Nankhatai Bars

Crispy exterior with a soft interior made with ghee, thandai masala, sugar, and a little bit of milk.  Nankhatai is a traditional Indian cookie similar in texture to shortbread.  There are many variations of flavors and flours used based on where in India you are eating this delicious cookie.
Continue reading “Nankhatai Bars”

Secret Ingredient Brownie Bites

Back to school is all I can think of at the moment.  We’ve made it through the first week successfully so this week, we are adding a challenge – soccer practice.  I’ve got two schools in opposite directions of each other, different timings for both kids, and now practice days.  I’m definitely going to need as many snacks with me as possible.  Easy to eat snacks and as healthy-ish as I can make them for my picky eaters are what I’m looking for.

These secret ingredient brownies are the perfect solution because the girls can’t taste or guess the secret ingredient!  But the girls did approve of them and that is all I need to keep making deceptively delicious foods.  Well, what is the secret ingredient you ask?  BLACK BEANS!  So when I first told the husband about my idea, he was very skeptical.  He loved the black beans idea just wasn’t sure about adding it to a dessert.

But it works!  You can’t taste the black beans at all, courtesy of my blender.  And the addition of the beans gives the brownies a truffle-like consistency.  They also remove the necessity of using flour so these become gluten free!  My favorite part is that I can make these brownie bites in less than 15 minutes!  Yep, ever heard of a baked dessert ready to eat within 15 minutes?  It’s right here and it tastes delicious.

I wouldn’t count this as a healthy food but it is a good option to straight sweets.  I won’t be making them all the time but often enough to get the girls moving.  Make sure to pack one of these delicious brownie bites in your child’s lunch bag!

Here are the tools I used to make this recipe:

For more snack ideas, check out these recipes:
Popeye Muffins
Almond Cacao Energy Bites
Simple Homemade Crunchy Granola
Lemon Blueberry Mini Loaves

 

Mini Upside Down Spiced Peach Cakes

Sweet and juicy peaches combined with warm spices in this moist and tender cake is the perfect end to your summer dinner parties.  Peach Season is upon us and these delicious upside down peach cakes are the perfect bite sized desserts for your party!

Whenever it is peach season during the summer, I tend to over buy fruits that are limited and that I’m addicted to.  Mangoes, figs, peaches are just a few on that list.  I love my fruit; raw and in its many infinite forms that I give them.  Last year, I was campaigning Grilled Peach Salsa because grilled peaches are just a summertime necessity during a BBQ.  Upcycling grilled peaches into a salsa was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!

This year, I decided to move away from grilling and try something different.  I took the original idea of upside down pineapple cake and changed it around (mostly because our pineapple ended up as fried rice!).  But I also changed up the traditional upside down cake just a little.  At the bottom of the cupcake tin, I placed butter cubes and some brown sugar to give it a caramelized flavor then I lined the peach slices on the sides to keep their integrity of a peach and still be part of this upside down cake.

Every single bite has a juicy peach flavor because there are chunks of peaches hidden in the cake!  And for the best peaches, head to your local farmer’s market.  I bet you will be able to find fresh, organic, and juicy peaches.  I’ll use the ones from the store if I miss the market but they tend to be underripe and I have to wait a few days to make sure they are perfectly ripe for me to eat or even use in recipes.

Many people are unsure of the skin – should you keep it on or peel it off?  I prefer to keep the skin on.  It doesn’t change the flavor or the integrity of the peaches but you do get to keep all of the fiber that the skin gives.

I hope you enjoy these delicious Mini Upside Down Spiced Peach Cakes as much as we did!

Looking for more delicious recipes?  Check out these:
Grilled Pineapple Peach Salsa
Grilled Avocado and Peach Salad
Fig and Pistachio Tartlets
Mango Coconut Panna Cotta Tart
Thandai Infused Rainbow Crème Brûlée (Vegan)

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

Fig and Pistachio Tartlets

Sweet, flaky, melt in your mouth delicious, and best of all, perfect to make in a pinch or for a simple dessert that looks as if you spent hours making it!

