~ "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; Through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." ~ "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing" ~ "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." ~ "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."~

Monday, June 20, 2016

Quick and Easy Brazilian Spicy Cheese Bread (GF)... and an idea.

Blender Brazilian Spicy Cheese Bread (GF)... and an idea. While I've made and posted the Brazilian  cheese breads (pao de queijo) before, this version is much, much easier! So easy in fact, that I've made them way too many times than I should have:). They are so delicious that you don't realize how quickly they disappear! And I love the amount it makes... not too many, nor too few. 

When I first made the first batch, I wanted them to be more mochi-like in texture because I like them chewy. But then I noticed something interesting with a pan that I had left a little longer in the oven. They no longer had the mochi like interior, especially after I had allowed them to cool. They froze extremely well and when I defrosted them some time later, I found the chewy texture had completely disappeared. Inside they were a bit hollow, which immediately reminded me of the pate choux pastry used to make eclairs/profiteroles... 

Of course my mind started thinking of all the possibilities. I just knew they would be wonderful as little "breads" that I could fill, to use for an afternoon tea sandwich... or even for an appetizer when I needed to make something for the gluten intolerant. And so I quickly filled the breads with an egg salad, and they were simply wonderful! My husband really loved these. The cheese flavor complimented the egg...  and well,  it was a win-win situation:). Hope you enjoy...

Tip: You can freeze the breads to use later and fill them if you like. To fill, simply cut the tops while still semi-frozen, scoop out some of the bread interior and then defrost completely.  Fill with your favorite filling... you can use them as a gluten-free appetizer or "sandwich" for afternoon tea.  

Ingredients: Now while I made these to be spicy, you can certainly make them without any chile:)... 

1 egg, at room temperature (I'll be honest, it's not always at room temp:)
1/3 cup extra light olive oil
2/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cups (170 grams) tapioca starch
1 cup medium packed (100 grams) grated cheese of choice*
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/4-1 teaspoon togarashi chile flakes, can use any finely ground chile/adjust amount to taste/ or skip
*can use mozzarella, cheddar, parmesan, gryuere, or combination of hard cheeses, etc.

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. 
  • Grease 3 mini muffin tins generously. My tins are really mini... so if yours are bigger you might not need 3 tins, but you might need to adjust baking time to allow for the bigger tin.
1. Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth.

2. Divide batter into the mini muffin tins wells, filling the well to the top.

3. Bake in the oven for 12 -14 minutes, until all puffy and lightly browned.  

4. Eat while warm or save to reheat later... or simply freeze for later.

NOTE: If you want a more mochi-like interior, bake until breads barely get any color... if you want to have them on the drier side, bake a  minute or 2 longer or until the breads catch a bit more golden color. To dry them even further, turn off oven and allow the breads to cool in oven with door slightly open. Check on them though... and remove when you feel they have dried up enough. 

I filled mine with an egg salad, but tuna or chicken salad would work well... as well as other fillings of choice.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Grain- Free Plantain Waffles

Grain-Free/ Nut-Free Plantain Waffles... Have you ever had waffles made with plantains? Ok, do you find yourself even buying plantains? Well, if you're anything like me, you would be curious to find out that plantain waffles are possible. Ok, so these waffles are a bit softer than the traditional crisp waffles.... but waffles nevertheless:). Actually, they do crisp up rather nicely if you place them in the toaster oven to bake further.

The first time I had plantain waffles was maybe about a half year ago, when my husband and I were visiting family. We had on overnight flight and were arriving early in the morning hours. My sister-in-law greeted us with these freshly made and delicious plantain waffles. Along with maple syrup and some great coffee we were set for the day. 

I was so amazed with the waffles that I knew I was going to make them when I got home. While my sister-in-law used some almond butter and some other good stuff, I have provided the basic recipe.You can adjust to your liking by adding some chia seeds, flax seeds, etc.

Yes, these waffles are gluten-free, and contain no flour of any kind. While these are great for breakfast as a sweet alternative, you can easily turn them into something a bit more savory... and serve them when you need some type of  "bread". I think they'd be especially good as a sandwich, for those days when you need something on the go. 

I should mention, that if you don't have a waffle maker... you can just turn them into pancakes:). Hope you enjoy...

