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Nutella Chocolate Cheesecake Cupcakes

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Can you tell i’m just a little bit obsessed with Nutella? Who isn’t over here in the Middle East? We were Nutella fanatics waaaaay before anyone in America caught on! This recipe was creating by me, because I had a huge headache the other day and I knew nothing but chocolate would cure it. The whole baking process is actually therapeutic to me. All that sifting and stirring really calms your nerves, I think they should have a baking class at the gym along with yoga and body balance. Of course you would then have to attend another high impact class just to work of all those extra calories you would be consuming so it might be a little counterproductive…

Anyways, try these cupcake/cheesecake hybrids. They are super yummy! Trust me, i’m testing one right now. Of course I did add ¬†an extra layer of nutella spread on top of it… Don’t judge me…

Ingredients: (only makes 7 cupcakes so double if you want more!)

For the cake:

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup coffee (1 teaspoon instant coffee dissolved in hot water)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup Nutella

For the cream cheese:

  • 1/2 package cream cheese (100 grams) softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 180. Prepare cupcake pan with liners.

First sift the flour, baking soda, cocoa and salt into a bowl. Mix well with a whisk, then make a well in the center and pour in the coffee, oil,  sugar, vinegar, and vanilla extract. Mix well then add the Nutella.  Spoon into cupcake cases.

In another bowl, mix the cream cheese, egg, sugar and vanilla until smooth. Spoon on top of cake mix, dividing evenly between the cupcakes. Sprinkle with dark chocolate chips

Bake for 20-25 minutes or when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Enjoy!

-M

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Chicken Tetrazzini

I’ve had this recipe bookmarked for a while now. Actually to be more accurate, I have tons of recipes bookmarked that have caught my eye, but that I never seem to have enough time to try. When your in a hurry to get something on the table, you usually go for a reliable stand-by. Something you know is good and that you can make in a hurry. Well when I recently started going through my bookmarks, I was surprised at how many yummy sounding recipes I had collected, and I decided it was about time to start crossing them off my list. You will be seeing a lot more recipes from me as I start going through them. Once you try this great pasta dish, it will become a favorite. Its perfect for those who love the creaminess of a fettuccine but crave more substantial flavor. I love that it has chicken, mushrooms and peas! ¬†With over 1000 reviews and a rating of five stars, you know it’s gotta be good right? It was. It was so rich and packed with flavor it inspired a rain of complements from my husband. This is a great, hearty dish that will fill you up during the winter months. Make it to impress that special someone and it won’t dissapoint!

 

 

 

 

Chicken Tetrazzini (adapted from Giada de Laurentis)

Ingredients

  • 9 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dry (or fresh) thyme leaves
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, room temperature
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 12 ounces linguine (I used fettuccine pasta)
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup dried Italian-style breadcrumbs

Directions

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Spread 1 tablespoon of butter over a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish. Melt 1 tablespoon each of butter and oil in a deep large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the hot pan and cook until pale golden and just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate to cool slightly. Coarsely shred the chicken into bite-size pieces and into a large bowl.

Meanwhile, add 1 tablespoon each of butter and oil to the same pan. Add the mushrooms and saute over medium-high heat until the liquid from the mushrooms evaporates and the mushrooms become pale golden, about 1-2 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, and thyme, and saute until the onion is translucent, about 8 minutes.Transfer the mushroom mixture to the bowl with the chicken.

Melt 3 more tablespoons butter in the same pan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk, cream, broth, nutmeg, remaining 1 3/4 teaspoons salt, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Increase the heat to high. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 10 minutes.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the linguine and cook until it is tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 9 minutes. Drain. Add the linguine, sauce, peas, and parsley to the chicken mixture. Toss until the sauce coats the pasta and the mixture is well blended.

Transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish. Stir the cheese and breadcrumbs in a small bowl to blend. Sprinkle the cheese mixture over the pasta. Dot with the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Bake, uncovered, until golden brown on top and the sauce bubbles, about 25 minutes.

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Thai Shrimp Green Curry

 

In contrast to Bahrain, the weather here is awful. The bitter dry winds of winter have begun to blow, and the frost in the air is sign that a long and cold winter is ahead. So what else to make but a flavorful, light, mild curry that salutes the good old summer days? This curry has been a favorite of mine ever since my mom made it for me when I last visited. Now I request it all the time. If I had known how simple it was to make myself I made have saved my requests for more challenging dishes! Oh well, there is always next time…¬†

 

 

You must make this dish, it is so perfect for weeknights when you don’t have a lot of time to get dinner on the table. All the asian spices can be found in major supermarkets. The flavors marry so well together to form a complex fragrant sauce that will have you scooping up seconds and thirds!

 

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Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons¬†vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, cut in 8 wedges
  • 1¬†green bell pepper, cut in 8 wedges
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, white bulb only
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons Thai green¬†curry¬†paste
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves
  • 3 cups unsweetened coconut milk, 2 (13.5 ounce) cans (or powder reconstituted to same amount)
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock¬†
  • 1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp, deveined and tails removed¬†
  • Sea salt
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • Fresh Thai basil leaves
  • Fresh cilantro leaves
  • Lime wedges, for garnish
Directions
Place a large, deep skillet over medium heat and coat with the oil. Saute the onion andgreen peppers for 3 minutes to soften. Split the piece of lemongrass down the middle and whack it with the flat side of a knife to open the flavor. Add the lemongrass, ginger, currypaste and lime leaves to the skillet and stir for 2 minutes. Pour in the coconut milk andchicken broth. Lay the shrimp in the mixture to poach; add a pinch of salt. Stir together and simmer over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes. Squeeze in the lime juice and shower with basil and cilantro; serve in dinner bowls with lime wedges

