Sweet and Simple Soup

Some things are just too sweet and simple. My butternut squash and pumpkin soup is one of them and it’s almost too easy to be true. Let me warn you though, if you are like my good friend Karen and like chunky “busy” soups, then you are going to be disappointed but hey, there is hope. I may win you over with this one.

WP_20170607_003

Still thick and filling…with ground pumpkin seeds

Six simple ingredients

1 tbsp salted butter

2 small roasted butternut squash

2 lbs pumpkin

1/2 tsp cinnamon

thumb of freshly grated ginger

almond milk (or any other)

Method:

Melt butter in saucepan and add pumpkin cut into small chunks.

Add ginger and cinnamon, stir to coat pieces and cover to steam. Check periodically to stir and prevent burning …who wants burnt soup? LOL

When pumpkin has broken apart, mix in the squash removed from its skin and cover to allow squash to be fully heated.

Remove pot from stove and allow to cool before blending in batches.

Return puree to stove on low heat and add almond milk until desired thick/thinness is reached.

Feel free to add salt if you want but I don’t find it necessary. SO delicious just as is.

WP_20170511_003

Oh and a little tip, when buying pumpkin for soup I always get the West Indian Garden pumpkin which is usually a bright orange colour. That colour let’s you know what’s up with beta-carotene content. but here’s what else the orange beauty packs in terms of nutritional value.

Pumpkin Nutrition Facts
(1 cup cooked, boiled, drained, without salt)

Calories 49
Protein 2 grams
Carbohydrate 12 grams
Dietary Fiber 3 grams
Calcium 37 mg
Iron 1.4 mg
Magnesium 22 mg
Potassium 564 mg
Zinc 1 mg
Selenium .50 mg
Vitamin C 12 mg
Niacin 1 mg
Folate 21 mcg
Vitamin A 2650 IU
Vitamin E 3 mg

We have been having some rainy days recently her in Bim , so if this is where you call home, make up a pot of this perfect cozy weather meal tonight.

Who Doesn’t Love Muffins?

Seriously who doesn’t? Weeelllll, I kinda don’t but, you remember the flour thing, right? But I love to bake them and there’s two reasons why.

Muffins are super easy to mix. In fact the secret to great muffins is not to over beat the batter. Whoop, whoop! It’s as simple as sifting some dry ingredients, adding some wet ones and pouring into liners.

You can add ANYTHING to muffins. Anything? YES, anything! Fruit, nuts, chocolate, candies, grains, cheese, corn, vegetables, bacon, whatever suits your taste or budget, but I always tend to make fruit, nut or corn muffins.

On Monday evening, both children were in early and I didn’t have any “snacks” in the house, but since I had free time from food prepping, I decided to whip up a batch of mixed berry muffins. (I food prepped on Sunday, but no baking…was feeling laazaay)

WP_20170612_017

While I was taking these pics, my daughter approached the table announcing she was coming for her 5th muffin. Of course she was joking, but after I informed her and the brother that their limit for the night was two muffins each, they both quietly walked away. Huuummmm! Very light , moist, and just the right amount of sweet and tart from the berries, they ARE that good.

WP_20170612_016

Berry Good Muffins

2 cups all purpose flour (remember you can go 1/2  multigrain)

3 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1 egg

1 tsp each vanilla & almond essence

1 cup milk (I was out of almond milk so I used 1/2 milk, 1/2 water)

1/4 cup vegetable oil (I use sunflower oil for baking)

1 cup frozen berry mix dusted with flour (a special reminder for a special friend)

Method:

Lightly grease muffin pan and add liners. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheit or about 210C

Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.

Add sugar and combine.

Beat egg and essences and blend into milk and oil.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet ones. Stir (DO NOT BEAT) until just combined. The batter will be lumpy, it’s OK, it’s not wrong!

Toss berries in 1/4 cup of flour to coat and add to batter just barely mixing them in.

Pour batter into liners, around 3 tbsp each, and bake for 20-25 mins.

Imagine, a dozen moist, berry muffins could be yours in 30 minutes. These will be were a great evening snack and will definitely be in tomorrow’s lunch boxes as well.

WP_20170612_011

Maybe my son will take this strange planet…check out the craters!

