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Posts from the ‘Sweet Tooth’ Category

For the Love of Pie:  Sweet Potato Candied Pecan Pie 

Yes, it has been a ton of Sundays since I posted.  I apologize for staying away so long; but I needed to sort some things out while I adjust to my new environment.  Well, now I am fairly adjusted and I am back in the kitchen creating.  In time for the holidays, I bring you pie.  I give to you a recipe that combines 2 of my favorite pies: sweet potatoe pie & pecan pie.  Enjoy 😋

Sweet Potato Candied Pecan Pie

1 traditional pie crust

Candied Pecan Filling:

1 1/2 cup chopped pecans

3/4 cup organic sugar

1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup unsalted butter

Preheat oven at 350 degrees.

ONEAdd sugar, vanilla extract, and butter to a medium sauce pan on medium heat.

TWOTurn heat off.

THREEStir in pecans.

FOURPour pecan mixture into pie shell.

Sweet Potato Pie Filling:

1/4 cup unsalted butter melted

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 large sweet potato baked (sppon out inards & discard the skin)

2 tablespoons milk

1/3 cup organic sugar

1 tablespoon flour

1 pinch cinnamon

Little less than 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

ONECombine all ingredients, except for flour, into a food processor.  Blend until smooth.

TWOStir in flour to thicken mixture.

THREEPour, carefully, the sweet potato mixture over the candied pecan mixture.

Pie Layered

Layers of Yummy Goodness

FOURBake pie for about 40 minutes or until pie is done in the middle.

Slice of Happiness

FIVEEnjoy 😋😋😋

NOTEServe with whipped cream or ice cream. For an extra treat, sit some candied pecan filling aside & top pie slices with a dollop of candied pecan filling.

Branca Menta Chocolate Float

I had some Branca Menta left and I needed to do something with it. I just couldn’t let is sit in the cabinet and just age away. I am a firm believer that you should treat yourself from time to time. With a little chocolate sauce and some French vanilla ice cream, I made the perfect chocolate float by adding a few ounces of Branca Menta. The Italian mint liqueur gives your chocolate float a smooth and sexy taste

Chocolate Float with Alcohol

Branca Menta Chocolate Float

You know you want a sip 🙂 Check out the recipe below to make your own indulgent float.

Branca Menta Chocolate Float

2 Tablespoons Chocolate Sauce
1 to 3 Scoops French Vanilla Ice Cream
2 ounces Branca Menta

ONEIn a small glass that is about 8 ounces, add 1 tablespoon of chocolate sauce.
TWOAdd 1 scoop of ice cream.
THREEAdd 1 ounce of Branca Menta.
FOURRepeat adding the ingredients in the order above until you have a scoop of ice cream on top ensuring you end with a drizzle of Branca Menta.
FIVEAdd a straw and sip with joy!! Happy Summer!!

NAEN: Buttered Almond Bourbon Ice Cream

NAEN stands for No Additional Equipment Needed/Necessary. I have 2 ice cream makers and I AIN’T use either one. I didn’t feel like freezing bowls or going out in below zero temperatures to find rock salt.

One day I was watching The Cooking Channel and this woman was making coffee ice cream without eggs and an ice cream maker. The woman is Nigella Lawson and her show is “Nigellissima”. I am not a fan of coffee ice cream so I decided to use her technique, but with a different flavor.

I had almonds and liquor. I chose bourbon from the bar. How can I go wrong with almonds and bourbon?

Buttered Almond Bourbon Ice Cream

Buttered Almond Bourbon Ice Cream

And I didn’t go wrong. I think this will be my go to method for making ice cream.

Buttered Almond Bourbon Ice Cream

1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup unsalted almonds (slivers or crushed)
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup bourbon

ONEMelt butter in a skillet at medium heat.
TWOAdd almonds to melted butter. Stir for about 2 to 3 minutes. Set to the side. Allow to cool.
THREEAdd heavy cream to a medium bowl. Whip heavy cream until soft peaks are formed. The mixture will thicken.
FOURIn a separate large bowl, combine buttered almonds, bourbon, and condensed milk.
FIVEFold in whipped heavy cream into bowl with buttered almonds, bourbon, and condensed milk.
SIXPack mixture into an airtight freezer container. TIP: I reused plastic pint containers that I had saved. For the leftover mix, I used freezer safe storage bowls.
SEVENFreeze for at least 6 hours. I froze mine overnight.
EIGHTEnjoy 🙂

Buttered Almond Bourbon Ice Cream

Buttered Almond Bourbon Ice Cream Part II

Jam on It: Fruity Greek Yogurt Pops

Congratulations on making to February!! I know it didn’t help that you had to go to that Super Bowl party that was a vision of temptation with all the cheesy dips, pizza, potato chips, fried buffalo wings, and greasy sandwiches sitting amongst a small veggie tray with wilted vegetables. Trust me, I feel your pain.

