The Baking Frenzy – Cherry Cake and Tea Breaks!

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Hello Y’all!! I hope you’re doing amazingly well in your corner of the globe. The heat wave is on and there’s no getting away from the mugginess and hell-ish atmosphere we are going to be stuck with for the next couple of months.  Trust me when I say we have it ‘nicer’ in North Texas – I had to be in McAllen, Texas (a small town near the Gulf of Mexico)and when I stepped off the plane, I was welcomed with a wave of heat, a tight vacuum of hot air and beautiful palm trees. 🙂 The sunlight over there is pretty intense. Its almost too bright that at certain angles, it can be blinding. But I survived it….and that’s all that matters.  The weekend was all things ’90 Day Fiancé – Happily Ever After Reunion Part 1. And yes, I said PART ONE… hehe. If you haven’t jumped on the bandwagon, please do so. I promise you it will be worth your while…ahem (fake cough), that is if you love reality TV and all the craziness that comes with it!

On a brighter note, Summer is here and there’s fresh fruit every where!! I have been so occupied that I marvel at the time I find in my schedule to bake. I liken it to therapy – but with rewards LOL!  There’s fresh produce everywhere and I cannot do without trying at least one cake recipe that has fruit in it. The only ‘Disclaimer’ I’ll add is that you increase your workout sessions as you enjoy these recipes because the scale don’t lie; and after a while all those ‘placing on carpet versus tile or shaking it immensely coupled with undressing down and even removing your plastic teeth aligners will not save you…LOL!

Recently, I went grocery shopping over the weekend and came upon a deal that was too good to pass on. I got a big bag of lush organic cherries for 1/3 of the price.  I only realized a couple of days later that I had to figure out what I was going to do with them before they started going bad. Something easy and quick is my go to motto for recipes unless I REALLY want to go all out. So I finally decided on a Cherry Cake Recipe in the end, so Cherry cake it was! I wasn’t planning on blogging about it until I was halfway through and it occurred to me that it would be something y’all might like to try so I hope you enjoy the photos however few they might be.

Ingredients:  2 cups fresh cherries (pitted), 1 1/4 cups flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking soda, 1 egg, 1 egg yolk, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/2 lemon zest, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, 1/2 cup regular yoghurt, 1/4 cup milk.

Toppings: Whipped cream, melted chocolate.

Instructions: Pre-heat oven to 350F, grease  and flour 8 inch cake pan. In a bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and baking soda. Ina separate bowl, beat egg and sugar until fluffy (2-3 mins), add zest and vanilla and beat for one minute. Slowly add oil. Add yoghurt and milk and keep mixing. Slowly add flour a little at a time. Fold half the cherries into the batter and pour into the pan. Top with remaining cherries and lightly press down using a spatula. Sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar on top (if you wish). Bake for 40-45 minutes.

The Results Are In!!

This is such a scrumptious cake that you would probably need a fork to eat. Its very moist with bursts of juice from the cherries in literally E-V-E-R-Y bite.

So until I come your way again, be safe, stay healthy and have fun!!

 

Periwinkle Starr

Its Fun Day Monday, Let’s Bake!

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Hello Y’all! I hope you are doing well in your part of the world. It’s fun day Monday and what better way to start the work week than with a sweet treat to end a busy day.  I am trying a new recipe that I found online. A big shout out to Tieghan Gerard from Half Baked Harvest, I knew I wanted to make this from the moment I saw the outcome. This is going to be a little bit more complex than the recipes I usually make but I don’t want you running for the hills before figuring out what exactly it is.

Bursting Blueberry Cardamom Buckle!!!

I love blue berries and I think they taste great in E-V-E-R-T-H-I-N-G from muffins, cereal to pancakes. They are rich in antioxidants that help fight against aging and even are known to aid in lowering blood pressure. One of the things that make this recipe so easy to make is the fact that the ingredients are items you already have – lying around in your pantry. The only item I had to purchase was Cardamom and the grocery store brands are quite affordable so no excuses. There are three parts to this buckle. We have the batter, the berries and the crumble. Lets get started!!

Ingredients for the batter

♥ 1.5 cups all-purpose flour, 2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp ground cardamom, 3/4 cup light brown sugar, 1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter melted, 2/3 cup whole milk, 2 large eggs (or alternative), 2 tsp vanilla extract.

The berries

♥ 2 tsp lemon zest, 2 cups fresh blueberries.

The crumble

♥ 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup light brown sugar, 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, 4 tbsp salted butter at room temperature.

