Jun 202013
 

EP COVER ARTWORK - VIOLET AND THE TRANSATLANTIC SOUNDLABWhen I started my blog, I didn’t think I ever would become so remiss in writing regularly. I am typically a person that is very disciplined and when I set my mind to something and plan to do it consistently, lapsing in that commitment is not an option in my mind. Well…….having my son Christopher has changed all that. My priorities have shifted so much and really in so many amazingly positive ways. Christopher has really put in perspective for me what is important in my life.

So in addition to focusing on my baby and my husband, the other reason I haven’t written much lately is I have been placing a lot of focus on my music. Those of you that follow my cyber band, Violet and the TransAtlantic SoundLab, will be excited to hear that we are coming out with our first EP. We actually just completed the last song that will be on the EP, Where We Used to Meet. Even more exciting, there is a never heard before club mix of Goddess of the Sea. To hear the original version of Goddess of the Sea you can listen here.

Once the EP is out, I will be sure to let you all know. We are shooting for early July 2013. The title will be Moments. While you can interpret that as you like, there is a common theme in all the music on the EP. That theme is that each song captures an emotional moment in life. These moments may be felt differently by different people in our music, but Paul ‘Mabzi’ Mahabir and I have tried to capture moments that truly touch the listener.

Here’s hoping you are as excited as I am about Moments. So stay tuned!!!

Apr 282013
 

photo 3I want to share with you all a new recipe. The first of my mini loaves recipes. You see, I decided to go out and purchase some mini loaves pans. These pans have 8 servings in each. For those of you who would rather not go out and purchase a pan for mini loaves, I suggest using a muffin pan. A 6 serving muffin pan should equal the 8 serving mini loaves recipe I am including below.

I hope you enjoy the first recipe in what will become a series of my mini loaves. If you are interested in getting the pan I am using, here is the link. Wishing you happy baking today and always!

Almond Mini Loaves (gluten free)

Ingredients

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups of trader joe’s fat free vanilla coconut milk
  • 2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse sea salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. aluminum free double acting baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. xanthan gum
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup white rice flour
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 3/4 cup almond slivers (salted)
  • non-stick cooking spray

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 380 F.
  • Coat 8 serving mini loaves pan (or 6 serving muffin pan) with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs with a fork or wire whisk. Then beat in the melted butter, coconut milk, sugars, almond extract and sea salt making sure the mixture become smooth.
  • In the same large mixing bowl, measure and drop in the xanthan gum, baking powder, and flours (reserve the almond meal and almond slivers for mixing in later), then mix with a mixing spoon. Unlike baking that uses gluten, you do not want to over mix anything. Do NOT use an electric mixer. If you beat the batter too much it will not rise and will not have the desired consistency. You want to mix with a mixing spoon just enough that all of the ingredients are dissolved throughout the batter.
  • Add the almond meal to the large mixing bowl and mix. Last, mix in the almond slivers, mixing till they are evenly distributed.
  • Fill the mini loaves to 2/3 full (if using muffin pan instead, fill muffin cups 3/4 full).
  • Bake mini loaves in 380 F oven for 20-25 minutes. Check that they are fully cooked by inserting a toothpick in the center. The toothpick should come out clean. If not, put back in the oven for 2 minute intervals until toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool mini loaves for a minimum of 30 minutes before removing from the pan. Serve immediately or store for a maximum of 4 days.

Servings: 8 mini loaves or 6 medium sized muffins

 Posted by at 1:15 pm
Apr 042013
 

Violet and the TransAtlantic SoundLabIt’s live! The 8th song in my transatlantic collaboration with Paul ‘Mabzi’ Mahabir. Our newest song, Connotations can be listened to on you tube now! Just click here to listen.

For a free download of the song please like us on facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/VioletAndTheTransAtlanticSoundLab

I am amazed at what technology affords us musically today. Paul ‘Mabzi’ is a guitarist/musician from Wirral, UK and I’m from Philadelphia, PA. We met on twitter and from there has come a beautiful musical collaborations done completely electronically. Yes, we wrote this song and all the others together having never met face to face. We call our cyberband, Violet and the TransAtlantic SoundLab.

It is a true pleasure sharing music with you. It would be great to hear from you with any of your thoughts and input on our new song. You can reach out to me on twitter @lvdreamer and Paul @paulmahabir.

