Thursday, March 28, 2013

Coconut Papaya Oat Muffins




These muffins compliment each other with its tropical flavors--coconut & papaya, and equally launch a nice base for a healthy muffin with an oat batter. These muffins are a perfect harmony of sweet, but healthy, filling, yet fluffy, and delicious, however incredibly easy. 

These muffins only lasted a couple of days in our house, we couldn't get enough of them. My favorite way of course was to spread a little sunflower seed butter over the top, yum! Plus a great addition to any family brunch or quick breakfast, or light snack.





 Coconut Papaya Oat Muffins:
(8 large muffins)
Adapted from Skinnytaste

Ingredients:
1 cup oat flour
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup sugar
1 flax egg (1 tbs ground flax seed + 2 tbs water) or 1 egg
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 cup Papaya puree
1/2 tsp vanilla


Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 325F degrees. Grease or line muffin pan.
  • If you don't have oat flour, simply blend about 1 cup oats in a blender or food processor. 
  • Make the flax egg if using, set aside to let set. (at least 5 minutes)
  • Place chopped papaya in a blender to reach 1 cup puree. (I had additional puree left, so I just froze the remaining in an ice cube tray to blend into smoothies later).
  • In a medium bowl combine all the dry ingredients together, mix well.
  • Combine the remaining wet ingredients together in a separate large bowl (including the flax egg), mix thoroughly.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet while stirring. Pour batter into a prepared muffin tins. Sprinkle additional oats & shredded coconut, slightly pressing them into the batter to stick.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Easter Round-up

With Easter being just short of a week a way, I think I'm overdue for a Round-up, remember last year's?-- that one actually has a TON of fun & great ideas too, focusing more on DIY projects/food based on the WHOLE reason of this celebration, Jesus, so be sure to check it out here as well. Here is a recipe I posted last Easter for a delicious & healthier Carrot Cake that will definitely impress. Also & more imprtantly last year I shared a two-part series of a complete scripture sharing the story of Jesus' Crucifixion & Resurrection, great reminder to remember the sweet & incredible sacrifice of our loving Father in Heaven. 
The true meaning of Easter is often forgotten a midst all the fun spring colors, eggs, & bunnies, which are fine of course. But when we neglect the truth we lose sight of our Savior, so let's make sure to put HIM first & then enjoy all the other little things to celebrate the fulfillment of HIS promise. 


1. Decorated Berry Baskets

These are a great way to re-use those abundant berry baskets we get when we buy all those beautiful berries, so put them to good use & create a fun little treat for the kids & adjusting each basket to their character. Tutorial can be found here.
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2. Classic Child's Easter Basket

The classic Easter basket is always filled with in my opinion WAY too much candy & silly unnecessary items, Martha Stuarts lists some creative & fun ways to spruce up your average gift basket. Filling it with sweet books such as The Tale of Three Trees or The Velveteen Rabbit, or precious stuffed animals, little treats here & there,tea party theme, or garden, & of course some sweet details of personalizing. Also, here is a link that has Top 50 Easter Basket Gift Ideas that don't just include sugar.
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3.  Easter Game: Egg Bocce

How the game works: In this version of the classic Italian lawn-bowling game, the object is to see which player can get their egg closest to the "pallino," or in this case, a plain white egg. Each kid should get two hard-boiled eggs that are the same color. To begin the game, one player throws the pallino underhand across the yard. Then that same player rolls or tosses one of his colored eggs in order to get as close as possible to the pallino. From the same starting point, the other players each take a turn, tossing one of their colored eggs toward the pallino as well. When all the kids have gone once, everyone gets to try again, this time with his or her second egg. Players can use their eggs to knock away the other kids' eggs -- moving them farther from the pallino -- or to edge their own first egg closer. After all the players are finished, measure the distance of the eggs from the pallino to see which one is closest to it. If there is a tie, the player whose egg is in the best condition is the winner. -- Have fun!




