Mushroom and Tomato Crostini

24 Aug


Hello

This quick and easy recipe is a budget friendly DIY hostess’ (or host’s) dream. These are based off of the Italian appetizer,  Crostini which is grilled bread topped with anything from cheese to vegetables.  I also considered calling them crosata , not so much because they resemble the open faced shallow tarts that go by that name but rather because I thought the word sounded cooler than crostini.

I used pita bread in this recipe from the same batch I used to make the recipe in my previous post : banana peanut butter pita. I love pita bread because it is affordable,  healthy compared to many other breads and extremely versitile.

The toppings I selected were tomatoes and mushrooms because I had them in the fridge and they happen to be some of my favorite foods.  ( hence why I had them in the fridge) Of course you add whatever topping you like.

Let us begin. 

WHAT YOU NEED (makes 6)

1) Pita bread-I got six 7cm (2.6 inch) diameter circular pieces out of 2 of the pitas.

2) Circular cookie cutter- you can attempt to cut them fee hand or use the entire pita then slice it into quarters.

3) 1 med-large Ripe tomato 

4) 3 med sized button mushrooms -you can also use canned mushrooms as they tend to be cheaper. 

5) Extra virgin olive oil 

6) Black pepper, cilantro and any other seasonings you like.

The main ingredients 
WHAT TO DO 

1) Cut the circles out from the  pita .

Cutting out circles
2) Smear on the olive oil onto the circles- this will allow the pita to get crispy.

Pita circles
3) Slice the tomatoes and  mushrooms. 

Sliced tomatoes 

Sliced mushrooms 
4) Arrange the tomatoes and mushrooms onto the pita circles and sprinkle any seasonings over the top.


Cilantro over tomato and black pepper over mushrooms 

Arranged and ready 
5) Bake at a medium heat utility the edges are crispy.


These little morsels are delicious,  the crunch of the pita a great contrast to the succulent mushrooms and tomatoes. The entire process from start to finish takes well under 1 hour and this is a super easy pain free recipe youcan throw together as an appetizer for guests or do what I did and eat them as snacks for the next couple of days. 


Enjoy and have an awesome day!

Grilled Banana Peanut Butter Pita

21 Aug


Hello

I wanted to incorporate grilling and something sweet so I threw this together. I also,made a coconut cream drink to compliment it.

This is great as a fancy but healthy breakfast option or a great evening snack.

WHAT YOU NEED 

1) Pita bread (In my sweet summer salad pizza post I explained why Pita is such an affordable versitIle option )

2) Ripe bananas 1 banana per pita bread is fine.

3) Peanut butter- The one I have is pre blended with honey. If you are using unsweetened peanut butter you may have to add some honey to this recipe.

4) Yogurt- I used vanilla flavored yogurt because it adds sweetness and the flavour doesn’t overpower anything else.

5) Brown sugar- this is to sprinkle onto the bananas while grilling them.

6) Cinnamon 

7) Griddle 

The ingredients you need 

WHAT TO DO 

1) Turn the griddle on and let it heat up- If you don’t have a griddle or a grill or a pan with grill lines you can just as easily do this in a regular pan, you just won’t get the coveted grill marks but the taste will be the same.

2) Mix 2 parts yogurt with 1 part peanut butter (if you prefer a stronger peanut flavour you can do half and half )

Yogurt and peanut butter

Mixed concoction 

 3) Slice your banana lengthwise – I thought it would look better this way once grilled but alas…. this is easier said than done. It took me two tries to get these looking semi acceptable.  If you’re more comfortable slicing the banana the “regular ” way feel free.

Peel the banana

Slice the banana – 1st attempt 

Slice the banana – 2nd attempt 

4) Place the sliced banana on the griddle and sprinkle the sugar on top and grill until toasty brown.

Bananas on the grill

5) Spread the peanut butter /yogurt mixture over the pita ( I warmed mine up first)

Warm up the pita

Peanut butter mixture spread

6) Add the grilled banana then sprinkle some brown sugar and cinnamon top.


Finished product 
Coconut Cream drink 

I thought a nice creamy refreshing beverage would go along perfectly with this. Coconut compliments the banana and the peanut butter beautifully. I also had to jump onto the coconut milk trend.

Coconut milk like any other plant based “milk” is a bit of a misnomer as it is simply a liquified version of the white flesh found in dry coconuts. This is not to be confused with coconut water (I’ve heard some persons erroneously state they are the same thing) which is the clear liquid found in green coconuts and also not to be confused with coconut jelly, the translucent sweet gelatinous lining found in green coconuts.

