Fall Caramel Apple Pie

After such a long break – we’re back with another recipe! And for the first time – it’s a pie! It’s fall. Fall = fall baking. And fall baking = pumpkin pie + apple pie. Let me also tell you, your kitchen is going to smell a m a z i n g after whipping up this caramel apple pie recipe I have for you today. It comes with all the traditional pie spices like cinnamon, all spice, etc. However, the secret ingrediant is actually ~ cardamom. This is an ingrediant all south asians swear by in their tea – which brings out the most aromatic scent and flavor. So if that’s the case , why not add it to a pie ? I had the chance to test this theory out, and to my relief, it hit just the right notes in accentuating that fall spice flavor! Here’s how you can make your very own batch of this sweet & delicious fall pie:

Ingrediants:

  • For the pie crust: 1) Pillsbury pie crust (I know ~ this is technically cheating but who doesn’t love a shortcut plus these pie crusts work just perfect) 2) 1 egg
  • For the filling: 1) 6 granny smith apples 2) 1 tsp cinnamon 3) 1 tsp allspice 4) 1 tsp ground cardamom 4) 2 tbsp cornstarch 5) 3/4 cup PC brand caramel sauce (or you can make your own) 6) pinch of salt 7) 1 cup brown sugar 8) 1 tbsp lemon juice 9) 1 tbsp butter

Instructions:

  1. Start off by rolling out the pie base into your pie tin. Allow it to cool in the refrigerator while you make your pie filling.
  2. Slice your apples into thin pieces. Add in the lemon juice – this is going to prevent the apples from browning. Combine with brown sugar, cinnamon, all spice, & cardamom. Add in the caramel sauce and toss until well coated. Finally, repeat with the corn starch and mix until well coated. Set your filling aside.
  3. Take your pie tin out of the refrigerator and coat the base of the pie with a about a teaspoon or two with cornstarch. This is going to help keep that crisp on the bottom of your pie and keep it from going soggy once we add the filling. Once coated, add your pie filling. *tip: the key here is I actually strained my apple filling BEFORE adding it to my pie. This is because overtime, your apples are going to release quite a bit of juice. This is going to a result in a soggy pie once baked. So to prevent that, let your apples sit for a bit and actually strain some of the juice before adding it to the pie base.
  4. Right before topping your pie, add a few dallops of butter to the top of your pie filling. This is going to help create that creamy center we’re going for.
  5. Once your pie filling has been added – this part is completely upto your creativity on how you’d like to top your pie! I decided to go with a classic lattice ~ but you can also cut out fall shapes , or just cover the pie whole and go for a classic star vent design.
  6. Once you’ve topped your pie, coat the top with an eggwash. I found using egg whites worked best (1 egg) for giving that perfect golden brown color.
  7. Preheat oven to 375 degrees farenheit. Bake for about 40-55 min till a nice golden brown color. *Tip ~ if you notice your crust browning too fast – cover the top with tin foil. This should prevent any further burning.
  8. Serve warm and of course topped with caramel & icecream!

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DIY Starbucks Berry Hibiscus Iced Tea

If you’re a fan of the Starbucks very berry hibiscus refresher, you’re going to love this much cheaper but equally delicious diy version thanks to tazo passion tea! The good thing about this flavor too is it adds a hint of citrus flavor you don’t usually find in the original refresher. Here’s how you can make your own batch:

Ingrediants:

  • 4 packets of Tazo Passion flavored Herbal Tea
  • Boiled water
  • Simple syrup / sugar
  • Water
  • Frozen mixed berries

Instructions:

  1. Allow the tea packets to steep for atleast 20 min in boiled hot water
  2. While the tea steeps you can prepare your simple syrup + icecubes.
  3. For your simple syrup, remember it’s 1 part water to 1 part sugar nicely boiled and stirred together till a syrup like consistensy. You can catch the recipe for this on my previous DIY starbucks post here.
  4. For the berry infused iced cubes its super simple: pour a portion of your tea mix into an icetray and top with some frozen berries mixed berries like blueberries and blackberries into each cube. Pop those in the freezer for atleast 3-4 hours. Using the actual tea mix for your icecubes will make sure your drink stays cool and at the same time doesn’t taste diluted as your icecubes melt over time! It also adds that berry flavor we’re looking for since the tea only covers the hibiscus component.
  5. Pour your steeped tea into a large pitcher and add your simple syrup till well dissolved. Place your iced tea mix into a refrigerator till well chilled (probably about atleast 3 hours to match the timing with your iced cubes) before serving.