I always have to beg my children to allow the muffins to cool, see if you can, and be sure to let me know about it. Have a great day y’all, some of us have a berry muffin to go munch on.

WP_20170612_028

WP_20170612_029

OMG look at that berry goodness!!!!

 

Food Prep Meals

As promised, I wanted to share with you how my lil scheme of food prepping comes together during the week. On Sunday past, I made herb roasted chicken, sweet potatoes, squash, beets, braised greens and cabbage with a splash of balsamic vinegar, made a large salad and a pot of  basmati rice which I added to doved pigeon peas. YUM, YUM!

Of course on Sunday we can choose to eat just about any combination of things we prefer and that’s what usually happens. Everyone will have starch and chicken and a combination of other things. Like…

 

 

Monday it’s all leftovers honey! For both lunch and dinner. I usually add a bit to the salad (with enough for the next day’s lunch) and it’s almost (lol) the end of the chicken. Still have some rice and veg galore!!!

So Tuesday, what’s going on? I’ve got some of those beets, salad from the night before, a serving of greens and an apple. That’s my lunch covered.

WP_20170530_001WP_20170530_005

The teens have chicken sausages, gordita wraps, sweet potato, corn and saladWP_20170530_008

WP_20170530_006

The girl thinks Gouda is very good,ah!

 

For dindin, it’s the last of the chicken in noodle stirfry, like ten minutes tops. You know what to do, go ahead …wukup and go round!

WP_20170530_012

Chicken strips, carrots, onions, peppers, greens, noodles, in that order and DONE!

Mid week, I am still breezing. Leftover lunches, baby!

WP_20170531_030 - Copy

I have beets, squash and greens from Sunday with some invisible fruit,,,,lol

WP_20170529_001 - Copy

There it is …..cashews and gooseberries from the garden!!!!

WP_20170531_025

They have last night’s noodles with apple chunks

WP_20170531_028 - Copy

and a banana

Nighttime we ate more squash and sweet potatoes, and while my tuna sat in a marinade I popped some English/Irish/ South American potatoes into the oven. The tuna took all of ten minutes to grill then the tomatoes, peppers and onions were nothing to saute in the same pan.

WP_20170601_010 - Copy

If you are not using coarse black pepper, what are you doing?

WP_20170601_006

Kids not big on gravy and I think it’s a good thing

Humpday? Not over here! I have leftovers for lunch…again…and I’m loving it. You know I baked enough of those potatoes last night for leftovers and they are joining squash, sweet potatoes and fish, with mango.

WP_20170602_005

Can you tell I love sectional lunch boxes?

The kiddies version with salad and fruit.

WP_20170602_001

The daughter’s two potatoes

WP_20170602_002

Have you noticed they eat more than I do?!

Time for something light for dinner tho, …..

WP_20170511_007

Heat some frozen pumpkin, add baked squash, season, simmer, blend and voila!

WP_20170511_002

Wish you could smell and taste the ginger and cinnamon!

IT”S FRIDAY..and we eating still, we eating still. Still leftover rice from Sunday!!!!

WP_20170601_004 - Copy

With canned salmon gravy, salad, pine(apple)

And the teens went back to sausages, this time with pine(apple) and salad.

WP_20170601_001

His in saltbread (a Dad purchase…sigh) with mustard

WP_20170601_002 - Copy

Her’s is always wraps and cheese

Friday night.

Friday night cooking is for suckers…lol

Bush Woman

So, that’s it. In addition to what I prepped on Sunday, my week’s work in the kitchen was; reheating stuff, making salads, frying sausages, making noodle stirfry (15 mins), grilling fish (10 mins), baking potatoes (oven baby, not my time!) and making soup (20 mins). If that doesn’t sound like a plan I don’t know what does!

Food Prepping

Does this happen to you? You work all day and by the time you come in the last thing you want to do is stand at the stove to cook a meal? Now I know there are Bajans (and maybe others) out there who solve this problem by waking as early as 4:30 am to do their cooking, but, REALLY?! Sorry, but miss me with that every time. I needs my sleep!

