Dec 7, 2014

Cranberry Apple Muffins

Holidays are here!! I came home with a large bag of cranberries and apples a few weeks ago. While the apples were over in an instant, the cranberries just sat there for days! After searching high and low, I came upon this amazing recipe for cranberry apple muffins. They are literally the best things I've eaten in quite a while!! I modified the recipe a teeny bit and soon, I had the most perfect muffins ever!

Adapted from the Barefoot Contessa

Ingredients :

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
A dash of ground cinnamon
1 - 1/4 cup almond milk
2 eggs
8 ounces butter - melted
1/4 cup olive oil
1 - 1/2 cup fresh chopped cranberries
1 peeled and chopped honeycrisp apple (or another sweet variety)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white granulated sugar

Steps :

1. Preheat oven to 375F.

2. Sieve together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, ground cinnamon.

3. Whisk together the almond milk, eggs, melted butter and olive oil.

4. Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture. Add the apples, cranberries, walnuts and sugar and mix till combined and do not over mix!!

5. Bake for 25 minutes and voila, the most perfect sweet-tart muffins are your to devour!

I love the sweetness from the apples and the tartness from the cranberries. If you like to bake with fruits, this is definitely a must try recipe! Hope you enjoy the muffins.

Nov 27, 2014

Big Changes!

Hello there! Happy Thanksgiving! This year has been a roller coaster of sorts but I'm thankful for every single moment because the journey brought me to a fabulous destination. I'm thrilled to announce that we are expecting a baby in May of 2015! Husband and I are overjoyed and excited and nervous as all first time parents are.

First trimester has been um, interesting. I've been throwing up almost everyday. Everything in the world is a trigger and if you blog about food, well, good luck then. I couldn't even go through pinterest or read other food blogs, lol. I'm almost 14 weeks, so I hope to get back to food and cooking soon. My husband has been so supportive and has taken over the cooking. He is such a champ. Maddie has been an even bigger champ. She is super snuggly. While she is not snuggling with me, you can find her snuggled in my pregnancy pillow. She loves that thing, lol.

There is so much stuff to buy for the baby!! So far all I've bought is a cute 3 month outfit. I'll write more about what I'm buying once I start!! Here is an outfit picture I took last week! I'm not showing a lot yet. It will be fun to dress my bump moving forward.

I've gained weight all over, so nothing really fits. It's winter anyway, so I've been wearing sweater tunics and fleece leggings everywhere I go. I will need to start buying some maternity clothes soon!

We are also moving soon to a new place!! I'm so excited to decorate the house and get it ready for the baby. It will be fun to catalog the process in this blog.

Maddie at the new house!

I have some great recipes and some fun shopping to share. I look forward to blogging about them soon!! Hope you had an amazing thanksgiving day!!

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.