“I’ve gotta go, Julia. We’ve got cows!”

 

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Of course I’m quoting more lines from Twister.  It’s not like I get a lot of chances, so I’m taking full advantage of the situation.

So , do you remember from my last post when I said there was this wind shift as we were driving down a road north of Eva, Oklahoma and basically my heart kind of stopped? Well, that’s because a tornado was kind of starting to form above us…yes. You read that right. After coming back down the same road, passing that same spot, there were downed power lines and poles. Let that just sink in for a sec.

It just goes to show that mother nature is tricky.  You can have all the experience in the world and bad things can still happen. Please don’t go out and chase storms if you aren’t trained to.  You can end up killing yourself or whoever is with you.  There are very real risks that come with doing something like this and that’s why I chose Roger and Caryn. I know they will do everything they can to keep everyone safe, and honestly, I never felt like we were in real danger, as crazy as that sounds.  I was just super excited to be there and see these storms face-to-face.

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So, we did have cows just not like the movie. Lots of them dotted the landscape, but there was this particular field of them behind a wire fence on the second day.  It started to rain and they were all lined up next to each other, staring in our direction.  You could tell they were NOT happy cows, and they kind of hated us because we jumped in the vans to stay dry. The second day had potential, but we were missing the crazy inflow of wind into the storm that we had the previous day.  We went back and forth (and back and forth) between Amarillo and Childress, TX. I got to sit up front in Van 2 with Ryan Shepard. The guy who does just about everything. I basically want his job at SLT. It was a day on the road chatting, talking shop (he’s a stellar photographer), travel stories and goals, with the occasional joke or sarcastic comment to provide a laugh. 

So, although I didn’t get to see a tornado on the second day it was still a lot of fun, and we were even treated to a very active thunderstorm full of CG (cloud to ground lightning)on our drive back to Amarillo…360 degree view of this storm with nothing to obstruct my view. It was amazing and a little embarrassing because I couldn’t keep myself from yelling, “Whoa!!” or “Nice!!” every time lightning struck. 

This experience was definitely the adventure of a lifetime, and there are more to come…This one was in honor of my father who passed away exactly a year ago today from skin cancer. I think he would have loved it. Although my heart is heavy today, it is also full and after all that has happened, my cup runneth over. I can’t wait for May 16 because…I’M GOING AGAIN FOR TWO WEEKS!!!! I am so stoked. Geeked. Whatever you want to call it. I feel so blessed to be able to go again so soon! A spot opened up, I just happened to look, and it was for dates perfectly sandwiched between two weddings I have.  I think you can start calling me The Extreme :)

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~Cella

Weird Fruit and What To Do With Them: Mangoes

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So, mangoes.  They’re not super weird, but they definitely not an apple or banana. A mango is something I’ve only bought once, and that was last week.  I have nothing against them, I just thought I’d leave my enjoyment of them to professional smoothie makers, or the restaurant who thought a mango salsa would go well with my fish (and it does). I’ve changed my own mind and I think they’ll be on the grocery list pretty frequently.  I found a lovely and simple smoothie recipe that I can easily do at home, so there’s nothing stopping me from having one. I may even try making that salsa ’cause it was pretty freakin’ delicious!

The mango I had was really ripe, but the taste was fantastic!  My “Cutting a Mango Tutorial” isn’t as pretty as what I saw, but sometimes life isn’t pretty, and it’s messy instead. 

So, mangos have a flat, ovals pit in the center.  You’ll start by cutting to the left and then to the right of the center to avoid that pit.

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You now have three sections. You’ll take the one with the pit and cut the remaining flesh off, creating a “C” shape.  Score those pieces with a knife, invert the mango, and cut the cubes off.

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Take the other two sections, and score a criss-cross pattern into them.  Again, invert the mango and cut the cubes off.

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Pretty simple. If my explanation confuses you, google a video on how to prepare a mango. That should clear up my poor explanation :)

Now let’s get to the smoothie.

Mix the mango, 2/3 C of yogurt (vanilla or coconut…I used Noosa cause it’s just so dang good), 1/4 C green tea (steep 2 bags for 5 minutes), 2 Tbsp. unsweetened coconut flakes, and six ice cubes  in a blender. Blend until smooth.  Feel free to add other ingredients and make it your own.  This really hit the spot for lunch today! Tasty and quick!

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Recipe adapted from mango.org

~Cella

I Can Officially Call Myself a Storm Chaser!