Well lookey here, if you are like me and have the same problem here’s what I have been doing lately with much success to eliminate late dinners and other “don’t want to cook” issues. As I hinted a few posts back, I have been practising meal prepping. Well, kinda, sorta. I am not going all out prepping every meal for the week and I am not portioning them off into daily containers, so as usual, I have put my own twist on this growing trend and do food prepping.

I spend the greater part of my Sunday mornings and afternoons in the kitchen, so I figured, why not use that time to prep ahead as much food as possible for the week. SO, here’s the plan…..

I roast a chicken every Sunday and since we are not big meat eaters, it can easily make up three meals. YES one chicken, THREE MEALS for four!!!

 

WP_20170507_010

I like to add potatoes to my roast chicken and use them as flavourful ways to bulk out other meals, but sometimes I also prepare another meat dish with potatoes to round out our weekly “ration” of both in one go.

WP_20170521_049

Garlicy Chicken and butter potatoes

WP_20170521_075

Greek style lamb and potatoes

Since I am already using the oven for baking or roasting chicken, it makes perfect sense for me to bake/roast as much as possible in one go. And of course I am also not standing at the stove all day, I simply pop stuff in the oven and walk away. Sweetness, so insert a wukup!

WP_20170528_068

Sweet potatoes are a versatile option for lunch, dinner or snack

WP_20170528_074

Roasted vegetables can swing it alone or be added to salads or soups

I LOVE RICE, so I prepare a huge pot. It’s regular rice only is if it’s a stirfry or Bajan style veg rice. Otherwise, it’s basmati, because we heart it.

WP_20170521_059

Chinese style veg fried rice

WP_20170528_084

Basmati rice with doved green pigeon peas..YUMMM!

or the super quick couscous, even though its a five minute cookerWP_20170507_007

I never thought to prep ahead my veggies before, but now that I do, I can’t see myself stopping. For some reason, I was always worried they would not be as crisp or fresh reheated but boy was I wrong. Whether I stirfry, braise or steam them, they are all good for days.

WP_20170528_065

A splash of balsamic vinegar and these garlicy greens are over the top with flavour!

WP_20170507_005

I’ll only steam veg if I am including christophene

These prepped ahead foods see me well into Wednesday or Thursday and serve both lunches and/or dinners. So even though some days I still have to say grill some fish, stirfry some noodles or make additional veggies, I find that I spend much less time in the kitchen and always have options to start with and build a meal around.

BTW,  the feature picture is my niece’s meal prep from last week. Isn’t it gorgeous? She believes in meal prepping! A nephew also practises it and another niece even boils her eggs ahead for the week! Let me know your thoughts on this and if it is something you have tried or would try. Tomorrow I’ll share on how these bits and pieces come together during the week to make real meals…lol. Have an interesting day people.

Call me “Snack Mom”

Noooo, I don’t buy a tonne of snacks!

Call me snack mom because I believe in making my children’s snacks at home. Yes. I am “one of those moms.” It’s bad enough that the average snack has way too much sugars, salt, dyes or multiple ingredients which are unrecognisable, but have you seen the snack offerings at the average school!!

snack

This is better than most store bought bars I have had and I KNOW it’s healthier!

I am a teacher and I think it has made me a “snack Nazi” because I literally see children eat junk food (let’s just call it what it is) all day long, and I am appalled. I mean from the numerous vans and vendors parked out around each primary school to canteens plying a steady trade of pie, fired and fries, it’s crazy out there in childhood food land. It is now quite normal to see children eating doughnuts and fried chicken necks for breakfast. WHATTTTT! Then lunch can easily be pastry or food from a fast food establishment washed down with energy drinks or sodas, followed by more “snacks”.  LAWD!!!!

So yeah. I try to make tasty, interesting and healthy alternatives for my two. Granted they are still 21st century children and live balanced lives so they do have potato chips and cookies etc, but I try to monitor the kinds and quantity. I have also always made it a point to stress to my children the importance of a healthy and natural diet but they are kids and there is sooo much temptation out there and it’s all so pretty and tasty. SO here is how I compete.

A not too sweet power packed trail mix bar.

