desserts

Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

Baguio is known to be the “summer capital of the Philippines” because of its cool climate, perfect for escaping the scorching heat of Manila. It is also popular for the fresh vegetables, fruits, and flowers that you can get from their markets.

I have been to Baguio twice. I always wanted to go back there but it would require at least three whole days (out of my usual 9-10 days vacation in Manila) because of the 8-hour drive from Manila to Baguio, and another 8 hours back. So that’s 16 hours of travel!

Strawberry-picking is one of the activities I would like to try. It would definitely be a great experience to harvest fresh strawberries and not just get them from the supermarkets packed in plastic boxes.

Just recently, my friend brought home some strawberry preserves for me. I am not fond of jams and preserves, but thinking about the farmers who harvested those strawberries and made them into preserves to earn a living, it would be heartbreaking to let it go to waste. So again, being the “I hate to see food go to waste” person that I am, I needed to find a recipe to put it to good use…

Strawberry Oatmeal Bars

Adapted from The Pioneer Woman

Ingredients: 

  • 1 3/4 stick cold butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1 1/2 cup oats (quick or regular)
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 jar (10-12 oz) strawberry preserves

Procedure:

  • Preheat the oven to 175 C. Butter a 9 x 13 or 8 x 10 baking dish.
  • Mix together the flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  • Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter (or in my case, a fork!) until it resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Sprinkle half the mixture into the pan and pat lightly to pack it a little tight.
  • Spoon strawberry preserves evenly over the surface, then use a dinner knife to carefully spread it around.
  • Sprinkle the other half of the oat mixture over the top and pat lightly again.
  • Bake until light golden brown on top, about 30 to 40 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool in pan.
  • When cool, cut into squares and serve.

Now, this one is definitely LOVE! Even the kiddo digged into it! The oatmeal crust was able to balance the sweetness of the strawberry preserve. I guess it would also work with blueberry or peach, depends on what you have in your pantry.

It would be great to pair it up with coffee or tea! (caffeine-free tea for the preggo lady, please!)

Give it a try this weekend… Enjoy!

Thanks for dropping by,

Alexa’s Mom

Banana Muffins

Whenever we have some overripe bananas in the office, I bring them home and make some muffins. I hate to see food go to waste!

Banana Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 large bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted

Procedure:

  • Preheat oven to 350F (175C). Coat muffin pans with non-stick spray, or use paper liners.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside.
  • Combine bananas, sugar, egg, and melted butter in a large bowl. Fold in flour mixture, and mix until smooth. Optional: Add chocolate chips and/or walnuts, according to your heart’s desire.
  • Scoop into muffin pans and bake in preheated oven. Bake mini muffins for 10 to 15 minutes, and large muffins for 25 to 30 minutes. Muffins will spring back when lightly tapped.

Isn’t it pretty? It’s yum too!

Enjoy!

Love,

Alexa’s Mom

Chia Seeds as Egg Substitute

Hello there!

Holidays had passed and now it’s already February of 2015! January just flew by like that.

And because the holidays have made us gain those extra pounds, I want to try my best to eat healthier starting this new year. I thought of replacing some of my baking ingredients with healthy alternatives, like mashed avocado for butter, applesauce for sugar, or chia seeds for eggs.

I started off with replacing eggs with chia seeds. I saw it before on TV and in Pinterest but never really looked into it. Who would have thought that these tiny seeds have such great nutritional value! Here are 10 reasons why you should add chia seeds to your diet:

Combat Diabetes

Chia is being studied as a potential natural treatment for type-2 diabetes because of its ability to slow down digestion. The gelatinous coating chia seeds develops when exposed to liquids-can also prevent blood sugar spikes.

Get More Fibre
Just a 28-gram or one-ounce serving of chia has 11 grams of dietary fibre — about a third of the recommended daily intake for adults. Adding some chia to your diet is an easy way to make sure you’re getting a good amount of fibre, which is important for digestive health.

Stock Up On Omega-3
Chia seeds are packed with omega-3 fatty acids, with nearly five grams in a one-ounce serving. These fats are important for brain health. “There’s better conversion of omega 3s into the plasma or into the food than with flax seed,” said researcher Wayne Coates.

Stronger Teeth And Bones
A serving of chia seeds has 18 per cent of the recommended daily intake for calcium, which puts your well on your way to maintaining bone and oral health, and preventing osteoporosis.

Don’t Forget Manganese
Manganese isn’t a well-known nutrient, but it’s important for our health: it’s good for your bones and helps your body use other essential nutrients like biotin and thiamin. One serving of chia seeds, or 28 grams, has 30 per cent of your recommended intake of this mineral.