4. Paper-Napkin Decoupage Eggs

Tutorial explains here how to create these lovely beauties, using hallow eggs, but creates such a delicate & stunning decor.

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5. Nail Polish Marbled Eggs Tutorial

You may have seen that tutorial of how to create marbled nails, well why not apply it to your Easter eggs (probably avoid eating them...) but aren't they so fun & stunning!? Check out how to here.
how to marble easter eggs with nail polish


6. Natural Food-based Easter Egg Dyes

For all of you folks who want to avoid chemicals and such, here is a great demonstration of how to dye your Easter eggs & cloth even naturally using produce to achieve those favored Spring time colors. You can find out directly how to here.
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7. DIY String Basket

I love these string baskets, using any string you have on hand even creates such a cute decor piece or lovely gift-- make in different sizes even to display in your home. Use it as a Easter basket even, the possibilities are grand, you will be surprised how easy & inexpensive it is to do this little gem yourself, find the directions here.
the red thread string bowl 3

8. Hot Cross Pancakes by Joy the Baker

No time to make your own Hot Cross buns this Easter, well here is an equally delicious & fun way to serve breakfast to your loved ones this year, Hot Cross Pancakes will do the trick & who knows might even become a tradition, enjoy! Recipe here.

hot cross pancakes

9. Guacamole Deviled Eggs

Well these are a perfect appetizer or brunch addition to any family gathering, a little twist to the original dish, but in my opinion a better one. Everyone will be rushing to get there fingers on one of these flavorful, delicious, & eggcellent treat-- find the recipe here.

10. 23 Easter Printables

Here is a great & exciting list of fun ways to spruce up your Easter goodies or add cute little decor to you celebration. Check them out here.
Easter

An another note, we are on Easter break from schools, so this week the hubby & I are actually taking a little vacation to Cabo for a few days, it could not have come at a better time, we are so excited to get some time to spend with each other, relax, and just enjoy this time we have in Mexico. May your Easter be so blessed, but remember He is RISEN!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Chocolate Flan Cake


This cake is absolutely divine and actually happens to be the husband's favorite. This by all means is NOT healthy, but its alright to indulge a little... although beware it's really hard to stop at just one piece, it's that good! This cake is SUPER easy to make as well, just use pre-packaged cake-mix & some canned ingredients, & the magic all happens in the oven-- seriously, the layers flip while cooking in the oven. This gem will be sure to impress all your guests, they will by dying for the recipe. My beloved mother-in-law gave me this recipe (thank you Rocio!) & is a definite keeper for special occasions. Originally it is cooked in a bundt cake pan, which makes it look gorgeous, but I unfortunately don't have one yet, so reallyany pan will work just fine just make sure its large enough. Your life will change after you take a bite of this slice of heaven!



Chocolate Flan Cake:
Ingredients:

caramel layer:
1/2 bottle of Cajeta or Caramel sauce

Chocolate Cake:
1 box of Chocolate Cake Mix
+ ingredients listed on box

Flan:
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Other:
Baking Pan: 11x15, 9x11, bundt pan, 2 round pans
Butter (greasing the pan)
Serving Platter
Blender

Directions:

  • Preheat Oven to 370F degrees. Grease baking pan very well (this is crucial to get the cake out of the pan when flipped).-- I Used 11x15 which gave a more flat cake, but it is really r won preference. 
  • Prepare the boxed cake mix as directed on the package. Set aside.
  • In a blender, pour flan ingredients & blend on a light/medium speed until thoroughly mixed (30 sec or so). 
  • Pour cajeta/caramel sauce into greased baking dish & make sure it is evenly spread across the entire pan. Next add chocolate cake mix, gently pouring on top of caramel sauce & again spreading evenly. Now, very CAREFULLY, GENTLY, & SLOWLY pour flan mixture on top of cake mixture trying not to break the surface of the chocolate cake layer-- this allows very a smooth top without dents in the flan when cooked. The flan mixture should easily spread across the entire pan with no problem. Note: in my picture  you can see a few dents this is due to pouring the flan-- probably the hardest part about the cake.  
  • Place in the oven carefully & let bake for 45 minutes or until a utensil comes out clean. When you check on it, you will see that the chocolate cake layer is now on the bottom, like magic! 
  • Remove cake & allow to sit for 15 minutes before removing from pan. Gently & quickly remove cake from pan by flipping it over onto another plate, should come out with ease depending how well you greased it.
  • You can let cool in the refrigerator until serving or serve warm-- my favorite is warm so I always heat up a slice for a few seconds. YUM! 
  • Store in the refrigerator. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

