Blueberry French Toast Bake

I’ve never been big on french toast. The maple syrup poured over it always made me reconsider it. I hate maple syrup. HATE IT. Most people use maple syrup on waffles and pancakes, I use sugar and whipped cream.

Maple syrup is pretty much sugar on steroids. In order to substitute sugar when maple syrup is used in a recipe you have to use 1 1/3 cup of packed brown sugar for every cup of maple syrup. That’s like 2 or more cups of bloody sugar!

I’m going somewhere with this, I promise.

9 out of 10 french toast bake recipes I came across had maple syrup in it. What.the.Hell!!!!

Then they wanted 12 bloody eggs or 2 bloody blocks of cream cheese. And you still have fruit to consider.

Fuck that shit!

Using two recipes as guidlines, I came up with my own recipe. I did forget to make the blueberry sauce, but honestly, it didn’t need it.

I also cut the cream cheese down to 6 ounces and reduced the eggs to 4.

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Blueberry French Toast Bake

3/4 loaf french bread, cubed
6 oz cream cheese, tiny cubes
2 cups blueberries
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Directions

Spray ceramic casserole dish with cooking spray.

Place half of cubed bread in dish. Pack and smush bread if needed. No holes.

Sprinkle cream cheese over bread and blueberries over cream cheese.

Place rest of bread cubes over the blueberries and cream cheese.

In a medium bowl whisk eggs. Add milk sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon.

Pour egg mixture over bread evenly.

Cover casserole dish with plastic wrap and put in fridge to allow the bread to soak up egg mixture over night.

In the morning, remove plastic wrap and pop into the oven baking at °350 for 25 minutes.

Makes 10. Calories: 238, Carbohydrates: 32 grams, Sugar: 10 grams, Fiber: 2 grams, Protein: 8 grams.

There are two great things about this brunchy I really don’t feel like making french toast but look like I slaved over this here stove dish – you make it the night before and in the morning just pop it in the oven and cook it while you are in the shower. And….it takes mere minutes to make.

I didn’t use a full loaf of bread, more like 3/4ths. But I also put it in a smaller dish and it still managed to serve 8. Well it was really three of us and we all went in for more. It was that good.

Probably helped that I put 2 cups of blueberries instead of 1 cup. There is no such thing as too many blueberries.

What I would do next time is cut the cream cheese into tiny cubes so that it will fully melt.

The tablespoon of vanilla was a pleasant addition creating a harmonious balance between the egg batter and the cream cheese.

I might make a banana foster version next time.

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Double Chocolate Fudge Tart

An oreo cookie crust. A filling full of chocolate. The most amazing double chocolate fudge torte ever made.

Mumika ending up ruining the sheen finish by putting foil on top of it while it was cooling in the fridge.

“What are you doing?” I ask Mumika.
“You can’t let it cool down like that!” Mumika replies.
“Leave it alone.”
“No. I don’t let anything cool down in the fridge without covering it.”
“You are going to ruin it.”
“No I won’t”

And she covered it with foil.

The next day, the gorgeousness is ruined because the bloody foil clinged to the damn torte.

I don’t know why she can’t listen to me.

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Double Chocolate Fudge Torte

The crust:
20 Oreo cookies with the white centers removed
6 tablespoons melted butter

Filling:
8 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
10 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pinch of salt

Directions

In a small bowl crush the Oreos. Much like the way you crushed graham crackers in earlier recipes. This is a good way to target your upper arms.

Add the melted butter to the crushed Oreos and combine until the Oreos are wet.

Press the Oreo mixture into a tart pan. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes. Take out of oven and let cool down.

For the filling:

Melt butter and chocolate in a saucepan.

Whisk until silky and smooth. Remove from heat.

In medium bowl crack eggs and whisk until frothy. Add vanilla, cream, sugar and salt.

Slowly mix chocolate into egg mixture. Whisk until well combined and pour over tart crust.

DO NOT OVER FILL.

Place torte into over and bake for 25 minutes at 360°.

It should have a nice glossy look to it. Place in fridge for 2 hours to chill.

Makes 10 slices. Calories: 364, Carbohydrates: 33 grams, Sugar: 25 grams, Fiber: 2 grams, Protein: 2 grams.

