Salted Date Oven Caramel Popcorn

Caramel Popcorn

Another week has started, and we have been having some gorgeous weather these last few days! This makes me SO happy! Unfortunately, I haven’t been outside to enjoy the weather as much as I would have liked. This is my first year singing in the Faith and Life Choir, and the last two days we spent many hours rehearsing and performing for our spring concert. It was a really great experience, and I plan to continue singing in this choir when it starts up again in the fall. The only downfall was that we spent a lot of time indoors while the lovely weather was calling us to be outside!

I did make sure to enjoy the warm weather at least for a little while today. Luna sure didn’t complain about us taking her for a walk! But now, I’m excited to share this Salted Date Oven Caramel Popcorn recipe with you!

Salted Date Oven Caramel Popcorn

This household really enjoys caramel popcorn! Over a month ago I decided to try to come up with a healthier version for this delicacy. Now, by healthy I don’t mean that it is something incredibly nutritious that you should eat every day. However, I did manage to make it refined sugar free, which is something that I have been trying to consume less of. The first time I tried to make this recipe, there was too much moisture in the caramel, causing the popcorn to shrivel significantly. It was still delicious after baking it, but I knew the recipe required some adjustments.

Today I tried making it again, tweaking the recipe a little, and it turned out much better! It has a rich caramel-like colour and flavour, and baking it causes it to acquire the perfect amount of crispness. It is incredibly delicious, and makes the perfect snack for a movie or game night! However, you might not be able to stop eating once you start. You have been warned!

Salted Date Oven Caramel Popcorn

I hope you give this recipe a try! If you do, I’d love your feedback! May this week be joyful, productive, positive, and rewarding! Thank you for stopping by!

Salted Date Oven Caramel Popcorn
This is a healthier version of caramel popcorn, and it is to die for!
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup popcorn kernels
  2. 2 tbsp. coconut oil
  3. 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  4. 3/4 cup packed pitted dates
  5. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  6. 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
Instructions
  1. Add the pitted dates to a glass bowl and cover with boiling water. Let it sit for half an hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 250 F°.
  3. While the dates are soaking, add the popcorn kernels and 1 tablespoon of coconut oil to a stovestop popcorn maker. Heat on medium-high until most of the kernels have popped, stirring consistently. When the popping slows down to several seconds between pops, empty the popcorn into a large bowl immediately.
  4. Drain the dates. Using a food processor, purée the dates, pure maple syrup, and the remaining coconut oil, until a smooth and thick mixture forms.
  5. Using a non-stick pan, bring the date mixture to a boil on medium-high heat. Continue boiling on medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the mixture has a rich and brown caramelized colour.
  6. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract and salt.
  7. Add the date mixture to the popcorn and fold in gently until evenly combined.
  8. Spread out the popcorn on a non-stick baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Let cool completely and enjoy!
Notes
  1. If you don't have a food processor you may also use a blender, or a hand held immersion blender.
  2. Don't heat the coconut oil on high, as it might cause your throat to feel scratchy.
Sweet Blooming Roots http://www.sweetbloomingroots.com/

Deer + Almond Copycat ‘Beets & Oranges’ Salad

I’m so excited to share a salad recipe with you today! This Deer + Almond Copycat ‘Beets & Oranges’ Salad is so easy to make and it’s packed with nutrition. It is vegetarian friendly and is free of white refined sugar. The feta cheese can easily be omitted for a vegan option (in which case I would suggest sprinkling a little bit of sea salt on the salad).

I’ve been trying to eat more fruits and vegetables, and just fuel my body with healthier food in general. It seems a lot easier to eat salads if I change up the recipes frequently. For those of you who love salads, I hope you give this one a try and enjoy it as much as Kevin and I do.

Deer + Almond Copycat 'Beets & Oranges' Salad

Kevin and I went to a local restaurant called Deer + Almond about a month ago. His sister had given us a gift card from this place for Christmas, along with other fun date-night snack foods and movies. It’s probably pointless to mention how much I loved this gift. Seriously though! Movies + food = heaven for Erika.