I digressed…

Anyhow I love that the coconut is getting it’s due praise and people are finding new exciting ways to incorporate it into their diet. I must point out that coconut milk is very fatty(albeit good fats) and extremely high I’m calories so don’t  expect to replace your soy or rice milk with it consequence free.

Due to the fatty nature of coconut milk, the drink I made mixes it with the much more watery and lower calorie almond milk. You can use whatever type of you want.

This recipe makes 1 16oz glass of drink 

WHAT YOU NEED 

1) Coconut milk/cream (1/2 cup)

2) Almond/Rice/Soy/Cow’s milk (approximately 2 cups)

3) Brown sugar (I used coconut sugar)

4) Cinnamon 

5) Nutmeg

The ingredients for the drink

WHAT TO DO 

1) Throw all the ingredients into a blender or nutribullet and mix for about 30 seconds. Alternately you can mix it using a spoon, just be sure to dissolve the sugar and disperse the cinnamon and nutmeg.

2) Pour into a glass and enjoy!

Coconut milk drink

3) To make a more adult version add a shot of coconut rum to this mix.

Coconut rum

I think you could make up a big batch of this to serve for a party -especially the adult version😉 ;) 

Enjoy your banana, peanut butter and yogurt pita with your coconut milk drink and have an awesome day!

Checkered Celebration Cake

15 Aug

Hello all! I attempted one of my most daring baking feats this past week….and it worked! Sort of.

My beautiful friend is leaving our squad for greener pastures, furthering her career and reuniting with loved ones and all good things. Therefore as sad as I am for her to leave, it is a cause for celebration. 

A group of us decided to host a chill, surprise goodbye celebration with casual no fuss eats like burgers, hot dogs and tortilla chips with salsa. Our resident vegan came through with a spicy tofu dish and we had mini cinnamon rolls as a sweet snack. 

Like I said it was chill and relaxed just like our friend. That however wasn’t enough for me apparently. I decided I wanted to make her a cake. A celebration cake! A checkered celebration  cake. A checkered celebration cake topped with cookies and chocolate. What a decision this was.

I have been seeing and admiring checkered cakes for well over a year now, dissecting the technique, pumping myself up to finally tackle it .This was the time. A word of advice is NEVER try out a new recipe just before you have an event or guests over. Did I listen to that advice? No.

So I undertook this task and I will now document it inclusive of my horrible errors so that we can all learn from my mistakes together.

Let us begin…

The cake was tri-colour checkerboard and I topped it with meringue cookies and shards of candy melt bark. I will begin with the toppings as I made them first.

(RAINBOW) MERINGUE COOKIES

WHAT YOU NEED

1) 3 med- large egg whites 

2) 3/4 cup(150g) castor sugar

Tip (castor sugar and icing sugar are the same thing and it can be made by running granulated sugar in a food processor / blender/nutribullet etc for a few seconds. 

3) Cream of tartar  (to stabilize the egg whites)- you’ll just need a pinch of this.

4) 1/4 teaspoon rose water (the original recipe called for vanilla extract, you can substitute that for whatever flavour you prefer)

5) Multiple food colours – I used teal and purple (my attempt at orange didn’t make the cut.

6) Piping bag (or a zip lock bag )

Meringue ingredients

WHAT TO DO

1) Preheat oven to 95°C (200°F) and line a baking sheet with parchment or wax paper.

2) Beat egg whites until foamy, add cream of tartar and beat until soft peak stage.  (Soft peaks gently and slowly fold over )

3) Slowly add sugar beating at medium to high speed until stiff peak stage. ( Stiff peaks hold their form) then add in the rose water.

Tip : Do NOT over beat the egg. It’s better to beat,stop and check then keep beating than to overbeat the egg.

4)Using a toothpick or a knife, streak your food colouring along the length of the piping (ziplock) bag then add the meringue mixture.

5) Pipe the meringue mixture out in little dollops, according to the size you wish. The food colour should form a swirled effect.

Whipping up meringue mixture

6) Bake in oven for 1 1/2 hours (90 minutes) or until cookies are dry and crispy.

After this I stored my meringue cookies in a sealed airtight container and placed it in the cupboard for later use. I didn’t want to keep it in the fridge for fear of some moisture affecting the cookies.

The next thing I made was the chocolate/candy melt bark.

RAINBOW CHOCOLATE BARK

WHAT YOU NEED

1) Candy melts in assorted colours. If you are more savvy ,you can use white chocolate and colour it using non-waterbased food dye. The colours I used were really just what I had knocking around; lime green, bright yellow, red and dark blue as well as white (this poor party girl wastes nothing!)

