Tag Archives: food

Make Your Own Pumpkin Spice

It’s official! It’s going to be pumpkin here, pumpkin there, and pumpkin everywhere! Yesterday was the first day of Autumn and what do we normally remember about Fall that makes as pause and feel good aside from the pretty vista? The coming holidays, that is! And aside from the holidays, we will be seeing many orange and warm hued stuff around us and it’s going to be lots of them too.

Now that is officially Fall, it’s going to be the time for pumpkins, and pumpkin lattes, and pumpkin pies. But how do you make those yummy treats without the main kick – the pumpkin spice? Well, it’s very simply and it won’t take so much of your time to gather and prepare this staple when making those scrumptious pumpkin flavoured goodies.

Here’s your simple pumpkin spice recipe mix!


(Artwork by yours truly :) ©Ria Cervantes/homefamilyheart.com)


Cucumber As Your Base For Smoothies

I have never tried making cucumber smoothie until yesterday when my friend told me about the many health benefits of drinking cucumber juice or smoothie.

I tried the very plain one, added with little lemon juice to give it some sour pop in my taste bud. Not that I don’t like bland food, I actually prefer them but it was my first time to drink cucumber when I just usually munch them.

So, I used 3 medium sized cucumbers. They weren’t organic so I had to peel them. It would have been nice if they were organic as blending the cucumber with the skin is more nutritious.a

I just washed them really well, peeled and cut into chunks. I didn’t add any water, just few ice cubes, few lemon juice and blended.

The verdict: it was a bit sour because of the lemon juice but I liked it a lot. It was blended to perfection. Then I researched in the internet how cucumber juice can be used as base for your smoothie to add that extra “green” nutrition to your drink.

Next time, I’ll add apple, pineapple, pears, banana and even cantaloupe chunks to play with the taste. I will also try incorporating more veggies on my smoothies like celery, parsley, mint, broccoli and other leafy greens.


Let’s drink to good health!

How To Feed Vegetables To Fussy Eater Kids


Feeding time! I shout out loud to beckon my hungry daughter (when she was around 5-6 years old then) to come and eat. She would come running fast to the dining area and go on a complete halt, looking at the food on her plate. And in an instance, she’s gone from the dining area. Well, was what in her plate that made her do an about-face? Sigh…

That was the usual scenario during feeding time when she was a young child. It took a lot of prodding with matching bribery just to get her to eat anything than chicken nuggets. It was a big challenge to overcome. I have tried many tricks up my sleeves only to fail one after the other. However, would I let a 5 year old kid get the better of me?

These tips will help you overcome that challenge we face when we feed our fussy eaters. There are always ways to make them eat their dreaded vegetables. Here are some tips to help you get by:

Puree, use them as sauce  or soup


(Photo taken from pinterest/credit to popsugar)

Does you picky eater have a sensor and can tell that you’re tricking them by giving them concealed vegetables somewhere in their meal? Well, if you puree them then they won’t be able to tell. Puree the vegetables and serve like a soft food for them to try and enjoy. You can also use them as a sauce for topping and dipping their usual meal like chicken nuggets.

Insert them

This is one trick I learned to use to my young daughter then. She didn’t realise there was some small carrots, potatoes and peas inside her chicken nuggets. I would make chicken nuggets from scratch and insert small cut vegetables and cook the nuggets the way I would normal food.

Incorporate them with your main dish

When making their usual meals, try to incorporate some vegetables in their food like rice with corn kernels, diced carrots, peas or add them to their eggs like vegetable omelettes.

Juice them

Kids love colour. They are attracted to many colours on their plate. Why not juice some vegetables and make them drink them. I juice carrots with apples and pears and it turned out very tasty and acceptable to young, discerning palate.

Decorate them

Have you tried making bento boxes? Parents these days prepare yummy and very fun way of packing food for their kids using decorations for their meals. Use these colourful vegetables as decorations that they can eat as well.




(Photos not mine, due credit given to the owners/taken from pinterest)


Well, I hope you get to convince your little ones to eat their vegetables to be healthy and fit. Enjoy!

2 Easy to Cook 4th of July Barbecue Sandwiches

A good cook-out during celebration of US’ Independence Day adds fun to the day’s event. Plenty of families and friends will gather up for a picnic and good barbecue to enjoy each other’s company, watch the fireworks, and be thankful for their forefathers who fought hard to give them their freedom.

Common food served are finger foods likes sandwiches, light meals and barbecues. Since there will be barbecues around, why not serve any of these sumptuous barbecue recipes for a fantastic 4th of July gathering.

Pulled Chicken Sandwich
(Credit: recipe taken from http://www.myrecipes.com)

Photo: Raymond Hom; Styling: Pamela Duncan Silver

What you need:

For the CHICKEN sandwich filling:
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon paprika
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken thighs
Cooking spray

For the SAUCE:
2 teaspoons canola oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons cider vinegar

For the BREAD:
8 (1 1/2-ounce) hamburger buns, toasted
16 hamburger dill chips

How to prepare:

1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

2. To prepare chicken, combine first 6 ingredients; rub evenly over chicken. Place chicken on a grill rack coated with cooking spray; cover and grill 15 minutes or until a thermometer registers 180°, turning occasionally. Let stand for 5 minutes. Shred with 2 forks.

3. To prepare sauce, while chicken grills, heat canola oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook for 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1 tablespoon sugar and next 5 ingredients (through ground red pepper); cook 30 seconds. Stir in ketchup and vinegar; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally. Stir in chicken; cook 2 minutes.