This torte was simple to make. If Mumika hadn’t ruined the sheen, it would be perfect.

Nothing is better than chocolate upon chocolate.

When I asked Mumika if she liked it, she told me it wasn’t as good as my chocolate ganache tarts. It was good, but I’ve made better.

To me, it was amazing.

The next day as she, D, and D’s mother ate the torte, Mumika’s opinion of the torte changed drastically.

“Its the most amazing thing she had ever eaten.” Which ironically was the theme of all the meals I had made in two days.

What changed? She took it out of the fridge and didn’t dig into it for about 45 minutes allowing the torte to come to room temperature.

The moral of the story – listen to the person making your food. They know what they are doing and unless you are a chef who went to culinary school, butt out.

This recipe called for 1/2 cup brown sugar in the crust. I obviously took it out. I mean seriously, its made out of bloody cookies which are made out of sugar. It called for 2 rows of Oreo cookies crushed. That’s about 24 cookies. What’s 4 cookies you ask? Its two servings of Oreos! Do you want 10 servings or 12? I’ll pick 10 if I can get away with it. And that’s exactly what I did.

This recipe called for semi-sweet chocolate. I like dark chocolate. The more cocoa in it, the better. It also means less sugar used. Besides, the bitterness of the chocolate complimented the crust. It was perfect.

So Mumika, don’t be a backseat chef. You are horrible at it. And I remember when you used to burn meat all those years ago. And you still can’t make cookies, even the premade put them on a cookie sheet ones, without burning them. I know what I’m doing. Step aside and bask in the yumminess that is tickling your taste buds after I’m done cooking.

Egg baked in Avocado

There’s been this phenomenon trending on recipe website as well as fitness websites. Eggs baked in an avocado.

So I thought, why not. I like eggs and I like avocado. It seemed easy and to be honest quite brilliant.

eggavocado

Egg baked in an avocado

2 eggs
1 avocado, halved

Direction

Deseed an avocado.

Scoop out a little avocado making a well big enough to fit an egg in each avocado half.

Crack an egg and pour it into the hole.

Place avocado halves onto a baking sheet and bake at 350 until the egg reaches the consistency you prefer.

Makes 2. Calories: 216, Carbohydrates: 8 grams, Fiber: 6 grams, Protein: 8 grams.

That is a lot of calories. But man, that is a great way to start your day. It’s satisfying, it’s high on omega 3 and look at that fiber. Fiber is what keeps you full. There’s almost as much fiber as there is carbs or protein. Damn. No wonder the fitness world is going crazy over this breakfast. It’s the definition of a perfect breakfast.

Be sure not to pick an overly ripe avocado. The riper the avocado the more it turns to mush and tastes a little rotten.

Make sure you make a well big enough to fit the egg or else it will not fit and spill. Also make sure you prop the avocado straight and not to the side. If it is a little to one side, the egg white will overflow while baking.

If you like sunny side up, bake for about 5 – 10 minutes. If you like a hard boiled like egg, bake for longer.

If you over bake using an overly rip avocado, the egg and avocado gets all mushy and rough. Then the taste gets all funky.

And no one wants funky eggs and avocado.

Fried baby bananas

I love fried bananas. Regular bananas. Baby bananas. Maduras. Tostones. Banana foster.

It might be the Puerto Rican in me. Actually, I’m pretty sure its the latina in me.

Fried baby bananas are amazing. They are like itty bitty individual mini bananas. I feel like I’m frying these bananas for fairies or gnomes.

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Fried Baby Bananas

6 baby bananas, peeled and halved
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Directions

Heat frying pan to heat up oil.

Put halved baby bananas into frying pan. Fry for a few minutes until golden brown. Flip bananas to brown the other side.

Serves 3. Calories: 261, Carbohydrates: 17 grams, Sugar: 7 grams, Fiber: 5 grams, Protein: 6 grams.

Fried bananas are like golden fruity molten that explodes in your mouth when you bite into them.

Whatever you do, do not fry in butter. The buttery taste doesn’t mix well with the melted happy banananess. Also make sure they are ripe and not a little green. When the baby bananas are truly ripe the color of the bananas are a bright yellow.

If you do fry them a little green and not fully yellow, you might want to brush a little honey (even though honey is the devil) or fry them with butter and brown sugar. It would be like making banana foster, but in snack sized form.