And there you have it! Easy, simple, cheap, but amazingly refreshing diy starbucks berry hibiscus iced tea enjoyable all-year round! Trust me, you’ll thank me later. – S

All original very berry hibiscus recipie content belongs to Starbucks.Inc. This post is in no way affiliated with nor sponsored by Starbucks or Tazo.

Creamy Spinach & Pepper 2 Cheese Pasta with Grilled Chicken

Does anyone else get warm pasta cravings in winter? A perfect bite of melted cheese & spices to warm up your tummy on a cold day? Because this pasta dish is exactly that: traditional spices like oregano and thyme, 2 if not 3 cheeses thanks to the alfredo in a perfect blend for one hearty meal. Here’s how you can make your own batch for dinner tonight:

Ingrediants:

  • 1/2 cup mozarella cheese
  • 1 cup alfredo sauce
  • 1/4 cup cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup table cream
  • 2 cups bowtie pasta
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 cup spinach, washed
  • 1 cup bell pepper, washed
  • pinch of thyme
  • pinch of oregano
  • pinch of dried parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook the bowtie pasta as per package instructions
  2. Meanwhile, you can grill your chicken breast using a grill pan. Remove any bones if needed or proceed straight to seasoning if using a boneless breast. Season with salt and pepper or any desired spices. Cook until the chicken browns with visible grill marks for about 6-7 min. Remove from heat once cooked and set aside.
  3. In large skillet, add a tbsp of oil and add your bell peppers, spinach, & spices. Cook on medium heat until the vegetables slightly brown.
  4. Add in the alfredo sauce, cheese, table cream & grounded pepper and bring to a low boil for 2-3 min.
  5. Add in your cooked pasta and blend well.
  6. Once blended remove from heat.
  7. Serve warm with your side of chicken and fav wine.

And there you have it! Once deliously wholesome creamy pasta dish. This eat is approved by yours truly- S.

Rich Decadent French Hot Chocolate

If this winter had a slogan to it, it’d be Game of Throne’s “Winter is Coming” because it only seems to be getting colder and colder with rollercoaster weather. Thankfully, that gives an excuse to warm up with a nice hot cup of cocoa, like my recipe of thick & rich French Hot Chocolate. If you’re in need of spoiling yourself on a cheat day, or staying in on a cold winter day in need of a pick-me-up this recipe does just the trick. Here’s how you can make your own batch:

Ingrediants

  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup table cream
  • whipping cream to top
  • 1 1/2 cup whole milk (or 2/3 cup table cream 1/3 cup 2% milk)
  • 1 tsp powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp espresso or coffee powder
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. On medium heat, whisk your milk, table cream, coffee powder (or espresso) & powdered sugar. The key component to this recipe is going to be the espresso/ coffee, as well as the bitter sweet chocolate. The bitter counterparted with the sweetness of the sugar is actually what’s going to enhance the flavor of the cocoa.
  2. Just before boiling, remove from heat and add milk chocolate chips & a pinch of salt. *tip: You can also use bitter sweet chocolate if you have some, I used these two as a substitute.
  3. Place the cocoa mix back onto the stove, and keep at low heat to melt the chocolate completely.
  4. Once the chocolate has completely melted, turn up the heat to medium once more. This time, let the mix come to a boil, while stirring vigourously for about 2-3 minutes. This will help thicken the hot chocolate mix.
  5. Bring the mix off the heat and let cool while you prepare the whipped cream. It’s during this time you’ll notice the cocoa mix will thicken even more. I made my whipped cream from scratch using fresh  cream and whipped using an electric mixer for about 2 min till a perfect soft peak consistency.
  6. Add a small amount of whipped cream to your cup of hot chocolate, and top as you like. You can use chocolate shavings, peppermint candy peices, I personally topped mine with caramel sauce.

And there you have it! A perfect cup of rich hot cocoa for a cold winter day. Best served warm, of course. This winter survival essential is approved by yours truly – S.