I really enjoyed the food that we had at Deer + Almond. It is a slow food restaurant that serves tapas-style dishes. The food is meant to be shared with friends and family like you would at home. I would recommend all Winnipegers to check it out, if you haven’t already! I suppose, the rest of you will simply have to come up/down for a visit!

The truth is, I have never been the biggest fan of beets. However, I’m also kinda stubborn, and feel the need to like, or at least try all foods. For instance, when Kevin and I were in Thailand last summer, they were selling fried scorpions and tarantulas on the street. I simply couldn’t bring myself to try them. Now, most people probably would have been totally okay with not trying them. I, however, still can’t get over the fact that I didn’t try them. It feels like something I should have done at least once in my life!

Back to beets though. I have often “made” myself eat some (they are easier to eat than tarantulas after all!), with the hopes that one day I’ll like them. I have realized that I enjoy them more when they are steamed than if they are pickled. When we ordered the ‘Beets & Oranges’ salad at Deer + Almond, I really enjoyed it! Although, proportionally they added too many beets for my liking. If you love beets, however, you would probably disagree with me, and would have loved the salad just the way it was served. That’s the beauty of making this salad yourself! You get to choose how many beets you want to add! See, we all win!

Who knows how close my version of the ‘Beets & Oranges’ salad is to the original recipe, but it doesn’t really matter because it’s healthy and SO delicious! The ingredients that go into this salad are: green leaf lettuce, gala apples, oranges, steamed beets, crumbled feta cheese, chopped walnuts, sesame tahini, orange juice, lemon juice, and honey. That’s all! Scroll further down to see the recipe.

A few notes: 

This recipe makes two large lunch salads, or serves about four people as a side salad. If you are planning to take it to work, just layer the salad in a seal-able container in the following order: beets, lettuce, apples, oranges, feta, and walnuts. Store the dressing in a separate container. When you are ready to eat, simply drizzle the dressing over the salad, close the lid, give it a good shake, and eat it straight out of the container, or empty it out onto a plate.

To steam the beets, I used a double boiler steamer. Just add some water to the bottom pot, and place the beets in the steamer pot. Cover with a lid and steam for about 30 minutes or until the beets are tender when pierced with a fork. I didn’t peel the beets until after steaming them. Instead, I just ran them under cold water and used my fingers to rub the peel off. If the peel doesn’t want to come off, try using a sharp knife.

Substitutes: 

You could probably replace the feta cheese with “queso fresco”. Another alternative would be cottage cheese. Just make sure to rinse it off first, so that it’s not too wet, and add some sea salt, as feta cheese is a lot saltier than cottage cheese. Now, for those of you who do not have access to sesame tahini, you can either make it (video below) or try replacing it with a smooth peanuts-only peanut butter. You will still get that nutty flavor. 

Deer + Almond Copycat 'Beets & Oranges' Salad

Thank you for reading along. I really hope you enjoy eating this Deer + Almond Copycat ‘Beets & Oranges’ Salad as much as I enjoyed making, photographing, and eating it! Wishing you all a fabulous week!

Deer + Almond Copycat 'Beets & Oranges' Salad
Serves 4
A quick salad, packed with healthy nutrients!
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For the tahini dressing
  1. 1/4 cup sesame tahini
  2. 1 tbsp. liquid honey
  3. 1 tbsp. freshly squeezed orange juice
  4. 1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
  5. water
For the salad
  1. 4-6 leaves of green leaf lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
  2. 2 oranges, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  3. 1 apple, cored and cut into bite-sized pieces
  4. 2-3 steamed beets, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
  5. feta cheese, to taste
  6. chopped walnuts, to taste
Instructions
  1. Add all the tahini dressing ingredients to a small bowl. Mix well, adding water until it reaches the consistency of a creamy salad dressing.
  2. Place all the salad ingredients in a salad bowl. Drizzle the tahini dressing over the salad. Mix well using salad servers or salad tongs.
Sweet Blooming Roots http://www.sweetbloomingroots.com/

Sweet Potato Breakfast Pie

This Sweet Potato Breakfast Pie recipe that I have for you today, makes for a perfect brunch on a cold fall/winter day. It takes a little longer to make, but will be well worth it when you sit down, wrapped up in a cozy blanket, and eat while watching your favorite TV-show.