Here’s to pursuing the passions that make your heart sing, I know that’s what I’m doing and will strive to continue to do.

Apr 032013
 

ConnotationsIt is amazing how things happen. Sometimes the universe gives you exactly what you need when you just let it. That is a great explanation of my connecting with Paul ‘Mabzi’ Mahabir from Wirral, UK and my partner in song in Violet and the TransAtlantic SoundLab.

Two creative spirits from different countries found ourselves writing a first song together, A Summer Embrace. A little less than a year later, we have written 7 songs together all remotely and the process is a dynamic and incredible one that without technological advances never would have happened. Did I mention we met on twitter? Writing music with someone remotely is an interesting process, one which gives each person individual space while still affording for creative synergy. Honestly, there are times when I wish greatly we could just get in a room and jam live, but who knows what our music would sound like then. What I do know is that our music in our remote collaboration is dynamic in an amazing way.

Over the time that we have known each other, I had a beautiful baby boy. My life as I knew it is so different in so many amazingly wonderful and zany ways. At times, I wondered if it would ever be possible again to write and record a song. You mean find a moment without the need to change a diaper or pick up a crying newborn? Well, believe it or not, it happened, we did it! And this Thursday, 4/4/2013 Violet and the TransAtlantic SoundLab will release another original song, Connotations (8th song in our collaboration).

So Connotations……. What exactly is it about? I am a person that believes strongly in the interpretation of the listener being the most important. But, what I can say is that the lyrics and tone of the piece is that of longing for understanding. It is a bit cliché that we often hear men and women claim not understanding each other. I would take this a step further and say honestly, do any of us truly understand anyone else? We all must work to understand the connotations of others as we all live unique lives with unique experiences and interpretations. With that said, I can’t wait for you to reflect on what Connotations means to you.

Mar 272013
 

muffinI’ve been on a quest to perfect my blueberry muffins. I have made so many different versions now of gluten free blueberry muffins, but this one is the winner in my book. I like a muffin to be moist, light and full of flavor. This one hits the mark exactly. Hope you enjoy!!!

Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins (gluten free)

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup of canola oil
  • 1 cup of buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder (make sure you choose one which is gluten free)
  • 1/4 cup of millet flour
  • 1/4 cup of coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup of tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup of King Arthur Multipurpose Gluten Free flour
  • 1 cup of blueberries (fresh or frozen)
  • non-stick cooking spray

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 380 F.
  • Coat a 6 muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs with a fork or wire whisk. Then beat in the oil, buttermilk, sugar, vanilla extract and sea salt making sure all the mixture become smooth.
  • In the same large mixing bowl, measure and drop in the xanthan gum, baking powder, and flours, then mix with a mixing spoon. Unlike baking that uses gluten, you do not want to over mix anything. Do NOT use an electric mixer. If you beat the batter too much it will not rise and will not have the desired consistency. You want to mix with a mixing spoon just enough that all of the ingredients are dissolved throughout the batter.
  • Add the blueberries to the large mixing bowl last, mixing till ingredients are evenly distributed.
  • Fill the muffin cups evenly, about 3/4 full.
  • Bake muffins in 380 F oven for 25-30 minutes. Check that they are fully cooked by inserting a toothpick in the center of the muffins. The toothpick should come out clean. If not, put back in the oven for 2 minute intervals until toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool muffins for a minimum of 30 minutes before removing from the muffin pan. Serve immediately or store for a maximum of 4 days.

Servings: 6 large size  muffins

Mar 202013
 

Oatmeal Raisin MuffinMy absolute favorite cookie has always been an oatmeal raisin cookie. Somehow, it has always felt like a more nutritious but still scrumptious treat to me. When I became aware of my gluten sensitivity, one of the things I missed most was getting an oatmeal raisin cookie out at a coffee shop. I got to thinking recently that it would be fun to try and create a muffin that tastes like an oatmeal raisin cookie. From this thought came the recipe below. It took me a few iterations to find the right mixture of ingredients to truly recreate a taste like an oatmeal raisin cookie, but I am excited to report that I finally did it!!! The exciting news is that this recipe has a nice amount of healthy fiber due to the old fashioned oats, coconut flour, millet flour and raisins.