Caramel Drizzled Bread Pudding

It’s easy to lose track of time once school & work are back in session but the moment I see Starbucks has their Christmas special drinks out, you know the holidays are fast approaching. This means it’s time to start considering holiday food, like this delicious bread pudding. I of course couldn’t choose between chocolate chips or raisins, so why not both? Here’s how you can make your own batch:

Ingrediants: 

  • 1/2 loaf Italian Bread
  • 1 cup Milk 
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup Granulated Sugar
  • 2 tsp Pumpkin spice
  • 2 tsp Vanilla essence
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1/4 cup Raisins
  • 1/4 cup Chocolate chips
  • Caramel sauce
  • 1 cup Water 

Steps: 

  1. Soak Raisins in water for 20 min
  2. Meanwhile cube bread and fill a non stick 9 inch cake pan
  3. In a medium bowl whisk eggs & sugar. 
  4. Add in butter and whisk
  5. Add in milk and whisk
  6. Add in pumpkin spice and combine all ingrediants together
  7. Pour custard mixture over the bread ensuring all of the bread is well soaked and coated. 
  8. Sprinkle raisins and chocolate chips overtop
  9. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour
  10. Once baked, drizzle with caramel sauce and serve warm. You can also serve this with vanilla icecream!

Approved by yours truly- S. 

    Cottage Cheese Pancakes with Homemade Blueberry Sauce

    If sundays could be described by food, it’d be soft, tender cottage cheese pancakes topped with warm sweet blueberry sauce. Theres a decadance to these two, and I’ll be covering it in 2 easy parts to make one delicious breakfast. Here’s how: 

    Blueberry Sauce

    Ingrediants

    • 2 cups of blueberries (fresh or frozen) 
    • 1 cup sugar (adjust as needed)
    • 3 tsp corn starch 
    • 1 cup of water (reduce about 1/4 cup if using frozen blueberries)
    • Lemon juice (1/2 a lemon squeezed) 
    • A pinch of salt

    Instructions

    1. Wash your blueberries and make sure there are no stems for a smooth sauce. Set aside once cleaned. 
    2. On a heated saucepan on medium heat, add your blueberries. Add the sugar and water on top. Add in a pinch of salt & your corn starch. Mix all ingrediants together and let the sauce reach a simmer. 
    3. Once the sauce is at a simmer, lower the heat and let the sauce cook, being sure to stir occasionally so the sauce doesn’t burn. This is where patience comes into play. The thicker you want your blueberry sauce, the longer you let it cook. I like my blueberry sauce thick, so I let it cook for a good 15 minutes or so. If you like yours a little more runny, 10 minutes is just fine. The sauce will thicken either way once its cooling down. Likewise, if you’re not happy with the consistency after it’s cooled down and want it thicker, cook the stove once more on the stove till it’s reached the desired consistency. Once the sauce has cooked, squeeze in your lemon juice and let the sauce cool. 

    Cottage Cheese Pancakes

    Ingrediants:

    • 1 cup cottage cheese
    • 6 tbsp sugar
    • 1 cup flour
    • 2 eggs
    • Butter & oil to fry

      Instructions

      1. Combine the eggs, sugar, and cottage cheese in a medium sized bowl. 
      2. Add in 2/3 cups of flour and fold into the mix. I stress the importance of folding because you want a dough-like consistency, not runny like store bought pancake mix. If the mix is too runny, add in 1/4 cup of flour one at a time till the mix has reached a dough like consistency. 
      3. Use the remainder of the flour & spread onto a clean board to kneed your dough. 
      4. Section off the dough into equal parts, I was able to get 13 sections. Once sectioned off, flatten the dough into round discs. Be sure to have plenty of flour on your hands and the surface as the dough can be very sticky. 
      5. Once flattened, heat up your frying pan with some oil and butter, and place each pancake in one by one. Fry each pancake on one side till golden brown before flipping over to the other side and doing the same. I found that each pancake took about 3 min per side for me before flipping. Once both sides are golden brown, remove from the pan and serve warm immediately. 

      And there you have it! One batch of sweet, tender cottage cheese pancakes ready to be topped with your very own home made blueberry sauce. Free of all the added preservatives! The sauce itself lasted me a week even though the pancakes were quick to disappear. This lovely breakfast is approved by yours truly- S. 

      Baked Lemon Garlic Salmon & Low Fat Cottage Cheese Rotini Salad

      Let’s start today’s dinner with a little nutrition lesson shall we?

