berries · breakfast · coffee · food · french toast · healthy · lemon · lemon zest · pancakes · with coffee

Berry Preserves Found Their Way to My Heart

img_5356One of my favorite mornings rituals on the weekend is to wake up, stumble to the kitchen with my eyes barely open and get the coffee machine going. Ahh, I love my coffee. It is the one thing I look forward to every morning and sometimes I even start to look forward to it before I go to bed the night before. The darker the better. The hotter the more enjoyable. Recently, I got into the (good) habit of making my own berries preserves to enjoy with my toast and of course coffee. I used to buy my preserves, but one day after scooping out the last bit of preserves left in the container I decided to try and make my own. Oh, heavenly was the day I realized how easy and delicious this was! Now, I make a small batch which lasts me about 2-3 weeks. Here’s how to make this magic happen:

You’ll need:

  • 1 cup of Blueberries/Raspberries (I’ve used both fresh and frozen)
  • 1-2 tablespoons of brown sugar (you can use regular sugar as well)
  • a splash of lemon juice and water and a bit of lemon zest

fullsizerender-20In a small pan cook down the berries with about 1 tablespoon of water over medium heat until they are soft and you can break them down. I use a wooden spoon to pop the blueberries as they soften. It will take a few minutes for the berries to break down. Add the sugar, lemon juice, zest and combine together. Let everything cook down until you see that jam consistency. Make sure you taste it. Sometimes I’m in the mood for more sweet while others I look for a more lemony taste. Total cooking time is about 5-8 minutes. Pour over a small container and place in the freezer for about a minute or two to cool.

In the mean time get that toast ready, by the time your freshly made berries preserves have cooled they will be ready to slather over your toast and to enjoy with that perfectly made cup of coffee. These also make a great topping for pancakes of french toast or even pie fillings! The possibilities are endless, all it takes is a little creative moment to completely change your life and a few berries to have a change of heart.





berries · blueberries · cranberry · dessert · food

She was a Promiscuous Cran-Berry Sauce

img_4647One of my contributions to the Thanksgiving table this year was cranberry sauce. I love it because it gives the turkey another level of yum  (yes yum is a level!). However, some of my family members are not the biggest fans. So, this year I decided to change it, make it interesting and exciting so that more people around my thanksgiving table could appreciate the cranberry sauce addition on their plate.  In case you don’t know yet, I love berries. I have them all the time in my refrigerator and try to use them as much as possible because they are full of antioxidants and taste really good. Since I had blueberries and raspberries, I decided to use both in my cranberry sauce. That’s not all, I also added red radish and orange to add more flavor.

img_4648Here is what I used:

  • 1 package of fresh cranberries
  • 1 granny smith apple
  • The juice from 1 orange
  • 2 red radishes
  • 1/2 stick of cinnamon
  • orange peel (about 2-3 medium pieces)
  • 1/2 tsp of lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup of water (
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (amount can be adjusted to your sweetness preference)
  • 1 cup of fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup of fresh raspberriesimg_4649

In a large saucepan I combined all the ingredients except for the blueberries and raspberries. Cooked down in medium heat until all of the cranberries finish popping. You can also help pop these as  you mix the sauce. When all the ingredients come together and become a sauce it’s time to mix in the fresh berries. Stir until the berries have soften and they are now part of the sauce. At this point you want to remove the pieces of orange peel and cinnamon stick. img_4650The sauce should be a thick consistency, smell amazing and ready for cool down and then storing. I made mine a day before so all the flavors can marry over night. When it’s almost time for dinner take out of the refrigerator and have room temperature. It was so good. The sweet and tart flavors really added to my turkey and yes, more people around the table had it this year. Success!

Now, like most people you will probably have a good amount of wonderful leftovers after Thanksgiving dinner. Right? Well me too, and lucky for me I had some of this cranberry sauce left over! Woohoo! Do you know why I’m so excited about this? Well, I will tell you. I made with this delicious cran-apple sauce with berries some berry turnovers!

img_4637-1Since we already have the berry filling (left over cranberry sauce) all I had to do was make the dough. It was super easy and it only took about 1 1/2 hours. A 1/2 hr to made the turnover pies and mix the dough and 1 hour to let the dough rest.

I will say that this dough recipe should be used with about 1/2 cup of butter (cold), but after all the baking lately I ran out of butter and only had buttermilk so I went for it and it actually turned out pretty good!

In a processor, blender or even using your nutri-bullet, (as I did because I wasn’t making a lot of dough and I guess I wanted to push my limits with even more experimentation, why not?!) combine 1 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of butter (or 1/4 buttermilk), 1 tbsp of sugar, and 1/2 tsp of salt. Mix and stop for about 2 minutes. You want all the ingredients to mix, but not become a big blob of flour.img_4639 Then add a bit of water (about 2 tablespoons) and mix on an of again for about another minute. On a floured surface drop the dough mixture and bring together to make a small ball (see picture). Then wrap in plastic and let it sit in the refrigerator for about an hour. Go watch a netflix show or two and come back to your flour station. I cut up the dough ball into six small triangles. img_4640Then I rolled each out to a flat triangle or square (as you can see I tried out a couple of different shapes). I placed the cranberry sauce in the middle and brushed some egg wash on the corners so when I folded the dough over it stuck. Using a fork I pushed down the edges just to make sure the filling remained secured inside the dough and the lines of the forks made my turnovers a little bit more attractive. img_4644Now, since I’m the kind of person who also likes some breathing room, I gave my turnovers some as well by punching a couple of holes with a knife, like so:

