and you’ve got cold, creamy, good-for-you pudding!  I made mine with lite coconut milk but you could use almond milk if you’d like and even use a different fruit besides mango.  Very versatile!  And DELICIOUS.  Great guilt-free treat!

Enjoy!

Coconut Mango Chia Seed Pudding 2

Recipe Source:  Skinny Taste

Coconut Mango Chia Seed Pudding
 
Ingredients
  • 2 c. Lite Coconut Milk
  • ¼ c. Chia Seeds
  • ¼ c. Unsweetened, Shredded Coconut
  • 1T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 T. Agave (or honey/sweetener of choice)
  • 1 Ripe Mango, chopped
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Cover and let sit in refrigerator for 5-6 hours or overnight. Serve chilled.
Notes
Serves 2.

 

 

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Strawberry Lemonade Ooey Gooey Bars

Yes, I know.  Another, ooey gooey bar recipe, Sarah??  For real?!  Yes, FOR. REAL.  I can’t help it!  Trust me, this recipe started off as far away from ooey gooey and baked as you can get but somehow evolved to what you now see!  I don’t know what happened, honestly.  I intended to make a super fruity, summery, refreshing drink for all of you and somehow ended up with my oven on and my KitchenAid mixer going full throttle.  Ugh!  I seriously racked my brain for a looooong time trying to think of a unique, colorful and delicious drink and all I repeatedly kept going back to strawberry lemonade, specifically a Sonic Lemonberry Slush.  Obviously I love the cherry limeades from Sonic but the Lemonberry Slush is a pretty close second.  And all I wanted to do was turn it into…cake.  Ooey gooey butter cake.

Yes, I have a problem (as documented here, here and here).  Sigh.

So, I resigned myself to baking and did I have any regrets?  Heck no!  These ooey gooey bars turned out awesome!  What I really like about these is you could do the lemon cake base and then get creative with the gooey top part.  It calls for strawberry pie filling but you really could do cherry, blackberry or even blueberry–they’d all be delicious!  Drinks can wait people.  Trust me.

Enjoy!

Strawberry Lemonade Ooey Gooey Bars
 
Ingredients
Base
  • 1, 18.25 oz. Lemon Cake Mix
  • 1 Large Lemon, juiced and zested
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter, melted
  • ½ t. Pure Vanilla Extract
Filling
  • 1, 8 oz. Pkg Cream Cheese, softened
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 4 c. Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1, 21 oz. Can Strawberry Pie Filling
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease a 9x13 pan.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine cake mix, egg, butter, lemon juice and lemon zest and mix well. Press evenly into the bottom of the prepared pan and set aside.
  3. Still using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add eggs and vanilla. Add powdered sugar and beat well. With mixer on low, slowly pour in butter. Beat in strawberry pie filling. Pour onto the cake mixture and spread evenly. Bake for 55 minutes and let cool completely on a wire rack.
Notes
Makes 15-18 bars.

 

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Gluten-Free Oat and Almond Protein Pancakes

It’s the middle of summer.  It’s freaking hot.  Like hotter than it has ever been in my 31 years of life.  Sweating, sticky and smelly are pretty accurate descriptive words of just about everyone around me, including MYSELF.  Who knew it was possible to gross yourself out SO much?!?  But it totally is.

Naturally, people are wearing less clothes.  And thinking about their figure a little more.  Ok, not all people are thinking about their figure but I know I am!  Can’t you tell by all the low-calorie, fat-free, sugarless, uber-healthy recipes that I post?!  Oh.  Maybe not.   Ok, usually my recipes are sinful and totally NOT healthy but I like to think of them as treats and hope that other people think of them the same way (am I delusional or what?!).    However, I have posted a few nutritious cookie, cake and brownie recipes and hope to keep that list growing.  And these pancakes most definitely qualify as good-for-you food!   We are totally addicted to these things in our house.  I have made them once a week, every week for probably the last month or two.  They are an absolutely fabulous gluten-free option and are perfect for breakfast or a snack.  I have even thrown some cocoa powder in them for a chocolate version that was quite delicious!

Of course you could always throw in some chocolate chips but I like the cocoa powder because it gives it that chocolate factor without all the added fat and sugar.  Feel free to use this recipe as a base and and throw in things like nuts, dried fruit (unsweetened is best) or whatever you happen to be craving at the time!  It is so, so good.

Enjoy!

See original recipe here.