In Remembrance of my Mother

Today, as well as this week, is a very special and one that always weighs heavy on my heart-- celebrating the birth of my mom & what would be her 53rd birthday and also in just a few days marks her 8th anniversary in HEAVEN.  So many years have passed by, but sometimes it feels as though it was just yesterday... This post is a tribute to her, to honor her life, & to celebrate her precious time here on this temporary place as she now is made WHOLE in heaven. I am so grateful for her life & all that she taught me as I wouldn't be the person I am today without her. Even though her life was short she was a remarkable woman despite her struggles and I have never known someone with a more compassionate heart and giving soul, she was always devoted to serving others with such thanksgiving. I cherished her adventurous spirit and it reminds me of my most fondest memories with her, just enjoying the spontaneous moments of life as well as the sweet times of just lounging around, watching our favorites, or being lost in a book. One simple, yet very sentimental way we remember her each year is by writing a Happy Birthday love message on a balloon to send off towards heaven and let her know we are celebrating her life in all measures, on Earth & in Heaven and have done so since her memorial. Indeed she is missed everyday and will never be forgotten-- Happy Birthday & I love you!

I leave you with her favorite verse: Proverbs 3:5-6 
along with the entire passage:

Proverbs 3: Wisdom Bestows Well-Being
My son, do not forget my teaching,
but keep my commands in your heart,
2 for they will prolong your life many years
and bring you peace and prosperity.
3 Let love and faithfulness never leave you;
bind them around your neck, 
write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 Then you will win favor and a good name
in the sight of God and man.
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
6 in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord and shun evil.
8 This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones.
9 Honor the Lord with your wealth,
with the first fruits of all your crops;
10 then your barns will be filled to overflowing,
and your vats will brim over with new wine.
11 My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline,
and do not resent his rebuke,
12 because the Lord disciplines those he loves,
as a father the son he delights in.
13 Blessed are those who find wisdom,
those who gain understanding,
14 for she is more profitable than silver
and yields better returns than gold.
15 She is more precious than rubies;
nothing you desire can compare with her.
16 Long life is in her right hand;
in her left hand are riches and honor.
17 Her ways are pleasant ways,
and all her paths are peace.
18 She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her;
those who hold her fast will be blessed.
19 By wisdom the Lord laid the earth’s foundations,
by understanding he set the heavens in place;
20 by his knowledge the watery depths were divided,
and the clouds let drop the dew.
21 My son, do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight,
preserve sound judgment and discretion;
22 they will be life for you,
an ornament to grace your neck.
23 Then you will go on your way in safety,
and your foot will not stumble.
24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
25 Have no fear of sudden disaster
or of the ruin that overtakes the wicked,
26 for the Lord will be at your side
and will keep your foot from being snared.
27 Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due,
when it is in your power to act.
28 Do not say to your neighbor,
“Come back tomorrow and I’ll give it to you”—
when you already have it with you.
29 Do not plot harm against your neighbor,
who lives trustfully near you.
30 Do not accuse anyone for no reason—
when they have done you no harm.
31 Do not envy the violent
or choose any of their ways.
32 For the Lord detests the perverse
but takes the upright into his confidence.
33 The Lord’s curse is on the house of the wicked,
but he blesses the home of the righteous.
34 He mocks proud mockers
but shows favor to the humble and oppressed.
35 The wise inherit honor,
but fools get only shame.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Green Pancakes