Plenty Of Phosphorus
With 27 per cent of your daily value for phosphorus, chia seeds also helps you maintain healthy bones and teeth. Phosphorus is also used by the body to synthesize protein for cell and tissue growth and repair.

Pack In The Protein
Chia seeds also make a great source of protein for vegetarians and don’t have any cholesterol. One 28-gram serving of these super seeds has 4.4 grams of protein, nearly 10 per cent of the daily value.

Fight Belly Fat
Chia’s stabilizing effect on blood sugar also fights insulin resistance which can be tied to an increase in belly fat, according to Live Strong. This type of resistance can also be harmful for your overall health.

Get Full. Faster
Tryptophan, an amino acid found in turkey, is also found in chia seeds. While tryptophan is responsible for that strong urge to nap after a big Thanksgiving dinner for example, it also helps regulate appetite, sleep and improve mood.

Improve Heart Health
According to the Cleveland Clinic, chia seeds have been shown to improve blood pressure in diabetics, and may also increase healthy cholesterol while lowering total, LDL, and triglyceride cholesterol. All good news for your ticker!

Now you ask, how can chia seeds replace eggs in your recipe? Very quick and easy!

For one egg, combine 1 tbsp chia seeds with 3 tbsps water in a small bowl. Let it sit for about 15 minutes until it forms a thick gel. You can use this for cookies, cakes, and muffins.

Interesting, isn’t it? I tried this with my oatmeal cookie recipe. I just had to extend the baking time by about 10 minutes as the dough is a bit more moist than the original recipe, but it was good. I couldn’t tell the difference.

If you are not into baking, you can add chia seeds to your smoothie or your breakfast oatmeal for that extra pack of nutrients.

So, don’t forget to grab that bag of chia seeds on your next trip to the supermarket!

Thanks for dropping by,

Alexa’s Mom

Chocolate Crinkles

As I am writing this post, my feet is up ‘coz it’s already swollen from all the walking and standing, and I’m feeling all the extra weight on my feet and ankles. (Note to hubby: feet massage, pretty pretty puhleeezzz!)

Anyway, I’m sharing with you the 3rd and last part of my baby shower dessert table. My personal favourite, the chewy chocolatey chocolate crinkles.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used the regular cocoa powder)
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (I only have vanilla powder, so I used 1 tsp of that)
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ (icing) sugar

Procedure:

  • In a medium bowl, mix together cocoa, white sugar, and vegetable oil. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, and salt; stir into the cocoa mixture. Cover dough, and chill for at least 4 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough into one inch balls. Coat each ball in confectioners’ sugar before placing onto prepared cookie sheets.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes. Let stand on the cookie sheet for a minute before transferring to wire racks to cool. (I leave mine on the cookie sheet to cool before transferring to avoid breaking the bottom of the crinkles.)

So far, this is the best among all the recipes I tried to bake. Taste and texture is excellent, even kids love it!

Here are some tips that I got from the comments in the recipe:

  • Place your cookie sheet on the second to-the-top rack and only bake one cookie sheet at a time. The hot heat at the top of the oven enables the cookie to crack. – Abby15
  • Make sure to coat them with enough powdered sugar to get them to “crinkle.” -Elttaes
  • In a tropical country like Singapore where the weather is always warm, put the dough back in the fridge to cool. The more chilled the dough is, the easier it is to roll into balls. – tip from my sister M (she makes delicious crinkles too!)

Just in case you missed it, here are the links to the other desserts that I made for the baby shower:

Enjoy!

Cinnamon Sugar Mini Donuts

A sunny Tuesday to all!

Exactly a month from now, Baby Alexa is due to come out! Last night, I took a closer look at my growing belly and I can already see red lines. Stretch marks, oh no!

Anyways, today I want to share with you the recipe of one of the desserts I made for the baby shower… the yummy baked cinnamon sugar mini donuts!

Ingredients:

For the donut

  • 5 tbsp (about 1/3 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

For the topping

  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Procedure:

  • Preheat oven to 165ºC.
  • Lightly oil mini donut pan and set aside (I used mini muffin pans).
  • In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.
  • Add the egg, milk, and vanilla and mix until combined (mixture will look curdled).
  • Mix in the baking powder, then the salt.
  • Mix in the flour just until combined.
  • If using mini donut pan, transfer mixture into a piping bag fitted with a large round tip or into a ziplock baggie with the tip cut off. Pipe into the pan only filling 1/2 of the way fill. If using the mini muffin pan, fill each well 1/2 full.
  • Bake at 165ºC for 8-10 minutes.
  • Allow to cool slightly before dipping in topping
  • Melt the butter for the topping and combine the cinnamon and sugar
  • Dip each donut lightly in butter then roll in cinnamon and sugar.