Chock full of oats, pumpkin, sunflower and chia seeds, raisins, cranberries, dates and apricots, these are a sure way to get my daughter to eat bananas. She has a serious aversion to the fruit but as a track and field athlete, she needs the potassium and natural quick sugars bananas offer, so this and my homemade banana bread are the only two ways she will have it. You remember https://sweetandsimplebajanlife.wordpress.com/2017/05/16/bananas-over-this-bread/

IMG-20170415-WA0009

I can never bake enough of that banana bread!  How can you beat natural sugars, old fashioned oats, pumpkin and sunflower seeds?

We also love this berry cake which I discovered on Celebrating Sweets. Boy do we love it. It’s another quick one bowl recipe, just the kind I heart. I love that there is very little cake (you know my flour thing), it is very light and it is sooo berry berriful which is berry berry good. http://celebratingsweets.com/easy-one-bowl-mixed-berry-cake/

Easy Mixed Berry Cake - A tender vanilla cake flavored with a touch of almond extract and filled with fresh berries. This will be your go-to summer dessert!

Other homemade snack options over here include hummus, flatbread, cornbread with corn, and fruit buns. Of course, lunch snacks always include fruit as well (fresh and in the form of olives, dates, etc), and don’t discount vegetables as snacks either. I often pack my two carrot sticks, pickled cucumber sticks, salad, tomato slices, and honestly whatever is currently plentiful or, you know, cheap!

20160827_201939

I love to bake with currants…don’t you?

 What do you pack for you children? Are you concerned about what they consume at school? Let me know, and yeah, I will definitely be sharing these recipes in the near future so hang around.

A Plant for Every Garden

Pssstt, quick question. “Who the heck buys spinach in the supermarket?” Hope none of you do (oops), but my older sister has done so on occasion and I don’t ever let her forget about it. LOL.

I mean this vine is too easy to propagate. Every spinach vine I have ever grown has been a cutting taken from somewhere and simply stuck in the earth! Beyond watering them to make sure they didn’t die in their infancy, I pay them absolutely no attention. Well, other than to harvest the leaves! SO imagine, on Saturday we (the possee) stopped in at Carmeta’s market at the BADMC and I stopped to purchased some onions. When I caught up with my niece at a plant stand (she is into house plants these days), she had  bought…… a spinach plant!!!!!!! SIGH. What am I going to do with these two?

spinach

I always train my spinach with wire

All my gardening life I have grown green Malabar and despite my brother having grown English or ground spinach, I personally never had a reason to think about seeking out other spinach varieties. That is, until I started noticing the red stemmed version in my daily commute. It is just so pretty! Why do I sound like my teen daughter right now? LOL It adds such a subtle yet rich and vibrant splash of colour to the garden with its rich red/purple stems.

WP_20170428_015

So back in October last year (2016) I planted a piece I snagged from someone’s garden some where (I seriously, cannot remember exactly where I got it..YIKES!).

spinachblog

I found it to be a slow starter, but once it established itself, it was off and running.  Here it is seven months and plenty of servings later.

WP_20170506_009

I have since cut it back quite a bit so that I can make way for cucumbers on the white lattice and wire fence, but the great thing with spinach is you can easily train it as you wish to fit into the garden. So I will now simply direct all new branches to the right and allow it to run along that frame and to the paling. I am really looking forward to enjoying the sight of an entire side of the garden being transformed into a living red and green wall.

WP_20170521_029I find it so much easier to control than the green variety as well. How can I forget this crazy green vine a few years back? And that’s only about a third of the entire thing! I had to let that bad girl go. BYE FELICIA!

No automatic alt text available.

Spinach is what I also call a “forever there” food. I mean spinach puts out leaves every single day. How is this not a daily staple on everyone’s plate? I have been adding it to just about everything I make recently; my daily smoothies, in stir-frys, with rice,  soups, with eggs, in salads, and I have been giving it away by the bagfuls! One thing I still can’t bring myself to make are spinach fritters though…talk about bad childhood memories and retention!

While in folklore spinach is prescribed for iron deficiency, it is interesting to note that this vine actually contains more of your daily requirements in vitamins A & C, folate and manganese than it does iron. You can catch up on this excellent article about its nutritional value and health benefits here http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/basella.html

SO, come on. Everyone has a little fence or paling that’s begging for a little pizzazz. Why not liven it up with a plant you can eat. “No more supermarket spinach”, repeat with me, “no more supermarket spinach.” Listen, don’t be a niece, shout me if you need a piece to plant, this spinach is nutritional simplicity and there is no reason why you should be missing out.