Gluten-Free Oat and Almond Protein Pancakes
 
Ingredients
Dry Ingredients
  • 3 c. Gluten-Free Oat Flour (I just process thick cut oats in my processor until I get three cups of oat flour)
  • ½ t. Aluminum-Free Baking Soda
  • 1 t. Aluminum-Free Baking Powder
  • 1 t. Ground Cinnamon (feel free to add more if you really like cinnamon...I probably do more like 1¼ t.)
  • ½ t. Fine Ground Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
Wet Ingredients
  • 3 c. Water
  • 1 c. Creamy, Unsalted, Raw Almond Butter
  • ¼ c. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 4 t. Fresh Lemon Juice
  • ½ c. Light Amber Agave (or honey, sucanat, etc)
Add-Ins
  • 6 T. Chia Seeds
  • ¾ c. Thick-Rolled Oats
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients. In a blender, mix the wet ingredients until smooth and it has a milk consistency. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until thoroughly combined. Fold in add-ins. The chia seeds will make the mixture VERY thick as it sits (almost the texture of a drop cookie) so if you'd like it thinner, don't add as many or just thin it out 1 tablespoon at a time until you reach the consistency you want. Warm a griddle to medium (I do 325 degrees) and coat with a bit of coconut oil. Scoop batter with a large spoon onto your griddle. Cook for four minutes on each side, until the sides and tops start to look dry. Top with maple agave and fresh blueberries (my personal favorite way to eat them!) and enjoy!
Notes
Makes 20-22 medium sized pancakes.

 

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Key Lime Pie

I cannot, CANNOT let summer go by without making a key lime pie.   It is the quintessential summer dessert, in my opinion.  Tart, sweet and creamy with a crumbly graham cracker crust…just divine.  The best slice I’ve ever had is at a place called the Donut Hole in Destin, FL (who also happen to have AMAZING doughnuts…duh) where we’d vacation every summer when I was a kid.  The anticipation of the one slice of pie was unbelievable and I would savor every last bite knowing I wouldn’t get it again for another 364 days.  But now that I’m all grown up I can make my own, wherever and whenever I want!  Ah, perks of being an adult.

Now I know many people are big advocates of juicing a bunch of those cute little key limes to get the perfect key lime flavor for their pie, but I happen to really like Nellie and Joe’s Key West Lime Juice.  I love the flavor it gives my pies and yes, I’ve done it both ways and honestly can’t tell a difference.  Maybe I’m just not enough of a snob but hey, it works and this pie gets rave reviews every time I make it.  Oh and did I mention it’s a breeze to whip up?  Because it totally is!  Enjoy!

4.5 from 4 reviews
Key Lime Pie
 
Ingredients
Key Lime Pie
  • 2 c. Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • 1 stick Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 4 Egg Yolks, beaten
  • 2, 14 oz. Cans Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 c. Key Lime Juice
  • Juice and Zest of one Large Lime
  • ½ t. Pure Vanilla Extract
Whipped Cream
  • 1 c. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • ¼ c. Powdered Sugar
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
Instructions
For the Key Lime Pie
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9-inch springform pan.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together melted butter and graham cracker crumbs. Press into the bottom and halfway up the sides of the pan.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together the egg yolks, sweetened condensed milk, key lime juice, lime juice and zest, and vanilla. Pour into the graham cracker crust and bake for 30 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack and then in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours. Garnish with homemade whipped cream.
For the Whipped Cream
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whip the heavy whipping cream until thick and stiff. Beat in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Pipe onto key lime pie.
Notes
Serves 8-10.

 

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Dark Cherry Fruit Leather Roll-Ups

As stated in previous posts, I am loving all the fruit this summer.  I can’t say it enough.  I don’t know if I just forgot how good berries and cherries and melons were or if it’s the fact that we are consciously trying to eat more fresh fruit, but everything is just sooooo good this year.  And as usual when the cherries show up in the store, I find myself standing in front of them, debating wether or not to spend the money and get some.  Like, every. time.  I will seriously stand, debate, put some in my cart, put them back, stand there some more, see if I can cut something else from my grocery list then resign myself to the fact that they are a little too pricey and slowly walk away.  How sad is that?!?  So when I found some gorgeous cherries at Braum’s (of all places!) on sale for a ridiculous price, I snatched them up.