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Although I lack the skills to predict and forecast where to be and and at what time, I sure know how to ride in a van and provide the occasional sassy comment or joke! In all seriousness, I loved doing this thing, this completely “crazy” thing. Chasing storms has been a dream of mine since I can remember. Although I would sleep in my parent’s room when a storm would roll in, I would always sleep right by the window so I could watch the show until the end or until I couldn’t keep my eyes open.  This was a show like no other and I was WIDE AWAKE even though I was going off very little sleep during my 4.5 day trip.

I arrived in Denver on Thursday after receiving and email on Wednesday that things were a “go.”  I chose to be on Silver Lining Tours’ On-Call list vs. the normal 6-10 day tours set for specific dates, so that’s the reason for such short notice. I flew in during the morning so I had much of Thursday to do what I wanted even though I was feeling like a zombie. I decided to make the most of my stay since I had never been to Denver before and Red Rocks was only 40 minutes from where I was staying. I had to go. So I rented a car and drove out to the park where I had a lovely lunch with an awesome view.

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Eldorado Elk Sliders with crispy onions, whole grain dijon, and a mustard demi-glaze on house baked slider buns. This was as good as the food got…a chaser’s diet consist of fast food and more fast food. I tried to gets salads and rely on my Kind granola bars (which are really good)  here and there, but it was kind of tough getting away from eating so much of that kind of food. 

I didn’t have a ton of time since my rental needed to be back before they closed, so I drove around and took photos. I was sitting in my car packing things up when I looked up to see this.  

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It was magic. A gift from God.  They appeared out of thin air. I took photos, of course, but I also had to put down my camera and enjoy the moment. I often notice my memories of things that I was present for don’t really exist because I was viewing it from behind a camera.  I try to make a conscious effort to step away and let myself have a few moments to really experience and appreciate where I am.  My photos won’t mean anything if I can’t take something other than digital files with me.  I always want to remember the feeling, the emotion, the thankfulness for how full my heart felt at that moment.

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Thursday was filled with anxiousness…I couldn’t wait to start my adventure, but I was also nervous about not knowing anyone and being stuck with them for 1-3 days.  Fortunately, I had no reason to be anxious.  They were like me in so many ways. The passion, love, excitement for what we were about to see had brought all of us together. My face was smiling a good deal of the time, but when it wasn’t my soul still was.  These people became MY people.  My storm people. I made a few friends who I hope to keep in touch with and see again at some  point, another chase perhaps (insert big toothy grin).

Friday morning. 8am. All 11 passengers, plus Roger and Caryn Hill, and Ryan Shepard ( background info. to come).  I rode in the first van with Caryn and Roger on day one, second row back, sitting alongside Steph. This was Steph’s  second time out chasing with SLT (Silver Lining Tours). Over time, we exchanged stories of what brought us out to chase, where we came from (she hails from Chicago), and bonded over the love of natural disaster movies…such as, oh I don’t know…TWISTER!!  One of my all-time favorite movies. I have watched it countless times and can pretty much quote the entire thing from beginning to end.  The best part was that as we were talking about this, I embarrassingly admitted that I had the soundtrack on my iPod. I thought she would laugh at me, but she instead said she had the theme song on hers to get pumped up.  Kindred spirit. Right. There.  

So we started out in Denver and had to get down to Amarillo, TX by 2-3 pm.  You don’t want to be late for the show, as Roger said.  He employed his wife to get us down there within the time frame, using her size 20 lead foot (it’s a  joke, they’re not really lead. LOL. I’m sure I’m the only one laughing right now).  Here’s a little background on Roger and Caryn…I have grown up watching Roger on T.V. He has been featured on NatGeo, The Weather Channel, Nova, The Discovery Channel…he holds the Guinness World Record for witnessing the most tornadoes, EVER. By anyone in the HISTORY of mankind. He is a fountain of knowledge and his passion is infectious. I love that he is exactly the person he is on television. It was great. Caryn came across as a straight shooter. Her confidence, experience, and passion allow her to get amazing photographs under some tough circumstances. Both of them were inspiring and I hope to chase with them again, so if this kind of experience interests you, I HIGHLY recommend SLT.  They are the best out there!! 

Anyway, I love road trips, so this part was fun for me, too. The majority of it was very flat. Oklahoma was really beautiful, more hills than I would have imagined and some rock formations here and there. The roads in OK-LA-HO-MA, Oklahooooooooo-ma…Yeah!! (Twister reference, I love you if you know what I’m talking about)…anyway, the roads aren’t great, especially if you have a full bladder.  I did. On the way home, and I had to hold it for a good 20 minutes through non-stop bumps. TMI? Sorry.

