Pineapple-Rum Cupcakes dusted with Maple Sugar

ImageSomeone did a wondrous favor for me so I decided to make the most portable gift food…cupcakes!

Wanting to create something new, I took pineapple tidbits and pureed them with their natural juice and about a third of a cup of rum.  I incorporated that into my dry ingredients, as well as 3 eggs, one stick of melted unsalted butter, and half a cup of fine sugar.  Last but not least, I used about a third cup of carbonated water…..mixed that till it was well incorporated and placed them in a 350 degree oven for 17 minutes.

For frosting, I let 8 oz. of Neufchatel cheese come to room temperature and mixed it with 3 tablespoons of fresh pineapple juice and 1 cup and a half of powdered sugar.  Frosted the cupcakes lightly and then just put a little dusting of maple sugar.

Of course I tried one….just had to…and it was good…..

 

 

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Triple Chocolate Cupcakes….without sugar!

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This is the second attempt to create yummy cupcakes without sugar and I think this one is a definite winner! I found myself devouring two cupcakes…..I should have stopped with one but they are so delicious…..I used agave syrup instead of a cup of sugar – used just a little bit more than half a cup as well as one cup of purred peaches….and that added all the sweetness that this amazing chocolate cupcake needed.  Talk about light, fluffy deliciousness…..at the last minute I decided to drop some dark chocolate chips on top so that they would bake into the cupcake…..in just 15 minutes in a 350 degree oven these were done!

What a View! 1910’s vs. 2013

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Yesterday we went to Viscaya with friends and had a wonderful time walking about the gardens. I specifically love the view from the back of the house, which looks over the water…and enjoyed taking this picture which shows the part that was built in the 1910’s, with Miami’s contemporary skyline to the left.

Quite the eccentric bachelor, James Deering had Viscaya built between 1914-1916 by over 1,000 individuals, which made up back then about 10% of Miami’s population in 1914. It took two years to build the house and its extraordinary and quite extensive gardens.

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It was quite a hot day in Miami so we found ourselves at the gift shop, which was rebuilt from what it was originally – a bowling alley! Due to the hurricanes of the 1920’s, the bowling alley was destroyed, so this portion of the house was rebuilt and later the gift shop was added in. We were able to get a refreshing lime sorbet, which was delicious, made by an Italian family currently living in Miami.

If you are ever in Miami, do make the time to visit this amazing home, which encompasses a variety of architectural styles, with an emphasis on Italian Renaissance.

http://www.vizcayamuseum.org

Olive Tapenade Mini Sliders with Dijon Mustard Potato Salad

Image I really love olives….in any way, shape and form!

First I made a simple green and black olive tapenade…with just a large spoonful of light sour cream….and Voila! a yummy tapenade made in the food processor in just seconds using pulse, which I spread on the bread for the mini sliders…

And yes, of course I included some green and black chopped olives in my lean hamburger meat….as well as 1/3 cup of Panko and one egg white to bind it all together….out of 1 lb. of meat, I made a dozen mini sliders…..super delish nice and hot on the cold olive tapenade….those amazing flavors coming all together….outrageously olivy! That’s all I can say….

But what about the potato salad, you ask?  I had a couple of red potatoes, which are softer than regular white baking potatoes and boiled them till they were cooked through but not falling apart. After taking them out of the boiling water, shocked them in an ice bath, while I prepared the yummy dressing.

Out came the Dijon mustard, low calorie mayonnaise, a dash of cayenne, cumin, a dash of turmeric, a dash of black pepper and 1/4 cup of crushed bacon.  Mixed this together, chopped the potatoes into bite size pieces, and mixed in cherry tomatoes…..let me tell you….this was amazingly flavorful and this plate was just right!

So sharing Psalm 128 is superbly apropos….

Psalm 128

How joyful are those who fear the Lord – all who follow his ways!

You will enjoy the fruit of your labor. How joyful and prosperous you will be!

Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine, flourishing within your home.

Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees (!!) as they sit around your table.

That is the Lord’s blessing for those who fear him.

May the Lord continually bless you from Zion.

May you see Jerusalem prosper as long as you live.

May you live to enjoy your grandchildren.

May Israel have peace!

Have a blessed evening!

Strawberries & Ghirardelli-Merengue!

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This is the easiest and fastest dessert you can whip up!

Two egg whites are all you need…..it’s more than enough, unless you want to eat the bowl, lick the spoon and desire more, more, more!

Easiest dessert ever:

2 large egg whites
6 tablespoons white refined sugar (3 tablespoons per egg white)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
3 teaspoons Ghirardelli cocoa
1 to 2 cups sliced strawberries

Beat the room temperature egg whites with the sugar and the vanilla on the highest speed on your beater for at least 6 to 8 minutes, until it foams up and gains a thick volume. I know that the merengue is done when I can lift the beater and peaks are formed without wilting. If it’s too soft, beat it for a few more minutes until the peaks stand on their own.

Strawberries were sliced, arranged and the merengue went in the middle and then sprinkled with the Ghirardelli cocoa…..
Yum…..just looking at the pic makes me want to go and make some more!

Mother’s Day Picnic fare………hard boiled eggs with yumminess included!

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This post is for Miel, who fell in love with the flavor explosion from a simple yet delicious recipe for what to do with hard boiled eggs.

