Carrot cake with chocolate icing

Carrot cake with chocolate icing

 

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This is really the easiest cake ever!  Carrots are blended with eggs and oil, fully incorporated, which turns the batter into the beautiful orange color. Don’t worry about the amount of baking powder! Without whipped egg whites to do the lift of the batter and with the weight of the carrots, there is no other way around. It is a very popular coffee cake in Brazil, sweet and filling but yet with a twist on the healthy side with the carrots, sort of.

If you are not much of an icing person, like me, make the icing as a thin layer, which will add just a touch of chocolate on top of the soft cake, so delicious! You can also use Nutella as a topping or any of your choice of store bought icing.

I remember so well visiting family or friends on a weekend afternoon, nothing planned in advance, as it happens so often down there.  The home host would excuse herself for 10 min and come back to entertaining. In a while all you can smell in the house is this carrot cake baking for us, the unexpected guests! Half an hour later, there comes the cake, still warm served with fresh espressos! Good food always related with good memories, priceless!

Cake ingredients

3 medium carrots (7 to 8 ounces)

3 large eggs

3/4 cup vegetable oil

2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/4 cup sugar

3 tsp baking powder ( it seems a lot, but my guess that the carrots base requires a heavy lift)

1/2 tsp salt

Icing ingredients

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup cocoa powder

3 tbs butter

1/4 cup milk

Cake Directions:

Pre heat the oven to 350F.

Peel and slice the carrots. Mix the carrots, eggs and oil in the blender and give it a good mix.

Mix all the dry ingredients together, sifting the sugar and flour in a large bowl. Add the carrot mix and stir well. Grease a 8 inches cake pan and pour the batter evenly.

Bake for 40 to 45F, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Icing Directions:

Mix all the ingredients in a pan, low heat stirring until it comes to a boil. Cook for one minute and pour on top of the cake while both, cake and icing are still a bit warm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Silky and healthy sweet potato soup – ready in less than 30 min

Silky and healthy sweet potato soup – ready in less than 30 min

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My obsession for sweet potato is still on. Since we started our 100% ” eating healthy and diabetes friendly ” life style, the only potatoes were having are sweet potatoes. Besides the gorgeous color and amazing taste, its nutritional benefits goes without saying. And nothing beats the comforting texture of a sweet potato soup in the fall and in the coming winter. Mind you, in the summer, I was barbecuing them!
This soup was part of our menu dinner last night, I just added a big green salad and salmon steaks. Simple, super tasty and totally healthy.
This is a modified recipe of Michaels Smith’s sweet potato soup (the original is here: Michael’s sweet potato soup).

Silky and healthy sweet potato soup – ready under 30 min

3 tbs butter (I used “can’t believe is not butter“)
1 chopped onion
4 chopped garlic gloves
2 sweet potatoes, diced
6 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup 5% cream
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt

In a soup pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Sauté the onions and garlic until they are golden and add the sweet potato, chicken broth, cream and chili powder. Cook until the potatoes are soft, about 15 minutes. Whisk in the cinnamon and salt and smoothly puree with an immersion blender.

Enjoy and thanks for stopping by!

You might also like to check out other nice and comforting soup options:

White asparagus cream soup

Tomato soup my grandma style

Avocado healthy dessert

Avocado healthy dessert

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I’ve been obsessed with avocado lately, I have to admit. But I promise I will stop talking about it after this dessert. At least for a while lol. Healthy and light and extremely filling, 1/2 cup makes it just right and it is ready in 5 minutes.

If you are looking for healthy desserts this is one of the best!

Avocado cream dessert

4 portions (1/2 cup each)

1 1/2 avocados
1/2 cup of milk ( soy milk will work too)
2 tbs sugar or Splenda or 2 1/2 stevia
1 tsp lemon juice

Mix everything well in a blender. Serve immediately.

You might also enjoy a variation of this recipe, using ice cream instead of milk: Ice cream avocado dessert . It is just to die for!

Enjoy and thanks for stopping by!