I hope this recipe will make it all better. Since I have been only allowing myself cheat moments and not cheat days, I have to get creative when I want something sweet. This one particular day I wanted some ice cream. And no, I didn’t want 2 scoops of ice cream, I wanted the entire half a gallon with a large spoon.

With a refrigerator full of yogurt and my homemade cranberry jam, I whipped up these yummy Greek yogurt popsicles with my favorite popsicle molds by Norpro. These popscicles give me the creamy texture of ice cream pops and are packed with tons of protein from the Greek yogurt.

Fruity Greek Yogurt Pops

17 ounces plain Greek yogurt (I used Fage 0% Greek yogurt)
1/2 cup your favorite flavored jam (I used my homemade cranberry jam)
1/4 cup plain unsweetened almond milk
3 tablespoons agave nectar

ONECombine all ingredients in a blender or bowl
TWOMix until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined. TIP: Stirring in the jam will give the pops a marble look.
THREEPour mixture into your favorite popsicle mold. TIP: I found my favorite molds at Cost Plus World Market in the Summer. They are by Norpro 🙂 Norpro Popsicle Molds can be purchased at Target, Amazon, and other retailers.
FOURFreeze for at least 5 hours, overnight is preferable.

Fruity Greek Yogurt Pops

Fruity Greek Yogurt Pops

I Like It Raw: Raw Vegan Cheesecakes

Last year while I was on my journey to incorporate more raw foods into my meals, I came across a website the Savvy Vegetarian. I tried the recipe for Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake. I took the raw vegan cheesecake to work. Let’s just say that it was gone in less than 2 hours.

A few days ago, I thought of different desserts that I could make. Cheesecake was one of those options; but I didn’t want to make a whole cheesecake. Not to mention, I want to stay on track with my healthier eating goal. The raw vegan cheesecake from the Savvy Vegetarian came to mind. But again, I didn’t want to eat a whole cheesecake.

Instead of making one big raw vegan cheesecake, I decided to make 12 single serving cheesecakes. I used a standard muffin pan to make 2 different flavors: strawberry and key lime.

Raw Vegan Cheesecake

Crust

5 Medjool Dates, pits removed
1/2 cup unsalted pecans
1/2 cup unsalted almonds

ONESoak medjool dates for 10 to 20 minutes. Drain water from dates.
TWOAdd medjool dates, almonds, and cashews to food processor or blender.
THREEBlend thoroughly.
FOURSpoon mixture into lined muffin pan.
FIVEPress mixture down in the bottom of muffin sections to flatten. Set pan to the side.

The Yummy Crust

The Yummy Crust

Filling
1 cup raw cashews
3/4 cup canned coconut milk
2 tablespoons coconut creamer
2 tablespoons coconut oil, softened
1/4 cup agave nectar

ONESoak cashews in a bowl of water for 6 hours or more.
TWOAdd cashews & remaining ingredients for the filling into a blender or food processor.
THREEBlend until smooth.
FOURAdd your favorite flavors. I added two flavors so I divided the filling.

Flavors
For key lime, stir in 1/4 cup fresh key lime juice into filling (makes 6 individual cheesecakes)
For strawberry, combine 5 strawberries with 1 tablespoon agave nectar (makes 6 individual cheesecakes. Stir mixture into filling.

Raw Vegan Cheesecake Assembly

ONEPour flavored filling into muffin cups.
TWOTop cheesecakes with lime zest or strawberries for added touch.
THREECover muffin pan with aluminum foil or plastic wrap.
FOURPlace filled muffin pan in freezer for at least three hours.
FIVERemove from freezer 15 minutes before serving.

Assembled Raw Cheesecakes

Assembled Raw Cheesecakes

Raw Vegan Strawberry Cheesecake

Raw Vegan Strawberry Cheesecake

Raw Vegan Key Lime Cheesecake

Raw Vegan Key Lime Cheesecake

A Dessert Good for the Soul: Vegan Key Lime Parfait

Back in January, I posted a recipe for a ‘chocolate’ mint shake that replaced ice cream with an avocado to create a thick decadent vegan shake. No, I am not a vegan and nor am I on the road to becoming a vegan. But I am in search of healthy alternatives to the foods that I love.