Candy melts in white and cheesecake (off white)

2) Sprinkles – to add over the top of the bark.

3) Containers to place the candy melts in.

4) Silicone mat or other flat, smooth heat resistant sheer to form bark on.

Silicone mat 

WHAT TO DO

1) Melt candy melts. 

2) Pour the melted chocolate onto mat or sheet and spread it out. I started with the white ones.

3) Add each colour and swirl it in. Add sprinkles on top.

White candy melts with red swirled in

4) Set the swirled bark in the fridge for a couple hours so it hardens completely. 

5) Remove hardened bark and crack it into shards using knife or mallet 

Multicolored candy melt bark 

I stored the candy melt bark in an airtight container in the fridge.

Candy melt shards

So those are the toppings for this overly ambitious cake completed. This took me an ENTIRE night,  good thing I started 2 days in advance. I recommend this for anyone trying this out.

DECOR

Before we move on to the  mess   I mean piece-de-resistance i.e the cake let me take a moment to show off my decor. It was really simple as I didn’t have a lot of time or money to get prepared.

I made the ever popular tassle/pom poms strung up and layered. I used brightly coloured tissue paper as it went along with the cake and my friend’s personality. 

Pom pom tassle decor 

I also hung up two balloons with multicolored marble design and lit some candles for a little ambience. 

Okay back to baking. The cake! This cake takes some work and some foresight but it isnt hard. The concept behind the checkered pattern is that by creating circles of differing colours in the horizontal plane, each one becomes a square when cut in a vertical plane. Sounds a smidgen confusing but I promise it isnt.

TRI-COLOURED CHECKERED CAKE

WHAT YOU NEED

1) White cake batter- This makes it easier to colour. I used a recipe from www.joyofbaking.com because any recipe that lady (Stephanie) creates is actual gold-I’m talking 24 carat here!

2) 6″ round cake tin – this is what I used. You make the amount of cake batter in accordance with the size of your cake tins and the number of layers you ultimately make.

3) Food colours -I used red,yellow, blue and green to create bright pink, bright yellow and teal.

4) Circle Cookie cutters- this is to create the circles from the cake but you can freehand it with a knife …..if you dare.

 Some stuff you need for the cake

5)Icing- I’m not going to put an icing recipe here because quite frankly I have none. I attempted Italian meringue buttercream TWICE using 2 separate recipes from what I consider to be very legitimate websites but each one failed. In my online scouring I found that a lot of people attempting these recipes had similar problematic outcomes where the egg white seemed to deflate on addition of the butter. My advice from the beginning of this post remains, don’t attempt this for the first time on the day of the party/event. 

In the end I had to add a crap ton of icing sugar to make my second attempt salvageable. So……find an acceptable icing recipe and make it. And if it works, leave me a link cause girl needs help!

6) Cookie butter- The idea to add cookie butter to my icing came from a video by Yolanda Gamp of HowtoCakeit on YouTube. This. Is. An. EXCELLENT. Idea. The cookie butter also helped to thicken the icing .

WHAT TO DO

1) Preheat your oven as directed by the recipe you chose.

2) Mix your white cake batter

3) Separate batter into 3 bowls or whatever number of colours you plan to make. 

4) Add food colours to get desired colour-I used water based food colours because that’s what I had (they also tend to be cheaper) but gel colours definitely give me vibrant colours.

White cake batter

5) Bake cakes according to recipe, let cool and remove from tin.

Edit

Multi coloured cakes

To be honest I was initially disappointed that my cakes were so thin ( I think I made the batter stretch too far) but it turned out this was an okay height  (approximately 1 1/2 inches). I think it would be best if each layer is about 2 inches tall.

6) Trim the tops of your cakes to create a flat surface for stacking-I couldn’t do this because my layers were so skinny. 

7)Using your cookie cutters create 3 circles in each cake.

Cookie cutter used to make circle

Two different sized cutters used

Cake circles

8) Arrange the cake circles so that each cake layer has each colour in it.

Cake colours intermixed

9) Place 1st layer of cake on a level surface (if you own a lazy Susan this is the time to whip her out, if not creat your own with a bowl and a large plate.

10) Stack your layers, icing in between with the cookie butter infused frosting,  then crumb coat and place in refrigerator to harden up.

Layers of cake with frosting

11) Make more icing- the cookie butter turned the icing brown and I wanted the outside of the cake to be white. Also the icing just wouldn’t harden up as much as I wanted, so I decided to make royal icing to cover it over with. Unfortunately even my royal icing recipe was not on my side and that too ended up being a bit runny. Once you have successfully made white icing, cover the cake and place it in the fridge to begin to stiffen..

