Pastel De Nata (Portuguese Egg Tarts)

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Pastel De Nata (Portuguese Egg Tarts)

Hey everyone, Shelly here! I recently visited Lisbon, Portugal and fell in love. I admittedly didn't know much about Portugal prior to visiting and was pleasantly surprised by everything the country has to offer. The food was amazing, the wine was yummy (and sooo cheap) and everyone was friendly and engaging. I'm not a big shopper, but Lisbon is a shopping haven filled with both popular brand names, as well as a bustling local vendor offering. I loved it so much that I am trying to fit Lisbon into my honeymoon when we visit Barcelona. Wish me luck! 

Roof of Bastilica da Estrela

Roof of Bastilica da Estrela

Exploring the streets of Lisbon

Exploring the streets of Lisbon

Now onto food... I went on a food tour with my coworker and it was such a great time. We purchased a tapas tour and visited three different restaurants to try Portuguese cuisine. If you find yourself in Lisbon and interested in booking a tour, I highly recommend booking a tour with Sandeman's New Lisbon. The tours are reasonably priced and the guides are very knowledgeable and engaging. They even offer a free walking tour!

On our last night, we decided to venture out and find local gems. We visited three bakeries and decided to try an egg tart or pastel de nata. Heaven! They are the perfect mix of smooth custard and crispy, buttery crust. I could eat these for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack time! They are perfect with an espresso in a cafe...anywhere! 

The Best Egg Tart in Lisbon! Manteigaira Bakery

The Best Egg Tart in Lisbon! Manteigaira Bakery

Since having them I have been on a quest to find  the perfect recipe that didn't involve me being in the kitchen for hours, yet still savoring the taste of Lisbon. After reviewing 20 plus recipes, I found one that not only created a creamy filling and buttery shell, but also the charred marks that make them special. Do yourself a favor and commit to making these on your next weekend morning. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 whole egg + 2 egg yolks
  •  1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla paste
  • 2 sheets of puff pastry

Instructions

  1. Whisk together the egg and egg yolks, sugar, cinnamon and cornstarch in a saucepan until combined. Gradually whisk in the cream and milk until smooth.
  2. Place the pan over medium heat and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and comes to a boil.
  3. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Transfer the now-custard into a bowl to allow cooling. Cover the surface of the custard with cling film in order to prevent a skin forming.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425, lightly grease a mini muffin tray(24-hole if you have one) and place a pizza stone on the top rack(helps with browning the dough).
  5. Cut the puff pastry sheet in half and put one half on top of the other, then set aside for 5 minutes. Repeat for the other pastry sheet.
  6. Roll up the pastry tightly from the short end, and cut the pastry log into twelve 1 cm rounds. Lay each pastry round on a lightly floured surface and use a rolling pin to roll out the pastry until each disc is very thin and about 2 inches in diameter.
  7. Form the pastry rounds into the muffin tin, poke holes in the bottom of the dough, and then spoon the custard into pastry cases until they are filled to the top.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the pastry and custard are golden. After 20 minutes turn on the broiler and broil for 4-5 minutes until you see the top of the custard blackened in places.
  9. Leave the tarts in the tin for 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  10. Enjoy within 24 hours!

**Recipe adapted from World of Wanderlust

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Good Luck Grits for New Year's Day

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Good Luck Grits for New Year's Day

It's time to close out 2016! What better way to do that than with a delicious New Year's Day meal that will leave you feeling comforted and confident; ready to take on the new year ahead! Here we share with you two soul food classics that we love to ring in the new year with, updated with an innovative twist. In this case one recipe builds upon the other to create the most delicious pot of creamy, black eyed pea grits that you could imagine. Delish! A must try.   
The thing about soul food is this: you must cook with your heart. We can give you the foundation of ingredients to make it taste as delicious as we think it is, but it will be up to you as the chef to put your heart and soul into it to personalize it for your palette. So get cookin'! We wish you a Blessed, Prosperous New Year (and hope that it's delicious too 😋).

 

Marsh's Good Luck Black Eyed Peas

1 lb black eyed peas ( I use dried beans that I soak overnight in prep for the slow cook)

32 oz vegetable stock

1 1/2 c water

1 med yellow onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 smoked turkey wing

Salt 1 1/2 tsp


Pepper 1 tsp


Onion Powder 1/4 tsp


Garlic Powder 1/4 tsp


A dash of Cumin


A dash of red pepper flakes (optional)

 
(Please note that all ingredients are "seasoned to taste". If you feel compelled to add a bit more or less, then by all means, do so.)