One thing that I love is key lime pie. I wish I could eat key lime pie everyday. Unfortunately, my body won’t allow me to eat my favorite dessert everyday. Sometimes, if I look at a slice too long, I believe my hips instantaneously get a half inch wider 🙂

I eat key lime pie every now and then. But I found an awesome alternative to conventional key lime pie. I created a reduced fat version that is quick and simple. As long as you have your favorite granola, you can create a quick, simple, and delicious version to satisfy your cravings.

Vegan Key Lime Pie

Vegan Key Lime Parfait

Key Lime Parfait

2 large ripe avocados
2 tablespoons key lime juice
1 tablespoons agave nectar
1 cup granola NOTE: I used Trader Joe’s Just the Clusters Maple Pecan Cereal
1/4 unsalted roasted pecans, chopped

ONEPeel avocados and remove the pits.
TWOAdd avocados, key lime juice, and agave nectar to food processor or blender.
THREEBlend all ingredients until smooth.
FOURChill mixture for at least an hour.
FIVELayer your favorite cups with granola, then with the vegan key lime mixture, then granola, then vegan key lime mixture, and top with pecans.
SIXServe and enjoy!!

Makes approximately 2 parfaits when each container that holds 9.5 ounces of liquid.

Memories of Daddy: Bread Pudding with Chai Spice Sauce

If you have read my previous posts, you know that my mother taught me much of what I know about cooking. What you don’t know, is that I had the most fun cooking with my daddy. My dad only cared about flavors. He was not bound by rules of presentation and time and ingredients. This was a man who doused green beans with black pepper and called it cajun.

Yeah, he had some missteps. But he had some hits also. One of the hits that Donald Phillip Pruitt had was his bread pudding. We would make bread pudding on a whim. If we didn’t have raisins, we would throw dried apples into the mix. If walnuts or coconut were available, what the heck, “Let’s see how this is going to taste,” he would say. 🙂

Earlier this week, I had a rough day. I wanted to pick up the phone and call my dad. Yep, sometimes you need someone to tell you to suck it up, the situation isn’t worth your tears, pick your head up, and live to see another day. He passed away in 1994. And yes, I miss him (and my mother) like crazy. Since I couldn’t talk to him, I made bread pudding so I could be close to him.

I bought this lovely loaf of Challah Raisin Bread from Medici. You can use almost whatever you choose. My dad and I would use white bread. You can use wheat, French, and a host of other breads that will work well as a dessert. My dad and I never made sauce to accompany our bread pudding. I figured I would bring the bread pudding into the 21st century. NOTE: If you are not a fan of Chai Tea, exclude the water and replace the tea bags with 2 tablespoons of Pure Vanilla flavor.

Challah Raisin Bread from Medici

Challah Raisin Bread from Medici

Bread Pudding with Challah Raisin Bread

1 loaf of Challah Raisin Bread (approximately 5 cups of bread)(torn in chunks)
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
2 1/2 cups of Milk
1/4 cup of Butter
2 cups of Sugar
1/2 cup of Raisins
1 tablespoon Pure Vanilla
1 teaspoon of Nutmeg

ONEPreheat oven at 350 degrees.
TWOMelt Butter in the Milk over low heat. Allow mixture to cool.
THREEAdd Challah Raisin Bread chunks to large bowl.
FOURPour Milk and Butter mixture over bread chunks. Soak bread chunks for at least 10 minutes.
FIVEAdd the remaining ingredients and stir thoroughly.
SIXPour mixture into a greased 9×13 baking pan or casserole dish.
SEVENBake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until top is golden brown.

Chai Spice Sauce

1 cup of Heavy Whipping Cream
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1/4 cup of Sugar
1/4 cup Butter
2 of your favorite Chai Tea Bags
1/2 cup of Water
1 teaspoon spoon of Corn Starch

ONEHeat water to a boil in the microwave.
TWOAdd the tea bags to the water to extract the Chai flavor. Set aside.
THREECombine remainder of the ingredients in a saucepan.
FOURCook over medium heat for about 10 minutes until the mixture thickens and come to a full boil.
FIVEStir occasionally to ensure the sauce does not burn.
SIXStir in Chai Tea.
SEVENServe over bread pudding.

Mixed & Uncooked

Mixed & Uncooked

Bread Pudding with Chai Spice Sauce

Bread Pudding with Chai Spice Sauce

XOXO to Me: Let’s Get Brownie Bite Wasted

It seems like yesterday we were celebrating the coming of a new year. Now it is February; and it is time to celebrate love this Friday.

