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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Ice Cream Bowls

Looking for a fun alternative way to add a little excitement to your ordinary bowl of ice cream and impress your family and/or guests?! How bout making a delicious edible ice cream bowl! This is such a simple idea but yet so flavorful and presentationaly impressive. The cinnamon sugar bowl is so delicious that you don't even need to serve it with any fancy ice cream; vanilla will do just fine! We love to top ours with some fresh berries and a sprig of basil.
This is an easy dessert idea that can be made well in advance. So when its dessert time you can relax and simply scoop your ice cream into your cinnamon sugar bowl, collect all of the compliments and watch as your family or guests devour it. Plus, kids and adults alike will love the idea of getting to eat their very own bowl!

Cinnamon Sugar Tortilla Ice Cream Bowls

6 tortillas
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
butter, melted

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare oven safe containers, at least 1 1/2 inches in depth, by spraying with non stick cooking spray. Do not skip this part. If you do not use a non stick cooking spray on your containers the sugar will stick to the bowls and you will be unable to remove them without breaking them. I placed my bowls onto a cookie sheet for added stability and easy one step transferring in and out of the oven.

Combine your sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Place your  melted butter, cinnamon sugar mixture and and tortillas all next to each other on a work surface.
Spread a very thin layer of melted butter on both sides of your tortilla, so that they do not become soggy while cooking, and sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Continue until you have completed all of your tortillas. Place your prepared tortillas into your oven safe containers being sure to push each down into the bottom and fold them where needed so that the middle remains open as it cooks.
Cook tortillas between 17-20 minutes keeping an eye on them in the last few minutes to make sure that they do not burn. Once cooked and crisp remove them from the bowls immediately and place on a cooling wrack. Once finished cooling they are ready to use, or if you are making them in advance, store them in an air tight container until ready to use.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Pineapple, Banana & Coconut Popsicles

I don't know about where you reside but where I'm living its forecasted to be 100 degrees or above all week...deep sigh. For a pregnant mommy, the heat is one of my worst nightmares. Sweating and swelling are not a good combo on me. Which unfortunately means for my little guy that we are spending a limited amount of time outside these days. But when we are outside I try and keep him cool and hydrated with the hose, his water bottle and lots of yummy fruit with high water content. Some days though I like to let him indulge just a bit...or at least let him think he is indulging. 
Thats why I started making homemade popsicles. That way I can give E a little something sweet that I can feel good about. Fresh ingredients and no sugar cant beat or feel guilty about eating or serving that! Using ripe pineapple and bananas will offer the popsicles the perfect amount of sweet without your family knowing that you didn't load them up with added sugars. 
These popsicles are super yummy and crazy easy to make. I had them whipped up and in the freezer in under 5 minutes. I used coconut milk to thin out my pureed fruit and then added shredded coconut for a little texture. They took no time to freeze up and no time to eat!! 

Pineapple, Banana & Coconut Popsicles

2 Cups fresh pineapple
1 ripe banana
3 tablespoons shredded coconut
3 tablespoons coconut milk

Place all ingredients into a blender and mix until everything is well incorporated. 

Transfer mixture into popsicle molds and let freeze. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Quinoa, Strawberry & Grilled Bread Salad

Ok, it's officially summer in California and it's officially hot!!! I'm pregnant and Im roasting here people! And because it is so hot Ben prefers that we do as much cooking as possible outside on the grill. Some nights that makes things a bit tricky since BBQ-ing casseroles or desserts on a grill might prove a bit unconventional, not to mention unsafe :) But I do what I can to make most of our meals grill-able and functional enough to use the side burner attached to the BBQ.
And the best kind of summer meal in my opinion aside from grilled meats/fish is a fresh summer salad! This salad ranks number one in our house. In fact, it basically trumps all other salads for my husband. And one of the greatest flavor additions is the grilled marinated bread. Nothing, let me repeat, nothing, beats the addition of the grilled bread cubes that have been lightly marinated in olive oil and lemon juice. In fact a few skewers of bread have been known to disappear from the BBQ to the house, so I always make a couple extra.
All of the ingredients meld perfectly and are cool and refreshing. From the ripe farm fresh strawberries to the creamy avocados and basil this salad is easy, crazy delicious and can be made without heating up your house on a hot summer day!

