Thursday, May 30, 2013

Carrot Quinoa Muffins

Carrot Quinoa Muffins

How can these muffins be SO HEALTHY yet SO DELICIOUS!?!?!?! It honestly blows my mind. I think this is one of my new favorite recipes! And to think, I was just trying to clean out my cupboard... If you love carrot cake, these muffins are right up your alley. They don't contain any added fats, and very minimal sugar. Plus they have lots of nutrients from all the crazy stuff you can put in them. All-in-all, you should make these whether you're trying to be healthy or not. They're life-changing.

Carrot Quinoa Muffins

1 cup cooked quinoa (1/3 cup uncooked)
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1/2 cup applesauce or mashed bananas
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tsp orange zest
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup shredded carrots
3/4 cup chopped dates or raisins or another dried fruit (optional)*
3/4 cup chocolate chips (optional)*
3/4 cup coconut flakes (optional)*
1/4 cup flax seeds (optional)*
3/4 cup toasted pecans, chopped (optional)*

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. To make the quinoa, rinse 1/3 cup of uncooked quinoa for 1 minute. Place in a small saucepan, add 2/3 cup water, and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat to low, cover, and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit for an additional 5 minutes, keeping quinoa covered. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Set aside.
  4. Beat together eggs and sugar. Beat in applesauce, orange juice, orange zest, and vanilla extract. Reduce speed to low. Add carrots. Mix in quinoa a little at a time (if quinoa is still warm, this will prevent it from scrambling the eggs) until combined. Add carrot-quinoa mixture to the flour mixture, stirring by hand until just combined. Fold in dates, chocolate chips, coconut, flax seeds, and pecans.
  5. Coat a muffin pan with cooking spray, then divide batter evenly among the 12 cups. Top with a pecan if desired. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove muffins from pan to cool.
*Though optional, these items are highly recommended. However, you can substitute them for whatever you desire. So if you don't have pecans feel free to use walnuts or almonds or macadamia nuts, etc. Get creative!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Mango Curry Chicken

Mango Curry Chicken

Last week, my lovely friend Katie and I decided to make a paleo feast. Well, we kinda cheated because we decided wild rice would be really good with this we ate that too. But at least we tried to make a totally paleo meal! Let me tell you, that is not easy. This curry is good with or without rice, but the rice does help absorb all that tasty sauce. Paleo or not, you should make this dish. It will rock your world.

Mango Curry Chicken
Adapted from PaleOMG

  • 1.5-2 lbs chicken breasts 
  • ¾ cup canned coconut milk
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 Tbsp ground ginger
  • 4-6 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp paprika
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped into 1 cubes (i used green and red)
  • 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 large ripe mango
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • dash of red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper
  • 1-2 avocado's for garnish
  1. In a large pot, combine the coconut milk, tomato paste, garlic, ginger, curry powder, paprika, salt and pepper, red pepper flakes, and whisk together.
  2. Next, add in chicken and mango, and pour broth over the chicken.
  3. Mix all ingredients together to completely cover the chicken in the curry mixture.
  4. In a large skillet, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil and cook onion and peppers until fragrant.
  5. Add onion and peppers to the chicken mixture and stir.
  6. Cover and cook on low for 1 hour or until heated through.
  7. Serve with freshly sliced avocado.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes

In honor of my lovely friend Pam's birthday yesterday, I decided to make these cupcakes! They are so summery and light, a perfect treat for spring-summer transition time. Lemon flavored things always remind me of the good ole days when I used to get serious about my lemonade stand. I've always been pretty motivated and ambitious  so any chance I could make a little money, I jumped on that. So at my lemonade stand I didn't just sell lemonade, but I'd have anything from chocolate chip cookies, all the way to fresh zucchini. Pretty legit. I'm sorry if you never got to come to my lemonade stand. It was surely one of the best ;)

Pink Lemonade Cupcakes
Recipe from Today's Nest

Lemon Sponge Cake
The ingredients:

6 egg yolks
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1/3 cup of fresh lemon juice plus enough water to make 1/2 cup liquid
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon cake flour
6 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup strawberry jam for filling