Now look at what I’ve done! All I’m craving now is a lazy Saturday morning, where I can do just that. Actually, that’s not true at all. I’m definitely also craving pizza, tacos, tortas ahogadas, that delicious layered Mexican-dip that my friend served today…   

Sweet Potato Breakfast Pie

The ingredients that are paired in this Sweet Potato Breakfast Pie recipe, might sounds like a strange combination, but I think they work really well together. Bacon tastes great with syrup, eggs taste really good with sweet potatoes and bacon, and sweet potatoes taste so good with coconut oil, bacon and cinnamon! So, why the heck not throw all these ingredients together, and make a pie out of them while we’re at it!?

Sweet Potato Breakfast Pie

I have grown to absolutely love sweet potatoes over the last years! Whenever my mom makes a meal with baked potatoes at home, she always adds one or two sweet potatoes to the mix. These are always for herself. Of course, she is more than happy to share them, but the rest of us usually go for the regular potatoes. I think I am now beginning to follow in my mom’s footsteps with loving the rich flavor and texture of sweet potatoes (and my puppy loves them too!). I’m also enjoying exploring the different possible flavors that pair well with sweet potatoes. 

Sweet Potato Breakfast Pie

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I hope you make a cozy brunch this weekend, and stay warm, as it is getting colder in Winnipeg. At the very least, may your weekend be filled with the warmth of love and friendship. Thank you for stopping by and reading my blog posts. It means the world to me. I would also love to hear from you some times! What are some of your favorite sweet potato dishes?

Sweet Potato Breakfast Pie
Serves 4
This sweet potato pie makes a filling and nutritious fall brunch, and is incredibly delicious!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 medium-sized sweet potato
  2. 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
  3. 2 Tbsp. pure maple syrup
  4. 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  5. 2 Tbsp. bacon bits
  6. Sea salt and pepper to taste
  7. 1/4 cup candied-cashews, crushed
  8. 4 eggs
  9. 6 oz. flour
  10. 3-4 oz. tenderflake lard (frozen)
  11. 1-2 oz. ice water
  12. 1/4 tsp. salt
  13. Sriracha sauce
  14. Fresh basil leaves
Crust
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, salt, and the lard, using a pastry blender. You want to achieve a chunky mixture.
  2. Add the ice water gradually and mix gently, just until combined. The trick is to not over-mix the dough.
  3. Form the dough into a round disc, cover it with plastic wrap, and let it sit in the refrigerator for 15 to 30 minutes.
Filling
  1. While the dough is sitting in the refrigerator, prepare the pie filling.
  2. Peel and cut the sweet potato in quarters (lengthwise), then slice thinly.
  3. Melt the coconut oil in a pan on medium-high heat. Add the sliced sweet potatos and fry until slightly browned, but not too soft. Turn down the heat to medium-low.
  4. Add the pure maple syrup, cinnamon, bacon bits, sea salt, and the pepper. Fry for an additional minute, then set aside.
Assembly
  1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
  2. On a floured surface, roll the dough out into a 13-14 inch circle.
  3. Gently lift and place the rolled out dough into a seasoned 9-inch cast-iron pan (or any pie plate). Trim overhanging dough (you may use the extra dough to create decorative toppers for the pie).
  4. Sprinkle the pie crust with the crushed candied-cashews, then add the sweet potato pie filling.
  5. Bake for 35 minutes.
  6. Lower the heat to 350° F.
  7. Take out the pie and create 4 caves in the pie filling. Crack an egg into each cave.
  8. Place it back into the oven, and bake for an additional 15-17 minutes, or until eggs are done to your liking.
  9. Garnish with sriracha sauce and fresh basil leaves.
Sweet Blooming Roots http://www.sweetbloomingroots.com/

Mini Pizza Buns

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It’s Friday!! Let the weekend begin! Are you hosting friends or family this weekend? Or are you bringing food to a potluck? I have the perfect appetizer recipe for you! You can throw it together in just a few short minutes. It also makes a tasty lighter meal with some salad on the side. Check the recipe at the end of this post, for the instructions on how to make these tasty, Mini Pizza Buns.