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Ritz Carlton Bahrain Gourmet Lobby Lounge Review

The weather is amazing.¬† And when the weather is amazing in Bahrain, people jump at the chance for al fresco dining.¬† A place that I’ve been gradually hearing more buzz about is the newly opened Ritz Gourmet Lobby Lounge outdoor terrace.¬† The setting is beautiful, with comfortable chairs on a patio overlooking the manicured grounds and swimming pool of one of the swankiest hotels in Bahrain.¬† Sheesha is available, with a multitude of flavor combinations, which for many will be a huge drawing point.¬† Indoors, the decor is very reminiscent of London afternoon tea parlors, and is elegant¬†and luxurious without being overdone.¬† I was most excited about their dessert sundaes, since I feel there is a real lack of sundae places in Bahrain.¬† We ordered saffron tea, american coffee, tiramisu sundaes, oreo brownie sundaes, and the lobster mac and cheese to try.¬† The saffron tea was delicious, it had an exotic undertone of flavor without being overpowering.¬† The lounge also has an extensive tea cocktail menu, which is cold blended tea drinks that I still haven’t tried.¬† Next came the lobster mac and cheese.¬†

It was good, but nothing that I’d really crave again.¬† The sauce was mild and creamy, the lobster pieces were good sized but the whole combination seemed to lack a little flavor.¬† A few bites, and I was bored of the dish and ready for dessert.¬† And dessert came looking very good.

The portion size was good, filling without being excessive, and surprisingly I liked the tiramisu sundae more.  The coffee poured over it gave the ladyfingers a nice moistness and the white chocolate whipped cream gave the needed sweetness.  The oreo and brownie sundae was good, but nothing amazing.  The brownie bits were a little dry and the oreos being present in their whole form instead of crumbled also made the sundae a little dry and hard to eat. 

What redeems the Ritz’s lounge for its exorbitant prices (3.300¬†BD for coffee, 4 BD for each sundae) and slightly above average food is the beautiful ambiance and the setting in which you eat.¬† I felt like I was somewhere other than Bahrain, the pleasing views, comfortable chairs and attentive service made this a place I know I’ll go again and again.¬† Only next time, I think I’ll stick to drinks and dessert maybe choosing something from their exquisite looking pastry display case.¬† Check out the full menu here!

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Spinach Artichoke Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

I love spinach artichoke dip and I love grilled cheese sandwiches.¬† So this recipe instantly got me salivating and ready to go.¬† It’s a great quick lunch or dinner and is pretty healthy especially if you use low fat cheese and yogurt in place of the sour cream.¬† It’s also really, really good.¬† REALLY good.¬† The key is getting the bread golden brown and crispy while allowing the cheese time to melt so that the inside is a creamy, gooey melty mix.¬† Could it be any easier to put together a crowd pleasing dinner?¬† After making¬†this last minute for a couple friends and getting really good feedback, I think the answer is no.¬† Make this (frequently!) and enjoy.

Spinach Artichoke Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (adapted from A Couple Cooks)

Makes 2 sandwiches (scale up according to how many you need)
Fresh spinach ‚Äď enough for about 3 cups chopped
Canned artichoke hearts ‚Äď about 3 (around 6 ounces)
2 cloves garlic
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons sour cream
Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
1 cup shredded cheese (I used mozarella, use any blend you like)
4 pieces bread (I used a white crusty bread, I think sourdough would work great)
Kosher salt
Butter or more olive oil

1  Dice the 2 cloves garlic. Chop the artichokes. Wash and stem the
spinach, then chop it coarsely.

2  Heat about 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet. Add the garlic and
saute for 30 seconds. Then add the spinach and a pinch of kosher salt,
and saute for a few minutes until just limp. Add the artichokes and
red pepper flakes (if you want a tiny bit of spiciness) and saute for
another minute or so, until heated through. Drain off any liquid from
the pan. Stir in 2 tablespoons sour cream and another pinch of kosher salt.

4  Spread butter (or olive oil) on one side of each of the 4 bread
pieces. Heat a griddle pan to medium high heat. Place 2 pieces of
bread on the griddle, buttered side down. On each piece, spread some
shredded cheese, the spinach artichoke filling, some more cheese (1/2
cup cheese per sandwich), and the other piece of bread. When the
bottom bread is browned, flip the sandwich and cook until the bread is
toasted and the cheese is melted.  Or, if you have a panini maker,
just assemble the sandwiches, butter or oil the maker on both sides
and toast the sandwiches in the maker until golden brown and cheese
looks enticingly melty.

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Too Much Chocolate Cake

I mean is there really such a thing as too much chocolate?¬† The title does say it all though… this cake pushes the boundaries of chocolateyness and it is decadent.¬† This is literally the easiest cake you can throw together.¬† And it is
DELICIOUS.¬† This is one of my most repeated recipes especially when I need to make something insanely fast and with all the staple ingredients already at home.¬† I don’t usually like cooking with cake mix, but this is such a good doctored cake mix recipe that it throws all my elitism out the window.¬† One of my favorite recipes from Allrecipes, I present to you the deliciously, incredibley moist and chocolatey too much chocolate cake.¬† The addition of the bag of chocolate chips and chocolate pudding mix is genius!

Too Much Chocolate Cake (adapted from allrecipes.com)

1 package devils food cake mix (if you can’t find it, just use dark chocolate)

1 package instant chocolate pudding mix

1 cup sour cream

1 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs

1/2 cup warm water

2 cups (1 bag) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs and water.  Stir in the chocolate chips and pour batter into a well greased 12 cup bundt pan.
  3. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool cake thoroughly in pan at least an hour and a half before inverting onto a plate  If desired, dust the cake with powdered sugar.

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