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Strawberry-banana icebox cake

15 Feb

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I’ve been wanting to try an icebox cake for about a year now – mostly during hot season when I didn’t want to turn the oven on! Well, tonight was the night I finally got around to it. Two thumbs up, y’all. Next I want to try it with mango and passion fruit, but I think I’ll keep the bananas in any case since they go well with the vanilla pudding.

1 packet Petit Beurre cookies
1 batch homemade vanilla pudding
1-2 bananas, thinly sliced
handful of strawberries, sliced

Use a loaf pan for a taller dessert that you slice thinly or an 8×8 for making square servings. Spread a thin layer of pudding (still warm is fine) on the bottom of your pan. Add a single layer of Petit Beurre cookies. Add a layer of fruit, topped with more pudding. Spread the pudding out to the edges and try not to leave any dry spots. Keep layering until all ingredients are used, ending with pudding on top and some fruit as decoration. Cover and chill for at least three hours. Slice and serve!

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Homemade vanilla pudding

15 Feb

Soooo good. Way too easy and too fast to make. This is dangerous…

1/2 cup sugar
1 cup cornstarch (maizena)
1 cup milk powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch, milk powder, and salt. Slowly pour in 3 cups of water, whisking constantly to break up any lumps that form. Add vanilla. Bring to a boil over med-high heat and then immediately reduce the heat to a simmer and continue whisking until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon.

Emergency milkshake

13 Nov

A friend recently served us milkshakes at their house. I took one sip and thought, “Wow! They used homemade ice cream for these!” Nope. In fact, the recipe couldn’t be easier. And it’s perfect for hot season (which will end soon, inchalla) when you need an emergency pick-me-up.

(Just ignore the Starbucks cup. I know it's hard.)

(Just ignore the Starbucks cup. I know it’s hard.)

Emergency milkshake
1/2 cup whole milk powder
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
15-18 ice cubes
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Mix the milk powder, sugar and water in the blender and let sit a couple minutes. Add the extract and ice cubes. Blend until smooth.

Drink right away or pour into cups and freeze until more firm, if you prefer.

Mint milkshake: replace the 1/2 tsp vanilla extract with 1/4 tsp mint extract + 1-2 drops of green food coloring.

Coffee milkshake: add stick-packet of instant coffee, like Via or Carte Noir, before blending.

Bissap jam

5 Dec

I know. It’s not ‘real’ jam. But it tastes like it and can be made up in small or large batches (gifts?) in under an hour. My kind of jam!

The taste is similar to blackberry preserves, but has a nice bissap taste. Not overpowering or too tart.  The texture is very jam-y, which I like.

3 big handfuls of dried bissap flowers, rinsed
2-3 cups sugar (to taste

Put the bissap flowers in a saucepan. Add just enough water to cover most of them – not all the way submerged. Cover and bring to a low boil for about 20 minutes or until flowers are soft. Using a stick blender or food processor, carefully (HOT!) purée the mixture until even texture.

Return to saucepan and add sugar to taste. Cook uncovered another 15-20 minutes or until desired consistency is reached.

Pour into clean glass jars. Seal and let cool. Store in refrigerator.

Chocolate banana muffins (all whole wheat!)

13 May

Perfect healthy snack for chocolate-lovers!

2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1/4 cup strong brewed coffee, cooled
1 1/2 cups mashed very ripe bananas (3 to 4 medium)
1/2 cup plain yogurt or lait caillé
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

Mix sugar and oil in large bowl. Stir in eggs and coffee until well blended. Add bananas and yogurt. Beat until smooth. Stir in flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt just until moistened.

Fill lined muffins cups about 3/4 full. Bake in preheated oven 350° for about 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool 10 minutes. Remove from pans and place top side up on wire rack. Cool completely, about two hours.

Wrap tightly and store at room temperature up to 4 days, or refrigerate up to 10 days.

Similar recipes on this site:
Coffee banana bread
Citrus spice banana bread
Applesauce breakfast bread
Spiced carrot zucchini bread
Britt’s zucchini bread
Hungarian apricot bread

Orange cinnamon biscotti

30 Apr


Crunchy, twice-baked Italian cookies perfect for dipping in coffee, tea, hot chocolate or milk. They don’t take long to make and store well.

1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 Tbsp melted butter
1 Tbsp milk
1 cup flour (can also do 1/2 cup whole wheat flour + 1/2 cup white flour)
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp orange zest

In a bowl mix together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, spices). In a second bowl the sugar, egg, extract and butter. Once completely blended, stir in dry ingredients. Stir until completely mixed in. Knead well, incorporating the orange zest. The dough will be stiff and heavy.

Shape the dough into a wide, flat loaf about 1/2 inch tall. Place on a baking stone or nonstick cookie sheet. Bake in preheated oven at 375 degrees for 20 minute or until the top is browned and begins to crack.

Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.

Transfer loaf to a cutting board and, using a serrated knife, cut into slices 1/2 inch thick on the diagonal. Arrange evenly on the baking sheet or stone. Bake 10 minutes, turn slices over, and bake another 10 minutes or until firm to the touch.

Let the biscotti dunking begin!

(If there are any left, let cool completely before storing in an airtight container.)

Spiced carrot zucchini bread

8 Jan

1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 cup purée carrots
1/2 cup shredded zucchini
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 eggs

Combine flour and the next 5 ingredients (through cloves) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add shredded zucchini to flour mixture; toss well. Combine canola oil, buttermilk, carrot purée and eggs in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add egg mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until combined.

Pour batter into a loaf pan coated. Bake in preheated oven at 350° for 50 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack then remove from pan.


5 Dec
Blend all ingredients well, then chill before serving.

2 eggs, well beaten
3 T sugar
1 t vanilla
1 c milk
splash of cream
1⁄2 t cinnamon
sprinkle of nutmeg
sprinkle of ground cloves

Agua de Melón (Mexican melon water)

29 Nov

Move over sweet tea. I’ve got a new (and healthier) summer drink.

Mexican Aguas Frescas are made with simple ingredients and are amazing on a hot summer days. The variations are endless.

For the fruit, you can use melon, strawberries, watermelon, peaches, mangos, papayas, tamarind, hibiscus (bissap) flowers, pineapple… You can use herbs such as mint or basil as the accent.

For my first trick, I chose melon and mint. Mmmm… Good choice.

1 melon, cut into pieces and peeled (about 4-5 cups)
1 Tbsp lemon juice (or more, to taste)
1 Tbsp sugar (I skipped this)
pinch salt
mint garnish
lemon slices

Using a food mill, purée the melon. Discard the fruit pulp. Pour the juice into a large pitcher. Stir in salt, lemon juice, (sugar). Guess-timate how much juice oyu have. Add about half that much water into the pitcher. Chill well.

Serve over lots of ice with lemon slices and mint sprigs. (These are more than just pretty. Their flavors highlight the juice!)

Peanut butter cookies

7 Nov

So light and buttery…yum!

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt

In a large bowl, cream together the peanut butter, butter, brown sugar and white sugar. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir into the peanut butter mixture. Form dough into walnut sized balls and place them 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Dip a fork into flour and criss cross each cookie to flatten slightly.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in oven preheated to 375 degrees until just lightly browned. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for two minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.