Figs are one of my favorite fruits and every year, I look forward to seeing them at the Farmer’s Market.  I saw the most delicious looking figs at the market last week and knew I had to get them.  I’ve been eating them with my chia pudding parfait, and just snacking on them throughout the day but wanted to jazz them up a little more.

These Fig and Pistachio Tartlets are so perfect to elevate the figs without completely losing them in a myriad of ingredients.  They are extremely easy and quick to make too!  I used store bought puff pastry squares (though a large sheet cut into squares works just as well), added a little butter and brown sugar to help caramelize the base, some ground pistachios to give it a nutty flavor and balance the earthiness of the figs, layered on the sliced figs and finally topped it off with some honey.  Yep, I’m drooling thinking about them again!

What if Figs are not available anymore?
Yes, I dread when the Farmer’s Market doesn’t have anymore figs because they have such a short season that I try to get my figs in as much as I can during that time.  But no worries!  Here are a few more fruits you can use:

  • Stone fruits such as peaches, nectarines, plums, and apricots are in season now also.  Try one of those!
  • Apples, pears, and even berries would work well!
  • Instead of pistachios, try using ground almonds or walnuts


How do I serve the Tartlets?
Warm and fresh out of the oven is the best way to eat these.  I’ve found that if I let them sit for too long, the puff pastry can get a bit chewy.  Also, don’t forget the vanilla ice cream to go with these babies.

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy eating this delicious Fig and Pistachio Tartlets!

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

If you want to check out more desserts, here are some of my favorites:
Mango Coconut Panna Cotta Tart
Vegan Amaretti Cookies
Thandai Infused Rainbow Crème Brûlée (Vegan)
Rose Pistachio Ice Cream

Thandai Infused Rainbow Crème Brûlée (Vegan)

A creamy, rich, aromatic custard with a beautiful caramelized crust that is unbelievably easy to make.  This Thandai Infused Crème Brûlée is a twist on the classic French dessert by using coconut cream and coconut milk making it vegan and gluten-free.

Holi has always been one of my favorite Indian festivals.  The colors, the food, the fun.  What makes it even more special is that 8 years ago, my husband bent down on one knee in the middle of a very public festival (the organizers were in on it as were our siblings and friends) and everyone (about at least 100 people) stopped playing to watch him ask me to marry him.  I will always treasure that moment.

So for this Holi, I decided to do a fun fusion in honor of my very special husband.  His favorite dessert is crème brûlée.  What better way than to infuse a Holi special drink of Thandai and combine my two favorite events together?  Honestly, it tastes SO YUM that I had to stop myself from “tasting” the custard before it set.

WHAT DO I NEED FOR A VEGAN CREME BRULEE?

Full-fat Coconut Milk and Coconut Cream – this is important to give the custard it’s rich creamy texture.
Arrowroot Powder – this acts as a thickening agent.
Agave – for that hint of sweet
Thandai Masala – this is going to lend that brilliant aromatic and floral flavor to the custard
Saffron – for a beautiful golden color
Vanilla Extract
Almond Milk
Sugar
Rainbow Sprinkles – optional but I love how the colors brighten up the dessert
Salt

THREE IMPORTANT STEPS TO A PERFECT THANDAI INFUSED CREME BRULEE

1. Infusing the thandai masala.  This is important to get that flavor in there.  The longer you infuse, the better the end result will be.

2. Blending all of the ingredients.  This is extremely important because the arrowroot powder can clump and that would ruin the whole dessert.  When you blend it into a smooth liquid, you end up with a rich, silky dessert.

3. Once it’s blended, whisk the mixture on the stove constantly to prevent it clumping and/or burning until you get your custard consistency.

THE CHERRY SUGAR ON TOP
How can I possibly leave this part out?  This is my favorite part.  I used cane sugar to layer on top of the custard but for my Holi special, I used colored sugar and dusted the caramelized sugar to symbolize the fun of Holi.  Take a blowtorch and carefully caramelize the sugar.  If you don’t have a blowtorch – don’t worry!  I’ve included directions in the recipe card to caramelize the sugar using a broiler.  Reminder – the top won’t be as crunchy using the broiler setting but it will do the trick to caramelize your sugar.

