White Chocolate Crème Brûlée

Friday, March 29, 2013

I always thought making crème brûlée was too hard and complicated but I was so wrong! It's not only easy but delicious and kind of fancy (at least I think so). This was a completely hit with my family and also made me feel proud of my baking skills! Also, I think it's perfect to serve at Easter or any other party and if you want to make it the night before you can.Take a look:

Recipe by Ghirardelli

Ingredients (makes 6 small or 4 large):
4 egg yolks, at room temperature
1 bar (4 oz.) Ghirardelli white chocolate baking bar, chopped into small pieces
1/3 cup plus 6 teaspoons sugar
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a bowl, whisk egg yolks ans 1/3 cup sugar together until smooth, set aside. In a small pot, bring whipping cream to a simmer over medium-high heat. Add chocolate to simmering whipping cream, turn off heat and then whisk until melted. Slowly add chocolate mixture to egg mixture, whisking continuously until smooth. Whisk in vanilla. Pour into ramekins. Place ramekins in 9"x13" baking pan or broiler pan. Add enough water so the ramekins sit in 1-1 1/2" of water. Bake until set, about 45 minutes. Sprinkle each ramekin with 1 teaspoon sugar and broil until caramelized. Serve and enjoy! 

Arroz Doce (Rice Pudding)

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The other day I was craving for something sweet but I didn't know what to make. I didn't have a lot of ingredients at home because I needed it to go grocery shopping but since I always have rice, milk and eggs at home, it was the perfect combination and day to make rice pudding. Take a look:

Recipe by Sweet Caroline

1 cup white rice
2 cups water
4 1/2 cups whole milk
2 eggs 
2 cups sugar
2-3 tablespoons ground cinnamon

In a large pot, add the rice and water over medium/high heat. Let the rice cook until tender, if rice isn't completely cooked just add more water and cook until tender. Meanwhile, in a bowl, add the eggs and sugar and beat together, set aside. When the rice is tender and the water has completely dried, stir in the milk. Once it reaches a boil, lower the heat. Using a ladle, pour a small amount of milk into the bowl with the eggs and sugar mixture to temper. Stir in the mixture into the rice pot, let it cook until it becomes thick and creamy. Turn off the heat. Pour into a serving dish and allow to get cooler. Sprinkle cinnamon on top. Serve either warm or cold. Enjoy!

Chicken, Chickpea and Spinach Soup

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I've been under a cold for the past few days, I hate being sick and the only thing that cheers me up is a good tasty bowl of soup. I created this soup with simple ingredients from my pantry, I always have couple cans of chickpeas on hand and decided to make a soup around my favorite ingredient. Take a look:

Recipe by Sweet Caroline

1 boneless chicken breast, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1/2 white onion, diced
2 roma tomatoes, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups baby spinach
2 cans (15 oz each) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup small shell pasta
3 1/2 cups water
2 bay leaves
1 chicken flavor bouillon
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
Salt and pepper

In a blender, puree half of the chickpeas with 1 cup of water. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium/high heat. Add garlic and chicken, let it cook until chicken is no longer pink. Add the onions, carrot and tomatoes and cook until vegetables start to soften. Stir in the remaining water, pureed chickpeas, whole chickpeas, bay leaves, chili powder, bouillon, small shell pasta, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 10-15 minutes. Add the spinach to the pot, simmer until spinach wilts and pasta is cooked. Remove bay leaves and adjust seasoning if necessary. Serve and enjoy.

Breakfast Series: Mushroom & Egg Toast

Monday, March 25, 2013

I think by now you know I'm very much a breakfast type of person, when I have the time at least. I'm always looking for new ways to jazz up my morning meals and start my day with a great meal. I found this recipe flipping through a magazine and decided to give a try since it looked so good. Take a look:

Recipe by Every Day with Rachael Ray Magazine

1/4 cup olive oil
1 (10 oz.) package sliced mushrooms
4 slices bread
4 eggs
4 tablespoons parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium/high heat. Add mushrooms and cook until tender and browned. Meanwhile, toast the bread and set aside. Fry eggs. Season mushrooms, place toast on the plate and divide mushrooms among toast slices. Top each with a fried egg and sprinkle with chopped parsley. Season with salt and pepper to your likeness. Serve and enjoy!

