I love baking from scratch. There is something therapeutic. But while I love baking from scratch sometimes convenience takes over. Like in the case of these strawberry trifle puddings.

While making the fried chicken from Country Cooking from a Redneck Kitchen cookbook, I stumbled on this recipe for Strawberry Custard Trifle. I love layered jar cakes and with strawberries in season this dessert sounded perfect to make. The recipe calls for box cake mix and I don’t use box cake mixes. My original plan was to make my own cake and make this recipe. Things did not go as planned. I had people coming over and while the meal was entirely homemade and from scratch (dal makhani, butter chicken, bhindi and dahi bhalla) I cheated a little with the dessert. As far as I remember this is probably the first time I have used a box cake mix in a dessert. But it was so worth it.

Francine Bryson, the author of Country Cooking, calls these trifles packaged ingredients artfully put together. Served in mason jars, it does make for a pretty presentation. My guests loved these and with a few homemade additions, this dessert was a big hit. This would be perfect for Memorial Day or for summer entertaining !

P.S: Trifles are a great way to rescue dry or cracked cakes!

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Lime marinated tilapia with a cornmeal crust. Served with brown rice tortillas these make a filling gluten free meal

Fish Tacos

V is a picky eater. He is not one who likes to experiment too much with his food. He can eat baingan ka bharta, toovar dal and roti every day of the week and still not complain. And till very recently he would not eat fish. When we moved to Dallas, I wanted this no-fish policy of his to change. I agree the smell of fish to some can make it a little hard for them to like it ( I am not a big fan of certain seafood too because I can not tolerate the smell) but with the health benefits that fish carry I wanted them to be a bigger part of our diets.

V, thankfully was receptive with the idea. Initially I made the fish with mustard and indian spices to suit his palate and then slowly have graduated to grilled fish and tacos. In spite of its relatively small amounts of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, I stick to tilapia for V, because of its mild taste. Plus, it still is a great source of protein.

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Triple M Explosion @ PepperSmash Cocktail Kitchen

With V busy during the week, weekends are when both of us get to enjoy all that the Dallas-Fort Worth Area has to offer together, with Sundays reserved for trying out new places to brunch. Last Sunday we got the opportunity to try PepperSmash – a cocktail Kitchen at the Shops at Legacy, Plano. I had heard good things about the place, especially their drinks menu and was excited to try the place out.

PepperSmash boasts of making some innovative and out of the box drinks, and while I would recommend this place more for dinner, only because getting drunk during the day might not always be the way of doing things, they do have a pretty interesting brunch menu and specials. Mimosas are $3 and their bloody Mary’s (made from roasted tomatoes and a must try) are just $5.

PepperSmash- A Cocktail Kitchen

Maria, the bartender concocting our cocktails

PepperSmash- A Cocktail Kitchen

Colin, our server, with the cotton candy martini and the Triple M explosion

PepperSmash- A Cocktail Kitchen

Chef Zach

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