PUMPKIN AND CREAM CHEESE MUFFINS

My mini chef and I experimented with pumpkin muffins today and it was quick and super easy! They are moist and yummy, can’t wait to have another for breakfast!

Filling Ingredients

8-ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon vanilla

Muffin Ingredients

1 package spice cake mix
15-ounces canned pumpkin

Optional: confectioners sugar to sprinkle on top 

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put muffin liners into pan.

2. Beat filling ingredients together until combined.

3. Beat muffin ingredients together until combined. (only use the mix and the pumpkin, nothing else) Batter will be thick.

4. Drop about 1 tablespoon of the batter into each muffin cup, spreading it to cover the bottom.


5. Drop in a level tablespoon of filling.

6. Cover with enough batter to fill the muffin cups full.

7. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes

Makes 12 muffins

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THE BEST CINNAMON ROLLS EVER!!

So today was the first day of my diet….. and I made cinnamon rolls 😂😂😂 The universe was trying to tell me something because this recipe from twopeasandtheirpod kept appearing on my news feed! You must try this recipe! It’s so delicious!

yield: 30 CINNAMON ROLLS

cook time: 17 MINUTES

INGREDIENTS:

FOR THE CINNAMON ROLLS:

  • 2 packages yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons), dissolved in 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 6 tablespoons shortening (Crisco)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (you might need more if the dough is sticky, up to 9-10 cups)
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • Softened butter
  • Brown sugar
  • Raisins
  • Cinnamon

FOR THE FROSTING:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    DIRECTIONS:


    1. 1. Add yeast to cup of lukewarm water and sprinkle in a little sugar. Set aside for about five minutes.
      2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add shortening, sugar, and salt to hot water and beat for 30 seconds, using the beater blade. Let cool to lukewarm temperature. Stir in 2 cups of flour and mix until smooth. Add yeast mixture and mix until well combined. Mix in the beaten eggs.
      3. Gradually stir in the remaining flour and mix with the dough hook for about 2 minutes. Remove dough from the bowl and place on a lightly floured counter. Knead by hand, add a little flour if the dough is still sticky. Knead until dough feels satiny and smooth.
    2. IMG_20171004_182733130.jpg

4. Cover and let rise for 30 minutes. After the dough has doubled in size, remove it from the bowl and divide it in half. With a rolling pin, roll one half of the dough into a rectangular shape. Spread dough evenly with softened butter. Sprinkle dough with brown sugar, raisins, and cinnamon. Make sure you use LOTS of brown sugar…you can omit the raisins, but my family loves them, and sprinkle on loads of cinnamon.

 


5. Roll up dough into one long roll. Cut rolls, using a piece of dental floss or thread, about two inches thick. Place rolls in greased 9X13 baking pans. Now follow the exact same steps with the other half of the dough.

 

6. Let the rolls rise until double in bulk. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake until brown-only about 5-7 more minutes. Remove from the oven and let the rolls cool to room temperature.

7. While the rolls are cooling, make the frosting. In a medium bowl, whisk together butter, sugar, milk, and vanilla. Frost the cooled cinnamon rolls generously!




STRAWBERRY CHEESECAKE BAKED PANCAKES

Another lazy Sunday and another baked pancake trial! I’m trying the strawberry cheesecake today because I needed to use up the last of my strawberries. I made one change this time, I added some melted butter to the batter because it can be a bit dry. I mean after all butter makes everything better 😁😁😁

Here’s the recipe:

Servings 4-6

INGREDIENTS

4 cups pancake mix

2 cups milk

4 eggs

1 cup strawberries (sliced)

6 oz cream cheese (cubed)

6 tbsp melted butter

PREPARATION

1. Preheat oven to 425˚F (220˚C).

2. Pour pancake mix, butter, milk, and eggs into a bowl and mix just until combined.

3. Pour batter onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and spread to the edges.

4. Place strawberry slices on top of the batter, followed by the cream cheese cubes.

5. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

6. Cut into squares and serve immediately, or freeze up to 1 month. To reheat, place on a microwave-safe plate and heat for 20 seconds per pancake on the plate

TIP: I also like to brush a little butter on top as soon as I take it out of the oven, it softens the too and gives a pretty sheen.

