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Pumpkin Chia Kisses

10 Nov

I’m in total Thanksgiving mode and because usually is just Mom and me… I decided to make something sweet to end our lunch, but small and cute to sweeten our life without making it too sweet.

That’s how these little Pumpkin Kisses came about…  you could also call them mini-muffins, but the idea of naming them Kisses was too tempting to pass.  They have a pronounced pumpkin and spice flavor with a delicate hint of maple.  I enjoy the frosting to focus on the cheese to balance the sweetness of the little cake itself.

In this recipe I used chia seeds instead of the typical egg-replacer I usually use in my baking recipes.  I had been experimenting with these diminutive seeds and I believe the method I use for this mini muffins is spot on, allowing the seeds to gelatinize in the batter before baking make for spongy little cakes, perfect to enjoy as a dessert, a snack or even breakfast…  such is the life of the food blogger, mmmm!

I bake this recipe in my toaster oven because it’s usually just me testing these recipes and because I only have two small mini muffin pans.  Therefore, I bake this recipe in 2 batches.  The batter will remain perfectly fine while you wait for the first batch to bake.  But if you are a tad inpatient, you can certainly make this in a larger mini muffin pan and turn on your large oven…

Let me know how you enjoy these…

Pumpkin Chia Mini-muffins


1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
½ cup brown sugar
1 ½ tsp baking powder
2 tsp chia seeds
2 tbs butter, melted
2/3 cups milk, I use 2%
1/3 cup fresh pumpkin, steamed and mashed
½ tsp vanilla powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon, plus more for garnish
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg

For the frosting:

½  packet or 4 oz of cream cheese          
4 tbs heavy cream
3 tbs maple syrup
1 tbs brown sugar, optional
  1. In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients – flour, sugar, baking powder and the chia seeds.  Whisk them well to make sure there are no lumps of flour or brown sugar in the mix.
  2. In a measuring cup measure and add the milk, melted butter and mashed pumpkin.  Mix it well to create a homogeneous mixture.
  3. Add it to the dry ingredients and whisk together until all ingredients are well incorporated.  Season mixture with salt, vanilla powder and spices.
  4. Rest the batter at room temperature on your kitchen counter for about 30 minutes.  This will allow the chia seeds to gelatinize inside the batter.
  5. Pre-heat oven to 350F.
  6. Butter the baking pan.  Pour the mixture using a 1tbs measure.  The batter may seem like a lot, but they rise nicely and they will not stick together.
  7. Bake in oven for 10 minutes until the cake has risen and it’s golden on top.  After 10 minutes have elapsed, turn the oven off but do not take the mini muffins out.  Not even open the oven door!! Wait about 20 additional minutes for the mini cakes to complete cooking with the residual heat already in the oven.  The muffins will be a total of 30 minutes in the oven.
  8. Take the mini muffins out of the oven and rest it on a cooling rack so they cool completely.  While the first batch cools, bake the second batch using the same method.
  9. While the mini-muffins rest, prepare the frosting – mixing in a large bowl the cream cheese, heavy cream and maple syrup using an electric hand mixer.  It’s possible the frosting might be a tad soft,  so I place in the fridge while the “kisses”  cool completely.
  10. With an offset spatula, spread the frosting over the kisses and decorate with a light sprinkle of grown cinnamon using a very fine sieve.

Pumpkin Chia mini-muffin

Apple Cranberry Crisp

28 Sep

Apples and cranberries… to me these fruits speak of autumn to me.  They remind me of chilly weather and getting cozy inside when the weather is getting cooler outside.

Trying to work with what nature gives us naturally each season, this is my tribute to those fall flavors I love so much.

Apple Cranberry Dessert with Oatmeal Gluten-free topping


3 large Granny Smith apples, cored and cut into chunks

2 large Gala apples, cored and cut into chunks

½ cup dried cranberries

1 cup cranberry sauce – recipe here

¼ cup cornstarch

1 cup brown sugar

The zest and juice of 1 yellow lemon

A pinch of salt

A pinch of vanilla powder


For the topping:

1 ½ cups of gluten-free flour

1 ½ cups of oatmeal

 1 ½ cups of brown sugar

1 ½ cups slivered almonds

1 ½ sticks of butter – cut into very small pieces

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp vanilla powder


  1. Pre-heat oven to 375F.
  2. In a large glass baking dish, dump the cut apples and mix in the dried cranberries, cranberry sauce, cornstarch, lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and vanilla powder.  Mix well to combine.  Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl mix together the flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, almonds, with the pieces of cold butter.  Using your fingers, or a fork, combine the butter with the rest of the ingredients until it becomes like the consistency of wet sand.
  4. Pour the topping over the apples evenly.  Bake in oven for about 30 minutes…  the apples will bubble and the topping will look cooked and somewhat golden.

I usually turn off the oven and leave it inside until we’re ready to eat… to me, it’s best served warm with a side glass of milk or vanilla ice cream.


Hawaiian Haupia Coconut Custard

11 May

It was tempting to make a Hawaiian-inspired dessert using pineapples… but as I mentioned to you originally, we were instructed by our Guruji to only make one dish with pineapple for the Hawaiian Vegetarian Festival a few weeks ago.