10) Add the toppings. I stuck the candy melt shards into the actual cake as you would a candle. I then placed the meringue cookies on top (my placement was haphazard and by the time I decided to relocate then they had set up in the icing )

Inside of checkered cake

When it’s time to serve the cake you will see the beautiful checkered design. Eat and enjoy! 

We had a great evening, it was stress free and ended on a sweet note (ba dum ching!) Thank you for reading and have an awesome day!

Sunny Summer Sweet Salad Pizza

7 Aug

Hello and happy Sunday

It’s proper summer right now meaning days are hotter than ever . The thought of summer time always evokes pinterest worthy visions in my mind…. fresh bright fun food, eaten by a poolside or hanging out on your deck, firepit on, citronella candles ablaze, everyone relaxed and laughing….ah yes, summer. 

Well this isn’t my reality, I live in a small apartment with a smaller balcony, no deck or firepit and I’m never relaxed. But I do have a citronella candle so I get one pinterest point there.

Anyhow, while perusing pinterest a few days ago looking for some meal inspiration I came across a delicious looking salad which in addition to the regular greens contained strawberries and was topped with balsamic vinegar. I am a super fan of mixing different tastes together e.g. sweet and salty and this made me excited. I decided to make this into a pizza because I always associate pizza with summer. This recipe takes a fresh summer salad and tosses it onto a crust.

Let us begin…

This salad pizza is made using watercress, strawberries and blue cheese as the main ingredients but really your imagination is your only limit to the toppings you use. You can use kale, arugula, add almonds or walnuts, swap the strawberries with blueberries etc.

WHAT YOU NEED 

1) Pita bread- I chose this for my crust because I think it adds to the overall aesthetic of the pizza, also pita bread is typically much cheaper than premade pizza crust and way less work than making your own. The ones I got are small and whole wheat .

Pile of pita bread

2) Watercress (rocket lettuce) 

3) Blue cheese crumbles

4) Fresh strawberries -the quintessential summer fruit

5) Greek yogurt

6) Honey

7) Extra virgin olive oil

8) Mint leaves

Strawberries,  blue cheese crumbles, watercress, Greek yogurt and mint leaves.

WHAT TO DO

1) Coat the pita bread with olive oil making sure to get the edges, this makes it crisp up nicely without getting burnt.

2) Place the watercress on top of the oiled up pita.

Watercress on top of pita

3) Add sliced strawberries (I used one medium sized one)

Sliced strawberries added

4) Sprinkle blue cheese on .

Sprinkled on blue cheese crumbles

5) Bake on oven until the cheese has melted and the pita looks browned.

6) Add Greek yogurt in small dollops over pizza.

7)Tear the mint leaves and add on top. ( I also put on a few more pieces of watercress and strawberry slices for a combination of textures.)

8) Drizzle honey across the top of the pizza.

Yogurt and honey added on top

So if I make something and post about it, it’s expected that I say it tastes “Oh so good!” . But, let me tell you. This. Tastes. Soooo. Good. The truth is that I was winging it most of the time. I didn’t know how these things would work out all mixed together. However,  it worked. It worked well. The strawberries are tart, the yogurt adds creamy surprising texture, the blue cheese pops and the mint is refreshing.  All of that on the background of the crispy pita and watercress made this delightful. This is a great as an appetizer or personal pizza.

I hope you try this and enjoy it. Have an awesome day!

Avocado and Hummus on Pumpernickel Toast

31 Jul wp-image-1140400602jpg.jpeg

Hello all, I decided to eat the trend and jump on the avocado toast bandwagon. I gave it a little pizzazz by adding hummus and layering tomato on top. I’m going to share this super easy recipe for a healthy DIY breakfast alternative to some over processed cafe sandwich.

But first…..

An Argument for Avocado 

So avocado is real darn trendy these days, as trendy as kale in 2013 and as trendy as coconut oil in 2015. As with everything trendy there is a certain amount of hate associated and I get it. Once a popular social media outlet gets wind of something cool it gets big then all of a sudden there are entire pinterest boards and Tumblr threads dedicated to that thing. And it can feel annoying, like no one was interested in avocado in 2012 but it’s been around the whole time, right? 

Well the only thing trendier(is that a real word?) than avocado itself is confounded avocado toast! It is everywhere!  I can’t type breakfast into anything and not have avocado toast pop up. I wanted to hate it so much but the truth is….I love avocado. I really really love avocado. It’s delicious and rich and a source of healthy fats and indeed back when we were teenagers my sister and I would smush avocado between 2 slices of bread and have it just like that. 

So embrace the avocado my friends, embrace it.

