On the 28th of February, I got a package in the mail. A heavy package. I was honestly expecting a small box but then I was told “This one is heavy”. I got so excited I almost broke my leg trying to get out of bed. I excitedly opened it and to my surprise, I saw nuts and more nuts. I almost melted on the spot (Photo further on in the post). I started to plan how I was going to use all these nuts. The next day I made a banana pecan bread and the morning after that I made these delicious banana pecan pancakes. The recipe I used for inspiration called for chopped pecans but I blended the pecans to a fine dust (almost like flour) so it made for some really consistently nutty pancakes. They were very tasty!
So, as I mentioned in THIS POST, I’ve been drinking a lot of homemade smoothies these days. I know you guys just love how I start off a blog post like we had been having a conversation the whole time, right? No? I’m sorry. Hiiiii Guys! How’s everyone feeling? I hope the week has started well for you all. I’m feeling GREAT! Maybe it’s all these healthy smoothies I’ve been drinking these days. I make it my business to drink at least one a day. Usually, I don’t follow a recipe. I just think about what flavors I’d like to taste, put them together in a blender and whiz up something. My body thanks me whenever I feed it all that goodness. The most recent smoothie I’ve made was this one that I call Truly Tropical Smoothie. If you think you’d like it, then give it a try! Come back and tell me how it was for you.
Yay! It’s Friday. The beginning of the weekend and my time to let loose a little. Today, I’m sharing with you another rum cocktail. This is the third one in a row. I must be going through a rum phase. Don’t worry, I’ll soon make a cocktail with another type of liquor. I hope. This cocktail, according to About.com, “became popular at Pat O’Briens bar in 1940′s New Orleans, apparently debuted at the 1939 World’s Fair and was named after the hurricane lamp-shaped glasses the first drinks were served in. It’s said that O’Brien created the heavily rummed drink as a means to get rid of the large stock of rum his Southern distributors forced him to buy” I found it to be very delicious because of all the citrus juices. Try it and get your weekend started in style!
Now I must say that for most of the English speaking Caribbean, when we islanders say rice and peas it means rice and peas OR beans. I have never heard “rice and beans” said of a rice dish that contained red kidney beans. Which is exactly what this dish is: rice and red kidney beans. Saying rice and peas is so much easier. It just kinda rolls off one’s tongue. I know you mightn’t see it that way but I do *giggles* Over the years, I’ve eaten my fair share of rice and peas (which includes rice & lentil peas, rice & pigeon peas and rice & kidney beans). Over and over and over again. Rice is a huge part of Caribbean cuisine. Almost all meals are served with rice. Curry? Rice. Stew Beef? Rice. Jerk Chicken? Rice. To be honest, when I make chili, I make rice to go with it. I’ve done the cornbread thing but man nothing like some rice and chili. Do not scoff. Today, I’m sharing with you this rice and peas (beans) recipe. I hope you try it and like it.
I have been on the search for perfect blueberry muffins for the longest while and everywhere you look, everyone claims THEIR recipe is the best. The recipe that inspired this post was chosen because Sally, at Sally’s Baking Addiction, took her time to carefully explain the science of muffins (an Alton Brown of sorts). After seeing her photos, I was truly impressed. But I’ll say this – too many times food bloggers post these fabulous pictures of food with a recipe and when I try it, it never turns out that way. I am soooo pleased that Sally’s recipe was spot on. I did make a few changes like incorporating a cup of whole wheat pastry flour and adding a few tablespoons of browned butter but I was extremely happy with the results. I took a batch for my friend Nancy and man was she happy. She had two before I had left her.
One summer, a couple years ago, my PIC attended a garden party in Washington, D.C. He spoke so highly of the food when he came back home but what stood out was how he insisted that I had to make these “plantain things”. “They’re cut into slices then deep fried and sprinkled with a little salt” was the explanation I received. The thing is I had had them many times before. I had even made them for him but apparently mines was not as memorable as his. At a BBQ last summer, I was joking with a sweet Puerto Rican yound lady about my PIC’s love for these plantain snacks that I just can’t seem to make to PIC’s liking. She gave me some tips (one of which included deep frying because apparently all this time I was pan frying). So with this and another tip in hand I finally got around to tostones. I made this Mojo sauce to go with it. The sauce is very herby and garlicky and would be the perfect marinade for poultry or meat but it goes really well with these plantains too.
They say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. After a night of sleeping, one’s body needs replenishment in the form of food to help it get going properly for the day. If you have work or school, that morning meal will definitely help you stay more alert and have the energy to do the tasks at hand. I’ve skipped breakfast enough times to know, that without it, I’m a total *insert not-so-nice word here*. I tend to be slower and more disinterested in what I’m supposed to be doing. What I love about these “muffins” (and they only got that name because of the muffin pan I made them in – they are nothing close to real muffins) is that they are easy to store (freeze) and then later, you can just pop out of freezer, heat and eat! So they make perfect sense for someone, with a busy schedule, who doesn’t have much time to make breakfast on mornings. The best part about these “muffins” is that they are chocked full of vegetables and are super “deeeeeee-lish-chus!”