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Is it just me, or do you also crave greasy food when you’re cold? In past summers, I have worked at The Salad Bowl Greenhouses’ garden stand. On a side note, if you haven’t visited this local garden stand yet, make sure to do so next year (I’m talking to you Winnipegers!). They sell beautiful plants, and the owners are the kindest people, and such a joy to work for.

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Back to my story. At the garden stand we’re open through sunshine and rain. The awesome and awful part about this job is, that there is an ice cream shop and a Salisbury restaurant right close to it. On hot days, all I wanted to do was buy ice cream to cool off (and our boss definitely spoiled us with some cold treats sometimes). On cold days, however, when we would sit wrapped up in our blankets, sipping at our hot tea, all I wanted was Salisbury’s greasy yam fries.

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For years the employees at the garden stand have used the washroom at Salisbury, as the garden stand doesn’t have one. So, on cold days, I would always go and warm up my hands and face with the hand dryer in the washroom. Of course, that just made matters worse, as I would walk by all the people sitting with delicious, greasy food in their hands. On occasion, my co-worker and I would cave into our temptations and indulge in a platter of greasy yam fries.

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We are having a cold and cloudy fall day in Winnipeg today. Mini Pizza Buns anyone? I hope you try this recipe. Do you have any quick, go-to recipes? Please do share!

Cheers to a fun weekend! -Erika

Mini Pizza Buns
Yields 6
Easy and delicious appetizer!
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Ingredients
  1. 3 whole-wheat buns, cut in half
  2. 6 Tbsp. pizza sauce
  3. 12 slices peppered salami
  4. Grated mozzarella cheese
  5. Olive oil
  6. Pepper
  7. Basil (dried and fresh)
Instructions
  1. Spread one tablespoon of pizza sauce on all six buns.
  2. Top each with two slices of peppered salami.
  3. Add grated mozzarella cheese to taste, then drizzle with a little bit of olive oil.
  4. Add dried basil and pepper to taste.
  5. Bake in toaster oven (or any other oven) at 400 degrees, until cheese is melted, and crust is golden brown.
  6. Garnish with fresh basil leaves.
Sweet Blooming Roots http://www.sweetbloomingroots.com/

Dad’s Favourite Beans

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So I totally meant to post this yesterday for Mexico’s independence day, BUT I wasn’t able to finish it. I had other things to catch up on, and then in the evening Kevin took me out for a lovely supper for my birthday. We were going to go out for Tapas for the first time, but this place didn’t take any reservations, and when we got there, there was a waiting list of an hour to an hour and a half. No thanks… we were way too hungry to wait for that long. Instead we went to a place called Hermanos. The food there was amazing! You know what else is amazing? The bean recipe that I’m about to share with you. 

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I grew up eating beans as a meal. In Canada beans are usually eaten as a side dish only, but for my family it was a meal. But before I continue on, let me say that beans and tortillas simply go hand in hand. My parents would buy a fresh kilo of tortillas (sometimes still warm!), and then once at home, someone had to pick apart the stack of tortillas to let them cool off to prevent them from sticking together. This would provide us with the perfect opportunity to pick up a fresh tortilla, shake some salt on it, roll it up and eat it.

Goodness, I miss being able to buy completely fresh tortillas! One time when we were visiting my parents, my dad took me along to town and we bought some fresh tortillas from the “tortilleria”. I couldn’t help but dig right in before I even got the chance to get some salt from home.

Where was I? Right. I was talking about how we ate beans in my family. We would warm up some corn tortillas on a metal skillet, spread some butter or margarine on them, which would immediately melt, and then we’d roll them up, ready to be eaten along with the beans, and sometimes some veggies or a salad (oh, and a cup of cold milk!). We usually held a tortilla in one hand (which was usually dripping with melted margarine), and a fork in the other, and together they made the perfect team to bring the food from the plate to the mouth, while also scooping up the delicious sauce that was being left behind on the plate. There’s really nothing quite like it!