Pepper Jack & Avocado Grilled Cheese

Friday, March 22, 2013

Recipe by Sweet Caroline

2 slices whole wheat bread
1/2 ripe avocado, cut into slices
4 slices pepper jack cheese
1-2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

Butter one each side of bread slices, place one slice buttered side down. Arrange the cheese, avocado slices and more cheese, top with the second slice of bread, buttered side up. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and place the sandwich. Cook for a couple of minutes on each side until golden brown and the cheese has melted. Serve hot and enjoy. 

Conscious Box Review and Giveaway!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Recently, I had the opportunity to review a Conscious Box and even did a giveaway at the blog about two weeks. I was really excited when I received it in the mail and I was a little surprised at its size because I thought the box was bigger! But once I opened it, it was packed with so many great things and it didn't disappoint me. I think the whole idea of receiving a surprise box in the mail every month is really fun and Conscious Box is full of the purest, most natural and sustainable products on the planet.

I chose the Classic box to review, it came with a variety of products ranging from teas to quinoa food bars and cough syrup. Here's the list of what came in my box:

- Chef Sleeve (Disponsible iPhone Sleeves): These are perfect for people who love to cook while looking for a recipe on the phone, the sleeve protects the phone from getting dirty. This is perfect for me! And it's 100% recyclable.
- Wheatgrass Energy Boost Drink
- Two Degrees Food Bar (2) 
- OldeMan Granola
- SmartyPants Gummy Vitamins (For Grownups and Kids - 2)
- Nektar Honey Crytals (100% all natural granulated honey - 2)
- Zarbees All Natural Cough Syrup
- Stash Organic Herbal Tea (2)
- Motherlove Diaper Rash Cream (for babies)

I loved all the products, it had a little bit of everything that I like in particular. I liked very much the honey crystals, teas, food bars and the chef sleeve. If you're looking to discover new natural products, gluten-free or vegan, this is a great way to do it.

All right, here's another great chance to win a 3-Month Conscious Box Subscription. So, don't miss out this great opportunity! They're also offering Sweet Caroline's Corner readers a 50% OFF discount for any Conscious Box subscription. Just use the code: DISCOVERNATURAL

* Giveaway open to U.S. residents only *

Breakfast Series: Breakfast Burrito

Tired of the same old breakfast, try the breakfast burrito and I'm sure you're going to love it! Take a look:

Recipe by Sweet Caroline

Ingredients (makes 2 burritos):
2 flour tortillas
2 eggs
2 ham slices
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1-2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon parsley, finely chopped
Salt and pepper

In a bowl, beat eggs and milk together. Add parsley, salt and pepper; mix well. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium/high heat. Add the egg mixture, cook and stir until eggs are firm. Remove from heat. Warm flour tortillas. Arrange the ham slices on the warmed tortillas, spoon scrambled eggs and top with some cheese. Fold into burritos and serve. Enjoy!

Tilapia with Coconut Sauce

Monday, March 18, 2013

I love one pot meals because they're easy to make and takes little effort but yet full of flavor. This dish is exactly like that, simple ingredients with so much flavor. The key ingredient for this dish is definetly the coconut milk, adds a subtle but important taste to the overall dish. Happy cooking!

Recipe by Sweet Caroline
1 pound tilapia fillets, fresh or thawed
1 white onion, thinly sliced
1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
2 plum tomatoes, diced
1/2 cup tomato sauce or 2 tablespoons  tomato paste
1 cup water
1 can (13.5 oz) coconut milk
salt and pepper

In a big saucepan, heat oil on medium/high . Add the the onion and bell pepper, sauté for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and sauté for another minute. Stir in tomato sauce and water, bring to a boil. Stir the coconut milk and bring to a boil again. Season with salt and pepper. Add the tilapia fillets, gently pushing them into sauce. Simmer for about 5 minutes or until fish is cooked and opaque. Adjust the seasoning if needed. Serve warm with some white rice. Enjoy.

