(Crock Pot) Banana Bread

Thursday, February 28, 2013

The things I learn from Pinterest, I must say! Who knew you can actually bake with a crock pot. The recipe is quite easy and effortless, the banana bread is really moist and delicious. Take a look:

Recipe by Sweet Caroline

1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
3 ripe bananas, mashed
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
A pinch of salt

Warm crock pot. In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt, set aside. In another bowl, beat sugar and eggs until creamy. Add butter and beat again. Stir in the mashed bananas. Gradually add flour mixture until well incorporated. Pour batter into a warm and buttered crock pot, cover and cook on high for 1 1/2 hours or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Turn it off and let it cool before inverting onto a serving platter. Serve and enjoy!

Enjoy eShakti Special Discount

Wednesday, February 27, 2013


eShakti is a great online boutique that offers full customization on any dress,
so there's a perfect fit for everybody. 
I even did a review of one of their dresses,

eShakti was very kind enough to exclusively 
create a 20% OFF discount for the readers of Sweet Caroline's Corner 
when they shop at eShakti.

Just use the code SWEETCRLNE and get 20% OFF - valid from 02/26/13 thru 03/10/13.

Give yourself the gift of customization and have fun shopping!
Be sure to check it out their Spring collection,
everything looks gorgeous.

~ ~ ~

Note: (*conditions apply)
Code has to be entered in the 'Promotional Code' box. No Minimum Order Value. The discount code is not case sensitive. The code can be used any number of times until the validity period. This code can be clubbed with any other gift coupon or gift card in the same order. This discount code is not applicable on our Overstock category. Not applicable on previous purchases.

Breakfast Series: Egg in a Nest

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Egg in a Nest is a classic breakfast and also known as egg in a basket, egg in a hole, bird in a nest and other variations too. I think it's a great alternate way to serve egg and toast, plus it looks pretty on the plate. Take a look:

Recipe by Sweet Caroline

Ingredients (serves one):
1 egg
1 slice of bread (I used whole wheat)
1-2 tablespoons of butter

Cut a shape out of the piece of bread, I simply used a knife to make a square shape but if you want to get creative just use a cookie cutter. In a non-stick skillet over medium heat, melt the butter. Place the bread in the pan, crack the egg in the hole. Let it cook until the bread it's lightly fried and the egg until set. I usually like an over-easy egg, I just flip the bread and egg and let it cook for a minute on the other side. Serve and enjoy!

DIY Project: Marshmallow Pops

Friday, February 22, 2013

Here's a great sweet treat to serve any party, this was a hit with the kids at Ian's birthday party. It's extremely easy to make and the result looks amazing. Take a look:

Recipe by Sweet Caroline
Regular marshmallows
1 lb. bag of chocolate wafers, any color (I used red and yellow for my party)
Treat bags
Lollipop sticks
Colorful ribbons

Stick the lollipop sticks in each marshmallow and set it aside. Melt the chocolate wafer in the microwave or according to package directions. Dip the marshmallow in the chocolate and stick in the foam until it's completely dry. Cover with the treat bag and wrap with a colorful ribbon.

* Tip *: for more of a festive look, try some colorful sprinkles. I'm sure they'll look even more prettier.

A Barnyard Birthday Party

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Last month, 
we threw a little birthday party at our home 
to celebrate Ian's 1st birthday, 
we had a wonderful time with family and friends. 
Take a look:

How cute is the cake?
I had spent the night before setting up the decorations in our dinning room 
with the help from my sister... 

...and a few friends helped by making sweet treats and filling balloons, 
I also made some delicious marshmallow pops (I'll do a DIY project soon about it) 
to give to the kids along with the favor bags.

I've to say that Sophia enjoyed the party more than Ian, he took a little nap
during the party before waking up for us to sing Happy Birthday to him.
But after all, everyone had a pretty good time!

Breakfast Series: Strawberry Scones

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

I love cooking but baking on the other hand makes me kind of nervous. To me, cooking is more of a freestyle and baking is knowing the formula more than anything else. That's why I feel a little intimated by baking, I'm always looking for the easiest and simplest recipes.

I found this strawberry scone recipe and thought to myself: "I think I can make this" and surely, I did! I was so impressed with myself and with my baking skills. When the scones came out of the oven looking beautifully, I did my happy dance (I usually do my happy dance when something good happens!). And let me tell you, it was good!

