Thursday, September 28, 2017

FIVE Yummy yet Easy Fall Desserts plus a chance to WIN!


This post is in partnership with Cost Plus World Market. All opinions are mine alone. All images are used with permission from Cost Plus World Market

All you need to whip up some AMAZINGGGG Fall desserts, plus an awesome contest to win gift cards totalling a whooping $4500!

It is Fall and we are quickly inching towards the Holiday season. Plus, it is time for colorful trees, beautiful views and cozy evenings. We love Fall and all things associated with the season, especially the evenings where we get together and enjoy some warm soup, a hearty meal and some delicious desserts.


When I discuss this with my friends, they often point out how easy it is for me as a blogger to whip up unique desserts with confidence that it will turn out well. A part of that is attributed to the fact that I do bake a lot and part that they sometimes praise me even for a strictly okay dessert :) 

That said, I would say it is not very taxing to make Fall special desserts for your family and friends if you make just ONE trip to your local Cost Plus World Market. I recently walked into the Mountain View, CA store and was amazed at the collection they have for Fall. Find your closest store here. From Thanksgiving Entertaining and Food to Halloween Decoration and Entertaining; they have it ALL!! 

I foresee this Holiday season as a super busy one for our family. We have multiple trips coming up, loads of parties and a ton of get togethers. Plus I have a lot going on for the blog as well. So I wanted some simple desserts that I could make for my guests and boy, look what I found! From Pumpkin Brownie Mix and Cranberry Scones to Panettone and Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Cupcakes, they have all the mixes. Besides, I picked up my all time favorite Classic Crème Brûlée too! 

Just getting the mixes does not solve the dessert problem right? You need the right pans, trays and blending devices too. And I have great news, these are available in the Cost Plus World Market stores as well! Wondering what I love? Here are my favorites: Aqua Scone Pan for my Cranberry Scones, Gold Non Stick Baking tray for Pumpkin Brownies, Gold Textured Muffin pan that are perfect for Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Cupcakes and the not to miss Ceramic Ramekins for the Classic Crème Brûlée.  Plus, I got a Copper Whisk and a White Spatula to help me do the task right! 



Now we have everything for making the desserts; the boxes of unique desserts that can be whipped up in a jiffy and the required tools and bakeware. If we are making such wonderful desserts, we MUST serve them in something that is super classy and makes the desserts look even more beautiful right? For that, there is these: Cherry Blossom PlatesTwig Cutlery, Buffet NapkinsGold and Marble Cake Pedestals or White Porcelain Cake Stand


With all these in your kitchen, I bet you will have a great Holiday season and surprise your friends and family with some wonderful desserts! Looking for more? Yes there is something in store for you!! Read on! 

Bonus for Herbivore Cucina Fans!!
Cost Plus World Market in association with Quikly is giving away gift cards and coupons to the store. Wondering what Quikly is? This is a marketing platform that rewards people who act QUICKLY. Sign up HERE to opt into the campaign.


Cost Plus World Market is celebrating the season by giving away $4,500 worth of World Market gift cards. Sign up HERE and share the campaign with friends and family. If they opt in, we'll send you an early notification letting you know when the 67 gift cards and special offers will go up for grabs so you can be ready to act fast.

So set your alarms, ask your spouse and kids to remind you or mark your calendars. Do all you need to remember when to log in and get your share of $4500!  The FASTEST 2 people will get a $500 Cost Plus World Market GC, 3rd-7th FASTEST will get a $250 Cost Plus World Market GC, the 8th-17th FASTEST will get a $100 Cost Plus World Market GC and 18th-67th FASTEST will get a $25 Cost Plus World Market GC.


Yes, that will be an awesome treat to you and your family. Don't forget to sign in HERE. Get all you need from the store and have a great Fall!

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Looking for more Fall desserts? These are tailor-made for you: 
Eggless Mini Bundt Cake Pumpkins




     


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Begun Bhaja | Pan-fried Eggplant Fritters

A super delicious recipe using eggplants; these Begun Bhaja are pan fried in just a little oil and work perfect as side dishes or appetizers!