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Wooooo doggy! Texas is super flat. Big, huge sky to look at, and it was glorious! After having lunch in Dumas, TX (insert snickering), we headed in the direction we had just come because that’s were the storms were forming.  Typical of chasing. Going back and forth quite a bit to find good position and the storm that will become the tornado producing super cell storm. It took about 3 hours for things to get organized and generate enough energy to become this beautiful and magnificent beast.  We watched storms grow, suck the life from others, and die themselves.  

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I was getting nervous we weren’t going to see it (photograph it) before the light was gone…it was around 6:30/7pm and I knew sunset was at about 7:30pm.  And then it happened.  The first was a beautiful elephant trunk tornado that touched down briefly. I couldn’t believe my eyes…we were actually witnessing a real, live tornado. I literally chased after a dream and caught it.  We then jumped into the vans to get better position.  In front of us for just a second, was a giant wedge tornado.  It was almost too hard to see because of how dark it and the sky behind it was, but I promise you it was there. It then became rain-wrapped, so off we went racing down another road to no-where.

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This whole time the winds feeding this storm were crazy.  As we were driving down 95 , just north of Eva, OK the winds that had been coming from the right side of the van suddenly switched and came from the left.  It was eerie. I know a modest amount of information about tornadoes, and I knew enough to believe that this could potentially be dangerous (but again, who was I to even think I was right-more about this later).  Our driver, Caryn, slowed for a second, and then we were out of there. Another tornado started to form and it was magnificent.  We got out of the van and watched as as a rope tornado, evolving into a tube, and at one point becoming sister tornadoes.  It was a spectacular first day of chasing that has made such a mark on my memory.  I don’t think I will soon forget the sights, the sounds, or the feelings.

That day was a glass half full kind of day…or maybe more like my cup runneth over. Yeah, that’s more like it.

More to come!

~Cella

 

Artisan Bakery Style Double Chocolate Muffins

Artisan bakery style chocolate muffinsGrowing up with chocolate muffins from the family bakery, I got pretty spoiled having primo double choco muffins at my fingertips whenever I wanted (within reason). Moving away, this luxury fell apart. *Do I hear violins playing? There should be…* I’ve tried looking for a muffin that is in somewhat of the same ball park, and I thought living in a bigger city I would find it pretty easily. NOPE! I have found 1 that was darn good. 1!!! And the bakery doesn’t even make it all the time. COME ON!

It’s a chocolate muffin people. Why do they taste like bricks and on the realm of trying to be healthy? It’s a chocolate muffin. It doesn’t need to be healthy. The people that are searching out a chocolate muffin aren’t really the people that are thinking “lets substitute quality and flavor for saving 30 calories”. No. We want a CHOCOLATE MUFFIN! I’ll ask you for your flax seed and kale trail mix bar if I’m utterly concerned with my caloric intake of baked goods.

Just give me a chocolate muffin. A good chocolate muffin. Gosh darn it.

Artisan bakery style chocolate muffins

I feel like this is my year of hunting down and experimenting for myself the best of all recipes. This one will be The Journey for the Moist Chocolate Muffin. Look me up for the movie rights.

This is a darn spectacular trial run. And I even fit in coconut oil to hopefully cut those 30 calories. (To be honest I didn’t give a cracked corn, but I didn’t have any other oil, and I’m just fine with the results.) I also didn’t have any muffin/cupcake paper cups so I made my own out of parchment paper. Look how artisan it looks! I mean I’d pay a few extra bucks for that imperfection if I saw it in a bakery window. Imperfection is the new black, folks.