Oatmeal Raisin Muffins (gluten free)

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup of canola oil
  • 1/2 cup of plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1/2 cup of buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon guar gum
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder (make sure you choose one which is gluten free)
  • 1/4 cup of millet flour
  • 1/4 cup of coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup of King Arthur Multipurpose Gluten Free flour
  • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
  • 1 cup of old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup of golden raisins
  • non-stick cooking spray

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 380 F.
  • Coat a 6 muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs with a fork or wire whisk. Then beat in the oil, buttermilk, yogurt, sugar, vanilla extract and salt making sure all the mixture become smooth.
  • In the same large mixing bowl, measure and drop in the guar gum, baking powder, flours, cinnamon and nutmeg, then mix with a mixing spoon. Unlike baking that uses gluten, you do not want to over mix anything. Do NOT use an electric mixer. If you beat the batter too much it will not rise and will not have the desired consistency. You want to mix with a mixing spoon just enough that all of the ingredients are dissolved throughout the batter.
  • Add the old fashioned oats and golden raisins to the large mixing bowl last, mixing till ingredients are evenly distributed.
  • Fill the muffin cups evenly, about 3/4 full.
  • Bake muffins in 380 F oven for 25-30 minutes. Check that they are fully cooked by inserting a toothpick in the center of the muffins. The toothpick should come out clean. If not, put back in the oven for 2 minute intervals until toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool muffins for a minimum of 30 minutes before removing from the muffin pan. Serve immediately or store for a maximum of 4 days.

Servings: 6 large size  muffins

Feb 282013
 

Alexandre Family CrestMy marriage  at the beginning of 2012 was the beginning of something so very special. In addition to marrying my soul mate, this was the first step in the building of my family. As I faced our 1st anniversary, I found myself searching for what would be a gift for my husband that could possibly be worthy of such an important occasion in our lives. That was when it hit me…….creating our family crest, a representation of who we are as a family unit. Given the first anniversary is traditionally recognized with a gift of paper, having our crest printed on paper and framed was just perfect!

As a woman on a dream catching mission, a key component of that mission is building my very own family. Building a family has so much to it beyond just the act of getting married and having children. For me, it is embracing and living a life in line with our family identity, who we are together comprised of interests, morals, values and culture. We all have personal identities, but the identity of our families is bigger than the sum of its parts. It is what those parts make up when put together that is simply magnificent.

Whether you have a special occasion coming up or not, I urge you to consider designing your family crest. The act of thinking closely about who you are as a family unit and putting it to paper is an amazing thing. It solidifies the strength of your family.

Just in case you need some assistance like I did in having your crest designed, I used Brooke Lynn Designs. I would love to see your crest or hear from you on any thoughts you have about this post.

 

 Posted by at 7:44 pm
Feb 232013
 

Lemon Poppy Seed MuffinsSo after the birth of my newborn baby and getting back home and trying to return to somewhat of a normal life, I thought at first I might never bake again. The truth is, I have found many opportunities in these last 7 weeks (Christopher was born 7 weeks and one day ago today) to bake.

Almost all of my recipes for muffins (which you will find quite a few of on my blog) take me less than 15 minutes to whip up and 30 minutes to bake. With that said, this is one of my newest and I must say best muffins yet for a breakfast treat. Two things make these muffins perfect for breakfast. They are not too sweet and the texture is light and fluffy. You would never know they are gluten free.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins (gluten free)

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup of canola oil
  • 1/2 cup of plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1/4 cup of light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon guar gum
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder (make sure you choose one which is gluten free)
  • 1/4 cup of millet flour
  • 1/4 cup of white rice flour
  • 1/4 cup of sorghum flour
  • 1/2 cup of King Arthur Multipurpose Gluten Free flour
  • Zest of 1/2 a large lemon
  • Juice of 1/2 a large lemon
  • 3 tablespoons of poppy seeds
  • non-stick cooking spray

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 380 F.
  • Coat a 6 muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs with a fork or wire whisk. Then beat in the oil, yogurt, sugars and salt making sure all the sugar becomes smooth in the mixture.
  • In the same large mixing bowl, measure and drop in the guar gum, baking powder and flours then mix with a mixing spoon. Unlike baking that uses gluten, you do not want to over mix anything. Do NOT use an electric mixer. If you beat the batter too much it will not rise and will not have the desired consistency. You want to mix with a mixing spoon just enough that all of the ingredients are dissolved throughout the batter.
  • Add the lemon zest, juice and poppy seeds to the large mixing bowl last.
  • Fill the muffin cups evenly, about 2/3 full.
  • Bake muffins in 380 F oven for 25 minutes. Check that they are fully cooked by inserting a toothpick in the center of the muffins. The toothpick should come out clean. If not, put back in the oven for 2 minute intervals until toothpick comes out clean.
  • Cool muffins for a minimum of 30 minutes before removing from the muffin pan. Serve immediately or store for a maximum of 4 days.