Durga Puja is here and how I miss those days from India! Festival after Festival are passing us by as we rush towards the most exciting few months of the year! For those not familiar with the festival, Durga Puja is an Indian festival of Goddess Durga that is celebrated during this time. 

Originally from Kolkata, this festival is celebrated all over the country and even in many parts of the world. People bring home an idol of the Goddess, worship it through the festival and immerse the idol into the ocean on the last day, Dussehra. 

Wondering what a recipe has to do with this festival? The answer is simple, Bengalis LOVE their food and have a rich heritage of super delicious recipes, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian. From the list of their recipes, there are a select few that are made during the Puja and enjoyed by all folks, Bengali or not. 


The most delicious dish (in my opinion) is their Roasted Moong Dal Khichuri, an amazing lentil and rice dish that has some vegetables for flavor and taste. Besides that they generally serve this dish, Begun Bhaja. Begun is essentially eggplant and Bhaja is fritters. 

However, some places serve a non deep fried version of the fritter, that is made on a tava or pan. These pan fried slices of eggplant are super yummy when served with Khichuri. Another dish that is served is a mashed potato dish that has salt, dried red chilli sauteed in sesame oil and mashed potato. 


If you have ever visited a Durga Puja anywhere in the world, you probably know what I am talking about. Even if you haven't, these dishes are super easy to make and taste awesome all year round! 

The best part about these fritters is that they are non fried. They are ready in no time and need just 3-4 tbsp oil to make a plate full! Yet they are crispy as they are thin and add a perfect texture to the smooth khichuri. 


Variations

I have had different types of fritters at various places; some vertically sliced eggplants, some large rounds and some deep fried. They all taste equally yum but I am particularly in love with these in the recipe.

I chose the slimmest of the eggplants as they tend to have the minimum seeds. Plus, select an eggplant with just a dot at the bottom instead of the dash to get minimum seeds. 

If you like a fleshy version of the fritters, make thick slices and pan fry them for a little longer. If you like a version with more flour, mix some water in the flour and dip the eggplants in them. These will come out best if you deep fry them. Besides, the same recipe can be used to make potato bhaja using thin slices of potato. 


Pin for Later


Ingredients

Eggplant 1-2 medium
Gram Flour/Besan 1/4 cup
Salt 1 tbsp
Turmeric Powder 1 tsp
Red Chilli Powder 1/2 tsp
Oil 3-4 tbsp


Method

Wash and slice the eggplant into thin slices. In a bowl add the slices, turmeric and salt. Mix well and rest for 15-20 minutes. 

Place the besan flour mixed with chilli powder in a plate. Heat a pan or tava and keep ready. Remove the slices from the salt and turmeric mixture and roll in the flour. 

Place the slices on the tava and cook covered for 3-4 minutes. Turn over and add more oil if required. Cook covered for another 5-6 minutes and remove. 

Serve it with this Roasted Moong Dal Khichuri, roasted papad and mashed potato mixed with some sesame oil and red chilli. 





Monday, September 25, 2017

Garlic Cheese Bread Bombs




A bread filled with the flavors of garlic and stuffed with MOLTEN CHEESE, this appetizer or snack is perfect with a bowl of Fall soup!



We are officially in Fall and the season of delicious soups, cozy blankets and lots of Cider is here. Whenever I make soups, I like to make a different bread recipe to go with it. Keeping in mind the calorie count for dinner, I generally make a 'healthy' bread with fully loaded soups like Broccoli Cheddar Soup and breads with a lot of indulgence with skinny soups like Vegetable Clear soup. 

The last week has been so crazy with me trying to finish off a lot of pending tasks, that I realized I haven't made a single bread for days. I last made the Pretzels at the beginning of the month and none since. So I decided to make this bread which was on my mind for a long time! 



Besides, the last couple of months have been pretty crazy here in US. Not only is this a recipe post, this one also explains how we can help our fellow Americans by doing our bit for everyone. 

In the last couple of months, Hurricane Harvey and Irma have affected various parts of the country and caused a lot of devastation. Homes torn apart, lives lost and displaced and lots of infrastructure damaged. There have been tons of people who reached out to help the areas affected. 



