- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.FAKOYWxZ.dpuf Simply Rice and Beans: August 2013

Friday, August 30, 2013

Lemon Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

I'm having a jewelry party tomorrow at a friends house and I decided to bring some Lemon Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream frosting.  Is always fun to bake cupcakes and decorate them too.  I'm sure people are going to enjoy them.

Lemon Cupcake Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
4 large egg whites
1 1/2 cups sugar
lemon zest from two lemons
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure lemon extract

1. Center a rack in the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare cupcake tins by using liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray

2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

3. Whisk together the milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.

4. Put the sugar and lemon zest in a mixer bowl or another large bowl and rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the butter and, working with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer, beat at medium speed for a full 3 minutes, until the butter and sugar are very light.

5. Beat in the extracts, then add one third of the flour mixture, still beating on medium speed. Beat in half of the milk-egg mixture, then beat in half of the remaining dry ingredients until incorporated.

6. Add the rest of the milk and eggs, beating until the batter is homogeneous, then add the last of the dry ingredients.

7. Finally, give the batter a good 2-minute beating to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed. Place the batter into the cupcake tins.

8. Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until the cupcakes are well risen and springy to the touch -- a thin knife inserted into the centers should come out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Source: Cafe Mom

 Buttercream Frosting

1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1/2 cup (one stick) of butter or margarine soften
1 tsp of vanilla extract (or any flavor you prefer)
4 cups of confectioners sugar
2 tbsp of water

In a large bowl beat the shortening and butter until nice and creamy.  Add the vanilla extract and beat. On  medium speed start adding the confectioners sugar, one cup at a time. It will appear dry, add the water..beat until creamy and fluffy scraping the sides of the bowl.  Add food coloring to the frosting.  Wilton Products offer a big selection of colors.  You can find all of their products at your local Michael's Craft store or Joan's Fabrics.
* Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use.

To decorate your cupcakes really fancy, get a decorating tip and a frosting bag.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Lemon Cake Roll

This luscious Lemon Cake Roll was a hit.  Is super easy to make and takes no time.  It looks elegant on any table. You can always change the filling to something you like.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Southern Fried Chicken

Living in the south, you come across many restaurants that have Southern Fried Chicken on their menu.  I have been making this recipe for years and is everyone's favorite.  The chicken comes out juicy and the crust nice and crispy.

For this recipe I decided to use chicken breast.  You can make a chicken sandwich with lettuce and tomatoes, and a nice slice of cheese.  But, some mashed potatoes, and some corn bread would be much better. 


6-8 pieces of chicken cleaned
2 cups all purpose flour
3 eggs beaten
oil for frying
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
salt to taste

Heat oil to 350 degrees, hot but not smoking. I prefer a cast iron skillet to fry the chicken, but if you don't have one then use a frying pan.

Make sure the chicken is dried after washing.  Season chicken with garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper.  Season the flour with the same ingredients.  You want this chicken nicely seasoned. Dip the chicken in the flour first, then in the eggs, then back to the flour.  The eggs will act as a glue.  Shake off any excess flour.  Fry the chicken for about 15-20 minutes for dark meat and 10-15 minutes for white meat. Make sure to flip the chicken to cook on both sides once it starts to brown. Don't cover the chicken because it might make the crust soft.  You want a nice and crispy crust.

I like to take one piece out and look at it to make sure is well done. Chicken is one of those meats you want to make sure is cooked all the way through. Enjoy!!

Trip to Puerto Rico

Last September my sister Gracie was having a birthday.  Since I had been to her Island of Dominican Republic the prior year, I told her why not celebrate her birthday in my Island of Puerto Rico.  Our other friend Sonja and her husband decided they wanted to go too, and so the planning for the trip began.

I wanted this trip to be the best trip ever, and so I started to do my research on what to do and where to go.  I had lived in Puerto Rico when I was a little girl, and I've been to the island a few times, but had never visited the historical places.   First, we booked the flights two months ahead.  Then we started searching for a great hotel at a reasonable price.  Since my husband and I had stayed at El Conquistador, I mentioned it to my sister and she fell in love with it.  El Conquistador is located on a cliff overlooking the ocean in Fajardo.