Every day I wake up I think of my lovely St. Vincent and the Grenadines. I wish I was there right now. In fact, every day I wake up I say to myself “Boy, I really wish I could go (to) Salt Pond today” or I can be often heard telling one of my hanging buddies from St. Vincent “Today would have been a reallll(y) nice day to go (to) Salt Pond”. Salt Pond is my favorite beach in St. Vincent & the Grenadines. It has black sand and mildly rough waters. It’s definitely not the typical beach many think of when they hear the word “island” or “Caribbean”. Day after day, there’s no Salt Pond for me. Alas, I’m stuck here, in the States, and won’t be there for a while *Tears* You see, my most recent trip home just reminded me of what a beautiful country I was born and raised in. In retrospect, I can’t believe I was, at 17 years old, dying to get out of there. Only now, as a fully grown adult, can I truly appreciate the rich culture of my country, the warm and usually sunny weather to be had there 365 days a year, the beautiful, scenic views throughout the island and all that lush vegetation that provides those tasty fruits and vegetables. I love and miss you St. Vincent & The Grenadines.
Quite a mouthful there huh? Shall we cut it down to just Trail Mix Smoothie with banana and peanut butter? What’s that you say? It’s the same thing? Well I was only trying to help….So I guess we’ll stick with the name in the title. Oh wait how about BPB Trail Mix Smoothie? Sounds mysterious doesn’t it? Ahhh, knew you’d like it! Whatever we end up calling this concoction, just know it tastes amazing. I had a trail mix package in my pantry and my girl friends and I have been trying to drink at least one smoothie a day, so trying to be creative, I thought I’d just blend my trail mix with some milk, add a banana and some peanut butter and abracadabra, my smoothie for the day
My freezer literally is pecan heaven. I have so many Ziploc bags of pecans that was sent to me all the way from Georgia almost a year ago. At one point, I thought I had more pecans than I knew what to do with BUT recently I have been finding recipes to try. That Pecan Milk I made the other day was just heaven sent. It has been the perfect addition to my oatmeal and smoothies. This recipe came about as inspiration from a combo of my Caramel-Pecan Cinnamon Rolls (Who remembers those goodies?) and my newly made Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream. I needed a sauce for my ice cream but not just any plain fudge or caramel sauce – No, I needed a Star Studded Caramel Sauce. This one was absolute perfection!
Ok, I’ve been really lazy these days. I cannot stand winter. It’s so cold outside. I truly dread leaving my house on any day below 50 degrees. HATE. So, yesterday when I was absolutely craving ice cream and it was-Heck, I don’t even know what the temp was. Alls I knew was that it was February 23rd and winter was in full swing so I was not trying to leave the house. And so the mission began to make my own ice cream at home. Ladies and gents, I don’t think I was ever so excited to make anything as much as I was with this ice cream. I knew if it came out well, that the possibilities were endless. I was already thinking of strawberry cheesecake ice cream, chocolate ice cream, caramel swirl ice cream. Man, my mind was on overload. This just HAD to work. I do not have an ice cream maker so I searched the web for a recipe that didn’t call for one. I found a super easy recipe on Martha Stewart’s site BUT I added a special ingredient, just on a hunch and boy, all I can tell you that this was the richest, creamiest, vanilla-est ice cream I have ever tasted. Haagen Daz better watch their back!
So as you, my readers know, just the other day I made Coconut Milk. Geeze, let me tell you how tasty this stuff is! I used it in a Strawberry-Banana smoothie last week and I declare it was the best smoothie I have ever made. Sooo good. Because that coconut milk was so good and a little less guilt inducing than cow’s milk, I decided to experiment with pecan milk. My people, this is just gold! I have included a recipe for a smoothie and oatmeal that I used the pecan milk. You must give it (or them) a try!
Oh how I love the flavor of coconut. It’s so…tropical. It reminds me of home any time drink or eat any coconut flavored drink or food. Where I live, canned coconut milk is about 1.50 for each can. Over time, that adds up. Recently, I ran out of diary milk when I was craving oatmeal so I was forced to improvise because 1. It was snowing outside and 2. I was just tooooo lazy to drive to the store. I’ve seen my grandmother make coconut milk already. She pretty much followed THIS method but I didn’t have a whole coconut on hand nor was I up to the task of grating. What I had though was a bag of coconut flakes lying around and with the help of Google, I was able to enjoy a nice bowl of coconut flavored oatmeal that day. I’m also experimenting with making pecan milk. Will post my results soon.
This piña colada drink was inspired by one I had on Young Island (St Vincent & the Grenadines). I’ve had piña coladas before but when I had this particular one, I knew my new mission in life was to come back to States to make one that replicated this deliciousness to the T. I know this one deviates from the original but it’s still really good. If you ever give it a try, come on back and tell me how you liked it.
Hiya Guys! I know I’ve been super delinquent but I promise there’s a really good reason for that. Wanna know why I’ve been missing in action for so long? Well, I’ll tell you…I was in St. Vincent and the Grenadines for 5 long weeks. It was my first visit home in what seems to be forever and man did I enjoy myself. In fact, I’m planning to return in a few months. I just cannot wait. If you’re interested in reading more about the lovely and gorgeous St. Vincent & The Grenadines, you can do so right HERE