Sep 14, 2014

Strawberry Cobbler

For the first time in history, today's dish was made entirely by the mister. I wasn't feeling my best and he made this to cheer me up. The house smelt like heaven and I was instantly transported to a better mood. So thank you, hubby!!

This is a cake like cobbler and the steps are so simple. First melt the butter in the pan while oven preheats. Second, pour in the batter. Third, pour in the cooked strawberries. Lastly, bake and serve. How much simpler can it get??




Ingredients -

Batter -

All purpose flour - 1/2 cup
Whole wheat flour - 1/2 cup
Baking powder  - 2 tsp
Sugar - 3/4 cup
Salt - a pinch
Milk - 3/4 cup
Egg - 1

Strawberry mix -

Strawberries - 1 lb, hulled and chopped
Sugar - 1/3 cup
Cornstarch - 1 tbsp
Lemon juice or vinegar - 2 tsp (I used raspberry vinegar)
A pinch of cinnamon


For the pan -
Butter - 1/3 cup


Method :

1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. Cut up the butter into pieces and place it in a 9x13 pan inside the oven while it preheats.

3. In a sauce pan, cook the strawberry mixture ingredients for about 2-3 minutes. Just till the strawberries soften. Set aside.

4.  Whisk together the batter ingredients to form a smooth, lump-free batter.

5.  In the pan with the melted batter, pour the batter. Then spoon in the strawberry mixture evenly. No need to mix or anything.

6. Bake in the oven at 350 for 30-35 minutes or till golden.

Enjoy as is or with ice cream!!

 I'm so glad to have this recipe in my kit. So far I've made peach cobbler and apple cobbler with the same recipe with very few modifications. The recipe works with any fruit. I love to microwave the leftovers for about 20 seconds and I have a warm goey dessert to enjoy after dinner for a week.  I hope you enjoy the recipe too!!



Aug 28, 2014

Alaffia Skincare Review

I'm super excited for today's post! I was contacted by Alaffia to review a few of their skincare products and I'd like to share some of my favorite products from their line. You might have seen these products in your local Whole Foods or organic department. I have been trying to shop more in the natural products aisle over the last few months, so I was thrilled to receive these products.

Alaffia is a certified fair-trade, sustainable beauty company based in Washington state too. The company was created to help West African communities self-sustain by through fair-trade of their indigenous resources. I also love that the company provides pre- and post- natal care for women in West Africa, offers bicycles and school supplies to improve access to education and actively works against climate change by planting trees and building biogas units. You can read more about their work here!


Now onto the products!

African Black Soap -  My favorite of them all.  I absolutely love the tangerine citrus scent! The soap is moderately sudsy and cleansing. I used it on my face and to shower and I didn't break out at all. It's a multi-use soap, so you can use it as a shampoo or shaving cream too. I also love the pump. Very convenient and hygienic.

Multipurpose Skin Cream - Over the last year I've finally started moisturizing regularly. I've gotten rid of my reptilian skin patches. I switch out from lotions and light creams to heavier, oil based formulas for fall and winter. This skin cream is a mix of three oils - coconut, sesame and baobab. The cream is fragrance free, so you only get the scent of the oil. I would have loved a little fragrance, maybe the lavender just because I tend to apply body creams before sleep and it's a very relaxing exercise.
Though the cream has an oil base, it gets absorbed very quickly and doesn't leave any residue. I've also used the cream after shaving and on my elbows because they were looking a bit rough. I wouldn't recommend using this cream on the face if you have oily skin but as a body cream, it works great!

Bubble Bath - Mmm.. such a pleasant, calming lavender scent. As the weather cools down, a warm bath is a great way to help relieve stress and relax. This is a great product for that purpose. I also love that it's a nice generous size bottle too!

Lip Balms - I have the pure coconut and the coconut mint flavor and I've been alternating them over the last week. Both of them leave my lips feeling soft and flake free in the morning. I didn't see any white film or cast, so that is a definite plus!

