Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Good Morning White Chocolate Soy Mocha!

Out of curiosity, I picked up a box of Coffee flavored soy milk . I am not a fan of soy so I had low expectations ,but I was pleasantly surprised!
 In this drink 

2oz boiling water 
 heaping spoon of instant coffee
handful of white chocolate chips
Creme Coconut
Coffee flavored Soy Milk

Mix hot water and Instant coffee,
add white Chocolate chips- If your chips are not melting
put coffee mix in microwave for 10 seconds to help the process
add Creme Coconut to taste
add Coffee flavored Soy milk
shake and pour over ice

Jelly Sweets! I just love them.
 It isn't everyday I find one I can eat. I am turned off in a major way by gelatin. First, it has a crazy extraction process . Secondly, I am Muslim and I don't dig on swine. I don't even like to take a chance that piggies maybe in my jellies. It starts in the back of my mind, images of animal carcases being dissolved in acid. Don't get me wrong I love meat. I eat hot dogs, I know the ickyness of meat processing. I just don't want to open a jelly cup and see a sad little horse or piggy looking at me. It is a sensitive subject.
These jelly cups are made with Carrageenan a red seaweed product. I have been looking into gelatin alternatives  for the last couple of months. I have found Asian products use a variety of seaweed based gelatin. This was a great comfort to me and my vegetarian friend Kelly.  Agar-Agar  is a great seaweed gelatin and I found it easy enough at my local Asian market. It has many names, so it is best to take them all with you and ask for help.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Creme Coconut

German Chocolate cupcakes
Coconut Cream Cheese frosting
 The coconut cream cheese frosting was an experiment. 
I added some sweetened coconut creme to my cream cheese frosting recipe
 and used a bit of lime zest and shredded coconut for garnish. 
I will do this again! 

Virgin Pina Colada
 1/4 cup Coconut Creme
Thick slice of fresh Pineapple
and ice

Yellow Drink Umbrella and Pineapple wedges are a must!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Strawberry Lychee Smoothie

Today after my work-out I was starving! I wanted to make some pasta, but I looked at my scale ( I recently moved my bathroom scale to the kitchen) and lost the urge for carbs. Then my attention shifted to my overflowing fruit basket. I don't know why but it looked like a lot of work to peel and I had fruit salad for breakfast. Then it came to me! Smoothie Time!
In this blend :
 Fat Free Strawberry Yoplait Light
Fresh Strawberries
2 Lychee (can)

1.Rinse and cut off inedible parts of your fruit  2.Add your fruit and a few spoons of Yoplait to blender  3.Add ice and blend. Pour in your favorite cup and enjoy.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Success at the Market

My Husband took over the food shopping some time back. He looked at it as one of his responsibilities as a provider to bring household necessity. I appreciated it greatly since I had an aversion to grocery stores. For years I avoided them. The last place I wanted to be was the frozen food section in an overpriced chain store. Then to make matters worse, stuck in my kitchen for hours cooking! It was also agonizing to see how much food cost. All I could think about at the check-out line was how I could of bought a new dress or a pair of sandals for the same price. What a wast.

Two years latter I have started to change my mind. This came with a new interest in food and cooking.  My husband brings great things from the grocery store, but I needed a new twist or two. Variety is the spice of life!

I was so amazed with what I found today during my shopping. I am still a thrifty shopper when it comes to food, but I have learned that doesn't mean I have to sacrifice quality. For example look at my finds today at the 99cent Only Store, some are even certified organic!   

Sambazon Acai Smoothie Packs
(4 individually packaged in a bag)
This is going to be my good morning smoothie!

Pearl Soy Milk coffee flavor
Pom Light Wild berry Tea
Santa Cruz Champagne Style sparkling Lemonade

package of three Romaine Lettuce hearts,2 cantaloupes, bag of fresh Anaheim chilies (not hot),
acai smoothie packs, two quart containers of Yoplait yogurt in plain and strawberry, one dozen medium eggs, 1gallon of milk, can of jumbo olives, French bread, Russian black bread, and drinks!

My second store today was a new experience. Vallarta Supermarket , the happiest grocery store on earth! I walk in and a splash of color and bright lights impressed me and upbeat Hispanic music played a little bit to loud for background music. I found my self happy to be shopping for vegetables and fruit! In my opinion  Asian and Hispanic markets have the best deals on produce.

One quick shot of  some of the fun that is Vallarta.

Jamaica (Hibiscus) for sale!

Coconut crazy.
Two brands of coconut water and the long awaited Cream of Coconut! I have been on the hunt for Goya Creme De Coco for a drink recipe that supposedly is pure coconut bliss!

Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
This little can of goodness is a must have
if you like spicy Chipotle flavor.
At the end of my food shopping I revised my receipts and felt a sense of satisfaction. I saved on basic food items so in the future when a recipe calls for an expensive ingredient or  I want to treat my self to a tasty gourmet item from a more expensive grocer It won't hurt my budget!...... In all fairness the extra money saved is most likely going towards shoes.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hibiscus Tea

 Hibiscus Tea
Strawberry for cuteness
I have seen flor de Jamaica (Hibiscus) all my life in taco shops and Mexican markets, but never gave much attention to it. Years latter I was on a diet of Starbucks Passion Tea and  Honey Oatmeal bars, (don't ask me how this diet came about, I think I was just poor at the time) when I started to enjoy the flavor of Hibiscus, one of the many ingredients in Passion Tea. When I married I rediscovered this yummy drink , only this time the name had changed  to karkadé.

I got hooked again on this non-caffeinated tea during pregnancy. Supposedly Hibiscus has blood pressure lowering qualities , but I can't back that up with research. It was however  a great help to me as a flavor saver in pregnancy teas. Now days I just drink it with a bit of sugar ...okay a lot of sugar.
The tea is dark red and refreshing to drink as well as admire in a pretty glass. It seems to quench my thirst better than regular black ice tea on a hot day.

