Author Archives: Gina

Classic Cuban Flan

If you thought I was going to let Hispanic Heritage Month pass without posting something, well you might have been right, but I couldn’t let it pass completely without resharing my flan recipe. Last year I started the tradition of making it during HHM. This year it lined up perfectly with our homeschool en español.

I’ve started homeschooling Cupcake for preschool – full immersion Spanish. We are focusing on letter recognition, and with that I’m including tons of vocabulary & culture. Every week we do a new letter, with a review week every 4 weeks. Each week we eat foods that start with that week’s letter. For example, the week we learned the letter F we ate fresas, frijoles, & flan.

Below is my classic flan recipe, made just how my mami taught me. One day I’ll teach my children.

Mrs. Dessert Monster

Deciding what recipe to share with you this week for Hispanic Heritage Month inspired me to make something that I have not made in ages: flan.

classic Cuban flan pressure cooker flanera Mrs. Dessert Monster

What is flan? Flan is a delicious cooked custard. There really is nothing like it in my opinion. It can be very hard to describe. When done correctly, the texture is light and dense at the same time while being totally smooth; truly one of a kind. The caramel on top is just as important as the custard. Flan can be many different flavors. This here is the OG flan.

Every Latin country has their own flan recipe. Actually, it probably even varies family to family! This is my family’s recipe.

classic Cuban flan pressure cooker flanera Mrs. Dessert Monster

I made my family’s classic Cuban flan the old fashioned way – in the pressure cooker.

classic Cuban flan pressure cooker flanera Mrs. Dessert Monster Hisssssssss

We’ve never made it any other way. There are other recipes out there for making it…

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Cream Cheese Stuffed Coffeecake with Cinnamon Streusel

If there’s one recipe I’ve been perfecting during quarantine, it’s coffee cake. Specifically this coffee cake.

cream cheese stuffed coffee cake with cinnamon streusel - Mrs. Dessert Monster

It’s been an adjustment having 3 square meals a day as a family of 4. We are very fortunate that my husband has been working from home & will continue to do so for some time. We’ve really loved all of the extra time we’re spending together as a family – praise the Lord for some of the good that has come out of a terrible situation. However, this has meant he’s home for breakfast & lunch every single day. Before all of this we’d only have breakfast together on the weekends. Cold cereal & breakfast bars get pretty old when we have a lot more time in the mornings. Hence this coffee cake.

cream cheese stuffed coffee cake with cinnamon streusel - Mrs. Dessert Monster

I’ve mentioned before how sweetened cream cheese has become my new thing, & this recipe features it beautifully. The cake part itself is really simple; it’s the filling & the streusel that really make this recipe.

cream cheese stuffed coffee cake with cinnamon streusel - Mrs. Dessert Monster

If you prepare the cream cheese ahead of time, you can be eating warm coffee cake in the morning in about 45 minutes – most of that being bake time.  What I love about this recipe is that it’s perfectly delicious as written, but also totally customizable. Add more spices to the streusel. Use strawberry cream cheese. The sky is the limit.

Cream Cheese Stuffed Coffeecake with Cinnamon Streusel

Makes one 8″ x 8″ coffeecake

For the cake:

  • 1/2 cup oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup any milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the streusel:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon (use up to 1 tbsp for more cinnamon flavor)
  • 3 tbsp salted butter, melted

For the filling:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8″ square pan with parchment paper, leaving two sides overhanging.
  2. First, make the streusel by combining all 4 streusel ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. To make the cake: combine oil, egg, vanilla, & milk in a large mixing bowl.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine sugar, flour, baking powder, & salt.
  5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients & mix (by hand or by machine) until combined. Batter will be thick.
  6. Spread half of the batter into the lined square pan. Spread the sweetened cream cheese over the batter & then spread the rest of the batter on top. It is ok if some of the cream cheese is exposed.
  7. Spread the streusel over the batter & bake for 25-30 minutes. The streusel will not change color much, so test after 25 minutes & if a toothpick comes out with just a bit of cream cheese & moist crumbs it’s ready. Cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes before carefully lifting out of the pan using parchment paper.
  8. Enjoy with a fresh cup of coffee, obviously 😉

 

Sweetened Cream Cheese

Lately I have been on a cream cheese kick. It’s become a new staple in my fridge. In fact, that reminds me I need to add some to my next grocery delivery.

sweetened cream cheese - Mrs. Dessert Monster

This sweetened cream cheese is super easy to put together & has tons of uses. It should last in your fridge the same length of time as the main ingredient: cream cheese.