Of course I initially wanted to eat all of them right away.  But then I saw this recipe for fruit leather from Baked by Rachel and that was it–I KNEW what I was doing with those cherries.  I was nervous since I’ve wanted to make fruit leather, gummies, etc before but have always been scared of leaving my oven on for 15 hours and not having it turn out and some people said it worked, some said it didn’t so I just never tried but this time I was going for it!  Of course, I STILL put the leather in my oven a little too late in the evening for the five hours baking required and ended up waiting until 12:30 at night to pull it out of the oven.  Yes, I’m 31 and that’s late for me.  Anyway…

I pulled it out and knew immediately it wasn’t coming off the parchment paper.  Ok, not to panic.  Haha, yeah right, I totally panicked.  And then I went to bed.  That’s right, I went to bed and FORGOT about the fruit leather sitting on top of my stove.  And you know what?  It worked!  Apparently setting the pans out in the open air overnight for about eight hours was the right thing to do because the next day I was able to slice and VERY GENTLY peel them off the parchment paper!  Sweet!  And wow, are these things amazing!!!  Jeremy loves them, I love them and my niece and nephew love them (and the kid test is the true test if you ask me).  I totally plan on making them again but trying a different fruit and subbing sucanat for the sugar so they are a little more healthy.

Have fun!

Dark Cherry Fruit Leather Roll-Ups
 
Ingredients
  • 5 c. Dark Bing Cherries, pitted
  • ¼ c. plus 1 T. Water
  • ⅓ c. plus 2 T. Sugar in the Raw (or granulated sugar which is what the original recipe calls for)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large saucepan, combine cherries and water and bring to a boil over high heat, cooking and stirring until all the cherries are soft and have broken down a bit. It will take about 8-10 minutes.
  3. Transfer to a blender and blend until completely smooth (mine had the tiniest pieces of cherry left in it and I actually loved it). Return to saucepan, add sugar and cook over medium-low heat until thickened, about 10 minutes.
  4. Divide mixture evenly between the two baking sheets. Use an offset spatula or the back of a large wooden spoon to spread the mixture as evenly and thin as possible without the white of the parchment paper coming though. Spots that are not thin enough, may not cook/dry completely (I had one small spot like that but it wasn't a big deal).
  5. Bake in the oven, rotating pans every hour for 5 hours or until just slightly tacky. Remove from oven and let air dry on the baking sheets for at least 8 hours.
  6. With the parchment paper, lift and move the fruit leather sheets onto a cutting board. Using a pizza slicer (or extremely sharp knife), cut the sheets into 6 strips each (for a total of 12 strips). Starting at the edge of one sheet, gently peel the leather away from the parchment and roll up. Wrap a piece of parchment around each roll-up and secure with string or tape. Store in an air-tight container.
Notes
Makes 12 fruit leather roll-ups.

 

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Blackberry-Peach Cobbler with Streusel Topping

I can’t seem to get enough of the amazing fresh fruit from our farmer’s market this summer.  I find myself buying more than I can possibly eat before it goes bad, but I try!  Peaches, blackberries, raspberries, cherries, watermelon…there’s just so much summertime goodness right now.  And I couldn’t let the whole summer go by without making a cobbler!  This recipe was super easy to throw together.  I had it in the oven in 30 minutes and it only took another 30 to bake up.

I did make a couple of changes.  I wanted some oats in my streusel so I cut back on the amount of pecans and also used less blackberries because the ones that I got were so amazingly sweet, I couldn’t bare to use them all in the cobbler.  They were way to good just eaten fresh.  But I still liked having a few scattered throughout the cobbler.  It was perfect, in my opinion and totally hit the spot, warm and gooey out of the oven with a scoop of cold vanilla ice cream.

Enjoy!

Blackberry-Peach Cobbler with Streusel Topping
 
Ingredients
Streusel
  • ¾ c. Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • ½ c. Unsalted Butter, melted
  • ⅛ t. Salt
  • 1½ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ c. Pecans, toasted
  • ½ c. Thick-Rolled Oats
Filling
  • 5 c. Fresh Peaches, sliced (about 5 large peaches)
  • ½ c. Granulated Sugar
  • 3 T. All-Purpose Flour
  • ¼ t. Nutmeg
  • 1 c. Fresh Blackberries
Instructions
  1. Lightly grease a 9x9 pan. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
For the Streusel
  1. Stir together the brown sugar, butter and salt in a medium bowl. Add flour, pecans and oats until blended. Set aside.
For Filling
  1. In a large saucepan, stir together peaches, flour, sugar and nutmeg over medium heat. Stirring occasionally, leave over medium heat until juices have thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and gently stir in blackberries. spoon mixture into pan. Crumble streusel mixture over hot peach mixture.
  2. Bake for 30 minutes, until bubbly and golden brown.
Notes
Serves 12

 

 

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Baking with Zucchini

Hi friends!  To follow up my majorly delicious (and healthy!) zucchini bread recipe, I thought I’d share even MORE recipes for baking with zucchini!  Just in case your garden overfloweth like so many people I know.  If you see more than you can bake at the moment, not a problem!  Just freeze your grated zucchini and thaw it out at a later time.  And I’ve included a mix of healthy and not-so-healthy recipes so there are options for everyone!