Lets Do This!!

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch spring form pan. In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, cardamom and sugar.  Add butter, milk, eggs or alternative, vanilla. Mix together and set it aside.

Rinse the blueberries. Shave the lemon (in my case lime) unto the berries and mix together.  Pour the batter into the greased pan and sprinkle the zest-ed berries unto the batter.

For the crumble, mix together the flour, sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Hand mixing works great to ensure an even distribution of ingredients. Sprinkle unto zest-ed berries and bake for 45-55 minutes until golden on top. Let cool for a few minutes after baking and serve warm.

 

I hope you enjoy! Until I come your way again, I remain

 

Periwinkle Starr

 

Healthy Tweaks For A Lifestyle On The Go!!

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Hello Y’all! Happy belated Valentines Day! I trust you’re doing well in your part of the world and you took time to celebrate and just have fun. Its been a minute since my last post and I have been on the go non-stop. Trying to be healthy, stay in shape and still perform in peak condition is not as easy as i thought. Most of the time, my diet bears the brunt of my schedule and when you’re more of a night owl, that in many ways make it even more difficult to be all bright and sunny in the morning to do anything other than get ready that most people just give up and go with whatever the flow is.

Breakfast before heading out in the morning has never being my forte but I noticed that I often find myself rummaging through the office pantry for snacks mid-morning which I know are either full of empty calories or loaded with salt. I finally had a ‘Come to Jesus’ moment where I decided to try something different.  I am not one of those people who take drastic actions like shave their hair, quit eating or move to some monastery in order to change their lives; I believe in making small changes, small tweaks which I believe are more sustainable and kinder to my body without shocking it. So I decided to start a meal prep regimen consisting of healthier options and lower calories coupled with a 30 minute exercise routine every other day of the week. I went online, looked up YouTube Videos, Health and Fitness Blogs.

My Findings!

♦   Breakfast Options – Overnight Oats: I found a couple of recipes that are super easy and take you 10 minutes or less to prepare the night before which guarantee you a healthy breakfast full of fiber, antioxidants and fat burning carbs. This has been so good at keeping my mid-morning cravings at bay and increasing my focus significantly. My favorite overnight oats recipe is my Kiwi and Blueberry Recipe that I will share down below so stay with me.

♦   Meal Prepping My Lunch The Night Before: Depending on what I intend making, it takes about an hour or less to prepare my food, veggies and snacks for my lunch the next day. Making my own meals isn’t just cost effective but I know what’s actually in my food. There’s so many hidden calories in restaurant food that eating out on a daily basis without an active lifestyle is not going to work long term. When done, refrigerate it and all I need to do is grab and go in the morning!!

♦    Putting Exercise Back On My Weekly To-Do List: I unearthed my Insanity Workout videos and started working out at home again especially when I have the weather as an excuse to not go to the gym, I could still workout within the confines of my home.

♦   Accountability Buddies: I have friends who are either in the same boat or have it all figured out. Everyone needs accountability buddies because they help me stay on track and call me out when I start to slack off.

Kiwi and Blueberry – Overnight Oats

Ingredients: 1 tbsp Chia seeds, 1 tsp Vanilla extract, 1/2 Cup of Greek yogurt, 1 tbsp shredded coconut, 1/2 Cup of milk, 1/2 Cup of oats, 1 tbsp maple syrup, 1 Kiwi, 1/2 Cup of blueberries.

 

 

So guys and ladies, let me know what you’ve done to stay healthy on the go. Making these seemingly minor tweaks to my lifestyle have done a lot with everything from loosing a few extra pounds to being more alert and focused.  Until I come your way again, stay safe, beautiful and healthy. I remain

 

Periwinkle Starr

Old Recipes Live Forever!!

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Hello Y’all! Happy Mothers Day!!! There are many amazing Mum’s in world but I am lucky to have the ‘BEST’ one! I remember growing up as a kid and having temper tantrums – and there were many – because I didn’t get something I wanted and often saying under my breath that I didn’t  want to be like my mum when I grew up. Well, fast forward to 2018… and I can say for a fact that I am a clone of her…ha ha! Its so bad that I would say something and all of a sudden I would have a dèjá vu moment where I know I’ve heard the exact same phrase before and truth be told, it was something she had said.

There are weekends that fly by so fast because I’m on the go-go-go and there are times where I stop everything I’m doing, kick back my shoes and just chill. On those days, I sometimes like to make homemade pancakes from scratch; and yes I said from scratch (no pancake mixes here), just like my mum made them for me growing up. Those pancakes made everything better and I mean E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.