I have been putting this recipe on & in all kinds of treats. The tangy sweetness is perfect. It goes especially well with my Banana Chocolate Chip Lactation Muffins.

Sweetened Cream Cheese

Makes 8oz
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened (one block)
  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Blend all ingredients together in a bowl. I prefer to use an electric mixer to get a super smooth finish, but a regular ol’ spatula works, too.
  2. Store in the refrigerator. Spread on baked goods like muffins & cookies. Use in recipes such as coffee cake & brownies.

Anthony’s Famous 1,000 Island Salad

Pulled out an old favorite for dinner tonight! It’s actually healthier than I made it seem in my original post. If you stick to 4 tbsp of dressing, each serving is about 450 calories with 15g of protein & 3-4 grams of fiber!

Mrs. Dessert Monster

I’m 15 weeks along with my little baby & finally feeling more energetic! Blogging will probably be more sporadic going forward – I don’t foresee myself blogging a ton with a newborn next year! But writing & sharing recipes is really important to me.


 My husband introduced me to a wonderful salad combination. So wonderful that whenever one of us says, “Do you want salad for dinner?”, this is the one we are talking about.

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As far as salads go, this one isn’t very fancy. But all the flavors work together beautifully. Tangy olives, crispy bacon, sharp red onion, & buttery croutons! Throw in some shredded cheese & top it off with 1,000 island dressing – that’ it. That’s the recipe. Well, with lettuce, of course.

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We used pre-bagged salad mixes, usually ones with carrots for extra vegetables. We always make our own croutons – toast some sliced bread with butter…

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Hand & Footprint Canvas Craft

Happy Mother’s Day!

This year for our moms, I decided to do a hand made craft with the kids. If you’ve seen my kid crafts before, you know I usually like them to be as adult hands-off as possible. This one is a little different. I saw this awesome idea on Fabulessly Frugal & immediately wanted to do something similar for our moms.

Hand & Footprint Canvas Craft - Mrs. Dessert Monster

This is a simple, but multi-step (multi-day for me) project. Cupcake is 3 years old & loves painting. I had her paint two canvases; one 8×10 & one 9×11 just to mix it up. She needed a little bit of assistance to cover the entire canvas with paint without leaving white areas or muddling the colors too much. Once that was done, we let the paint dry over night. The next day, we did Cupcake’s hand print as the ‘O’ in LOVE. To be safe & reduce the chance of smudging, we let that dry overnight, too. On a different day, we did Blue’s footprints as the ‘V’. He was 7 months old at a time & it was more difficult than I was expecting! If your child is older, this could be a one day project. Once those dried (I think I did it the same day this time), I painted the ‘L’ & ‘E’. I also painted the edges of the canvas black to make it look more finished. Finally, when everything was dry dry dry, I wrote their names & ages on the back & they were ready to be gifted for Mother’s Day!

Hand & Footprint Canvas Craft - Mrs. Dessert Monster paint

I mailed one to my mom in Florida, & the other we gave to my mother in law Mother’s Day weekend. I love that this is a kid’s craft that also makes for adorable decor. I know the kids will be excited to go to their grandmas’ houses & see their art on the walls. Cupcake will be, anyhow. Blue is still excited about anything & everything, since he is an infant!

Hand & Footprint Canvas Craft

  • canvas, 8×10 or larger (the larger the easier it is to work with)
  • paint, such as acrylic, in as many colors as you’d like plus black
  • paint brushes
  • clean-up supplies such as wipes/towels – especially if there’s a baby involved!
  1. Paint your entire canvas using as many colors as you’d like.
  2. Once your painted canvas is dry, get black paint on your child’s hand. Press their hand on the canvas where the letter O would be in the word LOVE.
  3. Once the hand print is reasonably dry (or totally dry if you are working with toddlers & babies), get black paint on your child’s feet one at a time & press on canvas to form the letter V.
  4. Once the V is reasonably dry, use a brush to paint on the letters L & E. If desired, paint the edges of the canvas black.
  5. Finally, once everything is completely dry, write the child’s name or have them sign the back. Your beautiful art gift is ready!

Cheeseburger Lasagna Rolls

Apparently when I make lasagna, I always have 4 noodles left. I made these for dinner last night after staring at this mostly empty box of lasagna noodles taking up space in my pantry. Subbed jalapeños for pickles – it was awesome!

Mrs. Dessert Monster

Everyone has to play ‘Pantry Roulette’ with dinner every now and then. Whether it’s a budget thing, an expiration date thing, or a grocery shopping thing. This recipe was born from the last.