If you don't have a whole foods or PCC or a natural store near you, don't worry. Alaffia is also sold in several online stores. Check out the green department of drugstore. com , Vitacoast and Amazon. I love that their ingredient list is so short and free of chemicals. The products all contain fair trade and natural shea butter which is a lovely product if you are looking for deep moisturizing. The products are a great way to enjoy natural skin care without breaking the bank. Most of the products are under $10 and come in generous bottle sizes, so they are definitely comparable to drugstore brands. If you are looking to add more natural products to your skin care regime (and why not!) definitely consider Alaffia. I'm definitely re-purchasing once my products run out and what a great added bonus that my money is going to help women in west Africa!


FTC disclaimer  - I was not compensated for this post. I was sent products for review and this post reflects my honest opinion. 

Aug 22, 2014

Sweet Strawberry Bread

I was looking to use up a pint of strawberries and my old strawberry cake came to mind. I decided to put a twist on it and make a loaf out of it! I had it as an evening snack with some low fat whipped cream. I bet a couple of slices would make a great breakfast!







Sweet Strawberry Bread (Adapted from AllRecipes)

Ingredients

Strawberries - quartered - 1 cup

All purpose flour - 1 cup
Whole wheat flour - 3/4 cup
Brown sugar - 3/4 cup
Baking soda- 1/2 tsp
Salt - a pinch
Cinnamon powder - a pinch
Walnuts - 1/4 cup chopped (optional)

Vanilla extract - 1 tsp
Eggs - 2 beaten
Olive oil - 1/2 cup

Method -

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. In a clean bowl, sift together the dry ingredients.

2. Mix together the wet ingredients and add them to the dry ingredients.

3. Mix with a spoon till well mixed.  The "batter" looks crumbly and greasy and not at all fun looking, lol.

4. Bake in a 9 x 5 or an 8 x 4 pan.in a pre-heated oven for 35-40 minutes. Check if done at around the 30 minute mark to avoid burning!


How simple is that!! Definitely try this recipe while the market's flooded with berries. I bet the recipe would work great with blueberries and raspberries too. I just love one pot, fruit based desserts like these. So easy and simple enough to whip up in an hour or less!


Aug 17, 2014

Whole Wheat Bread (No mixer required)

I've been baking a ton these days to pass the time, mostly cookies and bread. Today I made this whole wheat bread that was just so perfect that I needed to share the recipe. Don't be intimidated, it really is super easy and does not require a stand mixer!

I adapted the recipe to make just one nice fat loaf and not three loaves, because let's face it, two people and three loaves just doesn't work out well. I also added and deleted some ingredients and I'm very happy with the result!



Whole Wheat Bread (Adapted from AllRecipes)

Ingredients -

Water -  1.5 cups.
Yeast - 1 packet/ 0.25 oz
Sugar - 4 tbsp


Bread flour - 2.5 cups
Whole Wheat flour - 1.5 cups
Ground flax - 2 tbsp
Salt - a pinch
Olive oil - 3 tbsp


Method -

1. Microwave the water for about 30 seconds to get it warm but not hot. The yeast need to be alive and kicking in there.

2. Add the sugar and the yeast, stir and let it stand till bubbly and frothy. About 15 minutes.

3. In a large mixing bowl, sift together all the dry ingredients.

4. When the yeast is ready, pour the sugar-yeast mixture and olive oil into the dry mix and mix the dough.

5. Once the dough comes together, knead in the bowl to make it smooth and moist.

6. Preheat the oven to about 250F and place the bowl in the oven covered by a wet dishtowel.

7. About 45 minutes to an hour later, the dough should have risen to double the size. Punch it down and knead a little bit more in the bowl.

8. Grease a 9 x 5 pan and shape the load into a rough bread shape and place in the pan. Cover with a towel and allow it to proof a little bit more. About half an hour.

9. Once the bread is nice and risen, bake in a preheated oven at 350F for 25 minutes.

10. Once baked golden, brush on a little bit of butter on the top to keep the crust soft. Allow to cook, slice and serve warm!!



The bread is very moist inside and soft and chewy. I don't like hard, dry breads, so this is perfect. I already had a sandwich and the bread was delicious. I'd definitely like to try making grilled cheese and french toast with it.

I really enjoy baking bread. I don't think I'll be doing it every single week but once in a while, it's a treat to eat homemade bread. I hope you'll try out this recipe too!!