Artisan Bakery Style Double Chocolate Muffins
Yields 18
A flavorful, moist chocolate muffin sprinkled with chocolate chips
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Dry
  1. 2 cups flour
  2. 1 cup sugar (I use evaporated cane juice because I think it has the best flavor- regular is fine though too!)
  3. 1/2 good quality unsweetened cocoa powder
  4. 1 tsp baking powder
  5. 1/2 tsp salt
  6. 1/2-3/4 cup chocolate chips
Wet
  1. 1/2 cup milk
  2. 1 cup sour cream
  3. 1/2 cup coconut oil- melted (you can use regular cooking oil i.e. vegetable oil, but coconut is healthier without taking away from flavor)
  4. 1 egg
  5. 1 tsp vanilla extract
Garnish
  1. 1/3 cup chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350˚.
  2. In a medium large bowl, mix dry ingredients together and whisk (or sift) until well incorporated.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together wet ingredients and mix until well incorporated. You will see chunks of the melted coconut oil. This is totally normal. If you see big chunks and it bothers you, you can always warm slightly in the microwave to break them apart. As soon as the warm oil hits the cold milk, it sets up again. It shouldn't effect baking very much.
  4. Combine wet mixture to dry, a mix until just combined. (This prevents too much air getting in, allowing them to be moist-er. That's a word right?)
  5. Line muffin tins with paper cups, or cut and form parchment paper into muffin tins. Spray with cooking spray. Fill to 3/4 of the way full. Sprinkle tops with chocolate chips. Bake for 17- 20 min, or until toothpick/tester comes out pretty clean. Every oven is different. Go for the lesser amount of time. You can always add more time, but you can't take it away. Unless you're daylight savings...
  6. Cool for a few minutes, and place on cooling rack.
  7. Drink with cold milk, hot tea, or coffee. This is not negotiable.
Notes
  1. I got about 18 muffins out of this recipe. It will differ depending on how much you fill your muffin tins with the mixture.
The Everyday Chef and Wife http://blog.theeverydaychefandwife.com/
Artisan bakery style chocolate muffinsOk. I’m happy.

-The Wife

Three Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies, Yes I Said Three.

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Recipe from Addicted to Yum

Soooooo,  this recipe kind of blew my mind. Three ingredients???!! Yup. And they were really good. I don’t think you could make a recipe simpler. You know how I loooooove simplicity. And yumminess. Put them together and I am yours!

This recipe also makes a smaller batch, so that’s kind of nice when you have a craving and are only making a pan and a half of cookies (16-18) instead of 3 pans and eating them all yourself.

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Did I mention that these cookies are also gluten-free? They are.

This whole process took me 25-30 minutes…maybe not even that long.

So, enough of my yammering, let’s get going!

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Mix the sugar, peanut butter, and egg together in a large bowl until incorporated.  No need to use a mixer, just use a little elbow grease!! Measure out a tablespoon  of the dough and roll into a ball. Place the dough balls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  

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Take the palm of your hand and gently smoosh the cookie down. I like my cookies on the crispier side so I think I would flatten them out a little more than I did, but they were still really good with the thickness I had them at.

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Take a fork and make the criss-cross pattern on the top, and then throw them in the oven for 10 minutes if you want softer cookies, 15 minutes if you want crispier cookies, or 12-13 minutes if you want the best of both worlds. Take them out of the oven and let them cool on the pan for about five minutes (they’re really fragile until they’ve cooled a bit). Then remove them with a spatula and place on a cooling rack covered with wax paper to cool completely. Simple and quick snack to satisfy your craving!

~Cella

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookies
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Ingredients
  1. 1 C Sugar
  2. 1 C Peanut Butter
  3. 1 Egg
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix the sugar, peanut butter, and egg together in a large bowl until incorporated (no need to use a mixer, just use a little elbow grease).
  3. Measure out a tablespoon of the dough and roll into a ball.
  4. Place the dough balls onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  5. Take the palm of your hand and gently smoosh the cookie down.
  6. Take a fork and make the criss-cross pattern on the top.
  7. Put in the oven for 10 minutes if you want softer cookies, 15 minutes if you want crispier cookies, or 12-13 minutes if you want the best of both worlds.
  8. Take them out of the oven and let them cool on the pan for about five minutes (they're really fragile until they've cooled a bit).
  9. Remove them with a spatula and place on a cooling rack covered with wax paper to cool completely.
The Everyday Chef and Wife http://blog.theeverydaychefandwife.com/

Grapefruit and Mint Sorbet

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Adapted from recipes by kiwidutch on Food.com and Martha Stewart

Light and so sweet with just a hint of mint…heavenly. Do you see that blush pink color?!?!?! So pretty. So refreshing and cleansing. Best thing is that you don’t need an ice cream maker to do it!

The Mitten can’t seem to decide if it’s winter or spring at the moment, but I just have to share this gem with all ya’ll even though it’s cold in my neck of the woods! 

Lets get right to it!

In a medium pot over medium heat, stir mixture of water, sugar, and grapefruit zest occasionally until boiling and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat, and add the mint simple syrup. You can add more mint simple syrup if you’d like…I think I probably will try a little more the next time I make it, but the 1 tsp. is a good starting place. Let this mixture steep for five minutes.

Stir in the grapefruit juice and lemon juice. Strain the liquid (I did it 2-3 times). Pour it into the blender and blend well. Pour mixture into a shallow pan, cover, and put in the freezer until firm (I used a 9×13 glass pan).