The method:
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Separate the eggs from the yolks.
  3. Mix egg yolks on high speed for about 5 minutes.  They should appear thicker and lemon yellow colored.
  4. Add zest, juice, and vanilla.  Beat on low just until combined.
  5. Gradually add in 1 cup of sugar on low.
  6. Turn speed up to medium and mix for about 4 more minutes.  Mixture should nearly double in volume.
  7. A quarter cup at a time, sprinkle flour over the mixture and gently fold it in after each addition.  You should just be getting the flour moist here.  Set this mixture aside.
  8. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium speed until soft peaks form.
  9. Gradually add in the 1/2 cup sugar and beat on high until stiff peaks form.
  10. Fold 1 cup of the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture.
  11. Gently fold the egg yolk mixture into the egg whites.
  12. Fill cupcake papers 3/4 full with batter.
  13. Bake until golden brown on top (about 30 -35 min.).  Cake should spring back when touch in the center.
  14. Remove and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.
  15. Poke a hole in the middle of the cake.
  16. Pipe some strawberry jam into the center.
  17. Top cake with Lemon Buttercream from below.
Lemon Buttercream
The ingredients:

1/3 cup butter
5 cups confectioner’s sugar - sifted
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla
powdered pink coloring

The method:
  1. Beat butter in mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
  2. Add 2 cups of the sugar gradually while mixing.  Mix well.
  3. On low speed mix in 1/3 cup lemon juice, zest, vanilla, and powdered coloring.
  4. Slowly add remaining sugar and beat well.
  5. Add small amount of water, if necessary, to reach desired spreadable consistency.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Raspberry-Almond Shortbread Thumbprints

Raspberry-Almond Shortbread Thumbprints

I have so many people to be thankful for in my life. Especially all the people who mentored, taught, and encouraged me throughout my four years at The University of Texas at Austin. Though it doesn't measure up in any way to all these people have done for me, I made them these cookies as a small token of my appreciation. I hope you all know who you are and that I am so eternally grateful for sharing your lives and wisdom with me. I love you all so much and I'm really going to miss you!

Raspberry-Almond Shortbread Thumbprints
Recipe from Land O Lakes


  • 1 cup of butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup raspberry jam
Combine softened butter, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add flour; beat at low speed, scraping bowl often, until well mixed. Cover; refrigerate at least 1 hour or until firm.

Heat oven to 350°F. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Make indentation in center of each cookie with thumb (edges may crack slightly). Fill each indentation with about 1/4 teaspoon jam. 

Bake 14-18 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Let stand 1 minute on cookie sheets; remove to cooling rack. Cool completely. 

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2-3 tsp of water
  • 1 1/2 tsp almond extract
Combine all glaze ingredients in small bowl with wire whisk until smooth. Drizzle over cookies.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013



Well, now that I've successfully graduated from the great University of Texas at Austin (Hook 'em), it's time to start looking toward the future. And if you hadn't heard yet, I have been blessed with the AMAZING opportunity to serve my Savior in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for 6 months! And since my life always seems to bring me back to food, I decided to make these lovely Brazilian treats. Oh my yum. You will be astounded at how easy these lil' guys are to make. And boy do they taste delicious. I had to remove myself from the area in order to avoid eating them all. Get excited, these will be your new go-to party food! I promise that EVERYONE will love them.

Recipe adapted from All Recipes

4 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 (14 oz) can of sweetened condensed milk
1 Tbsp butter
Optional toppings: chopped nuts, coconut, cocoa powder, chocolate sprinkles etc.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine cocoa, butter and condensed milk. Cook, stirring, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest until cool enough to handle. Form into small balls and eat at once or chill until serving. You can also roll the balls in your choice of topping!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Fruit Tacos with Chocolate Tortillas

Fruit Tacos with Chocolate Tortillas

Sometimes chocolate for breakfast is a really good idea. Nick and I had such a blast constructing these for dessert one night, that we decided to make them the next morning for breakfast too! Oh my goodness, they are so healthy, so simple and so delicious that you really have no excuse not to make them. These would be a really fun party dessert. Just lay out a bunch of toppings and let people make their own taco. I could honestly eat these any time of the day (and wouldn't feel guilty), so feel free to make them for any meal! 

Fruit Tacos with Chocolate Tortillas
Adapted from She Knows

Serves 8 (16 tortillas)


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 4 tablespoons agave nectar or honey
  • 1-1/2 cups warm water
  • About 4-5 cups of fresh fruit (mango, blueberries, papaya, kiwi, strawberries, pineapple etc)
  • Juice from one lime
  • Optional toppings: Nutella, chocolate sauce, toasted coconut, macadamia nuts, fresh mint, honey
In a large bowl combine the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, salt and cocoa powder. Whisk all the ingredients to combine.
Add coconut oil, agave nectar and warm water to the bowl of dry ingredients.