The way I make my tea is simple.           
  1.  I start with a large pot, fill with purified water.  Purified water gives  a clean  taste to any beverage. It makes a real difference in drink quality.
  2. Add in your Hibiscus flowers.  This is relative to how big a pot you are making and how strong of a flavor you want. I like a strong tea, so I use about 3 handfuls to a pot. A strong flavor gives this tea a juice like quality.
  3. Bring your flowers to a boil, for just a minute then turn of heat. At this time I add my sweetener( to taste).
  4. I cover the pot with a lid and let sit for an hour or two. The way my brewing method works is, when I remember the tea again it is ready. Once the tea is perfect strain out your flowers and pour into a pitcher or storage container. Do not cover until cool.
In my home town Hibiscus flowers are easy to find, just about every grocery store has them. If you have tried and failed to find them in major supermarket try the smaller international markets. In middle eastern markets the flower is called Karkadé and in Hispanic markets flor de Jamaica. You can also find Hibiscus at health food stores sometimes in a tea blends.

This brewing method is not the only one out and about, but it works splendidly in my opinion. After brewing a pot or two you will find your way with this tea and develop your own preferences. Enjoy and expect good things!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My First Mother's Day

How do best friends know when you need them the most? I have wondered this periodically when my closest friend swoops in, with face masks, moisturizers and Jelly sweets that save the day.

My stress level has been on the rise lately. Even my little baby bee has been extra fussy. I think everyone has moments of frustration, but mine has been more like a month AHHHHHH . Then an unexpected surprise came calling. I got the best Mother's Day love package.

This love package had a Special Mother's Day card, Juicy Sandals, Mango Jelly sweets, Korean Black Ginseng, DDF Sulfur mask, 40 Carrots serum, Cosmedicine Hydra Healer, Borghese pure perfection mineral powder, blemish tool, Primal handmade cupcake soap, and a Bee scrubber for my kitchen.

I will admit being a mom for the first time has been a joy and a frustration. Some things that I used to find relaxing I don't have time for or have just forgotten about. I am guilty of neglecting my skin care regime....but I have taken steps recently to remedy the issue. I purchased a new cleanser (40 Carrots creme cleanser) and a new facial scrub( Clinic 7 day scrub) , but I was missing moisturizers. I have always had combination skin and that was prone to breakout. I used to go oil free, but I am getting older so the moisturizers of my youth just don't cut it. I worry about wrinkles and dark circles. This skin saver love package really was in every way just in time.  I recommend Cosmedicine Hydra Healer, a little goes a long way. I wasn't sure about the moisturizer at first in seemed to heavy but I was so wrong. My skin is clear and feels soft and hydrated.

Jelly Sweets and good skin don't solve the world problem or mine,but they never hurt.
Thank You! Thank You!Check out my friends blog for best beauty information!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Falafel Fun

Falafel is a very basic recipe. I have seen some recipes that have an extensive list of ingredients, that in my opinion makes no matter in the end. Lets face it cumin, garlic and coriander are all very strong spices and the whole thing is deep fried. If you want subtle flavor don't try it with a deep fried bean ball. This food is ment to be simple and easy.

Ingredient list
  1. Garbanzo beans soaked overnight
  2. fresh garlic, onion, and cilantro
  3. spices; salt, cumin, coriander,
  4. flour,baking soda, and baking powder
You will notice I don't give units of measure in the recipe.
I usually use a pound bag of Garbanzo beans and take a fourth out to boil for Hummus dip. I use two to three cloves garlic depending on the freshness of the garlic, about half a bunch of cilantro, one medium onion, and I can't specify salt or spice. Your best bet is to make the recipe smell it and do a fry test. I always do a fry test. Some days my chief hat doesn't seem to fit, but I still have to produce some sort of edible food substance. With this recipe you can make all sorts of last minute adjustments, it is always better to start conservative with salt and spices then increase.
  1. Drain and rinse your beans make sure you don't have any little rocks (sometimes this happens). Peel your garlic clove(s). In your food processor add garlic and beans. Process until smooth and pasty. Remove beans to a bowl.
  2. Rinse cilantro cutting off extra long parts of the stem. Place into processor with onion. Don't over process the onion and cilantro. I made the mistake once of liquefying my onion. The end result you want is a thick mixture with no chunks.Add to bowl with beans.
  3. At this point add your spices to taste.
  4. Right before you fry sprinkle with flour, baking soda, and baking powder. (I use about two spoons of flour- a bit more than a sprinkle)
  5. Make sure your oil is hot. I fry just above medium.

The white dip you see is made with lemon, salt, tahini, garlic, and a bit of water (if it gets to thick). My husband likes the tahini dip added to tomato salad (in the blue bowl). I have seen all sorts of things added to falafel sandwiches fried potatoes, fried eggplant, fried cauliflower, cucumber,  tomatoes, hummus,  all of it is good wrapped in a warm pita. Insha'allah this will be fun and easy for you.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Stuck on Strawberry

I have been all about strawberry and chocolate for the last two months. These are a few of my most recent baking projects.

The cakes above are white cake with strawberry frosting
and chocolate  cake with chocolate frosting

Strawberry Lemonade cupcakes are made with white cake
 with lemon zest and strawberry frosting

Chocolate covered Strawberries! So good and a lot easier than I thought. I purchased dark chocolate melt always in bulk from Win Co. foods. I melted the chocolate in a double boiler. I then dip the strawberries in chocolate and set them to dry.To dry the chocolate, I used two tooth picks sticking out of the tops of the strawberries to stick into a large chunk of floral foam.