I figured these would be the perfect Saint Patrick's day recipe as its GREEN. The great thing about them though, is its not food coloring, but all natural & healthy! These pancakes make you feel like you are indulging but really you are fueling your body with good for you nutrients that will satisfy you all morning long. Bonus is that you get a serving of vegetables to start your day off too! Kids will definitely devour them and you won't even be able to taste the spinach whatsoever! The banana masks the taste while simultaneously making these healthy pancakes sweet. I crave these pancakes and don't just eat them for St. Patty's day, its a regular ove here.

Also, last year I posted the history behind Saint Patrick's day-- what its all about, why is it celebrated, etc. It is pretty interesting, check it out HERE.







Whole Grain Green Pancakes:
(serves 2 or makes 6-7 pancakes)

Ingredients:
Pancakes:
1/3 cup oats
2 T flax seeds
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
2 handfuls of spinach
2 eggs
1 banana
1 tsp vanilla

Toppings:
Greek Yogurt
Honey
Maple Syrup
Berries/Fruit
Seed/Nut butter
Nutella


Directions:

  • In blender or food processor combine oats & flax, pulsing until you reach a flour like consistency. Remove from container & set aside.
  • Place banana, vanilla, spinach, and eggs into blender, mix until thorough combined & is smooth. 
  • Add remaining ingredients into blender & pulse until mixed.
  • Heat a large skillet over low heat & add a tiny drizzle of coconut oil. Pour about 1/4 cup size batter into pan, creating small pancakes. Let cook for about 1 minute, flip when edges have firmed up & let other side cook. 
  • Top with your favorite things-- my favorite: Greek yogurt, Sunflower seed butter, sprinkle of cinnamon.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The BLOG turns 1!

So MONDAY (the 11th) marked ONE YEAR of creating the Nava Nest. It has been such a  pleasure to be able to track all our adventures here in La Paz and capture these precious moments of being newly weds and this beautiful journey that we are embarking on together. Also, I am enjoying posting all these recipes & hope you are too. Having this blog has challenged me to experiment in the kitchen & I am loving it, & as a result has helped me to develop a love for cooking and to be a better cook in the kitchen, which my husband sure does appreciate. Before being married I really had no prior experience, so this blog has been a great way to push me & serve as a recipe book-- definitely makes me feel like a better wife. 
Thank you to all who read this blog, try out the recipes, comment, and just follow along, it is such an encouragement to me and my husband-- so thank you for your support! We have truly been so blessed & grateful that this blog can serve as way to look back on all that God has blessed & grown in us, & in general a virtual scrapbook. I hope you have enjoyed this blog as much as I have, blessings to you!
Today I have for you a SINGLE confetti cupcake to celebrate the blog's birthday that you can either bake in the oven or microwave. It's easy, a healthier treat, and fluffy, using ingredients you probably already have at home. Enjoy!

Single Confetti Cupcake: (serves 1)
Ingredients:
3 T flour
1 T sugar
1/4 tsp baking-soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
sprinkle of salt
2 tsp unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp coconut/vegetable oil
1 T Plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp milk (I used coconut)
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp sprinkles + extra for topping

Topping:
Nutella (I used Nutella)
Frosting
Nut/Seed Butter
Greek yogurt
Whip Cream

Directions: 

  • Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  • Combine dry ingredients together in a small bowl or measuring cup. Add-in liquid ingredients and mix thoroughly. Toss in sprinkles and mix gently. 
  • Pour into a single lined baking cup. Bake for 15 minutes or until center is cooked. Or alternatively cook in the microwave in increments of one minute to check doneness (about 2 minutes).
  • Frost with desired topping & add some sprinkles.