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There are different ways to eat beans. When I had them at my grandparent’s home, I remember them being accompanied by “schmont faat” (white gravy sauce) that I’m assuming was made with heavy cream and bacon drippings. At home, I followed my dad’s example and always added sugar to my beans. Over time I saw my cousins in Canada adding ketchup and cheese to their beans.

So with all the different ways of eating beans that I’ve observed over the years, this is currently my favorite way to eat them. It is also my dad’s favorite bean recipe (minus the ketchup and cheese). I can’t remember if it was my mom or dad who came up with this recipe, or a different person altogether, but whenever my dad cooks and has the choice of how to prepare them, this is the recipe he uses.

Oh and one last tip! I learned this trick from one of my lovely aunts in Mexico (you know who you are). If you really want to take things up a notch, crush a whole bag of original doritos chips and stir them into the beans just before serving. YUM!

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I should also talk about the beans that are used in this recipe. My parents use “cabra” beans. Unfortunately, I have yet to find them in Canada (so if anyone knows where to find them, let me know!). I’m slowly making my way through the bag of beans that my parents brought me from Mexico. I would say that the closest beans I found to the “cabra” beans, are pinto beans. I have tried making this recipe with pinto beans. It’s good, but honestly not quite the same. So, if you ever get your hands on “cabra” beans, never let them go! And bring me some while you’re at it! 😉

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I hope you try out this bean recipe. It makes an excellent meal for quick warm ups, when time is not your friend. Canning the beans is probably what takes the longest, but even that is actually quite easy once you get started. The most emotionally damaging part about the canning process for me, is probably how much the pressure cooker scares me every time, haha. I’m always so scared it’s going to explode on me! I mean, really, you can opt out of using a pressure cooker, but it speeds things up, which is why I keep on doing it (plus to make use of wonderful gift from my parents!).

The recipe posted below assumes you already have homemade canned beans. If you need to know how to can them, here’s how: in a large bowl, soak the desired amount of beans overnight in hot water. Make sure to add a couple of extra inches of water, as the beans will swell quite a lot. The following day drain the water, add the beans to a strainer, run cold water over them, and rinse them thoroughly. Add beans to your pressure cooker (or other pot, which will take longer). The amount will depend on the size of your pressure cooker (my pressure cooker is medium sized, and I add about 5 cups of soaked beans to my pressure cooker). You basically want to fill most of the pot with beans, about an inch below the pot’s limit, and then fill it with room-temperature water all the way to the limit (about 1/2 to 1 inch above the beans). Add salt to taste (I add about 3/4 Tbsp. of salt), and about 3 halved cloves of garlic. Seal the pressure cooker according to the instructions. Bring to a boiling point on high until the pressure builds, then turn it to low for about 20 minutes, making sure it continues to simmer/boil. When the time is up, turn off the heat and let the pressure settle completely before opening your pressure cooker. Finally, immediately after taking off the lid, fill your preferred size of canning jars with beans, seal tightly, and let cool until all the lids have popped. Store in the refrigerator until they are ready to be used. 

I hope you are all having a lovely weekend, and even though I’m a day late, VIVA MEXICO! 

 

Dad's Favourite Beans
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Ingredients
  1. 1 L homemade canned cabra or pinto beans
  2. 2 good dollops of butter or margarine
  3. 1 large onion, diced
  4. 3 large tomatoes, diced
  5. 2 small zucchinis, sliced, and cut into small quarters
  6. Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Melt butter or margarine in a pan.
  2. Add the onion and fry on medium-high while cutting up the tomatoes.
  3. Add the diced tomatoes and continue frying while cutting up the zucchini.
  4. Add the zucchini, salt and pepper, and continue frying until all liquids have evaporated, and the mixture begins to brown (this adds great flavour).
  5. Add the beans, bringing them back to a boiling point, then lower the heat to medium low, and simmer for another 10 minutes to incorporate the flavours.
Notes
  1. Optional: stir in a bag of crushed doritos chips just before serving
  2. Optional toppings: ketchup, grated cheese
  3. Optional sides: warmed up and buttered corn tortillas, avocado, veggies or salad
Sweet Blooming Roots http://www.sweetbloomingroots.com/

A Twist on Fresas con Crema

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Hola amigos! Less than a week from today, on the 16th of September, Mexico will be celebrating its 206th year of independence! Here I am, watching videos on youtube of the celebration of the Grito de Independencia. Tears are flowing, and my heart is hurting with a deep love for my home country, remembering faded but unforgettable memories. 