Once firm, empty the mixture into the blender and blend well for a second time. Pour back into the shallow pan, cover, and freeze until firm. I used a large spoon, after running it under hot water to scoop the sorbet and plate. Garnish with a sprig of mint if you feel like being fancy! I fell in love with this recipe for the soft pink color, and fell in love all over again once I tasted the sweet grapefruit freshness!! It is simply delightful!

~Cella

Grapefruit and Mint Sorbet
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Ingredients
  1. 1 1/4 C Water
  2. 1 !/4 C Sugar
  3. 1 tsp. Grapefruit Zest
  4. 1 tsp. Mint Simple Syrup
  5. 1 1/2 C Grapefruit Juice (about 2 grapefruits)
  6. 3 Tbsp. Lemon Juice (about 1 lemon)
Instructions
  1. In a medium pot over medium heat, stir mixture of water sugar and grapefruit zest occasionally until boiling and the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Remove from heat, and add the mint simple syrup.
  3. Let this mixture steep for five minutes.
  4. Stir in the grapefruit juice and lemon juice.
  5. Strain the liquid (I did it 2-3 times).
  6. Pour it into the blender and blend well.
  7. Pour mixture into a shallow pan, cover, and put in the freezer until firm (I used a 9x13 glass pan).
  8. Once firm, empty the mixture into the blender and blend well for a second time.
  9. Pour back into the shallow pan, cover, and freeze until firm.
  10. I used a large spoon, after running it under hot water to scoop the sorbet and plate.
  11. Garnish with a sprig of mint.
Notes
  1. See link for ingredients and instructions for mint simple syrup.
The Everyday Chef and Wife http://blog.theeverydaychefandwife.com/

 

Coconut Granola

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Recipe adapted from Amy In the Kitchen

This stuff puts a smile on my face.  I want granola all day, er day. All day, son!! ALL DAY!!

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It’s great with milk, as a toping over yogurt, or all by itself.

I’ll provide you with a base recipe, and then you can add or not add whatever your little heart desires.  I’ve had pistachios in one batch, and it was lovely, but those guys are expensive! I tried sliced almonds recently, which are more reasonablly priced, and again, still fantastic!! I know I would love this without any nuts at all.  I may add some kraisins or regular old raisins next time.

This recipe is super simple to whip up, and you’re done in about 1.5 hours.

If you are adding pistachios to this, first start by shelling them.  That makes the process a little longer. Once you have those ready to go, heat your oven to 250 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Mix all of your dry ingredients in one bowl, and the wet ingredients in another bowl.  While stirring the dry ingredients, pour the wet over top and mix really well. Make sure everything is coated evenly.  Divide the granola into even amounts on each baking sheet and then spread them out in an even layer.  Place both baking sheets in the oven and cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring the granola every 15-20 minutes to ensure an even bake.

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Remove the granola from the oven, let it cool completely, and then store in an air-tight container.  

Don’t forget to comment or share photos on what ingredients you chose or what you paired the granola with!

Have a wonderful week!

~Cella

Coconut Granola
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Ingredients
  1. 3 C Rolled Oats
  2. 1 C Nut of your choice, chopped (optional)
  3. 1/2 C Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
  4. 1/2 Cup Light Brown Ssugar
  5. 1/4 C Coconut Oil, melted
  6. 2 Tbsp. Honey
  7. 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  8. 3/4 tsp. Cinnamon
  9. 1/2-1 C Dried Cranberries (optional)
Instructions
  1. Heat your oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. Mix all of your dry ingredients in one bowl, and the wet ingredients in another bowl.
  4. While stirring the dry ingredients, pour the wet over top and mix really well. Make sure everything is coated evenly.
  5. Divide the granola into even amounts on each baking sheet and then spread in an even layer. Place both baking sheets in the oven and cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring the granola every 15-20 minutes to ensure an even bake.
  6. Remove the granola from the oven, let it cool completely, and then store in an air-tight container.
The Everyday Chef and Wife http://blog.theeverydaychefandwife.com/

Brazilian Carrot Muffin/Cupcake

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Easter is quickly arriving and this recipe kind of jumped out at me while I was searching for something to do.

It’s a Brazilian staple, a very popular go-to cake.  It’s moist, with a subtly sweet flavor and when combined with a buttercream frosting, a brigadiero topping (another Brazilian staple I’ll go into more detail about shortly), or both…hold on to your bunny ears because it is good!