This hotel has so many thing to do..you really don't have to leave.  Our rooms were villas overlooking the ocean but we really didn't spent much time in the rooms. We had dinner at a couple of the restaurants at the hotel and did some shopping too.  We hung out at the bar a couple of times at night and made some new friends.  The employees there were great, they made us feel at home.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Coconut Macaroons

Macaroons were my dad's favorite.  I remember as a kid my mom would buy these and I would sneak and eat them.  Many of the recipes I've seen call for too much sugar, so I put together this recipe because I wanted a macaroon that was not extremely sweet.  I decided to dip a few in chocolate Ganache.  Chocolate makes everything good!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Sauteed Pork Chops and Brown Rice

I must admit this was the first time I had ever cooked brown rice.  I had always heard that brown rice is hard to cook, and how it never comes out fluffy.  Hearing and reading those comments made me a little intimidated about it.  Since I started back on eating healthier, I decided to cook the rice and see how it will turn out.  Well, the results are in and I must say the brown rice came out tasty and fluffy.  Even my husband loved it.

I made sauteed pork chops to go with the brown rice. These sauteed pork chops are juicy and tender.  Season them with your favorite seasoning and sauteed in olive oil and butter. Enjoy!!

Pork Chops Ingredients: 

4 pork chops
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
salt to taste
2 tbsp of olive oil
1 tbsp of butter (optional)

Season your pork chops with garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper and salt.  Set aside for about 10 minutes.  Heat pan on medium heat add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and one tbsp of butter.  Sautee the pork chops until they are golden brown on both sides.

Brown Rice Ingredients:

2 cups of brown rice
1 1/2 cups of chicken broth
1 cup of water
1 tbsp of olive oil
salt to taste

In a saucepan on medium heat add the chicken broth, water, and olive oil.  When it starts to boil add the rice and salt.  Cover and let cook for about 5 minutes.  Set to simmer and cook for an additional 30-40 minutes. Stirring again after 15 minutes. After that, DO NOT uncover the pot until the rice has already been cooking for at least 30 minutes. Check on rice, if it's still a little hard cook a little longer.  Enjoy!!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Roasted Lemon Marinated Chicken

Taking the time to put together some ingredients to make a marinade is so worth it.  This marinade gives the chicken lots of flavor.  The lemon gives the chicken a wonderful taste and it acts as a tenderizer too.  Enjoy the chicken with some vegetables and perhaps some mashed potatoes or rice. Since I'm trying to eat healthier I will have mine with a Greek Salad.

Marinade Ingredients:

1 whole chicken cleaned
Juice of 2 lemons (keep 2 lemon halves)
1 tsp of onion powder
1 tsp of garlic powder
2 cloves of garlic minced
1 tsp of balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp of olive oil
1/2 tsp of dry oregano
1/2 tsp of dry rosemary
1/2 tsp of thyme
1/2 tsp of black pepper
1 1/2 tbsp of salt

Preheat oven at 350 Degrees F

Place the chicken on a roasting pan.  Mix all of the ingredients.  Rub the chicken inside and out with the marinade.  Insert the lemon halves inside the chicken.  Let the chicken rest for about 20 minutes before baking.  Bake for 1 hour 20 minutes covered and uncovered for the last 30 minutes.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Greek Salad

My husband got me hooked on Greek Salads.  This recipe can be eaten alone or with some grilled or baked chicken.  Hope you like it as much as I do.  Enjoy!!

Greek Salad Ingredients:

1 head Romaine Lettuce, Chopped
3 whole Ripe Tomatoes, Cut Into Six Wedges Each, Then Each Wedge Cut In Half
1 whole (large) Cucumber, Peeled, Cut Into Fourths Lengthwise, And Diced Into Large Chunks
1/2 whole Red Onion, Sliced Very Thin
30 whole Pitted Kalamata Olives, Cut In Half Lengthwise
6 ounces, weight Crumbled Feta Cheese
Fresh Parsley, Roughly Chopped

Dressing Ingredients:

1/4 cup Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
1 teaspoon Sugar (more To Taste)
1 teaspoon of Dijon Mustard-Grey Poupon
1 clove Garlic, Minced
6 whole Kalamata Olives (extra), Chopped Fine
1/4 teaspoon Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
1 whole Lemon, For Squeezing

Add chopped lettuce, tomato wedges, cucumber chunks, onion slices, halved Kalamata olives, half the feta, and parsley to a large bowl.

