May 24, 2009

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May 22, 2009

Banana Bread

okay, I made this banana bread the other day and it was great but I did not get many pictures. Well, with how easy this banana bread was to make I decided to make it again.

However, this time I had some leftover tropical pancakes that had been soaking in syrup. I really did not want to throw these away for a few reasons. For one we are totally broke. We really do not throw away much. But also, these were whole wheat pancakes, with kiwi, papaya and mango!!! I thought that sounded perfect for banana bread.

The basic recipe was really easy. I got it from the Joy of Baking site. I am in love with this site. But 1 problem I knew I was going to have was that I do not have any baking soda. We only have baking powder. After doing some research online I was able to determine that I could sub baking powder pretty easily for the same measurement. So that is what I did.

The recipe as called for by Joy of Baking is below.

After I got all my wet butter, banana, eggs and villa all together I threw in the rest of the kids pancakes. after mixing in the dry ingredients it seemed a little wet so i threw in a little more whole wheat flour.

I put it into a heart shaped baking dish (still the only 1 that I have!) The bread was great. It was finished off for breakfast the next day. The pancake did add to the flavor not only in the tropical fruit and syrup but also in making the bread a little heavier. It did more to fill you up.


1 cup (115 grams) walnuts or pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped (optional)

1 3/4 cups (245 grams) all-purpose flour

3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar

1 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

3 ripe large bananas (approximately 1 pound or 454 grams), mashed well (about 1-1/2 cups)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Garnish: (Optional)

1 large banana, sliced or dried banana chips

May 20, 2009

Tropical pancakes

I have been really trying to think of new ways to use a lot of the fruits that either are starting to get too ripe or the ones that get smashed to bits on our way home. Well this morning I thought of a great idea... tropical pancakes.

I took some basic whole wheat pancake mix. I am not sure how much of a difference the whole wheat really makes but I am sure it is at least better for you. And I added 1 large but smashed kiwi and some chopped up bits of mango into the batter. i was a little worried that it would be too wet so I threw in a little bit of wheat flour.

They cooked up very nicely in the pan and I topped them with some mango and some papaya with a little syrup and a touch of powdered sugar. It was really tasty.

The really funny thing is... I have sort of a weird idea for the left overs. I made some banana bread the other night- it was my first batch and it turned out great. I did not get too many pics but anyway... I have decided to make it again but this time I am going to add my kids left over pancakes already moist with syrup.

I am not sure if this is going to turn out but we will see. That is the fun part.

wheat pasta with fresh and light garlic tomato sauce

Now if you read this blog you know that I make a number of variations of tomato/ marinara and bolognese sauces. I almost always use either a small box (here it is a box- in the USA it would have been a jar) of ready made sauce and or a box of tomato puree. This just extends the sauce to be able to cover more meals.

Alas- last night i did not any ready made items. I had to make it all and it went really well. it was the same thing that I always do but with out the bow of tomato puree.

It was simply... 1/2 chopped white onion, 6-8 cloves chopped garlic, 4 chopped tomatoes, a little salt and pepper and at the very end I added chopped basil from my garden.

Once the noodles were ready I just added them to the sauce pan with all of the yummy oil and sauteed onion, garlic and tomatoes. It was a very fresh tasting dinner. Especially for how simple it was.

It also reheated today beautifully when tossed into a non stick pan with just a little oil- it was perfect. When topped with fresh parmesan cheese--- ahhh... wish I could get that here. Oh well.

This dinner was simple and wonderful. This would be perfect for a party or crowd. i thin I will serve this at our next picnic.

May 17, 2009

Mango, pineapple sorbet with tequila and orange liquor

May I just say first of all, that I really want an ice cream maker. Ever since keeping strict track of the money we spend on things and at each store I have noticed a few things. One is that the ice cream at the store (which is the cheapest place to buy ice cream) has gone up from 35 pesos for about a liter to 40 pesos and I am sure that it will keep going up as the town continues to grow and populate. The 2nd thing I have noticed is that ice cream is our number one treat because it is so hot here. This is the one that I want... I think it will be so much fun to make a bunch of fruit sorbets. I mean... we have no shortage of cheap fruits here and the need for cool treats.


This palate cleanser was an idea that I had based on a restaurant that I went to twice in Paris, La Truffiere. It was one of those magical restaurants that you sit and eat at for hours. I went there once during the summer of 2000 and then again for Christmas Eve 2001. Both times were a truly unforgettable dining experience. Well, in between the fish and meat course they serve a palate cleanser. This was on both occasions an icy sorbet that contained liquor to help prepare you for the next dish.

Yesterday I was cutting some pineapple for some sweet and sour chicken I was making and the pine apple was to the point of almost done. Still a good pineapple but not the kind you want to eat plain. I had some mangos that were the same way. I decided to give a sorbet a try.

So yesterday I scooped out my over ripe mango and blended it in my trusty mini chopper and then did the same to the remaining half of the pine apple. I mixed the chopped fruit with a few splashes of orange liquor and a splash of tequila as well a cup or so of water.