CALLALOO BOX FOR THE WIN!!

Hey everyone! So as most of you know I’m from the beautiful islands of Trinidad and Tobago and cooking is near and dear to my heart! I use a wide array of spices and seasonings, a lot of which I can only get in Trinidad. Since I’ve moved to California 12+ years ago, I’ve searched and searched for Caribbean stores where I can purchase the items I need, but with no success. I’ve only found one place and it’s 3 hours away and that’s so inconvenient!

Then CALLALOO BOX came into my life and made everything better! Callaloo box is a new U.S. based subscription box service featuring seasonings, marinades & hot sauces from the Caribbean twin-islands of Trinidad & Tobago. The founders are 3 girlfriends who are all immigrants from Trinidad currently living in the U.S. and Canada. Each month the box will contain different products considered to be cornerstones of Caribbean cooking.

Their aim is to get these products into the hands of anyone interested in Caribbean cooking that live in the U.S. and don’t have easy access to them, or anyone who simply loves food, cooking and experimenting.

A special discount code NATASHA5 is available to my followers for $5 off of their 1st box when signing up for a month-to-month subscription!!

They currently only offer U.S. deliveries but are actively working towards  launching deliveries to Canada next year.

When you receive the box, you will see that it includes an info sheet describing the main ingredients in each product along with some uses and helpful tips.

You can check them out and subscribe on their website at www.callaloobox.com or follow across social media (IG, FB & Twitter) at the handle callaloobox.

Here’s my dinner of bodi *Chinese long beans*, cucumbers and kuchela, which I received from the callaloo box!! It’s a spicy mango condiment that adds so much flavor to your meal!



BAKED PEACH AND BLUEBERRY PANCAKE

Hey guys! So I’m all about quick and easy breakfasts and I’ve added a new recipe to the collection. I found this recipe on BuzzFeed and it is yummy and super easy for a busy morning. As they said “Ain’t nobody got time for that!” 😂😂

Here’s the recipe:

Servings 4-6

INGREDIENTS

4 cups pancake mix

4 eggs

2 cups milk

1 peach, sliced

1 cup blueberries

PREPARATION

1. Preheat oven to 425˚F (220˚C).

2. Pour pancake mix, milk, and eggs into a bowl and mix just until combined.

3. Pour batter onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and spread to the edges.

4. Place peach slices on top of the batter, followed by the blueberries.

5. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

6. Cut into squares and serve immediately, or freeze up to 1 month. To reheat, place on a microwave-safe plate and heat for 20 seconds per pancake on the plate

LEMON ZUCCHINI BREAD

I’ve been on a bread baking spree! I have to share this delicious recipe from twopeasandtheirpod. Check it out here!

  yield: 2 LOAVES

 prep time: 15 MINUTES

 

cook time: 60-65 MINUTES


total time: 1 HOUR 20 MINUTES

INGREDIENTS:

FOR THE BREAD:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • Zest of 2 large lemons
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups grated zucchini

FOR THE LEMON GLAZE:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

DIRECTIONS:


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch loaf pans. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine sugar and lemon zest. Rub together with your fingers until fragrant.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk together the lemon sugar mixture, eggs, olive oil, lemon juice, and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Stir in the dry ingredients until combined, the batter will be thick. Stir in the zucchini and pour the batter into the prepared loaf pans.
  5. Bake for 60-65 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Place the loaves on a cooling rack and cool for 15 minutes. Loosen the sides of the bread with a knife. Carefully remove the loaves from the pans. Let cool completely on rack.
  7. While the bread is cooling, make the lemon glaze. In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar and lemon juice. Whisk until smooth. Drizzle the glaze over the loaves. Slice and serve.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

Hey guys! I’ve been missing in action for a while, again! But I’m back to cooking and baking and today I tried this wonderful recipe from Two peas in a pod! It’s called chocolate zucchini bread and it’s so moist and delicious I just had to share! And I mean it’s healthy because it has a ton of Zucchini in it 😂😂

I followed the recipe pretty closely except I added more sugar because I used unsweetened cocoa and I also used milk and semi sweet chips. To keep the chips from sinking to the bottom, I dusted them with flour before mixing them in.