Combine olive oil, vinegar, sugar, mustard, garlic, salt, pepper, and chopped olives in a bowl. Whisk together until combined. Taste and adjust seasonings (I almost always add a little sugar.)

Pour dressing over salad ingredients, then add salt and pepper. Toss with tongs or clean hands. Just before serving, top with additional feta and squeeze a little lemon juice over the top.

Source: The Pioneer Woman

Grilled Steaks and Vegetables

Nothing can beat a perfectly done steak in your own grill. Rib-eyes are my favorite steaks, bone-in or boneless, it doesn't matter.  Since I'm trying to stay focus on eating healthier, today I decided instead of making some delicious, creamy mashed potatoes or some Au gratin potatoes to go as a side for the steaks, I'm going to grill some vegetables.  So fire up the grill and lets get cooking!!


2 Bone-in or boneless Rib-eye steaks
1 tsp powder garlic
1 tsp powder onion
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

Mix all of the dry ingredients and rub into the steaks.  Drizzle the steaks with the olive oil and let steaks rest for about 20 minutes at room temperature.  I find that if the steaks are at room temperature when they hit the grill, they come out nice and tender and not rubbery.

Preheat grill on high heat. For medium to rare cook on each side for 3-4 minutes depending on the grill. For medium, cook for 1 minute on high then cook for extra 4-5 minutes on medium heat on each side.  I prefer my steaks well done..so I will cook them for about 10 minutes on medium heat on each side.

TIP:  When a rare steak is pressed, it will leave a mark of your finger on the surface; a medium steak will give way a little, while a well done steak is firm to the touch.


Choose your favorite vegetables.  I love all kinds of vegetables, but some of my favorites
are asparagus, green beans, eggplant, zucchini, squash, baby carrots, broccoli and sweet peppers.

Cut your favorite veggies any way you want, and coat lightly with Italian dressing.
You can use a grill pan if you have one.  If you don't have a grill pan then use a piece of aluminum foil to cook the veggies. I try not to overcook the vegetables because I like them with a little crunch.  Some of the veggies will cook quicker than others.  Asparagus, squash and zucchini cook very quick so those veggies I will cook for about 6 minutes. Carrots, sweet peppers, eggplants and broccoli for an extra 5 minutes.  Just keep an eye on the vegetables and cook them to your preference. Enjoy!!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Today is National Rum Day: Passion Fruit Mojito

Did you know that today is National Rum Day? The best thing about today "National Rum Day" is that it's Friday!!!  Why not make yourself a nice stiff drink with a little bit of rum.  Today I made a Passion Fruit Mojito. Here is the recipe.


2 oz Bacardi Rum
1 cup of passion fruit juice
6 mint leaves
1/2 lime juice
club soda
2 tsp of sugar

Muddle the 6 mint leaves with sugar then add the passion fruit, lime and ice into a glass. Add the rum, stir well, top of with club soda.  Cheers!!!

Pastelillos de Guayaba y Queso (Guava and Cheese Pastries)

On every trip I have taken to Puerto Rico, the first thing I run to the bakery to eat are the Pastelillos de Guayaba.  Pastelillos de Guayaba are made with puff pastry dough, guava paste and cream cheese. You can omit the cream cheese if you like, but for me they taste even better with it.  Puff Pastry is really easy to do, but it is time consuming.  So, why not get a little help from the supermarket.  Get the puff pastry from the freezer isle in your supermarket.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

100% Whole Wheat Bread

Whole Wheat Bread is a healthier option to white bread.  This bread has a nutty taste, is moist and a little sweet.  Most people believe that making bread is difficult, but I don't think it is. The most difficult part about making bread is the waiting process.  Putting the ingredients together takes no time. The result of making your own bread is amazing. 