A Constant Supply of Food

One of the secrets to lowering your food bill while eating fresh and healthy, is to plant some of the foods that you can grow and especially those you consume on a regular basis.

As some of you know, I love greens. It doesn’t matter if it’s cabbages, mustard, spinach, kale or lettuces, I strive to always have something green in my garden. This works out exceptionally well for me because greens tend to mature in less time than fruiting plants such as tomatoes, cucumbers, etc and require way less space. I actually prefer to grow mine in tubs. I also don’t allow my greens to “head”. I am one of those gardeners who subscribes to cutting my greens in bunches of young leaves rather than reaping the entire plant at maturity. So this method ensures a constant supply of greens; the growth cycle is short and the regular reaping of leaves encourages the plant to produce more.

Imagine all of that happened in one month!

On Sunday morning, I reaped some saladeer greens, pak choy and spinach for our stir-fry rice dinner. This means that my tubs are now kinda bare but that’s OK. I use a rotation system where I sow some kind of seeds every two to three weeks. So I still have a few kale and pak choy (Chinese cabbage) plants which I should be able to start eating in about 3 weeks while the ones I cut back today regrow as well.

 

WP_20170521_027

Kale will have a few weeks to bolt in growth without the competition from the greens

WP_20170524_004

Smaller Pak Choy will be ready in a few weeks

WP_20170521_026

I also have mustard greens just past germination and I will transplant these to both the pots and direct soil next week.

WP_20170521_025

Check the nettle growing from the side of the pot behind!

AND, of course, we stay eating spinach!

WP_20170521_029

Train up a vine in the way it should go…over the lemongrass and onto the paling please!

By all means, you must plant herbs. How can you cook without them? Herbs can be finicky beings tho! I am running low on herbs thanks to excessive heat followed by heavy rains, so I currently have; thyme, lemon balm, chives, parsley (which I mix with my greens in tubs) and basil. I must now replace my lost rosemary, mint and oregano.

I also started transplanting seedlings to direct soil last weekend, but due to heavy rains, I lost a few cucumbers and tomatoes. The black eyed peas survived as did a few of the heirloom tomatoes, basil and one cucumber plant. From my “hatchings” I was able to add two zucchini plants, a water melon and some more tomatoes. Next week I will sow a few eggplant seeds and God knows what else. That’s because during the course of the week when I use really tasty foods, I save the seeds for future planting.

WP_20170521_028

Three weeks ago this bed was covered by purslane

WP_20170521_022

Notice where I have fertilised around each seedling.

WP_20170521_021

No matter how much it rains, soil is baked, but still producing!

 

Oh look what else we are eating because we also planted some no fuss fruit…

SO please, plant what you like to eat, what is costly, what is easy to grow, what grows best in your weather, and a fruit tree or two, and you can easily ensure a constant supply of food. Happy planting!

Oh, this morning I went out like all good gardeners do to check and water before leaving for the day and look… all those things I cut back on Sunday are already growing back!!!!

 

 

Herb Info Time

Do you know this little garden shrub?

WP_20170523_005 - Copy

You know I had to get a bee in there

While I don’t particularly remember it from my childhood days, it is quite common in Barbados today. Well, you know I always have a story, so let me tell you how I discovered (like Columbus..lol) this interesting plant last week.

I was sourcing some herbs for a ‘thing” I am currently working on (hummm) and while doing some research, I came across a herb by the name of Damiana. I wasn’t particularly familiar with the name and so did not add it to my “further research” list.  THEN, last weekend, after tidying my ornamental garden, I made my way over to my neighbour asking for “some of that yellow flower plant”. I kid you not, that is exactly what I said when I called out to “Skoda”, telling him why I was there. While my sister Lorna can rattle off the names of ornamentals like it’s her native language, I tend to focus on food and medicinal plants, so that was the best I could do to communicate my request.

The dried herb cost quite a bit!

As any good gardening neighbour should, LOL, he quickly appeared to school me as I dug up young seedlings. “Oh, you mean the damiana?” he said. WUHHAATT? Before I could even relate my recent discovery of this name, he proceeded to tell me some of the very benefits listed in books and the internet, and by the way, these were not the source of his knowledge.