I used some of the egg wash to brush the top of my little berry pies and then sprinkled some sugar crystals on top.img_4646

Now you this is when I tell you how it all was. Wait for it…wait for it…

Ooohh, yeah, I love this! The dough was not as flaky as I wanted, which was probably the lack of butter. I’ll be trying out my dough once again with butter this time and return with a taste update. What I will say is that this cran-berry sauce turned out to be good for not one day or just a side dish at Thanksgiving, but two (ways and days)! Now, think of how of the many other naughty ways this cran-berry sauce can go. So so much fun! I loved every minute!






berries · fallflavors · goldenbeets · healthy · pomegranate · quinoa · salad · seasons · simple · summer · vegetarian

A Salad with Special Love for Fall

One of the best times of the year is only 10 days away, the fall season. This means the trees will start changing colors, every coffee shop in town will start selling pumpkin everything, people at work will start to bring cookies and sweet treats way too often (oh wait, I do that already) making you realize of your love and hate relationship with baked goods, but… mostly love. 

You also start prepping yourself for the many candies you will devour in October and of course the over indulging meals you will consume in the months following. “Oh, fall, what a great time of year you are. I love, love, love you!”

OK, but since we are still in the last days of summer, I wanted to share one more salad recipe before this blog turns into a baker’s journal, totally kidding (I hope).  This salad is a good transitional salad because I used a lot of stuff that is very summer and started to incorporate some fall flavors. Actually, I wouldn’t mind serving this at Thanksgiving, it goes well with all those flavors.

The other day at the farmer’s market I saw some beautiful golden beats and I couldn’t help myself. I decided I would try having these to replace the protein on my salad once in a while. What I did was, bake it with olive oil, salt and pepper until I forgot about it. No, really I totally forgot my beet was in the oven until I realized my oven was on, maybe 30 minutes later? Anyway, the important thing is that it cooked to perfection. 

I peeled it, cut in into small squares and added it to my spinach mix. I added cooked quinoa, some blueberries, golden roasted flax seeds (this adds a wonderful nutty flavor), pomegranate seeds, and pine nuts, a little bit of Gorgonzola cheese and for the dressing I used a simple olive oil and balsamic mix. It was my first time bringing these flavors together, but they totally worked! I hope you enjoy.

My ingredient list:
  • Spinach mix
  • 1/2 golden beet
  • ¼ cup of cooked quinoa
  • 1 handful of blueberries
  • 1 tbsp. of gorgonzola cheese
  • 1 tbsp. of golden roasted flax seeds
  • ½ pomegranate, seeds
  • 1 tsp of pine nuts
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil and balsamic, combined

addicted · berries · breakfast · brunch · challah · french toast · fruit · fun meal · lost bread · maple syrup · pain perdu

French Toast, You Complete Me

My favorite meal is definitely breakfast. Maybe it’s because I don’t usually have it as it ought to be during the week or maybe because I have the option to choose between a savory or sweet meal. Regardless, when the weekend comes I look forward to our time together.

When I do crave a sweet breakfast I tend to go with something that also has fruit. One of the most satisfying and most drool-generating options is French Toast with berries. Not only is it super easy, but you can play around with it and add all kind of fun things like papaya, strawberries, bananas, coconut flakes (that combo has been tried and it’s amazing!) blueberries, raspberries and strawberries with some powdered sugar (pictured), chocolate chips and strawberries, dulce de leche instead of maple syrup, etc. Have fun with it! Another interesting way to change up your version is by using different types of bread. I personally love Challah bread because it’s soft and my toast ends up slightly crispy on the outside but super moist on the inside. Optional: serving it with a side of bacon or your favorite kind of sausage will add that salty flavor in case you crave it after a few bits of sweetness and it will balance the flavors in a way your taste buds will love you for!

What I use to make this delight:

  • Challah bread
  • Eggs- mixed (just enough to dip your bread)
  • Vanilla-bourbon extract (I find this a Trader Joe’s and add 1 tsp it to my egg mixture)
  • Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries
  • Powdered sugar (also called confectioner’s sugar)
  • Organic Grade A Maple syrup (never ruin your meal with dangerous-sugar-filled tables syrups)
  • A cup of hot coffee (oh wait! that’s just me envisioning my weekend morning…aah. While this is optional, it is totally recommended!).

balsamic · berries · easy · healthy · salad · summer

Berry Summer Salad

Summer is just around the corner, so I thought I’d share one of my favorite go-to summer salads. Okay so I love berries which means that whenever I get to use any kind of berry on my salad I’m a happy girl. This salad has five basic ingredients:

  • Spinach salad mix (any salad mix will due, but I like the variety of flavor/texture in this one)
  • Blueberries
  • Strawberries (which are in season!)
  • Crumbled blue cheese ( you can also use Gorgonzola or feta cheese)
  • Lemon juice (to preference)
  • Balsamic vinegar ( to preference)
The best thing about this salad is that you can alter it to make it more filling and scrumptious of simply have it in its very simple form. I don’t know about you, but most of the time I am rushing out of the house in the morning so it works that I can throw these simple very accessible ingredients together quickly and go. You can add walnuts or sliced almonds and chia seeds to it for more crunch and nutrients. It’s also fun to try it with flavor infused balsamic vinegar. There is this really great specialty store in Berkeley/Oakland Hills that sell beautifully flavored balsamic vinegar and olive oil. They let you sample so you can find the right flavor.
This salad is really the perfect fit for me. I usually prep the spinach, berries and cheese the night before and add the balsamic and lemon juice in the morning. I even leave the strawberries whole and cut them up when I’m ready to enjoy. Give it a try and let me know what you think!