Category Archives: Food

Vegan Mini Carrot Muffins

Whole wheat? No refined sugar? Vegan?!?

Don’t worry, I’m not going all ‘crunchy’ on you. I’m just a mama trying to get her toddler to eat veggies.

I think I fed Cupcake too many carrots when she was a baby, because one day around 11 months old she just started rejecting them. She loves peas, but hates carrots. Go figure.

I, on the other hand, love carrots. So I started looking for a way I could get Cupcake to eat them that wasn’t straight up carrot cake. I came across this recipe by Ambitious Kitchen & decided to give it a try. I was going for the vegan option to try & get a little flax in there, but planned on using regular whole milk. I also chose to make mini muffins instead so they’d be a good size for Cupcake. I have a 48-ct mini muffin pan & it’s just the best!

The thing about baking when you have a toddler around is that you are very distracted. Meaning I just straight up forgot to add the milk. Any milk. Which is ironic because the recipe I was following was a sponsored post by Almond Breeze. So I accidentally made them totally vegan, and they were still totally delicious.

Vegan Mini Carrot Muffin - Mrs. Dessert Monster

In my opinion, the carrots are moist enough not to need the milk & the mini size means they’re still a good texture. I don’t think I would try a regular sized muffin like this, though. Also, the OP’s note about these tasting better sitting after in an airtight container overnight is true. They are good straight off of the cooling rack, but they are GREAT after a night in the fridge.

Vegan Mini Carrot Muffin - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Cupcake agrees!

Don’t skimp on the carrots – 1 cup finely shredded! Shredding carrots by hand with a box grater is a pain in the arm (gotcha!) but these are totally worth it. If you are wondering if you need a 3rd carrot to make that cup – you do. I usually use 2 large carrots & then end up shredding a 3rd smaller one.

Full disclosure: I add non-vegan mini chocolate chips to mine. But there are vegan chocolate chips out there, or  you can add another mix in such as nuts, raisins, or coconut flakes.

I told you I wasn’t going ‘crunchy’ on you! 🙂

Vegan Mini Carrot Muffins

Makes 4 dozen mini muffins

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup packed finely shredded carrots (about 2-3 carrots)
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp flax + 3 tbsp water, mixed)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mix-in of your choice, such as mini chocolate chips, chopped nuts, raisins, or coconut flakes
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a mini muffin pan with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients (first 5) in a medium bowl.
  3. By hand or with an electric mixer set on low, combine carrots, maple syrup, olive oil, applesauce, flax egg, & vanilla.
  4. Add dry ingredients to carrot mixture & stir until you no longer see dry flour. Gently stir in desired mix-in.
  5. Divide batter evenly between muffin cups – less than a tablespoon in each. Bake until they pass the toothpick test, about 12 minutes. Once cool, transfer to airtight container & keep in the fridge. They’re good once cooled, but GREAT after a night in the fridge!

Vegan Mini Carrot Muffin - Mrs. Dessert Monster

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Blueberry & White Chocolate Chip Cream Scones

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 into flour. I make it extra easy on myself by letting my KitchenAid mixer do most of the work. The key is just not to let it over mix.

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Mix on low until it’s just starting to come together.

Blueberry & white chocolate chips has become our favorite flavor combo for scones around here. The white chocolate chips take the scones from “blueberries are healthy, right?” to “oh, this is basically dessert”. But they are too good to pass up for a celebratory brunch. I think that’s why I like to make 24 mini scones out of this recipe instead of 16 larger ones. So I can eat two. (or 5!)

 

I am very much looking forward to a fun brunch tomorrow morning with our moms &, of course, with my little Cupcake!