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I am realizing that my heart will probably always be torn, while also being completed by two countries. Being, and having grown up Mennonite I never felt like I could fully identify as Mexican. This was because being a Mennonite wasn’t only a matter of faith, but also a different culture altogether. However, because I was a more progressive Mennonite and didn’t dress traditionally, many Mexican people wouldn’t believe that I was Mennonite. When I moved to Canada, I perhaps took on more of a Mexican identity, because that’s what many of my friends saw me as. In Canada, however, I’ve had to convince individuals so many times that I’m Mexican, because I don’t look Mexican. It’s kinda funny. Having grown up Mennonite in Mexico, and then moving to Canada, I have often felt like I don’t completely belong or fit in anywhere. Each place transforms and shapes who you are. However, my life has been enriched by people and experiences in both of my homes, and ultimately I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

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The Mexican Independence Day was always particularly special to me, since it happened the day after my birthday. Not only did it mean that I never had to go to school the following day (which was PERFECT for sleepovers!), but late at night on my birthday a great amount of people would gather up in Cuauhtémoc city for the Grito de Independencia. Sharing a birthday with this special event, had the effect of making me feel special, while also feeling so proud to be Mexican. I clearly remember my friend and I looking out of the bedroom window into the dark night, trying to catch sight of the fireworks far in the distance. You could always see the city lights flickering, as Cuauhtémoc is built around and partly on a mountain. When I was old enough, I got to go to the Grito de Independencia myself. The Grito, in short, is an event on the night leading up to Mexico’s Independence Day (on which there usually is a parade). It symbolizes the way Miguel Hidalgo gathered his people by ringing the church bells, declaring the beginning of the War of Independence against the Spanish colonial government. People gather to honour heroes, and to celebrate Mexico’s independence, with fireworks, music, and lots of cheering, of course. I used to always joke that the fireworks were meant for me though!

Here is an example of one of the many Mexican Gritos de Independencia:

I have to admit, I haven’t really celebrated this Mexican holiday all that much in Canada, especially not in the later years. I’ve always thought it would be cool to do something, maybe even have fireworks. Perhaps one year I’ll make it into something special and form a tradition, before I forget what it’s like! Speaking of forgetting, I have noticed my Spanish getting a little rustier, so this weekend, believe it or not, I decided to have a Spanish conversation out loud, while driving home. Clearly it ended up being a one-sided conversation! Haha! I thought to myself, hey, I should do this more often, so that my tongue remembers how to speak Spanish. 

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Can you tell I’m feeling incredibly nostalgic!? Lets move on to a new recipe! Recently, I shared a corn on the cob recipe, somewhat, but not quite similar to the Mexican street-food version. Another amazing Mexican street-food is “Fresas con Crema” (strawberries swimming in sweet cream). It is to die for!

So, continuing with the Mexican celebration vibes, today I’m sharing my own version of Fresas con Crema. This recipe was originally inspired by a recipe that I found on Pinterest, but ultimately, it reminded me of a Mexican street-food favorite. No, it doesn’t really taste the same at all, but it’s still really delicious! Find the recipe below:

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Thank you for taking the time to read my long story!

A Twist on Fresas con Crema
Serves 2
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Ingredients
  1. 8 strawberries, hulled and sliced
  2. 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (35%)
  3. 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  4. Salt to taste
  5. 2 Tbsp. icing sugar
  6. 1/8 tsp. almond extract
  7. 1/8 tsp. cardamom
  8. 1/4 tsp. orange zest
  9. 4 Tbsp. cream cheese
  10. 3 Tbsp. shaved, toasted almonds
Instructions
  1. Add the cream, vanilla extract, and salt to a bowl. Whip mixture until stiff peaks form.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients (except almonds) and mix until a smooth mixture forms.
  3. Toast the almonds in a frying pan, stirring gently, but consistently.
  4. Using two small bowls, layer the dessert alternating between the cream mixture and the sliced strawberries, starting and ending with the cream. Top with roasted shaved almonds. Serve immediately or chill in the refrigerator until later.
Notes
  1. You may choose to leave out the following ingredients for a simple vanilla taste: almond extract, cardamom, orange zest.
Sweet Blooming Roots http://www.sweetbloomingroots.com/