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I’ve never been a huge fan of carrot cake, or carrots for that matter (insert gasp), but I have been trying to overcome my childhood pickiness and have come a long way in the last ten years…I now like onions, pickles on my burger, lots of toppings on my pizza, and food is welcome to touch each other most of the time.  I have even been swayed to enjoy a carrot, whether it’s as is or in something. These muffins/cupcakes provided a good balance of the carrot and a vanilla like flavor. I think I’d even enjoy these without frosting and maybe with a small smear of butter.

To whip these up, first start by peeling and cutting 4 to 5 medium-sized carrots. You’ll want to slice them as thin as you can so your blender or food processor won’t have a difficult time pureeing them later.  Your hand will become orange…wear gloves if you don’t want that to happen.  You’ll then set your oven to 350 degrees.

While waiting for the oven to get nice and hot, puree the carrots, oil, sugar, and eggs.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder.  You may want to sift these dry ingredients to ensure no one bites into a piece of baking powder.

Pour the puree into the dry ingredients and mix well.

Line your cupcake tin with baking cups and then spoon batter in until around 3/4 full.  Pop the tray of muffins into the oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

While those guys are baking, you’ll want to start making the brigadiero topping if that’s what you want to top the muffins with.  You do.  It’s delicious.  Those Brazilians are geniuses!  

Brigadiero is similar to a truffle, but it’s a little chewier/softer.  The taste reminds me of a gooey no bake..you know, when you under cook them and they’re in that wonderfully perpetual sticky phase. I’ve seen images of these brigadiero balls rolled in sprinkles, nuts, and coconut.  Otherwise brigadeiro is used as a frosting, glaze, dip, filling…it would be amazing on ice cream.

To make this delicious chocolate that wears many masks, you will need a can of sweetened condensed milk, unsweetened cocoa, salt, and unsalted butter.  Warm the  ingredients over medium heat, stirring often if not constantly for about 10-12 minutes.  At this point it will be thick enough so that when you run your spoon through it, you’ll be able to see the bottom of the pan. Take the mixture off the heat and let it cool.

I divided my muffin/cupcake batter and made 12 cupcakes, and 3 small bundt cakes (I wanted to try different things with this recipe). That being said, if you want to go the bundt route, make sure you butter and flour your cake pan before baking and make sure to ice your cakes while they’re still warm and while the brigadeiro is still warm.  That proves a little difficult when piping it on the cake, so wear some gloves so you don’t burn yourself.  You could spoon this on, too. That would be much safer and easier.  I guess I like to make things difficult.  If you are filling the cupcakes, then wait until it cools.  I used a disposable piping bag with a circular tip that was close to the size of an eraser head. Stick that in the top of the cupcake until the bottom of the tip is no longer visible. Squeeze the filling in.  It will naturally push the bag out, so you may want to push against it a little to ensure there’s a decent amount of filling, but for the most part go with it. Once it has pushed most of the tip out, stop squeezing the bag so you don’t have filling coming out of the cupcake.

To make the buttercream frosting, whisk powdered sugar and softened unsalted butter with a stand mixer. Start out slow and then increase the speed to medium-high to continue mixing for 3 minutes. Then add the whipping cream and vanilla and whip for another minute. This amount should be enough for 24 cupcakes, as long as you don’t get crazy with the amount on each.  If you like a lot of frosting, you may want to double up. 

If you decide you want to frost the cupcakes with the brigadiero, you will want to make at least two batches of that, maybe more.

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This recipe was adapted from Ludmilla Ramos and Marilyn Chudda at Brazilian Flair in the USA and it was a lot of fun to do.  Try it, experiment, and let me know what you decided to make! Happy Easter!!