Chocolate-Cinnamon Swirled Zucchini Bread

Chocolate-Cinnamon Swirled Zucchini Bread by Bittersweet Blog

Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache

Chocolate Zucchini Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache by the Repressed Pastry Chef

Vegan, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Zucchini Muffins

Vegan, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Zucchini Muffins by Florida Coastal Cooking

Spiced Zucchini Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

Spiced Zucchini Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting by My Baking Addiction

Zucchini Cookie Sandwiches

Zucchini Cookie Sandwiches by The Hall Family Blog

Zucchini Pineapple Cupcakes with Orange Sour Cream Frosting

Zucchini Pineapple Cupcakes with Orange Sour Cream Frosting by Brown Eyed Baker

Whole Wheat Zucchini Nut Muffins

Whole Wheat Zucchini Nut Muffins by Eating Clean Recipes

Zucchini Cookies with Chocolate Chips and Dried Cranberries

Zucchini Cookies with Chocolate Chips and Dried Cranberries by Two Peas and Their Pod

 

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No-Bake Peach Mimosa Cheesecake Bars

I am so, so, SO excited to share this recipe with you guys.  I was trying really hard to come up with a peach recipe that wasn’t a pie or crisp and man, was I having some serious inspiration issues on this one.  I wanted something cheesecake-y but NOT baked…the less oven time in the summer, the better, you know what I mean?  So I finally had an idea for something fresh and light and just overall yummy.  I can honestly say that these peach cheesecake bars are one of my favorite things I have ever made, if not THE favorite thing.  Yeah.  Good.  Really, really, really, good.

The recipe started with this brilliant idea I had for a boozy peach sauce and then it evolved from there to include a buttery, crumbly (but not too crumbly!) shortbread crust and thick, creamy no-bake cheesecake filling.  I have to say I could have stopped with the peach sauce…I literally was licking the spoon on this one.  It has the perfect combination of warm spices, peach and citrus.  Divine.  Add in the no-bake cheesecake factor and this is pretty much the perfect summer dessert.

I can tell I will be making LOTS of trips to my farmer’s market this summer. 🙂

No-Bake Peach Mimosa Cheesecake Bars
 
Ingredients
Champagne Soaked Peach Sauce
Shortbread Crust
  • 2¼ c. All-Purpose Flour
  • ⅓ c., plus 2 T. Granulated Sugar
  • ½ t. Salt
  • 1½ Sticks Unsalted Butter, cold and cut into small chunks
  • 2 t. Pure Vanilla
  • 2 Large Eggs, lightly beaten
  • ½ c. Chopped, Toasted Pecans
Cheesecake Filling
  • 1, 8 oz. Pkg. Cream Cheese, softened
  • 7 oz. Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 4 oz. Whipped Topping (i.e. Cool Whip)
Instructions
For the Peach Sauce
  1. Make recipe as instructed previously for Champagne Soaked Peach Sauce (recipe was posted on May 30th), letting the peaches drain on a wire rack onto a cookie sheet. Make the sauce as instructed.
For the Shortbread Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 pan with foil, letting the foil hang over the edges to use as "handles". Grease the foil.
  2. Whisk together the flour, sugar and salt. Work in the butter with a fork or your hands (I prefer to use my hands) until it resembles fine crumbs. Stir in the eggs and vanilla until all ingredients are mixed together and then fold in the pecans.
  3. Gently press the mixture evenly unto the bottom of the foil-lined pan. Bake for 20 minutes and let cool completely. In the meantime, make the cheesecake filling.
For the Cheesecake Filling
  1. In an electric mixer beat the cream cheese until smooth. Beat in the sweetened condensed milk and vanilla until thoroughly combined. Fold in the whipped topping.
To Assemble
  1. Using the foil "handles", left the completely cool crust from the pan and gently place the crust on a large platter/plate. Spread the cheesecake filling evenly over the crust. Place the crust and filling in the fridge or freezer (I used my freezer) for about 10-15 minutes in order to allow the cheesecake filling to firm up slightly.
  2. Remove from the fridge or freezer and top the dessert with the drained peach slices (as seen in the pictures) and cut into squares. Drizzle each square with peach sauce.
Notes
Makes 12-15 squares.