While a lot of people cannot make it there to help in person, there are tons of organizations that are helping the affected. And if one can help out from the comfort of their hometown, they should do it. Click HERE for more details.

One such initiative is by Real California Milk. The process is really simple. Spot the 'California Milk' seal on dairy products at your grocery store, snap a picture and share it in Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #SealsForGood. For EVERY share, the organization will donate $5 (upto $20k) to Great American Milk Drive. No purchase required and photos can be shared till 12/31. I would urge each one of you to do your bit in this.



Coming back to the recipe, this bread is super delicious. I have made a lot of stuffed breads, but this one is my FAVORITE! The bread dough is the basic bread recipe just like most other breads I have posted in the past. However, this filling is SUPER EASY, just a block of cheese! And when you open up the bread, you can see the cheese come away in strings, just like the ads and videos you must have seen around! 

When I made this bread and shot it, I loved the way the molten cheese oozes out of the bread! The filling is super yummy, especially on a cold Fall night along with a bowl of warm soup. The bread is my latest favorite and I cannot wait to make this again with a bowl of Tomato Soup. 



Plus, this bread is great as an appetizer too. Though the cheese solidifies on cooling, it makes a great snack by just heating the bread for 30 seconds in the microwave or for a few minutes in a preheated oven. The breads will definitely be a great snack for kids and adults alike! 

So head straight to the recipe and yes, do not forget to post a #SealsForGood on Facebook and Instagram.



Pin for Later




Ingredients


For the Bread
All purpose Flour 3 cups
Instant Dry Yeast 2 1/4 tsp (1 sachet)
Warm Water 1 cup
Real California Unsalted Butter 3 tbsp
Salt 2 tsp
Sugar 1 tsp
Real California Cheese block 1 ( I used Pepper Jack)
Milk 2 tbsp (optional) 

For the Garlic Butter
Real California Unsalted Butter 4 tbsp
Parsley 1/4 cup, minced
Garlic 3-4 cloves, minced
Dried Oregano 1 tsp




Method


In a cup of warm water add 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp sugar. Mix well and add yeast. Mix and let it bloom for 10-15 minutes.

In the base of a stand mixer or in a large bowl add flour, bloomed yeast, unsalted butter and remaining salt.

Mix well to a soft dough. Spread some oil or butter on top and rest covered for 1-1 1/2 hour till the dough doubles.



While the dough doubles, make the garlic butter. To do so, mix all the ingredients under garlic butter. Melt butter if needed. Plus, cut the cheese block into 1 inch pieces.

Remove dough and divide into equal size parts. I made 15 breads using this proportion. Roll out the dough into a 3-4 inch disc. Spread a little garlic butter and place a cheese cube. Fold the sides of the dough and make a smooth ball.



Place all the balls in a pan, leaving some space in between. Cover and let rise for another hour.  



Once it rises, preheat oven to 400F/ 200C. Spread some garlic butter on the breads, sprinkle some cheese on top. If you like, brush milk on top. This is optional. 

Bake for 15-18 minutes, till the tops are golden brown. Remove and serve with some garlic butter on the side. I served mine with some garlic sauteed brussel sprouts! 




And yes, don't forget to share your posts on Facebook and Instagram. Click HERE for more details.




Monday, September 18, 2017

25+ Must-Have Spooky Halloween Treats

A must have collection of treats that are PERFECT for Halloween and beyond! Are you ready for all the spooky recipes?

September is racing by and w are all getting ready for Halloween! With parties planned, menu designed and preparations on; everyone needs this list of 25+ recipes that are made for Halloween! With contributions from some of my favorite bloggers, this collective is all you need for all your planning! 


To get the recipe, click on the title of the recipe or the image! Have a great time reading all these! 


The starting point of all things Halloween, this Fake blood is perfect for decorating desserts or for getting ready for the Holiday! 




Aren't these cupcakes just super adorable?! Plus, they’re vegan, incredibly chocolatey, and pretty easy to make! 