My love of cooking and not being afraid to try my hands at different recipes started with a show I used to watch called the ‘Urban Peasant’ a looong time ago. It was about a  funny, easy going war veteran who loved to cook. He wasn’t perfect by any long shot but he made it fun and approachable and if a recipe didn’t turn out great; at least you knew what not to do the next time around. That show had a huge impact on me, not just in cooking but trying new things in life at least once.

Today is one of those days where I’m making a pastry that I grew up eating as a child without a care in the world. The recipe has evolved over the years but I’m of the school of thought that says ‘if it’s not broken, it doesn’t need fixing’! Its very easy to make and so simple anyone can make it…and I mean anyone. So keep reading!!

Recipe for Meat Pie!!!

Crust: 2 Cups of Flour. Salt ( 1 tsp). Baking Powder (1 tbsp). 1.5 Stick of butter. 1 Cup of ice cold water.

Filling: Half a red onion (finely chopped). 1 Medium potato. 16 oz. Ground beef. Thyme.  Black pepper. Cayenne pepper. Cooking oil.  1 Egg for basting. Salt.

It’s super easy! First measure the dry ingredients for the crust into a bowl then add the butter and knead. Slowly add the water, knead some more and set aside. Heat a pan or in my case a pot with cooking oil. Add the finely chopped onions and stir for 2 minutes. Add ground beef. Add thyme, black pepper, cayenne pepper and salt. Keep on stirring. Pour in the finely cubed potato and stir until fully cooked. That’s it for the filling!! Now take portions of the dough, roll out, add the filling, bast with the beaten egg and seal. Bake at 325 F until golden brown. Its so crumbly and tasty without all the heavy bready-ness and it goes with everything!! Here are some pictures below!

 

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Let me know what old recipes you love to make that work  everytime. Until I come your way again, I remain,

 

Periwinkle Starr

Cooking For Friends!!

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Happy Easter!!! …and April Fools Day! Its been a minute y’all and I am so relieved that this years Fool’s Day didn’t fall on a work day. I would have walked into work skeptical that everything would be booby trapped; all thanks to the pranksters I call coworkers 😀😎 But on a more serious note, Spring is here and it’s time to get back into the swing of things.

One of my best friends and I had a pact for years where she stopped by my house on Christmas day and I at her house on Boxing day. We loved hosting!  I am no cordon bleu by any long shot but cooking for friends has been a fun hobby, something I have loved doing for ever but not as much as I would like these days. Nothing beats great company, home cooking and lots of humor… any day. The fact that we live and work in a fast paced environment where there’s a location for every meetup, we tend to loose the intimacy of being in our friends homes and getting to know them on a deeper level. For some, this might be an issue that brings anxiety but I am going to share some fun realities about cooking for friends and hosting that should set your mind at ease for the next time or the first time you have friends over at your place!!!

Fun Realities About Cooking for Friends  

  • You ‘finally’ get to clean!! If you are somewhat of a perfectionist or borderline O.C.D., you can skip over this point. But for those who never ‘EVER’ get around to spring cleaning, the thought of having people at your home should at least scare you into action…at least for their sake..ha ha! There is a saying I have heard that ‘the state of your personal space or dwelling is a reflection of your mind’. So look around you😨

 

  • You can finally see your dinner table!! For the mass majority, we are the generation that eats the most meals in front of the TV. Having guest over will finally motivate you to get that ‘library’ off the dining table for once. Lets stop deceiving ourselves that we’re reading all 25 books at the same time. They belong on the shelf with page markers so you can pick up where you left off anytime you want. 😎

 

  • You get to perfect your hosting skills!! Don’t you just admire and look up to accomplished women or men who are seasoned at every and any thing they do? Let me give you a spoiler alert…Those skills did not pop up over night. It took practice and in many cases, a lot of failed moments. Just like a muscle that you don’t use, don’t expect to win a marathon if those legs haven’t been trained to do so. Practice makes perfect!😘

 

  • You get to use all your cookware. Don’t you find it amusing that you find things you didn’t even know you still had when planning to have guests over as well as realizing what things you DON’T have. Sometimes looking for certain items turns into a spring cleaning moment because lets be honest, – there’s are some gadgets we will never use. So finding someone who will appreciate it is way better than just taking up real estate in your space.

 

  •  You don’t always have to break the bank. 😕 You can host on a budget and still have a great time. Designate who brings what and you should be good.  At the end of the day, community is everything. Having a good laugh and just relaxing with people you care about and vice versa does good for the soul.