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~Cella

Brazilian Carrot Muffin/Cupcake
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Muffins/Cupcakes
  1. 4-5 Medium Sized Carrots, peeled and chopped
  2. 1 1/2 C Sugar
  3. 3 Eggs
  4. 1 C Vegetable Oil
  5. 2 C Flour
  6. 1 Tspn. Baking Powder
  7. Pinch of salt
Brigadeiro
  1. 1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk
  2. 1 1/2 Tbsp. of 100% unsweetened cocoa
  3. 2 Tbsp. Butter
  4. Pinch of Salt
Buttercream Frosting
  1. 3 C Confectioners' Sugar
  2. 1 C unsalted butter, softened
  3. 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
  4. 2 Tbsp. Whipping Cream
Muffins/Cupcakes
  1. Peel and cut 4 to 5 medium sized carrots. Slice them as thin as you can so your blender or food processor won't have a difficult time pureeing them later.
  2. Set your oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Puree the carrots, oil, sugar, and eggs.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder.
  5. Pour the puree into the dry ingredients and mix well.
  6. Line your cupcake tin with baking cups and spoon batter in until around 3/4 full.
  7. Place the tray of muffins/cupcakes into the oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Brigadeiro
  1. While the muffins/cupcakes are baking, mix the can of sweetened condensed milk, unsweetened cocoa, salt, and unsalted butter in a non-stick sauce pan. Warm the ingredients over medium heat, stirring often if not constantly for about 10-12 minutes. At this point it will be thick enough so that when you run your spoon through it, you'll be able to see the bottom of the pan.
  2. Take the mixture off the heat.
Filling Muffins/Cupcakes
  1. If you are filling the muffins/cupcakes, then wait until it cools.
  2. Use a disposable piping bag with a circular tip that is close to the size of an eraser head.
  3. After filling the bag with brigadier, stick the tip in the top of the muffin/cupcake until the bottom of the tip is no longer visible.
  4. Squeeze the filling in. It will naturally push the piping bag out, so you may want to push against it a little to ensure there's a decent amount of filling, but for the most part go with it.
  5. Once it has pushed most of the tip out, stop squeezing the bag so you don't have filling coming out of the muffin/cupcake.
Buttercream Frosting
  1. Whisk the powdered sugar and softened unsalted butter with a stand mixer.
  2. Start out slow and then increase the speed to medium-high to continue mixing for 3 minutes. Add the whipping cream and vanilla and whip for another minute. This amount should be enough for 24 cupcakes, as long as you don't get crazy with the amount on each muffin/cupcake (if you like a lot of frosting, you may want to double up).
Notes
  1. If you want to go the bundt route, make sure you butter and flour your cake pan before baking.
  2. Make sure to make the brigadiero in a non-stick sauce pan!!
  3. If spooning the brigadiero over the muffins, do while both are still warm.
  4. If you are piping the brigadiero onto the muffins, let it cool and wear gloves if it's still warm to prevent burning yourself. You will also want to at least double the amount.
The Everyday Chef and Wife http://blog.theeverydaychefandwife.com/

Cool and Hazy St. Patrick’s Day Drink

JB3A4404It’s green, and it’s yummy!

Today has been a great day and to make it even better, you should definitely try this green goddess of a drink!  It’s refreshing, it’s mellow. It’s one those drinks that make you stop for just a second to savor the flavors and what’s going on around you.

I have become a mixing fool lately…I have all sorts of infused simple syrups to share.  This one calls for a mint simple syrup.  Basically it’s equal parts sugar, water, and mint (I used 1 cup).  Put everything in a small pot, and heat on medium heat. Stir occasionally until boiling and allow the mixture to boil for one minute, or until the sugar has dissolved.  Let it cool completely and then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.  Easy.

Anywho, back to this drink concoction!

Peel, de-seed, and chop the cucumbers.  Put them in a blender with the water to puree it.  Then strain the mixture over a small bowl.  Use a large spoon or a spatula to help the puree through the strainer. Dump the mixture into a pitcher.

Take the limes and juice them over the small bowl outfitted with the strainer to catch seed bits.  Pour the lime juice in the pitcher.

Roughly chop the mind and put into the pitcher.

Pour the mint simple syrup into the pitcher.

Pour the club soda into the pitcher and stir everything very gently.  Lots of fizzing will happen. Lots.

That’s it.  Pour over ice, sit back, relax, and enjoy….Ahhhhhh.

Have a grrrrrreeeat St. Patrick’s Day  and make sure to wear something green so you don’t get pinched!!

~Cella

Cool and Hazy Drink
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Mint Simple Syrup
  1. 1 C Mint
  2. 1 C Water
  3. 1 C Sugar
Drink
  1. 2 Cucumbers
  2. 6Tbsp. Water
  3. 4 Limes
  4. 1/2 C Mint Leaves, roughly chopped
  5. 1 1/4 C Mint Simple Syrup
  6. 4 C Club Soda
Mint Simple Syrup
  1. Put the mint, sugar, and water in a small pot, and heat on medium heat.
  2. Stir occasionally until boiling and allow the mixture to boil for one minute, or until the sugar has dissolved. Let it cool completely and then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Drink
  1. Peel, de-seed, and chop the cucumbers. Put in a blender with the water and puree. Then strain the mixture over a small bowl. Use a large spoon or a spatula to help the puree through the strainer. Dump the mixture into a pitcher.
  2. Take the limes and juice them over the small bowl outfitted with the strainer to catch seed bits. Pour the lime juice in the pitcher.
  3. Roughly chop the mind and put into the pitcher.
  4. Pour the mint simple syrup into the pitcher.
  5. Pour the club soda into the pitcher and stir everything very gently.
  6. Pour over ice and enjoy.
The Everyday Chef and Wife http://blog.theeverydaychefandwife.com/

Key Lime Pi…I Mean Pie

JB3A4247

3.14…something, something, something, et cetera, et cetera…

Today is Pi Day and to celebrate, I’m gonna share a Key Lime Pie recipe with ya!  