Mix the ingredients together with a wooden spoon until a large ball of dough forms.

Transfer the ball of dough to a floured work surface and knead the dough for five minutes, adding additional flour if the dough becomes too sticky to handle.
Cut the ball of dough in half and roll both pieces back into a ball. Continue to cut the balls of dough in half until you have 16 even pieces. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes.

Transfer one ball of dough to a floured work surface and roll the dough into a circle that is one- quarter inch thick and about five inches in diameter.
Heat a cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Do not add oil to the pan because the tortillas need to be cooked on a dry surface. Once the skillet is hot, add the rolled out dough and cook for 30 seconds.

Flip the tortilla and cook for an additional 30 seconds. Repeat until all of the dough has been used and you have 16 cooked tortillas. Transfer the tortillas to a plate lined with a damp paper towel.

Wash all the fruit for the fruit salad. Dice all fruit into bite size pieces. Drizzle the fruit with the juice of the lime. 

To serve, place one chocolate tortilla on a serving plate.
 Spread Nutella onto the tortilla and top with fruit of your choice.
 Top the fruit with additional toppings of your choice. Chocolate sauce, shredded coconut, macadamia nuts, fresh mint and honey all work wonderfully.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Apricot Preserve Bread

Apricot Preserve Bread

This is the perfect bread for tea time. If the smell of it baking doesn't do it, then definitely the first bite will make you crave dainty china, crumpets, and finger sandwiches. Brings me back to my British background, making me wish I was eating pasty's and Battenburg cake at the British Pantry with my grandparents. This recipe makes an elegant bread without the fuss to make it fancy. A plus is that since the preserves are already baked into the bread, you won't need to spread any on top! So innovative. 

Apricot Preserve Bread
Adapted from Crunchy Creamy Sweet

  1. 3 c all-purpose flour
  2. 2 tsp baking powder
  3. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  4. 2 tsp vanilla
  5. 3/4 c vegetable or canola oil
  6. 1 1/2 c buttermilk (or sour milk)
  7. 2 large eggs, room temperature
  8. 2 tsp freshly grated orange zest
  9. 2/3 c apricot preserves, warmed up
  10. 1/2 c dried cranberries
  1. Grease a 9"x5" loaf pan. Line with parchment paper. Grease the paper. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  3. If using sour milk: place 1 Tbsp of white vinegar in a measuring cup and fill with enough milk to make 1 and 1/2 c. Stir few times and let sit for 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda and baking powder). Add orange zest and whisk.
  5. In a medium mixing bowl, beat eggs. Add buttermilk, oil and vanilla and mix well.
  6. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula just until moistened. Do NOT overmix the batter!
  7. Pour half the batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Drizzle the apricot preserves and gently make few swirls in the batter. Top with remaining batter and spread evenly. Make a slice down the middle with a knife (the batter will be sticky).
  8. Place in the hot oven and bake for 10 minutes. Turn the temperature down to 375 degrees F (do not remove the bread) and bake for additional 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the top is golden brown.
  9. Remove the bread from the oven and cool in a pan.
When making a quick bread, it is very important not to over mix the batter. Stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Adapt this recipe by adding dried fruit or chocolate chips.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013



COFFEEEEEEEE!!!! So yummy. Having access to unlimited delcious coffee at my internships/jobs this past semester has really made me appreciate the greatness of this flavor. I definitely wouldn't say that I'm addicted, but now some of my favorite desserts include coffee. These would be coffee ice cream, salted caramel mochas, and tiramisu! YUM. I couldn't find lady fingers at the grocery store so I decided to make my own sponge cake, and it turned out just as lovely! But feel free to substitute lady fingers if you don't want to make your own cake.


For the sponge (Genoise) cake
3 whole eggs
3 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup plain flour, sifted
2 Tbsp butter, melted

To make the Genoise cake
Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray a 9 inch diameter round cake pan or 8 inch by 8 inch rectangular cake pan with vegetable oil and lightly dust with cake flour. Beat the eggs and 1/3 cup of sugar at medium speed in a double boiler over very hot water, until the mixture is smooth and pale yellow in color. Add the remaining 3 Tbsp of sugar and beat at high speed until the mixture reaches a consistency that forms ribbons when poured. Remove from the heat, stir in the vanilla extract, and slowly fold in the cake flour. Fold in the melted butter. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake at 350° F for 30 to 40 minutes 

Remove from the oven and immediately turn the cake out of the pan onto a wire rack to cool. 