So, continuing with the breakfast series, I think scones are perfect to serve for breakfast and this recipe I found at Family Fun and adapted to my own needs. Take a look:

1 cup hulled and finely diced fresh strawberries
2 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar, plus a little for sprinkling
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Heat your oven to 425ºF. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set the baking sheet aside.
2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
3. Cut in the butter with two butter knives or a pastry blender until the flour-coated pieces are the size of peas. Add the strawberries, tossing them gently with a fork to coat them.
4. Make a well in the mixture. Blend the 1/2 cup of light cream and the vanilla extract in a measuring cup and pour them into the well. Using as few strokes as possible, gently stir the dough until it forms a ball. Let the dough sit for 1 minute.
5. Clean and flour your hands and dust your work surface with flour. Place the dough on the floured surface and knead it gently three or four times. Transfer it to the large baking sheet and pat it into an 8-inch circle. Using a lightly oiled pizza cutter or a serrated knife, cut the dough into 8 wedges, as you would a pizza. Use a small spatula or pie server to carefully separate the pieces, leaving at least an inch between them.
6. Brush the tops of the scones with the remaining tablespoon of heavy cream, then sprinkle the surfaces with sugar. Bake the scones until the outsides are crusty and starting to brown, about 18 minutes. Let them cool on the baking sheet for 2 minutes, then slide the parchment and the scones onto a wire rack to cool for another 20 minutes before serving.  Serve and enjoy. 

Apple Strudel Muffins with Crumb Topping

Monday, February 18, 2013

Ingredients for muffins (makes 12):
2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups apples (peeled, cored and chopped)

Ingredients for topping:
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter

Directions for muffins:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together butter, sugar and eggs until smooth. Add the milk and vanilla, beat again. Slowly start adding the flour mixture into the batter until everything is well incorporated. Fold in the apples. Spoon batter into a buttered muffin pan.

Directions for topping:
In a bowl, mix brown sugar, flour and cinnamon. Add butter and mix everything with your fingers until mixture is like coarse crumbs. Sprinkle over the muffin batter before baking. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean. Let it cool before serving. Enjoy!

Happy Baking!

Breakfast Series: Baked Egg

Thursday, February 14, 2013

My favorite meal of the day is breakfast! It's the most important meal of the day and I like to start off my day in the right note. During the weekdays, I usually have my healthy oatmeal (I'll be doing variations with oatmeal in next breakfast series, stay tuned) but on the weekends, I like to eat something different like: eggs, pancakes and so on.

So, I've decided to create a series to feature my favorite meal of the day. I'll do a post every week with something different but breakfast related. Be sure to check it out!

 I'm in a kick lately for baked egg, not only is quick but takes little effort too. Here are the directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Crack an egg into a buttered ramekin, place the ramekin in a cooking sheet and slide into the oven. Bake for about 10 minutes or until whites are set and yolk still runny.

I served my baked egg with bacon, crusty buttered toast, grapes and orange juice. Delish!
Bon Appetit, everyone!

Last Minute Ideas for Valentine's Day

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Here are just some quick ideas for you to do on Valentine's Day. They're quite simple but wonderful and fun ideas to try. The finger puppet is a great craft to do with the kiddos, the ombre ricotta pancakes are not only pretty to look at but also delicious and a fun way to present someone breakfast in bed. And, who doesn't love a pink hot chocolate? It's such a cute idea and warms the soul in this cold weather. (For the craft steps and recipes, just click on the link above on each pictures) Take a look:

                                          Source: 3beespaperie.wordpress.com via 3 Bees Paperie on Pinterest

                                           Source: huff.to via Daphne on Pinterest

                                          Source: abeautifulmess.com via August Bardeaux on Pinterest

Remember, just have fun and share it with someone you love!

♥ ♥ 

Idea for Valentine's Day #2: Homemade Chocolate Lollipops

Friday, February 8, 2013

Who loves to receive chocolate on Valentine's Day? I mean we all do. I love handmade gifts because of all the time and thought someone spent in creating a gift just for you is priceless. Take a look:

1 lb. bag of chocolate candy wafers
Squeeze bottle
Lollipop sticks
Candy mold tray
Treat bags
Colorful ribbon

Arrange the lollipop sticks in the candy mold tray. Fill the squeeze bottle hafway with the chocolate candy wafer and melt the chocolate in the microwave. Pour the chocolate into the tray until it's completely filled. Chill in the refrigerator until chocolate is set. Put the treat bags over the lollipops and tie it with colorful ribbon.

Idea for Valentine's Day #1: Panna Cotta with Cranberry Jelly

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Since Valentine's Day is almost upon us, I decided to a little series of ideas for the special day. I've a great to dessert for you to surprise your Valentine on the special day if you are planning to make a meal at home.

Panna Cotta is an Italian dessert and it means cooked cream. It's fairly easy to make by simply simmering cream, milk and sugar. I love the fact that this dessert is not too sweet but still satisfies my sweet tooth. Take a look:

Recipes adapted from here and here.