Ingredients: adapted from PaleoMom

3 large green * plantains (about 2 cups pureed), mine were on the small side and I used 4
4 large eggs
2 tsps vanilla 
3 TBS extra virgin coconut oil/butter, I used a combination
2 TBS coconut sugar, can be optional, you can add more if you like
1/8 tsp salt, or to taste
½ tsp baking soda
cinnamon, nutmeg, or any other flavorings you like

*Note:While I specify green plantains, I've also made the waffles using somewhat yellow plantains, which also works...  in case you buy the green and don't get the chance to make the waffles then and there:)


1. Quarter and peel plantains. 
2. Place plantain pieces in blender and blend till smooth, or until consistency of play-dough. 
3. Add eggs and blend again till you get a smooth batter.
4. Add the rest of the ingredients to the blender and process on high for an additional 1-2 minute or until you get a really good smooth batter.
5. Preheat waffle maker and add about 1/2 cup batter, or as much/ little as your  waffle maker takes. 
6. Repeat with remaining batter.
7. Serve with maple syrup and fruits if desired.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


Kolaches... filled with apple filling. I know I haven't posted in a great while, but life has been quite busy for me. As much as I've wanted to post at least a recipe or 2 during this long absence, I simply haven't been able to do so until now. To make a long story short, I have been busy moving from our old house to a new house... and a new place... and all this during the wintery Montana months! As you can imagine, my kitchen utensils weren't always available to me... 

However, today I'm excited to finally share a recipe with you:). It's an easy sort of recipe with wonderful results! The dough is quite versatile...  it can be used as a sweet dough (fruit/ nut/ nutella)... or even savory(think spiced ground meat/sausage rolls or even an onion filling). 

The resulting recipe for Kolaches, came about when I found myself with a container of frozen apple filling that I wanted to use up. My thoughts initially was to  make a strudel, but I had no phyllo dough on hand. Then I thought to make an apple pie pizza, but didn't want to make something that I have been making too much of lately:). Incidentally, one of these days, I shall have to make the apple pizza again, just to post it here, because it is one of my favorites. In any case, because I had seen a video clip not too long ago on making simple and easy kolaches, I immediately thought the apple filling would work amazingly well in kolaches. And it sure did!

While I made my kolaches with an apple filling, you can  opt to make a cheese filling if you prefer...or try another fruit filling of choice. Since this recipe comes from Cook's Country, they include the cheese filling recipe, as well as the option of making your own fruit filling from frozen fruit. I've included the information as part of the recipe, even though I used my own apple filling. You can certainly be creative and make any filling you prefer...  but the dough is really nice to work with. I have plans to one day make  kolaches that are filled with custard and then topped with half on apricot(similar to these)... doesn't that sound good? I know there are a ton of filling variations, so the recipe is perfect....to make again and again... and file it in the recipe index:).  Hope you enjoy...

Note: The original recipe includes all purpose flour, but I used bread flour because I like the result I get in sweet doughs... however, feel free to use all purpose. Also, while the original recipe doesn't include any vanilla, I find I can't bake without it:). You can even add some orange/lemon peel to the dough if you like.

Tip: You can make smaller kolaches... making 32 instead of 16 and using a smaller cup to make indentations. I think the smaller versions would be lovely as part of an afternoon tea menu.  

You will need: makes 16 kolaches  adapted from Cook's Country

Kolach dough:
1 cup whole milk, can be straight out from fridge
10 tablespoons butter, melted
1 large egg plus 2 large egg yolks
3 ½ cups bread flour
⅓ cup sugar 
2¼ teaspoons instant yeast
1 ½ teaspoon salt, can lower to taste
1 tsp vanilla extract, can be optional

For a cheese filling:
6 ounces cream cheese, softened
3 tablespoons sugar, can adjust to taste
1 tablespoon flour
½ teaspoon grated lemon zest
6 ounces (3/4 cup) ricotta cheese
vanilla extract, to taste

For a frozen type fruit filling:
10 ounces frozen pineapple, blueberries, or cherries
5 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons cornstarch
can add extract of choice, vanilla, almond, lemon etc 

Streusel Topping:
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons all purpose flou r
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sugar 
1 tablespoon unsalted butter cut into 8 pieces and chilled

Egg Wash:
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon milk

Powdered sugar glaze, optional 
mix powder sugar with a bit of water/milk until drizzling consistency


For the dough: 

1. Combine milk, hot melted butter and eggs together in measuring cup... and add vanilla extract, if using. Mixture may be lumpy.

2. Combine dry ingredients in the bowl of a standing mixer then add milk mixture and knead for 2 minutes on low speed until combined. Increase speed to medium and continue kneading for 8 to 12 minutes until dough no longer sticks to side of bowl. If the dough hasn't cleared the bowl after 12 minutes, add more flour, 1 Tablespoon at a time, up to 2 Tablespoons.