      Think of our body as a home, and cells as bricks: they’re the foundation of almost every function our body does hereon after. However, even bricks need to be made somehow first before building something right? In the case of our cells, those are proteins. When you eat dietary proteins such as chicken or fish, these proteins are broken down in the body into essential amino acids. If you think proteins as bricks, you could say amino acids are the concrete used to make those bricks. These amino acids are then further broken down into ATP, aka useable energy for the body, aka your fuel for the day.

      When proteins are this important for your body and well being, it’s important to take care of your protein intake. There are many supplements out there today that offer alternatives for protein, such as protein powder or even amino acid pills, but I’m a strong believer that nothing beats the real deal of natural protein intake from food itself.

      As of such, Lemon Garlic Salmon is a perfect way to go to help reach your protein intake goal of the day. Salmon is a great source of protein with an added bonus of omega-3 fatty acids. The tangy taste of lemon garlic paired with a quick light cottage cheese pasta salad is the perfect flavor balance, and also a great way to incorporate some carbs & dairy into this meal. As we are aiming to make this a healthy recipe, we’ll be baking our salmon and using low fat cottage cheese. Here’s how to make your very own batch of this wholesome meal:

      Salmon

      Ingrediants

      • 1 pkg of frozen Salmon Filet
      • 1 Lemon
      • 3 Garlic Cloves
      • Salt & Pepper to taste
      • 1 sprig parsley

      Instructions

      1. Preheat your oven to 425º F. Line a large baking tray with aluminum foil and set aside.
      2. Dethaw your salmon filets. Meanwhile, use a mortar and pestol to crush your garlic cloves into a fine paste and set aside. Also during this time, slice 3/4 of your lemon, keeping aside 1/4 to use as juice for the marinade.
      3. Once the salmon has dethawed, in a small bowl, combine the garlic, some olive oil, and lemon juice. Spread the marinade onto the salmon filets and place them onto the baking tray. Garnish with the remaining lemon slices & chopped parsley.
      4. Bake for 10 minutes and serve warm.

        Pasta Salad

        Ingrediants

        • 2 cups Tricolored Rotini Pasta
        • 1 cup Low Fat Cottage Cheese
        • 10 Cherry Tomatoes
        • 1 cup Celery, chopped
        • 1 cup Mayonnaise
        • 1 cup Red onion, chopped
        • 2 tbsp Red Whine Vinegar

        Instructions

        1. Cook and drain the tricolored pasta till al dente. After draining, mix in the red wine vinegar and allow to sit.
        2. Combine the cottage cheese, mayonnaise, chopped celery, grape tomatoes, & red onion by gently folding. It’s crucial not to harshley stir to allow a clean mix without any of the vegetables being crushed in the process.
        3. Refridgerate for atleast 1 hour and serve chilled.

              And there you have it! One wholesome, protein-packed, delicious meal! This healthy eat is approved by yours truly- S.

              Blueberry & Cardamom Infused Nicecream

              Kudos to whoever came up with the name nicecream. I mean seriously, there’s no better way (or simpler) to describe it.

              Nicecream, yet another hot topic in the world of social media and healthy eats. Who could complain though, everyone’s favourite summer treat made healthy & condensed into two simple steps?! I’m sure all about it.

              Since dessert is an easy course to experiment with, I decided to get creative on this recipe. Two of my favourites: cardamom and blueberry, fused into a fresh new flavor. The tang of the frozen blueberries combined with the pungent flavor of cardamom combine to create a refreshing new taste. An additional dash of condensed milk gives it that indulgent sweet flavor any dessert needs. Here’s how you can make your very own batch of Blueberry & Cardamom infused nicecream:

              Ingrediants:

              • 2 frozen bananas
              • 1 cup frozen blueberries
              • 1 cup yogurt
              • 3-4 pods cardamom
              • 2 tsp condensed milk
              • Ice cubes if needed

              Instructions:

              1. Break open your cardamom pods using a mort and pestol and scrape the seeds out into the blender.
              2. Blend the frozen bananas, blueberries, cardamom pod seeds, yogurt, and condensed milk for about 45 seconds until well mixed. The consistency should be thick and creamy, just like regular icecream! If the desired consistency is not obtained at first, add a 1/4 of cup of icecubes and blend once more. Serve immediately.