Servings: 6 medium size  muffins

Feb 152013
 

photoI imagine that some of you have noticed that I have been MIA (missing in action) for the past few months. There is a reason, an incredible, incredible reason and I am so excited to share this news with you.

If you have followed my blog at all, you might have noticed that a while back I put together a dream board. This dream board (perhaps take a look by clicking here) contained in it photos of the life that I hoped to realize for myself in the coming few years. The amazing part is that my dream board has started to materialize in so many ways since I created it that first day.

So are you ready for the big news? Drum roll please!!! I gave birth to my first child on January 4, 2013, a beautiful baby boy. His name is Christopher Thomas Alexandre and I am the proudest mommy ever!!!

Perhaps some of you are familiar with the following bible verse:

When dreams come true, there is life and joy. ~Proverbs 13:12

I can’t even begin to express how much I agree with this quote. My life is so much fuller and filled with a joy that is beyond description.

I am sure in the coming posts you will see some differences in me. The birth of Christopher has forever changed my life in amazing ways that each day continues to amaze me. Dream realization is an incredible thing in that you know you dreamed for something, but when you attain a dream it is hard to know exactly how this will impact you and make your world a different place. In the case of the birth of my son, my heart is bigger than it has every been in my whole life, filled with a love that words will never give justice. I hope that as I write and share with you new revelations in my life some of this new found love touches your soul too. My posts of course will continue to have some yummy recipes mixed in that I continue to create for my growing family.

To end, I would like to share with you a song I wrote about Christopher while I was pregnant with my music partner Paul Mahabir, Precious. Hope you enjoy!

 

Nov 302012
 
Wiggle Woo's
Nanagyei / Foter / CC BY

As you read the title of this blog post, you might be saying to yourself, why would she call a dish epic? Well…….the answer is rather simple. I cook for my husband often and honestly I’m a good cook but he is not a big foodie. When he tasted the dish I am about to give you the recipe for, he said it was an epic meal.

If you are not a gluten free eater, feel free to substitue regular fusilli for my gluten free version and your meal should be just as scrumptious.

Epic Shrimp Fusilli (gluten free)

Ingredients

  • 8 oz gluten free fusilli (I like using a gluten free pasta brand that used brown rice, potato and soy flours)
  • 1 lb shrimp
  • 12 oz of crumbled feta cheese
  • 10 oz jar of Trader Joe’s Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke Tapenade 
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro finely chopped
  • 1 large red bell pepper diced
  • 1 large green pepper diced
  • 1/2 cup of finely chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup of finely chopped yellow onion
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons of crushed garlic

Instructions

  • In a medium bowl, combine the cilantro, red bell pepper, green pepper, red onion, yellow onion and sea salt. Set this mixture aside.
  • In another medium bowl, prepare your shrimp for cooking (peel, devein, etc. unless you have purchased shrimp where they have already been peeled and deveined). Set this bowl aside.
  • In a 2 quart pot, fill water 2/3 of the way to the top. Set on stove on high heat. You will wait until the water comes to a boil, throw in a dash of olive oil and salt and then your fusilli and cook following the instructions on the pasta you have selected.
  • In a large stove top skillet, pour the olive oil and crushed garlic in the pan and start to heat. In approximately 2 minutes add all the vegetables from your first medium bowl. Simmer this for about 5 minutes. Then add your shrimp to the pan. Continue to cook approximately 12 minutes or until you are certain your shrimp are fully cooked. Remove the skillet from the stove and pour off all excess liquid.
  • Take an extra large serving dish and place the cooked fusilli in the bowl first. Then pour the Roasted Red Pepper and Artichoke Tapenade over the fusilli and mix well. Next pour in the feta cheese and again mix. Lastly add the contents of your large stove top skillet which you drained thoroughly. Once everything is mixed evenly, your ready to serve your meal!

Serves: 6 main dish portions or 10 side dish portions.