Quinoa, Strawberry & Grilled Bread Salad


1/2 cup balsamic vinegar 
1/4 cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons honey
salt and pepper to taste

2 1/2 cups bread, cubed and grilled
juice of 2 large lemons 
olive oil for drizzling
1 1/2 cups quinoa, prepared according to package instructions
1 1/4 cups fresh strawberries, cut in half
1/2 cup onions, very thinly sliced
1-2 avocados, diced
1/2 cup loosely packed basil, chopped

To make dressing, combine balsamic vinegar, honey, crushed garlic cloves, olive oil, salt and pepper and stir to combine. Set aside to let garlic permeate the ingredients. Prepare the bread by cutting it into 1-inch cubes . Skewer the bread cubes onto wooden skewers and drizzle with olive oil, then lemon juice, on both sides. 

Salt and pepper the bread and place onto the grill until they are browned on all sides. We like ours nice and crispy on the outside, but feel free to pull your bread off of the grill when it is perfect for you and your family.
Meanwhile cook your quinoa according to package directions. Once bread is grilled and quinoa is cooked you can arrange your salad. Place, quinoa, cubed bread, strawberries, onions, basil and avocados into a large salad bowl and stir to combine. Only when you are ready to serve should you add your dressing so the bread doesn't sit to long and become soggy.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Rice Krispie & Nutella Roll-Up

Rice Krispies are and have been a staple in the home for what seems like decades. They are an easy go to that is a delicious dessert for all ages! Normally I would say "Why mess with a good thing?"...that is until I realized that this good thing could become an amazing thing! Just when you thought that Rice Krispie treats couldn't get any better, they can!!
I mean lets be honest, Nutella is good enough to eat on its own, with a large spoon and a comfy seat. So naturally, adding it to just about anything is going to turn a good recipe great. And thats why I thought of adding it to my Rice Krispies. I opted not to combine it with the melting marshmallows because I was afraid it would muddy them up. So instead, I slathered the Krispies with it :) The key to this roll-up is to add just a bit more marshmallow to the Rice Krispie recipe so that it is pliable enough to roll and keep its shape. These are sinful and hard to keep your hands off of. Try em...but be warned, they will be gone fast! Good thing they are super easy to make :)

Rice Krispie & Nutella Roll-Up

1/4 cup butter
7 cups minis marshmallows
6 cups Rice Krispies

Prepare a large cookie sheet by rubbing with a thin layer of butter or spray with non-stick cooking spray; set aside. In a pan over medium low heat melt butter and add marshmallows. Stir to combine and let marshmallows completely melt. While marshmallows are melting place the Rice Krispies in a  large bowl. Once marshmallows are completely melted pour into your bowl with the Rice Krispies and stir immediately until just combined. Pour mixture onto prepared baking pan and spread with your hands to cover the entire surface. You may want to put a bit of butter on your hands to prevent the mixture from sticking to your hands and to help spread it evenly. 
Let the Rice Krispies completely cool on the pan. Once cooled, spread a thin layer of Nutella over the treats.
 Starting at one end roll the Rice Krispies up like a big log. 

Cut the log into as thin or thick of rounds that you want and store in an airtight container until ready to eat.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Roasted Tomato Sauce

You know when you have a recipe that you love so much you will never ever ever even consider using another one for anything! Well this is one of my "best" recipes, and I will never ever ever ever use another tomato sauce for any recipe. I use it for pizza, chicken parmesan  pasta, and for anything that calls for a tomato sauce. You might be thinking, ya ya another tomato sauce recipe, they are all pretty much the same. No, wrong, stop right there!!! Tomato sauces are not all created equally! This is tomato sauce for the Gods people! This is lick your plate at a fancy restaurant good!
I'm talking once you start making this, you will never go back to using any other tomato sauce you ever thought was good enough, again! There are only 4 ingredients, but once in your oven I'm starting to think that a secret tomato sauce fairy materializes and starts working some kind of voodoo magic, until voila, masterpiece created.

The Best Roasted Tomato Sauce Ever

3 pounds roma tomatoes, cored
1/2 cup olive oil
12 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons fresh oregano leaves
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a large, 14 inch oven proof glass pan combine all of the ingredients. Stir to blend then place in oven to cook for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and stir. Place back into the oven for an additional 30 minutes to continue caramelizing. 

Remove and let cool for a few minutes. Transfer contents to a blender and process sauce until it is coarsely pureed. 

You may need to add a bit of olive oil to get it started. You can also add a bit of water or chicken broth to thin. You can use this sauce immediately or refrigerate for up to four days. 

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