Fresh Berries, Pound Cake and Custard Trifle for Easter

I’m so excited that warm Spring weather!

Also, we are all ready to taste all the fresh flavors that come with the sun.

Brightly colored berries and delicate cream go so well together.

This can be so easy to throw together on short notice.

You can use ready made pound cake, instant vanilla pudding and whip up fresh heavy whipping cream for an elegant and so delicious dessert that looks great and extravagant.

Fresh berries make any dessert special and fancy.

The other thing to remember is that you can make this extra special by baking all the ingredients from scratch.

Use your favorite cake recipe, maybe something with a little lemon zest to enhance the flavor of the fresh berries, as well as your favorite vanilla custard.

Be creative or keep it simple, either way, you will have a special treat for you and your guests.

Sweet, Crunchy, Salty! Halloumi, Red Pepper and Pineapple Appetizers!

Halloumi, red pepper and pineapple skewers are too easy not to make for a tasty appetizer on the fly!

Halloumi is a Cypriot semi-hard, unripened brined cheese made from a mixture of goats’ and sheep milk, and sometimes also cows’ milk.

It has a high melting point and so can easily be fried or grilled and has a salty, chewy, rich flavor that makes it a great compliment to sweet and tangy flavors.

Warm the Halloumi in the oven at 250 degrees fahrenheit for about 15 minutes then just chop and skewer the ingredients.

I kept mine small; about 1/2 inch square makes petite and tasty little bites.

These work great with cocktails as hardy appetizers.

Try a cilantro, olive oil dipping sauce for a little added flavor.

Colorful skewers make these festive for entertaining and I could even see putting this together like a salad or as a side for rice and beans; almost like a salsa.

Try this for early Easter snacks and the perfect way to usher in the bright and sunny flavors of Spring!

Carmelina’s in Little Italy Boston, MA!

Carmelina’s in Boston’s North End was an absolute treat after spending a sunny Saturday afternoon moving my “little Freshman” into her college dorm!

Checking out the menu in silence!

Little Italy in Boston’s North End

Ready for lunch.

Thanks Dad!

Mussels in White Wine

Wild Mushroom Rissotto.

More Rissotto

Japanese Eggplant

Warm Crusty Bread.

Table of food.

Catch of the day on Broccoli Rabe.

Rissotto with Seafood.

More “fruits of the sea”

Angel Hair Pasta

Arugula with shaved Parmesan.

Gorgeous Salad!

Tuna with Fusilli.

Yummy 1

Yummy 2

Yummy3!

Every Last….

Bite!

This meal was delicious and it was the perfect time of day to consume copious calories.

Believe it or not, not long after this meal we walked down the street to the Caffe Paradiso for the world’s best ( no hyperbole ) tiramisu and coffee.

As close to an authentic Italian experience as one could find on this side of the Atlantic.

An emotional weekend fueled by olive oil and mascarpone cheese, you can be sure that I will be visiting often for many reasons!

Juicy, Fleshy, Figs!

I apologize for the photos but I certainly hope that these BEAUTIFUL figs make your mouth water like they did mine!

Figs are great snacks and can set the stage for fancy appetizers like goat cheese stuffed figs with pistachios.

Fresh figs are seriously underrated in my opinion and everyone should eat as many as they can.

Dried figs are nutritious and delicious but fresh figs are a real treat.

Figs are a great source of fiber and are low in calories.

For vegans concerned about calcium, consider this:

Figs are a fruit source of calcium (79 milligrams in an 8 oz-wt serving), a mineral that has many functions including promoting bone density. Additionally, figs’ potassium may also counteract the increased urinary calcium loss caused by the high-salt diets typical of most Americans, thus helping to further prevent bones from thinning out at a fast rate.

Not much needs to be done to prepare figs for your favorite recipes or impromptu creations.

Lightly clean the skin with with water, cut in half and scoop out the flesh, if desired.

Eat the tender skin to benefit from fig’s high fiber content.

You don’t need to add sugar.

You can use the meaty flesh as a fruit spread, in baked goods or with savory cheeses and artisan breads.

Enjoy and Share!

Vegan Chocolate Cream Whoopi Pies To Die For!

“Skinny Bitch” and “Skinny Bitch Book of Vegan Swaps” author, Kim Barnouin has shared this recipe for chocolate whoopi pies.

Read the book if you get the chance but definitely make these sinfully delicious desserts!

Ingredients

1 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
1/2 cup Earth Balance vegan butter, softened
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup evaporated cane juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Method

Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together the almond milk and vinegar, and set aside. (It will curdle a little; it’s supposed to do that.)

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, arrowroot, and salt. In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugars on low speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and beat until fluffy and smooth, about 3 minutes. Add half of the flour mixture and half of the almond milk mixture to the batter and beat on low speed until just incorporated. Add the remaining flour mixture and almond milk mixture and beat until thoroughly combined. Drop about 1 tablespoon of batter onto a lightly greased baking sheet, spacing them about 3 inches apart. Bake for about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the cakes cool on the sheet for about 5 minutes before placing them onto a rack to cool completely.

Filling

1/2 cup non-hydrogenated shortening
1/2 cup Earth Balance, room temperature
3 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup almond milk

In a large bowl, beat the shortening and Earth Balance together until well combined. Add the sugar and beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes. Add the extract and almond milk, and beat for another 5-7 minutes until fluffy.

These will not last very long and I challenge you to miss anything.

I would like to try making these with coconut flour to make them gluten/wheat free, as well

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