As always, I would love to hear from you, your fun stories, burn stories and everything in between – the first time or last time you had friends over. Until I come your way again, I remain

 

Periwinkle Starr

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year!!

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Hello Y’all!! I trust your week has been off to a cool start?! We are finally in the ember months and I can tell you for a fact that it’s the most wonderful time of the year!! A big shout out to all the Starr readers all over the world who have a birthday during this time. I wish you the very best and many more amazing years ahead! Not only do I (yours truly) celebrate my birthday during this season (and I’m not being specific as to the exact month …he he) but friends and family who do as well.💑

Everything changes – the weather, the outdoors, my wardrobe – and for all the right reasons too. 😉 From this point on, the race into the new year becomes a reality. We have the craziness of Halloween then Thanksgiving, Christmas and then comes the New Year in quick succession. My goal is to be mindful and present because if I’m not careful, its all going to zip by very fast. For all my friends (myself included) who love to decorate, Fall festival was just an intro into the frenzy of the season; then comes the uphill battle to top last years efforts which is so much fun! In all honesty, the finished product is my preference. 😎

The Up Side!!!

  • You can finally (like me) blast Christmas carols as loud as you want.
  • All diets are off! – All those treats are not going to eat themselves. 😋 Besides, when you’ve been diligent at keeping up your gym routine for 10 months out of the year, you deserve some slack time.
  • Spending time with close family and friends.
  • Decorations! Decorations! Decorations! – The family that decorates together, celebrates together! 👪
  • We get to layer up. I’ve been waiting for this cool down for a long time.
  • Parties and Festivities galore!
  • Hallmark has a marathon of all those sappy Christmas specials which are awesome!

The year 2017 has indeed been an eventful one. Its had it’s highs and lows and for some, this time can be a really difficult period to live through. Maybe you didn’t do as well as you hoped and things didn’t turn out like you planned. The good news is: The year isn’t over yet! So put aside any disappointments and just be plain old happy!! You are alive. You can  still dream! Dig your heels in and make up your mind to plan ahead and do better next year!

Happy Halloween to you all!! Until I come your way again, I remain

Periwinkle Starr

 

 

Swamped Wednesday?…Lets Bake!

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Hello Y’all! Hope you’ve had a great week so far. The Superbowl has finally come and gone. Looking down at my hands, I’m surprised I still have my fingernails after the anxiety brought on by Sunday nights game; which is one of the reasons I hate watching finals of A-N-Y competitive sport..  😀 It could be anything from the FIFA world cup finals to two seals fighting over a grape and it’ll get me in knots! Anyways, it was an amazing game nonetheless and I had a fun time watching it.

Over the weekend, my sisters went on a baking spree and all I got were pictures sent to my phone which is sad when you think about how Star Trek lied to me all my life about being able to ‘energize’ –  a terminology where they were able to transport matter from one fixed location to another – in my case, a huge slice of homemade key lime pie and angel food cake right unto my coffee table in Dallas :/ 😦 So I decided to forget my deadlines for a few hours, whip out my cookbook from one of my all time favorite shows -‘ The Great British Bake Off’ and make a treat of my own! A very well deserved treat if I must say.

Digestives Biscuit

2/3 cup plain wholemeal flour

2/3 cup medium oatmeal

1 tablespoon bran

1/4 teaspoon crushed sea salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 1/4 sticks or 10 tablespoons of butter

1-2 tablespoons milk

Directions

1. Pour flour, oatmeal, bran, salt, baking powder and sugar into bowl of mixer. Pulse until thoroughly combined.

2. Add butter and continue mixing. Add milk and bring mixture to a firm dough.

3. Remove dough, flatten into thick disc and wrap in clingfilm. Chill for 30 minutes.

4. Set disc of dough between 2 sheets of clingfilm or baking paper and roll out 4mm thick. Using a cookie cutter (in my case one of my Christmas mugs – sorry Santa!), stamp out rounds and set slightly apart on greased baking sheets. Use trimmings, work together and re-roll and cut out more rounds

5. Prick each round several times with fork, then chill in fridge for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile heat your oven to 190C or 375F

6. Bake the biscuits for 10-12 minutes until golden and slightly darker around the edges. Remove and leave to cool for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire wrack. When cold store in an air tight container for about a week.

This recipe is super easy and you don’t need to be a pro to make it. I hope you enjoy! Until I come your way again, be safe and have fun!! Here are some pictures for y’all.

Periwinkle Starr