Breakfast idea for Valentines Day !!

It’s time for everyone to think up ideas for Valentine’s Day to make all those special people in your life happy. I have my hubby and two little girls to please. Who are you spending your Valentine’s Day with ?
I wanted to share this breakfast table with you and I am hoping you will make this your Valentine’s Day tradition.

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I made the following for my hubby.

Heart shaped omelette
Strawberries, Kiwi
Heart shaped toast with strawberry jam
Lastly of course, there is no one I know whose morning starts without a Chai Tea. Mine is infused with Lemon Grass.

For the kids, I made

Heart Shaped toast with Jam
Heart shaped pancakes
Strawberries
Fruit punch (because it was the right color) for older one. Little one got milk.
You can substitute juice with Strawberry smoothie.

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You can’t see the little one’s milk here because she snuck in at some point when I was taking pictures and took her sippy cup away.

Tablecloth is made of hearts made out of tissue paper.

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Have fun!! and please leave comments and pictures of your special treats. I would love to see them.

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Zucchini Rosemary Soup

 

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We got really snowed in Chicago on Sunday. Luckily I had all the groceries done on Saturday so we could just stay in and be lazy. I was craving a warm soup with all that snow falling around us and I remembered a friend of mine was asking for a Zucchini recipe few days back so i decided to make a Zucchini soup. The soup has roasted Zucchini and fragrant Rosemary. I find smell of Rosemary very calming. Just crush a few strands on your hand and smell deeply. Instant spa feeling. The soup is perfect for a wintery day and so easy to make, you can even make it on a week-night after getting home from work.

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2 Zucchini – cut in small pieces

1/2 of medium size Potato – peeled and cut in small pieces

1/2 Onion cut small

2 Garlic Cloves – crushed

About 2 Tbsp of Rosemary leaves. Keep the twig intact so you can take it out later

Vegetable or Chicken Broth about 2 cups

Milk – preferably whole or 2 % – 1/2 cup

Salt and Pepper to taste

Warm butter or olive oil in a pan and add onion and garlic and saute for about 2 minutes. Add potatoes and saute for another minute. Add Zucchini and roast until Zucchini looks done with brow spots on it. It will no  longer be firm. Add Vegetable Broth or Chicken Broth, Rosemary and let it boil for about 7 to 8 minutes. Add Salt and Pepper and give it a good stir. Then add the milk and boil for another couple of minutes. Let it cool just a little and take out the Rosemary. Blend it in a blender and serve.

Enjoy.

Mixed Fruit Cream Cheese Cookies

I had some mixed fruit (the one used for tutti frutti ice cream) left over from another baking experiment and I wanted to try the cream cheese cookies. They turned out quite well and taste great right out of the oven.

 

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2 & 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup butter. I used salted butter.
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 & 1/4 cups granulated sugar or 1 cup Splenda and sugar blend.
2 large eggs
1 & 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 & 1/2 cups mixed fruit
Brown sugar to top

Instructions:

Line the baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat over to 350. In a bowl mix flour and baking powder and set aside. Beat the butter, cream cheese and sugar until fluffy. Add one egg at a time and mix well each time. Gradually add flour mixture. i use my half cup measure and add it one by one. Take out the dough and add mixed fruit. Combine well. Form round shaped ball and flatten them a little to form a disk shape. Top with some brown sugar.
Put it on the baking sheet and bake for up to 15 minutes.

Recipe inspired by “Bake or Break”

Vanilla Semifreddo with Raspberry sauce

Who could possibly have a worse case of sweet tooth than me? Well, that would be my Dad. My parents are in town for a week and I wanted to make something special for them. I will see them again only after couple of years when they come back to see us.  So this week I have only one goal and that is making beautiful  memories that we can hold on to until I see them again.

 

Mom and Dad – this one is for you.

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When I first looked at this recipe, it looked really complicated but once you read it carefully, its simple as long as you have all ingredients taken out and equipment ready to go.

4 Large eggs separated

½ cup sugar

1  tsp Vanilla extract

½ tsp cream of Tartar

1 Cup cold Heavy cream

Raspberry Sauce for serving

Fresh Raspberries for garnishing

Lightly spray 8 x 4 pan with oil spray and cover with plastic wrap with the wrap hanging out couple of inches on all sides. I used 2 sheets of wrap overlapping in the middle.

Put a large pan on the stove filled with water and let the water come to boil, then reduce heat and let the water simmer while you do the next step. Put the egg yolks and ½ cup sugar in a medium bowl, beat with a hand mixer for couple of minutes until mixture is light yellow and thickened. Then put this bowl over a pan of simmering water and beat the mixture continuously for about 3 minutes. When the mixure is warm to touch and increased in volume take it off the heat and still continue to beat for another minute.