To be honest…  I liked the idea and the challenge, because as I have learned, Hawaiian cooking is much more than about the pineapple.  And just by adding pineapple to something, doesn’t make it Hawaiian, right??  This was a Hawaiian Festival, not a pineapple festival.

A typical Hawaiian dessert is haupia…  very similar to a Puerto Rican tembleque.  To make sure the locals didn’t confuse this Hawaiian dessert with its local “braddah”, as they say in the islands, we added a nice little twist, of lime rind that is and a drizzle of carob syrup.


Coconut Custard Dessert from Hawaii


2 cans of coconut milk or one 25oz can

1 cup of water

6 tbs cornstarch

2/3 cups brown sugar

¼ tsp salt

2 pieces of lime rind


  1. In a large saucepan or small pot at medium high heat, add the coconut milk.  Feel free to use a larger pot than you think you might need so you’ll have enough space to stir the mix.
  2. Add the sugar, salt and lime rinds and stir well with a wooden spoon.
  3. Add 1 cup of water to the cans to “wash them” from any leftover coconut milk.  Add the cornstarch to this water to create a slurry.  Mix well with a small whisk and add to the pot on the stove.
  4. Stir the mixture kinda constantly to avoid the cornstarch to fall to the bottom of the pot and create lumps.  When the mixture feels it’s starting to thicken, lower the heat so the bottom doesn’t scorch.  Continue stirring making a figure 8 until the mixture coats the back of the spoon and when you run your finger thru the coating the side do not come together again.
  5. Transfer individual plastic cups for individual servings.   Make sure you remove the lime rinds.
  6. Allow to slightly cool for about 20 minutes on top of the kitchen counter.  After that, transfer to the fridge to cool and set for about 2 hours.  The final product will set but still be “jiggly” when you shake the mold or cup.
  7. Garnish with a drizzle of carob syrup and a paper umbrella…


Recipe from KarmaFree Cooking

Hawaiian Vegetarian Festival

26 Apr

Manolo gave me a challenge… Why don’t we plan a Vegetarian Festival with the flavors of Hawaii??  Hawaii??  Why??  I asked.   He replied: “Well…  I did this Rice with Pineapple the other day and I think it’s pretty awesome… so I thought it would go well within a Hawaiian-themed festival.”

33  stock-footage-aloha-form-hawaii

Just like Manolo… he gets an idea in his head, and then the rest of the world needs to accommodate to it.   “Oh… and the decorations would look so pretty!!!! Don’t you think, Madelyn??”   And that’s how the idea about this Hawaiian Festival came about.  Because… I have never been to Hawaii, Manolo has never been to Hawaii and the closest we have been to something truly Hawaiian are our friends Kenny and Tim, who one is from Hawaii and the other lives currently in Maui.

Hawaii Festival - ENG

So I went to the internet and social media to gather some ideas of what a traditional Hawaiian Luau would be like and how could I make it into a vegan, gluten-free affair.  My friends were enthusiastic about the idea and recipes started to flow.  What surprised me the most was that many of the ingredients in Hawaiian/Polynesian cuisine are the same as in Puerto Rican cooking – taro root, breadfruit, sweet potatoes… with a few unexpected twists, such as nori, gomasio, rice vinegar, and macadamia nuts…

During the next few weeks I will be sharing with you the menu of this Vegetarian Hawaiian Luau.  But this post will serve as an anchor and summary of all the recipes served that Sunday at the Centro Cultural Yoga Devanand.   Let’s all travel through our taste buds…

Alohas and Mahalo!!!

23  shaka-sign

 Lomi Tomato

Longrice Soup


Tofu Mushroom Poke

Lau Lau

Eggplant Musubi

Roasted Breadfruit with Spices

Haupia with a Carob Drizzle

Banana Mango Bread

Lilikoi and Grapefruit Juice

If I had a Valentine… what would I cook for him?

15 Feb

I love going out to dinner to a nice, fancy restaurant as much as the next girl… especially, if someone special is inviting.  But experience has taught me that on Valentine’s Day or around that date, it’s the WORST TIME to go out to dinner.  There may be some exceptions, of course…  but usually during this time, restaurants are extremely crowded, putting extra pressure on all the staff.

To me,  it’s more romantic to plan something special at home.  Make something you know you’re extremely good at and that you know your partner will love – for the awesome flavors, but also for the effort and care you put into it. Besides, when you have dinner at home… dress code is optional. ;)

Unfortunately, this year, I am spending Valentine’s weekend with a nice construction crew who’s remodeling my tiny, little kitchen into a very chic and modern tiny, little kitchen. And to top it all…  no romantic Valentine for me this year.

But… let’s play pretend.  If I had a romantic Valentine to invite over for dinner, what would I cook for him to let him know how much I care?

This is my menu…

Vegetarian Valentine 2015

Start with a Spinach, Arugula, Figs and Blue Cheese salad with a Balsamic Vinaigrette

Main course would be the exquisite Baked Pasta with 4 Cheeses,  that usually floors anyone who has it for the first time.

On the side, and because we’re in Puerto Rico, I need to have sweet plantains with vanilla and cinnamon.

And for dessert, I would make a batch of Carob Syrup to dip some strawberries in…  I would even add a pinch of cayenne to keep things interesting.


Do you like my menu??  What are your go-to dishes if you want to show someone you care?


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