Right, so,on to damiana. It’s a great herb for reproductive organs, being touted to oxygenate the genital area and therefore act as a sexual stimulant. It is apparently especially effective for stress related sexual issues. Well, OK then, damiana. Very popular in Mexico and among the Mayan people as an aphrodisiac, sources also list it as a remedy for menstrual problems, anxiety and depression among other conditions. Check out this website http://www.damianatea.net, dedicated to this plant that grows abundantly across the Caribbean and the Americas and learn about the many benefits of drinking its tea.

And, how could I not at least know that there is a damiana tequila?  I love tequila, from Patron to Jose Curevo! This damiana liquer has been around the block too, according to its website, which claims that it was used to make the very first margarita! OLE, OLE!!  http://www.amiana.net/about-2/

What an interesting bottle! Me likes.

You know what’s funny as well, I grew a tonne of damiana ten years ago but eventually got tired of them and removed every one from the garden. Ignorance may be bliss, (can it ever really be?) but I am glad to learn new things. So, needless to say, after reading up on the many benefits of damiana, it will now be a constant in my garden once again. I am grateful that I can forgo the pricey cost of the teabags and loose herb and simply step outside, snip a few branches and enjoy.
WP_20170523_004

 

WP_20170523_011 - Copy
Can you tell I followed this bee from flower to flower? lol

I also learned a little lesson along the way as well though. Sometimes, things appear even before we even know we are in need of them, so remain open to receiving all there is to receive. It may be a herb today or something more substantial tomorrow. Have a great day people, and please get out into nature.

 

 

It’s Bliss

Remember my post yesterday when I declared my disdain for all things flour? Well, today’s post is going to sweep all that out the door and leave you flour heads screaming HYPOCRISY!!!! But trust, by the end you will totally understand.

Saturday morning, I was laying in bed writing my Best Banana Bread post when my niece called and asked if I had had lunch as yet. The answer was a resounding no and she said get ourselves ready she was on her way. This is kinda our Saturday routine roaming from market to supermarket to mall to restaurant, so we were ready to roll in under 30 mins. We headed up the south coast to Bliss Cafe, and let me tell you this place was pure bliss.

A natural African inspired decor

Did you read that menu? It is based entirely around waffles, bagels, flatbreads, paninis, you know, all things made of flour, that white stuff that I don’t care for. Oh the irony!!! So you know how outstanding this food had to be. The waffles were fresh, light and not sweet at all. The fresh fruit, syrups and cream were well balanced and  well portioned and just took the waffles to another level. I could never have expected a gastronomical feast of such basic fare, but they have perfected it. SO let me jump right into it, words cannot do these dishes justice so no lot of long talk!

IMG-20170513-WA0027

The son had banana caramel

IMG-20170513-WA0021

The lass had classic simple blueberry

IMG-20170513-WA0023

OMG…let’s just call what the adults shared Heaven

Oh but don’t think that because they have perfected sweet that they don’t know how to do savoury. My sis and I both had the jerk chicken with flatbread, while the niece had sticky, smoky, scrumptous BBQ chicken on a bagel. Perfect portions of meat, bursting with flavours, freshly baked breads and lots of veggies. YAS!!!

IMG-20170513-WA0026

OH LAWD!!!! My jerk chicken flatbread was sooo fresh and flavourful

IMG-20170513-WA0030

This smoky BBQ chicken is to die for!!!

You know how you go to a food joint and the pictures on the wall are the bomb? The colours are popping, the servings overfloweth, and you start to salivate. Or so I’ve been told. LOL. Well, my daughter was over the moon that this shake turned out to be just as pictured!!!

IMG-20170513-WA0005

The entire table had to share this bad boy…LOL!!!!

When her turn came, she attacked this shake like a project. She even had the twinkie!! LOL

There are only two things you need to know before heading up the coast road. I won’t even call them drawbacks or negatives, nothing negative to report over here.

  • Their hours are Tuesday  to Saturday 7:30 to 3:00 and Mondays 7:30 – 12, which kinda sucked because we all just wanted to stay there and lime and chat and give our “itis” time to chill, but families in business do need down time as well. And….
  • THEY DO NOT ACCEPT CARDS….I know, right!