In a stand mixture with whisk attachment, beat ¼ cup egg whites, cream of tartar, vanilla extract and ¼ cup sugar until stiff peaks form. Then add this mixture to the previously made egg mixture and keep aside. Pour the heavy cream into the stand mixer and whisk for few minutes until soft peaks form. Pour this mixture to the egg mixture and mix thoroughly. Pour this mixture into the prepared pan and freeze for at least four hours. I froze mine overnight.

Raspberry sauce

1 small box of raspberries (6 oz)

¼ cup sugar

½ cup strawberry raspberry preserve or plain raspberry preserve

You can increase amount of sugar if you like your desserts really sweet.

Place raspberries, water and sugar in a pan and let it come to boil. Then reduce heat and let it simmer for 3-4 minutes. Keep stirring occasionally. Let it cool and then add to the blender and blend.

To serve, unmold the semifreddo by placing the pan in warm water for no more than 10 to 15 seconds and flip over in a flat dish. Remove the wrap. Cut the semifreddo and serve with raspberry sauce and fresh raspberies. It does start to melt right away so make sure to take it out of the freezer right before serving.

Enjoy!!

Recipe from Ina Garten’s “Make it Ahead”

Almond Pistachio Nougat Cake

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Almond Pistachio Nougat Cake
Since I live in Chicago, we are currently in deep freeze. There is snow everywhere on the ground. Once you spend few winters with the snow, you actually start liking the snow and change of seasons. Or is it just my opinion? well.
I wanted to work on a recipe that looks snowy (read dreamy) so I was looking up a Nougat recipe. If you have seen pictures of white Nougat you know what I mean. Nougat is a type of candy. It has been around in Italy since 15th Century and many versions of it have evolved depending on the region.

However things didn’t go quite well and I ended up with a new recipe called Nougat Cake. It does taste delicious though so definitely give it a try.

1 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 cups slivered Almonds
1 cup broken up Walnuts
3/4 cup unsalted shelled Pistachios
1/4 cup Cornstarch
1 2/3 cups plus 1 tablespoon granulated Sugar
3/4 cup Honey
1 3/4 cups Water
2 large Egg whites
Pinch of Salt
2 Tbsp Orange Blossom Water ( Reduce quantity if you feel the taste is too overwhelming for you)

Preheat the oven to 200°. Spread the almonds and pistachios on a large baking sheet and keep warm in the oven. Line a square or Rectangle baking pan with parchment paper, allowing the paper to hang over on two opposite sides or Oil and Flour the pan as you usually do for a cake.

In a medium saucepan, combine the 1 2/3 cups of granulated sugar with 1/4 cup of the honey and the water and bring to a boil. Boil for about 10 minutes. Also, separately, bring the remaining 1/2 cup of honey to a boil in a small saucepan. Keep simmering for about 3 to 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the egg whites with the salt. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar; beat until combined.
Add the pure honey to egg white mixture in a steady stream while still beating at medium to medium high speed. Once the sugar and honey mixture has boiled for about 10 minutes, add that to the egg whites mixture as well in a steady stream. Beat for 3-4 minutes and stir in nuts and Orange blossom water. Mix until well combined. Add Cornstarch and mix for a minute.
Move the oven temperature to 350.
Take the mixture out in another pan and add the Flour. Mix and pour in the baking pan. If you like you can add the flour when the mixture is still in the stand mixer, I just found it easier to take it out first before adding the flour.

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes or more if needed.
Hope you like it.

Recipe inspiration : Almond Pistachio Nougat by Didier Murat and Julianne Jones

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts Salad

 

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Now that most of us have made a resolution to eat healthy, I present this salad to you to help with your resolution. Before this last summer, I had never eaten Brussels Sprouts. I only looked at them skeptically and wondered how they taste. Then I learned that if you roast the Brussels sprouts they acquire more of a sweet taste. Try the recipe below and let me know how you like it.

Preheat the oven at 350 degrees. Try getting the sprouts of same size so they are all roasted in equal time. Cut them in half and arrange on a cookie sheet. It doesn’t matter if they are close together. Drizzle them with some garlic infused olive oil. Sprinkle Salt and Pepper and roast in the oven for about 20 to 25 minutes depending on their size.
Add the Mango, Pear and Cranberries. Drizzle some olive oil and lime juice. Crumble the cheese on top and Enjoy.

Brussels Sprouts 2 cups
Ripe Mango 1 cup cut in cubes
Pear 1 cup cut in cubes
Cranberries a handful
Queso Fresco Cheese as per your liking
Olive oil to drizzle plus 2 Tbsp to top the salad
Lime juice 1 Tbsp but adjust as per your taste

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Happy New Year!!

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Wish you all a very Happy New Year!!
I know I am a few days late. I am still new to this blogging calendar.
All other blogs posted their New Year delicacies and moved on to posting healthy recipes. But hey, at least I am not posting this in February 🙂 and I promise, I will get better this year. Let that be my New Year Resolution.

The recipe for cookies and icing is the same as my previous post.

I made these cookies with New Year theme in mind. Let me know if you like them.

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