Fall tomato soup my grandma style or how to try a different and fresh version of a tomato soup

Fall tomato soup my grandma style or how to try a different and fresh version of a tomato soup

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The story behind this recipe is that my grandmother, who was a great cook, decided to add hard boiled eggs and cooked rice to the tomato soup to make it more nutritious and filling. And that was the tomato soup that we used to have at home. I followed the tradition and have been cooking for a long time.
It is not a creamy tomato soup, it tastes as sweet as the creamy ones but the tart sweetness comes from the lots of tomato juice that are boiled and reduced. It is so delicious to taste the freshness of ripe tomatoes without any artificial additives that once you taste it, it will be very hard to enjoy the bought ones.
As the big debate about yokes not being healthy, because of its cholesterol contents, flooded our lives, I changed the whole eggs by whites, keeping ruffly just one full egg for 4 servings of soup. And for this posting I didn’t add any rice.
Yes, it takes some work, but for me it is a small price to pay to have this delicious, comfy soup that brings me back so many nice family moments. A loaf of fresh bread, this tomato soup and you have the perfect match for a light fall dinner. I know, all my discussion about cutting the cholesterol and bla, bla, bla… and then I added the bread! Well, a whole wheat one, with lots of grains will not hurt. lol Ah, but don’t forget the butter and maybe a glass of red wine.

Fall Tomato soup my grandma style

4 portions

8 large beefstake ripe tomatoes
3 cups of water
2 parsley sprigs
salt to season
1 tbs sugar
1/2 tbs butter
1/4 cup milk
3 boiled eggs cut in chunks ( play with the amounts of yoke as you wish)
3 boiled whites
1/2 cup of cooked rice

In a large pan cook the tomatoes in the 3 cups of water and the parsley, boiling for 5 min. Let it cool and blend the cooked tomatoes with only 2 cups of the water. Strain the mix, making sure all the tomato pulp is well scraped from the strainer. Discard the parsley string. In the mean time cook the eggs, let them cool off and peel and cut them.
Bring the strained tomatoes back to the pan, add the butter, sugar and milk to a boil and then to a simmer, for about 20 min. or until the liquid is reduced to half.
Season with salt, no pepper is required. Add the eggs, the rice and drizzle some dry parsley on top.

Enjoy and thanks for stoping by!

Raquel Boyes

3 favorite, crunchy, healthy salads

3 favorite, crunchy, healthy salads

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Probably I could turn into a vegetarian. Never thought seriously about it and haven’t found any life related reason to do so, yet, anyway. I really don’t dwell on this topic but I do know I love my veggies and salads. Probably it is genetic, my dad, being Japanese taught us to love salads and the crunchiness of veggies, mainly cucumbers. He would slice them so thin, which I still do it to this day. I remember eating tomatoes with sugar as a snack in the afternoon with my sister. Wow, what a long time I don’t think of this.

    As result my daughter also loves veggies, she is actually a cucumber fanatic, eats it all the time and for the most different reasons: has a head ache, cucumber helps, has a stomach problem, cucumber cures it, is feeling down, cucumber re boots her! hahaha Never seen anything like this and I can tell you, I can never have enough cucumbers in our fridge.
    These are three of our favorite salads and I want to share the recipes. We actually have them as snacks in the afternoon, believe me, they are to die for. I know it is something we normally don’t say about salads but this is the truth…if you are a salad fanatic like me!

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Green beans salad

1 lb green beans trimmed

1 small shallot thinly sliced

2 to 3 tbs extra virgin olive oil

1 1/2 tbs fresh or dry oregano

2 tbs wine vinegar

salt to season

In a large pan bring water to boil. Add the green beans and cook for 5 min. In the mean time prepare a big bowl with ice and water.

Drain it and put the beans in this cold icy water. Drain it again and wiped it with paper towel. The beans will still be warm but not steaming hot and will soak the dressing in much better.
Mix all the ingredients together and toss well. Let it rest before serving.

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Fennel Salad

This is the easiest salad ever. I tasted for the first time at my grocery store and haven’t stopped preparing it since. The liquorice taste is very subtle because of the lemon juice. It goes very well with any meat, I find that the best combination is with lamb.

1 fennel sliced thin

extra virgin olive oil

2 tbs lemon juice

salt to season

Mix everything together and it is ready.

One large fennel is enough for 2 portions.

Nordic Cauliflower coleslaw

This recipe was published in the National Post last Saturday, by Bonnie Stern – in her section: Eating In. It is a recipe from her latest trip to Denmark.