3. Place dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap... let rise in warm place for 1 hour  or until doubled. 
( Alternately, adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions.  Place dough bowl on the upper-middle rack and place a small pot on the lower-middle rack (underneath dough bowl)and  pour 3 cups boiling water into small pot, close oven door, and let dough rise about 1 hour or until doubled.)
Tip: You can also refrigerate dough overnight in a covered bowl, bring to room temp, and allow to rise till doubled and proceed with recipe.

4. In the meantime, combine egg wash, make streusel, make filling of choice and set aside.
  • For the Streusel: Combine all ingredients and mix together with fingers. Cover and refrigerate until needed
  • For a Cheese Filling: Using stand mixer fitted with paddle, beat the Cream Cheese, Sugar, Flour, and Lemon Zest on low speed until smooth, about 1 minute.  Add Ricotta Cheese and beat until just combined, about 30 seconds.  Transfer to bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • For a Fruit Filling: Combine 10 oz frozen Pineapple, Blueberries, or Cherries with 5 Tablespoons Sugar; and 4 teaspoons Cornstarch in bowl.  Microwave, covered, until bubbling and thickened, about 6 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking.  Mash with a potato masher.  Let cool completely and fill Kolaches as directed.
  • For the Apple Filling... I used a previous frozen apple filling found in my apple turnover recipe.(You may or may not use all of the filling.)  
To Assemble and Bake the Kolaches: 
  • Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
1. After dough has risen, remove from bowl and flatten dough into a rectangular shape with fingers...divide dough into quarters, and cut each quarter into 4 equal pieces.... resulting in 16 pieces  
2. Form each piece into a smooth, tight ball.  Arrange 8 balls on each baking sheet and cover loosely with plastic wrap.  
3. Place the baking sheets in  a warm place and allow to double. (alternately place sheets in the oven, replace the water in the small pot with 3 cups boiling water, close oven door and let rise until doubled, about 90 minutes or until nicely doubled and puffy.)
  • Preheat oven to 350 Deg F

4. Grease and flour the bottom of a ⅓ cup dry measure or a glass with a 2¼ inch diameter and use to make deep indents on top of each ball until bottom of measuring cup touches baking sheet.
5. Fill each indentation with about 1.5 tablespoons of filling... use your choice.
6. Brush tops of each pastry with egg wash, and then sprinkle sides with streusel
7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes (do not over bake, lightly colored) and let cool for about 20 minutes. Glaze with powdered sugar glaze if desired.
 Tip: if you plan on freezing some baked. allow to cool and wrap well before placing in freezer. Defrost and warm slightly before serving.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Jacques Pepin's Pork Schnitzel ...with crispy rice coating.(Gluten-Free).

Jacques Pepin's Pork Schnitzel ...with crispy rice coating.(Gluten-Free). I needed to share this recipe with you... not only because it's a recipe that comes from one of my very favorite chefs, but because this is an outstanding dish. 

If you are looking for a quick dinner option that kids and adults will enjoy, well this crispy pork schnitzel will please even the pickiest of folks.

While I've made schnitzel many times over and over again, this recipe caught my eye recently because of the ingenious idea to use rice cakes for the crumb topping. Why, oh why have I never thought of using rice cakes? Maybe, because I really don't have them around the house:)...  

In any case, we simply loved the result of the crispy and delicious tasting coating that added a pop of texture a well as flavor to an otherwise ordinary schnitzel. Schnitzel. Ordinary? Not exactly. But this... rice cake topping... takes the schnitzel to another level. A must try!

Using crushed up rice cakes is an excellent alternative to the usual regular bread crumb/panko crumb topping... not only because of the "pop" in texture but it makes the schnitzel gluten-free, making it ideal as a dinner option for the gluten intolerant.

While I have posted the recipe for the balsamic pan sauce that accompanies the schnitzel recipe, I ended up adjusting my sauce to include ingredients on hand. Of course, this dish can easily be made with chicken breasts... even veal. Hope you enjoy...

Tip: You can can easily freeze cooked schnitzels(wrap each individually) and re-crisp in oven for another day. I use my toaster oven for re-heating.

You will need: adapted from Jacques Pépin Heart & Soul in the Kitchen via the Kitchn

4 (5 oz) boneless pork loin steaks 
3/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano, optional
1 egg, beaten well with a fork in a shallow bowl
3 rice cakes (1oz), I used wild rice- lightly salted
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Making Balsamic Pan Sauce:
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar( I used white)
1/2 cup homemade chicken stock ( I used a mixture of chicken and beef)
1/3 cup Bloody Mary mix (I used a bit of ketchup)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro or chives (I omitted)

1. Trim pork  pieces of sinew and fat. Place a piece of plastic wrap over meat and using a meat pounder, pound pork steak until about 3/8-inch thick. 
2. Sprinkle the pork with the salt and pepper and dried oregano. Set aside.
3. Process rice cake until broken up completely and has small pieces of crumbs... don't over-process so that it gets too powdery.