The Best Summer Elote

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Today has been one of those days that started off with the great intention of checking a few things off my to-do list. Instead, it ended up being a day that was less productive than I had hoped for (to be fair, the goals that I set for myself are often unrealistic). I’m trying to learn that it’s OK to have some of those days, and not beat myself up over it too much. So here I am trying to push myself to get this blog post up before the day is over, and trying to remind myself of the things that I DID get done today. 😉 At least I have my true little companion (AKA my little pup Luna) beside me, keeping me company. She’s been resting all day since she got spayed two days ago, and seems to be hurting still.

On a bright note, I’m sharing my favourite way to eat corn on the cob with you tonight. Trust me, you want to stick around for this.

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This recipe brings back memories of my family eating corn on the cob on hot summer days, accompanied with a glass of cold milk. Although I don’t drink milk with my corn anymore, those two used to go hand in hand for me.

I remember attending Summer Bible School during several summers as a kid, at which we usually got corn on the cob as one of our meals. They were always served with butter and salt only. As delicious as this combo is, I remember always missing the way my family ate them, covered in delicious ingredients! I mean, of course we ate them with just butter and salt too some times. However, I will still always prefer them loaded with a medley of flavours!  

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So, next time you are in the mood for some corn on the cob (maybe a few more times before the precious summer comes to an end!?), why not try topping them with the following ingredients:

  • Start by spreading them with mayonnaise (or you could use butter if you don’t care for mayonnaise).
  • Then top with: seasoned salt, onion powder, paprika, dill (dried or fresh), and Parmesan cheese (or any other freshly grated cheese). 
  • Play around with it: you could try smoked paprika, add garlic powder/salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, etc. etc. etc.

Here is a basic method for cooking corn on the cob. There seem to be many different ways of doing it, but this is one of the ways.

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It’s really that simple. It takes longer to prepare each corn on the cob than if you’re only using butter and salt, but every bite will be a sweet reminder that it was worth it!

Oh – and if you’re day wasn’t quite as productive as you had hoped, don’t beat yourself up over it. You’re not alone in this. Plus, tomorrow is a fresh start. 🙂

Happy weekending! – Erika

Life Update & Mango, Pineapple and Coconut Yogurt Popsicles

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Hello my lovely readers! I’ve been having a little too much fun trying different popsicle combos. I quickly wanted to share a flavor combination that I really enjoyed. I won’t even make a recipe card, because it’s really that easy, and doesn’t require much explaining. Using a popsicle tray, fill each slot a quarter of the way with mango juice, and two quarters with coconut flavored yogurt (I used Activia brand). Then, simply pop in a piece of freshly cut pineapple, and place it in the freezer until frozen. 

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Hmmmm… my human is holding something strange… wait a minute, perhaps I recognize what that is… could it be? No… I doubt it… oh my goodness… I think it is… it DEFINITELY is! Popsicles!!! 

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As I was trying to take pictures of the popsicles, Luna must’ve seen what I was holding (she usually get’s part of my popsicle), because she got really excited and was desperate to have some! She started jumping, trying to reach for the popsicles, photobombing my pictures in the most adorable way! No worries, she definitely got some in the end! 😉

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Also, as I mentioned in a previous post, all of Luna’s hair got chopped off! She looks so different with short hair! Needless to say, we were pretty amused by her look right after her hair cut. Especially since we were only used to her cute teddy bear look. It’s definitely nice and fresh for the summer though!

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I also wanted to update you a little on what’s going on at the Kampens these days. Kevin started tearing down our old deck on Saturday. It is in pretty poor shape, and needs replacing. The reason why we’re tearing it down now, is because my parents are coming for a visit (so exciting!), and my dad wanted to help us build a new one!