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She enjoyed sampling them this morning 🙂

Blueberry & White Chocolate Chip Cream Scones

Makes 16-24 scones depending on size

  • 2 cups flour, plus more for work surface
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup heavy cream, plus 2 tbsp
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/4 cup white chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper & set aside.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients in the bowl of your stand mixer equipped with the paddle attachment.
  3. Whisk the 1 cup of heavy cream, lemon juice, butter, & vanilla in a liquid measuring cup. Pour into the mixer bowl & turn the mixer on low. Mix until the dough is just starting to come together.
  4. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface & knead for about 1 minute; just until the dough is smooth. Divide the dough into 2-3 equal parts (2 parts = 16 scones, 3 parts = 24 mini scones). Shape & flatten into circles that are about 3/4 inch thick.
  5. Add the blueberries & white chocolate chips to the center of each circle. Fold in the edges to cover completely, then reshape the circle. Cut into 8 wedges & place on the baking sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with the 2 tbsp of cream. Bake for 12 minutes, until lightly browned.

 

 

Cheeseburger Lasagna Rolls

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 ‘cheeseburger lasagna rolls’ on our dinner menu for Saturday night. My husband came up to me & asked, “Are those 3 separate things?” Very funny, babe.

Cheeseburger Lasagna Rolls - Mrs. Dessert Monster

Even though we ended up getting a free meal from my parents on the night in question (gracias Mami y Papi!), I left ‘cheeseburger lasagna rolls’ on the menu to make another night.

I briefly searched for similar recipes, but I was not satisfied with any of them. None of them that I saw suggested cream cheese, & almost all of them had ketchup. No thanks. I decided that I would just try to use my previous white lasagna making knowledge & just give it a go.

When I smelled the delicious filling, I knew I had a winner.

This recipe is relatively simple. I browned the ground beef with my favorite burger seasoning & then drained it. Pro tip: I never pay more for lean ground beef. I just make sure to drain it! Yes, I yield a little less than the poundage you bought from the fat being rendered out & discarded. But I don’t end up paying a premium for ground top cuts. Recently, Aldi had 73/27 on sale for less than $2/lb. Can you say score???

Once the beef is browned & drained, I added diced onions & pickles, cream cheese, and mustard. This is the filling. At this point it totally smells like a burger. The cream cheese in place of ricotta helps that. I rolled it up in the cooked lasagna noodles (I had exactly 4 left!) & laid them in a loaf pan. The loaf pan is perfect for this amount. If you double the recipe, an 8×8 or 9×9 should work well. If you make a dozen, then a traditional lasagna pan it is!

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I topped the rolls with mayo & shredded cheddar cheese. My husband has totally opened my eyes to mayo on burgers & I can never look back. But if that’s not your thing, I think that whatever your usual burger sauce is will work. Even ketchup. The point is to both add to the burger feeling & also prevent the noodles from drying out.

I think next time I will experiment with adding other burger toppings. Bacon, anyone?

Skeptical hubby ended up loving these! According to him they taste just like a McDonald’s cheeseburger. He said, “These are really good, thanks! You can quote me in your post if you want.”

Cheeseburger Lasagna Rolls

Makes 4 rolls

  • 4 lasagna noodles
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • your favorite burger seasoning
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1 small onion (or 1/2 a medium onion), finely chopped
  • 4 sliced of pickles (or 1/4 cup of dill chips), finely chopped
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • mayo (or your favorite burger sauce!)
  • shredded cheddar cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a loaf pan.
  2. Boil lasagna noodles according to package instructions. Drain & let cool.
  3. While noodles are boiling, brown the ground beef & season with burger seasoning. Drain.
  4. Add to the beef pan pickles, onion, cream cheese, & mustard. Heat on low while stirring until cream cheese is melted & mixture is uniform.
  5. Divide the mixture in 4 & roll up into cooked lasagna noodles. Arrange in loaf pan seam side down.
  6. Spread mayo over the top of the noodles. Sprinkle cheddar cheese over the top.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes until cheese is slightly browned on the edges. Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Guys, I had pizza on the menu for tonight before even realizing it was National Pizza Day!

Tonight I’m making a buffalo chicken pizza on this homemade pizza dough.

I’m definitely not a pizza dough novice anymore. It might be time to do an updated pizza post soon! Until then, use this recipe to make your own delicious pizza. 🙂

Mrs. Dessert Monster

I experienced some firsts with this recipe: first time using the dough hook on my KitchenAid mixer, first time ever using yeast, & first time using my new pizza & pastry roller!