Oatmeal, Strawberry & Banana Parfait

Friday, March 15, 2013

I think a great way to jump start your day is by eating a great oatmeal parfait. This recipe was created by Carine (my sister), the recipe is great, simple, fast and delicious! Take a look:

Parfait in french means perfect and it really is perfect!

1/2 cup raw oatmeal
1/2 cup peach yogurt
1/2 cup of heavy cream
1/2 cup strawberries, chopped
1/2 cup bananas, sliced

In a bowl, beat the heavy cream until it becomes whipped cream. In a tall glass, arrange a little bit of oatmeal at the bottom, add the peach yogurt, whipped cream, strawberries and bananas. Continue to alternate the layers until it reaches the top of the glass. Serve and enjoy!

A few tips:
- you can use any yogurt that you like
- the same goes for the fruits, just get creative
- you can substitute the heavy cream, for sugar free whipped topping

Peppery Potato Soup (Crock Pot)

Thursday, March 14, 2013

 I love to eat soups during the cold season, there's nothing better than soup to warm the soul and comfort the belly. This peppery potato soup is so easy to make, just to everything the crock pot and forget about it. Now, that is pretty easy, isn't? Take a look:

Recipe by Sweet Caroline

2 cans (14 1/2 ounces each) chicken broth
6 small baking potatoes; peeled, halved and sliced
1 large onion, quartered and sliced
3 stalks celery, sliced
1/4 cup flour
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream
4 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled

Combine broth, potatoes, onion, celery, flour, pepper and salt in the crock pot; mix well. Cover; cook on high for 2 hours. Once it has cooked for 2 hours, stir in the heavy cream. Cover and let cook for one more hour. Remove the lid, slightly crush potato mixture with potato masher and let it cook for uncovered for an additional 30 minutes or slightly thickened. Garnish with crumbled bacon. Serve and enjoy!

Tips to Encourage Your Kids to Read

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I love to read, I love books and I try my fair share to encourage my kids to love it as well and be interested in books too. I believe that encouraging them from an early age is very healthy and you don't have to over do it, here are a few tips that worked for me and my family and I think it should work for you too.

 1. Start Small: I would show Sophia a picture book when she was just about 8-9 months, of course she would just look and point at things but I did this for at least a couple of minutes everyday in order to get her attention. As she got older, I started to get more books and I would always pick one with a familiar  character, such: Olivia or Max & Ruby since they're her favorites.

(Sophia just about 8-9 months with a little picture book)

2. Take Trips to Your Local Library: Visit your local library as often as possible and make it a fun trip for your toddler. I'm very lucky because our local library always has fun activities and story time for the kids. I take Sophia every Wednesday to the library for story time and it's really fun, they read 3-4 books to the kids, sing songs and there's even a puppet show. Now, every time I say that we're going to the library, she loves it!

3. Read with Your Kids: I always try my best to make time to read with Sophia and if she loves the book, she always asks me to read lots of times during the week with her. I try to make it into a everyday routine that way she can get used to, but I love when she asks me out of the blue. So, always make time to read with your kids because it's worth every minute of it.

Here are just some of Sophia's favorite books:
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Olivia Counts by Ian Falconer
Dr. Meow's Big Emergency by Sam Lloyd

Happy Reading!

♥ ♥ 

Breakfast Series: Egg White & Spinach Omelet

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

This is a great recipe to start your morning. I love every kind of omelet, but since I''m trying to eat more healthy, I decided to do an egg white omelet instead to cut out some calories. It's really simple to make and you can add any type of veggies that you like. Take a look:

Recipe by Sweet Caroline
3 egg whites
1 cup of baby spinach
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper

In a bowl, beat together the egg whites with the salt and pepper and set it aside. Over medium heat, add the olive oil into a nonstick skillet and cook the spinach until wilted. Then add the egg whites and cook the omelette for about three minutes on medium heat.