My last update, which might make some of you a little sad, is that I will be taking a break from blogging (this will be my last post for a while) for two reasons. First, I want to be fully available when my parents are visiting, as I don’t get to see them that often. Second, Kevin and I are travelling to Thailand!!! What!? Yes, it’s happening! We’re really looking forward to it, and I can’t wait to show/tell you all about it!

Now you know, and don’t have to wonder why I suddenly vanished from the face of the earth! I will miss sharing posts with you, but it is also important to disconnect sometimes. Plus, this only means I will have a lot of new content to share with you. 

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I want to thank each one of you for following me, encouraging me, and reading along. It means a lot to me! May this summer make you as happy as the popsicles make Luna happy. Here’s to summer! Cheers!!!!! -Erika

Self-Serve Strawberry “Cheesecake” Ice Cream

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Howdy! I hope you woke up bright and chirpy! Actually, I feel like I should still be sleeping, like my husband and my dog, Luna. I know I’m tired, and my body still needs more sleep, but for some reason my brain thought I should be done sleeping, thinking instead of possible bear attack stories, because Kevin and I have planned a short camping/canoeing trip. Haha, really brain!? Instead, I thought I would get up and start blogging. I don’t mind it though. It’s dark inside because it’s cloudy, and it’s pouring on and off. Along with some thunder, it feels like a good set-up for writing. 

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Who else is LOVING spring so far? It basically feels like summer, even though it’s technically still Spring. We have had some pretty warm weather already, and I’m loving it! When it gets almost too hot, I always try to remind myself that I’m not allowed to complain about it, since I know how long and cold the winter will be here, and that I would give anything to feel the heat of the sun on some of those days.

Anyways, I’ll stop rambling now. I have a delicious and almost embarrassingly easy recipe to share with you. Our friends encouraged me to post this a long time ago, because they really enjoyed it when we served it to them. So here you go friends, I’m finally posting it for other people to enjoy as well! You can be proud of me now. 😉  

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I love serving this Strawberry “Cheesecake” Ice Cream as a dessert, especially when you didn’t have time to make anything in advance. It requires very little preparation, and since it is a self-serve dessert, it really is a breeze. You can totally get the toppings ready while you’re chatting with your friends. Well, except if you’re using a slap chop to crush the graham crackers, like I did. Things can get a little loud in the kitchen then. You might want to assure your guests that you’re not angry!

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I would recommend serving this dessert after a heavier meal. I find that ice cream usually makes for a lighter and refreshing dessert, especially when served with fruit. 

All that is required for prep work is to cut up some fresh strawberries, and crush some graham crackers. Place both ingredients in separate bowls, then set them out as toppings, along with some cinnamon, and of course the vanilla ice cream.

I didn’t include any quantities for the ingredients, since you really can’t go wrong here. If you didn’t make enough, you can simply go and make some more. If you have left over crushed graham crackers, simply store them in the freezer in an air-tight container, or in a zip-loc bag, ready to be used for either a cheesecake, or for the next time you decide to serve this ice cream. And of course, I wouldn’t categorize having left-over strawberries as a problem. They will be gone before you know it. But, if you really need ideas on how to get rid of them, throw them in with your next cereal bowl, add them to a smoothie, OR feed them to your dog. My pup loves strawberries, and it really helps improve her breath. Sorry Luna, you never have bad breath! 😉

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I really hope you give this recipe a try, and that you will enjoy it! Feel free to like and share my posts, as it helps increase my traffic. 🙂

Enjoy your weekend peeps! -Erika 

Self-Serve Strawberry "Cheesecake" Ice Cream
The simplest and yet very delicious way to quickly enhance a good traditional vanilla ice cream!
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Ingredients
  1. Fresh strawberries
  2. Crushed graham crackers
  3. Ground cinnamon
  4. Vanilla ice cream
Instructions
  1. Wash, trim, and dice preferred amount of strawberries.
  2. Crush graham crackers in either a blender, food processor, ziploc bag with a rolling pin, or with a slap chop.
  3. Set these ingredients out in separate bowls as ice cream toppings along with some ground cinnamon. Allow guests to prepare and layer their own ice cream bowls.
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