This recipe is perfect for Holi, Diwali, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, or pretty much any occasion you want to celebrate.  I might even make this again for our next date night.  Feel free to add berries.  I chose not to this time because I wanted the colors to shine.

I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!  Feel free to follow and share comments on my Instagram and Facebook pages!  I would love to hear your thoughts!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this decadent THANDAI INFUSED RAINBOW CREME BRULEE!

Here are the tools that I used for this recipe:

**Note: The ramekins I used are passed on to me from a family member but the ones I’ve featured in the tools list are the closest in size and shape to the ones that I used.

Pistachio Pudding Bundt Cake

Soft, moist, light, creamy, and a little crunchy, this pistachio cake has it all!  Fresh ground pistachios in the cake with some more drizzled over the top gives it a perfect crunch.

I’ve made this delicious cake several times but every time, we dig in right away and never get a chance to photograph it.  With St. Patrick’s Day coming up, I knew I wanted to make it again…. I just needed to make it at 6:30am so that I would actually be able to take photos to share with all of you.

The pudding mix makes this cake really moist which I love.  Add to that the fresh pistachios and the almond extract which enhances the nutty flavor, you just may become addicted to this cake like we have.

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this delicious Pistachio Pudding Bundt Cake!

Here are the tools I used to make this recipe:

 

Apple Pie Bread

A little variation on banana bread, I added in some sweet apples, lots of cinnamon (as requested by my little ones), just a hint of nutmeg, and a streusel topping to finish it off is the perfect afternoon snack.  (Spoiler Alert:  It doesn’t last more than a day – maybe two – in our house.  It flies so quickly!)

I first made this loaf to take as a treat with me when I took the girls hiking last month.  We did almost 4 miles with quite an uphill so I was proud of my littles ones who not only trekked without a single complaint, they also put up with me while I took pics of them with cows in the background as they thought their Mom was crazy!

Let me get back on track though and tell you a little more about this delicious loaf!  The base recipe is similar to that of a banana bread but I wanted it a little more moist to balance the addition of spices so I added in a bit of yogurt.  The sweetness of ripe bananas and the warm spices to give a hint of apple pie is so amazing of a combination.  Who says you can only have apple pie in the fall?!

This recipe makes enough for two large loaves or 4 minis.  I’ve made both depending on what occasion I’m using these.  I love the minis for gifts or travel (the hike was a perfect example) and the large loaves I’ll use to pack in lunches, give as an afternoon snack, or even with breakfast on the weekends.

Here are a few other loaves to check out:
Spiced Pear Loaf
Pumpkin Bread
Zucchini Bread
Lemon Blueberry Mini Loaves

Can you tell we love fruity loaves in this house?!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy eating this Apple Pie Bread.

Rose Pistachio Ice Cream

Who doesn’t love ice cream?  And this delicious and timeless combination is perfect to surprise your significant other or loved ones for a great Valentine’s day (or any special day) dessert.

It’s luscious, creamy, tasty, and has this gorgeous pink hue from the rose syrup that is so pretty! The best part, I didn’t have to cook it and I spent less than 10 minutes making it!  The hardest part was waiting for the ice cream to set!

Pistachios are an evergreen favorite of mine.  I add it to anything I can and pistachio ice cream is a favorite of mine.  For Valentine’s Day, I wanted to add a little symbol of love to this recipe and what beats roses for love day?  As I experimented, the addition of rose syrup was a given but I played around with rose water also because while the syrups lends a sweetness and a beautiful pink color, the rose water is where the aroma comes in.  That beautiful, sweet rose flavor makes me think of flowers in the house!

Go ahead, give this a try for your loved ones this Valentine’s Day and I promise you will not be disappointed!  The earthy and floral combination is sure to be a hit!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this delicious Rose Pistachio Ice Cream!


Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

If you love pistachios as much as I do, try out some of these other recipes:
Pistachio and Goat Cheese Crusted Spicy Lamb Chops
Pomegranate Pistachio Chia Pudding
Herb Roasted Acorn Squash with Pomegranates and Pistachios
Pear Halwa Cake
Fresco Carpaccio

Best Ever Oatmeal Lactation Cookies

Yup.  There’s such a thing!  And boy was I ever so happy to eat this one!  With my first child, I really struggled to nurse her after the first few months.  I didn’t know about these delicious cookies at that point but I wish I had.

When I was pregnant with my second child, I did plenty of research because I wanted to nurse her as well but I didn’t want to struggle.  But the better benefit of these cookies…. you’re always hungry when you are nursing and this was one of the few excuses left for me to eat cookies every day!

I’m not sure who’s recipe I used the first time around as I found it when I was at the hospital and honestly, I don’t remember much from those first few days.  I gave the recipe to my sister-in-law Shivani and she was sweet enough to whip up batches for me until I was able to do so myself.  Well, now it’s my turn to do the same for her!

If you’ve been following my blog, you’ll know that she just had the most adorable baby boy and I’m over the moon about being his aunt!

Anyways, over time, I changed the recipe a little to suit my tastes and needs but these delicious lactation cookies still provide the nutrients you need to help feed your little one!

Not sure how it works?  Take a look:

  • BREWER’S YEAST – this is considered to be a galactagogue but there are still studies going on to understand the full effects.
  • OATS – this is considered one of the best foods to eat for breastfeeding mothers.  They are also a great source of fiber, iron, magnesium, and zinc so you can’t really go wrong with this ingredient.
  • FLAXSEEDS  – these have phytoestrogens that help influence breastmilk production.  Added benefits include a boost of energy, positive effect on your mood, and help in getting rid of the baby blues.

If you are nursing or know someone who is nursing, these are one the of the most helpful foods the new mom can have.

If you bake them, store them at room temperature for up to 7 days in an airtight container.  You can also freeze the dough for up to 2 months.

If you’re making these as a gift for a new Momma, I usually like to bake a dozen to start her off and give her the dough so she can make the cookies as she wants them.  I personally would freeze or refrigerate the dough and make a few each day in my little toaster oven so I could have fresh cookies out of the oven!   So divine I tell you!

From my kitchen to yours, I hope these Lactation Cookies help you as much as they helped me!

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

Almond Cacao Energy Bites

Since making my New Year’s Resolution to eat healthier this year, I have significantly cut down on snacking, especially on fried foods or foods that are calorie dense but not necessarily nutrient dense.  But I do love snacking and therein lies the problem of how will I curb my cravings for the sweets and carbs that I so love.  In this quest to eat healthier, I decided I could not forgo my beloved snacks and therefore started a mission to create my own healthier ones.

Recently I posted the Almond Butter Breakfast Bars recipe to help me get a good start to my day and I’ve realized that I love incorporating almond flour into my recipes.  These Almond Cacao Energy Bites are a perfect balance of cacao powder, almond flour, and dates.  The cacao powder provides the perfect balance of chocolate and nutrition as it’s filled with antioxidants and magnesium!

The almond flour of course provides protein and a nutty flavor that balances out the sweetness in these bites.  The dates also add quite a bit of sweetness to these bites and are known to have a high sugar content but are fairly low on the glycemic index and have a high fiber content.  These energy bites are the perfect way to satisfy my sweet tooth and stay healthy.  Try them out for yourself and you will love them just as much as I do.

From my kitchen to yours, enjoy these delicious Almond Cacao Energy Bites!

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:

 

Lemon Blueberry Mini Loaves

A few days ago, my brother and sister-in-law were blessed with an adorable little baby!  Throughout her pregnancy, we had nicknamed the baby Blueberry and called him as such.  It is in honor of his birth that I dedicate this recipe to my little munchkin.  He is so adorable and cute, I’m so excited and lucky to be his aunt!

In the spirit of welcoming the new baby, I made these loaves in mini pans but you can absolutely bake them in a regular 9×5 loaf pan.

Last week, a friend was kind enough to share lemons from her lemon tree and they are absolutely amazing.  The juice from the lemons were the perfect complement to brighten up these lovely blueberry loaves.  In addition, I added a little yogurt and replaced the sugar with honey to give it just a hint of sweet without overpowering it.  The addition of these two ingredients makes the loaves even more fluffy and light.