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Ice Cream Goodies

The days have been getting noticeably warmer lately…as in it feels like July and it’s only May kind of warmer.  And just about every day around 2:30 in the afternoon I start craving ice cream.  Ugh.  I then have to play referee between Good, Healthy, Angelic Sarah and Dessert Loving, Devil Sarah (umm, yeah that’s what it feels like!).  Thankfully, most days I am able to rationalize myself out of NOT eating Andy’s Frozen Custard for dinner.  And can I just say that is quite the feat when they are less than half a mile from your house?!  Don’t think I haven’t thought “hey, I’ll just walk there and that totally justifies eating it!”  Because I have.  Oh, I have.

So ice cream remains a treat, like it should.  And because I’ve got ice cream on the brain, I looked up some fun ice cream recipes online and wanted to share with you all.  Tell me these don’t get you drooling?!?

First, Key Lime Pie Ice Cream from yours truly.  I loooooove this stuff.  It totally transports me to Florida and white sandy beaches.  Ahhhhhh.

This recipe is from kevinandamanda.com and it’s for Homemade Ice Cream…WITHOUT an ice cream maker.  How brilliant is this??  Love how they do four different variations with the same ice cream base.

Nutella Peanut Butter Chip Ice Cream by Kevin and Amanda

Next up are these Confetti Ice Cream Pops from Country Living.  I love that you don’t have to have a special ice cream popsicle mold…just use small paper cups!  Brilliant.

Confetti Ice Cream Pops by Country Living

While not quite ice cream per se, an ice box cake is a frozen treat that I have been wanting to try FOREVER.  And this recipe for a No-Bake Strawberry Icebox Cake has inspired me to finally do it!  It’s just so pretty.

No-Bake Strawberry Ice Box Cake by theKitchn

Chocolate Covered Brownie Ice Cream Sandwich.  Want.  Now.

Chocolate Covered Brownie Ice Cream Sandwich by Good Life Eats

Mint and chocolate are one of my weaknesses which makes this Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake oh so very tempting to me.  I think if I try it, I’ll use a boxed Devil’s Food Cake mix, just to save some precious time.

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream Cake by Southern Living

And last, but certainly not least, Almond Milk Ice Cream.  Jeremy and I have cut dairy from our everyday diet and I have been dying to try a recipe for almond milk ice cream.  This one looks good and I think I’ll try making it in my ice cream machine after mixing all the ingredients together and letting them chill.  I’ll definitely post my results on here!

Almond Milk Ice Cream by The Science of Eating

 

 

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Honey Almond Date Balls

Memorial Day weekend is coming, bringing with it lots and lots and LOTS of food.  And I don’t know what it’s like where you’re at, but here it’s in the 90s already!  And you know what that means…pools.  And lakes.  And…bikinis.  Yes, it’s already swimsuit season!  Yikes!  Are you ready?!?  It kinda snuck up on me, I gotta admit, but I am trying to incorporate more and more natural sweets (as in honey, fruits, etc) into our diet so we don’t look like the michelin man when we bare it all at the first water-type event this year.  Of course, can’t do anything about the whiteness (trying to avoid that pesky skin caner) but we CAN do something about the shape of our bodies and our overall health!

(Sorry, little peptalk for myself there.  Ahem.  Ok, back to the recipe…)

If you are watching what goes in your mouth this weekend (like me and my husband) and are kinda scared about the next 72 hours of festivities and merriment, may I suggest these Honey Almond Date Balls as a sweet and healthy alternative?  You might want to double or triple the batch because once people taste them, they will want more.  Seriously.  Jeremy doesn’t even like coconut and he LOVES these things.  I left the recipe alone for the most part except instead of rolling the balls in more almonds, I rolled them in unsweetened coconut.

We love ’em.

We’ve made a double batch for this weekend.

We’re ready to battle the crazy food war.

BRING IT.

Original recipe by David Lieberman

Honey Almond Date Balls
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. Raw Almonds (do 2 cups if you plan on rolling the balls in almonds)
  • 2 c. Pitted Dates, preferably Medjool
  • ¼ c. Raw Honey
  • ⅓ c. Dried, Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grind almonds in a food processor until finely chopped. Transfer to a baking sheet and toast in oven for 5 to 7 minutes, until fragrant and a shade darker.
  3. Roughly chop dates and add to food processor. Pulse until finely chopped and dates form a ball. Remove from processor to a bowl. And the almonds and honey to the dates. Mix together until evenly incorporated.
  4. Using a damp washcloth to dampen your hands periodically, for the mixture into 1" balls and roll in the coconut.
  5. Store in an air-tight container at room temperature for a few days or transfer to the fridge and they will keep for a couple of weeks.
Notes
Makes 25 balls.