This comes from Amy Johnson at She Wears Many Hats. It was pretty simple and most of the time was spent letting it cool and letting it get even colder while in the refrigerator.

I love citrus…oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes…limes and grapefruit are tied. LUV THEM!  I have a summer key lime pie recipe, courtesy of Ina Garten, that I absolutely adore, but that is more like an ice-cream pie.  It’s needed for relief on the super hot summer afternoons when you’re almost wishing for winter to come back. Almost.  I’ve never tried one of her recipes and not liked it…she’s so good, AND ya gotta love her husband Jeffrey!! Oh Jeffrey…

This is my first go with this recipe and man o man…it’s what the doctor ordered if my doctor baked and thought baked goods could cure all that ails us!  This will cure hunger fo’ sho’!!

Heat your oven to 350 degrees and start working on the crust.  I used one wrapped package of grahams to get the amount the recipe calls for. I put them in my food processor and ground those guys up until the crumbs were small with some larger pieces here and there.  If you don’t have a food processor, put the grahams in a plastic ziplock bag, and get out your frustrations of the day out by pounding it with a rolling pin (or something else heavy).  Careful not to break anything!

Add the crumbs into a bowl with the sugar and salt. Mix them a bit and then add the melted butter until all ingredients are well incorporated.  You’ll then dump the mix into a 9-inch pie plate and evenly press into the bottom and then sides (press with confidence, but not too hard).  I used an 8-inch pie plate, and then used the left overs to make a mini-pie in a small (around 5 inches?) spring-form pan.  Once your oven reaches 350 degrees, bake the crust for 10 minutes. Take them out after the time is up and place them on a cooling rack until they’re completely cooled.

For the filling, set your oven to 300 degrees.  Mix the egg yolk, sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, lime zest, and salt until combined.  In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until they form peaks (when you lift the mixer attachment out of the egg whites, “white pointy mountains” will form. This is how my mother explained it to me…they won’t fall over or slouch immediately. either. You’ll then fold the egg whites into the other mixture until combined.  

Pour it into the completely cooled crust and put in the oven for 15 minutes. Let it cool until it reaches room temperature, and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.

I made some whipped cream to plop on the top…the creaminess cut the tart, citrusy goodness perfectly!!

I LOVE Pi Day!!! I hate math, can’t do it, but I love this day! It’s as mathy as I get.  Thank you to whomever made this day up!!!

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~Cella

Key Lime Pie
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Graham Cracker Crust
  1. 1½ C Finely Ground Graham Cracker Crumbs
  2. 3 Tsps. Granulated Sugar
  3. ¼ tsp. Salt
  4. 6 Tbsp. Butter, melted and cooled
Lime Filling
  1. 3 large egg whites
  2. 3 Large Egg Yolks
  3. 14 oz. Sweetened Condensed Milk
  4. Fresh Zest of 1 Lime
  5. ⅓ C Fresh Lime Juice
  6. ¼ tsp. Salt
Crust
  1. Heat your oven to 350 degrees. I used one wrapped package of graham crackers to get the amount the recipe calls for.
  2. Put the graham crackers in the food processor until finely ground. I used one wrapped package of graham crackers to get the amount the recipe calls for. If you don't have a food processor, put them in a plastic ziplock bag, and pounding the bag with a rolling pin (or something else heavy).
  3. Add the crumbs into a bowl with the sugar and salt.
  4. Mix and then add the melted butter until all ingredients are well incorporated.
  5. Dump the mix into a 9 inch pie plate and evenly press into the bottom and then sides (press with confidence, but not too hard).
  6. Bake the crust for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.
  7. Place them on a cooling rack until they're completely cooled.
Filling
  1. Set your oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Mix the egg yolk, sweetened condensed milk, lime juice, lime zest, and salt until combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until they have stiff peaks.
  4. Fold the egg whites into the other mixture until combined.
  5. Pour it into the completely cooled crust, and put in the oven for 15 minutes.
  6. Let it cool until reaching room temperature, and then refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
The Everyday Chef and Wife http://blog.theeverydaychefandwife.com/
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