1 to 1/4 cups of lukewarm water
1/4 cup of vegetable oil
1/4 cup of honey
3 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
2 1/2 tsp of instant yeast or 1 packet active dry yeast disolved in 2 tbsp of  the water in the recipe
1/4 cup of nonfat dry milk
1 1/4  tsp of salt

1) In your mixer bowl with the paddle attachment, combine all of the ingredients and mix until the dough starts to leave the sides of the bowl.  Replace the paddle attachment and attach the dough hook. Knead the bread for 6 to 8 minutes, or until it begins to become smooth. Note: This dough should be soft, yet still firm enough to knead. Adjust its consistency with additional water or flour, if necessary.
**If you don't have a mixer, then you can do the same thing by hand.  Mix all of the ingredients with a wooden spoon in a bowl.  Once well combined flour the counter and knead by hand.  

2) Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover it, and allow the dough to rise till puffy though not necessarily doubled in bulk, about 1 to 2 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen. 

3) Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, and shape it into an 8" log. Place the log in a lightly greased 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan, cover the pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap, and allow the bread to rise for about 1 to 2 hours, or till the center has crowned about 1" above the rim of the pan. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.

4) Bake the bread for 35 to 40 minutes, cover with aluminum foil after 20 minutes to prevent over-browning. 

5) Remove the bread from the oven, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. If desired, rub the crust with a stick of butter; this will yield a soft, flavorful crust. Cool completely before slicing. Store the bread in a plastic bag at room temperature.  Enjoy!!

Yields 1 loaf
Source: King Arthur Flour

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Arroz con Gandules (Pigeon Peas Rice)

Arroz con Gandules was the first dish my mom ever taught me to cook.  I have been making it since I was 14 years old.  Most people are intimidated by the process, but I can assure you that it's really not that complicated.  I will walk you thru step by step, and you will have the best dish ever. The best pot to use for the rice is a Caldero.  You can find it at any Hispanic store. Here we go!


4 cups of medium size rice (rinsed)
3 cups of water
1 can of pigeon peas
1/4 cup of sliced alcaparrado-capers (optional)
1 can of tomato sauce
5 tbsp of oil
3 tbsp of sofrito (mix of onions, sweet peppers, garlic, cilantro,culantro)
1 Goya chicken bouillon packet
1 culantro and achiote (Goya Sazon packet of coriander and annatto )
1/2 cup diced Kielbasa or Chorizo
salt to taste

In a pot add the pigeon peas, capers, tomato sauce, oil, sofrito, chicken bouillon, culantro and achiote envelope and Kielbasa or Chorizo.  The Kielbasa or Chorizo will give the rice a great flavor. Cook this for about 5 minutes on medium heat.  Then add the rice, the water and salt.

Continue to cook on medium heat with the lid on, but not all the way..leaving a space for some of the steam to come out for about 5 minutes or until all of the water has evaporated. Stir the rice and set to simmer. Cover the pot completely and cook for about 30-40 minutes, stirring it after 15 minutes.  I usually let the rice on simmer for about an hour, while I'm cooking other things. Enjoy with your favorite meat.

Tips: You can substitute the Pigeon Peas (Gandules) for red beans, pink beans, garbanzos or any bean of your preference.  If cooking long grain rice add and extra 1/2 cup of water

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Fun Desserts in a Glass

Not only are these recipes easy, but they are pretty. They are perfect for a gathering, and you can make them ahead of time. Be creative and try vanilla pudding and sliced bananas in between layers, or crushed Oreo cookies with chocolate pudding and pieces of chocolate cake.  Try different fruits like, blackberries, blueberries, kiwi or even pineapple.  Just make it fun and delicious.

Lemon-Strawberries Parfaits

Monday, August 12, 2013

Old Fashioned Doughnuts

My sister and nephew came to visit us.  We were kind of bored and hungry, so we said.."Lets makes some donuts".  Even though we are trying to eat healthy, we thought why not.  We had a great week, we deserve a treat.  These donuts are fun to make and taste even better the next morning.  Enjoy with a hot cup of coffee.

Thursday, August 8, 2013


There is nothing better than a big bowl of chili during a fall day.  As the leaves start to fall and the cool evenings come in, a bowl of chili is just what you need to bring it all together. But who says you have to wait until then.  Grilling hotdogs...top them off with this delicious chili.  I have made this recipe many times, and it's always a hit.