Either way, add eggs baked in an avocado and you have an amazing breakfast.

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Its almost Puerto Rican.

Sweet Potato Fries

I love anything sweet potato.

I still remember when I first tried sweet potatoes fries. I was in Maui for Bryan and my honeymoon waiting for the boat for the snorkeling session we paid for to come in. In reality, we didn’t know what food the boat was going to provide so we felt we should eat before we boarded in case the food sucked. That and it would stop me from going low.

Sweet potato fries was on the menu as an appetizer so I ordered it. It was a huge portion of fries and I took the first one from the top. The minute it touched my tastebuds, I was in love. The second one I dipped into honey (before I knew honey was the devil). I didn’t like it that much. The third one I dipped into ketchup and fell in love all over again.

And so began my love affair with all things sweet potato. Sweet potato hash. Sweet potato fries. Sweet potato chips. Not to mention, it lowers my blood sugar naturally. How can I not love it. It’s good for you, it’s a healthy alternative to the potato, and it lowers blood sugar. Sweet potatoes are the super starch for diabetics.
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Sweet Potato Fries

1 large sweet potato
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika

Directions

Cut sweet potato in half and then julienne.

Put the sweet potato fries into a large bowl. Add olive oil, garlic powder, and paprika to the bowl. Mix everything in the bowl together until the sweet potatoes are nicely coated.

Place the fries onto a cookie sheet. Spread the fries out and make sure they are all on the cookie sheet and not on top of each other.

Bake at 350 for 12 minutes. Take the cookie sheet out and flip the fries over. Place back into oven and bake for 15 minutes.

makes enough for 3 people. Calories: 137, Carbohydrates: 13 grams, Fiber: 2 gram, Protein: 1 gram.

I love oven baked fries. They are as crispy as fried fries. When you make anything oven baked, you cut the grease, carbs, and calories out of the fries. Not the mention you are using a healthy oil instead of canola or vegetable oil. Of course you could fry these fries using peanut oil or coconut oil, but that can get expensive. So, if you are low on money or choose not to buy expensive oil this is the perfect recipe for you.

Welcome to healthy awesomeness.

BLTAC (bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado, and cheese)

A BLT. My all time favorite sandwich. I used to eat BLTAC (BLT with cheese) in college. I loved it.

Then I was hospitalized. And food tasted weird. Why did it taste weird? I was pumped up with a shitload of antibiotics. Nothing tasted right. I stopped eating, which was bad, due to this. So, my nurses told me to order my own food. And what did I order?
BLTs. Every. Singe. Day. It was my lunch with fruit. I always looked forward for lunch.

If I’m at a café and BLT is on the menu, guess what I’m ordering.
The BLT.

I realize it’s bacon and bacon is bad for you but dude, it’s BACON. Everything is better with bacon.

This is a version of it. A healthy version of it.
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BLTAC (bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado, and cheese)

2 slices of bacon
10 sprigs of baby spinach
2 slices of Italian bread
1/2 avocado, sliced
2 slices of tomato
2 slice of Swiss cheese

Directions

Put slice of cheese on each slice of bread. Put baby spinach on top of the cheese. Place bread on foil and bake the 2 slices of bread for 3 minutes at 350.

Fry bacon in a pan until it is fried to your liking. Drain fat on bacon on a paper towel. Pat dry.

Take bread off foil and put on a plate. Put a slice of tomato on top of each slice of bread. Then add 1 slice of bacon and 1/2 of the sliced avocado onto each slice of bread.

Makes 2 open faced sandwiches. Calories: 524, Carbohydrates: 23 grams, Fiber: 8 grams, Protein: 26 grams.

This is the most amazing beautifully executed and yummy sandwich I’ve ever made.

The melted swiss cheese compliments the bacon and the spinach. The creaminess of the avocado soaks up the saltiness of the bacon. It all meshes together the make the most epic sandwich ever devised.

These two open faced sandwiches are packed with veggies, fiber, and vitamins. They are rather small, but it’s enough to make you full.

Add sweet potato fries, and you have the best lunch ever created.
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Caesar Vinaigrette

I love Caesar dressing.