 

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Sparkling Basil Lemonade

This past Friday night we had our once-a-month Gourmet Cooking Club that my friend, Shawna, hosts at her house.  It was a pizza themed event this time (yum!) and while everything was delicious, my favorite thing was actually a drink that Shawna made.  When we walked into her kitchen there was a beautiful glass punch bowl with what looked like lemonade but with something additional floating on top…basil leaves and sliced jalapenos!  Yes, somewhat uncommon for a sweet punch but trust me on this, it is AMAZING.  The lemonade is sweet and tart and bubbly and the basil is the perfect, refreshing addition.  And then there is just the slightest kick and spice from the jalapeno…it’s barely there but definitely noticeable and honestly, delicious!!

Put this one on your list for your Memorial Day party–I guarantee it will end up in your regular drink rotation for the summer!

Recipe by Better Homes and Gardens

Sparkling Basil Lemonade
 
Ingredients
  • 4 c. Water
  • 3 c. Sugar
  • 2 c. Fresh Basil Leaves (about 1-1/2 ounces)
  • 2, 1-liter Bottles Club Soda, chilled
  • 2 c. Lemon Juice (fresh squeezed is best)
  • Ice cubes
  • 1 Fresh Jalapeno Chile Pepper, sliced*
  • Fresh basil leaves
Instructions
  1. For basil syrup, in a large saucepan combine water, sugar, and basil. Bring to boiling over medium-high heat. Reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Strain syrup and discard leaves. Cover and chill syrup for 2 to 24 hours.
  2. For lemonade, in a very large punch bowl combine chilled syrup, club soda, and lemon juice. Serve over ice and garnish with jalapeno slices and fresh basil leaves.
Notes
Makes 16, 8 oz. Servings *Tip:Because chile peppers contain volatile oils that can burn skin and eyes, avoid direct contact with them as much as possible. When working with chile peppers, wear plastic or rubber gloves. If bare hands touch the peppers, wash hands and nails well with soap and warm water.

 

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Simple Strawberry Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting

This recipe was inspired my two things:  1.  The abundance of strawberries AND strawberry recipes right now and 2. my brand spankin’ new cupcake carrier!  That’s right, I FINALLY am the proud owner of a collapsible cupcake carrier (yes, I had to improvise for quite awhile to transport them!) all thanks to my boss.  A couple of weeks ago it was Administrative Assistant’s Day and my boss was out of town so obviously I knew I wouldn’t get anything and it wasn’t a big deal to me.  But he got back the Friday of that week and when I came back from lunch, this beauty was sitting on my desk.  Ain’t she purty?  And can I just say this thing ROCKS??  It’s both a cake and a cupcake carrier.  I was a little skeptical it would work, but it totally does and I highly recommend getting one if you don’t have one yet!

As for the recipe, do you know how hard it is to find a strawberry cake recipe that doesn’t call for strawberry Jello and a white cake mix?  It’s dang near impossible!  But a couple of years ago and did manage to find one and for the life of me I can’t remember the website I got the recipe from but all I know is it’s titled Katie’s Strawberry Cake, so whoever Katie is, thank you!!  I was so happy when I found the recipe that I made it three times within two weeks…yes, it’s that good.

The method of this cake is a little different because you beat the butter into the dry ingredients and then add the liquid but have no doubt, it totally works.  I absolutely loved these cupcakes…there were small pieces of fresh strawberry in every other bite and the chocolate cream cheese frosting was to-die-for.  The only thing I’d do different is maybe just leave the chocolate out of the frosting next time and do a plain, vanilla cream cheese frosting, as the strawberry cake is such a delicate flavor it almost overpowers it.  But it’s still delicious.

If you are looking for a true “from scratch” strawberry cake, look no further!  This one definitely fits the bill.

