Saturday, September 29, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Latte


Today happens to be National Coffee Day, so I thought I would post this delightful fall beverage to help you start every morning with a smile, sipping away on your very own homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte. Not only is this coffee drink lower in calories than your local coffee shop's creation, but also a ton more lighter on your wallet to. Enjoy it every morning without feeling guilty. 
When I asked our Starbucks here in La Paz when they might get it in, they saddened my spirit when they told me they wouldn't be... so I was determined to make my own and so content that it uses natural ingredients-- it really couldn't get better than this! If you have an espresso machine, by all means up the milk and replace the coffee with shots. So enjoy your coffee and that sweet time your have with yourself as you sip away. 

Pumpkin Spice Latte: (serves 1)
Ingredients:
1/2 cup milk ( your choice)
1 cup strong coffee
1.5 tbsp pumpkin puree
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon or Pumpkin Spice
1/2 - 1 tbsp sweetener
Directions:
Pour coffee and milk into a small sauce pan over low heat, add in the pumpkin, vanilla, and sweetener. Stir frequently and let warm for a few minutes allowing flavors to meld together. When the mixture is hot and fully melted//combined, add cinnamon/ pumpkin spice and stir. Pour into coffee mug, being very careful as it will be very hot. Top with whip cream and sprinkle of cinnamon if desired.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Pumpkin Oatmeal

This is by far my favorite bowl of oats and I'll even go far enough to say my ALL time favorite breakfast! While my sister came to visit I always give her a list of items to bring down, as there are quite a few that are hard to find or too expensive, so pumpkin is included. And as it officially is fall season, I thought I would share a recipe to bring-in this beloved season. I must admit fall and winter are my favorite times of year, the holiday spirit, food flavors, family, cooler weather... 

This is a delicious treat and perfect way to start any morning. This bowl of oats is nutritious, filling, creamy, and reminiscent of the classes pumpkin pie. I would gladly eat this every morning, in fact I am down to my last can of pumpkin out of 3!

Pumpkin Oatmeal: (serves 1)

Ingredients:
1/3 cup oats
1 cup water
sprinkle of salt
1/4 cup milk
1/3 cup pumpkin
1 tbsp chia seeds
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp sweetener
1 tbsp nut/seed butter (optional)

Directions:
Bring water & milk to a boil in small sauce pan, add oats & salt, reduce heat. Let oats simmer until thickened, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Add in pumpkin, chia seeds, cinnamon, & sweetener, mix well until thoroughly combined. Let simmer for another few minutes. Pour into a bowl, top with nut/seed butter, seeds, nuts, or dried fruit if desired. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Samie's Visit: Part 2


Here is Part II of  my sister's visit, it went by way too fast, but I also was just so encouraged to have her come-- no doubt we always have an incredible time together. Like I mentioned a few times now it has been stormy/ rainy for the past month which is quite unusual for La Paz, but nonetheless the land has appreciated the abundant amount of water and as a result we have seen some beautiful skies! There is also another hurricane going to hit Baja, but thankfully will just miss the bottom of the coast, us. Of course we will still be hit with some rough weather, but no real scares-- keep those in prayer that will be hit however. And yesterday we had an earthquake (which is very rare here), 6.2 magnitude. I was in the middle of teaching my ten year olds who were beyond scared-- no damage done, praise Jesus. 

For breakfast one morning we hit one of our favorite taco stands that serves delicious tacos de canasta (cooked by steaming) for only 9 pesos each and serves some refreshing Chia Fresca, recipe posted here.

One evening, we made a quick stop to Dairy Queen, yep we even have one here... they only serve ice cream related items, but it is a big hit down here-- there is almost always a line. We all happened to want the same thing, so figured we would just order the take-home Blizzard and share! It was giant, but we managed to polish it off and it was so delicious.



Another day we took a stroll at the newest mall, mostly to just window shop... but came across the kitchen appliance section (so fun!) and to my surprise found a food processor on sale, so the price was affordable and comes with a warranty. So I finally got myself a rather nice food processor!-- I have been wanting one for quite some time now. I was so stoked, practically jumping up & down, which can only mean lots of new recipes coming, as I have been on a roll using the new appliance. 







Another must-eat are empanadas! They are one of both our favorite foods, although definitely not the healthiest... so we took a trip to the local market where they have grocery booths, food sales, and smoothie/juice joints. At the food stalls each smaller item is only 10 pesos each, but they also serve other typical Mexican cuisine.

And finally, for our most favorite part of the trip we decided to try-out Paddle Boarding! It was a ton of fun, but a lot more challenging than we thought-- keeping our balance. We brought my under-water camera to try and capture the moments, however some of the shots got blurry. I'll admit I was the first to fall-in, Samie started laughing and lost her balance falling in to... great memories. After another topple-over I lost my sunglasses, they slipped right off my head and I couldn't seem to find them... that was the only downside. Definitely will have to try it again sometime. Here are some pictures of us in action!


 

    



Well, that pretty much wraps it up, thanks for stopping by! We had a lovely time and can't wait for our next visitors, my older sister and husband to join us for Thanksgiving :) I sure am blessed! More recipes to come later this week.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Samie's Visit: Part 1

Sorry I haven't posted in quite some time, but just been busy with teaching both my husband's and my English classes while he was out of town, and then enjoying the sweet visit with my sister, and now recovering from a cold. Although, I must say I have a new found respect for my husband as a high school teacher, as they are a rather difficult groups to handle-- education here is just much less respected here by students, always keeping you on your toes.Whereas, my students, being at an English teaching institution are angels, so it was a pleasure to hand back the rowdy kids to the hubby. But it was inspiring to try and make a difference in their lives during that short time frame-- character, respect, value of education... lets just say the husband has a lot of work ahead of him.