It is an amazing way to have a cauliflower salad. The hot dressing cuts the edge of the rawness of the cauliflower, keeping it crunchy and getting the sweet and sour taste soaked nicely in the veggies. It is already a favorite, I made it twice in a week!

1 small cauliflower chopped (3cups)

2 carrots grated

2 ribs celery, thinly sliced on the diagonal

3 tbs chopped fresh dill

3 green onions, finely chopped

2 tbs toasted pine nuts

2 tbs toasted sunflower seeds

Dressing

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar or rice vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

1/3 cup canola or sunflower oil

1/2 tsp kosher salt and fresh ground balck pepper

Combine caulk flower, carrots, celery and green onions in a large bowl.
Bring the vinegar, sugar, salt and oil to a boil. Toss hot dressing with the caulk flower mix and season with salt and pepper.
Marinate at least for 15 min. Sprinkle pine nuts and sunflower seeds before serving.
6 to 8 servings

written by Raquel Boyes

Yummy coconut popsicles

Yummy coconut popsicles

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Coconut reminds me of summer, always.

I remember a “gelateria” in Ubatuba, Brazil, that had some amazing coconut popsicles. Going there in the evening was the highlight of our summer holidays at the beach. They had this white coconut popscicle, with lots of coconut that was my family’s favorite. In my wildest dream I would have 2 of those every day but my sister and I were never allowed. lol

I searched for a recipe and I found one in the Skinnytaste blog, which by the way has amazing and healthy recipes.

I modified it, as always using Splenda, and substituted some of the evaporated milk for 5 % cream, I wanted a more creamery taste. Because of the evaporated milk they are not white as the ones I used to enjoy but they were delicious, rich and a real filling treat. We can’t have enough of them now!

1/2 can evaporated milk

1/2 can 5% cream ( I used the same can of the evaporated milk as a measure)

1 can coconut milk (the is a low fat version if you are trying to cut down calories)

1/2 cup Splenda or sugar

2 tsp coconut extract

1/2 cup of shredded sweetened coconut

Blend all ingredients, pour into the popsicles molds and freeze. Enjoy!

yield: 6

    written by Raquel Boyes

    Pastel

    Pastel

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    P A S T E L

    Pastel is our family favorite junk food. Actually not so junkie since I make at home, from scratch.
    I guess it can be considered as a Latin version of the Japanese “gyosa”, it is very popular in Brazil, specially in Sao Paulo’s street markets.
    You can use any filling, our favorite is beef, but it is delicious with cheese, mozzarella type, banana, apples, palm hearts mix, anything you come up or something you have in your pantry.
    I used my pasta machine to get a thin dough, but a roller will do too.
    We have it once a year normally, in the summer. Better to use an electric frying pan outside and adjust to the same setting you use for french fries. It cooks very quickly, make sure to have all them ready to be deep fried. Put it in, wait a few seconds, turn it around, a few more seconds, put it on paper towel to absorb the excess oil, and it is ready, golden and crisp!
    It is a great appetizer and it goes very well with a very cold beer.

    Unfortunately is not diabetes friendly…

    for the dough you will need:

    4 tbs oil
    3 eggs
    2 tbs of vodka
    1 3/4 cup of water
    1 tbs salt
    2 1/2 cup of all purpose flour

    Mix all the liquid ingredients and add to the flour and salt, working well until the dough is uniform but a bit moist. You might need to add either flour or water to get the right consistency, which should be not too sticky. I worked for about 4 min with the dough. Let it rest for 10 min.
    If you are using a pasta machine, start with the wider setting and work your way through up to the middle setting, in my case was #4. I had some plastic film in place, sprinkled with some flour. I rolled the dough up in 4 rolls that can be kept in the fridge for p to one week.
    I had two types of fillings: banana in slices and ground beef, browned with onions and spices, pepper is essential and traditionally olives are a fundamental ingredient of a real pastel! Chopped or whole.

    You can make your pastéis (plural of pastel) in any size, I tried the big square ones but ended up with a rectangle. Not a fancy shape but delicious anyway.

    Make sure to press a fork in the edges so the filling doesn’t come out when you’re in the frying stage. Sometimes it helps to moist the edges before you close them with some water.

    Hope the pictures will help. Let me know if you need more information. I will be glad to help in this complicated science of making pastel from scratch! lol

    Enjoy and thanks for stopping by!