Shrimp Creole (Crock Pot)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Last week the weather changed quite a bit, it was very cold. I remembered seeing Paula Deen making this dish and thought it would be perfect for the cold weather, and trust me, it was!

I love how easy it is to make, just put everything in the crock pot and forget it for about 3 hours. That's pretty easy!

I've adapted this recipe, you can find the original here.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup white onion, diced
1/2 cup celery,
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon hot sauce
Salt and pepper
2 (12oz each) frozen shrimp (thawed, peeled and deveined)
Pre-heat crock pot on high. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium/high heat. Add peppers, onion and celery. Cook until softened. Add the chili powder and saute until caramelized. Remove from heat and pour into crock pot. Stir in the tomatoes, hot sauce, salt and pepper. Cook for 3 hours on high. Add shrimp and cook for about 3 minutes. Serve over white rice. Enjoy.

Take a Break & Breathe

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Life lately has been quite busy and a little chaotic at times. 
Things have been off track, 
my long do to list gets bigger by the minute, 
keeping the house clean and organize has been a challenge, 
and chasing my two toddlers around the house...
let's just say is my workout for day, actually everyday.

I don't know about about you but 
sometimes I just feel so overwhelmed! 
Let's be honest, being a mom and a wife is a big juggling act 
while keeping the second act going too, 
I'm talking about being the everyday chef, 
the magician that makes the laundry surprisingly disappear
every week, 
the educator and example to your kids - get the picture?

As overwhelming as it is,
I've to remind myself to take a break and breathe
and breathe again.
A little time to adjust is so necessary,
time to put the brain back together and not go crazy altogether.
And it's ok if dinner doesn't get done on time,
if the laundry doesn't magically disappear or everything on the
to do list doesn't get checked off.
I've to constantly remind myself that I'm not perfect,
that's ok too and life goes on,
regardless of what happens everyday.

Take a Break 


Everyday, I've been practicing the "take a break and breathe"
and guess what? It worked and it has been working for me,
to my surprise I even got to read and finish a book in about a week!
That's really good folks 'cause I can't even tell when was the last
time I was able to read a book and actually finish it.

So, just remember to just take a minute to yourself.
Time to gather your thoughts,
and not go completely crazy.
Just breathe and you'll be fine.

♥ ♥ 

Breakfast Series: Poached Egg with Avocado & Toast

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

I was little skeptical about the combination of an egg and avocado, but I must confess that I found the combination quite tasty! I don't really have a recipe to share but just a method of doing poached egg. Take a look:

1 egg
1 bread slice (your favorite)
Avocado slices
Salt and pepper
A dash of vinegar

Pour three to four inches of water into a big pot. Add vinegar, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer. Crack egg into a cup. Using a spoon, start to swirl the water in the pot and drop the egg right in the middle of the whirling water.  Remove egg with a slotted spoon after three minutes. Arrange avocado slices on the bread and right on top with the poached egg. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

3-Month Conscious Box Subscription Giveaway

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Conscious Box
Conscious Box is a monthly subscription service that delivers the purest and most natural products on the planet, right to your doorstep! They only work with the most ethical companies that support organic, fair trade, and sustainability int their business practices!

They offer a variety of products from natural beauty products to health food and non-toxic home goods, they even offer vegan and gluten-free boxes to make it easier on your diet and avoid allergies, you'll be able to find better alternatives for all areas of your life.


Conscious Box is being very generous and will be giving one of you a 3-month Conscious Box subscription for free, that's a $59 value! How awesome! You'll be able to enjoy new free products for 3 months! 

And there's more! They're also offering Sweet Caroline's Corner readers a 50% OFF discount for any Conscious Box subscription. Just use the code: BECONSCIOUS

* Giveaway open to U.S. residents only *

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