4. Place rice cake crumbs in a bowl, add egg in separate bowl and beat till combined.
5. Dip each piece pork into the beaten egg and coat well with the rice cake crumbs.
Tip:You can make this ahead if you like and refrigerate.
6. In a non stick pan, heat the oil and butter and add the coated pork and cook for about 1 1/2 minutes on each side... or until cooked through and browned on the outside. Depending on the size of your pan you may need to do this in 2 batches (or 2 skillets), adjusting the oil and butter as needed. 
7. Place cooked pork schnitzels on a paper towel lined plate to absorb any excess fat. Transfer to a serving platter.

To make ahead re-crisp: You can place pork schnitzel in toaster oven at 425 for a few minutes until hot and crispy
To make Sauce: This sauce is a bit on the sweet and savory side... feel free to make your own pan sauce or skip altogether. I ended up adjusting my sauce according to ingredients I had in the house. However, I am posting the original ingredients and method.

1. If using two skillets, combine the drippings in one skillet. 
2. Add the vinegar to the pan and cook for 30 to 45 seconds, until most of the liquid has evaporated.
3. Add the chicken stock and Bloody Mary mix then continue to cook for about 1 minute, until slightly thickened.
4. Pour the sauce over and around the steaks. Sprinkle cilantro or chives on top, if desired

Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Best and Easiest No Churn Ice Cream/Gelato... an Espresso Gelato Variation.

Espresso Ice Cream/Gelato Variation... No Churn, One Bowl, 4 Ingredients. Since I mentioned in my last post the amazing ice cream I've been making this summer ... I knew I couldn't let it go without sharing it with you as well. I know it's kind of late, why with summer being almost over... but ice cream, well, ice scream can be made all year round:).

If you've always wanted to make ice scream at home and had no ice scream  maker... well, this recipe is for you. 
If you've always wanted to make homemade ice scream that was smooth, creamy and without ice crystals... then this recipe is for you. 
If you've always wanted to make a ton of ice scream variations without so many recipe variations... well, this ice cream is for you. 
If you enjoy the store-bought Tallenti gelato... well, this homemade version is it! Actually, my husband says it's way better. 

Ok, so  I hardly ever call a recipe AMAZING... because recipes are quite subjective. What I may call amazing, you may not... and while others may call a recipe amazing, I may not. But... this ice scream recipe is truly outstanding. And it's super, super simple to make! It will amaze you and amaze your guests as well.  Well, at least those of us that like ice scream:)...

I've made this ice cream(more like gelato) many times... it's foolproof! I've played around with the flavor variations, and they've all been delicious. And while I've posted exact measurements for best results, I've also used a can of sweetened condensed milk  combined with 1 (475ml=2 cups) heavy cream container... to make a double batch. This way you don't need to buy a second container of heavy cream:). It's a tad sweeter, but not noticeably. 

While you can find variations to the no churn ice cream online, I find this is by far the easiest to do. You place all the ingredients in a bowl and whip to soft peaks... this of course doesn't include any add-ins you may choose to include, which you' ll fold in at the end. The only thing you have to remember is to not over beat the cream... otherwise it will turn buttery. Beat it to the consistency of a light mayonnaise and you'll be ok.. And all this is done in a single bowl... no need to beat the cream separately.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do... I know my husband enjoys it the most:).  This would be lovely... placed in disposable containers with a pretty label... perfect to bring as a hostess gift. Hope you enjoy...

Note: You can make this ice cream/gelato with with a ton of variations... the idea is to use heavy cream, sweetened condensed milk and flavorings of choice. 

The alcohol can be optional, though it keeps the ice scream from freezing solid in the freezer.

Variations I have made in the past included ingredients I had on hand at the moment:

 1)A mint chocolate chip, adding mint extract, and mini chips along with 1 TBS cherry liqueur, 
2) A chocolate rum-walnut, adding 1-2 TBS dark cocoa, rum extract and chopped walnuts along with 1 TBS cherry liqueur, 
3) A cherry shaved chocolate(cherry garcia), adding just the cherries from  fruit-sweetened cherry preserves, almond extract, and shavings of dark chocolate along with 1 TBS cherry liqueur.

But variations can be endless... adding broken up cookies, brownies, cookie dough, various cooked down fruits, nuts and chocolate can all be used. Be creative and make your own... apple pie, pumpkin pie and cherry pie sound wonderful:)...