4. Place 1/3 cup chicken mixture on bottom half of each bun; top each with 2 pickle chips and top of bun.

Special note: The chicken filling and sauce can be made up to two days in advance and stored in the refrigerator.


BBQ Beef Sandwich
(Credit: recipe taken from http://www.tasteofhome.com/)

Photo credit: Taste of Home

What you need:

2 cups ketchup
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/4 cup molasses
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 boneless beef chuck roast (3 pounds)
14 sesame seed hamburger buns

How to prepare:

1. In a large bowl, combine the first 11 ingredients.
2. Cut roast in half; place in a 5-qt. slow cooker.
3. Pour ketchup mixture over roast. Cover and cook on low for 8-10 hours or until meat is tender.
4. Remove meat and shred with two forks.
5. Skim fat from cooking juices. Return meat to slow cooker; heat through.
6. Using a slotted spoon, serve beef on buns.


Happy 4th of July!

Easy and Refreshing Watermelon Desserts



We may be in spring but here in the Middle East, spring is just a very short period. We are already starting to feel the warm wind blowing to our faces during noon time. So, to brace ourselves for the coming long, hot and humid months, why not make refreshing watermelon desserts to cool us off even before it hits?

Minty Watermelon Lime Popsicle

By Kylee Noel for The Inspired Room (photos/recipes credit: Kylee Noel of kyleenoelle.blogspot.com)


(Recipe taken from: http://theinspiredroom.net/2013/06/18/popsicle-recipe/)


Watermelon Strawberry Sorbet

by Dashing Dish blog (recipe and photo credits: https://dashingdish.com/recipe/5-minute-watermelon-strawberry-sorbet/)




1/2  cup    Cold water
5  cups    Seedless watermelon, cut into chunks then frozen
1 1/4  cup    Frozen strawberries
3/4  cup    Sweetener that measures like sugar (or sweetener to taste)
2  tbs    Lemon juice (or according to taste)

How to make it

Place all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor then blend them until you reach a smooth consistency.

Enjoy the sorbet immediately or save it for later.

Place in a Tupperware container and freeze until you are ready to enjoy your quick watermelon strawberry sorbet.

Remove from the freezer and let soften for about 5 minutes before serving


Watermelon  Popsicles

by Cooking Classy blog (recipe and photo credits: http://www.cookingclassy.com/2015/06/watermelon-popsicles/)



19 oz  cubed    seedless watermelon (about 3 1/2 cups)
5 1/2  Tbsp    granulated sugar, divided
1  Tbsp    fresh lemon juice
1/2  cup    canned coconut milk, well shaken
13  oz    kiwi (about 6 medium)
1  Tbsp    mini chocolate chips

How to make it

Add watermelon, 2 Tbsp granulated sugar and lemon juice to a blender and blend until well pureed.

Skim off foam then carefully pour into 10 popsicles molds (I have this mold here if you are looking to buy one) filling each about 2/3 full

Sprinkle the chocolate chips over tops then using a popsicles stick gently push down to immerse chips (push towards sides so you can see them once the freeze).

Wipe sides clean as needed. Cover with the lid and insert popsicles sticks. Freeze 3 1/2 hours.

During last 30 minutes of popsicles freezing, whisk together coconut milk with 1 1/2 Tbsp sugar until sugar has dissolved, chill 30 minutes (you want it to be a nice pourable consistency after chilling, not too thick. If you find that it is stir in 1 – 2 Tbsp cold water to thin. I recommend chilling it because you just don’t want it warm or it will melt the watermelon layer when pouring in).

Remove popsicles from freezer, remove lid and carefully pour a scant tablespoon coconut milk into an even layer over watermelon layer

Clean sides as necessary. Return to freezer, uncovered, and chill 45 minutes.

Cut tops from kiwi and use a spoon to scoop flesh from kiwi while leaving skins. Transfer kiwi to blender along with 2 Tbsp granulated sugar. Pulse until well pureed.

Force mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl using a rubber spatula to remove seeds

Chill kiwi mixture 30 minutes.
Remove popsicles from freezer and carefully pour about 1 Tbsp kiwi mixture over coconut layer.

Return to freezer and chill until popsicles are solid about 2 – 3 hours.

To remove popsicles from molds, turn tray to the side and run plastic molds under warm water several seconds (don’t let the water touch the kiwi portion at the top) then slowly pull from molds.

Watermelon Pudding

By Epicurious (recipe and photo credits: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Watermelon-Pudding-109664)



6 cups coarsely chopped seeded watermelon (from a 4 1/2-lb piece, rind discarded)
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon anise seeds
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, or to taste
1/3 cup heavy cream
Garnish: chopped shelled pistachios (not dyed red); white or dark chocolate shavings, removed with a vegetable peeler

How to make it

Purée watermelon in a blender until smooth, then pour through a fine-mesh sieve into a 2-quart saucepan, pressing on pulp and then discarding any remaining solids.
Ladle about 1/4 cup watermelon juice into a small bowl and stir in cornstarch until smooth.
Bring remaining watermelon juice to a boil with 1/2 cup sugar and anise seeds, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Stir cornstarch mixture again, then whisk into boiling juice. Reduce heat and simmer, whisking occasionally, 3 minutes. Whisk in lemon juice.
Pour pudding through cleaned sieve into a bowl, then transfer to a wide 1-quart serving dish or 6 (2/3-cup) ramekins and chill, uncovered, until cold, about 30 minutes. Cover loosely and chill until set, at least 3 hours.
Just before serving, beat cream with remaining 1 teaspoon sugar in another bowl with an electric mixer until it just holds stiff peaks. Top pudding with whipped cream.

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