But listen, there is an ATM 30 secs away (literally) and this food is worthy of a breakfast, brunch, lunch, early dinner or lime. I shouldn’t say breakfast because just last week I admonished my sister for allowing my niece these for breakfast at the farmer’s market. Hypocrisy, much? They also offer a range of herbal teas, fresh ground coffee and natural juices.

Image may contain: 1 person, eating, sitting, dessert and food

Bliss does cater to private events and my son is already sold on the venue for his upcoming 13th birthday, SO book it and claim it as yours for an evening or late night shinding. Seriously people, I have not been this impressed by a food establishment in a long time but this BLISS, oh man. Count me in each and every time.

IMG-20170513-WA0032

The posse…raised glasses, licking fingers, you know it was good!

For more of what Bliss has to offer check out their facebook page here..https://www.facebook.com/BlissCafeBarbados/

 

Bananas Over This Bread

Those of you who know me, know I don’t do flour. I have never been a lover of the white stuff, I don’t care if it’s in the form of pasta, bread, wraps, cakes or pastries, I’ll take my foods in other forms please. Yes, I know you flour-heads out there are rolling your eyes, and yes, I know civilisations were build on bread and yeah, it’s a staple for many people around the glove, but it just is not for me.

Image result for flour png

I am the kind of eater who is big on texture, and things made of flour just naturally tend to become poofy or mushy in the mouth, which I absolutely hate! I mean seriously, I can’t fathom how anyone enjoys bread and peanut butter. OMG!!! What a clumpy, pasty mess in the mouth? I relish crunchy foods, don’t you? I love to actually have to bite into foods and feel them being broken down, and taste the release of flavours as I chew, oh, and the sounds involved. LOL!!!

chewing

Now don’t get me wrong, I do eat flour occasionally. Well rarely, and when I do it is usually in one of these ways; crusty hard dough bread, crackers, roti, or some homemade stuff. And yes, I do bake quite a bit, but truth be told, I hardly consume much of anything I bake. I bake because it’s something I love to do (oh yes!!) and it provides healthier snack options for my children.

Which brings me to this banana bread recipe of mine. This is a bread that, pun intended, I literally go bananas over! WELL, let’s not get carried away flour-heads, I still don’t eat anymore than one or two very thin slices of it, but, yeah, this bread is sooo darn good. All of my go-to recipes for baking are outstanding, because afterall, I don’t like flour so when I spend time baking, the recipes have to be worth my time, be scrumptious, and healthy.

This banana bread recipe gets full marks for all of the above; it mixes up in five minutes (YAS!!!), is astonishingly delicious and hello, BANANAS! But what puts it into an extra special category for me is that it is foolproof. I have never made this bread and been disappointed. Simple ingredients we all have on hand, it is so very adaptable and wait, did I mention it mixes up in 5 minutes.

WP_20170501_025

IMG-20170415-WA0009

Easiest Banana Bread Recipe

3 ripe bananas (black spots and all are best)

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla & almond essence

2 tbsps butter

2 tbsps milk

2/3 cup of sugar (adjust according to taste and sweetness of the  bananas)

2 cups all purpose flour * (I use 1 cup & 1 cup multigrain flour)

2 1/2 tsps baking powder

pinch of salt

Blend the bananas and pour into mixing bowl. Add egg and essence and mix well. Add sugar, butter and milk and give a few stirs to blend. Lastly add the flour, baking powder and salt and beat until well blended. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan and add desired toppings. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.  You bakers also know it’s done when the top is brown and the sides pull away from the pan. Allow to cool and remove from pan to enjoy.

**I use both a hand mixer or a large spoon to make this bread and either way turns out great. I generally prefer the hand mixer though, because it tends to make a more loafy bread whereas the spoon makes for a more dense teatime/dessert bread.

*** I love to add toppings to this bread and my favourites are old fashioned oats, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. You can also add dried fruit(cranberries are best)  and nuts to the batter after adding the flour, but I prefer to keep the bread simple and add that extra crunch as a baked topping. YUM!

IMG-20170415-WA0009

Please y’all, this is too easy. You have to make this bread and share your thoughts with me. Until then, I’ll enjoy for us all!