But then I found out there were anchovies in it and the thought of fish turns it repulsive. I get the same feeling when I really start thinking about fish sauce for my grilled pork with vermicelli that I love dearly at the Vietnamese place near Mumika’s house.

Then I came across a recipe requiring Caesar dressing and decided to make my own. I have to reasons for this. A) I didn’t feel like looking at every nutrition value of every bottle of Caesar dressing I could find at the grocery store. B) I didn’t want anything with mayo or anchovies in it.

Then I realized this whole process would be easier if I turned it into a vinaigrette. So that’s what I did.

caesarvin

Caesar Vinaigrette

2  tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1  tablespoon lemon juice
1  small garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2  tablespoons grated parmesan cheese

Directions

In a medium bowl, whisk until fully combined all the ingredients except the parmesan cheese.

Gently fold in parmesan cheese and stir until mixture is well combined.

makes 1/2 cup. Calories: 298, Carbohydrates: 3 grams, Protein: 5 grams.

Wow. This vinaigrette packs a punch. Wham bam thank you ma’am. Damn. It’s so tangy that you forget there aren’t anchovies in it. They say a true Caesar dressing is one with anchovies in it but as long as the taste is there, who the hell cares what’s in it.

Besides, I hate anchovies. I hate fish. I hate seafood. Worcestershire sauce is made with anchovies, so ha! There is a bit of the Caesar requirement in there. Only a bit. Not really an over abundance. In reality, you only want a hint of it anyways.

And….this is quite healthy. There’s no fish, no mayo, just a bit of olive oil with other seasonings. I suppose if you want to make it creamy, you could add greek yogurt instead of mayo into it until you find the consistency you like. But you might just stay with this and think, why would I ever want a creamy version. Not to mention creamy versions of anything are riddled with carbs, fat, and calories.

Cream of Mushroom soup

Cream of Mushroom soup. Every casserole known to man has in it.

If you buy a can of condensed cream of mushroom soup, you will find these as the ingredients: WATER, MUSHROOMS, VEGETABLE OIL (CORN, COTTONSEED, CANOLA, AND/OR SOYBEAN), MODIFIED FOOD STARCH, WHEAT FLOUR, CONTAINS LESS THAN 2% OF: SALT, MONOSODIUM GLUTAMATE, SOY PROTEIN CONCENTRATE, DEHYDRATED CREAM (CREAM [MILK], SOY LECITHIN), YEAST EXTRACT, FLAVORING, DEHYDRATED GARLIC.

Doesn’t sound very appetizing does it?

And on top of that, you have to add milk or water since it only comes in condensed form.

Although, it is quick and easy to make.

Or you can make your own cream of mushroom soup and freeze it to use when needed.

I think I’ll make my own. Oh wait I did! And…it was incredibly easy to make.

The kitchen also smells amazing while I was making it. I love when things smell yummy because you know it’s going to taste good.

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Cream of Mushroom Soup

16 oz of button mushroom, sliced
2 green onions, sliced
2 cloves of garlic, diced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

Directions

Melt butter in sauce pan.

Add mushrooms and green onions. Cook until the mushroom wilts and liquid is absorbed.

Add garlic.

In a small dish, mix flour, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and thyme until spices and flour is well combined. Add to mushrooms in saucepan. Evenly coat the mushroom with flour mixture.

Slowly whisk in chicken stock to mushroom mixture. Stir frequently until sauce thickens.

Add cream. Bring to a simmer and then remove from heat.

makes 3 cups. 1/2 cup: Calories: 218, Carbohydrates: 8 grams, Sugar: 1 gram, Protein: 3 grams.

Can’t beat 1 gram sugar now can you?

This is the most amazing and fragrant soup I’ve ever made.

And I didn’t have to use a blender. Originally the mushrooms needed to be halved, but I decided to slice them because why dirty something for no reason. Besides, after you add the chicken stock and the cream, it disintegrated most of the mushrooms. *Boom* Problem solved.

This cream of mushroom soup blows all other soups and canned soups out of the water. The casseroles will taste a bazillion times better. Homey comfort food to the umpteenth degree. Not to mention, the casserole will be healthier. Less calories, less carbs, less sugar.

I decided to use cream instead of half and half. Cream has 1 gram of carbs, Half and Half has 3 grams of carbs.