3 pounds of ground beef
2 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 8 oz can of tomato sauce
1 8 oz can of tomato paste
1 med onion chopped
1 med green pepper chopped
2 15.5 can of kidney beans
1 tbsp of cumin
2 tsp of chili powder
1 tsp of cayenne pepper
1 tsp of paprika
1 tsp of dried oregano
1 tsp of dried thyme
1 tsp of black pepper
salt to taste

In a pan cook the ground beef until brown then drain any liquid in the pan.  Add the chopped onions and peppers.  Cook for about 5 minutes.  Add all of the other ingredients.  Cook for about 20 minutes on low and then simmer for another 15 minutes.  Enjoy with some shredded cheddar cheese and a scoop of sour cream!!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The Simple But Perfect Pancake

There is nothing better than waking up to the smell of homemade pancakes.  This recipe is my go to recipe, is really simple but delicious.  You can add  blueberries, sliced bananas or even apples. The pancakes are fluffy and really tasty.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Banana Nut Muffins

If you don't know what to do with those ripened bananas you have sitting on your counter, why not make some homemade banana nut muffins.  They are really easy to make and perfect with a cup of coffee as your morning breakfast.


1 cup walnuts or pecans
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 large eggs lightly beaten
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 ripe large bananas mashed well
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven at 350 degree

Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners or butter or spray with a non stick spray.
In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nuts.  In another bowl combined the mashed bananas, eggs ,melted butter and vanilla. 

 With a spatula or wooden spoon, lightly fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until combined and the batter is thick and chunky.  Do not over mix the batter.  Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins.  Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Place on a wire rack and cool.  Makes about 12-16 muffins depending on size.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

I went to sleep last night and woke up thinking about these cookies.  Oatmeal Raisin cookies are just great.  Ever since I was a little girl I loved eating oatmeal. I guess that's why I love these cookies so much.


1 cup unsalted butter room temperature
1 cup light or dark brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp of baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1 cup dark raisins
Preheat oven at 350 degrees F
Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.  Bake in the center oven rack.
In your mixing bowl beat the white and brown sugar until smooth and creamy.  Add the eggs one at at time mixing well after each addition.  Mix in the vanilla.

In a separate bowl add the flour, baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture until well incorporated. Stir in the oats and raisins.

Drop about two tablespoons of dough into a the prepared baking sheets.  Flatten the cookie slightly.  Bake cookies for about 10-14 minutes or until the edge of the cookies are nice and golden brown but still soft in the center. Cool on a wire rack.

Source: Joy of Baking

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Whipped Cream

Homemade whipped cream is the way to go.  Is really easy to do and so much better in taste than the canned stuff.

The whipped cream is nice and smooth and not over whipped.  Perfect with your favorite dessert.


2 cups of heavy cream
2 tbsp of sugar
1 tsp of vanilla extract

Chill the clean bowl of a stand mixer and the whisk attachment in the freezer for 10 minutes. Add all of the ingredients to the bowl and whisk on high speed until medium peaks form, about 1 minute. (Alternatively, you can use a hand whisk and a large chilled bowl. Whisk all of the ingredients until medium peaks form, about 2 to 3 minutes.) 

Peanut Butter Cookies

This is a classic Peanut Butter Cookie with the criss cross fork marks.  This classic Peanut Butter Cookie will have you pouring a giant glass of milk for dunking.  Easy and delicious..here is the recipe.


3/4 cup unsalted butter room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated white sugar
1 large egg
1tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup peanut butter smooth or crunchy
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup chopped peanuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degree F
In your mixing bowl, beat together the butter and the white and brown sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the peanut butter.  Beat in the eggs and vanilla until well incorporated.

In another bowl mix together the flour, baking soda and salt.  Add the dry ingredients to the peanut butter mixture.  Mix well and then fold in the chopped peanuts.

Roll the batter into 1 inch balls and place them 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.  Then using a fork press down and make a crisscross pattern on the cookie.   Bake cookies for about 10-12 minutes until the edges are lightly brown .  Place on wire rack to cool.

Makes about 40 cookies
Source: Joy of Baking