I just love cinnamon! Remember the cinnamon scrolls we had a few weeks ago? Click here in case you missed it.

Since I used mini muffin pans for this recipe, I had little munchkin-like donuts which I like because it’s bite-sized. For parties, I feel that having bite-sized desserts is best because the guests can try and taste whatever they find interesting on the table, and just come back for second serving or more of what they want best.

The toppers are free printables, links you can find in my previous post.

Enjoy!

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Today is DIY day. We are painting our old dark brown console white. But that post would be for later ‘coz we are still working on it.

I am not allowed to get long exposure to paint fumes so after just a few brush and roller strokes, hubby would fill in and do most of the work. So while he’s at it, I thought of baking some cookies for him and for a friend who’s visiting tomorrow.

I’ve always thought that making cookies is easy. But since I have never tried doing it, I googled cookie recipes on the “easy” level and found this Perfect Oatmeal Raisin Cookies With Only 6 Ingredients by Baker Bettie. Love her food photography style too!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1 cup sugar, preferable dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla (optional)
  • 1 tsp baking powder (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 1/2 cups oatmeal, preferably rolled oats
  • kosher salt (optional)

Procedure:

  • Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  • Mix the butter and sugar together until completely combined.
  • Add the egg and mix until incorporated. If using, add the vanilla, baking powder, and cinnamon and mix until incorporated. (I used them, ‘coz I love cinnamon!)
  • Stir in the flour then the raisins and oatmeal until combined.
  • Drop rounded mounds of dough on ungreased cookie sheets and sprinkle with salt if using. Flatten the dough mounds slightly before baking. (You can use ice cream or cookie scoop for this. I don’t have any of those so I used 1/4 cup measuring spoon and pressed to half of it, which resulted to a big chunky cookie.)
  • Bake at 350ºF until just lightly browned on the edges and middle still looks undercooked, about 9 minutes. (I baked mine for 12-15 minutes.)

My new poster in the kitchen… Keep calm and COOK!

Total yield: 30 pcs of big chunky cookies! They aren’t as sweet as I expected them to be, but I love them! Not a sweet tooth, anyway…

If I were to make them for the baby shower, I would make them smaller and bite-sized.

Now going back to our painting job…

Thanks for dropping by!

Ideas: Baby Shower

I know everyone’s excited for the weekend. Here I am at my work desk, doing what I enjoy most nowadays (you guessed it right — Pinteresting!), while patiently waiting for the clock to strike at 6pm then off I go.

In my previous post, I mentioned that we will be moving to our new house next month. It’s one of the exciting things that me and hubby are looking forward to, and we want to share that joy with our family and friends — by inviting them for a BBQ house warming party sometime this August.

Due to time and budget constraints, we thought of making it a house-warming-slash-baby-shower-slash-joint-birthday party (my and hubby’s birthdays are both in August). A storm of blessings that calls for a (4-in-1) BIG celebration!

I’m not an expert when it comes to BBQ-ing, but we have friends who can help us with that. All I need to do is prepare the marinated pork/chicken, fish, corn, and all else that are great when grilled. And maybe some cooked food as well. I can plan for that later.

What I am excited about is the dessert table which will be dedicated for our baby, Alexa. As usual, I have collected inspirations for baby shower decors in my Pinterest board, Baby Love:

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Love the table setup! Bright colours! Even the drinks match to the colour theme.

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Pinwheels! The décor was used in a wedding, but wouldn’t it be cute for a baby shower as well? Lovely prints!

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Another type of pinwheel which is just as gorgeous! The little pompoms, framed prints and the little round colourful confetti with the gender printed on it are also great ideas.

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If you want the guests to guess your little one’s gender (that is if you haven’t spilled it out yet!), you can use this for your “guess the gender, choose a colour” game. (Note: For tutorial of the DIY candy baby pacifier, click photo or here.)

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Of course, it’s “G is for GIRL” for me! Not much of a fan of cupcakes though, just love it when they are pretty and colourful. I will make those little banners with more colours and stick them on brownies and muffins.

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Isn’t this cake a cutie? Love the crib and the little sleeping baby in it!

My cousin in the US is giving birth to her first baby boy sometime end of July after being married for 6 years. I am so excited for her! Thank God for Facebook, we are able to share pregnancy stories with each other. She will be having her baby shower in mid July. Looking forward to seeing their photos!

My due date is exactly 3 months from today (28 September 2013). Soon entering the last trimester.

Oops, baby Alexa just poked on my tummy to say a “hi” to you all! 😉

Have a great weekend, guys!