Ingredients: Adapted from Nigella Lawson - makes about 1 1/2 pints (or 800 ml) 

1 ¼ cups cold heavy cream
⅔ cup sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons Irish Cream (or you can use espresso liqueur)


1. Measure and place all ingredients in a large bowl.

2. Using a hand held mixer(or you can whisk by hand) beat ingredients  until soft peaks form, and has thickened into an airy mixture, almost similar to a light mayonnaise consistency. Do not overbeat.
3. Pour in a freezer proof air tight container, and freeze overnight.
4. Enjoy a scoop of delicious and super smooth ice cream:)!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Romanian Chicken Papricas... chicken with tomato sauce and dumplings.

Romanian Chicken Papricas... chicken with tomato sauce and dumplings. It's been awhile since I've posted, I hope you are all doing well. A big thanks to you all who still try out recipes and share your feedback. I really appreciate your kind words and taking the time to stop by...

Summer has been busy and time has flown by so quickly! I've been meaning to post an amazing ice scream recipe that I made throughout the summer, a recipe that would be appropriate for these warmer months. Somehow I haven't had the chance to make it again so I could take pictures... I'm hoping I can still find my camera, and that it still works:). Truthfully, I have not been cooking or baking much... just haven't had the drive to try out new recipes lately (well, except for the ice scream recipe  that made me go out and buy the ingredients). We've somehow resorted to eating simple meals, and have to say we kind of got into the habit of pulling out whatever is in the fridge or pantry and calling it a meal.... of course always adding some vegetables on the table:).

However, from time to time(guests being in town), I've been able pull out my recipe index and make some of the traditional Romanian dishes...  I've had this recipe in my draft folder for some time now and thought to post it. It brought wonderful memories for me, as I loved papricas growing up... 

The dish is simple to make... doesn't have complex flavors... but it is still quite delicious and comforting. Romanian sauces are always quite similar, and this sauce isn't much different from the tomato based sauces found in Romanian cooking. However, the dumplings add another dimension to the dish and make it that much more comforting:). Hope you enjoy...

You will need:

1.5-2 lbs chicken meat, cut in 2 inch pieces (I used 2 boneless things, 2 drumsticks, 2 breast pieces)
2 TBS oil
1 onion (1 1/2 cups dice)
2  crushed garlic cloves, optional- I rather like it without
2 TBS tomato paste
2 tsps paprika
3-4 cups chicken stock
2 bay leaves
salt and pepper to taste
lemon juice to taste
chopped parsley, as needed

Dumpling Batter:
2 eggs(113grams), beaten
7 TBS (67 grams) flour
pinch of salt

1. Cut up chicken pieces and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
2. Make dumpling batter: 
Beat eggs, add flour and pinch of salt. Whisk ingredients together until combined. Set aside. 
3. Heat large skillet on medium heat. Add oil.
4. When oil is hot add chicken pieces in single layer. Allow meat to brown before turning. 
5. Turn chicken pieces over and cook until meat is 3/4 of the way cooked. This should take about 5-7 minutes.
6. Lower heat to medium/low and add onion to pan. 
7. Stir and scrape any browned bits and continue cooking onion and meat for about 10-15 minutes on medium low heat. 
8. Add crushed garlic cloves(if using), tomato paste and paprika. Stir to combine thoroughly and cook for an additional 1-2  minutes. You can remove the pan from the heat so you can combine the ingredients easier without risking burning the meat and onion... and then just place it back on the heat to continue cooking. 
9. Off heat, add 3-4 cups of chicken stock slowly and stir to combine(amount of stock depends how thin you want the sauce to be...start with smaller amount and adjust later, if you feel it needs it.)
10. Place skillet back on heat and add bay leaves.
11. Heat on high and bring sauce to a boil, then lower heat  to a soft boil(med/low heat) and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes or until sauce is thickened slightly.  
12. Lower heat to low and make sure there are no boiling bubbles occurring, then slowly place teaspoon sized dumpling batter in sauce ... allow batter to slowly fall from the teaspoon in the sauce. Keep the teaspoon close to the sauce when forming dumplings... otherwise the dumplings will disintegrate if formed and dropped from a distance. 
Tip: It helps to dip spoon in the hot liquid sauce before forming dumplings as this makes it easier for the dumpling to release from the spoon.
13. Continue forming dumplings until all batter is used up. Allow to cook until slightly puffed and soft.... about 10-15 more minutes or until dumplings are cooked through
14. Add lemon juice to taste and adjust seasoning. Lemon juice can be optional, but I find it brightens the dish well, bringing out the flavors. Cook for an additional minute or so. Sprinkle with parsley.