For the coffee mixture
2/3 cup of strong Espresso coffee
1 Tbsp granulated sugar
1/4 cup coffee flavored liqueur

To make the coffee mixture
Mix the sugar into the coffee. Evaporate down (by boiling) the coffee-sugar mixture until only 1/3 cup remains. Add the Marsala wine or brandy and stir. 

Marscarpone cream
250g mascarpone cheese
2/3 cup thickened cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp coffee flavored liqueur
1/4 cup coffee, cooled
4 Tbsp icing sugar
Cocoa powder & grated dark chocolate to garnish

In one large bowl, whisk mascarpone cheese, vanilla extract, 2 Tbsp coffee flavored liqueur and 50ml coffee with a hand mixer until all mixed through.
In another bowl, whisk the cream and icing sugar until smooth (or almost at soft peaks).
Fold cream through the mascarpone mixture.

Tiramisu Assembly
Slice the Genoise cake in half, to make two cakes of half the original height. 

Place the first slice of the Genoise cake at the bottom of a serving bowl or pan and sprinkle half of the coffee mixture over it. Spread half of the Mascarpone creme on the cake, using a spatula. Spread half of the Mascarpone cream and sprinkle half of the chocolate gratings over the whipped cream. 

Put the second slice of the Genoise cake on top and repeat the above procedure with the coffee mixture, Mascarpone cream and chocolate gratings to finish the Tiramisu. 

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 6 hours.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Carrot cake with buttermilk glaze and cinnamon cream cheese frosting (AKA the best carrot cake in the world)

Carrot cake with buttermilk glaze and cinnamon cream cheese frosting 
(AKA the best carrot cake in the world)

WOW. I not only do I already have SUPER high standards for baked goods, but especially for carrot cake. Carrot cake is my all time favorite kind of cake so of course finding the best recipe ever has always been my goal. Ladies and gentlemen, I have found the best recipe. No joke. Well actually I can't take any credit for finding it because my lovely friend Catie introduced me to it. This girl is so wonderful and beautiful and  her friendship has blessed me so much. We had a blast making this cake together for my birthday last weekend!! Love you Catie!!!! Well, I was so in love with this cake that I had to make it again on Wednesday. So much goodness, I don't know how to handle it. If you have a bucket list, put making this cake on it.

Carrot cake with buttermilk glaze and cinnamon cream cheese frosting 
(AKA the best carrot cake in the world)
Adapted from Bon Appetit

2 c unbleached all purpose flour
2 t baking soda
2 t cinnamon
1/2 t salt
1 1/2 c sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 c buttermilk
3/4 c vegetable oil
1 t vanilla extract
2 c coarsly grated peeled carrot
1 1/2 c sweetened flake coconut
1 8oz can crushed pineapple in juice
1 c coarsly chopped pecans
Cake: Preheat oven to 350. Brush a 9x13 in metal pan with vegetable oil and dust with flour. Whisk first 4 dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Beat sugar, eggs, buttermilk, oil, vanilla in a large bowl. Beat dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Fold in carrots, coconut, pineapple, and pecans. Transfer batter to pan. Bake 30 minutes, tent with foil and continue baking until tester comes out clean. About 15 more minutes. (I didn't tent the cake because the cake didn't look like it was getting too dark.) Remove cake from oven. Using a skewer or toothpick, poke deep holes all over the cake.
1 c sugar
1/2 c buttermilk
1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, diced
1 T light corn syrup
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 t vanilla extract
Glaze: Bring sugar, buttermilk, butter, corn syrup, and baking soda to boil in large saucepan, stirring until sugar dissolves. Boil until glaze is a deep amber color, whisking often, 3-4 minutes. (glaze will think out when almost done) Remove from heat, mix in vanilla. Pour over warm cake. Cool cake completely before icing.
1 1/2 8-oz pkgs (12oz total)cream cheese, room temp.
1/2 c (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
1 1lb box powdered sugar
2 T brown sugar
1 1/2 t vanilla extract
1 t ground cinnamon
Beat cream cheese and butter in large bowl til fluffy. Add powdered sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon. beat until blended. Spread frosting over cooled cake in pan.


1/2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup coconut flakes
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp sugar

Heat butter in a skillet over medium heat. Once melted, add pecans and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Stir constantly so sugar evenly melts onto pecans. When pecans start to toast (2-3 minutes) add in coconut until it starts to toast (about 1 minute). Remove from heat and let cool before sprinkling over cake.
can be made one day in advance. Cover and chill.