              And yes just like that you’re done! One batch of creamy yet light-as-air blueberry nicecream. Perfect for any hot day out in the sun or to be enjoyed at leisure. Since no additional sugars were added, you end up feeling half the guilt of regular icecream with the same great taste. Just be quick before it melts! This sweet dessert is approved by yours truly- S.

              Decadent Coconut Mango Chia Pudding

              As midterm season is in session once again for me, this means more time in the books and less time in the kitchen unfortunately. However, it also means a lot of potential distractions on my phone. So here I was, searching the wonders of the internet when I stumbled upon this dessert: Chia pudding.

               Now for someone still fairly new to the healthy side of life, I had to ask myself, what on earth is chia pudding? The dessert itself looked so indulgent, and yet it was supposedly healthy? The deeper I searched the internet, the more I saw various recipes pop up for different varieties and flavours of chia pudding. From what I could see, chia pudding could easily be taking the internet by storm just as popular as smoothie bowls are. On top of that, I was fascinated by the ability of dry chia seeds to pass as a tapioca look alike. It looked almost similar to the sweet tapioca dessert Payasam I had growing up. This was definately a cause worth investigating, and with a bit of luck, I was able to whip up a recipe to share with you guys. Here’s how you can make your own batch of healthy creamy chia pudding:

              Ingrediants: 

              • 3 tbsp chia seeds
              • 1/4 cup water or as needed
              • 1 cup coconut milk 
              • 3 drops vanilla extract 
              • 2 cups frozen mango slices
              • 1 tsp honey
              • Toppings: toasted coconut, mango slices 

              Instructions: 

              1. Since we are going for a layered look, first you need to prepare your mango layer. To do this, you simply need to prepare a puree by blending 2 cups of mango with 1/4 cup water. Set aside this mixture for later use.

              2. Next, you prepare your chia layer. To do so, mix 1 cup of coconut milk with 3 tbps of chia seeds, adding in both the honey and vanilla extract and stir well together. Allow the mixture to sit for about 10 minutes, this will thicken the chia. 

              3. Once thickened, plate both mango and chia mixtures into serving jars, alternating between each layer. Store each pudding cup into a freezer and allow to chill for atleast 4 hours before serving or overnight. 

              4. Before serving, top with toasted coconut slices and mango, or any other topping of your choice. 

              And there you have it, one easy summer treat: a healthy breakfast and an indulgent dessert, what’s not to love? You’ll be satisfying both omega-3 needs and sweet tooth cravings all at once. This healthy eat is approved by yours truly- S. 

              Creamy Mango Pineapple Smoothie Bowl

              As a student, there’s only two battles you face on campus: 1) your grades of course and 2) eating healthy while you’re surrounded by fast food chains, or friends that are constantly eating out. That’s why, being at home is one of the easiest times for me to stay on track with eating healthy and clean. What better and more colorful way to do so than with a fresh Mango Pineapple smoothie bowl? Here’s how you can whip up your own batch: 

              Ingrediants: 

              • 1 Banana
              • 4 tbsp Greek yogurt
              • 1/2 cup mango, frozen
              • 1/2 cup pineapple, frozen
              • Chia seeds
              • Flax seeds
              • granola oats
              • 3-4 strawberries, sliced

                      Instructions: 

                      1. Blend your banana, greek yogurt, frozen mango, and frozen pineapple in a blender. It’s important that both the pineapple and mango are frozen, as the consistency we’re aiming for in a smoothie bowl is far more thick than a regular smoothie. Blending should take about 2-3 minutes. If the frozen fruits aren’t blending with ease, stop your blender every 20 seconds and use a spoon to stir the mixture inbetween pulses. 
                      2. Pour your smoothie mix into a serving bowl. Now here comes the fun part, topping time. With smoothie bowls the possibility of toppings are endless, but I personally decided to opt for chia seeds, flax seeds, granola oats, strawberry slices, and more mango slices. Chia and flax are both an excellent source of omega-3, so these toppings are sure to power boost your day and your metabolism!

                            And there you have it! One healthy, refreshing mango pineapple smoothie bowl. Not only are these a great breakfast, but also serve as a healthy treat for the perfect “cheat meal”. This healthy eat is approved by yours truly – S.