In preparation of Valentine’s Day, I decided to give myself an assortment of chocolate. It is not your grab it off the shelf and pay for it at the cash register type of chocolate. This assortment of chocolate is filled with aged rum, coconut rum, and even a mock mojito.

Brownie Bites

Brownie Bites

Box of Chocolates

Box of Chocolates

Start out with your basic brownie recipe. You can even use prepackaged brownie mix. I prefer to bake from scratch.

I used this basic brownie recipe below:

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 teaspoons vanilla (preferably alcohol free)
1/2 cup flour
pinch of salt

ONEPreheat oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
TWOLine an 8x8x2 inch baking pan with aluminum foil.
THREEIn a glass or metal mixing bowl, combine melted butter and cocoa, thoroughly.
FOURMix in sugar and combine thoroughly.
FIVEMix in eggs one at a time.
SIXStir in vanilla.
SEVENStir in flour and salt. Mix thoroughly but be careful not to over mix.
EIGHTPour mixture into baking pan.
NINEBake for 20 minutes or until done.
TENAllow to cool.

While the brownies are cooling, you can prepare your fillings, chocolate dipping sauce, and any additional toppings you may like.

For my sprinkled toppings, I chose cinnamon and sugar, coconut, crushed almonds, and crushed Coco Puff cereal. I placed those ingredients, in their own separate bowls, and set them aside.

For the chocolate coating, I melted 1 1/4 cup of semisweet chocolate chips in a double boiler. I stirred in a 1/4 cup of heavy cream. I allowed the chocolate to cool without becoming too thick.

Now for the fun stuff, the infused flavors:

Mock Mojito
4 mint leaves
Juice from 1 Lime
1 tablespoon sugar

ONEPut all of the ingredients in a small bowl.
TWOCombine the ingredients together by crushing them with a pestle.
THREERemove the mint leaves.

Aged Rum
1/2 cup of Aged Rum
2 teaspoons vanilla (preferably alcohol free)
2 tablespoons powder sugar

ONEMix all ingredients together, thoroughly.

Coconut Dream
1/2 cup of icing (I used Wilton decorative icing. Any white icing will do.)
3 tablespoons coconut rum

ONEMix all ingredients together, thoroughly.

Now that the pan of brownies are cooled, scoop out about a 1 1/2 teaspoon or 1 tablespoon of brownies. Roll around into your hand to form balls. Place balls on cookie sheet lined with waxed paper or parchment paper.

Use a flavor syringe or pastry tip to fill the bites with whatever flavors you choose. When adding liquor, I suggest that the bites sit overnight to allow the flavor to set in. ALS, do not restrict yourself to the flavors above. You can add jam/jelly, caramel, or even nuts.

Pick each brownie bites with a fork and dip it in chocolate until the bite is fully covered. Allow the access chocolate to drip off. Place the chocolate covered bite on the wax or parchment paper. Sprinkle with your toppings. Allow to set before serving.

If you you really want to get jazzy, place each brownie bite in a small cupcake or candy liner. Carefully, place each bite in a candy box. Give the box of brownie bites as a gift to your loved ones. I gave my box to myself 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day XOXO

From Me 2 Me

From Me 2 Me

Natural Remedy: Strawberry Green Tea Popsicles

Friday I didn’t have an appetite. I figured I ate so much in the previous days that my stomach needed a break. That was not the case. When Saturday rolled around, I didn’t want to get out of the bed; but I had a class project to complete.

I couldn’t go out into the cold air. I stayed home and rested. I made sure that I drank plenty of water & orange juice. I grew bored with the standard vitamin c. I decided to make some popsicles with green tea. I had a different plan for the strawberries; but I didn’t have the energy to make vegan white chocolate covered strawberries. I went ahead and put the strawberries into my feeling better plan.

Strawberry Green Tea Popsicles

Strawberry Green Tea Popsicles

Choose your favorite green tea. I have a number of green teas in the pantry. For this recipe, I used The Republic of Tea Double Green Matcha Tea.

4 Green Tea Tea Bags
3 or 4 cups of Water (in my opinion less is more)
1 pint of Strawberries (washed with tops cut off & cut each strawberry in 4 pieces)
1/4 cup of Agave Nectar

ONEAdd water to a medium size pot.
TWOBring water to a boil.
THREERemove water from the heat.
FOURAdd 4 tea bags to the pot and 1/4 cup of agave nectar. Stir and allow to cool.
FIVESet a cup of cut strawberries aside.
SIXRemove tea bags from the pot.
SIXAdd the remaining strawberries, and the cooled green tea to the blender. NOTE: Taste the mixture and add additional agave nectar for desired sweetness, if necessary.
SEVENPrepare your popsicle molds per molds’ instructions.
EIGHTAdd cut strawberries to the popsicle molds.
NINEPour in strawberry green tea blended mixture.
TENPlaced filled molds into freezer. It is best to freeze overnight.

