Coconut Pie on a whim

coconut pie

Lots of experimentation went on in my kitchen last weekend… and this is the delicious result!  The filling of this pie is just about as addictive as the inside of a Mounds or Almond Joy and the recipe couldn’t be easier, either.  I think it tastes best a tad bit warm from the oven with a dollop of whipped cream. (Imagine drizzling it with chocolate and sprinkling toasted almonds on top!)

Ingredients:

deep, pre-made graham cracker pie crust

3 egg yolks

1 can of evaporated milk (14 oz)

1 cup of evaporated milk

1 tsp coconut extract

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

2/3 cup of sweetened shredded coconut

 

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

Blend all ingredients for the filling and pour into graham cracker crust

Bake for 30-35 minutes until light golden and firm to the touch.

Serve with whipped cream.

 

Detox: Day 1:-P

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This is my second time doing the Dr . Oz Detox Cleanse.  I think I’ve mastered making the smoothies in a way that make them more palatable. For the lunch time smoothy, for example, I take out the fibrous stands from the celery and peel half the cucumber before blending. -no one likes a mealy, chewy smoothy 😛

Breakfast and lunch are down.  Only have dinner and some warm glasses of green tea to go for today…. Here’s the info for any of you who’d like to try.

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Father’s Day Surprise: Mango Tres Leches

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When my father’s mango tree started to give fruit a few weeks ago, I teased that I wanted some.  He jokingly responded that he would, under the condition that I invented a mango flavored Tres Leches cake (his favorite dessert).

I accepted the challenge and secretly made him one for father’s day! It came out so amazingly moist,  creamy and mango-y I have to pat myself on the back.  Lol. I’m submitting the recipe into a contest so I can’t share just yet but will let you know the results!

Keeping Traditions- My family’s stuffed grape leaves recipe

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Now that I’m off for summer vacation, I’ve gotten excited to experiment more in my kitchen! A recent conversation with my aunt about her favorite middle eastern restaurant got me thinking about how much I miss eating my mother’s stuffed grape leaves. Unfortunately, mom has decided in recent years that she has no patience for cooking so I knew I’d have to recreate myself if I was going to eat them. Thankfully, she taught me how.  (And after tasting them has given me her vote of approval!)

The following recipe is one that has been passed down from my great grandmother. She had to improvise on some ingredients that were not readily available in supermarkets or specialty stores in the early 60’s. Now, we have lots of variety and wonderful ethnic groceries that carry all kinds of delicious things. I will give you both the “improvised” version my great grandmother taught my mom (in parenthesis) and the actual ingredients in the version that I made.

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Ingredients:

1 pound of ground lamb (ground beef)
1 pound of thinly sliced lamb shoulder (chicken breasts)
1 cup of rinsed white rice
1 tsp. curry powder
1 box of mensaf yogurt based soup starter (1 1/2 blocks of cream cheese)
3 + cups of chicken broth
1 jar of preserved grape leaves

Directions for Set Up and Leaf Assembly:

Directions for Sauce and Cooking:

This is the main way my version differs from the way my great grandma taught my mom. She had to resort to mixing cream cheese and chicken broth in the blender to create the tangy taste of “yogurt” soup that the leaves are cooked in. I don’t think the current Greek Yogurt trend was a “thing” back in the 60’s and there most certainly weren’t many Middle Eastern specialty shops in Miami. LOL! The problem with this is that, while it does taste delicious, it separates and looks curdled once cooked. If your grandma makes it and you know it tastes amazing you overlook this sort of thing… but if you want to serve it to guests… not a good thing.

On a trip I made to Jordan with my sister a few years ago, however, we discovered a dish called Mensaf. I had never heard of it before but the minute we put that piece of lamb cooked in yogurt sauce into our mouths, my sister and I gave each other a wide eyed look of recognition. “It tastes just like the sauce mom cooks the grape leaves in!” When I got back, it was my own grandmother who inadvertently taught me that they actually HAVE the yogurt base for that dish pre-packaged at middle eastern stores. (She has an obsession with purchasing everything from spices she won’t use to dishes and incense there, lol.)

I hope you enjoy eating them as much as we have for such a long time.  I’d also love to hear your feedback if you decide to try the recipe out or have your own grape leaf recipe you’d like to share!!!

The “Official” Florida State Pie

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Key lime pie,  REAL key lime pie,  is one of the most delicious, refreshing and gloriously simple desserts ever created.  It also boasts the title of “Official Dessert” for my home state of Florida! (Not really.  But if that title really DID exist,  it should totally be given to Key Lime pie.)

Key Limes are different from your standard Persian limes in two ways: they’re about 1/3 of the size and are much more tart in flavor.  On a good day,  a full bag of key limes will yield only 3/4 to 1 cup of juice.  But, think of it this way: All that squeezing really helps tone the muscles in your forearms and biceps. Winning!!!

Now,  don’t insult me by making this recipe using that preservative-filled “juice” they sell in the grocery store that comes out of a green,  lime-shaped squeeze bottle.  The beauty of this 5 Ingredient recipe comes from the simplicity and quality of its ingredients.

Ingredients:
1 pre-made graham cracker crust
1/2 cup of key lime juice
1 can condensed milk
2 tsp key lime zest
2 egg yolks

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350° Fahrenheit.
Zest then juice limes.
Mix together measured ingredients and pour batter into crust.
Bake until just set (10-15 min)
Cover and allow to cool in fridge completely before serving.

As a Floridian, I must warn you that Key Lime pie is traditionally NEVER served with merengue. This isn’t lemon merengue pie, people!!!  It is permissible,  however,  to serve it with a dollop of sweetened whipped cream to offset the tartness of the filling.  Enjoy and happy summer!

J’aime Les Oeufs

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The French have an obsession with eggs.  It might not be as high up in the ranks as butter, wine and stinky cheese but, trust me, eggs are up there.  In quiches, omelets, deep yellow brioche breads or served sunny side up with asparagus for dipping, the French love it all.  And in recent years, I too have developed a liaison amoureuse with these suckers.

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Besides the olfactory hallucinations I have of brewed coffee while on my weekend morning long runs, the second thing I begin to crave several miles in are my over-easy eggs and rye toast. I questioned whether this was even a healthy thing for me to indulge myself in every weekend as I’ve heard that eggs can raise your cholesterol.  The good news is that there’s TONS of research that shows that eggs are actually an extremely healthy, whole food and its not an “indulgence” at all.

Here is an article and brief video about the importance of eggs in the diet of athletes and how they actually DON’T raise your cholesterol.  So crack a few and enjoy!

How to Eat Like a US Olympian

Advantages of Eating Eggs- Competitor.com Video