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My friend Beth has pizza every Friday. I love her life! She almost always makes it from scratch, & after enjoying some of her awesome pizzas myself, I asked for the recipe.

She shared that it’s from one of her favorite cookbooks: Brown Eggs and Jam Jars.

This dough was really easy to make, even for a yeast novice like me. I halved the original – if I messed this up I didn’t want to waste like 5 cups of flour! – & used ‘regular’ flours instead of bread flour. The results were wonderful. The dough calls for honey, but it is not an overly sweet crust, so don’t omit it.

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I had to Google how yeast is supposed to…

View original post 335 more words

Cocoa Powder Microwave Fudge

Sometimes mami just needs a chocolate fix & there is nothing prepared in the house. That’s where this super easy fudge recipe comes in!

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This is a one bowl recipe – a microwave safe bowl. That’s part of what makes this recipe so amazing – no cooking! You pretty much just dump the ingredients in the bowl, zap it for a few minutes, & stir.

It has only 5 easy ingredients – powdered sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla, milk, & butter. I don’t think I could call myself Mrs. Dessert Monster if I didn’t always have these on hand!

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I originally found this recipe on allrecipes & have been using it for years to make this quick, delicious fudge.

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It doesn’t last very long in my house!

Cocoa Powder Microwave Fudge

  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Grease a square dish. (8×8 or 9×9, whatever you got!)
  2. Stir together powdered sugar & cocoa powder in a microwave safe bowl. (If desired, sift the powdered sugar. I almost never do this – I don’t really mind little bits of sugar throughout!)
  3. Add milk & butter to the bowl. DON’T mix! Microwave for 2 minutes, until butter is melted.
  4. Add vanilla & stir until smooth. Pour into greased dish. Chill until set & hardened (~30 min in fridge/10 min in freezer) & then cut into squares.

 

Leftover Mashed Potato Pancakes

This morning hubby & I made these leftover mashed potato pancakes for brunch – with a twist!

Just follow the recipe below, but instead of serving with sour cream & bacon, serve them each with a fried egg. We made 4 big pancakes (instead of 6) with this recipe.

Delicious!

Mrs. Dessert Monster

I hope everyone’s Thanksgiving was wonderful!

My husband & I hosted for the very first time, & thankfully everything went off without a hitch! The food was delicious & the company was awesome.

One of the best parts about hosting is that we have all the leftovers!

We had all of the traditional sides; stuffing, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes ,etc. I used this recipe for Crockpot Mashed Potatoes & they came out amazing! Everybody loved them, but there’s only so much mashed potato you can eat in one sitting. Especially when there are so many other yummy foods! Needless to say we have a considerable amount of mashed potatoes left.

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When I was younger my dad used to make potato pancakes with the leftover mashed potatoes from big family dinners. This morning I introduced my husband to this novel idea.

It’s very simple – mix in some cheese to your…

View original post 162 more words

Homemade Christmas Gifts

Merry Christmas!

In my house, Christmas doesn’t truly end until Three Kings Day.

Granted, it’s not quite as magical anymore after the 25th. Also, Cupcake’s birthday is before Three Kings Day, so we do want to pause Christmas & give her her own special day. BUT STILL – Three Kings Day marks the “official” end of Christmas around here. (Also, it really is the end of the 12 Days of Christmas!)

One of my Golden Year Bucket List things was to hand-make most of my Christmas gifts. I can now officially cross that off my list!

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Here are the gifts I made for my dear family:

Snockerdoodles

These cookies were gifted to my brother. I used this recipe to make a cakey crackle cookie (say that 3x fast!) with a whiskey kick!

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Baby ‘Print Ornaments

The grandparents (plus Auntie Tina) received ornaments made from Cupcake’s handprint or footprint. I also helped my niece make some to give as her gifts!

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Inspired by these Pinterest posts.

Homemade Taco Seasoning

I really wanted to give a jar gift to my sister-in-law & when I saw the taco seasoning on this post I knew that was it! I deviated from the original recipe a bit & I think it came out great! My favorite part is the decorations on the jar.

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Fruit Cake Biscotti

These fruit cake biscotti turned out even better than I could have imagined! I tweaked this recipe a bit & the results were fantastic. I feel inspired to make more biscotti!