If you do not have popsicle molds, fill ice trays, cover with plastic wrap, and place a toothpick in each ice cube mold.

NOTE: You do not have to restrict yourself to green tea or strawberries. Step out on a limb and use whatever fruit and tea combination you like. Have fun with the flavors and enjoy.

I Am A Believer: Decadent Chocolate Cheesecake

During the holidays, I decided to surf the web for cheesecake recipes. I tried a few recipes. One recipe found online stood out above the rest.

I am not a fan of too much chocolate. I like hints of chocolate. I like chocolate swirls and minimal chocolate chips. I like chocolate frosting with yellow cake. I need peanut butter, nuts, and coconut to break-up taste of chocolate.

I found a chocolate cheesecake recipe on Mel’s Kitchen Café blog that made me believe that too much chocolate can be a great thing. This recipe has 3, yep 1-2-3, layers of chocolate. The topping, filling, and the crust are filled with chocolate. I went into this recipe thinking that all I wanted to do was bake this recipe, taste a slice, and take the cheesecake to the office for my coworkers to devour.

Decadent Chocolate Cheesecake

Decadent Chocolate Cheesecake

I followed recipe to the last instruction minus the chocolate curls for garnish. I even used Ghiradelli Bittersweet Chips just as the recipe suggested. I was inspired to accentuate the chocolate filling. To accomplish this, I added a teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper. The cayenne pepper didn’t over power the recipe. I accomplished what I set out to do and more. I reserved 4 slices of cheesecake for myself. I packaged up the rest of the cheesecake and took it work. The cheesecake was a hit. I didn’t even have to add garnish. The next time I make this cheesecake recipe, I will add crushed pecans and caramel drizzle.

Below is the modified recipe courtesy of Mel’s Kitchen Cafe:

Decadent Chocolate Cheesecake

NOTE: This cheesecake needs to be chilled overnight so plan ahead! The good news is this cheesecake can be made all the way through the topping, covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days before serving. It is preferable to let the cheesecake stand at room temperature 1-2 hours before serving.

Crust:
9-ounce package of chocolate cookies (such as chocolate wafers, graham crackers or teddy grahams)
1 tablespoon sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted

ONEPreheat the oven to 350°F.
TWOButter a 9-inch springform pan with 3-inch-high sides (or use a 10-inch springform pan with 2-inch sides).
THREEProcess the chocolate cookies in a food processor (or the old-fashioned way with a bag and a rolling pin) until they are finely ground.
FOURTransfer them to a small bowl and mix in the sugar.
FIVEAdd the melted butter and mix until well combined.
SIXPress the crumbs evenly onto the bottom only of the prepared pan.
SEVENBake just until set, about 5 minutes.
EIGHTCool while preparing filling.
NOTE:Keep the oven heated at 350 degrees.

Filling:

10 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped (Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chips were used)
4 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (Optional, I added to this recipe.)

ONEMelt the 10 ounces of chocolate in the microwave or in a double boiler until melted and smooth.
TWOCool the chocolate until lukewarm but ensure that it is still warm enough to be pourable.
THREEIn a large bowl (or with a stand mixer), blend cream cheese, sugar, cayenne pepper, and cocoa powder until smooth.
FOURBlend in eggs one at a time.
FIVEMix in lukewarm chocolate.
SIXPour the cheesecake filling over the crust; smooth the top.
SEVENBake until the center is just set and just appears dry, about 1 hour.
EIGHTRemove the cheesecake from the oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
NINERun knife around sides of cake to loosen.
TENLet the cheesecake cool to room temperature.
ELEVENCover lightly with plastic wrap and chill overnight.

Topping:

3/4 cup whipping cream
6 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon sugar

ONEOne hour before serving (or up to 3 days ahead of time), stir cream, 6 ounces chocolate, and sugar in heavy medium saucepan over low heat until smooth.
TWOCool slightly. Pour over the center of the cheesecake, spreading to within 1/2 inch of edge and filling any cracks.
THREEChill until the topping is set, about 1 hour.
FOURWhen ready to serve, release the springform pan sides.
FIVETransfer the cheesecake to a platter.
SIXTop with topping of choice.
SEVENIt is preferable to let the cheesecake stand at room temperature for 1-2 hours before serving.