Simple Strawberry Cupcakes with Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
 
Ingredients
Strawberry Cupcakes
  • 1 c. Strawberry Puree, room temperature (see below for recipe)
  • ¼ c. Whole Milk, room temperature
  • 6 Large Egg Whites, room temperature
  • 1 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2¼ c. Cake Flour
  • 1¾ c. Granulated Sugar
  • 4 t. Baking Powder
  • 1 t. Salt
  • 12 T. (1½ sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened and cut into 1" chunks
Strawberry Puree
  • 2 c. Sliced Strawberries
  • 2 T. Granulated Sugar
Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter, softened
  • 1, 8 oz. Cream Cheese, cold
  • ¼ c. Crisco
  • ¼ t. Salt
  • 3 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 5 c. Powdered Sugar
  • 4 oz. Unsweetened Chocolate, melted
Instructions
For the Strawberry Puree
  1. Place strawberries and sugar in food processor or blender and puree.
For the Strawberry Cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tins with 24 cupcake liners.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the strawberry puree, milk, egg, vanilla and whisk well. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and whisk thoroughly. Beat the butter into the dry ingredients on low speed and mix until combined and resembling moist crumbs.
  3. Add liquids to the butter/flour mixture and beat a medium speed for about one minutes or until evenly combined. Stop mixer, scrape down sides of bowl and beat for 30 more seconds. Place three tablespoons of batter into each muffin tin.
  4. Bake cupcakes for 18-20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cupcakes cool for a few minutes and then remove from pans and let cool completely.
For the Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. Cream the butter, shortening, cream cheese, salt and extracts on medium speed until combined. Beat in the powdered sugar and then the melted chocolate and beat until combined (do NOT overbeat or the cream cheese will break down). Frost cupcakes with chocolate cream cheese frosting.
Notes
Makes 24 cupcakes.

 

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Key Lime Pie Ice Cream

I am pretty much LOVING all things key lime right now so I thought I’d “squeeze” (Get it?! Squeeze? Limes?? Umm, never mind.) in one more summertime recipe before the temps start falling and pumpkins and apples become the baking ingredients of choice.

A couple of months ago I saw a recipe from My Baking Addiction for Key Lime Pie Ice Cream and I knew there was no way I could let the summer pass by without making it.  And I am so glad I didn’t!  This ice cream is awesome and so simple…you basically whisk all the ingredients together in a large bowl, put the mixture in your ice cream maker and let it do it’s thing and then transfer to your freezer to harden up.  That’s it!

I only changed a couple of things about this recipe.  For starters, I wanted a REAL graham cracker crust in my ice cream and let me tell you it is worth the little bit of extra effort to make it.  I also thought the mixture was a little too sweet so I doubled the key lime juice to balance out the sweet and tart–perfect!  If I do say so myself.

Enjoy this recipe!  And enjoy what’s left of summer!

Key Lime Pie Ice Cream
Author: 
Category: Dessert
 
Ingredients
  • 8 T. Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 2 c. Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • Dash Salt
  • 1½ c. Whole Milk
  • 1 c. Fresh or Bottled Key Lime Juice (such as Nellie and Joe's)
  • ½ c. Heavy Whipping Cream
  • Dash Salt
  • 1 (14 oz.) Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
Instructions
  1. For Graham Cracker Crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9x9 pan with cooking spray.
  2. Stir together graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and salt. Press into the bottom of the pan and bake for 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
  3. For Ice Cream: In a large bowl, whisk together whole milk, lime juice, heavy cream, salt and sweetened condensed milk. Pour into your ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. Meanwhile, crumble your crust into small pieces and place in a bowl. Set aside.
  4. When ice cream is done, layer ice cream and graham crackers into a freezer-safe container. I had about four layers of each. Cover and freeze for one hour or until firm.

 

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Birthday Cake Disaster

The other day I had a request for a birthday cake.  No problem, I thought, I can totally rock this…I’ll just do a cute little three-layer, 6-inch round cake like I’ve made before.  Done and done.  Or so I thought.

As I started to assemble the cake, the layers began slipping and sliding everywhere.  I freaked.  Why is this happening??!  Crap!  And then I started noticing how hot is was in my house…INSANELY HOT.  I looked at the thermostat–80 freakin’ degrees!!  I promptly turned the thermostat down to 75 but it was too little, too late…there was no recovering this cake.  What to do???  A trifle was my only option and thankfully the person who requested the cake was more than happy to go that route.  Whew!  So I made a decent recovery and still ended up with something that tasted amazing and looked pretty.  Gotta love baking in the heat of summer.  Lesson learned!

P.S. The trifle consists of white cake, homemade raspberry filling and white chocolate almond cream cheese frosting.  YUM.

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DIY Ice Cream Parlour

I’ve kind of got ice cream on the brain lately.  There is no end in sight to this ridiculous heat and it’s kind of hard not to think about the best ways to stay cool or should I say what to eat to stay cool.  And if you’re having an outside birthday party or a wedding right now, you’re probably even more concerned with the best way to keep your guests cool.  I have an idea!  I came across this blog earlier today and absolutely fell in love with this DIY Ice Cream Parlour from Eat Drink Chic.  I know dessert and candy buffets have been around for awhile now and are probably a little played out but I never get tired of seeing the creativity that goes into these beautiful tables.  If you’d like to see more photos and find out how to recreate every cute little detail yourself, just click here!