I put it all in a tupperware dish and put it in freezer. After many hours I went and took it out and stirred the more frozen parts into the middle. Even at this point it was looking and tasting really good. I put it back in the freezer to harden over night. I figured that it would be a perfect snack for the next day which has already proven as I sit here at 10:30 am... that it is going to be a VERY HOT day.

But... alas... my husband came home from work last night and ate it all. can you believe that?!?!?! He assures my that it was very good. What a punk ass. Oh well. I am not really mad, although I would have loved to at least try it. I made it to be enjoyed... and it sounds like it was. But it did make so excited to try another one. What a great way to use all those fruits that are past the point of good raw.

This time I will hide it in the back of the freezer so the hubby cannot find it! :)

May 16, 2009

Spaghetti with Bolognese Sauce- loaded with vegetables

Now, ever since I have found wheat pasta at the supers here in town- we make noodles with marinara or bolognese at least once if not twice a week. We love it especially because of how many vegetables we have in the sauce but for how easy it is to reheat the next day or use in a new way. We love making french bread pizzas the next day!

Anyway. Another reason I love this recipe is because I hardly have to chop anything at all. With my hands in as bad of shape as they are I have come to LOVE and rely on my mini-chopper. First thing in is 1/2 to a whole clove of garlic- Once chopped I put a little a container with some butter to melt, the rest goes onto a little plate, next, the onion followed bell pepper.

I heat up a little oil in my skillet and and throw those all in with some salt, pepper and Pappy's. While those are getting soft and mixing together I blend up a head broccoli florets and then 3 carrots, I usually do not peel my carrots, just wash them up really well. and put those on the little plate.

After the onions, garlic and pepper are soft add the ground beef, you could ground turkey or chicken but I have not tried that yet. Once the meat is pretty cooked, add the broccoli and carrots and mix together. If I had celery or squash I would have added it here.

Then mini chop some tomatoes and throw those in with some tomato paste. At this point I usually add some cinnamon, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes and 1/2 a chopped jalapeno.

For the bread, we just mix the garlic into the butter and let it stand at room temp for a few minutes (here it melts within minutes) Cut the bread length wise, butter and grill until golden.

We usually serve it with a simple salad and save any leftover salad for salad or sandwiches the next day.

I love this meal. And the kids love it and there is almost no limit to what you can do with it. I love having extra sauce to make french bread or bagel pizzas or lazagna. And now with the whole wheat pasta I do not feel nearly so bad.

May 13, 2009

Grapefruit Grouper

Well, I had some grapefruits to use so I started poking around online looking for recipies that would work for a grapefruit sauce on grouper fillets. I found some recipes for bbq grouper with sweet and sour grapefruit sauce so I figured it must work flavor wise. So then I started looking at some grapefruit sauce recipes in various areas. I took some ideas from a bunch of them and made this lunch. It was grouper in a grapefruit and ginger sauce, brown rice and steamed broccoli.

For the rice and broccoli is never occurs to me to us my double pot steamer. This time I remembered. I put my water for my rice on the bottom and the broccoli on the top and added the rice half way through. Though next time I will not add the pot with broccoli until my rice is already in. I just like my broccoli a little crispy.

*** One good idea to get your kids to eat veggies it to steam the veggies for the whole time that the rice is boiling and cooking and then mash the veggies into the rice. Sometimes I will add a little butter and garlic at the end. But my kids do not pick out the veggies then***

For the sauce I threw some red onion, a little garlic butter I had left, grated ginger (a little goes a long way) and some grapefruit segments and the juice and some water. I let those flavors simmer together while I got the other stuff ready. It did not take long for the sauce to start smelling really good. If I had a chili I would have thrown it in too but I did not.

The sauce turned this nice muted orange color and was smelling fantastic. I added the grouper which I seasoned with salt and pepper and left them alone for several minutes on each side, flipping once.

We plated them up and used up all of the sauce. Ours had a little too much ginger in it but it was still good. It was a very healthy and tasty lunch. And if this is not the ultimate test... my 4 year old ate every bite of broccoli florets, brown rice and grouper with grapefruit sauce. That is quite a victory for me.

Lena thought the fish was a little funny tasting. I think it was the ginger. This is one of the first times I have ever really used ginger. They had it at the store and Ruben loves it so... Hey, you try you learn.

May 8, 2009

Mexican Grilled Grouper in a Tequila Marinade, with brown rice and veggies and sliced mango

So armed with left over brown rice and veggies that I made last night, I set out to make a grouper recipe that was adapted from this web site I had all the fixings for it so I thought that I would give it a shot.

I marinaded the grouper fillets in some tequila, orange liquor, lime juice, garlic and salt. I set the in the fridge for about a half hour or so. I took a picture - it is a pretty boring fridge. And our "pantry" is not that much more exciting.

