I’m just in a mood for all these West Indian goodies these days huh? *whimpers* I really miss home so I guess I’m just digging up everything that reminds me of the Caribbean. Today, I’m sharing this recipe for peanut sugar cakes, West Indian style. When I first showed peanut sugar cakes to my American friends, I remember one of them saying “Oh that’s the same thing as peanut brittle” *gasps* It probably is close in looks or preparation but I think peanut sugar cake is in a class of its own. Coconut and groundnut (peanut – I prefer to call it groundnut) sugar cakes are staples in Caribbean culture. I remember as a little girl, I used to save up my money to go buy a bag with two groundnut sugar cakes from the ladies under the Building & Loan Building in St. Vincent. When I went home on my last trip, I made sure the first day I was in town, to get groundnut sugar cakes from them. Last week, with all the groundnuts that I had here that my MIL sent from Georgia, combined with my missing home, I decided to make groundnut sugar cakes. I scoured the web and asked almost a dozen of my friends for a recipe. Each one told me that they didn’t know how to make it but their grandma or mom would. Because I couldn’t wait any longer for any of them to get back to me with good news from their grandmas or mothers, I decided that I had to experiment and do it on my own. I knew it required roasted peanuts, sugar, ginger and water but what proportions and in what order of preparation – no clue. Luckily, my hunches were right. Today, I give you peanut/groundnut sugar cakes!
The other morning I was craving something healthy for breakfast. I hadn’t eaten granola in a while so I decided to use up the last bit that I had.. Images of my Amaretto Berry Parfait came to my mind but I knew that was way too indulgent for me so early in the morning. I decided to simplify things by just making a simple fruit salad, layering it between yogurt and granola and just calling it a day. Easy, delicious breakfast just like that!
I love granola. I could sit in front of the tv and eat granola for hours. The stuff is so delicious! Recently, I looked at the ingredients on a store bought package and it had high frutose corn syrup. So you mean to tell me that the granola (package that) said “Sweetened with honey” was sweetened with something else? Hmmm. And let me not talk about the amount of sugar in each serving! I knew I had to do something. I knew I had to make my own. One of the things I love about making my own granola is that I can add just about anything to it. I set out on a mission to find recipes that would help me make some truly delicious and healthy granola. I found a host of tricks and tips along the way. One tip suggested using a mix of old fashioned oats as well as quick cooking oats for clustery granola. Another tip encouraged the use of applesauce instead of butter and/or oil. All in all, these tips helped me get one of the best tasting granola mix I have ever had.
When I was growing up in the Caribbean, these were what we made with overripe bananas. Banana bread is something I learned here in the States. And not to say banana bread is bad because it’s in fact really great but with another batch of overripe bananas on hand and frozen Coconut Banana Bread in the freezer, I had to do something else with these bananas. I decided to take it back – way back – to the years of my childhood and adolescence in St Vincent and the Grenadines. I decided to make banana fritters. I had not made or eaten banana fritters in about 2 years prior to making these so when I finally had a bite, I was transported back to the days of my youth. If you look at the recipe, you’ll see it’s super simple and still very banana-y (yes, I have a knack for coming up with my own words. Cool isn’t it?)
Back around Thanksgiving, when I went to Georgia, I was having a good old chat with either my mother in law or dad in law and I think I was complaining about how expensive pecans were “up north”. At the time of said conversation, I had just paid $12 for either 8 ounces or 12 ounces of pecans and I found that exorbitant! Much to my surprise before I left out, my in laws presented me with about a 2 pound bag of pecans. I seriously felt I had won the lottery. I couldn’t wait to come back home and make my Sweet Potato Casserole and my Caramel-Pecan Cinnamon Rolls. When that was done I had a little bit of pecans left back. Would you know in the mail just before the New Year (or was it after..Hmmm), a package arrived and guess what was inside? My friends – I have more pecans than I know what to do with. I’m not complaining though because dear old Dad told me to freeze them to use in the future so whenever a recipe calls for pecans, Tia would be primed and ready! In an effort to use some of the pecans that I have, I made these super delish candied pecans so that I’ll have a healthy snack on hand to eat whenever I get peckish!
Well really it’s a fruit salsa but chips and dip sounded so much better so I named it a fruit dip. Anyways, this right here is one of my best discoveries for 2012 so far. These cinnamon chips made from tortillas are to die for. No seriously, it’s so good. I am so glad I discovered it because this entire treat fits perfectly in with my soon-to-come diet. It’s healthy, it’s delicious and it’s ridiculously easy. Who knew? I also love the fruit salsa. I did it my own way (what’s new?) and used the fruits I had on hand. The apples in the mix made for a really nice crunch amongst the other soft, juicy fruit. All in all, it was fantastic!