Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Double Chocolate Chunk Cupcakes...

I found this recipe used to make a cake on 101 Cookbooks and used it to make cupcakes for my daughter's 3rd birthday party. They were a big hit with adults and children alike! I forgot to post them, but have had a few people ask for the recipe since and so I am finally getting around to sharing this scrumptious treat! They are made with maple syrup instead of sugar and they were topped with this delicious Maple Syrup Whipped Cream, that made them SO SUPER delicious- the whipped cream frosting is a MUST! Don't skip out of the best part!!! So here we go...

2.5 cups flour
(I used 1/2 whole wheat & 1/2 all purpose)
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 TBSP baking powder
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup coconut oil (or soft butter)
1 cup REAL maple syrup
2 eggs, beaten
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup coconut milk, room temp
8 oz. chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350. Mix your dry ingredients together- flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, & sea salt. (NOTE: when choosing your flour, remember that whole wheat flour will leave you with a denser cupcake, so choosing to mix it with something else, like all purpose flour will alleviate that a little. For the lightest cupcakes, choose to use all purpose flour). Sift all your dry ingredients together, then whisk your coconut oil with your syrup and then add you beaten eggs, vanilla, and coconut milk. Mix thoroughly adding your chocolate chips (whole or chopped) to the batter. Pour into lined cupcake tins and bake for 15- 18 minutes until you can remove a clean toothpick from the center of a cupcake. Let them cool, and frost before serving. Don't frost these guys too far in advanced because the cupcake will absorb the frosting and become soggy.

Maple Syrup Frosting:

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup real maple syrup
1/4 cup softened butter

Simple. Add all ingredients to a bowl and beat with an electric mixer until peaks form (about 5 minutes or so) then refrigerate or put a dollup on top of your cooled cupcakes.

Saturday, May 28, 2011


I confess... we are OBSESSED with Mangoes over here! We just can't get enough of them... and lucky for us there are so many GREAT health benefits to go along with the amazing flavor and tropical vibe, that you can justify splurging on them. They are a little more expensive than most fruits (check out Costco, a box or 8 for $6.50) but 1 of them can be enjoyed by a few hungry fingers. We have them with breakfast or as a snack or mixed in with another fruit like strawberries for dessert- and I {confession} eat one almost every night (when we don't have them for dessert) before I hit the hay! They are so delicious and this is the warm season to enjoy them- so dig in before they are gone!

Our current favorite dessert in this household...

Here are some known Health Benefits of Mangoes:
  • Super good for digestion because they are high in Pectin & Fiber
  • High in Vitamin A, B, C, & E as well as Iron, Copper, Magnesium & Potassium--- see they are loaded with good stuff!
  • Help lower levels of LDL cholestrol
  • High in Antioxidants therefore, a fighter of cancer and heart disease
Random fact: Mangoes are from the same family as pistachios & cashews?? Yes it's true! Weird huh??

Don't forget, you can also make some Mango salsa, or Mango Sorbet, add it to smoothies or puree it for baby food.... the possibilities are endless!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

U-Pick Fruit

Hey y'all... I haven't posted in a while.... a LONG while.... life has been busy with babies and pureed food, visiting family far away, and PICKING FRESH, LOCAL, RIPE, DELICIOUS FRUIT!!!!
Mother's Day 2011
Murray Farms
For Mother's Day this year, I asked to take a trip to our local u-pick farm, Murray Farms- all I wanted was to pick and EAT fresh, ripe, scrumptious fruit... so that's just what we did! So here's where I URGE you, especially if you have kids- find a local u-pick farm where you live, show your kids where produce REALLY comes from (not the grocery store! ha!) and let them get their little fingers on it straight from the bushes and trees- so much finger-licking fun to be had!

If you live locally, in the Kern County Area (or are passing through) I really encourage you to take a trip or stop on by Murray Farms.... they have just about everything you can imagine picking from blueberries, strawberries, cherries, peaches, plums, apricots, pluots, blackberries, and so much more! They offer a tractor ride to the fields, a pet zoo for the kids, clean bathrooms and buckets for picking your fruit, kid friendly carts to load up your diaper bags (and babies!) and buckets of fresh fruit! It costs $3 to pick and then the fruit is anywhere from $.99 - $2.99 per pound and on weekends they give you a pound for free plus fresh, hot pancakes to to enjoy your fresh fruit with! YUM!!! And that $3 admission gives you access to the petting zoo and the ant maze and fresh flower maze you can pick from.... so much good stuff in one spot- please go check it out, it's a great trip for young and old alike!!!
Our first trip was strawberries and blueberries, then we went back for more blueberries, and well, next week we are going for the peaches! Check it out and take a trip to your local U-Pick!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Asparagus & Spinach Pesto Pasta...

OK, here's one for the recipe book.... a really fun twist on a traditional dish. Now, instead of making your pesto sauce with basil, you will subsititute it for spinach and asparagus. It makes the creamiest pesto ever, so delicious! Here's how...


Pesto Sauce
1 bunch asparagus, blanched
3 handfuls spinach, raw
2 cloves garlic
1 cup parmesan cheese
3/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 of a lemon, juiced
1/2 tsp sea salt

Pasta Dish Ingredients:
1/4 cup pine nuts, roasted
1 lb. brown rice pasta
6-8 basil leaves*** optional
1 package of chicken*** optional
sprinkle of parmesan for garnish

Bring a pot of water to boil to begin cooking your pasta. Also you need to blanch your asparagus, so bring some water to boil (in a skillet is fine) and cook the asparagus for 3 minutes, until they are bright green, then rinse them under cool water to stop the cooking process. Once your asparagus is cooked, cut the tips off and set them aside, they will be the garnish for your dish. In a small skillet, brown 1 cup of pine nuts for a minute or two to give them a toasted flavor (your pine nuts will be divided, 3/4 of a cup for the pesto sauce, 1/4 of a cup for the pasta dish). Next dump the bottom half of your asparagus stems plus everything else on your "pesto sauce ingredients" list into your Vitamix or blender and blend until it's creamy. In a seperate skillet, brown your chicken breasts or tenders, sprinkling with a little s & p and some garlic powder. Once your chicken is cooked all the way through, chop it up into bite size pieces. Now combine everything. Drain your pasta and put it in a large serving bowl, add your sauce, put in your chopped chicken, sprinkle in your toasted pine nuts and a little extra parmesan, and top with the asparagus tips and serve hot! Enjoy, it's sooooooo tasty!

** If you do opt to use basil, you can either add it to your pesto sauce, or chop it finely and sprinkle it throughout the dish, either way it's a fun way to add more flavors!