I then made the salsa. This was just tomatoes, white onion, red onion a little garlic, salt, pepper, a little sugar, _ I would have put in jalapenos but I did not have any. So I added a little red pepper flakes in the kids salsa and then added red pepper flakes and a little habanero salsa to our pico de gallo

I lightly oiled my grill pan and set the fish on there to cook for about 5-6 min. each side. Meanwhile I put the marinade in a little pan and simmered while the rice and veggies that we had leftover reheated.

When served it was a fillet of the marinade liberally dressing the top (this would have been a great topping for fresh steamed veggies. We then piled the pico de gallo on the fish and served with the leftover rice and veggies and sliced mango.

It was a great lunch. It tasted very fresh and light.

I just found this great web site that looks like it has some great recipies for fish.

One pot veggies and brown rice or No broth veggie soup

This is a one pot version of a dish that I made all the time. A simple mixture of veggies much like I would make chicken with vegetable soup or vegetable soup.

I started by sauteing white and red onion, yellow bell pepper and garlic after a little while I added a few hand fulls of brown rice and let it brown on all sides. I am not sure why you do this but I have seen it in a few recipes so... why not,

Then I added a bunch of water and a little chicken bullion and Pappy's. Once it started to boil I added my carrots, broccoli and chaote.

At this point I could pretty much leave it alone and let it just cook and stir occasionally.

This was a very tasty meal for the kids and I.

May 6, 2009

Stuffed Red Snapper, Corn pudding and Zucchini pudding

Torta de Elote (corn pudding) Budin de Calabcaita (zucchini pudding) with Stuffed Red Snapper. My authentic Mexican dishes for our Cinco de Mayo celebration.

This recipe was first inspired by the fact that Ruben was working in the morning and was going to be home for dinner. And it was Cinco de Mayo so I wanted to make something nice. Red Snapper is one of Ruben's favorite, it is very traditionally Mexican (especially here on the Caribbean) and I was literally walking right by the pescaderia. I picked out my fish and they cleaned it up and slit it for me. he asked me how I was going to cook it so we could decide if I wanted the head and tail or just the fillet. He said that I should stuff it. Sounds good to me.

In the cookbook, Mexico, The Beautiful Cookbook with recipes by Susanna Palazuelos, that was recently given to me as a gift I found 2 recipes that used things that I had in the house and I thought would go nicely.

The first was Torta de Elote (corn pudding)- This consisted of 8 cups of corn (I only had 4 - oh well)3/4 butter, 2 teaspoons baking powder,& 1/4 teaspoon of salt although I added some cinnamon and sugar to make more of a sweet pudding and it was really wet so I added maybe 3/4 cup of flour.

After blending the corn in my trusty mini chopper, I mixed with the remaining ingredients and put into my baking dish.

Next I made Budin de Calabcaita (zucchini pudding) The recipe for this originally called for white cheddar cheese but we do not have an abundance of cheese here so I used a yellow cheddar like cheese- I have no idea what it is called.

4 cups zucchini, boiled-drained-mashed, add 1 cup shredded cheese, 1 beaten egg, 1 cup crushed soda crackers, 1/2 cup butter and salt and pepper. I did not have individual ramekins so I used a muffin tin- they still had to be scooped onto the plate and did not hold a form. Ramekins would have been better/prettier.

I then stuffed the red snapper with garlic, sliced onion, red peppers & zucchini with salt, pepper and Pappy's. I also seasoned the outside of the fish on both sides.

For the kids I put some onions, red peppers and garlic on the baking sheet and laid the fillet of grouper I had gotten for them on top. I then sprinkled both fish with lime juice.

After cooking the corn pudding for 30 min I let it stand while I baked the fish and zucchini for 20 minutes.

The food was great. The kids loved every bite of the food and Ruben and I were thrilled with our dinners to. Dessert was also perfect at simple vanilla ice cream, fresh cut mango and cajeta sauce.

May 4, 2009

My garden

While I was in the USA with my kids I regret that my garden really suffered. For one, while I am sure he did it almost everyday, my herbs need to be watered 2 times a day. Most of the little herb pots were completely dried out. I have been nursing them back to health and some are making a great comeback.

My pumpkin did not make it. It had a ton of squash blossoms but the whole thing died before I we got any pumpkins. My corn also died. I think that was because it was not the right time to plant.

One problem I am having is with the soil itself. Someone told Ruben that the plants would probably not produce anything because the soil was not good enough. I need to be adding fertilizer. Well, the whole point of trying to grow my own food is to keep costs down so I really do not want to buy a bunch of expensive fertilizer.

Well, I have been doing some research and have found some home made fertilizer ideas. One is the egg shells and coffee grounds. We have eggs and coffee everyday so there is a ton of this to add to the garden. I also read about collecting sea kelp and soaking it in water for a month or 2. This is a good option for us as we live in a beach town. I also heard putting sand around my tomatoes will do wonders.

Some of the plants are doing really well but are not giving any fruit. This one is a pepper I think but there are no peppers????? There is also this other huge plant growing right in the middle of the pepper. I am not sure what either of them are really.

I have a few tomato plants that have finally started to grow but as of yet are not giving much. There is one little tomato on one of the plants but that is it?!?!?!

I really hope it changes soon.

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