We needed something for dinner, but I would not be able to go grocery shopping for a few more days. I didn’t want to just serve grilled cheese sandwiches – I wanted something with at least some semblance of vegetables! So I put my thinking cap on to see what I could come up with.

The only green thing I had in the fridge was pickles. I know pickles don’t really count as a vegetable, but I decided to roll with it (no pun intended!). I also had half a block of cream cheese I needed to use up. And then I remembered that in the pantry I had a few lasagna noodles left. Hmm…

I wrote…

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Blueberry & White Chocolate Chip Cream Scones

Do you find that you go through baking “seasons” where you make something often & then just kind of…forget about it? That’s how I feel about these scones. I made these this morning for the first time in almost 2 years – almost since I originally posted it! Since it seems like the world is still currently baking all the things, I figured this recipe was worth a re-post.

Mrs. Dessert Monster

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day & what do all mothers love? Brunch!

That’s what we’re doing at my house, anyway. Brunch with the extended family. And these scones are on the menu!

Blueberry & White Chocolate Chip Cream Scones - Mrs. Dessert Monster

I got this scone recipe from my dear friend Beth, who gives me so many great recipes, who got it from the book Ten Dollar Dinners. However, I have adapted it some. I never have buttermilk powder on hand & have not come across another recipe that calls for it yet. Therefore I just always use lemon juice. I also in general almost always use salted butter for everything, so that’s what I use in this recipe, too. With a few other twists & tweaks, I bring you this recipe.

I’ve never made scones any other way, so this cream method is all I know. I hear it is much easier than another method which requires cutting butter…

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Banana Chocolate Chip Lactation Muffins

It has taken me a while, but I have finally come around to sharing recipes on this blog that I make all the time. One of those, in my breastfeeding seasons of life, is this lactation muffin.

Banana Chocolate Chip Lactation Muffins - Mrs. Dessert Monster

This recipe has the big 3 galactagogues: oats, flax, & brewer’s yeast. My issue with other lactation muffin recipes out there is that they try so hard to mask the bitter brewer’s yeast flavor that they barely add any, or add loads of sugar, or sometimes both! This recipe, in my completely biased opinion, is the perfect balance between a sugary,  almost-cupcake & a bitter, too-healthy muffin. It is even vegan if you use vegan chocolate! I have not tried it with whole wheat flour, yet. When I do I will update!

Banana Chocolate Chip Lactation Muffins - Mrs. Dessert Monster

These muffins are sweet but not too sweet. You can taste that there’s something different about them compared to ‘regular’ banana bread muffins – that’s the brewer’s yeast. If you *really* don’t like the taste, dial it back to 2 tbsp instead of 4 (1/4 cup = 4 tbsp). Flax & brewer’s yeast are very nutritious whether you are breastfeeding or not, so this is a great recipe to share with the whole family.

These muffins freeze very well, just individually wrap them. To thaw, unwrap & microwave for 30 seconds from frozen to enjoy warm. My personal favorite way to enjoy these muffins is with a schmear of sweetened cream cheese.

Banana Chocolate Chip Lactation Muffins

Makes 12 muffins
  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil, melted 
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 1/2 cup of rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup brewer’s yeast
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips (use vegan chips for vegan option)
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Prepare your muffin pan with either liners or baking spray.
  2. Microwave bananas for about 30 seconds so they are ultra mushy.
  3. In the bowl of your stand mixer, add bananas, coconut oil, & vanilla. Mix on medium low until well blended. (It’s ok to see small chunks of coconut oil that have solidified.)
  4. Add sugar and mix on medium until combined.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt, oats, brewer’s yeast, & flax.
  6. Add the dry mixture to the banana mixture & mix on medium until well combined.  Then add chocolate chips and mix just until the chips are evenly distributed.
  7. Divide the batter into your prepared muffin pan. You should get 12 muffins.
  8. Bake 25-30 minutes or until they pass the toothpick test.
  9. To freeze: completely cool muffins. Wrap each muffin individually in plastic wrap & then place in a plastic container or plastic bag.

Nutritional info: 262 cal, 35.7 g carbs, 11.5 g fat, 4.5 g protein

Whole Wheat & Flax Cheezy Crackers

Baking as a coping mechanism is in full effect over here. I have baked 11 times in the past 17 days. This recipe was #8. I’ve been making these crackers every now & then for a couple years. The original recipe from The Brown Eyed Baker was for homemade Cheez-its. I’ve put my own spin on it & the results are a cracker that is no longer really a Cheez-its copycat, but its own buttery cheesy cracker.