Panna Cotta
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups milk + 1/2 cup
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 packets unflavored gelatin

In a saucepan, heat the heavy whipping cream, 1 1/2 cups milk and sugar. Do not boil, just let it simmer until sugar is completely dissolved, add the vanilla extract and remove from heat, reserve. In a bowl, add 1/2 cup milk and sprinkle the gelatin over it and let stand 5-7 minutes. Pour the panna cotta mixture over the gelatin and stir until completely dissolved. Carefully pour the panna cotta into glasses. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 2-4 hours or until they're completely set.

Cranberry Jelly
2 1/3 cups cranberry juice
1/2 cup sugar
3 teaspoons unflavored gelatin

In a saucepan, heat 2 cups cranberry juice and sugar. Do not boil, stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Remove from heat. In a bowl, add the remaining 1/3 cup of cranberry juice and sprinkle the gelatin over it and let stand 5-7 minutes. Pour the warm cranberry and sugar mixture over the gelatin and stir until completely dissolved. Pour the mixture of the cranberry jelly over the set panna cotta and refrigerate for another 2-4 hours or until the jelly is set. Serve and enjoy.

Keep Calm & Ride On...

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

I just couldn't resist this picture of Ian riding his tricycle, an absolutely adorable memory to cherish forever. I can't believe my little baby boy is growing up so much, the baby phase is definitely passing and I can't stop feeling the little knots in much stomach, so much pain.

Pain because I just want to hold on to my kids as much as possible, keep them as they are right now, freeze these moments forever and forget about time. But, time doesn't stop for me or anyone, the best thing I can do is cherish every single thing right now, cherish the good moments and they're lots of them (oh, how I love them!), all the moments for that matter.

And as they grow, I'll tell them stories of how their mom desperately wanted to keep them in her arms  and remember each time she hugged them and even how they smell. For right now, I'll try to keep calm and ride on...feeling a little bit of the growing pains, now I understand the growing pains.

Do you ever feel this way?

♥ ♥ 

Healthy Snack: Chickpea Poppers

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I'm very fond of potatoes chips, but since I'm making an effort to eat healthy, potato chips need to be cut. So, I've found a great substitute for the chips - roasted chickpeas! and I have to say, they're are quite delicious. Take a look:

1 can (15.5 oz) chickpeas, rinsed and completely dry
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
Seasoning of your choice (I used garlic powder and paprika)

Spread the chickpeas evenly on a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil and add seasoning on top, toss everything together. Roast at 400 degrees until crip. Serve and enjoy!

I Am Enough

Friday, February 1, 2013

I got inspired by Little Miss Momma
and decided to do this post and share with everyone.
I'm also linking this post.

I Am Enough.

I am pretty quiet but don't confuse my silence for weakness.

I am kind and try to practice kindness everyday.

I am joyful, peaceful & hopeful 
and wish the world would have more of it.

I make mistakes like everyone does
and try my best to learn from each one of them.
I'm not perfect and that's okay.

I can cry about anything; a good book, film,
beautiful song, watching my kids being happy, like I said anything.

I take nothing for granted, nothing.
I appreciate the little things in life everyday
because in the end, they're the big things in life.

I am loving and nurturing.
I am extremely faithful.
I believe in good things.
I believe in love.
I believe in God above everything else.

I am a wife.
I am a mother.
I am a daughter.
I am a sister.
I am a friend.
I am me.

♥ ♥ 

Homemade Bread

I always wanted to learn how to make bread and I also thought that it was difficult. But after searching the internet I came across this video and recipe, it seemed fairly easy to make and I decided to take this challenge. I wrote the recipe down because the video it's in portuguese. Take a look:

Recipe by Isadora Becker
5 cups all-purpose flour + 2 tbsp
1 tablespoon sugar
1 package of active dry yeast
3 tablespoons of warm water
1 tablespoon of salt
4 tbsp olive oil
3 cups lukewarm water

In a little bowl, mix together the 2 tablespoons of flour, 1 tablespoon of sugar, the yeast and 3 tablespoons of warm water. Cover with plastic and set it aside for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, add the 5 cups of flour and make a well in the middle, sprinkle the salt on the side, in the middle add the fermented yeast (it should like a little sponge), 4 tablespoons of olive oil and the cups of warm water, little by little until everything is well incorporated (mix everything by hand). When the dough doesn't stick to your hands anymore, transfer it to a floured surface  and knead the dough until smooth. Put the dough in a large bowl and drizzle a little olive oil on top and cover with a dish towel for 30 minutes or 1 hour for the dough to rise. Once, the dough has risen, punch the dough a few times, transfer to a floured surface and divide dough into two, knead again and form into two large balls. Make little cuts on top of the dough and sprinkle a little flour on top. Bake in a 380 degrees oven until its golden and when you knock it should sound hollow.
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