A seven ingredient recipe that comes together in 15 minutes; yet super delicious and perfect for Halloween! 



These adorable Apple Mummies are such an easy, healthy Halloween treat! Your little ghosties will gobble them up! A perfect fruit snack for Halloween parties, spook-tacular fruit trays, or a fun October after-school nibble! 




Vampire bite cupcakes are perfect for Halloween or watching your favorite scary movies! These cupcakes are filled with strawberry jam to scare everyone that takes a bite!



If you’re entertaining this Halloween or just need a tasty snack while you’re trick or treating, this Halloween popcorn is easy to make and the orange and black bring a spooky look to your food. No tricks, just treats.



Vegan Pumpkin Frosted Chocolate Cupcakes with Bat Bites

These super cute cupcakes are a healthier, vegan holiday-inspired dessert. The pumpkin spiced frosting is made from whipped coconut cream and real pumpkin purée. Plus, the cupcakes are rich and chocolatey! 




Super cute kiwis shaped as Frankenstein; these are ready in under 30 minutes and are perfect for Halloween! BOO!! 



Scare up some smiles this Halloween with these Easy Meringue Ghosts Cookies! Make these hauntingly delicious Meringue Ghost treats that both your big and little monsters will love.



A creepy no bake dessert that is perfect for Halloween! You need these for your upcoming party folks! 



Bloody Beet Bowls (aka chocolate cups brimming with white chocolate and beet pudding) are PERFECT for the upcoming Holiday season! Are you making these for Halloween??

 

These Peanut butter cup spider cookies are a fun, homemade treat for Halloween. Adorable peanut butter cup spiders sit on top of soft, chewy peanut butter cookies.



A spooktacular and delicious Halloween treat that’s easy and fun to make. These can be made 2 days in advance and this recipe makes 12.




Chocolate Peanut Butter Pumpkins. A scarily good Halloween treat, dark chocolate pumpkin shells filled with salty and sweet peanut butter.



Spooky Red Velvet Cupcakes
Make Halloween spooky with eggless Red Velvet Cupcakes. Topped with vanilla cream and fake edible blood, these are super easy to make. These are MADE for Halloween! 




This super awesome turmeric bark has just TWO ingredients and is ready in SEVEN minutes. You need these for Halloween right?




Perfect Halloween treats made from cereal and peanut butter; these are perfect for your Halloween table this year!




Can you wrap your head around eating gory brain food jello for Halloween? Try not to 'think' about it too much, and you’ll be just fine. 



These Halloween Orange Scream Pudding Cups are the perfect treat for your little goblins! They are super easy to make (the kids could even make them themselves!) and they are also super tasty too! These would be a great Halloween party idea too!




An easy to make yet super delicious Halloween bark. You need this for Halloween!!




The drink that is MADE for Halloween! If you can get your hands on Blood Oranges, this will be super awesome for Halloween!



Chocolate Dipped Caramel Rice Crispy Treats

Rice crispy treats are delicious as is, but if you want to take them up a notch…swap out the marshmallows for caramel. It’s as simple as that and they are decadently delicious!And then if you want be really crazy, dip them in chocolate and decorate them for Halloween. 




If you’re planning a Halloween or Fall-themed party, you’ll want a sweet treat that fits in with the theme. These festive Halloween Cupcakes fit the bill! Plus, they are very simple to make. 




A spooky yet healthy snack for Halloween, this is PERFECT for Halloween!! Are you making these bananas or not? 




This is the perfect Halloween Frozen Oreo Pudding Cake because it’s just like an ice cream cake that doesn’t melt! That makes it ideal to put out at your party without the worry that it will be a puddle in a few minutes time! Plus it tastes SO good!




Who needs a yummy bread for Halloween?? You need this recipe to make your Halloween spooky and yummy! 




Easy Halloween Fudge requires no stove-top prep. In fact, it's ready in under 10 minutes and has only 6 ingredients. How will you decorate your batch?



Can witch fingers be made eggless?? Yes sure! You need this recipe to make them. A Halloween classic, this recipe never goes out of trend!