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Did you make any of your Christmas gifts?

 

Crockpot Dulce De Leche

I’ve seen several Pinterest posts about the ‘hack’ of making dulce de leche from a can of condensed milk. I always kind of chuckle to myself, because my family has been doing that for generations! I have vivid memories of my mom boiling cans of condensed milk either in the pressure cooker, or just a regular pot on the stove top. Over the years, canned dulce de leche became more readily available & we haven’t had to boil leche condensada in a while.

Until this week.

I made a dulce de leche Pumpkin Pie (along with dulce de leche whipped cream) for Thanksgiving, so naturally I needed some dulce de leche! I was kind of shocked that it was $3.50/can at my local grocery store. I needed 2 cans – $7! I mean, it’s not gonna break the bank, but since I no longer bring in the income I used to, I see it my job to save money where I can. And I noticed that condensed milk was only $1.29/can.  So for less than the cost of ONE can of dulce de leche, I could make 2.

I called my mom for guidance & she told me to Google it. Seriously, Mami?!? She did eventually give me some instructions, but she encouraged me to look it up anyway in case there was a better way. So I did, & saw this post for doing it in the crockpot.

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I’ve written before about how I’ve really come to love my crockpot. I’m constantly impressed at just how versatile it is. The impression I had of slow cookers growing up was that it was a gringo thing that made mushy food. But here I was making dulce de leche!

A lot of the non-crockpot recipes to make dulce de leche involve keeping a close eye on your cans so that the water level stays high enough to cover them. With crockpot, that’s way less of an issue. I checked on mine every couple hours & it was almost unchanged the whole time. After 8 hours, I turned off the crockpot & opened the lid to let it cool a bit before taking the cans out of the water. I then waited until the next morning to open the cans – partially to make sure they were cool, but mostly because I wasn’t going to make the pie until then.

The dulce de leche was beautiful!

This method of making it is perfect for me. I didn’t have to watch a boiling pot on my stove for hours while also wrangling a baby! If I see dulce de leche in stores for a good price, will I buy it? Probably. But when I have some time to spare & some condensed milk, I will turn to my trusty crockpot!

Pie recipe, whipped cream recipe, turkey assembly instructions

Crockpot Dulce De Leche

Makes 2 cans

  • 2 cans sweetened condensed milk
  • crockpot
  • water
  1. Peel the labels off of the cans of sweetened condensed milk. Place the cans on their side inside the crockpot.
  2. Fill the crockpot with water, covering the cans by about an inch. Periodically check to make sure there is always water completely covering the cans. Add more if necessary.
  3. Cook the cans in the crockpot for 8 hours on the low setting. Once done, let the cans cool completely before opening. ***There is risk of explosion if you open a hot can!

     

 

 

Easy ‘One-Banana’ Banana Bread

Our family buys bananas often. I try to be strategic when I buy them so that we can have a few days of perfectly ripe bananas, yet there always seems to be one lonely banana left that turns too black too quickly.

There are lots of ways to use overripe bananas, but most of the time you need more than just one.

I wondered if you could make banana bread with just one banana, maybe just make a small batch of muffins or something, & then I found this recipe.

Banana bread using only one banana? Could it be?

Yes!

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This recipe produces a moist but dense bread with awesome banana flavor. I love this recipe because it’s not too mushy. I add slivered almonds for extra texture & flavor.

Since discovering this recipe, I’ve been a little bit banana bread obsessed. I have made it more times than I’ve made anything else in my life, ever. It’s just such a great, easy recipe! Not only that, but banana bread makes a great breakfast, snack, even dessert.

I love that it’s a ‘dump’ recipe – you literally just put everything in a bowl & mix it all up. I’ve made it with all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, & a combination of the two. It has worked with all of those variations – I just made it a full cup of milk when using whole wheat.

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One week we had 2 bananas that were too far gone, so I made two loaves. My husband took one to work & he says it was gone in minutes!