Whole Wheat & Flax Cheezy Crackers - Mrs. Dessert Monster

I wanted to make the original crackers a little healthier for myself, so I switched to whole wheat flour & added some nutritional ground flax. Flax is a galactagogue (milk promoter), so you can *almost* call these lactation crackers. Maybe if I added a little brewer’s yeast…

Extra sharp cheddar gives you the best bite, but mild works fine, too. Fresh shredded is the key, the pre-shredded packaged kind has anti-caking agents that will hinder your dough. After you mix all of the ingredients together (I do it all in my food processor – if you don’t have one, shred the cheese by hand & use the paddle attachment on your stand mixer) & chill your dough, the easiest way to get a nice thin dough is to roll it between 2 pieces of parchment paper.

 

To shape your crackers, use a pizza cutter or pastry wheel to make straight lines up & across. I did let Cupcake cut some out with a cookie cutter since she’s not quite old enough to use the pizza cutter well. Then sprinkle on some salt & bake.

Whole Wheat & Flax Cheezy Crackers - Mrs. Dessert Monster

You want the crackers to be crunchy, so err on the side of baking them slightly too dark. Trust me, they are delicious. Sometimes as I’m taking them off the pan I notice the ones in the very middle are soft. If that happens, I just take the done ones off of the tray & put the tray back in the oven a few more minutes.

 

Whole Wheat & Flax Cheezy Crackers - Mrs. Dessert Monster

This delicious homemade snack never lasts more than a few days in my house, but can last about a week in an airtight container.

Whole Wheat & Flax Cheezy Crackers

  • 8 oz cheddar cheese
  • 4 tbsp salted butter, softened
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup ground flax
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 – 3 tbsp ice water
  1. Shred the cheddar cheese in a food processor (leave the blade in the processor along with the shredding disk).
  2. Add the butter & pulse together. Then add the flour & flax & pulse together until the mixture is crumbly.
  3. Add 2 tbsp of water & pulse until dough comes together, using the additional tbsp of water if needed.
  4. Divide dough in half & shape into disks. Wrap in plastic wrap & chill for 30-60 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  5. Take one disk of dough out of the plastic wrap & roll between 2 sheets of parchment paper until dough is very thin (but not see-through – you’ve gone too far!) Take off the top parchment sheet & cut the dough into squares with a pizza cutter or pastry wheel. Place parchment sheet with cut dough onto a baking sheet. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until browned.
  6. While the first disk is baking, repeat step 5 with the second disk. Cool & enjoy.

 

Soft & Salty Chocolate Chip Cookies

***This Covid-19 life is HEAVY. I don’t know quite how to address it with sensitivity, but I also can’t just be like “here’s a cookie recipe”. I love to bake, and find baking very satisfying (relaxing isn’t quite the right word for me, I get more of a sense of accomplishment.) So if baking is your thing, or you’re trying new things, and you have these ingredients on hand or in your next grocery delivery, here’s my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe.

Soft & Salty Chocolate Chip Cookies - Mrs. Dessert Monster

There is almost nothing better than the combination of salt & chocolate. In general, I am a huge fan of recipes that call for salted butter. It’s pretty much the only butter I ever have on hand.

I got this recipe from Pinch Of Yum & it has been my go-to chocolate chip cookie for years now, using a slightly different method than she does. There are two tips/tricks to this recipe: don’t use too much flour (I’ve been weighing mine out) & let your cookies cool on the baking sheet. I made a huge batch of these cookies once, and in an effort to speed up the process I slid the parchment paper with cookies off of the baking sheet too soon & plopped them on the counter. The cookies were still tasty but just a tad too soft & pale – and this is from someone who loves a soft cookie! Leaving them on a tray continues to cook the bottom for a bit, so you have a still quite soft but just slightly browned and chewy on the bottom.

Soft & Salty Chocolate Chip Cookies - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Apparently these freeze well, but I have never had any left over to try that for myself 😂

Soft & Salty Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes 15-18 cookies

  • 8 tbsp (1 stick) salted butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 6.75 oz of all purpose flour (1 1/2 cups spooned & leveled)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Microwave the butter for about 40 seconds, until it is mostly melted but not hot.
  2. Beat the butter with the sugars until creamy using a stand or electric mixer.
  3. Add the egg & beat until just incorporated. Then add vanilla.
  4. Mix in dry ingredients on low. When fully incorporated, add chocolate chips.
  5. Scoop 15-18 cookies onto parchment paper or silicone mat lined cookie sheets. Bake for 10-11 minutes. Cool on cookie sheets.

 


I’m trying to remember the words Jesus said & not worry about tomorrow. We will all get through this, Lord willing.