An another note, we finally got a package yesterday we have been waiting on for sometime now  (December) and it couldn't have felt more like Christmas or a massive birthday gift explosion am so blessed by my sister for putting it all together & the husband's family for making sure it got sent down here-- big thanks to you! Here is a picture of all the lovely things we got (mostly for me, hehe) but it consisted of all the things I LOVE + more! Christmas my older sister & husband got me a Kindle, so excited to test it out! And Sam's family blessed me with a Magic Bullet, also ecstatic to try it out & see new recipes it will inspire ;) Plus, some much needed face wash/lotion, coconut oil as I was on my last tsp! A Nature Box pack I had won recently delivered filled with delicious healthy snacks. Some quinoa, PUMPKIN, & my favorite coffee, yum! Sam also got in some of his favorites, Nutella, almond butter, and a new rim he has been so excited for. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

Baked Sweet Potato Fries






I LOVE everything sweet potato & well in my opinion I adore these more than I do regular fries. Not only are these delicious, but equally healthy-- using the oven instead of frying makes them the perfect snack, or side to any meal. The cornmeal and ground flax give the fries a nice crisp bite. I like to sprinkle cinnamon on top for a snack, as a salad topper, or of course to accompany a sandwich or burger. You could even use these to create chili cheese fries using black beans as we know they pair well together from this old taco recipe.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries: (serves 4)

Ingredients:
2 large sweet potatoes,
1.5 T coconut oil
2 T cornmeal
2 T ground flax seed
1 tsp salt (optional)

Directions:


  • Scrub the sweet potatoes well. Slice them into pieces about 1/4 inch thick. Place them in a bowl of water, swish around a few times to remove starch from the potato, then drain. Place potatoes on a clean hand towel and let air dry thoroughly.
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place cut potatoes in a plastic bag, pour melted coconut oil and seal. Shake bag very well to coat or simply toss potato & oil together on baking sheet or bowl. Add cornmeal, flax, and salt to the bag and toss well to coat.
  • Carefully place fires on lined baking sheet (not overlapping). Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown and crisp.




Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Sam's (Hubby) 25th Birthday

Yesterday we celebrated the hubby's 25th Birthday!!! It turned out to be an sweet & fun filled day where he & I just celebrated together. I put together some of his favorite foods, as we know a way to a man's heart is through his stomach ;) Everything turned out delicious & even though it was low key, he had a wonderful day.

I just have to say that I am so blessed to be able to share this journey with such an honorable, steadfast, kind-hearted man & I am trul grateful for his birth & to be able celebrate someone who has had such an impact on my own life-- as I know I am a better person because of him. He is always choosing to love, serve, and glorify God in all he does, he inspires me, as well as many others. Love you handsome! Blessings to you & this next year, so excited to see all that God has in store for you this next year!

On Sunday we celebrated with a Pizza dinner at restaurant we had yet to try, El Forno, & it was delicious! A great way to kick-off his birthday celebrations. We met a friend there to celebrate but also happened to run into our pastors as well-- too funny. The pizzas are cooked in a wood fire-oven giving it that perfect crisp, lots of great menu options, & great service.




Sam having a later morning before teaching, we squeezed in breakfast at a place we have been dying to try, Maria California. The outside is a beautiful garden & as you enter it is a 100 year old house turned into a sweet rustic cafe. The funny thing is that the owner happened to be an old family friend of Sam's parents & so we had a chance to catch-up. Then later enjoyed a little birthday surprise from the restaurant. The food and service were both fantastic & LOVED everything about it.


My Choice. 
The Birthday Boy's.














  

Sam requested a Pesto Pasta dish for lunch, so I went all out & created the whole deal-- Pasta, salad, and bread at its finest. We were stuffed but of course had room for cake! His favorite, Chocolate Flan courtesy recipe from his mom-- thank you Rocio! PS. Lots of new recipes coming your way :)



And to top the evening off, we had a romantic picnic in our living room with a Cheese Fondue night as Sam loves all things cheese. I had a variety of foods to dip & it was a really sweet time, we enjoyed every moment. Sam is one special man, I had to treat him right-- Happy Birthday Babe!