So lets review: Cream is better than half and half, homemade is better than canned condensed.

Besides, you can freeze this in batces and use it whenever needed. I think this is going to be something I’ll keep on hand in the freezer at all times. That, or I’ll make it a day in advance, like I did today.

I have something amazing in casserole form in mind for this soup tomorrow.

Jap Chae – Korean glass noodles with ground beef

Sometimes I’m in an ethnic mood. I’ve been on a Thai kick lately, but then I came across this recipe. I sort of reminded me of the Korean place in Houston I used to go to with Mumika after she got her haircut.

Jap Chae or Korean glass noodles. It’s full of veggies. Spinach. Mushroom. Onion. Carrots. Garlic. Add a protein and it’s the perfect meal.

Korean food is probably one of the most healthiest of the Asian food. Every meal is full of veggies with a carb and a meat. I love it.

This is the first time I’ve ever made Korean food. When I told my husband about it he gave me the one eyebrow up with an unsure, “Ok..”

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Jap Chae or Korean glass noodles with ground beef

8 oz Korean glass noodles
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 cup carrots, matchsticks
3/4 cup onion, sliced
3 green onions, cut 1 inch
2 cloves garlic, chopped
9 oz spinach
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 pound ground beef

sauce:
2 tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon sesame seed

Direction

Brown meat and drain fat. Put in bowl and set aside.

Boil water. Add the Korean glass noodles to water. Boil for 5 minutes. Drain in colander and rinse with cold water. Cut noodles to be 8 inches in length and mix in 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. This way the noodles will not stick.

In a small dish mix soy sauce, sesame seeds, and sugar until well combined. Set aside.

In a sauté pan on medium heat, pour vegetable oil. When oil is hot add carrots and onions. Cook until soft.

Add spinach, cook until wilted.

Add green onions, mushrooms, and garlic. Cook until tender.

Add noodles and sauce to saucepan. Mix until well combined under medium heat. Remove from heat, pour noodle mix into a big microwavable container with the ground beef and sesame oil and mix until combined. Sprinkle more sesame seeds on top.

Makes 6. Calories: 324, Carbohydrates: 13 grams, Sugar: 7 grams, Fiber: 3 grams, Protein: 13 grams.

OMG, this was yummy.

You can find the Korean glass noodles in an Asian Mart. Look for the package that says sweet potato starch. I decided to soy sauce, sesame oil, hosin sauce, and fish sauce while I was there. I plan on making thai food sometime next week.

Turns out Bryan isn’t keen on rice or korean glass noodles. But he didn’t tell me anything so it’s his fault. He had one bowl and called it quits. On the brighterside, more for me and he’s finally eating the hotdogs he bought before they go bad. Only problem is now I have to cook tomorrow. Grrrr…..

I was happy with the result and it was so easy to make. It took me like 30 minutes tops.

The British are coming…menu

My cousin’s husband is going to be stateside this weekend. His mum lives in Texas as well and all I’ve heard so far is something about being in town to celebrate his mum’s birthday. So based on what I’ve been told, he will be visiting Mumika next weekend when he flies in.

This is a big deal for Mumika and me. A) I haven’t seen Dad’s side of the family since is was 13 (despite the fact that I’ve been to England three times since that visit), B) I haven’t seen D since I was 10 and it was due to a death in the family, and C) No one from Dad’s side has visited since Dad’s funeral (January 1992). I rarely see either side of the family anyway thanks to the fact that we all live so far away from each other. This is a really big deal. Not to mention that I feel that D is pretty much the bridge between me and the family.

Which means, I’m driving to Mumika’s after work on Saturday and leaving her house on Monday. I’m not telling any of my people that I’ll be in town because it’s for such a short period of time and I don’t have enough nights to see everyone.

And…..

I have created a menu for my time there.

Sunday Morning: Blueberry French Toast Bake
Sunday Lunch: BLTAC with Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries
Sunday Dinner: Smothered Chicken Casserole with a Chocolate Torte for dessert.
Monday Morning: Fried Baby Bananas with Egg baked in an avocado. I was going to do sunny side up eggs, but this sounds more interesting.

Yeah. Sounds amazing already. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. And I’ll be making a homemade Caesar dressing for the smothered chicken casserole without using mayo or anchovies.