 

Instructions

 (I use a crock-pot, but a large pot on low will do the trick. It will just require watching, stirring and more than likely a little less time.)

Place turkey wing in center of crock-pot. Pour in beans, onions, garlic, stock and all seasonings. Stir the beans, but keep the wing in the center. Cook on low 6-8 hours (or until tender). Taste and add seasoning as needed. Enjoy!

 

Shelly's Creamy Stone Ground Grits

2 cups water

2 cups heavy cream

1 teaspoon salt

1 cup stone ground grits

2 tablespoons butter

 

Instructions

1. Bring the water, cream, and salt to a boil.

2. Add the grits and butter to the pot of boiling liquid and whisk to combine. 

3. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring every three minutes, until creamy.

To make the delicious Black Eyed Pea Grits that you see pictured here, simply puree two cups of the prepared peas with broth and mix into the prepared grits. Add more broth as needed. Trust us, you definitely want to try these. 

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Christmas Traditions Pt. 2

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Christmas Traditions Pt. 2

If you were here with us last week, you know that we've been sharing our Christmas traditions. This week Marsharelle shares a couple of traditions and we talk about charitable giving. We hope you've been enjoying the holiday season so far. We most certainly have!

Tree Selection and Decorating

My Family loves picking out a real tree each year. We aren't fancy with where we go to find our tree (we don't cut it down ourselves or even head to a tree farm), but we love it just the same. The scent from a real tree really adds to the ambiance in our home during the holiday season.

Every December, we head to Home Depot to find the perfect one. The last few years our daughter has been old enough to pick the tree for us and this year our son attempted to get involved. Or rather, he laughed intently as he watched the tree being tied down to the roof of our car. 

We normally give the tree a day or two to "open up and relax".  Once it's ready, we kick off the trimming with an inaugural silly holiday dance to "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" by The Jackson 5 :-D This is a tradition that my husband and I started even before we had children, so it has been very heartwarming to share this with them.

Our Holiday Visitor

Lastly, we do have an "Elf on the Shelf" that visits us, however JoJo is like none you've ever seen. He was created by my daughter who wished that he would be granted the magic had by all traditional elves on shelves, and wouldn't you know it-he actually was :-) Now he moves about the house during the month keeping an eye on our kiddies. He represents the wonder and amazement of the season that children truly magnify for us. 

Charitable Give Back

Shelly and I also take joy in giving back as much as we can. This week, for the final time this year, we were able to provide a community meal at New Life Presbyterian Church in Glenside, Pa. Making it a bit more special was the awesome group of volunteers who helped us deliver a great meal. Such a joy it was to share in the ministry of giving with others. 

Shelly's family attends the Christmas Eve service at New Life each year. Its a great way to prepare our hearts and minds for celebrating the reason for this season-the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ. If you are in the Philadelphia area and are interested in worshiping on Christmas Eve, there is a service at 7pm and 11pm. Meet Shelly at the 7pm service!

We hope that you've been inspired in some way by our traditions and activities. We do not take for granted the opportunity to celebrate in this manner, or participate in deeds that help others. Each act is indeed a blessing. May you have a Merry Christmas! 

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Our Christmas Traditions and Cookies too! (Pt. 1)

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Our Christmas Traditions and Cookies too! (Pt. 1)

It's the most wonderful time of the year!!!!!!! 
From mid November until the  New Year, our homes are filled with a festive spirit cultivated not only by our love of food, but our faith and family as well. For us, this is a time to share as much as we can, fellowship with those we love and lift up those who may need to be encouraged. 
Over the next two weeks, we will share with you some of our Christmas traditions, as well as some yummy cookie recipes (since Holidays and cookies are synonymous). We would love to hear some of your traditions also, so please share in the comments!
And if you haven't established any traditions of your own, no time like the present. It doesn't require much. But if it brings you peace or joy, it's something worth doing again and again. May you have a Blessed Holiday Season!

Shelly's Christmas Traditions: 

The holidays are always a great time to reflect on family, love, servant-hood, and more importantly Christ. Each year I revisit traditions that focus on those things. My favorite tradition with my family is counting down to Christmas with an Advent calendar. It helps us focus on the true meaning of Christmas. Last year I added a piece of candy and a bible verse starting with the creation and ending on the story of the birth of Jesus. The girls were so excited to read and learn more about Jesus' birth. This year I still added candy to each day but we are completing YouVersion devotions. My favorite devotion this year is the "Why Do We Call it Christmas" devotion (YouVersion can be found in the App store). Each day they view a 1 minute video that provides a little known fact about how Christmas came to be and we read a passage in the Bible. Check it out when you have a chance. We love it!