Easy ‘One Banana’ Banana Bread

Makes 1 loaf

  • 1 large overripe banana
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg, plus enough milk to make 1 cup liquid
  • 1 stick butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • slivered almonds (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease your loaf pan.
  2. Place all of the ingredients in a large bowl. Mix with an electric mixer until all of the flour is incorporated, being careful not to over-mix. Mixture should be slightly lumpy, but not have large chunks.
  3. Pour batter into loaf pan.
  4. Bake for about 55 minutes. The bread is ready when the top no longer looks gooey & a toothpick comes out relatively clean (it is a moist bread, afterall!).

Mary Berry’s American Victoria Sandwich

Are you as obsessed with The Great British Baking Show as I am?

I’m actually quite sad that the latest season just ended.

For the finale, the contestant’s technical challenge was to make Mary’s Victoria sandwich without a recipe.

A Victoria sandwich is is a two-layer light sponge cake filled with a layer of jam & buttercream.

Seeing as how I am not British – not even close – I am only able to take Mary Berry’s word that this is a classic cake & that the jam should be raspberry (with “all the bits”, as she says).

I’ve been wanting to try to create one of the recipes from the show since I started watching Season 1 on Netflix earlier this summer. I figured this one shouldn’t be terribly difficult. Not like the Prinsesstårta!

The only thing is that Mary Berry’s recipe is written in U.K. Measurements. I have no idea how much 225g of self-raising flour is. The PBS website is nice enough to link to this conversion site at the bottom of the recipe, but it only converts grams to ounces – not cups. I still have no idea how much 8oz of flour is. So with my little food scale & Google, I came up with the below recipe conversion.

Hence this is Mary Berry’s American Victoria Sandwich.

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One key difference for me is that I do not have self-raising flour. Therefore, I used all purpose plus extra baking powder. (Side note: God is real, you guys. I had JUST enough flour to make this!)

I also made my own caster sugar with a food processor. I was going to skip it but I read that regular granulated sugar wouldn’t give the sponge the right texture & could be grainy. To make enough caster sugar for this recipe, I pulsed 1 1/4 cup of sugar in the food processor for about 30 seconds.

I was all set to follow Mary’s proportions for buttercream (7 tbsp buter, 1 3/4 cup powdered sugar if anyone is interested),  but then I accidentally threw the whole stick of butter in the mixer. So 2 cups of powdered sugar it was. It’s so much easier to use the whole stick of butter anyway!

I did cheat a little & used store bought raspberry jam – seedless. Sorry, Mary. I know you like “all the bits”, but my husband does not!

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My 2 sponges domed up more than I would have liked in the middle, so I did trim them. But that just meant I got to taste test them before serving them to my friends!

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I cannot tell you how this compares to the British original.

I can only tell you it was delicious!

Mary Berry’s American Victoria Sandwich

Victoria Sponge

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour, lightly spooned – not scooped
  • 2 level tsp baking powder
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease two 8in round cake pans & line with parchment paper.
  2. Break the eggs into a large bowl. Then add the sugar, flour, baking powder, & butter. Use an electric mixer to mix together until well combined, being careful not to over-mix. (According to Mary, “The finished mixture should be of a soft ‘dropping’ consistency.”)
  3. Divide the mixture evenly between the cake pans. Use a spatula to gently smooth the surface of the cakes.
  4. Place the cake pans on the middle shelf of the oven & bake for 25 minutes. Don’t open the oven door to check them until at least the 20 minutes mark.
  5. When the’re done, remove them from the oven & set aside to cool in the pans for 5 minutes. Then transfer onto a rack to cool completely.

Buttercream

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp milk
  1. Using electric mixer, beat the butter in a large bowl until soft.
  2. Add half of the powdered sugar & beat until smooth.
  3. Add the remaining powdered sugar & 1 tablespoon of milk. Beat the mixture until creamy & smooth. Add the remaining tablespoon of milk if the buttercream is too thick.

To assemble:

  1. Choose one of the sponges to be the bottom & put it down on to a serving plate.
  2. Spread the raspberry jam (store bought or homemade) on the cake, then pipe the buttercream on top of the jam.
  3. Place the other sponge on top & sprinkle with caster sugar to serve.