Now onto the recipe 

I chose to use pumpernickel bread because it is my all time favourite bread EVER. For anyone who isn’t sure pumpernickel is dark brown and  looks as if it would be chocolate  flavored but it isnt. It’s dense and a bit sour and very complex in taste. It goes beautifully with most flavours.

Now really onto the recipe…

WHAT YOU NEED

1) 1 Haas avocado  (or any avocado )

2) 1 Ripe tomato

3) Hummus

4) Pumpernickel bread

Money Saving Protip:

I got both my hummus and pumpernickel bread half off as they were both approaching their sell by dates. Most items don’t go off until well after their sell by dates so if you want to save a couple coins and you aren’t afraid this is a great way to acquire items that aren’t usually cheap (like hummus and pumpernickel bread)

WHAT TO DO

Prep: Scoop out the flesh of the avocado and mash it with a fork, add a bit of black pepper to taste. I prefer mine to be lumpy but if you want it smoother you can give it a few seconds in a food processor /blender/vitamix/nutribullet/whatever. 

1) Slice and toast your bread to your desired crispness. I actually prefer mine practically UNtoasted. (not sure if that’s a word either)

2) Spread a thin layer of hummus over the bread in much the same way you would put mayonnaise on a sandwich.

3) Put approximately 1 tbsp of mashed avocado on top of the hummus layer.

4) Cut a tomato slice in half and place over the avocado layer.

Add a cup of coffee and you have a decadent tasty breakfast. Enjoy and have an awesome day!

Follow me on IG @poorpartygirl 

Pico Chicken Salad

30 Jun

Poor Party Girl reviews food!
I’ve been reviewing some dishes on another blog forum and decided to share them here.

This one is my review of Pico Chicken Salad.

Enjoy!

Check out this post on Food: http://aminoapps.com/p/kxni2

WORK WEAR BASICS

18 Jan

Hello, welcome to the second installment of the “Basics” series where I outline wardrobe essentials every girl needs to keep her afloat.

Today we discuss work wear. This is for persons who have a typical daytime, office job i.e no uniform or casual wear. As with the Casual Basics post this list is suggestive and meant to be supplemented by non-basic items.

TOPS

V Neck satin cap sleeve blouse in nude from H&M $25

SHIRTS/BLOUSES
You should have about 6 (total) of these in both long and short sleeve. It’s best to start with neutrals e.g nude and beige then add a few colours e.g purple and navy and a print.

 

 

 

 

Black ruffled sleeveless blouse from H&M $10

 

SHELL/SLEEVELESS

You need about 3 of these. They are great for layering.

 

 

 

 

JACKETS Black Jackey H&M $35

1 black or other dark neutral e.g navy or grey very well-tailored jacket for days when you want to look more polished. (Side note: This can be the same jacket used for casual wear)

 

 

BOTTOMS

PANTS

LONG
You should have 3 pairs of pants, 2 neutrals e.g khaki, grey or black and 1 colour  or patterned one.

Alfani Blue cropped Pants $35 US from Macy's.jpeg

 

CROPPED
You should have 1 pair of cropped pants. This is a statement style so I recommend a bright statement colour or pattern.

 

 

 

SKIRTS

ABOVE KNEE Aubregiene pleated knee length skirt from Shein.com $20.jpg
3 knee length (or slightly above knee).1 flare (with pleats) and 1 straight or body con and one other style e.g fit and flare or A-line. Neutrals or dark colours are more versatile.

 

 

Black midi skirt from H&M $15

BELOW KNEE/MIDI

1 below knee skirt is recommended. A nice pencil or pleated style in a neutral colour hitting at the calf adds sophistication to any outfit.

 

 

 

DRESSES

You need 2 knee length dresses. 1 should be a dark neutral such as black or grey in a nice fitted but well-tailored style. The other can be any colour but a darker jewel tones are nicest and most flexible e.g. aubergine or forest green.

JL Black dress $37.jpg

I hope this gives some ideas for work wear basics. With these items in your repertoire you will always have something suitable for work. Your shoes, bag and jewellery will complete your looks.

I have listed all the items pictured below.

Thank you for reading and stay tuned for the next installment which is on Shoe Basics.
Have an awesome day!

Items pictured

V-Neck cap sleeve blouse in nude -H&M $25

Black ruffled sleeveless top – H&M $25

Jacket -H&M $35

Bright blue cropped pants -Alfani $35( macys.com)

Aubergine pleated knee length skirt-SheIn $20(shein.com)

Black midi skirt- H&M $10

Black dress- John Lewis $37(johnlewis.com)

 

 

 

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