Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Chocolate Coconut Muffins

When I shared these coconut berry pops a couple of months ago, I was exhausted from chasing around our one year old and having just moved (at 8 months pregnant, nonetheless!). Now that there's a new, super cute reason to be exhausted, I'm not only loving recipes that are quick to make and require few ingredients, but ones which are quick to eat too!  


You see, either I have to eat quickly because there are only a few minutes left during nap time, after my to do list has been partially tackled, or for instance, my 18 month old is standing in front of me, longingly staring at whatever it is that I'm eating (and not moving until he's had a piece... Or half!).



So these days, I'm absolutely loving smoothies, muffins and anything else I can make quickly, add nutrients to and eat on the go! Coconut water has been a great help in meeting all three! Using it as a substitute for water in smoothies, is a simple and effective way to add electrolytes and a little boost. And when your muffins may have a tad more chocolate chips than a healthy muffin should, adding coconut water is an easy way to add nutrients! 

When Epicurex introduced me to Chocolate Coconut Water, I was more than happy to give it a try! Nutrients and chocolate? Yes, please. Adding a touch of chocolate to smoothies and a few recipes calling for water, has been a simple yet effective way to boost flavor while adding electrolytes such as potassium and magnesium (and more!) effortlessly! The intensity of coconut water, is muted with the addition of chocolate and a subtle coconut underlying flavor. It's a fantastic way to add a new dimension to your treats!


These chocolate coconut muffins are a great, simple treat! They are best served fresh with your favorite spread or a touch of margarine! With the boost of electrolytes and chocolate, thanks to the coconut water, you're only enhancing and not compromising the flavor at all!

Enjoy!

Chocolate Coconut Muffins (Makes 12)

2 large eggs
1 C sugar
1 1/4 C all purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Optional: 1/2 C of chocolate chips or a handful of shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350F
Line and grease a muffin tray
Beat sugar and eggs together until well combined
In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt
Add the flour mixture alternating with the chocolate coconut water
Mix until just combined
Add the optional chocolate chips or shredded coconut, if you'd like
Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes

These muffins are best served fresh! They have bread like consistency and are wonderful with jam, cream cheese, margarine etc! 

Keep in a sealed container, at room temperature for up to 2 days otherwise




Epicurex provided me with a sample of Cocozia Chocolate Coconut Water to help create this recipe. The opinions, images and recipe provided, are all my own.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Itsy Bitsy News!

With gratitude to Hashem, M & I are so excited to (officially) share special news with you!

A couple of hours after Shavuot ended, we welcomed our newest member, who has brought a whole new meaning to itsy bitsy!

Our strong, itsy bitsiest, newest little boy!


That's right. We have two little boys under two! And while our hands are definitely full, our hearts have never been fuller!

Absolutely LOVE my Happy Mommy Box, bag!

Baby N, was born under 4lbs and had to stay in the NICU. In only 9 weeks he has taught his Mommy what being strong means and is an incredible little superhero!

As for big brother Y?


When he's not busy editing and preparing guest posts for the blog... he's busy being the brother of the year! He dealt with his sense of normalcy being totally and completely uprooted and adjusted beautifully to our chaotic routine. This Mommy is super lucky to have two incredible little boys ka"h!


We've learned a lot these past couple of months, and there's so much to write about! I'm looking forward to sharing our latest adventures, y'know between checking on the newborn, tripping over a Lego or ten and chasing a toddler!

Hands full, heart full!

Be back soon with new adventures, fantastic product reviews and a few delicious recipes too! Hope you're having a wonderful summer!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Pasteis De Nata & Ricardo Cuisine!

Growing up, summer meant spending time with my grandparents. While during the rest of the year, their home was where we would go to after school until my parents could pick us up, summertime meant spending the entire day running around the backyard and playing in the garage. Yes, you read that right. My grandfather put down carpet in the garage for us, a chalkboard to play school and made us our very own skipping ropes. We’d spend endless hours playing away until my Mom would come to pick us up. Summer also meant getting to tag along on one of my very favorite errands…

A trip to the bakery!