Pair it with coffee or chai to complement a slice of this delicious loaf for breakfast, snack, or dinner.  Once you’ve baked them, they will keep at room temperature for up to 1 week and in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.  Though, we’re pretty good about making sure they are eaten pretty quickly!

From my kitchen to yours, enjoy these delicious Lemon Blueberry Mini Loaves.

Here are the tools I used:

Pumpkin Bread

One of the best things about the Fall season is pumpkin bread.  The spices and the aroma when you are baking it compares to no other.  It makes me feel so warm and cozy and ready for the winter.

I love this pumpkin bread recipe because:

  • It’s moist
  • Easy to make
  • Isn’t too dense
  • Has all the Fall spices:  Cinnamon, Ginger, Cloves, & Nutmeg
  • Fun to make with the kids


Here’s a little trick….. to keep it moist, I added applesauce to the batter.  You can’t taste it but it makes the pumpkin bread so much better!

The girls have been eating it in the mornings with breakfast and I love having a slice in the afternoon with my cuppa chai.  It’s perfect to snack on any time of the day!  And with the holidays right around the corner, make an extra batch for a relative or neighbor.  What a great gift to give too!

If you like this Pumpkin Bread recipe, try out….

My Spiced Pear Loaf and Zucchini Bread.

From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this Pumpkin Bread!

The tools that I used for this recipe are:

Rangoli Ladoos

Diwali has always been a special festival growing up in my family… in fact for most Indian families.  It’s the Festival of Lights, where we celebrate faith and hope and wish that everyone has a bright future, happiness and prosperity in their lives.

Everywhere you look, Diwali takes over with lights and colors.  Rangoli designs are a prominent component of Diwali, with the idea that it brings strength, good luck and genorosity.  Keeping in mind that very foundation of colors and brightness, I decided to bring the spirit of rangoli to my mithai (sweets) for Diwali this year.


Coconut ladoos are very popular in Indian and the best part is, they are very easy to make.  The basis of each ladoo was kept the same with the main ingredients being coconut, almond flour/ground almonds, and condensed milk.  The ratios vary based on the flavor and additions of the ladoo.

Here are the flavors I decided to go with:

  • Mango (seriously, how could I not include this flavor?!)
  • Lavender (because it’s a new obsession and the flavor and colors are so amazing!)
  • Rose (the colors, the fragrance, and the taste are so pretty, it makes me feel like a princess when I’m eating this!)
  • Mojito (…..yep.  No alcohol, but that hint of lime and mint….YUM!)
  • Coconut Almond (the original cannot be overlooked!)


Some tips to make it easier for you when you make this:

  • Use a non-stick skillet to make these.  It prevents the mixture from sticking and makes the process that much easier.
  • Make them vegan!  Use vegan condensed milk and coconut oil instead of ghee to roll the balls.
  • You can use frozen grated coconut.  Just leave it out for a little bit to thaw and bring to room temperature.
  • If you don’t want to use or don’t have almond flour available, substitute with the same amount of almonds and grind them up into a flour.  It’s an extra step but easy and a perfect swap.
  • When buying almond flour, make sure you buy the almond flour and NOT the blend.  I almost did that.  The blend has a mixture of rice and other ingredients that would change the taste of this dessert.


If you end up making any of these delicious ladoos, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram at @bitofspice146.  I would love to see your creations!

Spiced Pear Loaf

I love a traditional banana bread but I also love changing out the fruits and making different types of loaves.  This Spiced Pear Loaf gives me a peek into the fall with its hints of cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger; the sweet pear chunks added in… oh so delicious!
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This bread uses milk and oil in addition to the pear chunks to give it just the right amount of moisture.  Use a 1:1 ratio of whole wheat flour and oats for a healthy balance of carbs, and just enough brown sugar to combine with the warm spices to bring fall home any time of the year!
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Use this loaf for a snack during recess, packed in your lunchboxes, or even as a sweet treat post meals.  So delicious and scrumptious, you have to try it out!
IMG_7862From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy this delicious treat!