A couple of weekends ago, as my A/C was being serviced, I was having fun in the kitchen. I hard boiled some eggs and took out the yolks.  In a small plate I used low calorie mayonnaise with Dijon mustard, a bit of cumin (according to taste), black pepper and salt and mixed it well.  I had quite a bit of cherry tomatoes, so I sliced them in half and I also found a little container of marinated olives, which I also chopped in half.

I also found that I had some simple crackers, so I filled the eggs with this mixture….but as I took one last look in my fridge, I found that I had a small packet of platanitos….so I chopped one up in very small pieces, and integrated that into the egg yolk mix and placed that on the crackers, and used the sliced cherry tomatoes and olives for decorating purposes…..and Voila! a new appetizer for a Mother’s Day Picnic!

Do take a moment today to thank your mother…..

Psalm 127:4 says

Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him!

Happy Mother’s Day to everyone!

 

Mother’s Day Low-sugar Cointreau Orange-Cranberry Cupcakes with Agave Syrup!

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I have to admit that this second attempt at using agave syrup turned out quite delicious….I cannot tell that I did not use any sugar whatsoever in these cupcakes (except for the frosting).  And yes, when they came out of the oven, I was so eager to try them, that I almost burnt my tongue!  Quite delicious….I could even contemplate waiting for these to cool and then serve them with Greek yogurt for a fun, delicious and nutritious dessert to bypass the frosting…maybe include some strawberries as well!

So how did these cupcakes came to be? I opted to not use any sugar, so instead I used about 3/4 cup of agave syrup and approximately 2 tablespoons of honey, as well as a cup of pureed peaches.

Here’s what I did:

Dry Ingredients:

2 cups of all purpose flour, sifted with two teaspoons of baking soda and baking powder

Wet ingredients:

3 eggs

1 stick of unsalted butter, melted

1 cup of pureed peaches

3/4 cup of agave syrup

2 tablespoons of honey

zest of one orange

3 tablespoons of Cointreau

1/3 cup dried cranberries

In one bowl I placed the eggs, syrup, butter, honey and one cup of the pureed peaches and mixed it well.  Then in batches, the flour mixture was poured in and well mixed.  After mixing all the ingredients together, I also used about a 1/3 cup of carbonated water and mixed it in as well.

I took the dried cranberries with two tablespoons of Cointreau and placed it in the microwave and heated it for just 10 seconds.  This was poured into the bowl with all the ingredients and just mixed in with a spoon.

I had two pans lined with cupcake liners and filled them in 3/4 of the way, which were placed in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes.  The trick is to make sure that the oven is at 350 when you put in the cupcakes so that they cook evenly.

After just 15 minutes, I was really interested in seeing how these cupcakes would turn out.

In the meantime, I had taken out one 8 oz. container of Neufchatel cream cheese, letting it come to room temperature, as well as one cup and a half of powdered sugar, and another 2 tablespoons of Cointreau and about one tablespoon of orange zest and beat it well – this became the frosting.

This cupcake turned out to be one of the most delicious and healthiest ones that I have ever made. 

Happy Mother’s Day weekend to all Mothers everywhere!

Psalm 128

How joyful are those who fear the Lord – all who follow His ways!
You will enjoy the fruit of your labors. How joyful and prosperous you will be!
Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine, flourishing within your home.
Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees as they sit around your table.
That is the Lord’s blessing for those who fear him.

May the Lord continually bless you from Zion. May you see Jerusalem prosper as long as you live.
May you live to enjoy your grandchildren.
May Israel have peace!

Orange Chicken cooked in a Balsamic Vinegar & Whisky Tomato Sauce

ImageStill wondering what kind of a dessert I will make this weekend for Mother’s Day, I knew that before coming up with a new dessert recipe, I’d have to feed myself a meal, so surfing through the fridge, opted to try making something different to cook chicken in:

tomato sauce

James Dean whisky

1 orange

balsamic vinegar (the good kind!)

I made a sauce of sorts with the ingredients previously mentioned and the chicken went on top…..cooked it well through for at least a good 20 minutes, till it was amazingly aromatic.  I don’t drink whisky, but I love using it for sauces…it just brings a new flavor profile to the chicken and the aroma coming from my kitchen was making me drool……

So while the chicken cooked, I sliced eggplant, breaded it into a Panko-parmesan mix, with a bit of salt and pepper, and broiled it with a slice of tomato on top.  Took the remaining cup of Valencia rice, and cooked it in two cups of low salt chicken broth, and after the chicken cooked through, took some of the sauce and put it in the rice…..dare I say that the rice was absolutely yummy?  It was……amazingly delish!

 

While thinking about what treat to make for Mother’s Day weekend, I couldn’t help but stare at the sky…..what an Awesome View!

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Yes, I admit it….when I’m driving and I see a gorgeous “skyscape” I take out the camera and at red lights, I’ll take pictures!

The sky this morning was absolutely outrageous. It looked like the sun was playing with the clouds “hide and seek”….but its awesome rays made such an incredible outline against the darker clouds….it almost looked like God’s chariots were about to break through the sky!

Deuteronomy 33:26 says it perfectly…

“There is no one like the God of Israel.
He rides across the heavens to help you,
across the skies in majestic splendor!”