Fav cookie recipes:

In general I limit the amount of sugar my family consumes each day, especially during the school week. All of that goes out the window during the holiday season. Between cups of hot cocoa, candy canes, and cookie, we get our fair share of sugar! This year is special because my girls are finally old enough to read recipes and use the stand mixer with my assistance. The kitchen gets a little messy but we have fun making yummy treats.

 

Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies: Click Here.

I love this recipe because it is tried and true and versatile. Add a bit more salt for a salted cookie or add your favorite nut. The southern girl in me loves pecans in this recipe. 

Snickerdoodle cookies: Click Here.

Who doesn't love a good snickerdoodle recipe?! To me, snickerdoodles are sugar cookies for grown ups. The addition of cinnamon is a layer of complexity that elevates it to adulthood. 

Stay tuned next week to read a bit about Marsharelle's family tradition and the charitable activity that we participate in together. Until then, kick back and relax with some cookies from these yummy recipes!

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Cheesy Baked Zoodles

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Cheesy Baked Zoodles

Figuring out what my girls are eating for lunch each week can be a chore. Asking myself if my youngest daughter will change her diet this week to avoid anything but candy occurs all too often. This recipe was my attempt at giving into her mac and cheese phase but still making sure that she gets the necessary nutrients. I like to make zoodle dishes because they turn into quick meals that are guilt free. We can be honest and say there is nothing like baked mac and cheese with pasta but this is a close second that will satisfy your craving on a weeknight. A lovely accompaniment to a protein of your choice. Enjoy!

-Shelly

Ingredients
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 shallot, chopped
2 tablespoons of all purpose flour
3 tablespoons of salted butter, separated
1 cup of whole milk
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup of your favorite cheese blend(I used mozzarella, mild cheddar, and parmesan)
3 large zucchini
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon paprika
Scallions, chopped with green parts separated from white part

Tools needed: spiralizer

Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 375.
2. Heat a skillet to medium high heat and add olive oil
3. Add the garlic and shallots to the pan and sautéed for 2 minutes
4. Lower to medium heat and add butter to the pan of garlic and shallots until melted. 
5. Add the flour to the pan and stir for to make a golden reaux, about 5 minutes.
6. Add the milk and stir until the sauce is smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 
7. Add the cheese and stir until the cheese melts. 
8. Spiralize the zucchini. Put the zucchini between two paper towels and gently press the water out.
9. Fold the zucchini into the cheese sauce.
10. Add the cheesy zucchini mixture to a greased medium casserole pan.
11. Combine a teaspoon of olive oil, paprika, and breadcrumbs and add to the top of the zucchini. 
12. Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and the top is golden brown.
13. Top with scallions and enjoy!

 

 

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Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

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Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

   I'm  always looking to create dinner alternatives that are both light (for me), as well as hearty (for my husband). These vegetarian stuffed peppers managed to please the whole family, kids included! With brown rice and black beans as the anchor of the dish, you could really go crazy with additions. On a non-meatless day, simply add some crumbled chorizo sausage to spice things up. Yum! Or, just add a drizzle of siracha to the meatless version. 

-Marsharelle

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

Ingredients: 

4 bell peppers (we used green), tops, seeds and membranes removed

2 cups cooked brown rice (cook in veggie stock to infuse flavor)

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

4 cremini mushrooms, chopped

1 cup yellow onion, diced

1-2 cloves garlic, minced (depending how much you love garlic)

2 cups shredded cheese (we like Mexican blend, but a Colby or mild cheddar are also tasty)

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground pepper

dash of red pepper flake (optional)

1 tbls olive oil, plus a little more 

Instructions:  

Preheat oven to 400.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook for two minutes. Add garlic and cook for a minute longer. Add mushrooms and continue to saute until the veggies have softened. Remove from heat.

Combine cooked rice, veggies, seasonings and a 1-1 1/2 cups of the cheese. Mix and taste. Adjust seasonings as necessary. 

Massage outside of bell peppers with a little olive oil to coat. Fill with the rice and veggie mix and place in a baking dish. Sprinkle the tops of the peppers with the remaining cheese. 

Bake until the peppers are tender and the cheese bubbly (about 30 mins). Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

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