Here’s the recipe

yield: 1 LOAF

prep time: 15 MINUTES

Cook time 50 MINUTES

total time: 1 HOUR 5 MINUTES

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
  • 1/4 cup canola, vegetable oil, or melted coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups packed shredded zucchini
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and sea salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, add the eggs, melted butter, oil, vanilla extract, and brown sugar. Stir until smooth. You might have a few small brown sugar clumps and that is fine.
  4. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, don’t overmix. Stir in the shredded zucchini until just combined. Stir in 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of chocolate chips over the top of the bread. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the bread comes out mostly clean, you might have some melted chocolate chips on the toothpick and that is fine. You just don’t want a lot of gooey batter.
  6. Remove the pan from the oven and set on a wire cooling rack. Let the bread cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the bread and carefully remove from the pan. Let the bread cool on the wire cooling rack until slightly warm. Cut into slices and serve.

Note-if you use coconut oil, make sure it is melted and slightly cooled. The bread will keep on the counter, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 4 days. This bread also freezes well. To freeze, cool the bread completely and wrap in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 1 month. Defrost before slicing.

BLUEBERRY MUFFINS

My daughter and I did some rainy day baking, I was only allowed to help with the oven 😁💪  This is her favorite blueberry muffin recipe 🙂

INGREDIENTS

  • 1⁄2 cup butter at room temp
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1⁄4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄2 cup milk
  • 2 1⁄2 cups fresh blueberries or 2 1⁄2 cups frozen blueberries

FOR TOPPING

  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, mixed with 1⁄4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

DIRECTIONS

  1. Heat oven to 375°.
  2. Grease 18 regular-size muffin cups (or 12 large size muffins).
  3. In bowl, mix butter until creamy. Add sugar and beat until pale and fluffy.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each.
  5. Beat in vanilla, baking powder and salt.
  6. With spoon, fold in half of flour then half of milk into batter; repeat.
  7. Fold in blueberries.
  8. Spoon into muffin cups and sprinkle topping onto each muffin.
  9. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown and springy to touch.

AVOCADO SALAD

I stumbled across three recipes today and they all looked so delicious that I had to try it! I’ve been trying to eat healthier and I’m on the search for easy and delicious recipes. I ate this salad for dinner with turkey that I seasoned with spicy taco seasoning mmmhmmmm!

Here’s the recipe

1 lb Roma tomatoes

 1 English cucumber 

1/2 medium red onion, sliced 

2 avocados, diced 

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil or sunflower oil 

Juice of 1 medium lemon (about 2 Tbsp)

 1/4 cup (1/2 bunch) cilantro, chopped

1 tsp sea salt or 3/4 tsp table salt 

1/8 tsp black pepper 

DIRECTIONS 

Gently stir all the ingredients together, add the salt and pepper just before serving.

Grilled Salmon and zoodles…caroodles?!?

A Taste of the Caribbean!

Ok so I’m not that good with coming up with food names, but its delicious and you should give it a try! It almost felt like summer…until I glanced at the thermometer… Brrrrr *shivers*

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Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs salmon steaks or fillets
Marinade ingredients
  • 2 tbsps lemon juice
  • 4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsps olive oil
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 3 tsps Cajun seasoning

Directions

  1. Mix all marinade ingredients and pour over salmon. Marinate for 1 hour. Place salmon on oiled grill at medium heat ( I used a grill pan, too cold to go outside)
  2. Grill for 3 to 4 mins on each side.

The veggie noodle recipe is already in my blog, check it out! Kids *and the big kids*  love the colors 🙂

P.S. This is my daughter and she is quite the character, while I had my back turned taking pics of the food…

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