I’m fairly certain that I can trace my love of bakeries and baked goods back to those mid-morning trips with my grandfather to the bakery at the end of the street. Picking up fresh buns was a daily occurrence. The occasional loaf of bread or hot dog/ hamburger buns may have been purchased at the grocery store, but as far as buns or bread for our meals was concerned, nowhere but the bakery would do! To this day, my Dad still stops every Sunday to pick up bread for our Sunday dinners! And while helping my grandfather fill a bag with fresh, warm buns was fun, it was when we would head to the counter that the excitement would really peak. As I stared at the display cases filled to the brim with classic Portuguese desserts and pastries, the kind staff would, without fail, “sneak” me a cookie or treat! From walking through the door, to leaving with a bag full of that fresh scent and warmth, the experience was always enjoyable.

When it comes to Portuguese bakeries, there is one dessert in particular, that is iconic.

Pasteis de Nata. 


I can’t even begin to count the number of times, someone has asked me if I’ve made them. Having become kosher five years ago, the “is there anything you miss?” question is a popular one. Over the past few years, I’ve done what I can to transfer family recipes into ones that would accommodate and meet kosher dietary requirements. When friends learn this, pasteis de nata always seem to be the first thing they inquire about. I must admit, while I enjoyed them, they were never the first dessert I’d reach for. But sure enough, make something (especially a baked good!) inaccessible and it’s suddenly a favorite! Given that, I still had yet to attempt baking them, since I have never, NEVER, had a successful experience with custard or caramel.

Until now! 

About a month ago, I was introduced to Ricardo Cuisine. I’m always on the lookout for fantastic food/ recipe websites, and while I certainly love a good cookbook, there’s something special about the ease of searching for a recipe and having a slew of results pop up within seconds. The Ricardo Cuisine site has definitely become a favorite of mine in a very short amount of time! Its crisp and clean layout showcases the food presented beautifully. The menu can be tailored to help you find exactly what you’re looking for. The drop-down menu underneath Cook breaks down your search into mains, appetizers, desserts etc. The Discover bar leads you to videos, a menu planner and further broken down categories (i.e. summer cooking!) and more! Add special features, a boutique, a magazine and themes (i.e. Cooking for Diabetics) and this website is as comprehensive as it is fantastic! 

Naturally, I gravitated towards the dessert section, where I found 17 categories! Browsing through them, it was at once clear that not only did the desserts look appetizing and great, but the recipes were also accessible and straightforward. The ingredients didn’t even need a ton of tampering with to comply with kosher requirements! Just when I thought I had hit the jackpot, I stumbled across a recipe that provided all the confirmation I needed…

Portuguese Tarts!



The recipe, like the others I had browsed through, was so straightforward and accessible that for the first time, I really felt like I could attempt to recreate this classic! The added bonus of the fact that it didn’t require any gelatin or ingredients kosher versions of pasteis call for, was especially exciting! The recipe is inherently kosher!

Not gonna lie, I was still nervous to attempt anything involving custard, but if I was ever going to find a recipe to give it a shot, it was this one! So during the kids nap time, on a sunny afternoon, I went for it! And…

SUCCESS!

I made custard! It was a milestone moment in this Itsy Bitsy Balebusta’s kitchen! Another great thing about pasteis is that as long as you get the components right, the final presentation doesn’t have to be clean and fancy! Pasteis de Nata are known for their almost burnt looking appearance. Take one bite though, and it won’t matter what it looks like!

I’d definitely recommend taking a look at the site and using it to help you plan your next menu, meal or snack! The recipes are so great that something I’ve failed at before, I was suddenly able to make effortlessly. I wasn’t left with a sink full of dishes at the end (always a plus!), I had all the ingredients I needed in the fridge and pantry, and everything was so easy to follow that it really felt effortless. The only alteration I made was baking each tart in a ramekin. Truth be told, I didn’t have an appropriate dairy muffin pan, but in the end it was a great option! I was able to make slightly larger pasteis than the traditional ones (and really, is extra custard and pastry ever a bad thing?) and didn’t have to worry about any custard spilling out during the baking process. I generously greased them beforehand and baked them at 500F. All in all, not only is it a beautiful site to browse through, but you’ll both want to make the recipes and enjoy the seamless process almost as much as the final product!

                        

Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s been about five years and I have a few extra pasteis waiting for me!