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Easy Banana Bread

I am sure I am not the only person who has the all-to-often “Gosh the bananas have ripened already?” problem. So … what to do? One common solution is banana bread. Everyone loves it, right? My sister Sarah included this recipe in the 2nd edition of the Borg Family Cookbook (seriously … one of the best ever) and it is exactly as the title claims: EASY. Not only is it quick and simple to put together but it always turns out wonderful. Ummmm … Maybe too much so because I think I ate half the loaf myself last night.

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup sour cream
3 ripe bananas
2 cups flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp baking soda

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat oven to 325 degrees and butter your loaf pan (or use parchment paper which is my usual way). Bake for 1 hour.

(Note: My family likes the banana bread a little crusty so I usually bake it at 350 degrees until the top is hard.) 

appledip

Denise’s Amazing Apple Dip

We were chatting in her kitchen (the usual spot) when my Aunt Denise started to make one of her newest creations … an apple dip. At first I was skeptical because the only apple dip I had ever had before was the super-sweet-sticky versions found in grocery stores (not my favorite). Well … I almost wish I hadn’t tried Denise’ apple dip because it is aahmaazing and I make it often (like tonight which is what prompted this post).

This recipe is extremely versatile and you can personalize it to your taste. You can adjust the peanut butter and sugar to match your taste and include whatever add-ins you want. My aunt likes to add caramel balls and mini M&Ms instead of the mini chocolate chips. My favorite version is below.

INGREDIENTS
8 oz cream cheese
1/3 cup peanut butter (more or less depending on your taste)
1/3 cup white sugar (you can reduce this depending on your taste)
1/3 cup brown sugar
Mini chocolate chips (however much you want)
Heath chips (however much you want)

Whip the cream cheese with an electric beater. Add peanut butter and whip it until light. Add the sugar until well blended. Mix in the chocolate chips and heath chips. Serve with sliced apples.

gingerbread cookies

Gingerbread Cookies

One important element of Christmas, for me, is gingerbread cookies. My mother used to make them and hang them on the Christmas tree for my father to munch on the days leading up to the big day. He especially liked them when they got a little stale and crunchy. The aroma of gingerbread cookies always brings back warm memories and big smiles.

I am not a huge fan of molasses flavor so I’ve experimented with lots of recipes and tweaked a few to come up with this easy recipe. I hope you enjoy making them and decorating them like I (and Adelaide) do. I usually double this recipe so I can give some away.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (plus extra for rolling out)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup light soft brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp molasses*
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup*
  • 2 tbsp corn syrup (you can substitute golden syrup)*

*When I double the recipe I only add 1 tbsp molasses, 2 tsbp maple syrup and 4 tbsp corn syrup. You can adjust the molasses to syrup ratio according to your taste. 

DIRECTIONS

  • Mix butter, sugar, and egg together.
  • Add molasses and syrups to butter mixture.
  • In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, ginger and cinnamon together.
  • Add part of the flour mixture to the butter mixture. Keep adding the flour mixture in parts until it is all incorporated into the butter mixture. The cookie dough should be stiff and a bit dry.
  • Shape the dough in a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap or wax paper and refrigerate for about 2 hours. You can refrigerate it up to two days.
  •  Roll out the cookie dough on a floured surface. If you like softer cookies, roll out the dough but keep it a little thick. If you like crisper cookies, roll it out thin.
  • Cut out the cookies with gingerbread man cookie cutter or any shape you like. Place cookie cutouts on baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake at 375 degrees F for 8-10 minutes (depending on your oven and your desired doneness).
  • Cool cookies completely before decorating.

 

ICING RECIPE

I live in the Caribbean and do not use A/C in the day so I love frosting and icing recipes that do not melt! This one dries fast (even in humidity) and is very easy to use.

INGREDIENTS 
Water
Powered sugar
Almond extract

DIRECTIONS
Forgive me for not knowing the exact measurements, I usually just put in some powdered sugar into a small bowl, add water until desired consistency and add a drop of almond extract.

Add food coloring if desired.

Use a spatula to put the icing in a icing bag or a plain ol’ zip-up plastic bag. If you use the zip-up plastic bag, snip a small hole in one corner to apply the icing on the cookies.

Ice the cookies and let them dry before packing them in boxes or presenting them for consumption.

 

 

 

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Pumpkin Bread & Muffins

So it’s October and every year I make something pumpkin on October 1st just to celebrate the awesomeness of Autumn. Even though I am living in the Caribbean and it’s hot regardless of the time of year (I’m sweating even as I write this) I still practice this tradition.

The first time I had these pumpkin muffins I was visiting my cousin Wendy Gagnon and her family in Dusseldorf, Germany. I was immediately hooked! Now … fair warning that even though it has a vegetable in the title, this bread recipe isn’t all that healthy (I mean … it does have 3 cups of sugar) but you will fall in love with them.

Wendy added this recipe in the first annual Borg Family Cookbook with this commentary:
“This makes enough for a crowd or some to keep and some to sweeten someone else’s day. With this recipe I usually make one regular loaf tin of bread, one or two mini muffin pans and one regular size muffin pan. It really makes a lot. They are really yummy!”

Ingredients

3 1⁄2 cups flour
1 1⁄2 tesaspoon salt
3 cups sugar
4 eggs
1-15 ounce can pumpkin
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 cup oil
3⁄4 cup water

Directions

Sift flour, soda, sugar, salt and cinnamon together.
Add oil, eggs, water and pumpkin. Mix well.
Bake at 350 F for 30-40 minutes for a large loaf tin or 25 minutes for muffins.

TOP 10: Zachary Simmons hashtag royalty

Zach4group

I first met Zachary Simmons in Trinidad for Carnival 2010. I was part of a group organizing Carnival packages and he was one of our VIP guests. Amid crazy schedules, fabulous fetes, insanely trying to meet up “on the road”, and the hopeless feat of finding an open restaurant in Port of Spain on Carnival Monday night, we bonded.

Zach is one of the hardest working people I know. I asked him one day how he did it all: creative directing mega music stars (can you say Beyonce?), covering red carpet events, blogging for yeahimfamous.com, and everything else in entertainment. His answer: “I don’t sleep much.”

If you follow him on social media you know he is the Hashtag King! I seek out his postings just to have a good laugh at his hilarious hashtags. So I asked him what comes to mind if he had to write something to go along with these hashtags? Here’s what he said:

#misheardlyrics “If You Want It, Lets Do It Ride It My Pony”. Not sure if that the clean version or I just sang it that way as a kid but as an adult I realized it’s “If Your Horny, Lets Do it, Ride it, My Pony”. I definitely had no clue what he was singing about at the age … lol.

#mysuperpower would be to snap my fingers and just appear wherever I wanted or needed to be in seconds.

#iusedtothink that life gets easier when you’re older.

#whydonttheymakethat? Why don’t they make pizza deliveries 24 hours?

#mineisbetterthanyours My singing voice is better than yours … lol.

#icantlivewithoutit  Music & my faith. It’s everything to me. I don’t think I could ever function without it.

#distewmuch The rent in NYC & LA … lol.

#idratherbe Living in London exploring new talent & opportunities.

#dontjudge people or a book by its cover. Everything has a story and some are worth reading.

#thankful for life and the many opportunities I’ve been able to have which has opened more doors and created great friendships.

Connect with Zach at  16-instagram   16-facebook