Oreo Cheesecake

From as far back as I can remember, my brother and I have always loved oreos.  Dunking them in milk, twisting them and eating the cream first, in shakes (mostly from fast food places), or hiding in the pantry and eating them (so my kids don’t catch me).
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Don’t Judge.  A mom’s gotta do what a mom’s gotta do!

So many years later, cookies and cream remains our favorite flavor; definitely a go to for me.

Monday is Raksha Bandhan which is a big festival for Hindus.  In a nutshell, this is a celebration between brothers and sisters where we promise to protect and honor each other.  The sisters usually feed the brothers their favorite dessert after tying a Rakhi (kind of like a friendship bracelet) and receive a gift from their brothers as token of love (my favorite part).
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Traditionally, I’ve done Indian sweets but my brother has never been a big fan of them.  Don’t get me wrong, they’re delicious, but just not what he prefers.  As I was sitting at the table planning Rakhi, I knew without a doubt in my mind I was going to make something with Oreos in it for him.

This Oreo Cheesecake is one of my favorites because it is not too sweet, is very easy to make and I don’t have to deal with a water bath.  I know the cheesecake masters are probably gasping and worried that I haven’t used a water bath, but to be honest, I don’t think this one needed it!
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It is very creamy on the inside with chunks of cookie in each bite and the cookie crust just finishes off this amazing cake.

I know Cheesecake is not a very traditional Mithai (dessert) for Rakhi, but it’s all about what my brother likes and I think I hit this one out of the park.
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What event will you make this delicious Oreo Cheesecake for?

From my kitchen to yours, enjoy every bite of this cheesecake!

Notes:
I used a 7″ springform pan for this recipe

Spiced Plum Crumble Bars

One of my very good friends, Diana, has a plum tree that produces an abundance of plums every year.  One of my favorite memories is when Sanaya was just over a year old, we had gone to her house and she let us pick plums in her backyard.  We had so many plums in our hands, I had walked away to put them in a basket.  When I came back, Sanaya had eaten half a plum (most of the juice was around her mouth and on her clothes) and was holding another she was getting ready to dive into.  It was one the best afternoons ever!
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We are a fruit loving family and we don’t discriminate (well, unless it’s mangoes – then everyone has to fend for themselves while I devour them).  At any given time, there’s always fresh fruit in the house and I love that my girls share mine and hubby’s love for them.  In honor of Diana’s plum tree (which I heard may not be around much longer and I almost cried), I got creative and added a little spice spin to these crumble bars.
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I love this recipe because it is so easy to come together.  For the filling, I stayed true to Salted Mint‘s filling.  I tried out a few different variations but I love this one the best because it is simple, adds the warmth of star anise and cinnamon and tastes amazing!
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For the crumble, I added hints of ginger and cardamom (I seriously felt like I could call this a Chai Spiced Plum Crumble because of the similar spices used). And the best is I can use the same mixture for the crust and crumble!
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For the oats, I used old fashioned oats and mixed it by hand.  You can absolutely pulse it in a food processor until you get a crumbly mixture.

I don’t think anyone can stop eating just one bar!  These are so crumbly, flaky, sweet, tart, and have just a little hint of spice which just warms your insides up!

This recipe makes about 16 squares in a 8×8 baking pan.

Notes:
To store, place in a sealed container and keep in fridge for up to 1 week or in freezer for up to 2 months.

Keep the skin on the plums!  I wasn’t sure about this when I first started experimenting but it just becomes a part of the jam and you can’t even notice it!
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From my kitchen to yours, I hope you enjoy these delicious plum crumble bars!

Here are the tools I used for this recipe:
  

Mango Berry Bread Pudding Yum

My absolute favorite food on Earth is mangoes.  I can’t think of a time that I didn’t like them. I love hearing stories from my mom about how I could go through a case (about 10-12 mangoes) in a sitting when I was a kid.  Nowadays, I probably would end up with a tummy ache but I’m willing to give it a try. Continue reading “Mango Berry Bread Pudding Yum