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Strawberry Daiquiri Pie

Holy heck it’s hot outside!  I’m interrupting this non-stop Florida dessert roundup to bring you guys a deliciously creamy, super dreamy, frozen sweet treat.  I  know there is someone out there that is dying from the heat and needs an easy dessert for supper that requires minimal oven use or none at all.  I have just the thing!  This Strawberry Daiquiri Pie has a grand total of seven ingredients (if you make everything from scratch) and the crust only bakes for 10 minutes in the oven.  Yay!

The original recipe here on Allrecipes.com calls for a store-bought graham cracker crust and Cool Whip so feel free to use those if you want but if I’m gonna indulge, I want the best possible ingredients!  Also, you could easily make this a Pina Colada pie by using a different mixer and pineapple instead of strawberry or whatever flavor suits your fancy.  Pina Colada honestly sounded really good but I went with strawberry…I’m a sucker for pretty pink desserts.

Stay cool and enjoy!

Strawberry Daiquiri Pie
Author: 
Category: Dessert
18-20
 
Ingredients
  • 9 T. Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 2 c. Graham Cracker Crumbs
  • 1 (10 oz.) Can Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri Mix, slightly thawed (I used Bacardi's..it was in the frozen juice section)
  • 1 c. Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 2 c. Heavy Whipping Cream, whipped, with ½ c.+2 T. Powdered Sugar and 2 T. Pure Vanilla Extract
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10-inch springform pan.
  2. Mix the graham cracker crumbs and butter together in a bowl and pat down evenly into the bottom of the springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes and let cool completely on a wire rack.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the strawberry daiquiri mix and sweetened condensed milk. Gently fold in 3 cups of the whipped cream. Spread evenly into the pan, on top of the crust.
  4. Cover with foil and place in the freezer for 6-7 hours. Remove from pan, slice and serve immediately.
  5. Garnish with strawberries and the remaining cup of whipped cream.

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Peanut Butter Ice Pops

Apparently ice pops are all the rage right now, from homemade to artisan pops created by companies like people’s pops.  And with the crazy hot weather we’re in the middle of, I’m thinking about making some myself.  Maybe I’ll start with this recipe from Serious Eats for Peanut Butter Ice Pops.  They look and sound cool, refreshing and just the teensiest bit indulgent without breaking the calorie bank (I mean we are in the middle of bikini season after all!).  Find the link to these yummy little treats below.  Happy Wednesday!

Peanut Butter Ice Pops

 

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Summer Drinks

I heard earlier today that we are in an “excessive heat” warning for the next few days, all the way through July 4th and beyond.  Ugh.  While I love the July 4th weekend, I am dreading the thought of being outside for hours while my makeup runs off my face, my hair falls flat and pit stains form under the arms of my non-black shirt (Because who wears black in the middle of summer?! Unless it’s a bikini??).  Lovely.  So I thought I could perhaps cheer myself up by finding some delicious, cold drinks to share on here.  It’s worth a try!

(I want one of these…whatever it is.)

First, I have a recipe for a Thai Tea that is out of this world!  If you’ve never had Thai Tea before, now is your chance.  This recipe is so delicious…sweet, spicy (as in cinnamon/clove spicy) and creamy.  Unfortunately, I don’t have photo but I’m sure it’s not too hard to imagine a glass of tea with half-and-half poured in.  Delicious.

I also linked to a few more yummy summer drinks below, in case you need more beverage inspiration.  I’m pretty sure I’ll be making that Sour Cherry Fizz concoction this weekend…sounds ABSOLUTELY AMAZING.

Enjoy!

Thai Tea

6 c. Water

1 c. Thai Tea Leaves (found at Asian market)

4 Cardamom Pods, crushed

1 Whole Clove, crushed

1/4 t. Cinnamon

1 c. Granulated Sugar

1 c. Half-and-Half

Bring water to a boil in a large pan.  Stir in tea leaves and next 3 ingredients and cover.  Remove from heat and steep 5 minutes.

Pour tea through a fine wire-mesh strainer into a pitcher, discarding tea leaves.  Add sugar, stirring until dissolved.  Cover and chill.

Pour into a glass 3/4 tea and 1/4 half-and half.

More Summer Drinks

Summer Mocktails

Frozen Blueberry Lemonade

Sour Cherry Fizz

Raspberry Lemonade

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