Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Vanilla Mango Minicakes with Fresh Blackberries

Ok, so I catered my first event last week and was I ever excited. Pretty recently, a lot of my friends and coworkers have learned how much I enjoy cooking and baking and have been rather intrigued. My roommates tell me they just don't understand how I can be in the kitchen for 3 to 4 hours prepping, baking, plating and frosting. They told me to sit down, take a load off. Then, when I reply that unless they want me to leave some goodies at home I better not sit down...they scream in answer, "keep working, keep going, we want treats!" Ha! I am of course more than happy to make some extra for them and love their input on my new recipes.

For a friend's "golden birthday" she threw a bash downtown and asked me if I would be willing to make the food for her party! I was super excited and humbled that she wanted me to provide the goodies for her birthday and wanted to make sure I did a great job and made all of her favorite foods. She had known about my Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes and really wanted to try those, so put it on the list! She also loves all kinds of dips so I wanted to prepare some delish things to use those great scooper chips. Guacamole and fresh salsa it is!

The last thing I came up with was another sweet treat. Since I was already making a rich chocolate cupcake, I wanted to switch up the flavors and make a lighter fruity cake. I recently bought a new baking pan and was dying to try it out. It is like a muffin pan but instead of each cake being round they are all mini squares. So cute! These vanilla mango mini cakes were light and fluffy and had just a perfect hint of sweet mango flavor. I am definitely going to be making these again!

1 French Vanilla cake mix
1 bag of frozen chopped mango
1 white chocolate sugar-free instant pudding
4 eggs
1 cup milk
2/3 cup water

Mango Lime Tilapia

Bananarama Nut Muffins

Hot and Heated Shrimp

Oooo, this was a good one! Something super easy and simple I seriously threw together one night when I was craving something a little heated. Here's the scoop; I had quinoa to use up, I had some frozen shrimpies that were on sale during a summer extravaganza, some broccoli florets and fresh farmer's market tomatoes. 

A lot of recipes, especially cooking and not baking,  you see on my blog come completely from my little creative brain. I don't follow recipes if I'm just looking to make something from what I have in my kitchen. This concoction is one of those such creations. 

Frozen devained shrimp (thawed)
Frozen broccoli florets
Tomatoes; cut into bite-size pieces
Quinoa (1/2 quinoa for 1 cup water)
Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Thai Chili Garlic Sauce
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
LIme Juice

1. Prepare quinoa
2. Saute broccoli, tomato and shrimp in EVOO. Add Chili Garlic Sauce and red pepper. 
3. Let ingredients and flavors marinate until all are happily married :)
4. Scoop the goodies over the quinoa and top with a squirt of lime juice to tame the heat.


Summer Steak, Shrimp and Shandy

Coconut Lime Rice

I have to say, this rice was one of the most delicious side dishes I have made to-date! It had such wonderful flavor, it will definitely become a regular at my table. I was so enthused to make this dish and I am so glad that it turned out ever so yummy-in-my-tummy.  

I would suggest this rice with just about any main meal, but think it goes especially well with fish. It would also be great alongside some chicken lettuce wraps or tofu. I first discovered this recipe from a coworker who suggested one very similar. Then, I found a recipe on allrecipes.com for coconut lime rice and made a few changes for substitutions that I had. I did not have basmati rice on hand, but my kasmati worked just as well. I also do not keep coconut oil in stock but canola did the trick! I also used low-fat coconut milk instead of full-fat and the flavor was superb.

If you are looking for an easy summer twist on rice I highly recommend this coconut lime rice!

1 cup basmati/kasmati rice
1 tablespoon coconut/canola oil
1 teaspoon butter
1/4 cup flaked coconut
1 cup low-fat coconut milk
1 cup chicken broth
1 lime, zested and juiced
salt and pepper to taste

1. Rinse rice until the water runs clear; drain. 
2. Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook and stir rice and coconut flakes for 3 to 4 minutes. I may have cooked my rice a little too long because it got a little browned, but in the end I think it just added more flavor!
3. Stir in the lime juice, then add the coconut milk, chicken broth, salt and lime zest. 
4. Bring to a low boil, then cover and reduce heat to low. 
5. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
6. Remove from heat and keep covered for 5 minutes. Fluff with fork and season with pepper.

Morning Glory Muffins

2 cups AP flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sugar-free applesauce
1 cup grated zucchini
1 cup grated carrot
1/4 coconut flakes
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup raisins
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
3 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350
2. Line muffin pan with liners or grease
3. In a large bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients and add the carrot, zucchini, raisins, nuts, coconut and apple
4. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, oil and vanilla, then combine with the dry ingredients until just moistened
5. Fill muffin tin about 1/2 full
6. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.


Jelly Filled Crepes

Mmmmazing Morning Crepes