Their view all the way down the coast.
 However, I also wanted to give a little re-cap of my sisters visit here with us-- we had such a lovely time as its always a blast to spend quality time together from talking our hearts out, to remembering the earlier days by watching our classic favorites such as the TV show Growing Pains.  Starting out with some candid moments captured from the sisters iPhone from her and the hubby's travel down from TJ to the Baja (about a 17hr drive) in two-seater chase truck we plan to sell.



Some scenery shots along their adventure.

 They stopped in a small town called Santa Rosalia where they happen to have the finest and most delicious baked goods using a brick oven-- here is a sneak peak inside, look at all that bread! They even brought me back a concha or two to enjoy and was still the best I've ever had.






 Along the way they came incredibly close to running out of gas as the last two towns that presented gasoline signs ended up being desolate and out of service. So as they are passing through another little town with little expectation that they will find gas, drive by this man selling gasoline out of his truck-- of course for an arm and leg, but if it wasn't for him they wouldn't have made it... I think the Lord intervened :)


And finally our trip juntos (together)...

Thankful for the new 'Bux' in town, we spend a couple of afternoons
chatting away & working on misc. projects.

We had to take her to one of our favorite places, The Shack. Where we split a burger and asked for water-- look @ the size of their mugs! and even after splitting a burger, we still had to hit the Malecon for a nice walk.







We also enjoyed some tastey Raspados, that simply beat any snow cone any day-- packed full of natural & not your typical cherry flavors. 







While Samie was visiting it also happened to be Mexico's independence day, where they deck the town out with lights and decorations, and celebrate with "El Grito" and fireworks. So we celebrated by going to one of Samie's favorite Mexican restaurants, Rancho Viejo. We shared some delicious food and conversation.


And Sunday, enjoyed a short road trip to El Triunfo after Church with the hubby's aunt, "Tia"  for the best pizza out there cooked in a brick oven, with a thin crisp crust and finest ingredients. After the tons of rain we have been having, the outdoors turned from dry dessert to luscious green scenery, absolutely stunning.



Can you believe those clouds!?


This just wraps up part of our time, so stay tuned for Part II. And I have lots of new recipes to post :) Have a blessed week!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Banana Overnight Baked Oatmeal


Happy Monday! So the hubby leaves today for a trip to TJ to pick-up a vehicle and drive it back down to Baja, but is bringing back with him my sister, who will be visiting us for a week. I am beyond excited can't wait to have some quality time together. Although sure am going to miss the husband, at least it's a short trip. Hope everyone has a blessed week!

These oatmeal squares are delightful as the texture has a slight chew, yet soft and gooey, and a little crisp from the oven. Drizzle these warm oat squares with some cold milk absorbed by the oats that just creates the perfect warm breakfast cereal that you can just easily pop in the microwave to heat up each morning as it makes enough for at least 4 servings with 2 squares per breakfast. Not only is it delicious, but easy. This oatmeal bake can have a number of delicious combinations using all kinds of fruits, nuts, and seed combinations. But this one in particular is naturally sweetened from the bananas and these squares are also packed with good for you nutrients to keep you nourished all morning long. I enjoyed it with a few extra banana slices on top and sprinkle of cinnamon, with a portion of milk.

Banana Overnight Oats: (8 squares/ 4 servings)

Adapted from: Budget Bytes

Ingredients:
2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
2 cups water
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon fine grain real salt
1 large egg or Ener-g egg replacement (I used replacement)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 bananas, mashed
2-3 tbs chia seeds
1/4 cup sugar (optional)* 

Directions:
Combine all the ingredients, pour into a 9x13 baking dish. Set in the refrigerator overnight. Morning of remove from refrigerator and if you have time, let sit for another 15-30 minutes to get to room temperature. Preheat oven to 375F degrees. Bake for about 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Serve with milk, cinnamon, and extra banana slices if desired.*The recipe is sweet enough for my taste buds, but I hardly ever add extra sweetener to my oats. Yet if desired add the 1/4 cup or drizzle the top with Agave or Honey when serving.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Whole Grain Banana Bread Muffins


These muffins are so delicious, healthy as they are full of whole grains, good fats, and naturally sweet. They are also very filling and the  recipe requires no eggs, yet still fluffy. These are also great to freeze and warm-up when your on the go. I consumed these with my daily cup of coffee, a perfect pairing. 

 

Whole Grain Banana Bread Muffins/Loaf: (12 muffins/ 1 loaf)
Adapted from My New Roots

Ingredients:
1 cup oat flour*
3/4 cup brown rice flour*
1/4 flax seed meal
2 1/4 cup bananas, mashed (5 small bananas)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
3 tbsp olive or coconut oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup mixed nuts/seeds
dark chocolate chips (optional)


Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a muffin tin or a loaf pan or lightly grease. Combine the milk, oil, vinegar, vanilla, and bananas into a bowl and mix well. In a large bowl combine dry ingredients. Add banana mixture and combine using as few strokes as possible. Fold in seeds/nuts and (optional chocolate). Pour into prepared pan, place extra toppings if desired, lightly flatten with a spoon. Bake for 30 minutes for muffins and 1 hour for loaf, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

*to make oat or rice flour, simply place in your food processor or blender, grind until fine powder-- takes a few minutes.